Godrej Lal Hit – The sure ‘hit’ to keep hygiene in your kitchen this Naboborsho

Nababorsho or Poila Boisakh – a quintessential Bengali celebration, of ringing in the New Year with fun, frolic and food. While growing up, Poila Boisakh meant new clothes and a table laden with food. As I grew up, I started understanding the true essence of the festival, which meant starting the new year on a brand new note, where we forgive and forget anything that bogged us down and usher in a fun filled year. Getting new clothes still mattered, but what mattered more was the spirit of the family bondings. Getting together with family over elaborate meals, non stop chatters and mindless giggles. Those were the days.

A lot changes over time but traditions have a habit of tagging along. Now married and with a family of my own, I  too want to welcome the new year with open arms, love and lots of food! For a food blogger, that’s of utmost importance.

As per traditions, a day before Poila Boisakh, I cook up an elaborate vegetarian menu, a family tradition I carry from my paternal side. The idea is to cleanse your palate and your system, before gorging into the non vegetarian meaty fishy delights the next day. And also to have the first taste of seasonal vegetables like kancha aam( raw mango), Enchor ( raw jackfruit ) and Sojne Danta ( drumsticks)

New clothes still hold a very special place! Naboborsho is incomplete if you don’t don a dhakai or a taant – the exquisite sarees without which no Bengali woman is complete. I ensure that I dress my 8 yr old in a kurta – pajama and get one for the husband too. Sending a parcel full of new clothes to my family – ma baba , my little neice ,my sister is so much a part of my celebrations.

New age also means new age traditions. Living in a metro, we are flooded with options of dining out on Naboborsho, if cooking up an elaborate meal is not your thing , there is one waiting for you in every possible eatery in the city! I also take up the offer and do indulge in one authentic Bengali meal and make it a part of my celebrations.

On the first day of the year, however I ensure I cook up a few family favourites at home and make sure my friends are invited and made to taste the delicacies. A typical Naboborsho menu would include Chingri Malai kari , Kosha Mangsho, Polao and some Tomato chutney, to be rounded off with Mishti doi and rosogolla. To avoid sky rocketed prices of fish and meat, ensure you have your freezer stocked couple of days in advance.

With the extended family, scattterd all around the world, the wish to get everyone together on Poila Boisakh ,remains a distant dream. However, the cutting edge technology make it a bit easier. The true spirit of Nababorsho is too make sure you tell your loved ones that you miss them and wish them well always. So a phone call to all the mashis, pishis, kakus, mamas, channa – ponas is a must! That’s what I do every year.

However, celebrations can only be perfect when you need not worry about hygiene,cleanliness of your home. The advent of summers, mean arrival of cockroaches and ants which lead to rampant diseases like food poisoning and diarhhea. The kitchen is attacked by these pests and you as a homemaker are at a loss. Say hello to “Godrej Lal Hit” in such situations. The only effective solution to keep your kitchen sparkly clean and germ free. The deep reach nozzle is just perfect to reach any difficult corner, drain pipes, sink areas and keep cockroaches and other pests at bay.

To know more about the product you can visit

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/HITkpkd/?fref=ts

Twitter – https://twitter.com/HITKPKD

Or you can order the product online here

Amazon- http://www.amazon.in/HIT-Crawling-Insect-Killer-CIK/dp/B00XORDU9E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1459950917&sr=8-1&keywords=lal+hit

Wishing everyone Shubho Naboborsho filled with happiness, good luck and great times.

Disclaimer – This post is in association with Godrej Lal Hit.

 

Chef’s Basket – Chunky Arabbiata Pasta – Product Review

Ready to cook meals – sent to you in a box – with ingredients measured out as required is taking the world by storm. It is still in a nascent stage in India, but in countries like America, people swear by them and these meals are what they eat on a daily basis. I, being  a homemaker, might not be too fascinated by them, but there is no denying the fact that ready to cook meal boxes is the order of the day. And honestly speaking, a decade ago , when I was into a full time corporate job, this would have been ideal for me too. It makes a lot of sense , for people who don’t really have the time and (knack) for cooking a full course meal from scratch but would still want to cook at home, afterall, how much can one eat out or order in! Also there is money involved. Even for someone like me, who loves to cook from scratch, there are days when I don’t want to slog it out in the kitchen. So I was quite kicked to try out Chef’s Basket – Pasta in my kitchen. In their words “ We belive in the art of cooking. And we believe that with a little help anybody can cook. We put our all to create freshest and most authentic recipes from around the world. Our food is natural with no artificial preservatives or added color”

pastaI was sent a box of Chunky Arabbiata Pasta , that came along with packets of durum wheat pasta, pasta sauce and some herbs and salt. The process mentioned clearly and ingredients measured out exactly that would be required to create the dish. Making it is a child’s play if u ask me! Just follow the instructions and you are done!

