Thursday, April 10, 2014

Stir-Fried Spinach with Shrimp & Mustard Paste

Palang Shaak Shorshe Chingri
A popular condiment on the Bengali table is kasundi which is a mustard sauce that goes great with stir-fried spinach. Brown/red mustard seeds are ground to a fine paste, sometimes in combination with raw mangoes, and vinegar to make a sharp, fiery and tangy sauce. This sauce is served with greens or snacks and is unforgettable. The last time I bought a bottle in North America, it was most disappointing because the kasundi was made with acetic acid and burned my mouth. I threw the whole bottle away.

While stir-frying spinach the other day, I decided to try the next best thing. A package of salad shrimp mixed with mustard paste and added to the spinach at the last minute, gave me the desired and much-craved taste of kasundi with greens. This spinach dish was outstanding!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Minty Chicken Curry in Yogurt Sauce

Dadu's Ceylon Chicken Curry
Mum used to make this scrumptious recipe of Dadu’s (Grandfather). He was a
gourmet cook and loved International cuisine as much as Baangal (East Bengali) food. The combination of mint, cilantro and yogurt gives this chicken curry a very unique flavour.

Tahina Baingan - Stir-Fried Eggplant with Toasted Sesame Seed Paste

Baba Ghanoush and Baingan Bharta are some of my favourite eggplant dishes. Here I have combined the two and it tastes wonderful. The tahina or toasted sesame seed paste adds a creaminess and rich flavour to this dish. Tahina is apparently the same as tahini. The only difference I could see is that tahina is light brown in colour and tahini is white. I found the tahina in a Middle Eastern grocery store.

5 Mixed Vegetables with Crab Paste

Shukto with Crab Paste

The bitterness of the bitter melon is made more palatable with the addition of crab or shrimp paste. The cauliflower this time was really fresh and the outer leaves and stems were begging to be used, so I added them to this dish.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Stir-Fried Rapini with Eggplant, Onions & Garlic

Shorshe Saak e Begun
Watching Italian chefs on TV prepare broccoli rabe or rapini with dried red peppers, onions and garlic made me very curious about this vegetable. I came across these greens in the vegetable section of the grocery store and they felt crisp and very fresh. The smell of the fresh greens reminded me of mustard greens, but the leaves and stalks of the latter are much longer and bigger. Rapini is a lot shorter and has small little clusters of broccoli nestled in the greens. The aroma of the dish as it was cooking was heavenly and it tasted even better.

Stir-Fried Catfish Fillets and Potatoes

Magur Maach Alu Makha Makha
I had a few pieces of catfish fillet in the freezer so decided to add half a russet potato and rustle up a quick stir-fried dish. This goes well with both rice or Indian bread.

Dry Egg Curry with Potatoes

Alu Pyaj Deem Bhaja
All credit for this dish goes to Pritha Sen who shared it on Kitchen Raagas in Facebook. For the benefit of those who cannot access the recipe on Facebook, I am detailing how I made this. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mayz' Taco Salad

Mayz spent the evening with us last week and on the way home I asked him, 'What is the most interesting thing you ate since we last saw you?' and he thought about it for a while and replied, 'Taco Salad!' With a vigorous nod of his head he said, 'It was very good!' He had it at home, his Mama made it and he gave me a list of everything in it. What he liked best about the Taco Salad were the Nachos that were crushed and mixed in with everything else.

This recipe is dedicated to Mayz, who is GrandBoy #2, age 6.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Burmese Nga Hpet Thoke - Fish Cake Salad

Fish Cake Salad
A quick & easy salad using fish cakes that are available in most Asian grocery stores. There is no mention of salt because the fish cakes are already seasoned and cooked and the fish sauce is salty. This salad is salty, tangy, crunchy and very tasty.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Fuji Apple Salad or Raita

A recipe for green apple raita on the Internet caught my attention because all of the ingredients are always available in our home. Flavorful Fuji apples, I decided, would work really well here and that turned out to be true. We try to avoid sugar in our household, so that was replaced with a packet of Splenda. The garnish was another of my adaptations to the original recipe.

Raita is a common part of an Indian meal and is identifiable by its white yogurt dressing. This salad is usually made with cooked (e.g. boiled potatoes & fried okra) and uncooked (e.g. diced cucumber & grated carrots) vegetables. Raita is served chilled and cools the palate during a spicy meal. Rather than serving it as a first course, it is eaten in between and after more spicy items and helps digest the meal.

I’ve used Greek yogurt which is much higher in protein than regular yogurt and is what I had in the fridge. Vanilla flavored yogurt (Danon Lite & Fit) also makes a good dressing for raita.