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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mulo Chechki -Bengali Style (Radish Stir Fry)

We the people of India know how to make a tasty and mouthwatering dish even from the most humble of the food or especially vegetables. Take for instance, Radish which we generally used for salads or in North as an ingredients for parathas ( flatbreads). However, it can be used as a side dish as well which would not only maintain the nutritional value of it but also make this simple vegetable taste delicious. 

So without much ado let me present to you this Benagli recipe which is simple to prepare with NO ONION-GARLIC and but still it would give you a different taste against what we are used to eat on a regular basis.

3-4 medium size Radish /Mulo, peeled and grated
1/4 tsp Kalo jeera /Nigella seeds
2-3 Green chillies
2 tbsp Mustard paste (yellow mustard seeds+ pinch of salt and green chilly)
Fistful of boiled Black Chana
1 tbsp Coconut flakes (optional)
Pinch of Turmeric
Salt to taste
Mustard oil 3 tbsp and 1 tsp for garnishing

Heat oil in a skillet, add green chillies after breaking it into half. Now add kalo jeere and fry for few seconds. Add grated radish, turmeric, salt, coconut flakes and mix well. Cover and stir in between until nearly all the water (radishes contain lot of water) is absorbed. Check if the radish is cooked fully, add black chana at this pioin and then add 2 tbsp Mustard paste. Mix well to incorporate the flavor of mustard paste. Just transfer this to serving bowl and pour 1 tsp mustard oil for the pungent flavour. Serve this with hot rice.

read more.. "Mulo Chechki -Bengali Style (Radish Stir Fry)"

Monday, August 27, 2012

Eggless Banana Fritters (Kele ke Pakorey)

I do have to cajole my son to make him eat banana, makes faces and ultimately run away from the scene. However, I have a determination of Scorpio sun sign ;-)so I think out of the box and innovate new ways to camouflage banana in different form and tastes so that my son is gullible enough to have it thinking it as any other fritter. 

Since bananas have iron and potassium so as to provide vital nutrients to a growing child, I recommend to all the Moms who have children reluctant to have bananas to us this recipe.

These fritters are guaranteed to please the fussiest kid, very similar to banana pancakes, but heavier on the fruit, which makes them moister and richer tasting. Add rava for the fine texture and little firmness while flipping the fritter on hot oil. Also a tiny amount of cardamom to uplift the batter without overpowering it. The silvered pistachios and almonds add some crunch. 

2 medium ripe Bananas
1/4 cup All purpose flour
2 tbsp fine Rava (sooji)
2 tbsp desiccated Coconut
1/2 cup Milk
2 tbsp powered Sugar
A pinch of cardamom powder
1/4 tsp Salt
Fistful of silvered almonds and pistachio
Oil /butter for frying

In a bowl mix everything except Oil / Butter till you get a smooth batter.

 If too thick add a little milk and if batter looks too thin then add little more flour. Mix well to avoid any lumps. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Using a tablespoon measure, drop the dollops of the batter into hot oil. 

Flip when the edges starts to turn brown and when you see tiny holes appear on the surface. It's ready when golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels. They really go well with big scoop of Vanilla ice-cream. We have it with juice or a glass of milk. Makes about 12-14 fritters.

Thank you for the Cookbook Siri, I tried this recipe from your gifted book. The best part about this book is all the recipes has been designed to fix quick meals -in 30 minutes or less.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Egg Dal Tadka (Scrambled Eggs With Lentils)

Egg Dal Tadka is made with Ma ki Dal  or Kali Dal. A very creamy lentil preparation that goes excellent with Paratha (Indian Flatbread). There is a saying in India that if you wish to savor the real taste of Indian food, you should stop by any highway eatery (dhabas) , particularly in North India where they are available in plenty. The best part of these dhabas are that being in the countryside  they offer delicious food containing purest of the ingredients  and you could relax on their cots with ease and not worry about how other think about you ;-) Eat with your hands and do not hesitate for extra helpings of dal( pulses) , salad etc.. 

