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

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.


Asparagus
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.


Friday, March 20, 2020

Misti Doi or Sweet Yogurt

Misti Doi
Misti Doi is, customarily, served at the end of a spicy meal. It's served chilled and is light and delicious! This is the closest thing to the misti doi that is available in sweet shops located at practically every street corner in Kolkata.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Rene's Momos

Rene's Momos
Be prepared to snack as you make these juicy dumplings. They're a famous and popular appetizer in Darjeeling, India. The Tibetans make them accompanied by thukpa, a wholesome and hearty noodle soup. 

My eldest sister whom I miss dearly, gave me this recipe with two instructions. First of all, a whole lot of minced onions should be mixed into the minced meat to make these dumplings moist and delicious. Secondly, a bottle of pani puri masala takes care of seasoning the meat. This looks almost identical to the bottles of mint or coriander and mint chutneys, available in Indian markets. The soy sauce and ajinomoto are my additions. 


Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Hot and Sour Soup

Hot & Sour Soup
A favorite soup we like to order at Thai and Chinese restaurants, this hot & sour soup is pretty straightforward to prepare at home. Myriad videos abound on the internet for this soup from which I have taken the best parts to come up with my recipe.

A specialty item that gives this soup some of its tang is Chinese pickled vegetables which, unfortunately, can only be found in Asian markets. The heat in this soup is imparted by a whole dried red chili and black pepper powder. On these cold and dreary days, this hot & sour soup brings immense comfort.


Sunday, February 23, 2020

Dilled Tilapia

Dilled Tilapia
I first had this at a Vietnamese restaurant, of all places. It was made and served on a cast iron sizzling plate which created a lovely crust on the base. Served with steaming hot rice, I wanted for nothing more!

At home, I pan-fry it which is also delicious.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Lap Cheong and Egg Fried Rice

Lap Cheong Fried Rice
Lap Cheong is a Chinese hard sausage made from pork and pork fat that is usually smoked, sweetened and seasoned. I generally freeze the package of lap cheong since I so rarely use it. It's easy to remove the casing by soaking the sausage links in boiling water until the casings puff up. They're easy to then peel off, making it less difficult to slice. I like to season the rice for depth of flavour and mix it with eggs to give the fried rice a golden hue.

This fried rice is a one-dish meal that needs no more than a bowl of soup for company. It has all four food groups and is a complete meal unto itself.


Five Vegetables Stir-Fry

Panch Mishali Sheddho
Panch = 5, Mishali = Mixed, Sheddho = Boil

Potatoes, carrots, green beans, green peas and radish are each boiled separately, just until tender. They are then combined and stir-fried together for a wholesome vegetable side dish. Different from gota sheddho or whole boiled vegetables, these are cut into bite-sized pieces. Any combination of five or seven vegetables can be used to make this side dish.


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Dak Bungalow Mutton Curry

Dak Bungalow Mutton Curry
This is a two-in-one meal of meat and egg curry. When the meat is demolished, the eggs remain and the dish keeps on giving! 

Dak bungalows are guest houses that served as mail distribution centers during the British Raj. They came equipped with all the comforts of a 'home away from home' for visiting officials. These comforts included cleaning and cooking staff who served up Indian food adapted to western tastes.

From the recipes I found on the internet, it seemed that this dish is a regular meat curry that includes two hard-boiled eggs. I used my trusted meat curry recipe and enjoyed the eggs at the end when all that remained were potatoes and gravy.


Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Stir-Fried Eggs and Potatoes

Alu Pyaj Deem Bhaja
The internet, and Facebook in particular, are an endless source of inspiration. This recipe, taken from a food group in Facebook, is one of a myriad of egg curry recipes and is also the easiest. The eggs and potatoes are boiled for 20 minutes, cooled, peeled and cut, then stir-fried with onions. By boiling the potatoes first, they taste wonderfully soft after cooking.

We had this with steamed rice, but it can be served with any Indian bread and tastes really good rolled up in a tortilla. 


Monday, January 27, 2020

Beet and Sweet Potato Chops



Garnished Chops
Sweet Potato Cakes sounded so tempting! The small number of ingredients made it look easy, so I went about collecting my supplies. In addition to the two sweet potatoes in the vegetable, there were 3 small beets. This was my first deviation from the original recipe.

I've recently replaced plain breadcrumbs with Japanese Panko Breadcrumbs but, for the life of me, could not find the box. Since it was being used as a binding agent, I reached for the jar of tapioca-rice starch instead, which turned out to be a 'happy accident' or serendipitous. The texture it produced was soft, yet 'bouncy', similar to turnip cakes. And this was the second deviation from the original recipe, although I eventually did find and add Panko breadcrumbs.

Serve with your choice of dip such as ketchup. I served it with kasundi, the Bengali substitute for French's mustard.



Monday, January 13, 2020

Green Peppers in Peanut Sauce

Green Peppers in Peanut Sauce

Any and all varieties of bell peppers taste good cooked in this tangy peanut sauce. Add as much chili powder and dried red peppers as you can handle. I kept them to a minimum to suit my family.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Saffron Cauliflower

Saffron Cauliflower
Saffron is one of those spices that should be discarded after a year because it loses its aroma and flavour. I often use saffron as a substitute for turmeric powder. In this case, cauliflower and potatoes were cooked with white poppy seed paste and saffron, which imparts a beautiful golden hue. Serve as a side dish with steamed rice, chapatis or tortillas.