Friday, April 20, 2018

Poila Boishak 2018 - Bengali New Year 2018

Poila Boishak 2018

Clockwise from top left

Bhaja Mug-er Dal e Phool Kopi - Toasted Split Mung Beans with Cauliflower

Toasted Mung Beans with Cauliflower

This lentil dish is a great side dish to add to any festive meal.  Split mung beans are toasted to a golden brown, washed and cooked until soft then combined with stir-fried cauli-florets, ginger paste and garam masala powder. A pinch of sugar and salt to taste season the lentils. It's finally garnished with cilantro, green chilies and of course, ghee.

Dim-er Dalna - Egg Curry

Dim-er Dalna
Eggs in any shape or form are easy to prepare for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Hard boiled eggs and boiled baby potatoes in an onion and tomato sauce are an egg-cellent choice for a dinner entree because they go so well with steamed rice.

The sauce is easy to prepare too, because all it requires is for the onions and garlic to be blanched in boiling water and blended with tomatoes, a green chili and ginger, then stir-fried with spices and the potatoes and combined with the eggs. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Begun Alu Posto - Eggplant & Potatoes in White Poppy Seed Sauce

Begun Alu Posto
Alu Posto is a favourite Bengali preparation and adding eggplants to it makes it creamier and more delicious. Japanese eggplants are practically seedless which makes it a good choice in this dish.

White poppy seeds, soaked in boiling water and ground with salt until thick and creamy is best served for lunch because it induces a restful afternoon nap. I love posto stir-fried with any vegetable. Add shrimp to it for boosted flavour and call it a main dish.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Surimi in Black Bean Sauce

Surimi in Black Bean Sauce
"Surimi seafood, often called “Imitation Crab”, is real seafood made with Wild Alaska Pollock, a mild whitefish related to cod, which is flavored with crab or lobster. To make surimi seafood, Wild Alaska Pollock is finely minced and then blended with other ingredients such as starch, salt, natural crab meat, and egg white. It is then formed, cooked and cut into the various shapes and styles you find at your local grocery store." This description was taken from the Louis Kemp website.

Louis Kemp Crab Delights
I like to have a package of crab delights on hand for busy days when we're too tired to dress up to go out for dinner. My sister-in-law who is a whiz in the kitchen shared a version of this recipe with me, but it was so long ago that the details have become fuzzy. From what I remember, she made it in the microwave oven and it was ready to eat in under 15 minutes.
Lee Kum Kee Chili Black Bean Sauce
For Chinese dishes, I like using Lee Kum Kee sauces. For this recipe, I mixed their Chili Black Bean Sauce with Premium Oyster Sauce and Mirin or rice wine for the sauce. Both the sauces are salted, so no extra salt was required. A sliced onion, minced tomatoes, some sliced garlic and oil combined with the sauce mixture and crab delights were microwaved for 5 minutes, stirred and microwaved for another 2 minutes. This was served over steaming, hot rice for a sumptuous dinner. The leftovers were heated in a skillet the next day for breakfast, a little oil drizzled around the edges and fried with beaten eggs that were left undisturbed to cook without stirring and served garnished with green onions over toast. That's two meals for the price of one package of crab delights.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Reshmi Chicken Wings

Reshmi Chicken Wings

These melt-in-the-mouth, fall-off-the-bone chicken wings were marinated overnight in salt & pepper, oil, and Greek yogurt whipped with ginger and garlic pastes. It's a quick and easy dish to serve at lunch or as a starter to a more elaborate Indian meal.
Meijer's Fresh Chicken Wings
They started with a 2 lb. package of chicken wings which were segmented into drummettes and wings. I saved the wing tips for noodle soup later in the week. The wings came out meaty and juicy and were ready to serve in 30 minutes, after being marinated overnight.

The recipe was inspired by one on Facebook which I adapted to my liking. I've added specifics regarding ingredients and oven settings using American weights and measures. 

It's Poila Boishak or the Bengali New Year and these wings were a great starter to our celebration dinner for my husband and me.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Murgi'r Malai Curry - Creamy Chicken Curry

Murgi'r Malai Curry

Malai Curry refers to anything that is simmered in spices and coconut milk. For those who are allergic or don't like coconut, evaporated milk can be used in its stead. Even when coconut milk is used, a few teaspoons of evaporated milk added towards the end makes the gravy smooth and extra creamy.

My niece introduced me to the ease with which chicken tenderloin pieces cook, especially in gravy dishes. Simmering them for just 20 minutes is enough to tenderise the chicken so dinner is ready in 30 minutes.

Chicken curry tastes best served with long-grain rice, but any variety of Indian bread goes just as well.

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Tilapia Macher Jhal - Tilapia in Mustard Sauce

Tilapia in Mustard Sauce
The simplest of fish curries, this is a favourite among Bengali families. I love tilapia because it's very mild with little or no fishy smell and it's easily available in supermarkets any time of year. Japanese eggplants go very well with fish and cook in no time at all.

While I was cruising around an Asian supermarket, I came across a bottle of "hot dressing oil". Turns out, it's a concentrated combination of mustard oil and wasabi oil. It has a fantastic aroma and made me tear up because it's so pungent. Just 10-12 drops of this oil applied to the fish while it was left to marinate gave it the perfect touch of mustard oil flavour. 

Here's one of the easiest ways to prepare fish curry.