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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Kumro Fali Bhaja | Crispy Fried Pumpkin Slices | Bengali Cuisine


Sometimes a simple telephonic conversation between my mother and me can leave a mark behind for the whole day. Somedays back I was talking to my Ma over phone and were discussing some very basic questions like :- Ma ki banacho? "What are you cooking Mom?" 

Ma: Ja gorom poreche kichu rich banate icche korchena. "It is so hot that we don't feel like having anything very rich." Tai just Mosurir Dal-bhaat ar Kumro Bhaja. "So have made Masoor Dal-Rice and crispy slices of Pumpkin."

Me: Bah !!! Amio khete chai ! "Wow!!! I too want to eat the same"

So immediately searched for pumpkin in my fridge and made the same menu. It felt great to think that we two are living in different cities still through same menu we are somehow connected.

Well these are very simple yet utter delicious sliced pumpkin fries. And guess what these can be had as a stand alone tea-time snacks well ! All it needs is little bit of Chat Masala on top and your super easy crunchy snack is ready. 

Ingredients:
10 Thinly sliced Pumpkin 
1/4 cup Gram flour (besan)
4 tbsp Cornflour
1/4 cup Rice flour
2 tsp Poppy seeds
Pinch of turmeric powder
Pinch of Baking soda
Small pinch of Kalo zeera / Nigella seeds
Salt to taste
Chilled water  
Refind oil for deep frying

Method:
Clean the pumpkin and cut into thin slices (the slimmer they are the crispy they will turn out). 


In a bowl mix cornflour, nigella seeds, gram flour, poppy seeds, soda, turmeric and salt. 
Add 1/4 chilled water ( I use ice cubes sometimes along with little water) and make homogeneous batter. Heat oil in a deep frying pan and dip one slice at a time in the gram flour batter.

 Deep fry for couple of minutes on low flame until light golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and place the fried pumpkin slices on tissue paper to soak extra oil. Serve immediately with steamed rice-dal combination. I had saved 2 pieces of these for some hot rice and the oil in which it was fried along with a green chilli. 


Sending super easy fritters recipe to Kolkata Food Bloggers's Page where they are celebrating online event "Poila Boishakh with Veg Bengali Dishes".

read more.. "Kumro Fali Bhaja | Crispy Fried Pumpkin Slices | Bengali Cuisine "

Monday, April 7, 2014

Sea Fish Fry | South Indian Style


I got introduced to this variety of fish by quite accident. Actually I was at my friend's place and one of her neighbor came with a bowl of these fish fries. We liked it very much and asked her about the marination. Next day hunting down for this variety in the fish market was my agenda. Was successful and made in 2 batches. Perfect for plain Dal-Chawal accompaniment or even for cocktail parties.

Ingredients:
20-22 pieces, cleaned 
Oil for deep frying
1 tsp Red Chilly powder
2.5 tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste
1 tsp Coriander powder
4 tbsp Cornflour
1 tsp Turmeric powder
60-70 gm Tamarind, soaked and pulp extracted
Salt to taste

Method:

I generally ask them to clean the fish for me for an additional Rs.20. But you need to clean the fish pieces under tap water as it has tons of sand. Keep aside for 10 minutes and let the excess water drained out. 

Make a slurry-like marinade of the ginger-garlic paste, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, tamarind pulp and salt. Now sprinkle some cornflour and coat well. Marinate the fish in this paste for 15-20 minutes.. Heat oil and deep fry till golden fry. Serve these tasty fish fry with fried onion rings. 

read more.. "Sea Fish Fry | South Indian Style"

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fresh Black Grape Juice Recipe | Refreshing Summer Drinks



Summer has surely set in India, particularly in Chennai. Once I look outside the windows even the birds have started to avoid flying in the heat in the scorching sun. It looks so intriguing that they open their beaks and pant like humans do after a short flight from one branch to another. I sometimes offer them fruits outside the house which they are glad to peck. However I have another grounded birdie in my house who is none other than my son who is very fussy while having fruits. 

