Sunday, October 04, 2020

Creamy Yogurt Cake


Yogurt Cheese Cake

A creamy, practically guilt-free cheese cake that substitutes cream cheese with yogurt. I followed a Burmese video to make the cake. I was impressed with how delicious the cake turned out considering the minimal number of ingredients used.

Friday, August 21, 2020

Korean Japchae - Stir-Fried Glass Noodles with Meat and Vegetables



Japchae is a Korean sweet and savoury dish, traditionally made with sweet potato noodles, lots of vegetables and meat. Vegetables must include onions, re-hydrated mushrooms, carrots and spinach or other greens.

Here's what you need

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Misti Alu'r Bhortha - Mashed Sweet Potatoes


Misti Alu'r Bhortha

Sweet potatoes are so comforting and tasty when they're baked. It's a lot easier to wash them, pierce with a fork or sharp-tipped knife all over, wrap in wax paper and microwave for 10 minutes, turning over at half time. Once they soften and the skin peels away easily, the sweet potato can be mashed with a fork and combined with mustard oil, minced onions, minced green chilies and salt. Several vegetables are steamed and mashed in this way into a bhortha. 

We'd run out of green chilies, but there's always a bottle of Priya green chili pickle in the fridge. It's the closest thing to kasundi because the sliced chilies are pickled in mustard sauce. This is what I used in this bhortha, so the flavour of mustard was accentuated.

Served as a first course to an Indian meal, bhortha goes well alongside lentils or dal with hot, steamed rice.

Dried Fruit and Nut Sprinkles

Dried Fruit & Nut Sprinkles

Called Choori in Hindi, this muesli-like mixture is made with left-over chapatis or tortillas. I found the recipe on the internet. 

Instead of using excess tortillas for bird food, they can be toasted and pulsed in a blender with nuts, desiccated coconut, dried fruits such as dates and raisins and sugar, unrefined sugar, coconut sugar or jaggery. Choori can be served as a breakfast cereal, sprinkled over ice cream or eaten as a snack. Cooled and stored in an air-tight container, Choori can last for several weeks.

I used a couple of excess flour tortillas and a mixture of ingredients that I had at home, including almonds, unsweetened and dried desiccated coconut, dates, raisins and coconut sugar. The ingredients were blended together to a grainy texture and seasoned with cardamom powder (you can also use cinnamon powder) to give it that unique Indian flavour. 

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Thai Pork Salad - Nam Sod


This is a popular salad item found on Thai menus that is generally made with minced pork, but also tastes great with minced chicken. It's light and delicious as a salad, but I always make extra so that I can add vermicelli noodles and carrots for lunch the next day.

Friday, July 31, 2020

Burmese Minced Meat with Pickled Bamboo Shoots

Burmese Minced Meat with
Pickled Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo shoots taste lovely when they are cooked with shrimp, as in Burmese Bamboo Shoots with Tomatoes and Shrimp and Burmese Bamboo Shoots with Green Onions and Shrimp. For those of us who are allergic to shrimp, cooking bamboo shoots with minced meat tastes just as good.

Bamboo shoots are found in Asian grocery markets either soaking in water or sliced and pickled in packages. I prefer the latter because they are always tender and the pickling juices help to season the meat perfectly.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Anise Flavoured Almond Biscotti

3 batches of Almond Biscotti

Coffee and biscotti go together like bagels and cream cheese. I've been buying Nonni's Biscotti for decades. They come in a package of 8 biscotti at .50 cents for each biscotti. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Nonni's Biscotti along with so many other food items were scarce, so I had to resort to baking them myself because after all this time, they've become a habit and an addiction.

I bought a biscotti pan which included a basic biscotti recipe. Since the recipe is printed on a slip of paper and because there is no URL to link to, the recipe has been re-written below in my own words. I've also taken the liberty to add anise seeds and almond extract to the list of ingredients.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Pui Shaak'er Ghonto - Malabar Spinach and Vegetable Stew

Pui Shaak'er Ghonto
I love the bright colours of the vegetables and spinach in this dish. It looks and is healthy and delicious! 

Dinner generally consists of a vegetable dish, followed by lentils and a main course of fish, meat or eggs. This vegetable stew would, therefore, be served as the first course or a side dish with rice or chapatis.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Simplified Sorshe Bata Koi and Alaskan Rockfish - Fish in Mustard Sauce

Sorshe Bata Koi

Alaskan Rock Fish in Mustard Sauce

Both kinds of fish, bone-in and filleted, were prepared in mustard sauce or sorshe bata, the former for my enjoyment and the latter for Hubby who does not like to mess with the bones. The recipe was simplified by combining all the ingredients, except for the mustard sauce, in a bowl and left on the counter top to marinate for 1/2 hour. A cold skillet is placed over medium-high heat, the marinated fish poured into it and brought to a boil. The heat is lowered to medium-low, the fish covered and simmered for 10 minutes before the mustard sauce is added. Everything is stirred together and simmered for 10 minutes more and garnished with green chilies.