pasta ingredients

chefs basket pasta

#Taste Quotient – The chunky tomato sauce is quite flavourful without being overtly tangy. The accompaniments like the herb mix and the chilli flakes add to the taste. I kept it simple with just a dash of parmesan on top.

#Quantity Quotient – I would say it would be enough for an adult if eating as a meal. For small eaters, two people could easily share!

#Price Quotient – Competitive and affordable pricing at below INR 100 per box. Also have a good range of variants in pasta and noodles.

#Availablity Quotient –  Easily available in  supermarkets and also online.

Disclaimer – The product was sent me by Chef’s Basket for review and the views are completely my own. No monetary compensation was involved.

Paneer Pasanda

How much can you do with Paneer?! Well , you never know. Personally I find it very difficult to infuse flavours into paneer. Somehow my bhurjis always remain bland and tasteless. For gravies, most of the times I resort to a tomato based gravy so as to salvage the dish. This dish too, is a tomato – cashew infused gravy, with stuffed pan fried paneer triangles. It turned out nice , so I had to share it with you all.

paneer pasanda mainEveryday cooking can sometime get on to your nerves. Even for someone like me, who enjoys her time in the kitchen, it gets a tad overwhelming. With the onset of the dreaded summer, even more. What I like to do is make easy recipes , that doesn’t compromise on taste. This gravy can easily be frozen for few days, and used as and when required.

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Paneer Pasanda
Author: 
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Indian
 
A rich gravy dish that goes well with rice/naan/roti
Ingredients
  • Paneer - 200 gms - cut into triangles and then halved
  • Tomato paste - 1 large - blanch tomatoes and make into a paste
  • Tomato puree - 2 tbsp.
  • Cashew paste - 2 tbsp. + 1 tbsp.
  • Raisin paste - 1 tsp - blend raisins into a paste
  • Garam masala - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Sugar - a pinch
  • Ginger paste - 1 tsp
  • Kashmiri red chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Warm water - 1 cup
  • Ghee - 1 tbsp.
  • Refined oil - 1 tbsp.
  • Fresh cream- for garnish
  • Fresh green/red chilies - for garnish
  • Fresh coriander - chopped for garnish
Instructions
  1. Cut the paneer into triangles and slit them into half lengthwise.
  2. Make a paste of 1 tbsp. cashew paste, raisin paste and a little salt.
  3. Stuff the mixture inside two slices of paneer.
  4. In a non stick pan , heat 1 tbsp. refined all.
  5. Shallow fry the paneer triangles, till gilden in colour.
  6. Drain and keep aside.
  7. In another pan, heat the ghee.
  8. Add the garam masala powder.
  9. Next add the tomato paste and fry till fragrant,
  10. Once the tomato paste has cooked through, add the tomato puree, cashew paste, red chili powder, salt and sugar.
  11. Give a good mix, cook the masalas for 3-5 mins. Add a cup of warm water and let the gravy simmer.
  12. Once it thickens up, turn off the heat.
  13. In a serving dish, lay the fried paneer traingles.
  14. Pour the hot gravy on top.
  15. Garnish with fresh cream, chilies and coriander.
  16. Your dish is ready to be served.
 

Smoke House Deli – An afternoon at their new menu launch

So the invite read “New menu Launch” at Smoke House Deli and I knew in my heart that I needed to go! Well, let me tell u straight up that SHD has been my favourite even before they opened in Kolkata. On my every trip to Delhi , I ensured atleast one meal there. Ever since they have opened in my city, there has been no looking back. Its unique , delicious and hearty dishes is what makes it as iconic as it is today. The doodle décor, the flavoured water, comfortable loungers is what add to its immense charm. Thus, on a weekday afternoon I found myself indulging in some SHD hospitality along with fellow food bloggers from KFB

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The new menu retains all its old favourites but with the addition of a whole new range of dishes, including  sizzlers. There is an entire list to choose from that is definitely going to please your taste buds. There is something for everyone, including your little brats! The additions are wonderfully imaginative and makes you want to try out each one of it. Vegetarians can try out dishes like the Shitake & Field Mushroom Stroganoff with Saffron Rice, Smoked Aubergine Parmigiana or even the Spicy Millets with Vegetable Stew.  Each dish so innovative and bursting with flavours. For the non veg lovers, there is an exhaustive list too ,for instance, the Mustard Chicken Sloppy Joe is what will pep you up after a days hard work along with some refreshing cocktails and drinks.