Of late I am giving him grapes juice. I reckon it’s healthier and tastier than aerated water. The only care you need to take is to wash them thoroughly to clear them of any impurities. Since I don’t have a juice maker, so I blend them and then use a strainer to take out the juice. I think my child developed a taste of it and hope you and your friends and family enjoy this drink as well. Also it looks  tempting as well. So friends now you know how I am planning to face Chennai's heat ;-)

Ingredients:
500 gms Black Grapes
Sugar as required
6-7 drops of Lemon juice 
2 big pinches of Black salt
Ice cubes

Method:
These are seedless grapes so just remove the stems from the grapes and take a colander for rinsing the grapes. Discard any old shriveled grapes. Drain out the excess water and place them in a blender. Blend till smooth and later strain the juice with a strainer. Add lemon juice, sugar if required. Mix in some black slat and stir well. Add lots of ice cubes and serve immediately chilled juice.

read more.. "Fresh Black Grape Juice Recipe | Refreshing Summer Drinks"

Friday, March 14, 2014

Mawa Burfi | Khoya Barfi| Easy Holi Sweet


The festival of colors Holi is knocking at our doorstep signaling us to come out and get coloured by our family and friends. This marks the beginning of the spring and time for fun and frolic. So to energize ourselves to apply colours to others and also to save ourselves from getting caught and drenched with coloured water, presenting these khoya based sweets. Hope you like them and they form a part of the Holi festival at this year.

 They are very easy to make and takes less than 10-12 minutes to make ! We have purchased herbal colors /gulal and pichkari for Holi. What's your plan?

Ingredients:
1 cup Khoya /Mawa
1/2 cup Sugar (you can increase sugar according to your taste)
2 tbsp Milk
1 tbsp All purpose flour
1 tbsp Ghee
1 tsp Cardamom powder
7-8 Almonds, chopped
7-8 Pistachios, chopped
Silver varakh (optional)

Method:

Heat ghee into a heavy pan on low flame. Put mawa into the pan and roast it on low flame till it melts (it takes 2-3 minutes). Remember if you want very smooth burfi you should add sugar, flour immediately or else let it turn pink in color for little grainy texture like I did. Add sugar and flour into the pan and stir continuously.


 After 2 minutes add milk and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle cardamom powder and cook till it thickens. Pour the mixture in the greased tray and spread it evenly into it. Or you can spread the mixture on a greased butter paper and roll gently to spread it. 

Garnish the mixture with chopped almonds and pistachios. Immediately decorate the top with silver varakh and spread chopped nuts over it and gently press it with a rolling pin, that way the nuts will stick on top.

 Let the burfis set on their own and once cool completely cut in desired shapes. Your homemade Mawa Burfis are ready ! You can keep these delicious burfis outside for 2-3 days not more than that or else keep in an air tight container in refrigerator. 

Notes:

  • If you want light almost whitish color of burfi don't fry till mawa turns pink. 
  • Cook sugar and mawa together so that it combines well otherwise if you add sugar later it will not mix thoroughly. 
  • Using silver varakh is optional. 
  • I wanted to control my intake of sweets during this festival season so made them little thin :-P you can made them thick like sweet shops.
read more.. "Mawa Burfi | Khoya Barfi| Easy Holi Sweet"

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Dahi Ke Kebabs / Yogurt Patties


I will straight come to today's recipe as I need to study :-P Yes preparing your kid for final exams is not an easy job ! I had learnt this recipe at a food demo, probably Aditya Bal's NDTV good food.

