Amritsari Express – A taste of Punjab in town

Amritsari Express is one of  the newest entry into Kolkata food scene. Located at the newly refurbished food court of South City Mall , it is a revelation of North Indian cuisine. While we would mostly associate the cuisine with a lot of non veg items , Amritsari Express is a vegetarians delight. Theirs is a fairly decent effort to bring the dhaba food culture to the city. And what could be better than enjoying delicious and indulgent Amritsari food in the comfort of an airconditioned mall. So I have not yet had the privilege to visit the city of the Golden Temple, but trust social media to tempt me every now and then with the variety of food that the city offers. Hence an invite from them was good enough for me to jump right in for an afternoon of tasting.

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The menu is varied with an array of Parathas, Kulchas,Naans, Lassis and some interesting combos. We tasted a few kinds of Kulchas that came with a side of Choley, Rajma and Paneer. Special mention to Chur Chur Naan – an Amritsari Express speciality. You can choose to enjoy it with some raita or a gravy item, the list has a lot of options for you to choose from.The Lassis also deserve a special mention. There again you have a whole lot of option starting from Rose to Strawberry to Kesar to even a sugar free version. All this made avaiable to you at  a very resonable price point too.

So after a frenzied shopping run or just to savour in some indulgent food , Amritsari Express is where you should be headed. There are days when you are craving for a good vegetarian meal and trust me when i say, that they will not let you down. Amritsari Express has a strong presence in New Delhi with mulitple outlets at various malls and shopping complexes, this is their first venture in the City of Joy. We surely can show them some love.

You can find them on :

Address – 4th Floor,Food Court,South City Mall, Kolkata. Ph – 7840050661

Twitter – www.twitter.com/amritsariexp

Instagram – www.instagram.com/amritsariexpresshq

Facebook – https://m.facebook.com/amritsariexpresshq

 

Orange Pound Cake with Honey Butter Sauce

Winters and oranges are synonymous. Unfortunately I live in a winter starved city and making the most of what ever little I get is the only way out. Childhood memories are filled with afternoons spent by the sunny window of our Haflong residence relishing the sweetest and most juicy home grown oranges. Our annual visits to the Orange orchards in Jatinga is still vivid in my mind. The rule was you could sit and eat as many oranges you wanted but you couldnt pick them and get home! Sometimes me and my sister would make the most amazing Komla Makha – essentially a mash of fresh oranges with salt and chilies with a dash of mustard oil while Ma would be taking her afternoon siesta. Can those days come back please.Or only if I could let Aadish live those days too. This recipe that I am sharing today is just an impromptu attempt at using up some oranges but since it turned out so good I decided to share a post. Its a basic pound cake flavoured with fresh orange juice and zest , however what makes it gourmet is the Honey Butter orange sauce!

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Orange Pound Cake with Honey Butter Sauce
Recipe type: cake
 
Ingredients
  • Ingredients for the Orange Pound Cake :
  • Flour - 1 cup
  • Brown sugar - 1 cup
  • Butter - 100 gms - i used Amul
  • Eggs - 2 large or 3 small
  • Baking powder - 1 tsp
  • Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
  • Fresh orange juice - half a cup
  • Freshly grated zest of orange.
  • Ingredients for the Honey Butter Sauce:
  • Honey - 2 tbsp
  • Butter - 2 tbsp
  • Fresh orange juice - 1 cup
  • Orange slices
Instructions
  1. Method ;
  2. Cream sugar and butter till fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition.
  4. Whisk in the vanilla essence and orange juice.
  5. Sift the flour with baking powder.
  6. Add the flour to the wet mixture.
  7. Fold in gently making sure there are no lumps.
  8. Top with some freshly grated orange zest.
  9. Pour the mixture to a greased round baking tin.
  10. Bake at 180 deg C for 35 to 40 mins or till done.
  11. Let it cool completely.
  12. For the Honey Butter Orange Sauce:
  13. In a pan heat the butter till lightly browned.
  14. Add the honey and orange juice. Add a little sugar if the oranges are not too sweet.
  15. Lay the sliced oranges in the pan and let it simmer for 10 to 15 mins till the sauce thickens.
  16. Pour the sauce on top of the cake and serve .
 

