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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Cornish hen roast

Ginger garlic paste, pepper , salt, vinegar, ygurt, green chili paste, cayenne powder, cumi coriander powder.

Basted with butter. Cooked at 450 F for an hour. First half hour with foil tent. Next half hour remove tent, turn chicken upside down for uniform cooking, and brown the skin.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sukhi aloo gobi (dry cauliflower and potato)


  1. Cut cauliflower into florets, wash and drain water. Cut potatoes in similar size.
  2. Make dry roasted, ground spice mix of cumin, coriander, sauf and a few methi seeds. Saute the vegetables in mustard oil with nigella seeds, diced red onions, the ground spices, turmeric, salt, slit green chilies, red chili powder, amchur, half cinnamon stick and bay leaves.
  3. In a separate pan add 2 tsp ghee, fresh ginger garlic paste, and diced tomatoes. Add 4 tsp water, just enough to cook the masala through. Add the sauted vegetables. Cook uncovered on low heat till done. Add kasuri methi towards the end. 
  4. Serve warm with rice or chapati (Indian flatbread)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Golmorich murgi (Chicken with black pepper)


গোলমরিচ মুরগি (Chicken with black pepper)

Method:

  1. Clean and cut chicken into curry pieces. I prefer thighs with bones. In a non-stick pan, add 1 tbsp oil and 1 tsp ghee. Saute the chicken pieces with 2 tsp fresh ginger-garlic paste.
  2. Add freshly ground black pepper, 2-3 dry red chilis, coriander seeds, cloves and cinnamon stick, and salt to taste.
  3. Add halved green/thai chilis and largely chopped/quartered red onions (about the size of a nickel). Cook covered. The onions will almost melt in the gravy and the oil will separate . (Minced chilies will be hotter and minced onion will give a different texture to the dish.)
  4. Now add chopped cilantro (or mint) and 1 tsp cream to bring it all together. Serve warm. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Chicken in a roast pan


  1. Clean and make shallow cuts on chicken leg quarters. You can go only as far as the ingredients let you, so try to get good quality meat from your local butcher.
  2. Marinate them with salt, crushed pepper, Shan Tandoori masala (or crushed spices of your choice), beaten yogurt with green chili, ginger and garlic paste.
  3. In a roast pan, line the bottom with aluminium foil, add cubed red potatoes (no need to peel skin),  baby carrots, and quartered red onions (dry any excess water with paper towels). Sprinkle salt, pepper, coriander seeds and olive oil. Mix well and spread evenly for uniform cooking. Add thyme or herbs of your choice.

  4. Add the meat rack and place the chicken. Cover the whole set up with a foil tent or lid. Bake at 350 F for 45 mins to an hour. Brush some butter or oil on the chicken halfway through and turn it upside down. Broil for  the last 10 mins if you like.


The meat drippings will enhance the flavors of the vegetables. The onions should be caramelized but not burned. Serve with a salad or greens. No-hassle Sunday lunch.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cilantro paneer


Before and after

The recipe is inspired by Sue ((Suchayita Bhattacharjee). The inspiration on skewers
  1. Cut paneer (at room temperature) into cubes. Marinate with cilantro , green chili and ginger paste, vinegar and yogurt for an hour before cooking.
  2. Cut red onions and red bell peppers (I  like the taste and color of red over green bell pepper, you may add orange , yellow or green too) into cubes. Saute them in non-stick with little oil or butter. Cook on low flame until the paneer begin to brown at the edges. Serve as an appetizer or with the main course.
I  also made Dal makhani, mixed vegetables, lemon rice and vermicelli kheer with it.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Mushroom Matar Malai (Mushroom and green pea in cream)


  1. Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan. Add diced onions, crushed garlic and break a cinnamon bark into several pieces.
  2. Cut button mushrooms into quarters. Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly. Toss into the pan. Cover and cook on slow flame. Add green peas and kasuri methi (dry methi leaves). Cook further and add 1 tbp of cream (I used Nestle for this recipe). Taste for salt. You may add red chili powder and a pinch of turmeric if you want.
I sauteed the remaining mushrooms for breakfast the following day with onions in olive oil , salt and pepper with a sunny side up.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mango ricotta cheesecake

You will find many recipes of cheesecake with soft cheese and eggs. This is an eggless recipe and very easy to make.

