Diwali Cheers with some Moong Dal Halwa

Diwali is here with  so much light and sparkle all around as. I had a super busy week cleaning and prepping my home for the festival. My single point focus becomes putting up lights all over my house, changing up the décor and prettying up every nook and corner. So much so that I completely ignored the food front. Now whats Diwali without some homemade sweets and finally got the time to whip up some sweet deliciousness in my kitchen. Moong Dal Halwa is something I totally love and the nip in the air calls for a bowl of hot hot halwa.

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The best part about hoeme made sweets is that you can control the sweetness and know what exactly has gone into it so that your little ones can enjoy it without any fear. I used condensed milk instead of sugar syrup and that kind of makes it so very easy to make this dish. So don’t wait just head into the kitchen!

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I also take this opportunity to wish each one of you a Diwali filled with love and light. Spread joy all around you, dress up and indulge in the festivities with your friends and family coz that exactly I love to do.

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Diwali Cheers with some Moong Dal Halwa
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Indian
 
A sweet dish made with pulses that is so festive !
Ingredients
  • Moong Dal - 1 cup - washed and soaked in water for 2 hrs.
  • Ghee - 100 gms
  • Condensed milk - 1 cup
  • Cardamom powder - 1 tsp
  • Almonds - a handful - chopped finely
  • Raisins - a handful - optional
Instructions
  1. Drain the moong dal and grind into a fine paste using the mixer grinder. Make sure to use very little water while grinding.
  2. In a non stick pan, heat the ghee.
  3. Add the moong dal paste and start stirring it into the ghee.
  4. Continue to stir the mixture on low heat for atleast 15 mins till the mixture smells fragrant and the raw taste of the dal is cooked through.
  5. Keep the flame low at all times. Keep stirring once a while.
  6. The mixture with turn a nice golden colour .
  7. Add the chopped almond, raisins(if using) and cardamom powder.
  8. Now add a cup of condensed milk and stir in well.
  9. Conitnue to stir for another 5to 7 mins, till you reach the desired consistency.
  10. Don't overcook or else the halwa will go dry.
  11. Remove from heat and serve hot in little bowls.
  12. Can be reheated in the micro as and when served.
 

Paneer Qalia – A rich cottage cheese curry

Hello all! How is Diwali prep coming along folks? I am just back from my  2 weeks long puja holidays at my hometown and still recuperating and thinking of ways to shed off those piled on calories. But sadly I see no light of hope on that front coz Diwali – undoubtedly my most favourite festival is just around the corner and like everyone I am also fully gearing up for it. 

The recipe I am sharing today is a feasty dish but requires very little effort. Qalia has its roots in Mughali cuisine where mutton was cooked in large cauldrons with a concoction of spices, essentially in a yogury based gravy. We Bengalis also have a version called the Kalia – essentially Rohu Kalia( fish kalia) mostly made as a part of wedding menu. I made it with Paneer as every Tuesday I need to roll something delicious out of my kitchen for the man who sticks to veg food – that one day! The use of mace (javitri) is essential as it lends a royal taste to the gravy. This curry dish goes very well with rotis as well as rice.

paneer qalia

Paneer Qalia - A rich cottage cheese curry
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Mughlai
 
A rich youghurt based cottage cheese curry dish
Ingredients
  • Paneer/ cottage cheese - 250 gms - cut into cubes
  • Onion Paste - 2 tbsp.
  • Ginger/garlic paste - 1 tsp each
  • Yogurt - 1 cup
  • Kashmiri chili powder - 1 tsp
  • White pepper powder - 1 tsp
  • Mace / javitri powder - 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1 tsp
  • Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Green chilies - 3-4 whole
  • Refined oil - 1 tbsp.
  • Ghee - 1 tbsp
Instructions
  1. In a pan lightly fry the paneer cubes in 1 tbsp. refined oil. Keep them dipped in a bowl of warm water till used in the gravy. This keeps the paneer super soft.
  2. In the same pan, add the ghee.
  3. Saute the onion, ginger/garlic paste till fragrant and golden brown.
  4. Now add the dry spices - chili powder, coriander powder, mace and the garam masala.
  5. Next tip in the yougurt. Mix well and let the gravy simmer for 5-7 mins. Keep the flame low.
  6. Put in the paneer pieces, add the green chillies. Check seasoning.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Serve with rice/roti
 

This Durga Puja is sweeter with Mother Dairy Nolen Gur Icecream

For as long as I can remember, Durga Puja meant visiting our ancestral home in Silchar, getting together with the entire family and celebrating Pujo at home. That was when my grandparents were around, the tradition however continues in my parents ‘ house and we continue to celebrate Durga puja with age old traditions. Getting up early morning, dressed up in new clothes helping in the ‘Thakur ghor’ (puja room)

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Another very important aspect of Durga Puja for us Bengalis is food! Planning menu for each day and community dining is what pujo is all about. Pandal hopping is incomplete unless we gorge into the unlimited delicacies on offer. And then there is icecream gorging too. It’s the same for kids and adults alike, there’s no stopping anyone.  Who cares about calories, these 4 days of pujo!