Ingredients:
1 cup Hung curd ( take a cheesecloth and place 1 1/2 cup yogurt and join the ends to make a 'potli'. Hang it over a sink tap for 5-6 hours)
1/2 cup grated Paneer /cottage cheese
1 big boiled potato, grated
1/2 tsp grated Ginger
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1-2 Green chilies, chopped
1/4 tsp Pepper powder
1/2 tsp Garam masala
1/4 cup Cornflour + 2tbsp cornflour with little water to make a smooth batter separately
1/2 cup Breadcrumbs
12-14 Cashews
Cooking oil
Few springs of chopped coriander (I didn't have it)
Salt to taste

Method:
Take hung curd, paneer and potato in a large mixing bowl and mix everything very well. Heat 2 tsp oil on low flame and add cumin seeds first. Once cumin seeds crackling add grated ginger and green chilies. Fry for a minute and immediately turn off the flame.

 Add this to the paneer-yogurt mixture and mix thoroughly. Add salt, garam masala, pepper powder and mix well. Kebab mixture is ready. Now divide the dough into 12 equal parts by making small round balls. Using your palms slightly flatten a round ball and put one cashew in the center and roll again to make a smooth ball. Grease your hands with oil if working with sticky dough is bothering you too much.

 Take cornflour in a plate and coat this ball evenly.  Like wise make all kebabs. Now here you can fry them as it is in hot oil or you can double coat it for crunchier texture like I did. Mix a little cornflour with cold water to make a smooth white batter for coating.

Dip the balls in cornflour liquid batter and sprinkle some breadcrumbs over them. Heat oil in a non stick pan and fry the patties from both sides, till golden brown. Place the patties on an absorbent paper and serve them with chutney of your choice. I generally serve these patties with Coriander chutney or Onion chutney.

read more.. "Dahi Ke Kebabs / Yogurt Patties "

Monday, March 10, 2014

The Hollywood Menu @ California Pizza Kitchen, India


It's been an year in Chennai and I am amazed to see inauguration of many Global Chains of Restaurants and Malls for us to explore and this CPK is a latest extension to it. So whenever possible and time permits I recommend that we should try out such gourmet restaurants just once and then place our opinions.

Well, it's been a first time when that I have reviewed the same restaurant mainly for two reasons. Firstly I had liked their innovative style of pizza and other dishes in my last visit and secondly they have introduced a new range of menu called as  "Hollywood Menu". "Why they have named it Hollywood Menu" well upon asking they just said these dishes features Hollywood's most wanted dishes. 

Moreover I needed a break for myself as my son's exams season is making me home arrested. So one fine evening we went to taste new dishes on the menu but only for a short time. This special Hollywood menu was introduced on 24 Feb 2014 and will continue till 16 March 2014. The range mainly consists of five special pizzas, two special pastas, Peri Peri Chicken and a dessert called as California Delight. I will post about the dishes I had tasted.

Since CKP is yet to get liquor permit they have two Mocktails to offer Mango Mint Ecstasy : A combination of mango pulp, mint leaves, sweet and an orange slice. It was on a sweeter note. Sipped Pineapple Twister which my friend Pari had ordered. I liked it more as it was well balanced with pineapple juice, lemon chunks and floating mint for flavours. Both are priced Rs 195 each.

Pizzas: 

Hawaian Chicken & Grilled Pizza (Rs. 445 for a 9")

Grilled Pineapple and Garlic chicken with their own pizza sauce on a tradition crust was ok. The pizza base was chewy.

Jamaican Jerk & Chicken Pizza(Rs. 545 for a 9")
Sweet and spicy Caribbean sauce with grilled chicken, roasted peppers on a traditional crust were going well but again the dough I believe wasn't fresh.

Rustica Pizza( Rs. 445 for a 9")
This is CKP's perhaps best pizza ! Yes their take on Italian classic that has grilled zucchini, green olives, mushrooms spread on a thin and crispy crust. Non vegetarians can add garlic chicken with an addition of Rs.70 only. Don't miss this one !!

Deli Styled Bistro Pizza (Rs. 575 for a 9")
This truly is your destination if you are a ham & bacon lover. Italian sausages, ham and Canadian bacon with loads of rocket leaves and bocconcini on a crisp thin pizza !!