You will need
Graham crackers- about 6-8
Butter 2 tsp
Whole milk Ricotta cheese (I used Lucerne, about 600 gms.)
Mango pulp to taste
Strawberries for garnishing


  1. Crumble graham crackers and process it till it is fine powder. Use a spoon or your fingers to scavenge for any large pieces and crumble them. Add 2 tsp of melted butter and spread it on the baking dish to form the crust.
  2. Mix ricotta cheese and mango pulp uniformly and set it atop the crust. Bake in conventional oven for 45 mins at 350 F or until it sets.
  3. Cool and refrigerate it. Serve cold with slices mangoes or strawberries on top.

You may use vanilla essence and sugar or condensed milk for a plain cheesecake.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Pan seared chicken with vegetables


  1. Boil chicken leg quarters and potatoes in a pressure cooker. (Alternately, you may brine the chicken overnight.) Drain, remove skin.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan, add onions, minced garlic and chilies. Rub chicken with freshly squeezed lemon juice and crushed spices like coriander, black pepper and cinnamon.  Fry in the pan till browned on both sides. Add the potatoes, some baby carrots and chopped parsley. Spinach and brussel sprouts may be added too.
  3. You may use some of the chicken stock you had when you boiled the chicken. Add crunchy fried onions for extra flavor.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Basic cake


2 eggs
1 cup sugar or to taste
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup shifted flour
1 tsp butter, oil for greasing pan and a few drops for the batter

  1. Grease a round pan or a pound pan with oil. You may also use lightly greased Aluminium foil or parchment paper to cover the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking and facilitate removal of the cake after baking.
  2. Heat oven to 350 F. Mix the ingredients in that order. Taste the batter. Spread it evenly on the pan and bake for 45 mins or till a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the cake.
You may also add a basic glaze by beating sugar and lemon juice together. Though I prefer it less sweet to go with my tea. Crushed pistachio or coconut flakes might also be a good topping

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Soup ideas for a cold

Garlic and green onion soup
I found inspiration of garlic soup in the book 400 soups. However, I seldom stick to recipes. I used olive oil instead of butter to saute some crushed garlic (8-10 cloves) until soft (not brown) and then added some chopped green onions. You may add herbs like thyme, parsley or cilantro. Add homemade or store-bought chicken broth (I used Certified Organic Swanson Chicken Broth), about 2 cups. I always like crushed pepper in hot soup, some green chilies and a squeeze of fresh lime. You may add roux to thicken the soup. I don't fancy it. Goes well with garlic crotons.

Dried mushroom soup
Soak dry mushrooms (I used a blend of morels, portobello and oyster mushrooms) in water at room temperature (retains flavor more than hot water) for 30 mins to  4 hours (until soft). Make sure there is no grit remaining. Rinse well. Squeeze extra water and slice them to serving size (or use pre-sliced mushrooms). You may strain and use the soaking liquid for extra flavor.  Saute the mushrooms in a saucepan with olive oil, parsley, 1 tsp dark soy sauce, cracked pepper and salt to taste. I added minced bulbs of green onions. You may add red onions and diced celery ribs. Add 2 -4 cups of chicken or vegetable stock/broth. Serve warm with grated parmesan on top.

Those who want a spicier version may add some minced green chilies, chipotle powder and some garlic flakes.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chicken with soy sauce and coconut milk


Cooking, like most other things in life, is a quest. It can be more than a means to satisfy hunger. It can be an adventure, a spiritual journey and a way to show love. I am thinking about the mother who cooks for the daughter she hasn't seen for years, the kid who makes chicken soup with inept hands, the husband who makes French toast for breakfast. It need not be elaborate. The expressions vary. We might forget the details of a particularly flavorful dish, but we will always  remember how it made us feel. Comforted. Warm. Happy.

