I have been hearing and seeing so many pictures of Amritsari food on various food groups that I had to do some research. The Kulchas, the choley, the mithais, o my god the list is endless. I am not even thinking of the awesome non vegetarian spread you get there. But one such item that caught my fancy is the Pedewali lassi. Google didn’t have extensive information on it but I chanced upon some recipes. Its super easy to make ( assuming this is an authentic recipe ) and its delicious. So when KFB announced their Summer Cooler event I jumped in to make some Amritsari Pedewali Lassi.God willing I will make a trip to Amritsar soon, till then I am treating myself to this yummy goodness.
It had been long that I invited my extended family over for a meal together and Easter break provided that perfect opportunity. The thing with me is, I get into elaborate menu planning when I am having people over that it exhausts me! This time around, however, I decided to keep it simple. The menu was mainly Indian with just this easy Baked Meatballs in Cheese Sauce thrown in for variety. Very easy again, made with very few ingredients but full marks for taste. I served it on a bed of boiled linguine and it turned out just perfect. My family licked their plates clean and theres nothing more that makes me happy when I can feed my loved ones well. You go note the recipe!
I will be honest here. I was planning to make something else for the KFB Poila Boisakh Special event but ended up making this dish by chance. It was just another way in my kitchen to use left overs! I didn’t know what to do with a litre of extra milk lying in my fridge, so decided to just thicken it up a little with some sugar and keep it for further use. Then I didn’t know what to do with some left over paneer too..the end result? This wonderful home made Ras Malai. I have kept the flavours simple here with just a touch of cardamom.
All those who know me , know that I am a die hard Indian sweet/mishti lover. No matter how much I keep a check on my diet, eat healthy, follow strict regimen, put a ladoo or a sondesh or a gulab jamun in front of me and I am gone! I just cannot resist sweets. So you see this experiment made me very happy. And with Poila Boisakh (Bengali New Year ) and Bihu around the corner this was well timed I would say. I will be surely making this again soon and treating my friends and family.
I used home made paneer/ chenna here. To make 200 gms chenna, bring around a litre of milk to a boil. Add 2 tbsp of lime juice , mix well and let the milk curdle. Drain the chenna/paneer , wash with cold water, drain the water completely and it is ready for use.
Sugar - 4 tbsp + 1 cup
Bay leaves - 2 nos
cardamom/ elaichi powder - 1 tsp
Water - 1½ cup
First lets make the mini rasgullas/ paneer balls .
In a pan add the water and the sugar and bring it to a boil.
Meanwhile, take the paneer/ chenna and knead it with your hand till its very smooth. This will take about 7-10 mins. Make small balls of it and keep adding to the boiling sugar syrup.
Let the paneer balls simmer in the sugar syrup for around 15 mins , till they become firm.
Remove the rasgullas/paneer balls from the sugar syrup and keep aside to cool.
Next we will thicken the milk and prepare the base of the ras malai. All that you need to so is in a heavy bottom pan , put a litre of milk to simmer and thicken up. Keep the flame low. Add the bay leaves and cardamom powder , so that the flavours are well infused into the milk. This will take a while, almost 20 -25 mins. Keep stirring once a while so that the milk doesn't burn.
After around 20 mins you will find the milk had just about thicken forming some solids(Malai). At this point add the 4 tbsp sugar, give it a good mix. Add the mini rasgullas/ paneer balls and simmer for 2-3 mins.
I am back with yet another super easy recipe to make weeknight cooking a breeze! This recipe of Chicken in creamy Mustard Sauce is a steal. It is from one of my favourite cookbook by Mary Berry. I often try out her baked goodies but not the mains so much. However I will from now on! This dish needs just 3-4 ingredients and you are done.
Make sure to add the mustard right at the end or else the dish could turn bitter.
I am a stickler for recipes that are easy to cook but doesn’t compromise on the taste factor. And of late I have also become a lover of one pot meals. In such hurried lives that we all live, its a boon to be able to cook up nutritious tasty food without slogging it out too much in the kitchen. This is one such recipe – Murgh Pulao. It is not as heavy as your typical biryani but packs in a lot of flavours nevertheless. Similar to yakhni pulao but not really that. This particular recipe is heavily inspired by the Bangladeshi Morogh Polao – a very traditional chicken rice dish which is not too spicy but is extremely flavourful. The orginal recipe would include marinating the chicken in poppy seeds paste and also use a lot of nuts – cashews and raisins. I have however made a simpler version that I learnt from my mother which works well for a regular weeknight meal. And the fact that it uses very little oil is an added bonus.
Gobindo bhog rice/ or any kind of short grained rice - 1½ cup
Chicken - 500 gms - cut into medium sized pieces
Ginger paste - 1 tbsp.
Garlic paste - 1 tbsp.
