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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Palak Paratha

Indian Bread with Spinach filling
When the kitchen inventory on a Friday evening is dwindling, and the only ray of hope is some Palak, other than Potatoes, Onions, not much choice is there for dinner. Normally when such ocassion arises, we eat out or order for a takeaway...but the mood wasnt right for either.

So decided to prepare ONLY PARATHAS....Palak Parathas to be precise. To be had with a bowlful of homemade curd with a sprinkling of masalas!

So here goes the recipe for the Palak Paratha :

A. For the Dough:
* Ata / whole-wheat flour - 2 cups
* Salt - a pinch
* Water to knead

B. For the Palak/Spinach filliing:
* Jeera / Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
* Hing/Asafoetida - 1/2 tsp
* Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
* Black pepper powder - 1/2
* Salt to taste
* green Chillies - chopped finely (optional)
* Spinach - 12 small bunches ; washed and chopped finely

C. Others
* Oil - for frying the Palak filling & for frying the Parathas
* Ghee
* Ata for rolling the parathas
Procedure : In the sequence I made
1. For making the dough, mix flour, salt and water and knead well to make a soft dough.
2. Cover and keep aside for about 15 minutes till you prepare the Palak filling

3. Heat oil in a wok. Add all ingredients at 'B' except the chopped Palak

4. Fry for 5-10 seconds on medium

5. Add the palak.

6. Increase the flame to high and stir the palak and keep frying for around 7-8 minutes or till the water has evaporated. Lower the heat and continue frying till the palak is a devoid of most of water. Take off the flame and cool it.

7. Divide the cooled Palak filling into 10 parts.
8. Like in making roti/paratha, pinch of balls off the dough, roll them into smooth balls.

9.Roll them into small rotis, place the palak filling in the centre. Fold up the small roti with filling in centre into a bowl and finally seal it and again roll into ball. Repeat this with all the 10 balls.

10.Keep the stuffed balls for about 5 minutes and then start rolling the parathas

11. Take an iron tawa and heat it. Place each paratha on the tawa and turn it around. Smear some oil/ghee (I used oil) on each side by flipping the paratha

*When serving, smear each paratha with a small spoonful of hot ghee.

*I served the Parathas with homemade curd with a sprinkling of black salt, chilli flakes and roasted and ground Jeera powder

Note : I made 10 parathas using the above measurements and a small quantity of dough (for 1 and 1/2 rotis) was extra

This recipe is my entry to SWC-Cooking with Greens, an event hosted by Sowmya of Creative Saga. The logo of the event is....

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Water Melon Drink

Scorching heat. The dry moisture-less air parching your throat and the body begging for fluids.
Just the right backdrop for chilled fresh fruit drinks...which not only quenches your thirst much better that the synthetic fizzy drinks but gives the body the much needed minerals and nutrients so easily lost the the unending heat!

So here's the recipe for a chilled and pretty red glass of water melon drink!

Ingredients : One medium sized melon yielded three tall glasses of drink
* One Water Melon (or as many as you need)

* A tsp of sugar

* Ice cubes

Procedure :
1. Scoop out the pulp of the water melon and de-seed (that's the troublesome part!)
2. Put the de-seeded pulp, crushed ice/ice cubes and sugar in a blender. Blend to a smooth paste. Add chilled water if required.
3. Pour into glasses and let the heat take a backseat while you savour the bright red drink!!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Kashmiri Chicken

A chicken preparation sans onions, ginger, garlic???!!! I almost shook my head in disbelief!

But my cousin, who had learned this from an authentic Kashmiri, reiterated that, the recipe was exactly so....

So when I was cleaning the chicken and readying it for cooking, I took half of the 1kg pack and with some trepidation (anticipating a complete faux pas) got down to making the onion-garlic-ginger-less KASHMIRI CHICKEN. SD was warned in advace to hope for the best but be prepared for the worst....

Well....Thank God! The end result was a refreshingly non-spicy, light preparation with a lovely flavour of cinnamon, cardamom in a tangy curd based gravy. The oil was a bit more, but that's my fault....oil needed to be used sparingly-I'll keep that in mind next time...But all in all a nice and light preparation-perfect for a summer afternoon!

Ingredients : What I used
- Chicken - 1/2 kg (8-9 medium sized pieces)
- Cinnamon sticks - 6-7 , 1" long pieces
- Cardamon - 5-6 green ones (though the recipe demanded the black ones, but I didnt have any)
- Curd - one whole bowl made of 500ml milk - beaten to a smooth texture
- Turmeric/Haldi - a pinch
- Salt to taste
- Sugar - 2 tsp
- Green Chillies - 2-3 slit
- Fresh Coriander Leaves - chopped
- Mustard Oil - 2 tbsp (I had used more but next time this is the quantity I'll use)

Procedure :
1. Clean the chicken pieces

2. In a wok, take water.

Add a pinch of turmeric, cinnamon sticks, cardamoms and the chicken pieces. Cover the wok and bring to a boil on low flame.