Years ago, my father made a spicy chicken dish in soy sauce and yogurt on my brother's birthday.  It was so long ago that he has forgotten the recipe. We can seldom recreate our own creations, but this is as close as I could get. I used coconut milk instead of yogurt and added curry leaves. Tweak to suit your taste. Search for your own perfection.

Method using wok or frying pan :
  1. Clean, pat dry with paper towels and dice 2 lbs (1 kg) boneless chicken thigh into serving size. Marinate in salt, turmeric, ground cumin-coriander, red chili powder, ground black pepper, lemon juice overnight.
  2. In a wok or nonstick frying pan, fry 1 big onion (finely chopped), minced ginger, crushed garlic, minced green chilies, 1 medium sized tomato, and 10 curry leaves.
  3. Crush whole garam masala like 1 stick of cinnamon, 4-5 green cardamom, 5 -7 cloves, 1/2 tsp coriander seeds and 1/2 tsp peppercorn in mortar and pestle. Add to the wok.
  4. When the onions have been fried well, add the chicken. Keep stirring. Do not cover yet.
  5. Add 1 tsp dark soy sauce, 2 tsp (or drizzle) low-sodium soy sauce. Stir and cover.
  6. When the soy sauce is almost dry, add coconut milk. Cook till the oil separates.
Use whole green chilies instead of minced if you want it less hot.

Alternate method:
You may also use the ingredients to make a spicy roasted chicken. Use a cornish hen with skin on and rub the marinade inside the sking and over it. Cook 30 mins at pre-heated oven at 375 F (190 C) for 30 mins and turn to cook another  20-25 mins (or until the skin is crisp). Broil the last 10 mins. If you are using coals, place the chicken sufficiently distant from the heat so the chicken cooks through before the skin gets too brown.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Lemon Rice



  1. Parboil rice. Drain.
  2. In a wok heat oil, add minced onion, ginger, green chilis, chana dal, curry leaves, mustard seeds. Mix the rice with a pinch of turmeric and salt to taste. Add freshly squeezed juice of a lemon. 
  3. Add the rice in installments, stir well. Break any big chunks to ensure the flavor is even. Stir and cook further in low flame. Sprinkle salt. Add a few dry roasted peanuts or cashews.
I had it with mixed vegetables- Bengali style panchmisali. Pure bliss.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Making vadis/bori at home in the oven:an adventure

Let me confess-the store-bought vadis taste like impostors. Mom and grandmom used to make urad dal (kolai er dal) vadis/bori at home and dry them in the sunlight. California sees enough sun, but I am wary of birds adding their own ingredients into my creation. So, I looked up possibilities with an alternative source of dry heat -the conventional oven. I decided to make my own version after consulting my mom and Ashwani Uncle (from a food group on FB, thanks for the bake-cool cycle tip). One recipe suggested to use the lowest temperature for 4-5 hours. Made sense because the home made vadis were dried through the day.

Method:
  1. Soak urad dal over night or for 8 hrs, or until soft. (You may also make moong vadis similarly)
  2. Make a paste using Magic Bullet, add salt, hing, and a pinch of red chilli powder halfway through. (Ashwani uncle also suggested coarsely ground Cumin seeds, Black Pepper, Black cardamon  and Cloves for extra kick)



  3. Heat oven to the lowest. Add a thin film of oil on an Aluminium foil and place 1 tsp batter, pat with your fingers if you want, to make suitable shapes. (flattened disc traditionally).
  4. Alternately bake in 3 heat-cool cycle for an hour each. Best done on a weekend.
Recipe with vadis.

I made climbing spinach and shrimp with the vadis. Follow this recipe with shrimp. And crumble vadi/bori on top.

You can use rest of the batter to make dahi vadas. (recipe to follow soon)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

লেবু পাতা দিয়ে পাঁঠার ঝোল (Goat curry with lime leaves)


Hat tip to Soma Basak. Her recipe (Chicken Curry flavored with Kaffir Lime Leaves) is here.