Mace - a few strands
Nutmeg - 1 tsp- grated
Fennel - 1 tsp
Cardamom - 4 nos
Cinnamon - a small stick
Cloves - 4-5 nos
Bay leaves - 2 nos
Onion - 1 large - finely chopped
Ghee - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Sugar - a pinch
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp + a pinch
Green chillies - 4-5 - slit at the top
Water - 3 cups
Mint leaves and green chillies - for garnish
Wash the rice well, mix in 1 tsp of turmeric, drain well and let it dry on a flat surface.
Now we need to prepare a broth in which we cook the rice.
In a pressure cooker , add the chicken pieces, ginger-garlic paste, mace,nutmeg,fennel,cardamom,cloves, cinnamon, salt and 3 cups water. Put the cooker on heat and let it get a couple of whistles.
Remove from heat take out the chicken pieces,strain and keep the broth aside.
In a bowl take the par boiled chicken pieces and smear with a little turmeric and keep aside.
Heat the ghee in a non stick pan or kadahi. Ensure its non stick and deep bottomed so that the rice cooks well.
Add the chicken pieces and sauté till they turn light brown in colour. Remove from pan and keep aside.
In the same pan, add the bay leaves and the finely chopped onions. Fry till they turn golden brown. Keep the heat low or else the onions burn. Now add the washed and dried rice. Fry the rice for 5-7 mins or till it starts to leave oil on the sides. Now place the sautéed chicken pieces on top of the rice and add 2½ cups of the broth. Give it a good mix, cover the pan tightly and let it cook. Keep the flame low.
The rice doesn't take too long to cook so keep a watch.It would take around 10 mins for the water to dry up. Remove the cover, fluff up the rice with a fork. Add a pinch of sugar, the green chillies, give a gentle mix and put the lid again for 2 mins. Your murgh pulao will be ready to serve by now.
In anticipation of those dreadful summer days I am already exploring cool summery recipes. Come summers – well, its already here considering the temperature is already soaring as high as 35 degress we all need to plan our diet to include fresh vegetables, fruits a plenty. Salads will surely be a part of our daily menu. Like this Summer salad made with everyday vegetables with a generous drizzle of Lemon Pepper vinaigrette.
On my recent visit to Bangalore to spend two days with my friend of 15 yrs sans the little boy and the husband I explored few food stores in the city and was spoilt for choices. I was like a little girl in a candy store who didn’t know what to buy and what to leave. What first caught my fancy was the variety of peppers – I didn’t know of more than 3 kinds and here there were more than 10! There was pink , long and green pepper that I was seeing for the first time. Ideas started flooding my head and I picked up an assortment of 6 kinds of pepper.There were hoards of other stuffs I picked up which would need a dedicated post I suppose. Coming back to my Summer salad with a dressing of lemon pepper vinaigrette using some pretty pink peppers! Those peppers were a revelation..very sweet at the first bite with a woody fiery after kick to it. I couldn’t resist eating those while I prepared the dressing.
This salad is best served chiiled. You can use whatever fresh vegetable that catches your fancy!
Instead of pink pepper use normal black pepper and white pepper.
Rice wine vinegar can be substituted with apple cider or even normal vinegar.
Penne pasta - 1 cup - boiled al dente - follow instruction given on the packet
Cucumber - 1 cup - diced
Red bell pepper - half cup - diced
Cherry tomatoes - a handful - halved
Green olives - a handful - halved
Oilve oil - ¼th cup
Rice wine vinegar - 1 tsp
Lime juice - 1 tbsp
Pink pepper - 1 tbsp. - crushed
Black pepper - 1 tbsp. - crushed
Coarse sea salt - 1 tbsp. - crushed
Fresh mint leaves - few sprigs - roughly chopped for garnish
Lettuce or any other salad leaves - few leaves for garnish
Grated Parmesan cheese - for garnish - optional
For the vinaigrette:
Mix together the olive oil, rice wine vinegar,lime juice, crushed pepper and salt. Give it a good stir and keep aside.
This dressing can easily be stored for later use .
For assembling the salad:
Line a salad bowl with the salad leaves. Toss together the pasta, diced cucumber, red bell pepper, tomatoes, olives into the salad bowl. Put in a good drizzle of the vinaigrette. Give it a good mix. Throw in the chopped mint leaves and some grated parmesan. Serve chilled.
Few days back I received an email from Assam 1860 – a tea company who wanted me to sample their tea brand. Me being a tea lover opted to give it a shot. Also the fact that they are from my home state Assam, kind of prompted me a little more. So few days back I received a neatly packaged box of tea waiting to be brewed! Now tea is an integral part of our lives – me and the husband. Growing up in Assam, only made this love for tea stronger. We both take our tea time very seriously and very carefully choose the brand of tea that we drink. We do experiment at times and pick up a new brand here and there out of sheer curiosity but mostly stick to our regular stuff. We start our mornings with a steaming cup of tea ( which the husband makes) a ritual , that has been on for the last 12 years!
