Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Bottle Gourd with Fish Heads - Lau'er Muro Ghonto

Lau'er Muro Ghonto
A friend of Hubby's enjoys fishing and brought me some of his catch. We got into a discussion of how the fish he catches is cleaned. He catches salmon and trout that are pretty big in size. Fish is my protein of choice and he was quite surprised to hear that the head is the most tasty part of the fish. He throws the heads away, so I begged him to save a couple for me the next time he went fishing.

Today he dropped by with six big heads. So I'm all set for the next month. Can't believe I don't have to go to the Asian store and pay for my next fish head. These heads are so fresh which I could tell by the bright red color of the gills. It took me a fair amount of time to clean the heads, discarding the mouth, fins and gills.

Fish head or muro in Bengali is prepared with a number of different vegetables, such as spinach, potatoes, eggplant, cabbage and even in pilaf with cauliflower. Bottle gourd (chayote squash is a good substitute) also pairs well with them, so I spent this afternoon making Lau'er Muro Ghonto. Regardless of how big the squash is, it amounts to practically nothing once it's cooked and releases its juices, so use 2 bottle gourds or 5 chayote squash, if necessary.


Salmon Cooked with Onions & Tomatoes in a Mustard Gravy

Salmon Maacher Jhaal
Daddy loved fishing, although he didn't get much time for his hobby. He worked as a family physician at his clinic from Monday through Saturday and half-day on Sunday. I remember the time when, from one of his fishing expeditions, he brought home a sea turtle and laid it on the kitchen floor. We were fascinated by this sea creature, but strangely enough, I can't remember what happened to it. We didn't have it for dinner, I don't think.

When I was living in California, my aunt and I met a family from Burma and Mr. Fenton also loved to fish. His favorite fishing spot was Puddingstone Reservoir and he would return home with loads of blue gill which he would drop off at my place to clean. Blue gill tastes a lot like climbing perch (Bengalis call it koi maach). The taste of fresh caught fish just can't be beat.

Here in Michigan, Hubby has re-connected with a friend from work who has been fishing since he was a young boy. He goes fishing in the St. Clair river and showed me a picture of the salmon he caught a couple of days before. His question was whether we'd like some fresh salmon or smoked, so I asked for a little of both. The smoked salmon was outstanding and I marvelled at how well he had cleaned the fish. There was not a scale in sight and believe me, they were miniscule.

So the fresh piece of salmon brings me right back to this blog. I cut the fillet into cubes and cooked it the way Bengalis love their fish - in mustard gravy. Salmon reminds me of Ilish (or Hilsa) and they both have similar spawning habits. Both species of fish live in the sea or ocean, but make their way back to the river in which they were born and swim against the current to spawn. Just like Ilish, Salmon is an oily fish and is full of flavor.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Asian Vermicelli Chicken Salad

Asian Vermicelli Chicken Salad
A light & fresh salad that is perfect for the hot days of August, this glass noodle salad is versatile and so tasty! 

Chopped Fresh Ingredients &
Rotisserie Chicken
Combine any variety of fresh, salad ingredients along with a protein, whip up an Asian dressing and it's ready to eat in less than 15 minutes. On the cutting mat clockwise from top left are rotisserie chicken, green onions, romaine lettuce, glass noodles with shredded lime leaves sprinkled on top, English seedless cucumbers, beefsteak tomatoes, sliced onions and wedges of lime. Before serving, the salad is garnished with crunchy ramen noodles (omit for gluten-free diets) and sliced almonds.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Ghoogni or Channa Masala - Curried Chickpeas

Ghoogni served with light and puffy luchis are a favorite snack among Bengali households. A mild hint of sour taste from tamarind pulp in a thick onion and tomato gravy makes it perfect for an accompaniment to luchis. I generally have it with tortillas because they are readily available and less work than making luchis. 

Soaking dried chickpeas overnight can be substituted with a can of already cooked chickpeas or garbanzo beans in the Western hemisphere. I find that russet potatoes are a good addition. Remember that Bengalis love their potatoes and we add them to any and everything!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Quick & Easy Chicken Biryani

Chicken Biryani
Fluff with a fork to reveal the
pretty orange hue of the saffron
Here is a really quick & easy way to make biryani which is served on festive occasions. Our cause for celebration was to break a fast from eating bland food because Hubby was suffering from a digestive ailment. If you've read my past posts on the subject, they will seem labor-intensive - see Chicken Biryani and 

Served with Shrimp Curry
Choto Alu'r Dum
We had this biryani with Shrimp Curry and Alu Dum, but it tastes great accompanied by a salad or raita.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Orange Marmalade

Orange Marmalade
There are so many blessings in my life, not the least of which is my big sister, Rene. Our telephone conversations always end up on the topic of food and she's a fountain of information and wisdom on the subject. Mandarin oranges are in season in the summer in Darjeeling, India. I grew up and went to school there and one of my fondest memories was of Mum making orange marmalade. Mandarin oranges were sold in big baskets for a very cheap price and they had to be consumed in a short time so they didn't spoil.

Marmlade Using Just Two Ingredients
So, during one of our marathon calls between Rene and me, these memories surfaced and we reminisced about the steps Mum went through to make marmalade. We would have to peel all the oranges, remove the skin around each segment and collect just the pulp. The peels were set aside to make the rinds in the jam and the orange pulp with sugar was cooked on the stovetop until they reached jam consistency. The result was a clear jelly-like marmarlade with strips of rind floating in suspension.

Fast & Easy Marmalade
That's when Rene mentioned watching a food show that reduced the tedium to nil by introducing the food processor. This process produces a marmalade that is thick and rustic and oh so flavorful! The aroma that permeates through our home is heavenly! The pith just under the peel is usually removed because it's so bitter, but that's what I love about marmalade so I leave it in.

A No-Fail Method
Once I tried this no-fail method of making marmalade, I've never looked back. It's quick and easy, aromatic and full of flavor. Use it on toasted bread, English muffins or waffles. I've also wrapped cream cheese and marmalade in crescent dough to make a marmalade danish. Yumm!