Best served with steamed long-grain rice, this is a delightful part of any Bengali meal. The koi maach/climbing perch is not for the inexperienced consumer of fish because great care and skill is required to successfully remove every sharp bone in the fish.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Burmese Stir-Fried Rice Noodles with Minced Meat

Burmese Stir-Fried Rice Noodles
 with Minced Meat
A Burmese video posted on Facebook provided the inspiration for this recipe. It was super simple to follow and needed just a few often-used ingredients that I regularly stock in my pantry. 

To make things easy on myself, I purchase substantial quantities of ground chicken, brown the lot in some oil, crumble and freeze it for future use. It's quick and easy to assemble the ingredients, when needed, if the minced meat is already cooked.

Ideal for lunch or if unexpected guests drop by, this is one dish that I'll be making often.
Stir-Fried Glass Noodles
 with Minced Meat

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Chet Oo Chin Hin - Burmese Egg Curry

Chet Oo Chin Hin
Chet = Chicken 
Oo = Egg
Chin = Sour
Hin = Curry or Gravy

I love the convenience of combining all the ingredients for this egg curry in one skillet and simmering over medium-low heat until oil rises to the surface. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Phool Kopi Alu Diye Tilapia Maacher Jhol

Tilapia with Cauliflower and Potatoes
Cauliflower adds a special touch to fish curry, and is one of my favourite vegetables. The fish pieces, cauliflower and potatoes are all tossed with turmeric and salt and are fried, separately, to a golden brown before being added to a gravy. The gravy is composed of onions, tomatoes and ginger paste to which the powdered spices, dissolved together in a few tablespoons of water, are added. The dish is garnished with cilantro and jalapeno peppers.

Served over a bed of steamed rice, this main dish takes center stage at any Bengali meal.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Indian Egg and Potato Salad

Indian Egg and Potato Salad

Leftover Egg Salad
There were 2 hard boiled eggs left of the Egg and Onion Salad that we had yesterday. The eggs were chopped and the rest of the remains combined with mayonnaise to create a unique dressing for potato salad. This has to be taste-tested to appreciate the umami of mustard oil. So when you make Egg and Onion Salad, be sure to make extra for some Indian Potato Salad for lunch the next day.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Burmese Chet Tha Sipyan - Chicken in Red Curry Sauce

Chet Tha Sipyan
In Burmese, Chet Tha (chicken meat) Sipyan (oil returns) is a chicken gravy in which oil floats to the top. The vibrant red color in the gravy is achieved through generous amounts of Kashmiri mirch or paprika. The wings are marinated with fish sauce, turmeric powder and paprika, fried until golden brown, then simmered in a red curry sauce. Boiled new baby potatoes are added for a contrast in texture.

Sunday, June 07, 2020

Egg and Onion Salad Dressed in Mustard Oil

Egg and Onion Salad

Dressed In Mustard Oil
A suitable side dish to accompany biryani or khichuri, this simple egg salad is dressed in mustard oil. The original recipe was posted in a food group on Facebook. This was made with a couple of changes to that recipe. 

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Burmese Chicken Biryani - Danbauk

Perfectly paired with Tomato Raita.
Tomato Raita
The only unusual ingredient used is Oriental curry powder - I used S&B brand.
S&B Spicy Curry Powder
The recipe looks tedious but is no different from any other biryani.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Rice Noodles and Asparagus in Spicy Black Bean Sauce

Rice Noodles and Asparagus
In Spicy Black Bean Sauce
It feels like the world is slowly waking up from this pandemic that has gripped our lives for the last two months. Supermarkets are still displaying sparsely stocked shelves except in the vegetable and fruit departments.

In Spicy Black Bean Sauce
When asparagus is available, it's best to cook them as soon as they arrive home or they lose their flavour and texture in a hurry. An easy and tasty way to have asparagus is to use south-east Asian flavours and here's what I did.

Crispy Gyoza Crepe

Crispy Crust
Had this for lunch today, following recipe for 'Gyoza with Wings' by Namiko Cheng of 'Just One Cookbook'. Her recipes are all well-written with clear instructions that produce excellent results. 