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Mother Dairy – an age old institution has been treating us with delicious goodness for years and this year they take it up a notch higher with the introduction of Nolen Gurer icecream. Nolen Gur or Date Palm jaggery is a seasonal delicacy that is a quintessential part of Bengalis food scene. While we would otherwise wait for the winters to savour it but not anymore.

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The luscious icecream is now on offer year long, a big thank you to Mother Dairy. It is available in a take home tub or as single serve packs. This year pujo is a whole lot sweeter for me.

Nolen Gurer icecream is easily available in the market in 750ml & 90ml and priced at Rs 150/- & Rs 20/- respectively. 
This post is a part of a campaign for Mother Dairy

 

Spiced Carrot Tealoaf – 100% wholewheat

Whenever I get down to baking a cake, my first instinct is to make those healthy robust warm cakes that we can enjoy with our cuppa and my boy can team them up with his glass of milk. As a mother and (also a wife)  to  very fussy eaters who squirm at the sight of vegetables, I also like camouflaging as much as I can in cakes and curries and soups and everything possible! Hence the idea to do this Spiced Carrot Tea Loaf. And the fact that its 100 % wholewheat adds to the value.

carrot tea loaf 1

While making these cakes, I usually stick to my 1 cup each measurement and that works in most cases. This one here is made with aata and brown sugar, spiced with cinnamon and raisins. Served with a dollop of icecream this can turn into a very wholesome dessert for kids and adults alike.

carrot tea loaf

Spiced Carrot Tealoaf - 100% wholewheat
Author: 
Recipe type: Cakes - Dessert
Cuisine: Continetal
 
A rich wholesome cake made with carrots and raisins.
Ingredients
  • Whole wheat flour / atta - 1 cup - I used the fine ashirwaad variety
  • Brown Sugar - almost 1 cup - a little less
  • Carrots - 2 small - grated
  • Eggs - 2 nos
  • Olive oil - half a cup
  • Raisins - a handful
  • Cinnamon powder - 1 tsp
  • Baking powder - 1 tsp
  • Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Instructions
  1. Sift together, the flour, baking powder and cinnamon pwder. Keep aside.
  2. In a bowl , mix together the brown sugar and olive oil with 1 tsp vanilla.
  3. Add one eggs at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Add the grated carrot and raisins and mix well.
  5. Fold in the flour mixture gently.
  6. Pour into a greased loaf pan and bake for 35-40 mins at 175 deg C
  7. Check for doneness after 25-30 mins and bake according depending on your oven.
 

Kuku Paaka – Omani Chicken Coconut Curry

My love for cookbooks is no new news! I own a lot of them and its not restricted to any particular cuisine. However sometimes I do miss out on trying something that would be earmarked for months, till I stumble upon them again. So ,its now a conscious decision to cook atleast two or three dishes from each of these books. With this motive , I started reading this beautiful book The Food of Oman by Felicia Campbell. Its a memoir of her exploration of the Omani cuisine, that is still very unknown to the world. She talks about the people, their lives and their delicious food.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the similarity in spices, a huge influence of Indian spices in their cuisine. As its rightly said, food binds the hearts and the world! I could go on and on about the book , but I rather share a lovely recipe with you all. Very  similar to the Kerala Chicken stew yet so different.  The warmth of this curry dish – Kuku Paaka will nourish your tastebuds. As the book suggested I made some Maldouf – Date Chapati or Flatbreads with pureed dates to go with the curry and it was a match made in heaven.