I also made a variation with chicken, with Kashmiri chili powder.

Panch phoron diye macher jhol (Fish Broth using Bengali five spices)

I had this at Sujaya di's place some months ago. When Summer came, I started craving for something light and nourishing. If you have access to freshly -caught fish(one of our friend's supply us with his catch of the day sometimes. Joy da , I am talking about you :) ) you can use this recipe with great jubilation. Sometimes, I even use frozen Tilapia fillets and it tastes as good.

পাঁচ ফোড়ন  দিয়ে মাছের ঝোল 
  1. Steam the frozen fillets for a minute in microwave(Skip this step if you are using fresh fish)
  2. Dry excess water with paper towels. Cut the fillets into halves. Rub on both sides evenly: freshly squeezed lime juice, turmeric, salt, red chili powder, bhaja masala(dry roasted cumin-coriander, ground to powder). Keep aside.
  3. In a wok, add mustard oil and shallow fry the fish. Remove and drain in paper towels
  4. In the same oiil, you used for frying, add 1 tsp panch phoron (equal parts fenugreek seed, nigella seed, cumin seed, black mustard seed and fennel seed), minced onions, minced garlic, minced ginger and minced green chilies.  Sometimes, I slip a few extra methi or fenugreek seeds because I like its flavor in fish broth.
  5. Add potatoes (steam in a microwave to save cooking time). When the potatoes are about done, add diced tomatoes. After sauteing for a while (Bengali : কসানো ), add lukewarm water (1 cup , 1 min in microwave). Cook covered. 
  6. Add the fish and turn at the most once. Add chopped cilantro when it is about done. Kill the flame. Serve with steamed rice.
You may use salmon fillet for this light broth. Temper it with kalo jeere and methi instead of panch phoron.

Vermicelli pilaf/pulao


  1. Bring a sauce pan of water to boil. Add vermicelli and boil on low till soft. Take out and drain in a colander in cold water. (to prevent sticking)
  2. Cut potatoes and cauliflowers into bite sized pieces. Microwave with water for 3-4 mins or till al dente. 
  3. In a non-stick frying, heat 1 tsp cooking oil,  add minced onions, mustard seeds (can skip), curry leaves, minced green chilis (I used 2 ), green peas, turmeric, salt. Stir. Add  drained potatoes and cauliflower that you steamed first. Next, add the vermicelli. Add spicy cashews (or dry roasted ones). Taste for salt.
I had it for breakfast today with tea. The instruction packet asked us to fry the vermicelli for pulao. I prefer to boil them.

Some variations use tomatoes and carrots. This preparation is similar to my breakfast poha or chirer pulao recipe. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Summer coolers

Mince 1 bunch of organic mint with 1 tsp jaljeera, 1 tsp black salt, 1 freshly squeezed lime with a little water. Keep refrigerated. Serve with crushed ice and water or ginger ale. (You may add sugar if you want, I don't)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Noodles in low-sodium chicken broth


  1. Boil water with salt, add chowmein, (put green beans first, then fish them out if you are using them). Drain the boiled chowmein in a strainer, pour cold water if necessary. 
  2.  Add peanut oil in a wok, add diced onions, serrano chilies, parboiled beans, celery and leeks. Put a handful of cashews or peanuts if you want an added crunch.
  3. Now add low-sodium chicken broth, a squirt of lime (or 1 tsp white vinegar) and drizzle some low-sodium soy sauce. Now add the noodles and mix well.
  4. Add a soft boiled or hard-boiled egg. You might scramble the egg too. Top with crushed pepper and serve warm

Monday, July 7, 2014

Double chocolate brownie cake with roasted hazelnuts

This is a quick recipe for a tasty brownie cake and you simply can't go wrong with this.



1 egg
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 cups Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix (or 2 cups sieved flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1 cup cocoa powder and chocolate chips)


  1. Whisk the ingredients (measure accurately) well and bake at 325 F for 25 mins.
  2. Dry-roast a handful of hazelnuts and rub them in paper towels after they cool down. Hammer or crack them and toss in a small sieve to remove rest of the skin. 
  3. Pour chocolate sauce and serve.