Flipped Right-Side Up

I used rice and tapioca starch for the batter and ready made chicken-vegetable dumplings. I was disheartened that the crust was not forming, but just had to be patient to get perfect results. Then it looked like the crust would not peel away from the frying pan, but with a little coaxing, that too worked out fine. I used a small (6-inch) cast iron frying pan which retains heat forever, so using a saucer to flip the crepe was tricky. I plan to get myself a pair of silicone gloves for the next time this is on the menu.

Took a Bite to Taste
A delicious way to serve dumplings, the base of which are crispy and crunchy. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Sorshe Bata Maach - Fish in Mustard Gravy

Shorshe Bata Maach
This is a favourite main dish prepared in my household. Black mustard seeds sauce has a sharp and pungent taste that is similar to Wasabi or spicy Chinese mustard sauce. Some people combine mustard sauce with poppy seed paste to tone down the pungency, but that is frowned upon in my family. 

To prepare the sauce, black mustard seeds must be soaked in tepid water for at least two hours or preferably overnight. The seeds, along with water in which it was soaking, is placed in a blender jar with salt and a green chili, blended at maximum setting until smooth, and then added to the fish.

Any white fish, cleaned and left whole, cut in steaks or filleted can be used according to taste and is best served with hot, long-grained rice.

Sevai Payesh - Toasted Vermicelli Pudding

Sevai Payesh
Payesh is a milk-based dessert that is cooked long and slow on the stovetop. It takes ages for 8 cups of milk to thicken and is tedious because it has to be closely monitored during this entire process. Milk solids easily stick to the bottom of the pan and even the slightest hint of burning will mean pitching the entire batch and starting over again.

I'm all for making my life as easy as possible, so I mix a can of evaporated milk with 6 cups of milk to hasten the process. Instead of using plain white sugar, I use brown sugar or jaggery to give a beautiful caramel color to the milk. A lot of time is saved by using already toasted vermicelli that is readily available in most Indian markets. If toasted vermicelli is not available, break up the vermicelli is small pieces and toast it in a skillet with a tablespoon of butter or ghee until golden in color.

This dessert is a deeply satisfying end to a festive meal.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Tilapia Maach'er Tel Jhol - Tilapia Fillets in Mustard Oil Gravy

Tilapia Fillets in Mustard Oil Gravy
This is a delectable way of preparing fish when you're craving a tasty fish dish to have with hot and fragrant Basmati rice. It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare on the stove top and is finger-licking good! To save time on the days I cook, when fish arrives home on marketing day, they are cut into serving size pieces, rubbed with salt and turmeric powder and stored in Ziploc bags, ready to slide into a skillet on demand.

The gravy is so simple to assemble that the resulting goodness at the end is a pleasurable surprise.  It's perfect for those busy days when the choice between going out to eat or enjoying a hot bowl of rice with fish at home is a no-brainer! And it uses only a few ingredients that are staples in any Indian home.

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Maggi Noodles Omelette

Maggi Omelette
Maggi Omelette with Sriracha
This YouTube video was the inspiration for our delicious lunch today.  It combines my two loves, eggs and noodles. Very simple to make with no more than 5 ingredients (not counting butter, salt and pepper) lunch can go from conception to table in less than 30 minutes. This recipe makes 2 servings.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Bachu's Begun Panch Phoron - Eggplant Flavoured with 5 Spices

Begun Panch Phoron
My brother sent me this photograph of his Begun Panch Phoron. The five spices are cumin, fennel, nigella, mustard and fenugreek seeds. These seeds are sputtered in oil for tempering and more are later roasted and ground to add flavour to the stir-fried eggplants. Cut the eggplants in bite-sized pieces. Bachu cut them in long pieces. I diced mine.

Here is my dish.

Chicken Rezala with Saffron

Chicken Rezala with Saffron
Perfect for entertaining, this chicken dish was marinated and simmered in the same skillet. The only bit of work was blending the paste comprising Greek yogurt, almond slivers, deep-fried onions and raisins.

Everything was combined in the skillet and left at room temperature to marinate for 2-3 hours, then slowly simmered over medium heat for 25-30 minutes until oil floated to the surface. It's the creamiest, most succulent chicken preparation that I have had in a long time. I have Mum to thank for introducing me to this dish.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Komola Kopi or Stir-Fried Cauliflower and Mandarin Orange Segments

Komola Kopi
I came across this unusual recipe on Facebook and since oranges and cauliflower are staples in our home, gave it a try with excellent results. Since most of the orange segments melted down in the cooking, I added more before removing it from the stove top. Its appearance, aroma and taste were in a class of its own. I love the occasional burst of sweet citrus flavour! 

Serve this as a side dish with rice or chapatis.