Friday, July 12, 2019

No-Cook Frozen Srawberry 'Cheesecake'

Frozen Strawberry 'Cheesecake'
This dessert was inspired by a recipe I found on the Taste of Home website. I used sweetened strawberries and omitted the sugar from the original recipe. Also, instead of making a blueberry sauce, I served it with the juices from frozen strawberries. It's one way to satisfy a craving for cheesecake without having to heat up the whole house by baking in the oven for 2 hours. Transfer the frozen dessert from freezer to fridge a couple of hours before serving and slice with a serrated knife.

Peach Jello Blancmange

Peach Jello Blancmange
This recipe was inspired by one on the Taste of Home websiteBlancmange (blah-manjh) is a French dessert that is made with milk and gelatin, akin to Italian panna cotta. This is made with Cool Whip instead and orange jello. It's very quick and easy to assemble, tastes divine, transports well and is a cool, velvety dessert for these dog days of summer.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Chicken Feet and Fish Ball Laksa

Chicken Feet and Fish Ball Laksa
For a speedy lunch yesterday, a package of instant laksa noodle soup was simmered with laksa sauce and coconut powder (both included in the package of noodle soup), 2 chicken's feet, 2 bulbs of baby bok choy and 6 fried-frozen fish balls. A heartwarming and delicious lunch was ready in 5 minutes!

All the ingredients were picked up at our local 168 Asian Mart, a top quality supermarket in which to spend an afternoon. The chicken's feet were cleaned and pre-cooked with green chili peppers and red chili sauce. There are lots of other exotic cooked goodies in that section!

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Mum's Peppery Cabbage

Morich'er Bandha Kopi

All of Mum's recipes that I have posted on this food blog reflect her nurturing. In spite of her busy schedule during the week, she devoted her weekends to bonding with the lot of us through the meals she prepared. Neighbours would drop by, tempted by the aromas emanating from her kitchen, and were always welcome to share our meals.

Cabbage is such a bland vegetable, but no one could work miracles with it like Mum did. I've made this from memory with some adaptations. For example, Mum would have used black pepper powder in place of white and would have garnished this dish with ghee, rather than coconut oil. I wanted to keep the coconut theme going and wanted the colour to remain white, which is why I used white pepper powder. The cabbage is cooked just until done, but still crisp, with loads of garlic and white pepper powder. Served as a side dish, it goes well with rice or chapatis.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Oven-Baked Begun Bhaja

Oven-Baked Eggplant
Frying eggplant on the stove top consumes a lot of oil. The eggplant acts like a sponge and soaks up the oil almost on contact. I prefer to bake the eggplant until it turns golden brown. I learned the scoring method from a 'foodie' on Facebook which ensures thick slices of eggplant bake evenly all the way through. I've cut Indian eggplants in half which work well in this recipe.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Chicken in Cashew, Mustard and White Poppy Seed Sauce

Kaju Shorshe Posto Murgi
This dish was inspired by a Facebook post for Shrimp cooked in cashew and white poppy seed sauce. After a number of adaptations, this is what I arrived at. It was made with chicken instead of shrimp with the addition of lime juice and mustard paste which completely changed the flavour and aroma of the original recipe.

Monday, June 03, 2019

Mohinga - Burmese Fish and Rice Noodle Soup


A couple of friends joined us for lunch the other day, to enjoy a Burmese meal. 

Of course, the question was 'What is the difference between Mohinga and Ohno Khaukswe?' Mohinga is made with de-boned fish in a light broth served over rice noodles and Ohno Khawkswe is made with chicken in a coconut broth served over egg noodles. Both are generally served at breakfast in Burma, but we have them for lunch or dinner.
Setting the Table
Both noodle soups are served in soup bowls and eaten with the boat shaped soup spoons that are visible at the center of the table. Make sure to have lots of napkins to sop up the dribbles!
The Noodles and Soup
An essential ingredient in Mohinga is sliced heart of banana trees, which is not easily available in North America unless you grow your own, so I substituted with water chestnuts for their crunch. Whole pearl onions make the soup more flavorful.

Noodle Soup and Eggs
I love the texture of hard-boiled eggs in my Mohinga. It's one of the many garnishes used to dress up this fish soup.

Noodle Soup and Garnishes
A fully dressed bowl of Mohinga. 

Laphet Thoke

The Mohinga was served with a side of Laphet Thoke or Pickled Green Tea Leaves Salad.

Kyauk Kyaw

And Kyauk Kyaw for dessert.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Bhel - Chickpeas and Potatoes Salad


Chickpeas and diced, boiled potatoes tossed with tomatoes, onions, green chillies, cilantro and bhel puri masala made a refreshing salad for lunch. The bhel puri masala kit, which I keep on hand,  is available in Indian markets. I've served this as an appetizer with mini pita pockets for friends at dinner.  

