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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Oven roasted broccoli with sumac coated tilapia

  1. Cut broccoli into florets, wash well, shake dry and rub olive oil, salt and pepper. Put in a baking tray to pre-heated oven at 375 F.
  2. Thaw in microwave for 1 min or under running cold water (if frozen), pat dry and coat the Tilapia fillet with spice rub of your choice, some breadcrumbs, sumac powder, salt, and olive oil. Wrap in an aluminium foil. Put in the oven rack above the broccoli.
  3. In 8-10 min your meal should be done. Eat with rice pilaf or herb-pasta
You can add more vegetables with the broccoli- like cauliflower florets, onions,asparagus, zucchini etc. Add pepper and thyme.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Pasta with thyme roasted shrimp and asparagus

  1. Boil pasta according to instructions. I like them al dente. Pour in a colander and through cold running water, so that they don't stick later.
  2. In a wok, add colored bell pepper, minced garlic, asparagus spears cut into bite size, shrimp (I like adding Montreal chicken spice and lemon juiceon my shrimp), pepper, salt - cook covered. Add fresh thyme.
  3. Pour pasta and cheese of your choice till it melts. Check for salt. Serve warm.
For more pasta ideas click on the label 'pasta'

Chicken Shawarma

  1. Cut boneless chicken breasts in to bite-sized pieces and marinate in vinegar overnight.(Can add step 3 in the marinade too)
  2. Prepare the tahini: toast sesame seeds on pan (do not brown). Put in coffee grinder and grind to powder. Add olive oil in a bowl and mix. Set aside
  3. Heat crushed garlic,salt, pepper and spices (like cardamom pods, allspice) or shawarma mix to the chicken and cook until soft in a wok. (Assuming you don't have a vertical spit to grill it for a day)
  4. Add bell pepper , onions and tomatoes.(I like them lightly fried) 
  5. (You can shred the chicken if you want)
  6. Place a tortilla or pita(heat both sides if you want), fill with the chicken and tahini sauce. You can add sliced  cucumbers and/or pickles.
  7. Serve with hummus and salad greens.

I used this seasoning

Thursday, March 14, 2013


SG loves sukto. And I,  being an North-Eastern Bengali (from the Bangal clan), consider it a typical West Bengali (Ghoti) dish, somewhat foreign. Hence, I had some trepidation about making my first sukto, but love makes you do crazy things. So, it was no brainer that I'd eventually try making it. My MIL is a Bangal too, but she makes awesome sukto. That gave me hope.

Traditionally, you need the following vegetables
Ridged Gourd
Green Banana
Bitter gourd

I added Carrot and Peas too.

  1. Cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces and heat mustard oil in wok/dutch oven.
  2. Most people use Panch  phoron for tempering, I was whimsical and picked nigella seeds instead. 
  3. Add the vegetables that take longer time to cook eg potatoes, radish etc first. Save the bitter gourd for the last. Adding it in the beginning will make the sukto too bitter.
  4. Add freshly grated ginger.
  5. Add enough milk and water, cover and cook in medium-low flame. Pay attention, milk burns easily.
  6. I dry ground mustard and poppy seeds and added them in the end. Don't boil mustard powder too long- heat turns it bitter. You can add sugar too.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Green Mango chutney

 Pulpy chutney with mustard seeds

  1. Peel the mango (some recipes keep the skin on), and dice it into bite-sized pieces. 
  2. Wash the pieces and rub salt and turmeric. 
  3. Heat cooking oil  in a pan. Add the mustard seeds (or saunf/fennel seeds) and dry red chilies broken into halves. Saute it for a few minutes till the mustard seeds pop.
  4. Add the mango pieces , fry at medium-low heat (you don't want to burn them on high heat, otherwise chutney will turn bitter)
  5. Add a cup of warm water and let it boil till the mango turns soft. Add sugar to taste , stirring occasionally. 
You can add raisins, dates and cashews too if you want. Some people like julienne ginger in their mango chutney. You can make it pulpy or chunky depending on your preference. I like both.

Version 2: I added dates and Turkish apricot for a rich chutney. Also, semi-ripe mangoes are more suitable for this sweet chutney.

You can also make Pineapple chutney similarly.

Or cherry-mango chutney with  fennel seeds, dry red chilis, ground panch phoron and aamsotto

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sasha-aloo-chingri (cucumber with potatoes and shrimp)

I made a really spicy chicken curry,and was wondering what to balance the heat in the meal with. Cucumber seemed a good candidate. Now, I could make a simple salad, but I had some de-veined shrimps in my freezer too. They are my little minions and of great use when I want to transform a vegetarian dish into a non-vegetarian one. Sans hassles.

  1. Clean (and thaw completely if frozen, in microwave for a few minutes) shrimps. Rub turmeric and salt and shallow fry in cooking oil. Set aside.
  2. In the same oil, add kalonji seeds or panch phoran, diced onions, dice potatoes. And then the cucumber (takes very little time to cook) Add dry roasted , ground cumin-coriander, home-made garam masala and 1/2 tsp home-made ghee for aroma.
  3. Add ginger, slit green chilies and the shallow- fried shrimps. Serve with generous amount of cilantro.
Other converted vegetarian dishes in my kitchen include:
  1. Mocha chingri (Banana flower with shrimp)
  2. Chingri diye mulo ghonto(radish with shrimp)
  3. Chorra chingri (Taro root with shrimp)
  4. Lau chingri
  5. Pui Chingri
  6. Fulkopi diye chingri (Cauliflower with shrimp)
  7. Aloo pepe Chingri (Potatoes and green papaya curry)
Bonus recipe: Green pumpkin with shrimp  (Chingri diye Kacha kumro/ চিংড়ি দিয়ে কাঁচা কুমড়ো )

You can make similar curry with kaacha kumro, kalonji seeds (kaalo jeere), green chilies and ginger paste.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Fish in Tomato Onion sauce

  1. Like any other Bengali fish preparation, we'll begin by cleaning the fish, patting it dry and then rubbing salt and turmeric while we heat cooking oil in wok. (I prefer Olive oil for mild-tasting fish, though some may consider it a sacrilege to use that in a Bengali recipe. Go with what your heart says) Shallow fry the fish, set aside. (Use paper towels to drain excess oil if you want)
  2. Thinly slice onions about 1 and a half medium sized ones should be good for 2 to 4 people(about 4-6 steaks of fish).
  3. Quarter tomatoes, dice ginger, mince garlic(if you feel the fish has a smell you wouldn't like. Traditional Bengali seldom use garlic), slit about 2-3 green chilies  If you like to use dry roasted cumin-coriander powder, it is a good time to check/replenish your stock. I like to add Radhuni brand Fish Masala to this recipe too. (Sometimes, I vary by using a combination of ground cumin-fennel seeds-fenugreek seeds)
  4. Fry the ingredients, until oil separates. Add a little salt. Add back the shallow fried fish steaks. 
  5. Cook covered on low heat. Sprinkle with freshly chopped cilantro/coriander leaves. Enjoy with steamed rice.