Chicken and Mushroom in Sour Cream sauce

Winter holidays are just about to start and for me that means a lot of extra effort to keep my 11 yr old busy. This year since we are not travelling anywhere, i intend to experience this city like i did as a child. So that would essentially include visit to the planetarium, Victoria Memorial, the Birla Musuem and of course a lot of eating out! We are chalking out an itenerary so that we can make the most of these holidays and create some wonderful memories. What is life afterall, just a beautiful collage of memories. Todays recipe also has a dose of memory in it. Its my take on my grandmothers soul satisfying Chicken Soup. A very simple recipe that used to be our staple evening snack while growing up. She simply used to boil a whole country chicken with some salt and pepper. Then drain the stock, Saute some chopped onion and garlic and ginger in butter, add the stock, season and serve with a slice of toast. While I do make that soup a lot too, this experiment also turned out great. Mushrooms are abundant now all year round so that adds a lovely texture to the dish. Since it was made for lunch, served it with some spring onion herbed rice.

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Chicken and Mushroom in Sour Cream sauce
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Continental
 
Ingredients
  • Chicken breast/leg pieces - 2 large pieces - cut into smaller pieces
  • Button mushrooms - 1 small box - cut into halves
  • Onion - 1 large - chooped
  • Garlic - few pods- crushed
  • Flour - 1 tbsp
  • Chicken Stock - 2 cups
  • Sour cream - 1 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Butter - 2 tbsp
  • Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Instructions
  1. Marinate the chicken with some garlic, salt and pepper.
  2. Heat oil and butter in a pan.
  3. Pan fry the chicken pieces till slightly brown.
  4. Remove from pan and keep aside.
  5. In the same pan, add the onion and some crushed garlic.
  6. Saute till lightly browned.
  7. Add mushrooms, fry till done.
  8. Add flour and stock.
  9. Add the pan fried chicken pieces.
  10. Add seasonings.
  11. Whisk in the sour cream.
  12. Let the gravy simmer. Remove as it thickens.
  13. Serve with rice or bread.
 

Chili Garlic Fish along with some pickled vegetables

In my quest to make easy but delicious everyday meals I have been making a lot of Indo Chinese dishes. Today on the menu was some Chili Fish, that i served with some steamed long grain rice and pickled vegetables. The markets are filled with fresh green vegetables and this is the best time to indulge in the goodness of these greens.

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My choice of fish was basa but any boneless fish fillet would work fine I reckon. Feel free to add some peppers to the gravy if u wish to, it enhances the taste.

For pickled vegetables, cut carrots and cucumber in thin strips. Make a mixture of vinegar, salt, sugar and tabasco. You can add some chopped red chilies for heat. Soak the cucumber and carrot strips in this mixture for an hour and serve with the fish. Can easily be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days.

Chili Garlic Fish along with some pickled vegetables
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Chinese
 
Chinese Fish curry
Ingredients
  • Basa fillets - 8-10 nos
  • Onion - 1 large finely chopped
  • Garlic - 8to10 pods - crushed
  • Spring onion -a handful chopped
  • Ginger paste - 1 tsp
  • Soy sauce - 1 tbsp
  • 'Vinegar - 1 tsp
  • Red chilli sauce - 1 tbsp
  • Veg stock/warm water - 1 cup
  • Green chilies- a few - chopped
  • Corn flour - 1 tbsp mixed with little water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sugar - a pinch
  • Oil - 1 tsp
Instructions
  1. Marinate the fish fillets with a tsp of soy sauce, salt, pepper and a tsp of corn flour.
  2. Pan fry till cooked and keep aside.
  3. Preparing the gravy:
  4. Heat oil in a non stick pan.
  5. Add garlic and ginger paste.
  6. Next add the chopped oinions and saute till browned on low heat.
  7. Add soy sauce, vinegar, red chilli sauce, salt, pepper and sugar.
  8. Add a cup of stock/water and let the gravy simmer.
  9. Add the spring onion and chilies.Check for seasoning.
  10. Add the fish fillets to the gravy.
  11. Lastly add the cornflour slurry amd remove from heat as the sauce thickens.
  12. Serve with rice.
 