    You may want to warm it in the oven before serving.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Doi fulkopi posto diye (Cauliflower in poppy seed- yogurt sauce)


  1. Cut cauliflower into bite sized florets. Microwave them for 4 mins in water with diced potatoes . Drain the water in a colander.
  2. In a frying pan (with cover), add 2 tsp mustard oil, 1/2 tsp ghee, 1-2 bay leaves, 1/4 tsp nigella seeds (kalo jeere or kalonji), 4-5 slit green chilies. Add the vegetables. Cover and cook.
  3. In a coffee grinder, add 3 tsps cashews, 8 peppercorns, 3 tsp poppy seeds, 3 green cardamom, 1/2 cinnamon stick- ground to a fine powder. Add it to the vegetables, evenly.
  4. Stir and cook till the poppy is well roasted. Beat 3 tbsp yogurt with water, add evenly.
  5. Cover and cook until the oil separates and the vegetables are well done. You may slip in a few golden raisins and a spoonful of sugar.
For other recipes with posto (poppy seeds), see:

Chana dal with zucchini


  1. Wash well and then soak chana dal in clear water over night.
  2. Add black pepper corn, red round Chile pepper, 1-2 star anise, green cardamom,  salt, turmeric and aamchur (dry mango powder) in a pressure cooker, cook till the steam appears.
  3. In a frying pan, add diced (half-moon) zucchini (green or yellow), panch phoran, and halved heirloom tomatoes. Add salt, kashmiri mirch and bhaja masala (dry roasted- cumin-coriander-red chilies). Cook till oil separates.
  4. Add the zucchini mix, a pinch of hing (asafoetida)  and ghee (for smell). Simmer till done.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Kanch kolar kofta kadhi (plantain/green banana balls in gram flour-yogurt gravy)



This recipe is like a Punjabi munda marrying a Bangali meye. I wanted to make kancha kolar kofta but I didn't want to use the traditional Bengali gravy and thought of making it in kadhi gravy that uses besan (gram flour) and yogurt.

Method:
  1. Boil 4 potatoes and  3 medium-sized plantains in a microwave safe bowl for 10-15 minutes with water. (makes about 10- 15 balls)
  2. Peel and mash the vegetables. Add salt, turmeric, dry roasted cumin-coriander-red chili powder, minced cilantro, green chilis and ginger. Roll into balls. 
  3. Deep fry in batches. Turn frequently.
  4. For the gravy, beat yogurt with salt, turmeric, kashmiri mirch powder,  bhaja masala, and besan.
  5. In a wok, fry minced onions, cumin seeds, black mustard seeds, 2 red chilies broken, and 1 bay leaf broken in half.  Add the gravy and cook in low heat till it boils, adjust water, salt and spices for taste.
  6. Finally, add the kofta balls, simmer for a while. Serve with rice or roti. 
(You may add curry leaves in the gravy)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Salmon with leeks (pan fried)



  1. Saute 1 large diced leek in olive oil in a non-stick. Stir occasionally.
  2. Cut salmon into bite sized size , rub salt, cumin-coriander powder  and low sodium soy sauce (or any other spices you prefer). Add to pan.
  3. You may add julienne ginger and minced green chili here. Drizzle some more soy sauce. Some herbs like dill and tarragon also go well with this recipe.
This is a pan fried recipe, you may also bake the fish and add sauteed leeks to it.

Made a side of Romano beans with poppy seeds.

Also making Peach Sangria for some guests on Sunday.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Beresta Chicken




For Joyita di

'Beresta' means fried onions, and you can use it in fish  and dal recipes too. You may add some store brought fried onions along with the onions you fried at home to get extra flavor.

Since this recipe uses a lot of onions, you risk making the gravy too sweet. Use freshly crushed peppercorn to adjust heat. Also, it is essentially a Bengali roast, so ensure that the heat is spread evenly while cooking and slow fry the onions to get the best flavor.