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The addition of vegetables like potato, carrots and beans add to the flavour and makes it a complete meal. The original recipe is a little on the drier side, but I preffered leaving some gravy on to be mopped up with the Maldouf. Btw, Omani cuisine is a treasure trove of flatbreads and to know more I suggest you invest in the book, its truly a collectors item.

kuku paka

Kuku Paaka - Omani Chicken Coconut Curry
Author: 
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Omani - Arabian Gulf
 
A subtle curry dish with vegetables in a toasted coconut gravy as adapted from the Food of Oman by Felicia Campbell
Ingredients
  • Chicken - 500 gms - on the bone, cut into pieces
  • Onion - 1 large - finely chopped
  • Garlic - few cloves - minced
  • Ginger - a small piece - minced
  • Green chillies/Fresh red chilies - 2-3 - finely chopped
  • Coconut powder - half a cup
  • Ground cumin - 1 tsp
  • Ground coriander - 1 tsp
  • Ground turmeric - 1 tsp
  • Ground cinnamon - 1 tsp
  • Carrots, Potato and green beans - a handful, cut into cubes
  • Ghee - 2 tbsp.
  • Warm water - 1 cup
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Place half the coconut milk powder in a non stick pan and roast for 2 mins till fragrant.Remove and keep aside.
  2. In another pan, heat the ghee and sauté the onion, ginger and garlic.
  3. Next add the chicken pieces and the vegetables and sauté for 2 mins.
  4. Put in the dry spices - cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and the roasted coconut milk powder till fragrant.
  5. Add half a cup of water, cover and let the curry simmer till the water dries up.
  6. In a small bowl, dissolve the remaining coconut powder in some warm water and add to the pan. Add the chopped chilies. Cover and let it simmer for another 5 mins or till the chicken and vegetables are cooked through.
  7. Serve hot with flatbread of your choice.
 

Dimer Korma

A conversation with a dear friend made me realise that this blog is something that means a lot, a lot of hard work and sweat and passion has gone into making it, so no matter how many “sabbaticals” I take, I have to get back to it. So on that very positive note, I present a new recipe to you all! I made Dimer Korma few days ago after I saw a video on FB by Banglar Rannaghar, a very popular website of great recipes. I made some minor changes and the result was a great dish.

dimer kormaEggs are a constant favourite in my household and is well accepted by both my boys, whichever way it is served. This Korma went particularly well with tawa rotis and made for a lovely treat. It is a great party dish and requires very little ingredients.

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Dimer Korma
Author: 
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Bengali - Bangladeshi
 
Eggs in a rich yogurt based gravy
Ingredients
  • Boiled eggs - 4 nos
  • Cardamon - 3-4
  • Cinnamon - 1 small stick
  • Cloves - 3-4
  • Yogurt - 1 cup
  • Brown Onion paste - 2 tbsp
  • Ginger - garlic paste - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Sugar - a pinch
  • Ghee - 1 tbsp. + 1 tbsp.
  • Green chilies - 3-4 - slit
  • Brown onion for garnish
Instructions
  1. Shell the boiled eggs, make slits , marinate with some salt and keep aside.
  2. In a pan , heat 1 tbsp. ghee. Fry the eggs lightly and keep aside.
  3. In the same pan, add 1 tbsp. ghee.
  4. Splutter the whole garam masala - cinnamon, cardamom and cloves.
  5. Next add the brown onion paste and ginger garlic paste.
  6. Fry for 2 mins and then add the yogurt.
  7. Mix well and keep the flame low.
  8. Add the salt and sugar.
  9. Add half a cup of warm water.
  10. Add the fried eggs and let the gravy simmer for 5 mins.
  11. Garnish with some fried onions and green chiilies.
  12. Serve with rotis.
 

Lemon Pudding Cake #cookfromacookbookseries

So my dearest sis in law A made me a part of an online cookbook lovers group and I cant thank her enough. It was just what I needed to positively channel my love for cookbooks. Its a close knit group with some members owning more than 300+ food books  and that is so inspiring ! We are to choose one book every two months from the Piglet list and read, cook and discuss our way through it. The very first book we picked up is the wonderful ‘My Kitchen Year’ by Ruth Reichl. Ruth not only shares her favourite recipes but also her life story and how food became her anchor to overcome some difficult times. Food to me is something that comforts me, engulfs me in warm memories and take me closer to my family, to my mother, who has been a single point inspiration when it comes to cooking. She always fed with love and that reflected in her cooking, in the dishes she made .

lemon pudding newRuth Reichl’s recipes are easy and something that can be whipped up in your kitchen. Mostly staples but some with her interesting spins. It was quite hard for me to pick up one recipe and I ended up book marking quite a few. This one I am sharing here is something I made as an easy dessert and everyone at home loved it. Its a cross between a light cake and a fluffy pudding, with that lemony tang, quite refreshing .

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As a part of this book club, we will be picking up a lot of interesting books and I will be sharing some very interesting recipes with you all , so stay tuned and until them enjoy this recipe.

