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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Palak Dal (Lentils With Spinach)

I have come across many different recipes of palak dals in my younger days, but I feel adding spinach at the end brings in more nutritive value and retains the lovely color also. I generally make this with toor dal.

A very good way to replenish the protein requirement of the body, this preparation is just the thing one can order. For me I can camouflage the spinach with the dal and make my son eat it without any suspicion.

1/2 cup Toor Dal /Pigeon peas or Aarhar dal
1 bunch of Spinach leaves, washed thoroughly
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp Red chilly powder
Salt according to taste
Water as required

For the tempering (tadka)
1 Onion, cut vertically into thin slices
2 Tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
5-6 Garlic pods, finely chopped
1 tsp Kashmiri red chilly powder
1 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1 Whole red chilly
Fistful of spinach leaves, roughly chopped
2-3 tbsp Ghee

Wash the lentils properly and soak in water for half an hour. Add lentils, water, salt and 1 tsp oil in a pressure cooker. Set on high flame till 1st whistle and then reduce the heat. Cook for another 10-12 minutes or until it is cooked. Remove from heat and allow steam to escape.
Cut the spinach leaves roughly, mash the dal slightly with the back of wooden laddle and now add it to the dal and cover.

Heat ghee in a frying pan, add whole red chilly, cumin seeds and let them splutter. Add onions, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, pinch of salt and fry until it starts leaving oil. Add remaining palak leaves and add red chilly powder for color just before taking the fried mixture off from the heat. Add this tadka immediately to the cooked dal and put it back on flame for 5 minutes. Serve this delicious, flavoury dal with parotha or roti.

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Review - Bliss Chocolates, Bangalore

Bliss Chocolates, India's first luxury chocolate brand, has launched its new range of gourmet boutique breads at Gourmet West at the Forum Mall, Koramangla. Besides its signature chocolates and desserts, Bliss Chocolate has moved one step ahead by offering the assorted array of handmade breads. Vimal Sharma, Director (Bliss chocolates Pvt. Ltd.) says, "Bliss has always been synonymous with luxury and innovation and whether it is handmade chocolates or desserts we are constantly evolving. Thus, it was natural progression for the company to foray into the gourmet boutique breads segment." 

As he said rightly, the people here have waited for such quality chocolates prepared thinking about Indian Customers. The best part is that people can relax in these lounges while indulging in these gourmet items.

American Rye Bread
Recently introduced full of amazing creative goodies- from bagles, american rye bread, oatmeal breads, muffins, croissants which are done by world class bakers. 

In Chef Gerard Mendis's words, who is the man behind these creations since last year, says keeping health benefits in mind also nutritive value his staff works toward to produce fresh breads.
                                                     Chef Gerard Mendis's Team....

When I told my hubby about my visit to newly opened Bliss -Bread section, Koramangla he briefly told me his experience of 'The Bliss Luxe Lounge' located in prime and prestigious U.B.City few months back. A bit pricey but keeping the upmarket crowd of U.B.City it fits well. In India, traditionally during festivals like Holi & Diwali people gift sweets to their friends, however due to easy accessibility of information ( thanks to internet ) and word of mouth about health benefit of chocolate ( especially dark) , people are more inclined towards good quality chocolate. This is where Bliss chocolate perfectly fits the bill.

These are called Callots- to flavor chocolates with extracts of Orange, Strawberry &Lemon

There other two branches are- Bliss Lounge is at the Mantri Mall, Malleshwaram and Forum Value Mall, Whitefield. The lounge in Koramangla (Forum) is sure to grab attention once you enter, which offers a delectable array of some exclusive and unique handmade chocolates in a good ambiance. I truley agree with the tag line of Bliss "Life Without Chocolate Is No Life At All". 

 They use only the finest Belgian chocolate from Callebout (55% to 70% cocoa) and many natural ingredients for their wide range. 