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Soba Noodles Salad
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3 way polenta cake with curried chickepeas
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Lehsun chutney marinated red snapper
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The dessert platter

It was a fun afternoon , where Chef Saurav rustled up a Penne in Tomato Vodka Sauce in a live demo. It was lovely meeting the two dynamic ladies , Manjri Agarwal & Abhilasha Sethia, the force behind the restaurant and the brain behind conceptualizing the new menu. So the next time ,you are in the mood for some lip smacking food, head over to the 5th floor  of Quest Mall and indulge in some Smoke House culinary delights.

They are open from 12:00 pm to 11.30 pm 7 days a week. For reservations call – 033 – 30991012

 

The Peruvian Pop Up @ Swissotel , Kolkata

Sometimes its good to indulge in something without having any knowledge about the same. Being a food blogger, its assumed that we  are this know-it-all breed when it comes to food, but that’s not really the case. We are passionate about food no doubt and leave no opportunity to learn about a new dish, a new cuisine, we are constantly learning , that’s who we are! The same happened to me when I got an invite to preview the Peruvian pop up at Swissotel. Armed with zero knowledge about the cuisine , I landed up at Café Swiss on a beautiful winter afternoon to sample some Peruvian food.The fact that I was meeting all my favourite people at the hotel was an added bonus.

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The menu comprised of snacks, salads, soup along with the main courses and dessert. Peruvian cuisine is influenced by a variety of other mainstream cuisine and it does borrow from the cuisines brought in by its immigrants from parts of Europe, mainly Spanish and Italian , also Asian influence from Chinese and Japanese cuisine. The original menu has been created by Chef Erika Santa Maria of Swissotel, Lima but developed here by the very dedicated Chef Pranay of Café swiss along with his team.

causa rellena
Causa rellena – Layered potato, avocado and chicken salad

We started our meal with a beautiful layered potato, avocado and chicken salad which Chef Pranay told me is always served at the start of a Peruvian meal. Subtly flavoured, it acts as a palate cleanser. We moved on to a few other entrees like Cebiche de Champignon – a pickled mushroom dish along with Cebiche de Pescado – lemon marinated fish served along with some corn and sweet potatoes. The success of this dish depends on the freshness of the fish and full marks to Chef for delivering something so wonderful. The little apprehensive me when served anything raw , went in for a second helping!

cebhiche de champignon
Cebiche de champignon- pickled mushroom
cebiche de pescado
Cebiche de pescado – lemon marinated fish

The Jalea Mixta – deep fried sea food and Antichichus de Pollo – Chicken skewers came in next, one could clearly see the Japanese influence. Crispy crunchy delight! Aji Amarillo – a kind of yellow pepper grown in Peru is at the heart of most of the dishes. The names may sound a bit alien but trust me once u taste these dishes , you will find so much similarity with the kind of food we eat. Many common ingredients but a different technique to use it, that’s the essence of food and how it binds everyone. The Aguadito de gallina – a hearty chicken soup with rice and potatoes flavoured with coriander was a comforting meal in itself.

jalea mixta
jalea mixta

 

aguadito de gallina

The rest of the meal was equally delicious, simple and yet so nice.Pescado a la Chorillana – fish cooked with onion, tomatoes and oregano and Lomo Saltado – chicken cooked with onion tomatoes and soy sauce served on a bed of French fries! For the vegetarians – Pimentoes Rellenos con quinoa – Capsicum filled with quinoa layered potato , avocado is a great option.

pescado a la chorillana
pescado a la chorillana
pollo a la brasa
pollo a la brasa

pimentos rellenos con quinoa

Our Peruvian lunch ended with a lovely dessert platter which consisted of Arroz con leche – a rice dessert, definitely a twin of our very dear Paayesh. There was Crema Volteada Peruana – Crème caramel with quinoa and Maracuya cheese cake.

dessert platter

The Peruvian Pop up is the brain child of Mr. Marco Saxer , brilliantly executed by his team here. The food is new and delicious and definitely worth a try. It is on for a week from today and dishes are available on a la carte basis. Thank you Team Swiss on behalf of Kolkata Food Bloggers  for this experience.