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Alu Phulkopi'r Ghonto - Potato and Cauliflower with Rice

Alu Phulkopi'r Ghonto
The difference between Phool Kopir Ghonto & Phool Kopir Pulao, in my humble opinion, lies in the ratio of cauliflower to rice. In a Ghonto, the ratio of cauliflower to rice is 2:1, and in a Pulao the ratio is 1:2. By adjusting the amount of gravy, it can be served wet or dry. This is a vegan and vegetarian dish that can be served on auspicious occasions.

I first had Phool Kopir Ghonto at my sister's place. She follows a vegetarian diet one day a week and has a amazing repertoire of vegetarian dishes. This dish has stuck in my memory and even though I haven't followed her recipe exactly, it tasted wonderful!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Fish Curry with Eggplant and Lentil Dumplings

Begun Bori Diye Macher Jhol
I've made variations of this dish and blogged about them in the past. Today I combined eggplants with dried lentil dumplings or bori in this Maacher Jhol. There was an abundance of eggplants in the fridge, of the Japanese variety, which are my favourite. Bori are little nuggets of "deliciousness" which add another dimension to anything they're added to. They are salted so make sure not to add salt without first tasting the gravy.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Burmese Chin Baung Kyaw

Stir-Fried Roselle Leaves
Chin baung ywet or roselle leaves are a sour spinach that are similar to sorrel. Although they don't look anything like each other, they taste almost the same and can be cooked with shrimp, chicken or other meat. The greens tend to turn black when heat is applied to them, so I like to mix them with regular chopped spinach to cut back on the tang and to make them look green and vibrant.

Burmese Fish Balls Sipyan

Fish Balls Sipyan
Fish balls remind me of the time a group of co-workers and I went to lunch at a Chinese restaurant and I ordered fish ball and watercress soup. A Chinese lady and I were the only ones who had ever heard of fish balls, so it was the source of much amusement and glee for our meat-and-potatoes comrades. 

Fish balls can be made at home, but are readily available in Asian markets here in North America. When made from scratch, all the tastes that make them uniquely Burmese can be added to the fish mixture so that the flavors permeate from the inside out. Using generic fish balls from the market requires that they be simmered long and slow and, for this, the sipyan method works best. 'Sipyan' translates to 'oil returns' which requires a simmering process on medium-low heat that evaporates the liquid until all the oil rises to the surface.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Sour Cream Banana Nut Bread

Sour Cream Banana Nut Bread
There are few foods more comforting and satisfying than banana bread. My earliest recipe was inspired by the one on the Crisco Oil website. That recipe uses Crisco oil, but over the years and many adaptations later, I've managed to come up with one that is diabetic-friendly. 'Is bedder wid budder!' my nephew would say which is true in this case, so that was a major shift. White sugar was replaced with coconut sugar which has a much lower GI (Glycemic Index). 

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. GI of white sugar is 68 (medium) compared to 35 for coconut sugar (low) making the latter diabetic-friendly.

Disappearing Fast

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Zucchini Karaishuti'r Bhortha - Zucchini and Peas Mash

Zucchini and Peas Bhortha
If you love Baingan Bhartha, like I do, you'll like this too. DH brought home so many fresh zucchinis last week that I was able to make a zucchini bread and this bhortha. Our Ninja Chopper, a cherished gift from our daughter-in-law, made short work of rough-chopping the zucchinis. 

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Fish in Mustard & Poppy Seed Sauce

Shorshe Posto Bata Maach
I find that making this dish on the spur of the moment is not possible because mustard seeds need to be soaked overnight in salt and water to get rid of its bitterness.  Pre-grinding mustard and poppy seeds to a powder saves a lot of time.  The other time-saver is to add the fish directly to the gravy instead of frying it beforehand.  This steams the fish, keeping it moist and tender.  

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Cheera'r Palau or Flattened Rice Pilaf

Kanda Poha
Cheera (Bengali) or Poha (Hindi) or Flattened Rice (English) is parboiled rice that has been flattened and dried. It's available in packages at Indian markets all over India and North America and is considered a 'good' food for diabetics.

Uncooked Cheera or Poha
Thick poha is preferable to using thin poha in this recipe so that the appearance and texture is preserved after cooking. I made the mistake of purchasing thin poha so, as you can see, the individual grains are barely noticeable.

I was under the misconception that Kanda Poha refers to the potatoes in this poha dish, but during a phone conversation, my sister said it refers to the onions in the dish. Onions are considered to be non-vegetarian in certain parts of India so it's important to name it appropriately.

It's a hearty and filling meal which, if had for lunch, curbs hunger pangs that usually occur in the late afternoon.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Arahar Dal with Green Beans and Tamarind

Yellow Split Peas with Tamarind
Yellow split peas, also known as arahar dal in Bengali and toor dal in Hindi, generally has a bland taste so I like to introduce the sweet and sour taste of tamarind paste to excite our taste buds. Add a dash of dried, red pepper flakes and some vegetables for an unforgettable lentil dish.