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Lemon Pudding Cake #cookfromacookbookseries
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
 
A light and fluffy lemon pudding.
Ingredients
  • Lemon - 2 large - I used 1 gondhoraj and 1 yellow lime
  • Eggs - 3 nos
  • Milk - 1½ cup
  • Sugar - ¾th cup
  • salt - a pinch
  • Flour - ¼th cup
Instructions
  1. First of all zest the lemon and squeeze the juice. Keep aside.
  2. Next carefully separate the eggs.
  3. Put the egg whites in a clean and dry bowl.
  4. Keep the yolks in another bowl. Add the lemon juice and zest to the yolks.
  5. Whisk the milk into the lemon mixture, and slowly add a half cup of sugar, pinch of salt and a quarter cup of the flour.
  6. Beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Beat in a quarter cup more sugar, continuing until the whites turn sleek and glossy.
  7. Whisk a quarter of the whites into the yolk mixture, then gently fold in the rest of the whites.
  8. Pour into a deep dish baking tray. You can also use ramekins like I did.
  9. Put the baking dish on another tray and pour some hot water on the tray.
  10. Bake for about 45 mins, in steam bath, until the cake is puffed and golden but still soft at the centre.
  11. Serve warm.
I am sending this recipe to Urmi’s event Bake Mania in association with KFB

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Kacche Kele Ke Kofte ( Raw banana Koftas)

While you wouldn’t really pick up raw bananas as a part of your regular vegetable shopping, but once a while you can , to make this raw banana Kofta Curry, that’s very high on nutrients as well as taste. This recipe here is onion and garlic free too. The Bengali in me, loves her Kaanch Kola (raw banana) as we call it . I could even relish boiled raw banana mash with green chilies and mustard oil, our most trusted dish whenever tummy issues crop up. My boys however would squirm at the very idea. So I have to get as innovative as I can be and camouflage such vegetables in more appealing looking dishes.

kele kofteThis recipe here is onion and garlic free. To make it a bit fancy , I have used cashew and sunflower seeds paste to give the gravy a lovely texture and taste. You can easily make the koftas a day in advance,store it in the fridge, fry and add it to the gravy later.

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Kacche Kele Ke Kofte ( Raw banana Koftas)
Author: 
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Indian - Bengali
 
Soft koftas made from raw bananas in a rich gravy
Ingredients
  • Raw banana - 2 nos - boiled and mashed
  • Potato - 1 large - boiled and mashed
  • Roasted cumin powder - 1 tbsp.
  • Garam masala powder - 1 tsp + 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Sugar - a pinch
  • Plain flour - 1 tsp
  • Roasted cumin powder- 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
  • Kashmiri chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Cashew paste - 1 tbsp.
  • Sunflower seeds /Magaj dana paste - 1 tbsp.
  • Tomato puree - 2 tbsp
  • Green chilies - 2 nos - finely chopped
  • Refined oil - to fry the koftas
  • Ghee - 1 tbsp.
  • Salt - to taste
  • Sugar - a pinch
Instructions
  1. First lets make the koftas.
  2. In a bowl take the boiled and mashed raw bananas and the potato.
  3. Add roasted cumin powder, garam masala powder, salt , sugar and flour and mix everything together.
  4. Wet tour hand with a little water and make small balls.
  5. Keep in the fridge for 10 mins.
  6. In the meantime, heat some refined oil for frying the koftas.
  7. Fry the koftas, till the turn golden brown in colour.
  8. Drain and keep aside.
  9. Now to make the the gravy.
  10. Heat ghee in a pan.
  11. Add the garam masala powder.
  12. Next put in the tomato puree, cashew paste and sunflower seeds paste.
  13. Fry for 5- 7 mins.
  14. Now add the dry spices - turmeric , roasted cumin, red chili , salt and a pinch of sugar.
  15. Mix everything well, add a cup of warm water and let the gravy simmer for 5 mins on low heat.
  16. Lastly add the koftas, garnish with some green chillies and a sprinkle of garam masala.
  17. Serve with rice.
 

Mozarella Stuffed Mini Buns

So the much elusive monsoon finally arrived in the city. Not sure this respite is for how long but atleast the temperatures have dipped a little and that makes us all feel better. With my little boy back in school, I am left with a lot of time to myself. My 8 yr old soccer fan has opted to join his school soccer club which means he gets back home only early evening. So the mother doesn’t know what to do with so much time! Ironical I would say, there was a time I would itch to get my time off from the toddler but now I miss him all the while he’s in school. Anyways, so the next best that I do is try out new things in my kitchen and I intend to dedicate a lot of my time to blogging.