Pasta:
Spaghetti Carretierra (Rs.425)
The tangy creamy sauce caught my attention the hot red chilies, bocconcini and some pepper powder couldn't save this pasta as the half cooked pasta isn't going to do any good to your digestion.

Mediterranean Roasted Mushroom Spaghettini has roasted mushrooms, garlic, onions, serrano chilies along with Mediterranean herbs in it but it was a tad too dry for me. Perhaps a bit of olive oil and salt could have done wonders. 

Specialties:
California Peri Peri Chicken (Rs.575)
I loved everything about this ! A boneless grilled chicken with their special peri peri marinade and baked in a creamy sauce is served with sauteed vegetables. If you are coming alone then order this peri peri chicken blindly, you won't regret it !



Spinach & Paneer Malfati with Milan Sauce (Rs. 575)
My vegetarian friends were ga ga over it ! Tender spinach & paneer gnoccchi style dumplings in a creamy caramelized sauce that has goat cheese in it. 

Dessert:
California Delight (Rs.215)
Ahh I will come back for this again sure !! A trio of white chocolate, strawberry & dark chocolate mousse with cranberries and almond praline was the showstealer (though the praline was hardly noticeable) ! Well presented with cinnamon sprinkled pita bread with honey, which I would give it a pass ;-) 






The overall experience was good, perhaps they could do more justice to the theme 'Hollywood Menu'. 

Address:
California Pizza Kitchen
Phoenix Market City, Ground floor, Velachery
Chennai 
Ph- 044 65108888

Parking: Yes | Special Hollywood Menu: 24 Feb 2014- 16 March 2014 | Credit Card: Yes
Website: www.cpk.com

Disclaimer: This review is solely based on my personal experience and opinion.
read more.. "The Hollywood Menu @ California Pizza Kitchen, India"

Monday, March 3, 2014

How To Make Tomato Ketchup From Fresh Tomatoes | Homemade Tomato Ketchup


As I had mentioned earlier this year I would be posting many basic recipes for bachelors and many simple but important things that are part in our day to day meal. For an example though I make homemade ghee often but never posted one !  Breads, tomato ketchup, soups and juices are to name a few. One of such item is a non-assuming homemade tomato ketchup. Keep this in fridge.

We have it with every kind of snack but the ones that we buy are added with artificial preservatives and sugar. Considering the fact that there are so many ways of healthy food habits , I have prepared this homemade sauce with only natural ingredients. More over it could be stored days together. When my little one tried this one out with samosas he commented that “Mama, this one tastes even better”. That made my day and I sure hope that after making this sauce you to get compliments from all over. Tomatoes are now a days Rs. 7-8 so make good use of it guys ! 

Ingredients:
2 Kgs Tomatoes
12-15 Garlic cloves
1 inch Ginger
2-3 Green chillies
1 tbsp Black pepper balls
1 tbsp Brown sugar
1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar or you can use white vinegar
1 Cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
2  tbsp Salt, adjust 
2 tbsp Dry Oregano, divide the portion as we need to add 1 tbsp during first boiling 
1 tbsp Red chilly flakes
2-3 Bay leaves
3-4 Basil leaves
1/4 cup white Sugar

Besides these you need a big vessel, big strainer, sterilized bottles and mixer grinder

Method:
I just can't emphasis enough for clean sterilized bottle to store your homemade ketchup. So do it a day ahead by washing the jars under tap and then place a big vessel with water. Boil the jars and the caps for next 10 minutes and turn off the heat. Wipe the rim of the jar with clean cloth. Then put the jars upside down and after 15 minutes turn it other way to let it dry naturally.

