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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Ghee Rice with Caramelized Onions/ How To Make Ghee Rice


The quintessential Ghee rice , although sounds very simple dish, but in it's simplicity lies it's delicious taste and when accompanied with any kind of side dish makes the combination a feast which is simply irresistible.  I guarantee that once you try out the Ghee rice you would become a life long fan of it. You don't need to be a rocket sentient to prepare it. All you need is some patience and an eye for details to prepare it. 

In some restaurants I have even shunned Biriyanis to order this humble yet delicious dish. In summer this is a perfect course to indulge upon. All you need is handful of cashews and caramelized onions which is the main flavour.

Ingredients:
1 cup Basmati rice
4 tbsp Ghee
2 Onions, thinly sliced
1" Cinnamon stick
2-3 Black peppercorns
2 Cloves
1 Star anise
Very small Javitri phool
2 Green cardamoms
1 Tej patta
1 cup mixed Cashews & Raisins
Salt to taste
Water to boil the rice

Method:
Wash the rice well and soak it for 15 minutes.Bring a large pan of water to a rolling boil and add all the spices (cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves, javitri phool, cardamoms, tej patta and peppercorns) and  add 1/2 tsp of refind oil, 1 tsp salt and rice. 

Stir and keep an eye on the cooking time. Check the rice after 12-14 minutes as basmati which is pre-soaked for 15 should be ready by now. Check a rice grain by keeping in middle of your thumb and index finger if the grain is firm but tender. The crunchiness should go away by now. Turn off the flame and cover with a lid. Carefully drain out the excess water and keep aside. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork to allow steam to escape and keep the grains separate.

   In between take a pan and add 3 tbsp ghee in it. Add cashews, raisins and fry till golden brown. Keep aside. In the same pan fry onions on low heat. This stage takes time (minimum 15-20 minutes) as caramelizing onions takes time. Keep stirring the onions for even browning. Keep aside. Add remaining ghee in the pan and add the cooked rice. Mix thoroughly with fried cashews, raisins and caramelized onions. After 2 minutes transfer the rice to a serving plate. Serve with veg or non-veg gravy of your choice.

Notes:


  • Cooking time of rice may vary depending upon the brand and variety of rice you are using.
  • The individual grains of rice should be firm and separate. As no one likes sticky and mushy rice on their plate !
  • Caramelizing onions will try to test your patience but the end result will pay off so don't rush up to fry onions on high flame.


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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Karwari Maach (Semolina Crusted Fish Fry)


One curious thing that I have observed during my stay here in Chennai is that there is a serious dearth of freshwater fishes. Being a Bengali, it's quite natural that we would be craving for freshwater fishes which were available more in other places in the country namely, Delhi , Mumbai and of course Kolkata. However , as they say if you can't change the place change as per the place. So by heeding this proverb, I have adapted my cooking by changing the type of fishes that I usually cook in other places. So without going many places to look for pompret,I have adapted frying Dart fish as a substitute and present it.

Since it has very fine bones so I stayed away from gravy option and deep fried it with a batter. I followed this recipe from a magazine called "Food Lovers" (Bangalore) and it came out fantastic although I know with Pomfret this would have been ideal. Karwari fish is cuisine of Karwar, is regarded as the administrative head quarters of Uttara Kannada, 100 kms from of Goa  which is famous for its rice flavour and unique taste. Also since last 2 weeks the weather is very pleasant which is helping in reducing the disappointment of not getting host of freshwater fishes and here I am replacing them with sea fishes. 

Ingredients:
900 gm Silver Pomfret, cleaned {I replaced with Dart fish variety so took 7 small fishes}
Oil for deep frying
8-9 tbsp Semolina 
2 tbsp Deghi Mirch powder
2.5 tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste
3-4 Lemons
2 springs Curry leaves
1 tsp Turmeric powder
60-70 gm Tamarind, soaked and pulp extracted

Method:
Take the fish and remove the fins and gut. Make 2-3 incisions on each side of the fish and let the excess water drained out. Make a slurry-like marinade of the ginger-garlic paste, deghi mirch powder, lemon juice, turmeric powder, throw in some curry leaves and tamarind pulp. Marinate the fish in this paste for 15-20 minutes. 

Take the fish and coat it with the semolina evenly for a crusty layer. Heat oil in a flat pan and temper it with curry leaves. Shallow fry the fish from both the sides on high flame. Serve this crispy tangy fried fish with some onions, rice and dal.