These Mozarella Stuffed Mini Buns are a perfect accompaniment to your evening tea or even as a snack in your kids lunchbox. It stays well for a couple of days and you can serve them warm.

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I don’t need to tell you again that baking is therapeutic but I do need to let you know that I find these adult colouring books extremely soothing too! They calm me down and helps me focus , which is a good thing considering how impatient I can get at times. So there, that’s is how I am trying to constructively put my time to good use.

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Mozarella Stuffed Mini Buns
Author: 
Recipe type: Bread
 
Bite size cheese stuffed buns
Ingredients
  • Plain flour - 2 cups + little for dusting
  • Dry yeast or Fast action yeast - 2 tsp
  • Sugar - 1 tsp
  • Salt - 1 tsp
  • Dried herbs - 1 tbsp. - a mix of thyme, rosemary and dill
  • Milk - 1 cup at room temperature
  • Olive oil - 2 tbsp.
  • Mozarella cheese - cut into small cubes
  • Olives / Cherry tomatoes - for garnish
  • Egg - 1 - lightly beaten - for glaze
Instructions
  1. Making the dough:
  2. In a bowl add the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and the dried herbs. Make a little well and gradually add the milk and roll into a dough. Add the oil.
  3. Rest the dough for 10 mins.
  4. Take the dough on a dusted surface and knead into a small ball. This will take rouhly 8 to10 mins.
  5. Put in an oiled bowl, cover with a cling wrap and let it rise in a warm place. I usually rest it inside the oven or microwave.
  6. After an hour approx. , the dough would have risen in size.
  7. Take it out on a dusted surface again and knock the air out gently.
  8. Roll into a long log and divide into 10- 12 equal portions.
  9. Make each portion a little flat on your palm, stuff with a small piece of mozzarella and roll into a small round bun.
  10. Lay the little roundels on a lined and greased baking tray.
  11. Top with some olives and rest it again for 10- 15 mins.
  12. Brush with some beaten egg and bake the buns in a preheated oven at 200 deg C for 15 mins.
  13. Serve fresh and warm.
 

Rice Paper Chicken Rolls

Hello peeps! How have u been? I am just back from my annual month long summer vacation and now trying to deal with the post holiday blues reminiscing about all the good time I had along with my family. While I was having fun I was also missing my blogging. When you do something over a long period of time it becomes a habit , a part of you and you ultimately want to get back to doing that.

Now I am back , refreshed and relaxed, all charged up to get back to work and cook and share all those amazing recipes with you all. Food was a big part of this vacation ( as it is with every vacation) and that means I have come back with few extra kilos. Now the focus is to get fit and eat healthy without compromising on taste and fun!

These Thai Rice Paper Rolls are light and filling at the same time . The use of fresh vegetables along with chicken with a dash of chilies add to the zing of this dish.

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rice rolls 1

Rice Paper Chicken Rolls
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: Asian
 
Light and filling rice paper rolls with a chili vinaigrette
Ingredients
  • Rice paper sheets - 10- 12 - easily available in supermarkets
  • Chicken - 200 gms - cut into thin strips
  • Cabbage - 1 cup - julliened
  • Carrots - 1 cup - julienned
  • Onion - 1 small - finely chopped
  • Ginger - a small piece - finely chopped
  • Kafir lime leaves - a few - finely chopped or use regular lime leaves
  • Rice wine vinegar - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Pepper - to taste
  • Olive oil - 1 tsp
  • For the chili vinaigrette
  • Olive oil - 2 tbsp.
  • Honey - 1 tsp
  • Fresh red chillies - 2 nos - finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. In a pan, heat 1 tsp olive oil, sauté the onion and ginger.
  2. Add the chicken and fry till soft.
  3. Toss in the cabbage, carrots and chopped lime leaves and give it a good mix.
  4. Add the vinegar, salt and pepper.
  5. Remove from heat and keep aside.
  6. Make sure the mixture is not overcooked and there is a crunch to it.
  7. You could also add peanuts if reqd.
  8. To prepare the rolls.
  9. Take a rice paper sheet and dip into some water.
  10. Take it out almost immediately and lay on a flat surface.
  11. Put in a spoonful of the prepared mixture and fold into a roll.
  12. Make the rest of the rolls similarly.
  13. Mix all the ingredients listed under chili vinaigrette and drizzle over the rolls.
  14. Serve immediately or else they go soggy.