The Owners are generous enough to offer you good quantity of side dishes. Speaking about dal, one of the best egg dal tadka on a dhaba whose name I cannot remember yet on the Delhi Haridwar highway. It was between Meerut and Muzzafarnagar and had a traditional layout with awesome food at cheapest of price. The taste was so good that none of my family even thought that they had overeaten. Also the warmth and friendliness of the Owner and his staff was amazing. Next time I visit Haridwar, I would make it a point to stop by and relish upon their food particularly the Egg dal tadka, whose recipe I am posting here. May not be the same level as the one that I had , but still an honest attempt.

1 cup Moong Split Chilka
2 Eggs
2 Onions
1 tbs chopped Ginger
2 Tomatoes, chopped
5-6 Garlic pods
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Red chilly powder
1 tsp Green chilly paste (optional)
1 tsp Garam masala powder
1 tbsp Dried Fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)
2 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste

To Temper the Dal we need:
Ghee 1 tbsp
1 tsp Cumin seeds
2 Whole Red chillies
1 tsp Kashmiri red chilly

Wash and soak the lentil for an hour. Drain the water and pressure cook it with 2 1/2 cups of water +1 tsp salt upto 3 whistles. The dal should not be too watery. Now heat a pan with 2 tbsp oil and add chopped onions.Saute till  the onions turn pink and then add ginger, garlic and green chilly paste, fry for 2 minutes. 

Now add diced tomatoes and fry till it leaves oil. Add cooked lentils now and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle some garam masala powder and check the seasoning and allow it to cook for another 5-6 minutes. In a separate pan make scrambled eggs with a dash of salt and freshly ground pepper . Add the scrambled eggs to the dal and sprinkle some dry fenugreek leaves. Now it's the time to temper the dal. 

In a tadka pan heat ghee and temper with red chillies, cumin seeds and lastly kashmiri red chilly for the wonderful color. Transfer this to the cooked dal and give a stir. Serve this dhaba style egg dal tadka with rotis /kulchas. 
This beautiful set of cute cup is gifted by my simple & sober blogger friend Padma Rekha who blog's at Plantain Leaf. Thank you dear :-) 
read more.. "Egg Dal Tadka (Scrambled Eggs With Lentils)"

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ilish Paturi /Hilsa Fish Wrapped in Banana leaf

The very mention of ilish paturi makes my mouth water. I am in love with the smell of banana leaves in which the fish is wrapped. Ilish paturi when served with steamed rice is match made in heaven. There is a saying amongst us Bengalis that there is Illish ( Hilsa Fish) and there are other fishes. In taste, aroma , tenderness and exclusivity this fish is unmatched. It does not get lebelled as the King of Fishes for nothing.  It's breeding generally takes place in the Bay of Bengal & Gangetic delta having a mixture of sweet and saline water. 

This mixture brings about the lovely taste of this fish.  Also, eating this fish requires skillful handling of the bones which challenge you to remove them without getting the harder ones getting stuck in your throat. The idea is to let the chew the softer bones so that they would not bother you while eating. But one should not worry about a few bones getting stuck in the throat as they easily get digested withina short period.  It's this novelty factor that has been well exploited by the Fish Mongers who till recently have hiked it's price to Rs.1100/- per kg ( Almost US$20 ). 

However, when we do buy it , we make the most of it through cooking in different styles. So this time around it is Paturi( Fish baked by wrapping it inside plantain leaf) . It retains the original taste and the simmering heat makes the cooking uniform throughout. So, Enjoy...

4 Hilsa /ilish pieces
5 tbsp Mustard seeds (mixture of black and yellow mustard seeds), soaked in warm water with 1/2 tsp white vinegar
4 pieces of Banana (plantain) leaves
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tbsp Poppy seeds (optional)
9-10 Green chillies
1 tsp Chilly powder
5-6 tbsp Mustard Oil
Salt to taste

With extreme care wash ilish pieces and place them on a flat plate. Ground to paste: Mustard seeds + Green chillies + Poppy Seeds +pinch of salt & turmeric. The paste should not be too fine but grainy. Apply this paste evenly on the fish pieces and keep aside.

Now next step is to prepare the wraps, for that wash the banana leaves thoroughly. Soften the banana leaves over low flame by holding them some 12 inches above from the burner (this step will make banana leaf foldable). 