3. Boil until the chicken is just tender.

4. In a wok take mustard oil and heat it.
When the oil is warm add cardamoms and the chicken pieces.
Lightly fry the chicken.

5. After the chicken is lightly fried, add curd paste mixed with turmeric, little bit of sugar and salt. Let the gravy comen to a boil and thicken. Check for salt and sugar

6. When the gravy thickens, add finely chopped coriander leaves.

Eat with hot white rice!

This dish is my entry to 'The Potluck-Chicken' hosted by Viki of Viki's Kitchen. The logo of the event is

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Breakfast in a jiffy!!

Running late in the morning? ....well, happens to me quite quite often....on most occasions, I have this tremendous urge to skip breakfast altogether or just gulp down a cupfull of tea with a Marie. But there are days when, the stomach grumbles in protest and asks for something filling.

This is for such late yet hungry mornings....when cooking up in a jiffy is the name of the game....
Bread and Microwaved Poached Egg with my personal touch!!! ;))

Total time would be less than 10 minutes even if you count the time taken to chop the onion and chilli.

Ingredients :
*Egg - 1
*Wheat bread - 1 slice (as per your requirement)

A. To be added to the egg
*Finely chopped onions - 1/2 small onion (I keep 3-4 onions chopped in an air tight container in the fridge)
*Chopped Green chilli - 1
*Ginger paste/juice - 1/4 tsp
*Salt to taste
*Pepper - 1/2 tsp
*Chilli flakes - a pinch (optional)

Procedure :
1. Put the bread slice/s in the preset toaster.
2. Break an egg in a small microwaveable bowl. Take care not to break the yolk
3.Garnish the egg with all ingredients at 'A'
4. Microwave for a minute (maximum). You may cover it with a microwave proof plastic cling film.
5. Butter the toast. (Optional....these days I resist the temptation and refrain from buttering the toast!)

The breakfast of Bread and Poached Egg is READY and you're done in less than 10 minutes flat!!

Brown Bread, Egg and a cup of Darjeeling Tea...
that's a quick and healthy breakfast for me!!!

So here it goes to the Blogevent 'SHOW ME YOUR RECIPE' EVENT hosted by Divya Vikram of DIL SE... !!

The logo of the event is....

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Fish Fry

Fish Fry or Fish Finger is one of my favourite starters! And when I saw a 2.25 kg Bhetki on my weekend market trip, I ordered it to be cut into fillet.....

So here goes the recipe for Fish Fry.....Fish finger recipe would be the same....only difference is the starting point-instead of square or rectangular fillet, the fish has to be cut into thin strips of 3/4" x 3" dimension approximately....

Ingredients : What I used
Bhetki fillet - about 12 - 15 pieces of 2"x2.5" dimension (no hard and fast rule though!)

A. For marination
* Ginger paste : 1 tbsp
* Garlic paste : 1 tbsp
* Onion paste or juice of onion : 2 tbsp paste or 3-4 tbsp juice (I used paste)
* Green chilli paste - 1 tsp (optional)
* Coriander leaves - chopped fine (optional)
* Chilli flakes - 1 tsp (optional)
* Vinegar or lemon juice - 3-4 tbsp
* Freshly ground black pepper - 1 tsp
* Salt - to taste

B. For the coating :
*Arrowroot powder / Cornflour - 3-4 tbsp
*Bread crumbs : 2 cups OR Bread Slices (stale ones preferred) - 5-6 nos. (see below to check out how to prepare breadcrumbs @ home)

Procedure :
1. Marinate the washed and cleaned fish pieces in a mix of all ingredients at 'A'. I refrigerate the marinated fish in an airtight box overnight.

2. Prepare the breadcrumb as shown below ##

3. In a flat bottomed bowl, mix the arrowroot/cornflour with water to make a paste of thin consistency.

4. In a flat plate, take the bread crumb and make an even layer.

5. Take each marinated Fish piece, dip it into the thin batter of arrowroot/cornflour , immediately followed by rolling in the bread crumb to form an uniform coating. Repeat for all the fish pieces.

6. In a deep flat bottomed frying pan, take the oil, heat it and fry the bread crumb coated fish pieces. Take out the fish fries and place them on a kitchen tissue to soak off the excess oil.

