Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Badam Kala Kand (Cashew Nut Kala Kand)- Bengali Version


Kala Kand is a pan Indian sweet with various versions depending on the state you are eating it. Largely, it is made with milk, cottage cheese, sugar and is usually decorated with Pistachio nuts. Many also make the sweet using milk solid instead of milk. Some use coconut, carrots etc with the milk to give a different flavor to the taste.

I made the Badam Kala Kand on 17th Feb 2013 for Saraswati Puja celebrated by ‘Adda’ of Slough. The version I am making came about due to shortage of milk while making the sweet for 20 of our friends. So what did I do? I decided to add some broken cashew nuts to increase the quantity with the original recipe. And that how the birth of ‘my’ Badam Kala Kand

Ingredients:

2-Litre full fat milk for chana/paneer/cottage cheese

½ -cups sugar (or even less)

2-litre Milk (or a can of evaporated milk. If using evaporated milk, then do not or use very less sugar)

2-Lemon (juice taken)

1-cup cashew nut broken using a blender

Sliced Pistachio to decorate (use, as much or little you want)

 Method:

1.     Boil 2 litre the milk in a pan and heat well until boiling point

2.     Slowly add lemon juice  to make the chana/paneer/cottage cheese

3.     Drain the chana using a strainer/ Muslin cloth. Wash the chana so that it does not smell of lemon.

4.     Hang the cloth for at least 1hour  so that water drain properly from the chana

5.     Meanwhile in a heavy bottom pan heat the other 2 little milk stirring constantly until it has reduced to half. If using canned evaporated milk, then heat until boiling

6.     Add the broken cashew with the boiled and halved milk or the boiled  evaporated milk (which ever using)

7.     Stir for 5/7 mins

8.     Then add the chana/paneer with the milk and cashew mix and cook until it is almost dry. You will need to stir constantly. it takes time as the flame needs to be on very low heat.

9.     Add sugar and cook until sugar is dissolved

10. Take off the heat

11. Line a tray with parchment paper or rub oil all over the tray and spread the milk and cashew nut mix

12. Sprinkle the Pistachio all over the tray and let it cool

13. Refrigerate  overnight so that kala kand can dry well ( but remain moist )

14. Then cut squares and serve cold or at room temperature

Friday, 1 March 2013

Szechuan Chicken Noodles (Chinese)


I made this one to celebrate the Chinese New Year, which was 10 February 2013. Somehow did not get the time to post the recipe on the blog. Any given day, Chinese food is always a welcome break from Bengali food that I eat at home.  But eating Chinese at a restaurant is not always as healthy and skinny as many like to believe. Just from the use of oil perspective. Yet, when I go out, I like to eat Chinese food over North Indian food. I also like Thai, in fact like it more than Chinese, Mexican, Italian and Greek food. All kind of Mediterranean is also my favorite. But not necessary all these are ‘cook is jiffy’ kind of recipes which is what I need on a week night. Or to be honest, all nights. Hence, Chinese cooked at home is my all time fev. In addition, I can change the ingredients depending on my mood and to suit my Indian palate.

Here is recipe for THE MOST EASY SZECHUAN CHICKEN NOODLE, one can think of. Well, I can think of.  My measurements are for making noodles to serve two for dinner with no sides or starter. My noodle was not very dry, also not in gravy form. I used the measurement depending on my taste. Please feel free to modify

Ingredients for the Szechuan Sauce:

·       1/2-cup tomato puree (or little less if you like)

·       1-teaspoon red chili paste (use hot version or more if you like hot)

·       2-tablespoon light soy sauce

·       2-tablespoon dark soy sauce

·       2-tablespoon rice wine or dry sherry or vinegar

·       1-large shallot or onion chopped

·       1-teaspoon ginger grated

·       1-teaspoon garlic chopped

·       ¼-teaspoon peppercorn roughly ground

·       1-tablespoon sesame oil or any white oil

·       Pinch of sugar

 Method for making Szechuan Sauce:

