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.

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.