My personal flavours are Chilly and Praline Passion . Once you bite into that innocent looking chilly flavour chocolate, you will encounter a beautiful taste of premium chocolate which was enjoyable, but soon enough it will be replaced by warm to hot spot in your mouth.

Their pastry section will make your life more heavenly, with wide range of eggless, it is sure to make many vegetarians happy. Selecting one out of these will be a tough job !!  Bliss  Chocolate will  make your visit memorable and delicious. Let us see how the upcoming ranges delight our taste buds in the months to come.

read more.. "Review - Bliss Chocolates, Bangalore"

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lychee In Chocolate Basket

Sometimes you feel like throwing caution in the wind, run away from conventional wisdom and try something new which no one has ever done before. I know this is a rare feeling but recently such kind of feeling made me to prepare Litchi /Lychee basket with no reference from any where what so ever. 

While preparing this dessert I kept on thinking how would I fare and whether it would meet the expectations of my friends and family. But to my surprise this preparation was liked by one and all and particularly the chocolate basket, which was moulded by freezing with the cup cake paper and the chocolate taking it's shape. I feel that it is a unique preparation and if any of you prepare it and do send me your feedback, my effort would be successful and I would  be very grateful.

250 gm Semisweet Chocolate
12-14 Lychee /Litchi, chopped
1 cup Chocolate Whipped cream
2 tsp Sprinkles

Equipments you need-
6 Silicon cupliners
1/2 inch flat paint brush

Make a place for tray in your refrigerator to keep silicon cupcake liners. In between melt chocolate by double boiler method ie. heat a sauce pan (low heat) with some water in it and then put your chocolate into a glass bowl on top of the sauce pan, your own homemade double boiler.

 Just keep that in mind that too much heat will ruin your chocolate so keep stirring the chocolate with a wooden spoon. So never get tempted by melting chocolate on high flame. And avoid any contact with steam also.

Now quickly take out the silicon liners from refrigerator, dip the brush in melted chocolate bowl and coat the liners well. Apply thick layer, keep them back in freezer section for another 10 minutes. Again repeat the same process so that your chocolate liner sets well and keep in freezer for another 10 minutes again. 

Now to unmold this, hold the mold and carefully remove the liner. So now the chocolate baskets are ready to be filled with chocolate whipped cream and lychees. Place few lychees on each chocolate basket and fill with chocolate whipped cream. Decorate with some sprinkles and 
serve this chilled.

Sending this to my friend Pari's blog which turned 3 last week. Congrats Pari. 'Only'- Cooking With Chocolate

Also to Reshmi's "Let's Party Desserts" 

read more.. "Lychee In Chocolate Basket"

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Chilly Tofu

Two years back I read in a magazine about Tofu and how it is a good substitute for meat. Since then I have been trying few tofu dishes. Though it is tasteless on its own but that is the challenge, so any spice, sauce, flavouring you add blends it nicely. As per definition from Wikipedia-"Tofu, also called bean curd, is a food made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks. It is a component in many East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisines. There are many different varieties of tofu, including fresh tofu and tofu that has been processed in some way." Tofu has a subtle flavor and can be used in savory and sweet dishes. So those who are new to tofu, go include this in your kitchen soon, as this is a very healthy addition to your diet.


1 cup Tofu
1 Capsicum, long thin
2 Onions, long strips
3-4 Green onion, chopped
1 tbsp Plain flour
1 cup Vegetable stock
2-3 Green chillies, slit
1 tsp Ginger, chopped finely
1 tsp Garlic, minced
2 tbsp Tomato sauce
1 tbsp Chilly sauce
2 -3 tsp Dark Soya sauce
1 tsp White vinegar
1/2 tspWhite pepper powder
Salt to taste
White sesame seeds (for garnishing)

