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.
Once in a while when you want to do something different to your regular Chicken curry, this recipe of Kerala Style Chicken curry could come very handy. While I wouldn’t claim that this is the most authentic version and more inspired by the robust flavours of kerala cuisine, it tastes very good nonetheless.
Most of the ingredients used are a part of our everyday cooking, apart from curry leaves maybe but that too is easily available now. I use curry leaves in a lot of things like poha , kadhi and even in my simple aloo sabzi that goes so well with luchis! 7 years back when I moved into my house, I was most kicked about having this little garden to myself where I would grow my organic veggies. Curry leaf plant was one of the firsts I had bought and today its turned into a beautiful little tree. Well, more on my vegetable garden later, you go note the recipe!
This terrible terrible summer. I cant even begin to explain the pain.Especially little kids who have to get back from school in this scorching heat. My worries as a mother that they will fall sick. I am eagerly eagerly waiting for the summer holidays to begin so it provides some respite to everyone.
Everyday when I go to pick up my 8 yr old from school, his only request is to buy him a popsicle from the school icecream vendor. My answer is always in the negative as I feel that would sure shot trigger a cold or a cough. Poor thing, he listens to his mama. But mama has to make sure that he gets a treat once in a while, maybe later in the afternoon when the sun has beaten down. So I made these easy popsicles at home, which my kid can enjoy to his hearts content.
There is no recipe to this as such, use any flavour you wish too. The only thing you need to get are some popsicle moulds that are easily available online. You could even use a mix of quash – orange or even pineapple to make these.
Festivals to many people entail many things, but for a true blue Bengali girl like me, festivals are synonymous with family, traditions and food. Growing up, my family ensured that each festival or parbon as we call them is celebrated with dedicated fervour. Noboborsho, or the Bengali New year, holds a special place in every Bengalis heart, it is yet another opportunity to enjoy, usher in the good times with family and friends over new clothes, elaborate meals and lots of adda. Bengalis and their bhuri bhoj is world famous and we don’t leave any stone unturned when it comes to merrymaking.
Just like every year, our plans for Poila Boisakh revolve around food and festivities. As a mother to a 8 year old, I have to ensure that these occasions are celebrated with much fanfare so it creates lifelong memories, which he can carry along in his heart forvever. A typical Poila Boisakh morning, would entail a visit to the temple, donned in new traditional attires, cooking up delicacies in my kitchen, gorging on mishtis and being with family and friends.
Now, coming to food. While quintessentially, dishes like Chingri Malaikari, Kosha Mangsho, Pulao would be a part of the Poila Boisakh menu, one cannot ignore the the perennial love we Bengalis have for Biryanis! Give us a plate of Biryani along with the meat and the potato, we are set and elated. There is this particular Kacchi Biryani – the Dhakai version that Maa makes and I can never get enough of it. With time , I have also struggled to kind of master the art of making this dish and is very happy to share it with my readers here.
A Dhakai Kacchi Biryani is different from the rest of the lot as the here the raw marinated meat is cooked along with the rice in a concoction of flavours. The key is to get the right balance of spices, not too spicy, not to bland, just right with succulent pieces of meat and potatoes. A perfect recipe to bond over with friends and family.
However, no celebration is perfect without a clean home and kitchen. Since the kitchen is the humdrum of activities during Poila Boisakh, hygiene is of utmost importance. With a young kid at home, I cant help but being hyper when it comes to cleanliness. The advent of summers mean pests and cockroaches and the only sure shot way to get rid of it is to use Godrej Lal Hit. A premium product from Godrej to keep cockroaches at bay. Its long nozzle ensures that it reaches every nook and corner of your kitchen. Personally, I have been using this product for a while now and I seriously cant complain.
So there! Have the happiest Poila Boisakh, cook up a storm, enjoy the mishtis and have a great time with friends and family without compromising on cleanliness and hygiene. Cherish old memories, call up your loved ones and make some new traditions.