Sending this delicious fish fry to Runner Girl In the Kitchen's on going event "Only Cooking from Cookbooks", originally started by Pari of Foodelicious

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Posto Bora (Poppy Seed Fritter)


There is a popular notion here that after a year of marriage, a Bengali woman gradually dominates the household from the kitchen till every nook and corner of the house is under her control, including husband, pun intended ;). So when she cooks from simplest of the items or the lavish ones, she expects compliments for her efforts and preparations and the poor hubby has no option but to sputter out some mind blowing adjectives such as Wow, dish tastes awesome, you have magic in your fingers and OMG that's all you got? If he forgets complimenting then he's had it. For the whole day he would be made feeling guilty about why he did not say a word about the dish, no matter how it tasted? Well that was me soon after my marriage. I used to wait for his compliments even if he had raita !!
Posto dishes are delicacy when it comes to Bengali rannaghor (kitchen) specially Ghoti(West Bengal) people relish this in their daily course of meal.
 There is also a fallacy that Bengalis are hard core non veg, which is partly true but could adapt themselves to veg dishes and if there are dishes likePosto Chingri, Posto Bora, Posto Chicken then with some Kalai er dal(Urad dal) and Aloo posto (Potato mixed with poppy seed) with rice he can have a tummy full. Recently for quite some times the weather is very pleasant and cloudy. So one becomes relaxed and this Poppy seeds fritters being a simple dish was the order of the day. In this posto seeds are soaked in warm water and then coarse to ground. Add a little bit of this and that and these fritters are ready !!

Ingredients:
1 cup Poppy seeds(posto)
1 Onion finely chopped
2-3 Green chillies 
1 tbsp Rice flour
Sugar and Salt to taste
White oil for frying

Method:
Wash the posto seeds as it has fine dust in it. Use a fine strainer for better grip. Soak poppy seeds in warm water for 2-3 hours (soaking period provides better results). Then if you have sheel nora (grinding stone is a main kitchen aids in Bengali household) add green chillies and sprinkle some water, grind the poppy seeds till you get a smooth texture.
Another process is to grind it in a coffee blender with very little water. Now take a bowl, transfer the poppy seeds paste, add onions, green chillies, rice flour and season it with some salt and sugar. Mix thoroughly. Heat oil in a pan and add few drops of hot oil in the poppy seeds mixture, mix well. Make small round cakes and deep fry to a golden brown. Just mind that should be done on low flame otherwise posto will remain half cooked from inside. Drain off the excess oil by placing the fried balls on tissue paper. Serve hot with Kalai er Dal(Urad dal) and shada bhaat(steamed rice).

Tips:

  • Use very little water to grind the poppy seeds mixture otherwise you will have tough time to bind the mixture for frying.
  • Fry on low heat and turn both sides to check if it is fried properly.
  • You can also avoid deep frying process by using non stick pan and make tikkis little flat so that heat can penetrate and use just 2-3 tsp oil.



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Monday, July 8, 2013

How To Make Rosogolla at Home /Rasgulla



Ideally this should have been my post long long time back but like they say we don't talk about anything that we do it on regular base. So though rosogolla is very common at our place, it never struck me to make a post of it. It was only after I came to this new city and I had to search for good sweet shops I realized I how mighty the challenge is. I was disappointed after buying 1/2 kg rosogollas. They were chewy and pricey !! However, without giving up I took up the task to make it at home as my Father in Law loves sweet dish after meals. So unlike conventional looking white rasogollas, mine us colored light pink to make them look more attractive. 

Rosogolla, the classic and famous Bengali misthi or sweet which is made of cheese balls and then soaked in sugar syrup. If you happen to be in West Bengal just go to any parar mishti dokan (neighbourhood sweet shop) you will get it before you blink ! Now a days you can enjoy these spongy rasogollas even if you are sitting any part of the world, thanks to K.C.Das invention of selling it in a tin body. But when it was introduced the sales weren't encouraging, it took a while to pick up the rage of having spongy rasogollas anywhere and everywhere. Basically the pleasure of ending a Bengali meal with these spongy shiny white balls is unmatchable !

Ingredients:
1 ltr Whole milk
2 tbsp Lime juice 
8-9 Ice cubes
Color (optional)
1-2 tbsp Flour
1 tsp Semolina (sooji)

To make the syrup:
1 cup Sugar
3 cups Water
3-4 Green cardamoms
Few saffron strands

Method:
To make the chenna: Take a large pan and bring the milk to a boil on low flame. Ater first boil add lemon and let it sit for a minute. Then milk will curdle and the whey will separate  at this moment add 8-9 ice cubes. Now I don't know the science behind it but have read that it makes the chenna/paneer soft. Place a muslin over a colander and strain the chenna through it. Lightly squeeze to remove all water. Now hold the cloth under running tap to remove the lemon flavor. Hang the cloth over the kitchen sink for an hour.

Take out the chenna in a plate and mix together flour, sooji and color if you want it colored. Knead with soft hands to make a lump free dough. For rosogollas kneading the chenna is very important, it needs skills. If you overknead the chenna your rosogollas will turn chewy. So 4-5 minutes kneading is fine with soft fingers. Divide into approximately 14-15 portions and roll to form balls. 

To make the syrup and soaking: Place a heavy broad pan on heat add water and sugar along with a pinch of saffron and cardamoms in it. Let this boil for 5 minutes and then slowly start sliding chenna balls. Remember rosogollas will swell up double in size so they should not touch each other so either take large container or do it in batches. Cover and cook on low flame for 15-20 minutes. Keep adding 2-3 tsp hot water in the syrup from time to time to prevent it getting thick if you feel. Check if they are done by pressing one rosogolla, if it springs back it ready !! Let the rosogollas cool down a bit  and then you can transfer them to serving bowl along with sugar syrup. Chill for 2-3 hours before serving.


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