 Wash tomatoes properly and chop off the stems. Chop them roughly into four pieces. Fill a large pot of water and boil the tomatoes with crushed ginger, garlic pods, green chillies, bay leaves,cinnamon, pepper balls, brown sugar and 1 tbsp salt. Don't worry about the tomato skins as at the end we are going to remove any seeds or skins. On a medium flame stir occasionally. Slice tomatoes naturally oozes lots of water from them so no need to add additional water.
Here you can see various stages of tomatoes that are  cooked on medium flame
Cook for about 1/2 hour or until the tomatoes are soft. Turn off the heat and let this come to room temperature as putting hot liquid inside a grinder may lead to severe accidents !! 
Transfer the tomato mixture in a blender and make a smooth paste.

 Do it in batches if your jar is small or else it will spill over ! Pass the tomato liquid through a strainer. Run a fork in between for the smooth flow. Discard the skins, seeds and bring the liquid back to the burner on low flame. Add the sugar, remaining 1 tbsp dry oregano, vinegar, basil leaves and check the seasoning. If needed add more sugar (I generally make it little spicy ). After 15-20 minutes the tomato mixture will thicken. 

As with time it will thicken more so better check the consistency by dropping a little drop tomato sauce on your palm. It should not be runny or have any water layer outside. Let this cool down completely and then you can transfer your homemade tomato ketchup into sterilized jars. This keeps fine for 1 1/2 months and you need to keep it in fridge. We use this sauce for Pasta sauce, Pizza base sauce along with parathas so we consume it within a month. Yes it gets over soon as nothing beats homemade :-) 


Notes:

  • Do not add cold food to hot jars/ bottles or hot food to cold jars !! Jar will shatter.
  • Stir frequently to prevent sticking from bottom.
  • Be very sure that the lid of the jar and the underside of the ring is clean and fits tight.
  • Let the tomato ketchup cool completely then store it.


read more.. "How To Make Tomato Ketchup From Fresh Tomatoes | Homemade Tomato Ketchup"

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Nolen Gurer Mishti / Palm Jaggery Sweet


We kind of celebrated Valentine's day in a different manner...nope no flowers and dining out but He handed over a Cadbury 'Silk' before leaving for his office and informed me about his late evening meeting ! So there you go ...But I thought of pampering him with his favorite dishes and sweet so that later I can bring up this favour for my use ;-). Made moist fudge Nolen Gurer Mishti to end the so called Valentine's Day !

Ingredients:
1 ltr full fat Milk
2 tbsp Lemon juice or vinegar
1/2 Dessicated Coconut 
1 tbsp Sugar
1 cup Date jaggery 
1 tbsp Water
2 tsp Ghee

Method:
Grate the desiccated coconut and keep it aside. Boil milk in a heavy bottom pan, once the milk starts to boil add lemon juice or vinegar and stir. In few minutes milk will separate from water and you will see greenish whey. Turn off the heat and let it remain like this for 2 minutes. Place a muslin on the sieve and pour the curdled milk. Bring the four corners of muslin together (to make a potli) and tie them. Wash the chana /chenna potli under running water to wash off flavour of lime juice. Gently twist the cloth to remove any excess water and hang the chenna potli over sink to drain out excess water for 1/2 hour.

 Transfer the chana to a mixing bowl and knead lightly with your finger tips. Now here you can see in all the pictures granular chenna as I personally like it that way . In between gather the whole mixture at intervals and keep kneading.  Place a heavy bottomed wok on gas top. Pour a tbsp of  water and jaggery and stir continuously on low flame (do not let it unattended) . Keep stirring on low flame till the jaggery melts. Add the chana mixture into the pan. Soon you will notice the chana mixture is coming together. Add sugar here and check the sweetness and adjust it.

 Keep stirring the mixture until it feels sticky yet moist and leaves the side of the wok. This part is crucial as over doing it will dry up the mixture. It ought to be moist and warm enough to be rolled into marble sized balls. Smear a bit of ghee on your hand, scoop out a spoonful of chana mixture and roll into walnut sized balls. At last roll the balls in desiccated coconut. Serve these immediately or you can even refrigerate and serve them later Enjoy this simple, delicious chana/chenna balls.  

read more.. "Nolen Gurer Mishti / Palm Jaggery Sweet"