Now smear little mustard oil on each banana leaf and place one piece of fish on each leaf. You can add additional chillies and wrap into a neat packet, tie with a twine/ cotton thread. 

Now I followed two process here as few of my readers requested for Oven version also. So I took two wrapped parcels for Oven method. In a pre-heated Oven cook the enveloped steaks for 15 minutes on 180 Degree C. 

Remaining two were done on  greased(1tsp oil) Tawa on low flame, cover with a lid and cook for 12-15 minutes (in between do flip it for evenly cooking) till the green leaf starts showing some light brown patches.

Let it cool a bit and then unwrap the fish by remove the thread. Now serve this affectionately made ilish paturi with steamed rice.

User Comments & Tips:

  • To maintain the taste and flavour it is said that hilsa should not be washed for too long or dipped in water for longer period.
  • Hilsa always tastes best when cooked fresh instead of frozen ones.
  • Just when you unwrapped the parcel, before serving many do add a tsp of mustard oil over the fish but THIS IS COMPLETELY OPTIONAL. As many ilish lovers like me enjoys the strong pungent taste which this dish brings out the best.
  • Instead of banana leaf you can also take lao /bottle guord leaf .

read more.. "Ilish Paturi /Hilsa Fish Wrapped in Banana leaf "

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Methi Mutter Paneer (Cottage Cheese in Fenugreek Flavoured Gravy)

This North Indian dish needs no introduction. I have lost count upon how many times I have had this dish throughout my life. A simple definition is that it is a curry consisting of Cottage Cheese, peas and the herb methi add a wonderful flavour and nutrition to the curry.

 Now a days my five year old son, craves for it and particularly likes it with steamed rice. It's a cute sight when he holds the spoon, cuts the paneer, add it with rice and puts in the mouth. Suddenly, I realize that he is growing fast . Touchwood!

250 gms Cottage cheese
1/4 cup Green peas
2 bunches of Methi leaves (fenugreek leaves)
1 Onion, ground to paste
1 big Tomato or 2 medium size, pureed 
2 tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste
1 tsp Green chilly paste
1 tsp Coriander powder
1 tsp Cumin powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Kasmiri red chilly powder
1/2 tsp Garam masala powder
Salt to taste
1 Cheese slice
1 cup Water
3 tbsp Oil

Clean methi leaves thoroughly and chop them finely. Keep aside. Cut paneer in cubes, sprinkle some salt and turmeric powder over paneer cubes and fry them lightly in little oil till light pink (frying too long will make paneer hard and rubbery). Soak them in warm salty water for 1/2 hour, to keep paneer soft and tasty (year's ago I noticed this useful tip on some television show).
Heat a pan by adding remaining oil in it, add onion paste. 

Stir and fry until it is light pink. Now add ginger-garlic-chilly paste and stir until the paste turns brown. Add turmeric, cumin, kashmiri red chilly, coriander powder, salt and fry for a few seconds. Now add tomato puree, green peas and fry till oil separates on low flame. Add 1 cup of water, let it boil and become thick. Time to add paneer cubes, garam masala and chopped methi leaves. Cook for a minute or two and cover the lid. Add a slice of cheese in hot gravy for some gooey goodness. Enjoy this flavoury paneer gravy with jeera rice or roti.

read more.. "Methi Mutter Paneer (Cottage Cheese in Fenugreek Flavoured Gravy) "

Monday, August 13, 2012

Bengali Style Vegetable Chop /Beetroot Chop

Till the time I was in college, never saw Dad purchasing radish, beetroot, Onion, Cauliflower, cabbage and carrots from the market. Even before taking his morning tea he used to go to our backyard to pick up fresh vegetables from our garden with dew drops on it.....It was a sight which till then we never considered to be GREAT !! It was only after I moved to big city where space was the constrain  understood the value of  kitchen garden.

And beetroot was Dad's favorite....He used to come for lunch and not seeing his fav beetroot on salad plate with a little bit Kala namak(rock salt) would made him upset....In winters this beetroot chop was a regular feature during evening snacks at our place.

