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Friday, June 29, 2012

Macher jhol

I know you will have doubts about me being a Bong if I don't scribble a nice Bengali-styled fish curry recipe. This is a light broth, and easy to make. Usually, fresh Rohu goes well with it; I decided to work with live black bass cut into steaks- tastes even better. Make sure the fish is fresh.

  1. Clean fish steaks, rub salt and turmeric. Set aside.
  2. Dry roast some cumin (jeera), coriander seeds (optional) and fenugreek(methi) until fragrant and the seeds just start hoping around. Grind them and keep aside.
  3. Cut potatoes into wedges, light fry them in oil. Keep aside in paper towels to drain excess oil.
  4. Light fry the fish on both sides, (you can add diced onions too) Add the potatoes, wedged tomatoes. Add warm water. Cover and cook in slow heat. Don't stir too much if the fish is delicate- we don't want them broken. Add slit-green chilies and cilantro. Serve with a lemon wedge and steamed rice

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Baked Chicken with Lemon, Capers and Artichoke Hearts

You will find several versions for this recipe. A skillet preparation (Chicken Piccata) might be quick, but I decided to bake this time.

  1. Clean the chicken pieces you want to use. Pat dry. Make shallow cuts. Season with salt and pepper, or you might choose to brine it for 35 mins. 
  2. Add (garlic) salt, minced garlic, pepper, lemon juice, olive oil/melted butter. Rub. If you are using whole chicken with skin, rub the spices under the skin.
  3. Place in a baking tray. Add foil and perforate with a fork- if you want it extra moist(if you removed the skin, it might be better to cover) Bake in pre-heated oven at 375-400 F for 35- 40 mins. See tips on chicken cooking time.
  4. Add artichoke hearts half way through. You can add a wine sauce too.
I had it with a berry smoothie with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries with honey-yogurt.

You might be interested in  Slow roasted chicken thighs

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bengal gram salad (boiled chana)

Banglay, pati chola siddho. :P

My mom used to say germinating Bengal gram is very nutritious and tried her best to make us gulp some down with a bit of jaggery every morning. I loved it in a different avatar though. Boiled, non-germinating ones with a dash of lime juice, black salt and minced onions -as an evening snack. Dry-roasted peanuts (or Planters Heat peanuts), cilantro and green chilies make a decent entourage. Topped with a fire-roasted crumbled papad.
Bengali Ghugni
This is so easy to make and healthy. Soak yellow vatana in water overnight. In  a pressure cooker, add minced onions, matchstick ginger, minced garlic, cloves, cardamom, bay leaves,  dry roasted & ground cumin and coriander seeds, black salt, dry mango powder (amchur)  turmeric,(I add aloo bhaji masala too). Cook and serves with pico de gallo or khacumber 

It is as simple as that, but always a hit with the guests. Goes well with Indian puffed bread or puri. (luchi in Bengali). I like it with fish kachori too.

Aloo Kabli

Ghugni chaat
You can boil chickpeas and potatoes in pressure cooker (like ghugni recipe) and serve it with diced onions, cucumber, 1 tsp yogurt , chaat masala and  nimboo natkhat or other spicy sev.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Garlic butter fish fillet

Garlic butter Tilapia fillet with steamed corn and black beans
  1. Rinse and  cut white fish fillets (I used Tilapia) into bite sized strips.  Marinate with salt, white pepper , lime juice (and tapioca starch or Italian bread crumbs) for 10 mins. (Microwave for a minute and dab in paper towels if using frozen fillets)
  2. Heat olive oil in wok, fry fish fillet. Set aside.
  3. Melt 1 tsp butter in low heat (don't brown), add thinly sliced chilies and garlic, stir until fragrant.
  4. Add the fish fillets and sliced green onions.
  5. Serve with your favorite sides
(This would taste good with lemon-capers too, or herbs like freshly chopped basil or tarragon or thyme)

I made another version of pan-seared tilapia (you can use any delicate white-fleshed fish fillet like halibut, cod or pollock too) using chili flakes, tarragon and sun-dried tomatoes.

I suggest slow cooking this recipe since the tarragon release their flavor slowly.

Another version can be made simply with lime juice, garlic salt, red chili flakes and parsley or oregano.

You might also like Pan-seared tilapia in Avgolemono Sauce


Yet another way to have it is to pan fry with mini heirloom tomatoes, basil and chipotle.

I wiped the fillet dry (thawed first) and then sprinkled lemon juice and chipotle pepper flakes on both sides. Pan fried them with halved tomatoes, first covered then open (in olive oil, prefer it for mild tasting fish). Turned once and added the chopped basil leaves when almost done. Sprinkle salt to taste. You may add cumin-coriander powder if you like more spice. If it's only me eating, I prefer it light. Done in 15 mins.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Summer drinks

Here are some recipes at the Food Network

And some of my own concoctions I savor:

Grapefruit-cranberry cooler:
Grapefruit juice (2/3rd volume- almost fill it to the level u like to have your drink)+ Cranberry juice (1/3rd by volume- eyeball it) +black salt+ fine sugar to dust the rim if you want

Honey with Jasmine green tea( Chilled)
Boil water till bubbles begin to appear. Kill the heat. Add 6-8 pearls of Jasmine tea. Strain and cool when they unfurl. Add honey. Then Chill. You can have it warm too.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Chocolate-peanut butter smoothie
Yogurt+milk+ chocolate syrup +peanut butter. You can add bananas too :)

Cold coffee with chocolate hazelnut swirl (gelato)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Chicken Jalfrezi

For Soma

Wiki says that the name of the dish indirectly from Chinese and Bengali jhāl, spicy food, and Urdu parhezī, suitable for a diet. I wouldn't know. But I am going to share with you what I know for sure- how I made it.