1.     Heat oil in a wok or karahi

2.     Add shallot/onion , ginger, garlic, chili paste, ground pepper corns  and fry for two minutes

3.     Add tomato puree and fry

4.     Add light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar

5.     Reduce the heat and simmer to 2/3 mins

6.     Remove from heat. You can store it in a jar and keep in fridge

Ingredients for Noodle:

·       300gm-medium egg noodles

·       1-chicken skinless chicken breast, diced

·       1-red bell pepper diced

·       1-yellow pepper diced (just for the sake of color.. use green, red, orange.. whatever you fancy. Also the quantity was on the idea to have some vegetable with dinner. So you as much or as little you like)

·       2-carrots, cleaned and cut

·       1-big red onion cut in four parts and then each section of the skin separated using hand

·       Salt to taste or use fish sauce or soy sauce to season ( I used fish sauce as I like the smell)

·       1-tablespoon sesame oil or any white oil

Method for Szechuan Chicken Noodles

1.     Boil the noodle as per the instruction on the package

2.     Meanwhile heat oil in a wok or karahi

3.     Add chicken breast and brown them well

4.     Add pepper, onion and carrot  and fry them until brown but still very farm

5.     Add the Szechuan sauce ( add little water in case very dry)

6.     Cook until done

7.     Drain the noodles and immediately pour over the chicken Szechuan sauce mix

8.     Combine well, and in case needed, season with salt/fish sauce/soy sauce and pepper

9.  Serve hot immediately  

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Til Kumro (Pumpkin cooked in sesame paste) ( Bengali Dish)


I am going through a phase when cooking seems like a real hard work. Well, I did do some cooking in the weekend but the whole idea of clicking snaps and writing recipe seems too much. I just want to eat and sleep and go to work.  

But.. I realised that I have not posted anything on the blog for a long time. Which I should have, now that I have a blog and that I need to try to make it popular. In fact almost wishing that I did not have a blog!!!!!!! Well too late, I guess.

Posting a recipe of Til Kumro or Pumpkin cooked in sesame paste. It is a very ‘everyday’ dish at my home in kolkata. Most likely originated from Bangladesh…. Well I am not sure. However, it does have the flavor of coconut, mustard and sesame mix, which is very typical of my mother.  She also cooks chicken in the same combination.  So do I. I had some drumsticks at home, drying in the fridge. I used them. but, you do not actually need them.

Try this dish for its simplicity and sweetness. Moreover, it is a healthy dish without any compromise on taste

Ingredients:

400g-Pumpkin, diced

2-stick of drumstick, cut length wise (optional)  

3-tablespoon sesame seeds (increase the quantity if you like)

1 ½- tablespoon grated coconut (increases the quantity if you like but then also increase sesame too)

1-teaspoon mustard seeds (I used black) ((increase the quantity if you like and if you have increased the other ingredients)

1/4-teaspoon Nigella/kalo jeera/kalonji

1-long green chili (add more if you like hot)

Salt to taste

Pinch of sugar

1-tablespoon oil
 

Method:

1.    In the blender/ grinder  mix coconut, sesame, mustard and green chili and make a paste, add little water in case needed

2.   Keep the paste aside and add little salt to the whole paste, otherwise it might turn bitter due to mustard

3.   Heat oil in wok or karahi

4.   Add Nigella seed and fry a little

5.   Add the diced pumpkin and drumstick ( if using) and fry until the pumpkin is half done

6.   Add the paste  and combine with pumpkin

7.   Fry for a while, add salt and pinch of sugar

8.   Sprinkle little water in case sticking at the bottom or add water to make thick gravy

9.   Cook until pumpkin is well done and gravy thickened

10.                 Serve with roti or boiled white rice

Enjoy the day and hope to you see you next time when I have more energy than today. Take care!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Maushumi r Doi Begun (aubergine with Yoghurt-a recipe by Maushumi)