Cooking it under pressure produces a thick and creamy dal with the added bonus of cooking in under 15 minutes. So here is a quick and hearty side dish that goes well with both steamed rice and chapatis.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Lau Shukto - Squash in Mustard and Poppy Seed Sauce

Lau Shukto
Shukto is a very Bengali dish of vegetables that must include bitter melon as a component. However, some vegetables such as bottle gourd or lau (it's Bengali name) can be cooked on its own, in the same style, and are also called shukto. I have cheated by adding onions (not considered vegetarian) and tomatoes to this Lau Shukto. Our Ninja Chopper came in handy again to dice the vegetables really fine, so that they cook quicker. 

This can be served as a side dish with rice or chapatis.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Gota Sheddo - Lentil & Vegetable Stew

Gota Sheddo
Gota (whole) Sheddo (boil) is a lentil and vegetable stew in which the vegetables are left whole or cut in big chunks. It's a ceremonial dish, both vegetarian and vegan, that uses green (unhusked) mung beans, a combination of 3 or 5 vegetables, minimal oil, fennel seeds and strips or slices of fresh ginger. Pictured here are red salad radishes, whole baby potatoes, chunks of Japanese eggplant, whole jalapeno peppers and sweet potatoes. All the ingredients are placed in a pressure cooker with a cup of water and cooked under pressure for 10 minutes. It's best served with steamed rice.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Stir-Fried Spinach and Chickpeas

Saagwala Channa
A delicious way to dress up a simple bowl of spinach is to add meat or chicken, or in this case, chickpeas/garbanzo beans. Cooking it in a pressure cooker creates a creamy spinach in which the chickpeas provide a satisfying texture. The ingredients are similar to those used in a Saagwala Murg or Lamb. 

This side dish goes well with either steamed basmati rice or chapatis.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Thai Curry Pastes

Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste
"Aromatic herbs such as lemongrass, galangal (Thai ginger) and fresh red chilis are harvested at their peak of freshness and carefully blended with fragrant spices for the perfect balance of flavors. Use as a stir-fry seasoning, a soup base, or with coconut milk to create a delicious Thai curry. Add a teaspoon to your favorite marinades for a bit of spiciness." from Thai Kitchen

Make Easy Red Curry Paste at home.

Thai Kitchen Green Curry Paste
"Aromatic herbs such as lemongrass, galangal (Thai ginger) and fresh green chilis are harvested at their peak of freshness and carefully blended with fragrant spices for the perfect balance of flavors. Use as a stir-fry seasoning, a soup base, or with coconut milk to create a delicious Thai curry. Add a teaspoon to your favorite marinades for a bit of spiciness." from Thai Kitchen

Thai Kitchen Yellow Curry Paste
"Aromatic herbs such as lemongrass, galangal (Thai ginger) and fresh yellow chilis are harvested at their peak of freshness and carefully blended with fragrant spices for the perfect balance of flavors. Use as a stir-fry seasoning, a soup base, or with coconut milk to create a delicious Thai curry. Add a teaspoon to your favorite marinades for a bit of spiciness." from Thai Kitchen

Saturday, March 02, 2019

Thai Green Fish Curry

Thai Green Fish Curry
One of my favourite items at a Thai restaurant, green chicken curry is always loaded with vegetables. This is a green fish curry to which rainbow peppers, peas and onion slices have been added. In place of salt, fish sauce has been used. 

Green, red and yellow curry pastes are available in tiny bottles wherever Thai ingredients are sold in Asian markets or at regular supermarkets, but you can very easily make your own at home. Take a look at these recipes for Thai Curry Pastes to get an idea on how to recreate them at home.

Friday, March 01, 2019

Shutki Chingri Diye Bandhakopi - Stir-Fried Cabbage with Dried Shrimp

Stir-Fried Cabbage with Dried Shrimp
Credit for this recipe goes to Mum who used to cook shredded cabbage with black pepper and eggs. I've blogged before about Grated Cabbage with Eggs that is similar to this. Adding the shrimp powder (entirely optional) adds a lovely Burmese touch to this dish.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Chaler Muro Ghonto - Fish Head Curry with Rice

Chaler Muro Ghonto
I was browsing through a Korean market recently and came across their open freezers and found bags of 'Rohu Fish Head and Tail'. One of my favorite Bengali dishes is Muro Ghonto and it tastes best with rohu or rui or carp fish heads. When I make it, I have only me to please, so it turned out to be spicy hot and rich!

On a phone call with my sister, she gave me the instructions for this simple and straightforward way of preparing this delectable dish. She kept stressing the importance of frying the pieces of fish until they were fully cooked so it took some time to brown the fish, but that was the most complicated step. 

It's a one-dish meal and I was quite happy to have it without anything else.