Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chicken, Cauliflower & Potatoes with Spring Onions

Pyajpata, Phoolkopi Diye Murgir Jhol

This dish was inspired by the recipe submitted by a member of Kitchen Raagas, a Bengali foodie group on Facebook.  You can find the original recipe here.  I followed the recipe closely, except that I used boneless & skinless chicken thighs instead of skin-on, bone-in chicken legs.  For those of you who do not have access to Facebook or don't belong to the Kitchen Raagas group, the recipe is provided below.

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken legs
1 cauliflower, cut in florets
2 russet potatoes, cut in bite-size pieces
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
2 tsp. Kashmiri mirch or chilli powder
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 large onions, chopped
Make a paste -
   1 large onion, chopped
   6-8 garlic cloves, chopped
   2" piece ginger
2 tsp. coriander powder
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp. sugar
1 bunch green onions,cut in 1" pieces
5 green chillies

  1. Toss cauliflower & potatoes with salt and fry until golden. Set aside.
  2. Wash chicken legs and dry with paper towels.
  3. Heat oil over medium heat, add chopped onions and fry until translucent.
  4. Add chicken, salt, turmeric & coriander, stir-fry until chicken is golden.
  5. Add paste & tomatoes and stir-fry for a few minutes.
  6. Turn heat down to low, cover & simmer on low heat until oil resurfaces.
  7. Pour hot water into pan, stir well and bring to a boil.
  8. Return cauliflower & potatoes to pan, add sugar, salt to taste & stir well.
  9. Cover & simmer on low heat until everything in pan is tender.
  10. Garnish with green onions & chilies before removing from heat.
Serve with steamed rice, chapati or naan.

Lau Chingri Posto

Bottle Gourd & Shrimp in White Poppy Seed Gravy

This is another one of Mum's recipes that I retrieved from my notebook.  She taught me that the vegetables in any recipe must all be cut the same size and shape so that they cook evenly. The bottle gourd/squash can be replaced with pumpkin, sweet potatoes, zucchini, okra, eggplants or practically any other vegetable.   

2 bottle gourd or 5 Chayote Squash, peeled & cut in strips
1 russet potato, peeled and cut in strips
1/2 lb. medium size shrimp, shelled and deveined
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. nigella seeds (a.k.a. kalo jeera/kalonji)
1 dried red chili, deseeded
1 large onion, chopped
2 tsp. ginger paste
1 large tomato, chopped
3 tsp. white poppy seeds (a.k.a. posto/khus khus)
3 tsp. black mustard seeds
3 tsp. unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 tsp. sugar
Salt to taste
3-5 green chilies
1 tsp. ghee


  1. Peel gourd/squash & potato.  To cut gourd in strips, cut in half lengthwise, slice crosswise into crescents, stack crescents and cut into strips.  To cut squash, remove tops, cut in half and soak in water. Place one half cut side down on chopping block and slice crosswise into crescents, then cut into strips. Cut potato in the same way. Set all aside.
  2. Soak mustard seeds in tepid water and a tsp. salt for an hour.  Drain and set aside.
  3. Soak poppy seeds in boiling water and set aside to cool.
  4. In a blender, combine drained mustard seeds, poppy seeds along with water, 1 green chili and some salt.  Liquefy until paste turns white.
  5. Toss shrimp with salt and saute lightly in oil until pink. Set aside.
  6. Sputter nigella seeds and dried chili in hot oil.
  7. Add onions and fry until translucent.
  8. Add gourd/squash, tomatoes, salt to taste and ginger paste. Stir well.  
  9. Cover and simmer on medium heat until done.
  10. Add shrimp, sugar and blended paste. Cook for 5 minutes.
  11. Garnish with green chilies, cilantro and ghee.  Remove from heat.
Serve as a side dish with hot rice, chapatis or naan.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Chicken Chow Mein & Crispy Rice Soup with Dumplings

This is a real "cheater's lunch". The Chow Mein is a mixture of frozen, pre-cooked & packaged vegetable Chow Mein from Sam's Club and left over Chicken & Vegetables cooked in a white sauce from our favourite Chinese take-out restaurant.  The soup is made from chicken broth, dumplings and crispy rice from the Vietnamese grocery store called Com Say Cha Bong, whose listed ingredients are crispy rice, dried shrimp floss, red chili flakes and deep fried onions. The dumplings are also available frozen from the Vietnamese store and are stuffed with shrimp.  Here's how I put together this speedy lunch for two.


Chow Mein
1 pkg. Ajinomoto Vegetable Chow Mein (6 or 8 pkgs./box)
Left over Chinese Chicken & Vegetables in White Sauce

Dumpling & Crispy Rice Soup
2 cups Tyson or Campbell's chicken broth
1 cup water
8 frozen, pre-cooked shrimp dumplings
1/2 pkg. Com Say Cha Bong (from Vietnamese store)


Chow Mein

  1. Remove packaging from noodles, place noodles in a covered pan over medium heat and cook until thawed.
  2. Stir in chicken & vegetables along with sauce and simmer until thoroughly combined and heated.
  3. Divide between 2 noodle bowls.

Dumpling & Crispy Rice Soup

  1. Bring broth and water to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Add frozen shrimp dumplings and cook until dumplings float to top.
  3. Divide Com Say Cha Bong between 2 soup bowls.
  4. Top each bowl with 4 shrimp dumplings and pour the broth over.
  5. Enjoy the sound of the snap, crackle and pop of the crispy rice when the hot broth is poured on it.