Caprese Salad – A plate of sunshine on cold winter days

If there is one thing I really miss here in Kolkata, that would be availability of a variety of Cheese. You know the kind of Cheese shops you find when u travel abroad, where you go bonkers looking at the range, you dont even know what half of them are, those kinds! However things are getting a little better and you do find a decent variety nowadays at the supermarkets. I was pleasantly surprised with the range of cheese available at Big Basket, was a bit unsure of the taste and quality but nevertheless ordered a box of Boconcini. And I was not disappointed.

My first thought was to make a fresh Caprese Salad and I went with that.

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Caprese Salad - A plate of sunshine on cold winter days
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Italian
 
Fresh Salad with Tomato and cheese
Ingredients
  • Tomatoes - 4 large - thinly sliced
  • Boconcini cheese - a box of it - say around 10-12 balls
  • Basil leaves - a handful
  • Fresh lettuce - a bunch
  • For the dressing:
  • Extra virgin olive oil - 3 tbsp
  • Honey - 1 tbsp
  • Crushed garlic - 2 pods
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Lay the lettuce and tomato on a plate.
  2. Tear the cheese roughly and put on top. Add the basil leaves.
  3. Put all the ingredients listed under dressing in a jar and mix well.
  4. Pour on top of the tomato and cheese.
  5. Leave to rest for half an hour so that it soaks up the flavours of the dressing.
 

Chicken Lasagna – Homestyle and Cheesy

The weather here in Kolkata calls for hearty meals. Am getting my zeal back to spend a considerable amount of time in my kitchen and trying out a lot a recipes that had been earmarked for a while now. Chicken being the preffered choice of protien, I am always looking out to do something different with it. One pan or one pot meals works best when you are pressed for time but still want something delicious. However there are times when you crave something indulgent, something that makes you go yum,yum,yum like a lasagna! My first memory of tasting a lasagna goes back to my LSR days when Big Chill( my mostest favourite eatery of all times) had opened up in the neighbourhood. Digging into that gooey goodness of cheesy meaty lasagna. Never missed a chance to grab atleast one meal there whenever I am in Delhi which is rare now. So to revive all those delicious memories I took it upon me to recreate the dish in my kitchen. It takes some amount of effort but at the end it was totally worth it. A little amount of prep the day before goes a long way. Like i prepeared the meat sauce a day in advance, it kind of enhanced the flavours too. So the next day it was quite a breeze to put it all together.

00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20181209133405665_COVER~2Ok now one important point here. I was always confused whether to pre cook the pasta sheets before layering or just let it the way it is for it to cook in the oven. I scoured around for some info on this but failed to get a clear picture so i decided to pre cook it anyways. Just dunked them in boiling water for 10 seconds and then layer them up. Worked beautifully I must say! You guys go note the recipe and give it a shot, promise you wont be disappointed.

Chicken Lasagna - Homestyle and Cheesy
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Italian
 
Cheesy gooey one dish baked Chicken Lasagna
Ingredients
  • Lasagna pasta sheets - around 8 to 10 - precook for 10 seconds in boiling water.
  • For the chicken mince sauce:
  • Ingredients:
  • Minced Chicken - 500 gms
  • Chopped onions - 2 large
  • Tomato paste - 8 large
  • Minced garlic - 4-6 pod
  • Oregano - to taste
  • Basil leaves - a handful - roughly chopped
  • White pepper - to taste
  • Salt - to taste'
  • Sugar - 1 tsp
  • Bay leaves - a few
  • Oilve oil - 2 tbsp
  • Butter - a blob
  • Paprika - 1 tbsp for colour
  • Chicken stock - 1 cup
  • Fresh cream - 2 tbsp
  • Extra virgin olive oil - 2 tbsp
  • For the white / bechamel sauce:
  • Flour - 2 tbsp
  • Butter - 2 tbsp
  • Milk - 2 cups
  • Grated cheese - 1 cup - i used cheddar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Some more grated cheese - a mix of mozarella and cheddar to top the lasagna
Instructions
  1. Making of the chicken mince sauce - try make it a day in advance
  2. In a deep dish pan melt the butter and olive oil.
  3. Add the mince garlic and saute till fragrant.
  4. Add the chopped onions, Saute till slightly browned.
  5. Next add the tomato paste, oregano, bay leaf,basil leaves,salt, pepper and sugar.Cook the tomato paste till oil separates on the side of the pan.
  6. Add the chicken mince. it will release a fair amout of water. Cook till the water dries up.
  7. Add the chicken stock and cook till the sauce turns thick. Check for seasoning.
  8. Finish with fresh cream and EVOO.
  9. Making the white/Bechamel Sauce:
  10. In a non stick pan, melt the butter.
  11. Add the flour and roast till fragrant .
  12. Now add the milk slowly, stirring constantly with a whisk so no lumps are formed.
  13. Keep stirring while the sauce thickens up. add the grated cheese.
  14. Add salt and pepper to taste. Check before adding salt as we already added cheese.
  15. Keep aside.
  16. Take a rectangular or square deep baking dish.
  17. Start making layers.
  18. Put a layer of pasta sheets at the bottom of the dish. Then layer of mince sauce, then some white sauce, top with some grated cheese.
  19. Repeat the layers till u reach the top of the dish.
  20. Top with a lot of grated cheese. Cover the dish with foil paper.
  21. Bake at 180 deg C for 30 mins.
  22. Remove the foil and bake at 200 deg C for another 10 mins.
  23. Serve hot!
 