Remember the scene from "Kahaani" where Vidya Balan going to the Police Station to lodge a complain against her lost Husband??? The plump policeman who can't pronounce her name correctly? :-) She points at the police man that her name is Vidya not 'Bidya'  "In Kolkata there is only Ba, no Va,"  he says as a fact of matter way. ...The smile comes on your face right?? In same way pronunciation I am presenting you "Begetable Chop" today which is a very famous evening snack which we enjoy with our "muri".....

1 big Beetroot
2 Carrots, grated
3-4 Green chillies
1 tsp roasted Jeera powder
Fistful groundnuts /chinebadam
Fistful kishmish /Raisins
1-1/2 tsp finely chopped Ginger
2 tbsp Shredded Coconut
Pinch of black pepper powder
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Refind oil

Outer coating:
2-3 boiled Potatoes
1 Bread
1/2 cup Breadcrumbs
1 tsp Corinader powder
1 tsp roasted Jeera powder
2 chopped Green chillies
1 tsp Garam masala powder
Salt to taste (remember you have already added salt for the stuffing)

Oil for frying

After washing beetroot and carrots properly, peel off their skin and grate both of them. Heat 1tbsp oil, fry the peanuts first and keep it aside then fry green chillies and grated ginger for just few seconds. Immediately add grated carrot and beetroot. 

Add salt to taste and stir fry on high flame to evaporate the water. This process doesn't take more than 5 minutes. Now add pepper powder, jeera powder, raisins, shredded coconut and mix thoroughly. Fry till the mixture looks soft but not mushy. Remove from heat and spread it on a plate to cool down completely.

Peel the skin of potatoes and mash them. Soak a slice of bread and squeeze out the extra water by pressing the bread slice between the palms. Evenly mix the bread with potato mixture and add all the powders (except breadcrumbs). Mix all the ingredients well until incorporated. 

Now to make the chops, take a big pinch of potato dough, grease your palm with very little oil and flatten the  dough to make round disk. Place 1 tsp of filling in the center and seal the dough into all the sides. Roll these balls on the breadcrumbs to coat evenly. 

Heat a pan on high heat and then add sufficient oil to fry the chops. When the oil is hot enough, slid 2-3 chops at a time and fry on low to medium flame.Fry the chops from both the sides until golden color. Place them on absorbent paper to soak excess oil. Serve these vegetable chops with Kasundi (mustard sauce) or with ketchup. 
Sending the recipe to Latha's "Healthy Food For Healthy Kids-Kid's Lunch Box", which was started by Nithu's Kitchen

And to my friend Lubna's Joy From Fasting To Feasting -V event....

read more.. "Bengali Style Vegetable Chop /Beetroot Chop"

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Eggless Whole Wheat Nutella Cupcakes

Nutella is oozing out of the top...heaven...

These cup cakes are incredibly moist and dense but soft like a pillow, the unique salient features of this cake is that it is made out of wheat flour and it is butter less and prepared using refined oil. So two important points to make it healthier without compromising on the taste factor.

 I can vouch for the fact that once you take a bite of this cake in your mouth it melts within few seconds and you won't need to chew much. The best part is you just need two bowls to make this super easy cupcakes, one for the wet ingredients and other for the dry ingredients. Once they are stored in an airtight jar they can last for days together. Goes well along with evening tea or coffee.

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of Wheat flour
3/4 cup Brown sugar
1/4 cup Cocoa powder
1 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
A pinch of Salt

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup Water + 1tbsp Flax seed powder dipped in 3 tbsp hot water {Let this sit for 10 minutes}
1/2 cup Oil
1 tbsp Vinegar
1 tsp Vanilla essence

1/2 cup Nutella {don't mix this with the batter}

Pre-heat oven and line cupcake pans with cupcake papers. In a mixing bowl sift together all the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder, brown sugar, baking soda and cocoa powder) and make a well in the center for the wet ingredients. 
The dry ingredients....