An evening of celebrating Italian Food @ Swissotel

Last Saturday saw me attending an evening celebrating Italian Food at the Swissotel, Kolkata. Despite many odds ( last min guests and some other commitments) I found myself engulfed in Swiss hospitality yet again. It was a special evening celebrating the spirit of Italian cuisine – a menu specially curated by Chef Gianluca Cazzin from Fairmont, Abu Dhabi. Originally from Venice , Italy and having trained with many a Michellin starred chefs , Chef Gianlunca has been whipping up quite a gastrnomic storm in Abu Dhabi food scene from past year and a half. I hade the privilege of a candid chat with the very down to earth Chef Gianluca who very sweetly told me that Butter Chicken was his favourite Indian dish! When asked wat his favourite ingredients were , he shot off , tomatoes , olive oil and cheese!

It was a formal evening with beautiful set up that quite set the mood. The guest list comprised of city’s food conneissuers and expats who have made Kolkata their home now. And there I was on behalf of KFB waiting to soak up the experience. It was also the first time KFB was doing a #liveblogging of the event through Facebook and Twitter.

gianluca collage

We took our respective seats and were good to go. It was to be a 5 course dinner – with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. The menu comprised dishes from varied territories of Italy, namely Tuscany , Piedmont and of course Venice.We started with Insalata ( salad) . For the non vegetarians it was Insalata Veneziana – Onion, bell pepper ,raisins and pine nuts with marinated prawns. Raisins and Italian – well that was a first for me. We moved on to the soup – I opted for the veg version – Minestrone di Verdure alla Genovese – homemade pesto ,garden vegetables with toasted ciabatta bread. Earthy and absolutely homestyle. Chef Cazzin was kind enough to introduce each course with a little anecdote attached to it. I was, well, kind of full by now and the wine was working too!

The Primi Piatti arrived – Tagliolini all’Astice – Fresh lobster, chili,tomatoes ,evoo,garlic and zucchini. Fresh and delicious is what I can recollect at this moment. It was a 5 course meal but I had to unfortunately leave due to some other prior commitments. The Tiramisu I heard was mind blowing!

The evening also saw the launch of “Swissotel Cook book” – definitely the first of its kind in the city. Swissotel , Kolkata is at the top of their game when it comes to hospitality and guest relations. The cookbook is a compilation of varied recipes that are a favourite of their regular guests. The hard work of Chef Pranay and Chef Sanjay surely reflects in the same. Ashish , Enakshi and Debiroopa as usual at their sweetest best, taking good care of me.

Well, what else can I write! It was an evening I shall remember for long.

Paranthewali Gali – The Paratha Festival @ Swissotel, Kolkata

Parathewali Gali – the name itself packs in so much memories when taking those rickshaw rides from  D school to the lanes of Chandni Chowk was just a matter of few minutes and we would be there to gorge on sinful yumminess – oil drenched ofcourse! But that seems like eons ago. So when KFB received an invite to preview the Parthewali Gali festival at the fine dining Indian restaurant “Durbari” at Swissotel, I jumped at the idea. I mean what could be better than reliving those memories sitting right here in Kolkata. The special menu developed here has an array of parathas – your staple aloo and gobhi to the more creative chicken tikka and cheese! Not to mention the Malabari Paratha – that was a show stealer for me! Crispy and absolutely oil free served with the flavourful , little sweet Vegetable stew. I would definitely go back for this one.

chicken tkka and cheese

malabari

soya paratha

moglai

warqi

The Paranthewali Gali festival is on at the Durbari at Swissotel Kolkata till 28th June.The menu is extensive and very reasonably priced with good portions. All paranthas are served with a side of aloo bhaji,pickle , curd and laccha onion. For reservations call – 033-66266666

 

Monsoons have come calling to Kolkata and this seems to be the best time to indulge in some Parantha goodness.

Assam 1860 Tea – For those who like a robust cuppa

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!

tea

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.

tea 1

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.

tea 2

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

tea main

 

Masterclass with Chef Kunal Kapur at the Magnum launch

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!