Honey Mustard Glazed Chicken Roast

Its that time of the year again when you are just reminiscing about the months that went by and start looking forward to a brand new year and wish for everything to get better. You pull yourself together one more time and hope to make the best of the time you have. I am doing that too! Really looking forward to the coming year and making the most of it. Workwise i have been extremely lazy and i wish to change that for good. Like I keep going back to my favourite quote by the very wise his Holiness The Dalai Lama ” Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions” So on this note, I decided to make a Roast Chicken as its almost Christmas and I wanted to test the recipe one more time before I put it up on the blog. And I also put up the tree and decorated it pretty with all the little things that I have collected over the years. It felt good I must say.

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Now coming back to the roasted chicken it is again a very simple recipe. The marination is the key and the longer the marination the better. Simple flavours work best and a honey mustard glaze just adds to the taste. Add vegetables of your choice, i kept it simple with just onions and potatoes. Serve it with choice of your breads and your Christmas lunch is sorted.

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Honey Mustard Glazed Chicken Roast
Recipe type: continental
 
Tray bake Roast chicken with a honey and mustard glaze.
Ingredients
  • Whole chicken - 1 medium sized. I used the one with skin on
  • Olive oil - 4 tbsp
  • Ginger and garlic paste - 2 tbsp
  • White pepper - to taste
  • Salt - to taste
  • Chopped dill leaves - a handful - optional. you could use any fresh herb of your choice.
  • Juice of 1 big lime
  • A few whole onions and potatoes
  • For the glaze :
  • Dijon Mustard paste - 1 tbsp
  • Honey - 1tbsp
  • Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Instructions
  1. Clean and pat the whole chicken dry.
  2. Make a marinade with the olive oil,ginger garlic paste,salt,pepper, lime juice and chopped dill leaves.
  3. Rub this mixture nicely all over the chicken. Add the potatoes and onions also into the mixture Let it rest overnight in the fridge.
  4. Just before you put it in the oven, rub the honey mustard mix all over the chicken.
  5. Grill in the oven for 40 mins at 200 deg for the first 30 mins and then at 175 deg C for the remaining 10 mins.
  6. Keep glazing the chicken at regular intervals for that lovely colour.
 

Oatmeal Choco Chips Cookies

Hello everyone! I baked some Oatmeal Choco chips cookies and they turned out pretty good so sharing it for you all. These i baked primarily for my nearly 11 yo boy who is growing up too fast too soon. I say this because everyday is a new revelation , everyday a new challenge. Many of us end up wondering what is the right way to parenting, is there a right way at all? Honestly, i feel you just go with the flow, with your gut and handle one day at a time. In this process we end up learning ourselves, so does your child. There is no universal rule to bring up a child and thats what a decade of motherhood has taught me. Each child is different, so is our approach to their upbringing. There are some thumb rule ofcourse that i follow. When it comes to respect, discipline,and gratitude there is no bargaining with me. Our kids are born into  privileged lives and as parents its imperative that they are made to understand early on that this is not something to be taken for granted. Each day is a miracle , an oppurtunity to start a fresh and chase your dreams. I guess thats enough of a parenting tip for the day!