Pour oil, water and vinegar, flax seeds powder liquid in the center and begin stirring from the center of the well, slowly incorporating the dry ingredients to the liquid. With a hand mixer blend this batter on low speed for just few seconds. When the batter is lumps free pour this batter into the cupcake pan, drop a spoon of Nutella on top of each and swirl through the batter with a toothpick. 
add a spoon of Nutella and swirl...

Tap the cupcake pan gently to remove the air bubbles. Place the pan in the middle of a pre-heated oven. Bake for 20 minutes(this can vary depending on your OTG's size
and performance). Mine took exact 20 minutes to bake. Remove from the /oven and let them cool. Basically these are so delicious that you don't need to do the icing part.

Sending this recipe to my friend Lubna's Joy From Fasting to Feasting V
read more.. "Eggless Whole Wheat Nutella Cupcakes"

Monday, August 6, 2012

Pui Saager Chorchori (Malabar Spinach & Vegetables)

Chorchori is a wonderful Bengali dish which is a melody of vegetables and here I have combined it with the goodness of  pui saag. The right way is to mix it with rice and have it. Then you can follow it up with rest of the dishes. Personally speaking even my little one does not make a fuss while eating it. He just gulps it down without knowing what is he eating. Just love the sight of it.

3 bunches Malabar Spinach /Pui saag (don't throw away the stems but clean and cut into 1" pieces
1 big Potato, cut into medium size
1 Radish (mooli), peeled and cut into 1" pieces 
1/4 cup Red Pumpkin, unpeeled and cup into 1" pieces
2 Green chillies 
1/4 tsp Panch phoron (a mixture of 5 spices:Radhuni, onion seeds, aniseed, fenugreek and cumin seeds)
1/2 Turmeric powder 
1/2 tsp Chilly powder 
A pinch of sugar (optional)
Salt to taste
2 tbsp Mustard oil

Clean and wash the leaves of spinach by dipping in cold water and let it sit for a minute. And then lift into the colander to drain out the excess water. Do it twice or thrice thoroughly to remove any remaining dirt.
This is how Malabar Spinach (Pui) looks like...
Heat oil in kadhai, add panch phoron and fry till it stops spluttering. Add all the veggies except the malabar spinach and stir fry for few minutes. Add all the spices, stir in all the spices, cover and allow to simmer for 5-6 minutes. When the veggies are half done , add spinach leaves, cover and stir in between. Just when the veggies are cooked and the chorchori is nearly dry, you can add a pinch of sugar. Remove from heat and serve this with plain rice.

read more.. "Pui Saager Chorchori (Malabar Spinach & Vegetables)"

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Shimai er Payesh / Semiya Payasam/ Vermicelli Milk Pudding

This is a time tested and highly favourite dessert of most of the Indians cutting across regions, ethnicity and classes. This kheer is made with patali gur which is extremely popular in WestBengal. Nature of the gur is responsible for this intensely rich and incredible taste. When this gur is mixed with milk you get a golden brown tinge along with it, which is very appealing. Enjoyed particularly during festivities and today being a very auspicious day Rakhi, I'm sharing Shimai er Payes. Best part is that it can be relished both in warm or refrigerated. My little one has developed a taste for it after much persuasion

1/2 cup roasted Vermicelli 
1 ltr Milk (full cream)
4 tbsp Sugar
Fistful of patali gur (date plam jaggery)
Some pistachio for decoration

In a heavy bottomed pan heat milk on low flame. On medium heat let it simmer and stir continuously so that the milk does not stick to the bottom (this process will take 10-15 minutes). Add sugar and stir till dissolved. Add vermicelli in the boiling milk and cook for another 7-8 minutes or till vermicelli is cooked. 

The nature of vermicelli is that it thickens when cool down so remove from heat once the vermicelli is cooked. Now add the nolen gur in milk and stir to dissolve. Here note that I have mixed nolen gur after taking payesh off the fire as it will otherwise curdle. Now put the pan back on fire for just 2 minutes on low flame. Gently stir until it comes to a homogeneous consistency. Decorate with pistachios and let the payesh sit for few minutes for flavour to blend. You can later keep this in refrigerator for chilled dessert !!

read more.. "Shimai er Payesh / Semiya Payasam/ Vermicelli Milk Pudding"