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Monday, February 27, 2012

Black bean chicken

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  1. Marinate chicken pieces in 1-2 tsp each of  soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, black bean sauce, vinegar, tomato ketchup.
  2. Fry onions in sesame/peanut/vegetable oil, add chicken. Fry well.
  3. Add minced ginger and garlic- fry at medium heat and then low heat. You can add hot water if you are using bony chicken and want to cook it thoroughly.
  4. When the oil separates(very imp), add chopped green onions.
  5. Serve with steamed rice.

Can add bell pepper too.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Baked spinach frittata

Link 1

What I did:

  1. Blanch chopped spinach in microwave for 3-5 mins, Cool and drain.
  2. Beat eggs, and blend it all in food processor- spices of your taste, green chilies, half an onion, spicy brown mustard, tomato ketchup/sun-dried tomatoes, cheese (I used Italian 5 cheese blend- goat  cheese or parmesan goes well too), salt and pepper.
  3. Bake in an oven till done (pre-heated at 350 F for 30 - 45 mins)

A tale of two veggies

When I was a kid, I thought I'd eat chicken every day when I grew up. Not only it isn't a wise diet choice for 365 days, it gets monotonous even if you drink elixir for the rest of your lives. Aiming for variety makes me rewrite some of my original recipes on most days I cook, and makes me look at the vegetables I did not have much regard for with a fresh perspective.

In my undergraduate hostel life, we were often served tinda curry for dinner- so often that I swore to myself- I will never eat it again in my life. Though I loved its distant cousin the parwal- my mother makes amazing parwal(Pointed gourd or potol in Bengali) stew (dalna) with potatoes. One summer afternoon, I was reading a book at the dinner table( which I often took permission for), and discovered my undying love for the vegetable. On that rare occasion, I put down the book and concentrated on relishing the food instead.

My mom's elder sister(my mashi) makes amazing stuffed parwals (Potol er dolma), which I will soon share the recipe for. But right now, I am going to share the simplest of a tindora recipe, which I often encounter in Indian grocery stores. The parwal I find here is cut and frozen- not suitable for dolma. Well, tu nahi to aur sahi, aur nahi to koi aur sahi...

Tindora fry

Tindora sliced
Cumin seeds
Green chilies slit lengthwise or red chili powder
Thinly sliced onions
Diced potatoes, small enough to cook with the tindora, or you could microwave before sauteing.
Turmeric, salt to taste
Cooking oil

1. Heat a wok, oil, add cumin seeds till they splutter. (Some might prefer mustard seeds or kalonji seeds. Curry leaves go well with the former, and grated coconut)
2. Add onions, fry a little, add tindora, potatoes, chilies, salt turmeric.

As simple as that. Keep an eye on the heat - taking care not to overcook or burn. Can add tomato puree or amchur powder if you want a tang of sourness.

Goes well with flat breads, or dal and rice.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Bhapa Doi (Bengali Steamed Sweet Yogurt)

  1. Blend plain Greek yogurt (or strained yogurt) + 3 tsp condensed milk(taste for sweetness). Pour into ramekins. I used empty containers of St. Marcellin cheese because they look like traditional maatir bhaar.
  2. In a baking tray,  place the ramekins, fill with water till just below the rims and steam (covered with Aluminium foil) for 30 mins at 350 F in a conventional oven.
  3. Cool and put in the fridge. Best served cold.
  4. You can also use mango pulp or pineapple to flavor the doi.

Misti doi is made at room temp while bhapa doi is steamed. Traditionally, it tastes different too.

Mapmyindia asked permission to use this photo for their travel guide on West Bengal.

Leafy greens

When I was a kid, my mom always urged me to eat all my greens, insisting it was good for my eyes. I can't say I appreciated them much then. But the local Asian market in the vicinity of my current residence provides a lot of interesting options. In fact, a whole aisle is dedicated to bok choy and the likes. Spinach is a permanent member of my grocery selection. Here are some options you can try, if you want to include more leafy greens in your diet.

Pea greens sauteed with minced garlic, red chilies ( Kalonji optional ), and green peas. And soft cream cheese if you must . Or go Asian style with soy sauce and oyster sauce.

Chinese broccoli in oyster sauce

Leafy greens like spinach or snow pea leaves
Minced garlic anout5-6 cloves
Kalonji, a pinch
Dry red chilies, 2-3 broken in halves
Green peas, less than you think- the leaves will wilt in heat and reduce in quantity.
Soft cheese of your choice, or Feta

  1. Wash the leaves well under running water. I use a colander to strain the water.
  2. Tear them with your hands. You may  use a knife to chop.
  3. (Optional)Boil water and cook the greens till tender.
  4. Heat oil in a wok/frying pan. Add kalonji, minced garlic. Take care not to brown the garlic, as it will turn bitter.
  5. Add the leaves. The water from the levaes will prevent the garlic from drying up. No extra water in needed.
  6. Add green peas. Stir well till done. Break and add dry green chilies
  7. You may add cream cheese if you prefer. Feta goes well too.

You can make spinach purse or Indian samosa (similar to Greek Spanakopita or Turkish Borek) filing similarly. or on portobello caps as sides with a nice steak.