7. Serve with Salads and/or Mustard sauce (Kashundi) or any other sauce of your liking!

# Preparing Bread Crumbs @ Home :
-Take the stale breads (Fresh bread contains lots of moisture and hence is not too suitable for making crumbs)
-Place them in a flat tray in the microwave oven. Heat it in microwave for 2 minutes on medium heat. After completion of 2 minutes, keep it in the microwave for another 2-3 minutes for the bread slices to harden.
-Take out the hardened bread slices, break them into small pieces and put them in a mixie/dry grinder.
-Just run it for 5-10 seconds, to get fresh bread crumbs instantly!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Palong Shaak Sheddho

Steamed Palak with Peas, garlic and garnished with fried onions
A healthy, tasty and most importantly easy and fast-to-cook dish.

In traditional Bengali cuisine, we begin the lunch meal on a bitter note followed by any leafy greens....or shaak in Bengali. Spinach (Palong shaak), radish greens (Mulor Shaak), Fenugreek leaves (Methi shaak)...the list is endless.

So to say that Bongs are carnivorous and love their meat (especially fish) only, is absolutely wrong! Bengalis are omnivorous...'Shorbobhook'!...We love our veggies as much as we love our fish and meat! And we prefer the veggies in less spice so that they retain their natural flavour!

As serving authentic 6-7 course traditional meals is way out of my limited capability on a routine basis, it is either a bitter start OR a leafy one that is our first course on a Sunday / holiday lunch meal..

So yesterday it was Paalong Shaak sheddho (steamed Palak/Spinach) with Peas, Garlic slices and garnished with fried onions, as the first course in lunch

The recipe....

Ingredients :
*Spinach/Palak - 10 small bunches
*Garlic - 2 pods, sliced finely
*Peas - a handful
*Onion - half - chopped
*Green chilli - 2
*Salt-to taste
*Sugar-a pinch
*Mustard Oil - 1 tsp

Procedure :
1. Wash the Palak and chop the leaves into small pieces.

2. In a wok, take the finely chopped Palak, add the peas, green chillies, sliced garlic, salt & sugar.
No Oil or water is to be added.

3.Lower the flame and cover the wok. The Palak will cook in its own water. Once the palak has softened, increase the heat to dry the water given out by the Palak.

4. After the water has dried, take it off the flame.

5. Fry some chopped onions in a little oil till it is brown in colour. A pinch of salt & sugar may be added.

6.Garnish the steamed palak with the fried onions.

It tastes great with steamed rice.

This recipe is off to '15 minutes Cooking' hosted by Mahimaa of Indian Vegetarian Kitchen

And also sending this recipe to SWC-Cooking with Greens, an event hosted by Sowmya of Creative Saga. The logo of the event is....

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Aamer Ambol

Raw Mango in a light watery soup

Come summers and the kitchen becomes a sea of orange, yellow and green! Gorgeous mangoes in all its various hues and avatars, rule the roost so to it the morning breakfast with mango smoothie, the mid morning fruity break with mangoes, the afternoon dessert of mango custard or mango pudding, a cool smoked raw mango drink to beat the heat, mango chutney, just mangoes and oh so many more delicious mouth watering mango delights to fill the day!
So today when my Ma's friends, an elderly couple, was coming over for lunch, I decided to go for a traditional Bengali summer lunch and dish out the oh-so-soothing Aam er Ambol as the last but final item on the menu, right before the desserts of Doi-mishti. As I have written earlier (here), Chaatni, tok or Ambol is the penultimate item in a traditional Bengali meal, the final one being doi-mishti (Curd and sweet).
So here goes the recipe of the simplest of simple preparation :
Ingredients :
# Raw Mango - 3
#Mustard seeds - 1/2tsp
#Dry Whole red chilli - 1
#Sugar - 100 gms or sugar syrup - 1 cup (I used up the leftover syrup after making roshogollas)
#Rock salt - 1/2 tsp
#Chilli flakes - a pinch (optional)
#Mustard Oil - 1 tbsp

Procedure :
1. Slice the raw mangoes longitudinally as shown.

2. In a wok, heat the mustard oil. Throw into the oil, mustard seeds and dry whole red chilli.

3.As it splutters, add the sliced raw mango pieces. Add the sugar/sugar syrup. Add 4-5 cups of water. Cover with a lid, lower the flame and let it come to a boil

4. As it boils, sprinkle the rocksalt. Check the taste and if required add some more sugar and salt.
5. Sprinkle a pinch of red chilli flakes (optional)

6. Take it off the flame and chill.

The Aam er Ambol (Pronounced Awmbol as in Awful) is ready to be savoured after lunch or dinner!