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As keeping with the practice of  sharing easiest of recipes, this one is super easy too. Hardly 5 basic ingredients, one bowl mix and you are good to go. Being a mom to a fussy eater these recipes come super handy and there is no doubt in your mind that you are giving your child something healthy, something homemade, filled with love.

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Oatmeal Choco Chips Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Cookies - Biscuits
 
One bowl mix healthy cookies
Ingredients
  • Oatmeal - ½ cup - just grind regular breakfast oats in a grinder
  • Flour - 1 cup - can use whole wheat flour also
  • Egg - 1 no
  • Butter - 50 gms - I used amul butter
  • Baking powder - ½ tsp
  • Brown sugar - half cup
  • Chocolate chips - 1 cup
  • Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon powder - 1 tsp - optional
Instructions
  1. In a bowl , mix together butter,sugar, egg and vanilla essence. Mix well and
  2. keep aside.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the flour, oatmeal, baking powder and cinnamon powder,
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and mix well into a soft dough.
  5. Add the choco chips and mix into the dough.
  6. Line a baking tray with butter paper.
  7. Make small balls , flatten a little bit on your palms and put on the tray. Keep some space between the cookies as it will spread out while baking.
  8. Preheat oven to 180 degrees and bake the cookies for 20 mins.
 

Muhammara Sauce – A delicious blend of roasted peppers and walnuts

A jar of delicious dip is a blessing when you are looking at healthy snacking options and this Muhammara Sauce is just perfect. I am trying my best to follow a healthier diet and stay away from fried and sugary snacks so I am continuosly looking at making dips of all kinds – pesto, yougurt based dips and now this muhammara sauce. It is basically of Turkish origin but also used a lot in Lebanese and Mexican cuisine. muhammara sauceThe recipe beautifully blends together chargrilled red bell peppers and walnuts with easy seasonings. Here I used a mix of sea salt, chili flakes and dried parsely. Serve it with crackers or corn chips whenever you feel peckish or you can also use it as a marinade for roasting chicken or making some grilled fish.

Muhammara Sauce - A delicious blend of roasted peppers and walnuts
Author: 
Recipe type: Dips - condiment
Cuisine: Continental - Mexican
 
Healthy dip made of peppers and walnuts . Can be used as a marinade too.
Ingredients
  • Red bell peppers - 500 gms - cut into cubes or strips
  • Walnuts - 1 cup
  • Garlic - few cloves
  • Olive oil - 2 tbsp
  • Sea Salt - to taste
  • Sugar - 1 tsp - i used brown sugar
  • Chili flakes - 1 tsp
  • Dried Parseley - 1 tsp
Instructions
  1. In a baking tray arrange the bell peppers and cloves. Drizzle the olive oil on top and season with salt, sugar and chili flakes.
  2. Roast for 20 mins at 200 deg C till slightly charred.
  3. Roast the walnuts in a pan.
  4. Blend together the roasted bell peppers with the walnuts into a smooth paste. You can lave it a bit chunky too.
  5. Check for seasoning. Add the chili flakes and dried parseley and store in a jar . Keeps well refrigerated for almost a month.
 

Buddha Bowls – Clean eating done right

Buddha Bowls –  is one in of the emerging food trends in the world.With more people engaging in  a healthier lifestyle, food habits are also changing for the better. For people on the go there is no better way these to pack in the necessary amount of proteins, carbs and vegetables.

I am also trying to adopt a healthy eating regimen and these buddha bowls are my current favourite. While there is no particular recipe , i just try and do new combinatons every now and then. The key is fresh ingredients , alternate grains, loads of green vegetables, sometimes a portion of grilled chicken or boiled eggs with a dressing of olive oil or a dollop of peanut butter, pesto or simple yogurt.

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For this particular bowl , I just tossed together some pan fried tofu, some vegetables, sauteed mushrooms, soft boiled egg and just a drizzle of olive oil mixed with a little honey, salt pepper and some chili flakes.A very good option is to add some healthy carb like quinoa or some red or brown rice. Promise to share more combinations as i go until then this should be a good start.