Wash tofu properly and absorb the extra water with a paper towel, cut into long strips. Dip in warm water for 5-10 minutes. Marinade the tofu pieces with flour, pepper powder and salt and keep aside for 15 minutes.
Heat oil in a pan and fry the tofu pieces till light pink (frying them for long time will make them hard later). Drain on absorbent paper to soak the excess oil.
In the remaining oil add onion, capsicum, garlic, ginger and green chillies, green onions (leave few for garnishing), toss for few minutes on low flame. Sprinkle some salt and pepper powder, mix well. Add vegetable stock now and mix all the ingredients well. Add all the sauce to make it more gravy style preparation. When the gravy is thick, add fried tofu pieces and cook on low lame for another 2-3 minutes. Garnish it with remaining chopped green onion and sesame seeds.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Aloo-Jhinge Posto (Ridge gourd With Poppy Seeds)

Although the dishes of Bengal are dominated by non vegetarian preparations who get more prominence, however, there are several veg dishes which are not only superbly tasty but also good for health as well. I remember my visits to Kolkata during summer vacations when my Grandma ( maternal ) prepared this. Even today when I am a mother of a child, she takes my hand, escorts me till the dining table and serves me this dish and many more as if I still am a little girl. Still I long to visit the house when I have a chance to go there. Sigh...

1kg Ridge gourd (Jhinge)
1 big Potato, cut into cubes and dipped in water with pinch of salt
4 tbsp Poppy seeds (posto)
2-3 Green chilly, slit
1/2 tsp Kalonji (kalo jeera)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Red chilly powder
Mustard Oil
Salt to taste

Wash poppy seeds under running water on sieve and soak in warm water for minimum 2-3 hours for best results or atleast for 40 minutes if you are in hurry. Then in a coffee grinder, with little water and 1 green chilly, make a fine paste. This is going to take time as you have to check in between that paste is really fine. We Bengalis have Sheelnora (Grinding Stone) a solid slab and a small bolster shaped stone in our kitchen, a thing which is fast depleting in today's kitchen. Sheelnora is used for grinding spices to a fine powder/ fine paste like consistency with very little water.

Peel, cut ridge gourd in half moon shape. Heat mustard oil (mustard oil imparts a special in this Bong dish) in a heavy bottomed pan and once it reaches smoking point add green chillies, kalo jeera. Add potato and fry for 5 minutes on low heat, stirring in between. Add ridge gourd and saute for few minutes. Sprinkle turmeric, red  powder and stir fry on low flame. Now add the poppy seeds paste, cover and cook.

 Do sprinkle water in between to keep it moistured. Adding too much water will make it mushy, so use water sparingly. When the potatoes are cooked turn off the flame. Transfer to a serving bowl and pour 1 tsp of mustard oil on top and serve. This jhinge-posto goest well with plain rice and Biuli dal. 

read more.. "Aloo-Jhinge Posto (Ridge gourd With Poppy Seeds)"

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mango Popsicles

3 ripe Mangoes, peeled and pureed 
2 tbsp Fresh Orange juice
3/4 cup Heavy cream
2 tbsp plain Yogurt
2 tbsp Honey (depends on the sweetness of mangoes adjust it)
10-12 Pistchios, chopped

In a large bowl mix together cream and puree. 

Add yogurt, honey, orange juice, pistachios and blend together until you get a creamy texture. 

The texture should be neither runny nor thick, make it moderate enough to pour it inside the molds.

Fill the popsicles with the puree mixture, tap twice and press on the lids. Freeze for several hours or until firm. To unmold, fill a pan with warm water(not hot), and briefly dip the mold in until the pops loosen, for about 20 to 30 seconds. Now enjoy these popsicles any time of the day ;-) like my son does.

Linking this post to Nupur's Kid's Delight -Fruit event which was started by Srivalli 

 also to Sumee's Bon Vivant #4 Fruit Recipes 
read more.. "Mango Popsicles"

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bengali Mishti Doi /Lal Doi/Red Sweetened Yogurt

Misti Doi ( literally means sweetened curd) is the most popular dessert in Bengali cuisine. Mostly prepared during summer season , this dessert is the finale of a delicious lunch. Traditionally, doi is prepared in an earthen pot to obtain right temperature and preventing any metallic contact with it. The best part is that not only it is delicious to taste but it is easy on the stomach as well. 

