This time of the year is perfect to savour the varied winter greens available in the market. My absolutely favourite being fresh Methi saag( fenugreek leaves) and Sarson Saag ( mustard greens). I dont leave an opportunity to use fresh methi leaves as often as I can. While i would always make Aloo methi or simple methi parathas , Theplas , essentially a Gujrati flatbread is something I made for the first time. Perfect as a breakfast dish, I absolutely loved eating them.
The addition of a variety of spices and some gram flour to the dough gives the parathas if we may call them, even thogh they are to be rolled thinner than a paratha, a lovely soft texture. My boys are not much into parathas and would stick to their usual English breakfast, I love my desi breakfast and more so on weekends. Served with some homemade green chili pickle and yogurt, it made for a delicious treat.
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.
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.
This 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.
Much before I became a food blogger, I have been a cookbook lover. I remember spending hours pouring over the many cookbooks that Maa possessed, even Sananda, a Bengali monthly which was a treasure trove of recipes, going through the ingredients, trying to imagine the dish in my head and then sometimes experimenting them in the kitchen. My favourite was a Bengali recipe book,more a bible, that had every possible recipe gifted by our Bangladeshi neighbour. The books is in tatters now, still very special. I am hoping Maa will pass it down to me one day! Thankfully this love for cookbook has remained and now I am myself a very proud owner of a worthy collection. Thanks to the many online portals, you can now own your favourite book with just a click! And I am a compulsive buyer when it comes to books – especially food memoirs. With a steady growing stash , I thought it only made sense that I share what I read and cook from it with my readers. So, hereby I start a #cookfromcookbook series that will have me sharing my favourite authors and their creations that I recreate in my kitchen.
Yotam Ottolenghi – a name resonant in the British culinary scene , a chef and cookbook writer with strong Mediterranean roots that reflects deeply in his recipes. I have been following him on the social media for a while now and only very recently got hold of his book ‘Plenty’ a collection of vegetarian recipes or “new vegetarianism” as he calls it. With every new test recipe that he Instagrams,I would go gushing over the use of everyday ingredients and how it is so doable in your very own kitchens. His book Plenty has plenty recipes that can be made a part of your everyday meals. He picks up one favourite ingredient and builds a recipe around it. Much like what we do too. I have been eyeing the Burnt Aubergine Dip with Tahini and finally ended up making it too. A very flavorful condiment that can be served with cut vegetables or even as a refreshing salad in summers.
I keep going back to the book looking for inspirations in my everyday cooking and I am sure I will cooking a lot more from this one. The recipe I am sharing today is broadly inspired from the original as I have replaced a few ingredients based on availabitiy. Instead of parsley I used fresh coriander and added some red chillies for the zing.
First, roast the brinjal, with the skin on the gas stove, like we do for Indian bhartas. This can be done in the oven too. But make sure to make deep gashes on the brinjal and smear with some oil, or else it will burst.
Remove the charred skin from the brinjal, scoop out the flesh.
Chop the flesh roughly and transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
Add the tahini paste, water,lemon juice,garlic, coriander , salt and pepper.
Sharing the recipe of a very easy but tasty lentil recipe that is perfect as a summer lunch dish. I have lost my appetite in this heat and all that I crave for is some simple dal-chawal and some light vegetable on the side. Fimish your lunch with a bowl of curd and you are good to go. Even after elaborate menu planning , I end up making a simple meal these days. The mint adds a freshness to your otherwise boring bowl of dal and green beans lentils is very easy to digest. You could use fresh coariander even along with mint, that would enhance the taste. Note the recipe below :
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”
I 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!
#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.
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.
Everyday 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.
When it comes to baking I would always stick to traditional methods and recipes and am not really confident how a cake would turn out without eggs. But of late I have been getting a lot of requests from friends who follow my blog to share egg free recipes! So I scoured around and found this beautiful eggless recipe of muffins. Muffins are very forgiving and you don’t really need to break your back to make these.
You could skip the apples , if you don’t feel like it and just add raisins for the texture. Or even crispy pear or strawberries, the options are many. This recipe calls for buttermilk and I used the regular Amul buttermilk that you get in the market. Just strain it before using.
Spring hardly showed up and summer is already here! I cant even bear to think how I am going to cope up with Calcutta summers. Random rantings ! But one thing I know is that I am going to rustle up a lot of yogurt based dishes to keep us cool all along. This Oats Aloo Tikki Chaat is a healthier spin on your regular tikkis. With the goodness of oats incorporated into this dish you wont feel as much guilty indulging into your favourite chaat. Also I have shallow fried the tikkis, so a little more solace there.
Theres not really much to this recipe. You just need to put together the cutlets and then serve it along with your favourite condiments. I used the staple tamarind chutney, pudina chutney and some bhujias for crispiness.
My sister in law served up this beautiful Pumpkin soup as a part of her Christmas eve dinner and ever since I have been wanting to do something similar in my kitchen. Now I am a pumpkin lover, as a kid one of my favourite meal would be steamed rice with a pumpkin-potato mash and a dollop of butter. Even now I do indulge in such meals sometime while the boys cringe! Coming back to the pumpkin, soup is the only possible way I can make my 8 year old try it.
With minimum labour, it turned out to be stellar. Again the flavours are clean and easy and with a little prep ahead, it can be doled out in a jiffy. I used some leeks ,oregano and parsley for it to come together. My SIL puts loads of lemon grass, which goes pretty well too with pumpkin. Well then, a book and a warm blanket is all you need for some delicious me – time. More on me- time in my next post.