Maushumi, a friend of mine astounded me with her Doi Begun (aubergine with Yoghurt). She grew up in Orissa and shared with us the amazing recipe that belongs to the state. When I saw the picture of her dish, I knew it was something that I would definitely cook, and rather soon. But the dish over exceeded all my expectation

We Bengalis cook aubergine with mustard, yoghurt and sometime even with Kasundi (fermented or pickled mustard sauce, very traditional mustard sauce from West Bengal). I love aubergine cooked with Doi (yogurt) and Shorshe bata (mustard paste). But this dish…. ohhhhhhhhhh ummaaa.. is the right expression!!! Simple to make, looks beautiful & stunning and taste…. Ohhhhhh… I do not have words to describe it.

I am in love with it. When I eat it for the first time last weekend, the newness of the taste, the minimalism of the ingredients, layered texture and freshness of spices took my breath away. Since then I have cooked the dish three times already, treated friends and would treat to few more.

I am giving almost exact recipe from Maushumi with little changes in the quantity as I made to suit my palate.

Please please, give dish a try.. Otherwise, you would be missing something out of the world.

Ingredients:

1-aubergine/begun/brinjal/eggplant, cut into round slices

1-teaspoon turmeric

½-chili powder

1-cup yoghurt, I used Greek fat free. You can use hang curd or any other you like.

½-musterd seeds

7/8-curry leaves (you can buy them at any Indian/Sri Lankan shop)

½-inch finely chopped ginger

2/3-dried red chili

Pinch of Heeng (Asafoetida, this is the first time ever I used heeng ever in my life)

Salt to taste

Oil to fry the aubergine as well as for later use

 Method:

1.    Soak the aubergine in salt water for 1 hour, so that it takes less oil to fry

2.    Take them off the water and Marinate the aubergine with turmeric, chili and salt

3.    Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the aubergine until both sides are dark brown and aubergine is soft like cotton
 

4.    Place the fried aubergine in a serving bowl

5.    Beat the yoghurt with salt and keep aside

6.    Heat little more oil in a pan

7.    Add mustard seed and fry until they starts to splatter

8.    Add the dried red chili,  ginger and fry until ginger is almost  golden brown

9.    Add curry leaves and fry so that now ginger is  crispy and curry leafs are fried but yet green

10. Add heeng and take off the fire in 10 secs

11.  Now spread the yoghurt over the fried aubergine so that they are fully covered

12. Spread the fried spices over the yoghurt like in picture

13. Serve with white boiled rice and enjoy the bliss!

Note: after adding the yoghurt, do not cook or warm the dish as it might curdle the yoghurt  

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A Bong’s (that also Noakhailla) take on Kolhapuri Chicken Tambda Rassa


I never thought of a Marathi dish. If you asked me a month ago what my favorite Marathi dish was, I would have said none or I do not even know which are Marathi dishes. There was a time when I went to Mumbai every three months for work and have eaten typically Marathi food. Yet I never realised I was eating Marathi food. And that is very unlike me!! I am very curious about people, places, food and its spices. Yet why did I not take notice of Marathi food? How come it never caught my attention? Well, I do not know. I would need to go back to past.


Preeti’s Isingcake (http://isingcakes.wordpress.com/) giveaway got me thinking. I met Preeti through Bloggers Buzz event where she is one of the organizers. She also has a wonderful and a very successful blog called Isingcake.  Preeti has organized a giveaway where one needs to cook a Marathi dish for a modern table or a dish that resembles a Marathi dish. Please see the details here if you are interested


Now for me, it was an opportunity to read about Marathi food.  To my surprise, I realized I actually loved few of the regular Marathi food and did not know they were Marathi.  My ignorance and not at all bliss I must say in this occasion. I combed through the net to get an idea about Marathi food. Not that I was very successful as most wonderful site were in Marathi and most English ones  not interesting enough to keep me glued. However I found a list of foods that many people voted as most popular Marathi food like  Srikhand, Vara pao, Amrakhand, Missal Pao, Kolhapuri Tambda Rassa Chicken,  etc etc. Now, I keep making Srikhand, eat vara pao very regularly, do not like Amrakhand, love missal pao and never made Kolhapuri Tambda Rassa Chicken. Therefore, from among the list, I decided on Kolhapuri Tambda Rassa Chicken.