Now coming back to Assam 1860 – what I found striking was the packaging. Clearly labelled packets of tea bags and also a small portion of tea leaves is what arrived for me to taste. Recently I have become a black tea convert and was happy to try the tea bags. For a proper cup of tea ie. with milk and sugar, I would usually use the stronger tea leaves. I tried both variations with Assam 1860 and found the flavours very distinct and robust. The freshness of the tea surely shines through. However for people who like to drink black tea I would recommend not to dip the tea bags for too long or it could leave a bitter aftertaste.
I also made myself a cup of masala chai with milk and sugar and elaichi and found pouring myself a refill as well. Assam 1860 is of single origin and unblended variety. I am no tea connoisseur but definitely a tea lover and was very happy with this brand.
The tea is produced and manufactured in their own family owned tea gardens thus cutting out on middlemen and not compromising on the quality, freshness and to maintain a competitive pricing. For more information you can log on to their website – www.assam1860.com
The thing with having foodie friends is that you are constantly learning new things from them too. My one such very dear friend A is my partner in crime when it comes to food. We do lunches and dinners to satiate our souls every now and then! She is from Nepal and she treats us to these Nepali delights often. I wouldn’t be exaggerating, if I say that she make the best momos I’ve ever had, so much so that now I never want to eat momos outside! Nepali cuisine is extremely under rated I would say and there is definitely more to momos. One such delightful dish is this Aloo ko Achaar – Nepali Style Potato Salad that A makes and we all love . She was very kind to part with the recipe and I did not lose much time preparing it in my kitchen. It is a delightful salad made with potatoes, red onions, garlic and sesame seeds. And what makes it so different is the tempering with mustard oil . Serve it as a starter with your drinks or as a side dish to your meal – you are going to love it anyway!
This is best served at room temperature. A tells me that another variation would be to add dried fish or shrimps to enhance the taste. Sometimes even diced cucumber is also added to it. The options are many and in any which way this is one yummy dish that can be prerpared in a jiffy.
Easy weeknight meal ideas is what I am forever scouting for. It saves my time and makes the man happy. Except for Tuesdays, for every single meal the man needs to eat non veg.There are times when I am totally out of ideas or the patience to produce something new. But thanks to the neighbourhood supermarkets , you are spoilt for choice. While I would mostly stick to buying fresh fish from my regular fish monger, once in a while something frozen comes in handy too. A pack of frozen Basa fillet is what caught my fancy on my last trip to the supermarket and scores of recipes started flodding my head!So I promptly grabbed the pack with the intention of cooking it up with some jazz. With winter just about to say goodbye, I wanted to use up the last batch of spinach from my kitchen garden. Teaming it up with the fish seemed like a fabulous option. So here’s my recipe of Grilled Fish with Spinach.
I used Basa but any white fish fillet like bhetki would do just fine. Just keep an eye while cooking the fish so that u don’t overcook. It takes very little time.
I kept the sauce chunky in texture but you can puree it into a smooth sauce as per your taste. Just grind the sauce in a handblender and strain
Known worldwide as the icecream synonymous with indulgence and royal for over two decades, Magum icecreams will finally be available in Kolkata. As usual Kolkata is delayed by almost an year as it launched in most other metros long ago. Nevertheless, better late than never. I was invited through KFB to be a part of the Masterclass being hosted by celebrity Chef Kunal Kapur and the pretty brand ambassador Soha Ali Khan. The event held at the Taj Bengal hotel had a very high glitz and glamour quotient.
Magnum icecreams are iconic, being made with pure Belgian Chocolate, the key point being the distinctive cracking sound on your first bite. We all got a taste of the icecream, while the not- so-much- a -chocolate-lover.ie. ‘Me’ chose the Almond flavour made of milk chocolate, there was also Classic and Chocolate truffle to pick from. Chef Kunal Kapur and Soha were both eager to keep the session as interactive as possible sprucing up with anecdotes and tales of their love for Magnum.
Chef Kunal rustled up a Magnum patishapta – his take on our quintessential pithe – crepes filled with a concoction of coconut, jaggery and milk solids. He stuffed his version of the patishapta with chunks of magnum icecream, nuts and berries.
The floor was open for the audience to ask questions if they had any and also to come up with their version of a Magnum Sundae. With limited options of just sprinkles and chocolate bites, everyone did manage to come up with something. Like we made this Magnum Excess Sundae! Pounded magnum icecream topped with chocolate bites! Overall it was a pleasant evening learning a little more about chocolates and icecreams and ofcourse meeting few fellow bloggers.
Starting March 1, 2015, Magnum Icecreams will be available in three delicious flavours – Classic, Almond and Chocolate Truffle in Kolkata. Wrapped in the brands signature brown and golden packaging each bar is priced at INR 90.
While I am not going gaga over its launch as I am not at all into chocolate, its actually my husband who is so looking forward to getting a taste soon. That said I am very happy that Kolkatans will finally get to taste the icrecream brand ,afterall we are a city who truly loves anything ‘mishti’!
I also thank Edelman, Kolkata on behalf of KFB for making us a part of this glitzy event and for the mementoes!