Dry red chillies - 5-6 nos ( adjust according to taste)
Nutmeg ( Jaiphal) - half a piece
Mace (Javitri) - 2 pieces
Green Cardamom - 3-4 nos
Cinnamon - 2 small sticks
Cloves - 5-6 nos
Other ingredients required:
Basmati Rice - 2 cups
Mutton - half kg ( good quality and fresh. Can use boneless cubes too )
Brown onion slices - 4 tbsp + 1 tbsp ( for this just slice up two big onions and fry till golden brown in refined oil or ghee) Also ensure that you keep the leftover oil or ghee.
Yogurt - 1 cup
Garlic paste - 1tbsp
Ginger paste - 1 tbsp
Potatoes - 2 medium sized ( parboiled and fried till light brown in colour)
Kewra essence (screwpine) - 1 tsp
Salt - for marinating the mutton and while boiling the rice.
Atta dough - a small ball of dough made of wheat required for sealing the handi/pan in which the biryani will be cooked.
Dry roast all the ingredients listed under 'Biryani Masala' and grind into a fine powder.
Please be careful not to burn the spices. This 'is 'the most important ingredients of the biryani.
Wash and clean the mutton. Marinate with 2 tbsp salt and keep aside for half an hour.
After half and hour wash the mutton once more and keep.
Now add the yogurt , ginger paste, garlic paste , 4 tbsp brown onion slices and the biryani masala. Mix it very well and gently too.
Cover this mixture with a cling film and let it marinate overnight.
Take 2 cups of good quality basmati rice. Wash it under running water , drain and keep aside.
In a big saucepan add water. Once the water starts to boil add 2 tbsp salt and few whole cardamom , cloves and cinnamon.
Next add the rice and let it boil till the rice is almost half done.
Strain the rice and spread it out on a flat surface.
Now is probably the easiest part and the last step' assembling' before you can devour this sinful biryani.
Take a handi or a saucepan (make sure it has a proper lid) and brush it with a little ghee.
We will make the first layer with rice and then the mutton.
First rice,then the marinated mutton and fried potatoes , then rice and then mutton again. Finally top it up with the remaining rice. Sprinkle the remaining brown onion slices and the kewra essence on top. Close the lid tightly of the handi and seal it with the dough
Now the final task is to put this on dum or slow cooking as we say. For the mutton to be fully cooked this has to be put on heat for at least an hour. So to prevent it from burning I always put the handi on a tawa/skillet and not directly.
Now forget about it for an hour and then when you break open that seal - simply divine!!
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.
Nothing like quick fix recipes. Recipes that however do not compromise on taste and freshness! My endeavour is to share with my readers, recipes that don’t need you to slog it out in the kitchen. Well, of course there are some dishes that have no shortcut but for the rest if there is a way, then why not?! With the dreaded summers fast approaching, we all like to keep it simple and easy. This Pan Fried Chicken Tikka recipe is perfect to make. Only requires a good marination and quicky fry. They could even be made in the oven.
A perfect accompaniment to go with drinks for an evening with friends. With the cricket season on, I am sure all of us are having lot of sessions bonding with friends. Make this for you next adda and wow your guests. Serve with a simple green salad, a fresh raita, some green chutney and a squirt of lime!
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.
Ye. ye. You read that right! Potato in a chocolate cake. It so happened that one evening I dug out many of my old recipe books and scoured around for some interesting recipes. This particular book has and entire section dedicated to potatoes, savoury as well as sweet items. I was so intrigued by this one, potato in a chocolate cake, just didn’t make too much sense. But now that I have tried it, I would highly recommend it and see it made it to the blog.
In my endeavour to stick to ‘clean eating’ I substituted half of plain flour with whole wheat flour and used olive oil instead of butter. Also replaced castor sugar with brown sugar. The result was fabulous, dense and moist chocolate cake minus the guilt. I think its the mashed potatoes that works wonder. Now that I checked the internet is flooding with recipes with potatoes in chocolate cake and I thought I was the only one. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant discovery as far as chocolate cake goes. Do try it guys!