Now when I looked for the recipe of the dish, I realised that people have different version of the dish, which like any dish is, very interesting as cooking always varies from one household to another. I mainly checked the following blog,



Although, all three had slightly different aspect to the recipe, what also attracted me to Kolhapuri Tambda Rassa Chicken is it’s nearness to a chicken dish that is cooked by my grandmother. Being from the coastal area of Bangladesh, coconut always plays an important role in many of the dishes that I am used to eating. I use a lot of coconut but do not use that much of tomatoes which  seemed like an integral aspect of the recipe. In addition, the amount of chili used in the original recipe, well I am not that brave nor do I have any likeness for food that is very very hot (the meaning of Tambda Rassa is red gravy , so I guess the use chili is justified) .  Therefore, I decided to make the dish mixing my grandmothers method and the Marathi method (I am no expert on Marathi method… so depending on the blogs that I have read). And it came out really well. I would want to try the real Marathi thing soon when I my friend J comes over who is in love with chili, until then I am happy with the fusion of Bong and Marathi Kolhapuri Tambda Rassa Chicken. Hope you like it too.

By the way, I am a Bong (for the uninitiated Bong is Bengali) and I love to eat in a Bong way. So I am serving my Bongalisious Kolhapuri Chicken Tambda Rassa in Bong way with rice.
A Bong way of eating... and ofcourse with hands.. god gifted forks I call them
 
Ingredients:

·        Baby chicken cut into small pieces

·        2-tomatoes cut into small slices (the Bengali/my grandmother’s recipe does not have tomatoes. I used based on the Kolhapur recipe)

·        1-green chili

·        1/2-teaspoon red chili powder

·        1-teaspoon cumin powder

·        1-teaspoon turmeric powder

·        ½-cup fresh coconut grated (original Kolhapur recipe calls for both fresh and roasted coconut but as I am mixing both the method I am suing fresh coconut, which is more common in Bengali cooking)

·        1-tablespoon pumpkin seeds (used in my grandmother’s recipe. poppy seeds used in Kolhapur recipe. However, use of poppy seed is not common in Bangladeshi food, but use of pumpkin seed is. So I am using pumpkin seeds)

·        4/5-cloves of garlic

·        2-inch ginger

·        3-medium sized onions, thinly sliced

·        2/3- cardamom

·        2-inch long cinnamon

·        1-bayleaf

·        ½-teaspoon mustard seed (the Bengali/my grandmother’s recipe does not have this. I used based on the Kolhapur recipe)

·        Salt to taste

·        Oil as per taste

 Method:

1.    Fry the onions until brown and soft

2.    Soak the powdered spices in little water ( chili, cumin, turmeric) and make a paste

3.    Now in a blender add the fried onions, garlic, green chili, ginger and make a paste

4.    Marinate the chicken with onion paste and keep aside

5.    Now fry the sliced tomatoes until soft and then cool them down

6.    Using a blender make tomato paste and keep aside

7.    Make a paste of coconut and pumpkin seeds and keep aside

8.    Now heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds

9.    When the starts to smell add the coconut paste and fry until oil separates

10. Add the spiced paste with fried coconuts and cook again until oil separates

11.  Add the marinated chicken, salt  and cook for 10mins

12. Add tomato paste and cook

13. Add cinnamon, bay leaf and cardamom and cook until chicken is soft and gravy ( not grave)  is thick ( I made it dry but you can also keep as much gravy as you like)

14. Serve with white boiled rice