Method:
  1. Cut leg quarters into serving sizes- the thigh portion cut into two, the leg portion slashed to let spices in. ( I prefer chicken with bones for this recipe.) Marinate in ground korma spices and salt overnight.
  2. In a frying pan big enough to place the chicken pieces in one layer, heat mustard oil to smoking point, lower the heat, spread thinly sliced onions, stir and fry until soft. Add some store bought crunchy fried onions, stir.
  3. You may  add some whole spices (like bay leaf, cloves, cardamom) to complement your ground Korma masala.
  4. Add minced garlic, ginger and green chilies and some whole green chilies. Fry till the raw smell is gone.
  5. Layer the chicken pieces in the pan, fry both sides. Mix well with the masala. Cover and cook.
  6. Add beaten (essential) yogurt evenly over the chicken. Cover and simmer on low heat.
  7. Sprinkle a little water if you think the spices will dry up. Best if you let the chicken cook in its own juices. 
  8. Add some crushed pepper for extra flavor. 
  9. You may also add a tad of cumin coriander powder. (Optional)
I made beresta salmon with tomatoes last night. It was delicious. Skip the korma masala and use bhaja masala instead when you make fish with beresta. Unless, you want to -who am I to curb your creativity? Happy cooking.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Pan roasted vegetable ratatouille

Mélange de courgettes, de tomates, de poivrons, et d'aubergines
  1. Dice zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper or sweet peppers, and tomatoes. 
  2. Mince garlic or use garlic salt, pepper, minced basil (or fresh thyme).
  3. Pan roast in olive oil until the vegetables are cooked thoroughly.
You can add an Asian twist with minced green chilies and low sodium soy sauce.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Pan fried salmon with lime and fresh thyme


  1. Remove scales, clean, and pat dry a salmon fillet. Cut into serving size. ( I use a pair of scissors for cutting the skin ).
  2. Drizzle evenly :  freshly squeezed lime,  garlic salt, low-sodium soy sauce, chopped Thai chilies, and freshly ground pepper.
  3. Heat olive oil in a pan, place the salmon with skin facing down. Cover and cook. Flip.
  4. Flip one more time, raise the heat to make the skin crispy if you prefer.  Serve with your favorite sides.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Salad ideas

Salad greens with dry cranberries, honey-roasted almonds, feta and balsamic vinaigrette

Salad greens with julienned carrots, endive, dry apricots, pistachios, blue cheese crumbles and white balsamic

Baby spinach with caramelized walnuts, grape tomatoes, cheese crumbles 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Buttermilk pancake with orange blossom honey and pecans


Recipe: 1 egg, 1 cup all-purpose flour, pinch of baking powder, salt, sugar, 1 cup buttermilk. Blend the ingredient (egg first)and shallow fry in 1 tsp melted butter. Top with honey and pecans

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

More smoothies


Banana spinach smoothie with Bulgarian buttermilk. My occasional attempt to be kind to my body. And its yumm.

Ginger-apricot smoothie

Add crushed ice or cold water to get the right consistency if you are using Greek yogurt.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Chingri Malaikari (Jumbo prawns cooked in coconut milk and yogurt)

  1. Clean, remove shells and de-vein the jumbo prawns.


  2. Rub salt, turmeric, red chili powder, a squeeze of lemon juice. Keep aside.
  3. In a non-stick, heat mustard oil and saute the prawns on both sides until red. Remove from oil.
  4. Add 1 tsp ghee and finely minced onions. Fry a little then add minced garlic, ginger and green chilies. 
  5. Add 2 tsp of plain yogurt. Add 3-4 tbp of coconut milk. You may add 1 tsp of tomato paste for tanginess. When the gravy is about done, add 1 tsp sugar and then add the fried prawns. Cover and simmer. Flip once.
  6. If the gravy is too thick -add 1 cup of warm water. Taste for salt. You may sprinkle crushed pepper if you like. You may also add a pinch of  home made garam masala and/or bhaja masala.

Best served with steamed rice