Not to mention that it acts as a catalyst to digest the lunch that one had. However, I like it best during evening time with puffed rice.If you aks me I would say everybody should have it once, and its thick luscious taste will make you have it again ! Trust me friends, it tastes great. So here goes....

1 ltr Full cream milk
3 tbsp Sugar
3 tbsp DemeraraSugar
2 tbsp plain Yogurt (should have Active Bacterial Culture)
4 Earthen pots

Heat milk in a heavy bottomed pan, stir continiously. After the first boil, add sugar and keep stirring, boil until the amount is reduced to half. By this time milk will be thick and light brown in color. Remove from pan and let it cool down for 5-10 minutes. In another pan melt 3 tbsp demerara sugar with 1 tbsp water and keep stirring. Keep an eagle's eye on this, allow it to turn light brown in color,caramel is ready to be added in milk for light brown color of sweetened curd. Add this caramel to the milk and mix thoroughly. Keep this back on heat for 5 more minutes. Now let this cool down to room temperature, add curd and stir just once. Pour this liquid into the earthen pots, cover and keep them in warm place to set. In between do not move the pots while the fermenting process, it is done to to prevent the breaking up of curd. Leave these pots for overnight (minimum 10 hours) and then you can keep them in fridge to enjoy chilled lal doi.

User Comments & Tips:

  • It is said that Buffalo's milk is best for this mishti doi as it is heavier.
  • Before adding yogurt to the milk, make sure milk is just warm, hot milk will kill the active bacteria and you will end up with a watery milk !! So to set the doi check the milk temperature on the back of your palm. 
  • Patience is the key for this lal doi as it has sugar in it so it takes longer time to set the curd. 
  • I have used demerara sugar mainly for the color mainly, you can easily replace it with normal sugar.
  • If you don't have earthen pots, ceramic pots are also good option but certainly not in an aluminium vessel !!
read more.. "Bengali Mishti Doi /Lal Doi/Red Sweetened Yogurt"

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Aam Jhol - Raw Mango Syrup

Summer season has unleashed it's full fury to the people of India and sometimes it plays tricks with your mind. For instance, one day I was driving in mid afternoon and due to heat I could actually see water spilled on the street at a distance. More my vehicle approached towards it, furtehr it went. Forget human beings,even birds have stopped moving out in the open. So it is important that one has to remain fit  and avoid dehydration by lots of fluid intake during this testing season. 

A sure shot way to beat the heat here is this preparation Aam Jhol ( Raw mango syrup) . It's a preparation having a right mix of sweetness of sugar and sourness of a mango. Once you are finished with the main course, this dish helps in digesting the meal and keeps your stomach stress free for the entire day. Also, Aam Jhol is a sweet-sour light on tummy syrup that is prepared at Bengali households on almost everyday. 

1 big Green mango, don't remove the skin, cut in cubes
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
Pinch of  Panch phoron
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/8 tsp Red chilly powder (optional)
1 tsp Mustard oil
2 tbsp Sugar (adjust the sweetness to your taste)
1 tsp Salt
3 cups of Water

Sprinkle some turmeric powder and chilly powder (optional) on mango cubes and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. In a kadhai heat oil till it reaches smoking point, add panch phoron and mustard seeds. Add mango pieces as soon as the seeds stops spluttering and fry for few minutes by covering. Once the skin of mangoes starts turning light brown, add water, salt and boil on high flame uncovered. After first boil, simmer until mangoes are soft but not pulpy. Add sugar, adjust the sugar level depending upon the sourness of the mango. Remove from heat and let it cool. Aam jhol should be chilled before serving and the texture should be watery. 

Submitting this to Radhika's Lets Cook #15 With Fruits
read more.. "Aam Jhol - Raw Mango Syrup"