  1. Marinate chicken with Jalfrezi mix( Coriander, red chili, powder garlic, powder ginger, black pepper, mace, black cumin), juice of half a lemon(abt 2 tsp) , 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste and a little salt.
  2. Blanch 2 tomatoes :Put in boiling water and take out - wash in cold water, remove skin and seed. Make puree in a food processor. (If you want to jack up the ginger garlic- good time to do so- add 4 green chilies, 5 cloves of garlic and inch of ginger while you puree the tomatoes.)
  3. Fry lightly in oil :2 diced shallots and a capsicum (preferably colored other than green- not necessary- just for aesthetics). Take out
  4. Now, fry the marinated chicken Golden brown, add the tomato puree. Cook till oil separates.
  5. Add the fried shallots and capsicum. Cook until done.

Best served with saffron rice and cucumber raita. Had jal jeera after the meal to aid digestion of the 'jhal' dish.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Chicken Korma and Sweet pulao

  1. Clean curry size chicken pieces. Pat dry with paper towels and marinate in ginger-garlic paste and Shan White Korma Spice overnight.
  2. In a wok, add 2 tsp ghee- fry the chicken pieces until lightly browned on each side.  Set aside.
  3. In the same oil, add bay leaves, whole peppercorn, mace(Javitri), green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and diced onions.
  4. When the oil separates, add 2 tsp yogurt. Add fresh ground almonds/ cashews ( or peanut butter! One of my versions.)
  5. Cover and cook in medium-low heat until meat is done (best way to bring out the flavor, be sure you are attentive- the nuts can brown pretty fast), or transfer in a pressure cooker to cook faster.
  6. I like to add a few drops of rose water to the gravy in the end.
For sweet pulao:
    1. Parboil basmati rice. Wash in cold water so the grains separate. If you wish to cook fully, it's ok too, just spread the rice on a flat surface so they don't stick or under cold running water in a colander.
    2. In a deep vessel add ghee , whole garam masala of choice and pulao powder if you want to use any. Add cashews. Minced /julienne ginger. 
    3. Add the rice in installments, mixing well each time. Add 1 tsp sugar at the end.
    4. Wash and add raisins, and a few strands of saffron. Cover and kill the flame. The heat will cook the rest. We don't want to undercook or overcook the rice.
    For Bengali Kosha Magsho, follow this recipe.

    Saturday, June 9, 2012

    Fish kachori (Fish stuffed breads)

    If you have the time, you can get Rohu and debone the fish. I worked with chunky Tuna.

    1. Prepare a maida (flour) dough if you were going to make lucchi(phulka/puri). Knead well with oil, salt, water (in steps) and let it sit, while you make the filling(pur)
    2. Dry toast spices of your choice- I used cumin, Coriander, cinnamon sticks, cloves and black peppercorn. Dry grind them in a coffee grinder.
    3. Mince onions, ginger, garlic, green chilis, spices and fry in a wok. Add fish
    4. Test for the texture, use a food processor to grate the mix even  further if you need to
    5. (Have a look in Wikihow on how to make puri if you are making for the first time)
    6.  Stuff the mix in the puri and roll them upside down with light strokes to keep them from tearing.
    7.  Deep fry them, drain excess oil and serve with ketchup or your favorite veggies. I like Aloo Koraishuti (Potatoes with green peas) with them. Washed everything down with a glass of Mango lassi.

    You can use the same stuffing to make 1) potoler dolma. (Stuffed pointed gourd) if you are fortunate enough to find whole potol

    2) Macher chop (fish croquette)
    For this, you need to make desired shapes out of the stuffing and then coat them in breadcrumbs and eggs before frying them. See how to make egg croquettes. However, unlike egg croquettes, these taste better if the mashed potatoes is mixed with the fish instead of making separate layers.

    I made a variation with chipotle spices and lemon juice.

    3) Flat patties.
    Shallow fry the mix and you can use it to fill a sandwich or eat with a dip.

    Saturday, June 2, 2012

    For Yogurt lovers

    I like yogurt as a snack/dessert, specially in the summer months. Some of my favorite combinations are:
    1. Plain Yogurt+berries (strawberries, blueberries)
    2. Greek Yogurt+Mango +rose syrup
    3. Greek yogurt+granola+ dried cranberries + almonds/ hazelnuts
    4. Yogurt+honey+raisin (+peanut butter, if you really want to indulge)
    5. Yogurt+ banana+ strawberry+ crushed ice
    6. Yogurt+ honey almond cereals

    Mangoes with strawberry flavored Greek yogurt