Thursday, December 31, 2009

Rasogolla!

Making rasogollas sounds really easy if you just look at the recipe that I have received from my friend Shagufta. And I have made it several times in the past... although I have not made it in 4 years! I had somewhat forgotten how tricky it is to make the perfect rossogolla! Well, if you wonder what a rasogolla or rasgulla is... let me explain here. Rasogolla's actual translation would be cheese balls in syrup:-). That may not sound appetizing to you but they are the most popular sweets in the Indian subcontinent! Mostly bought in the corner sweet shops and their origin is controversial! The current form if rasogolla was first created and marketed by Nabin Chandra Das of Kolkata in 1868 whose profession was sweet making!

Posted via email from Kaberi's stream of (un)consciousness

Happy New Year!

Posted via email from Kaberi's stream of (un)consciousness

Monday, December 28, 2009

Steamed persimmon pudding


persimmon pudding, originally uploaded by lorises.

I have been trying to get hold of a good persimmon pudding for a while. Persimmons are so abundant in the central valley of California in the winter and they are perhaps one of the best seasonal fruits apart from mango and jackfruits! Well, here comes by asian bias...:-). Finally, I got a recipe from my friend Kathryn Whitehouse who actually got it from her late mother. She gave me a copy of the recipe typed in an actual typewriter. You have to use the soft hachiya ones for the reicpe. Here in the recipe she talks about filling up a kettle large enough to hold two quart pudding mold. In most places outside USA, kettle refers to a metal pot or stewing pot or a dutch oven or a big sauce pan. I used a pressure cooker without the whistle for cooking and a tightly lided indian stainless steel tiffin box instead of a pudding mold.

Here is the recipe that she had written:

1 cup pureed persimon (about 3 persimmon peeled, seeded, then pureed).
2 tsp of baking powder
1/4 pound of butter, at room temparature
1 and1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp rum ( I substituted with plum brandy)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 broken walnuts or pecans (I substituted that with sliced almonds)
1/2 cup raisins

Fill a kettle that is large enough to hold to a 2 quart pudding mold with enough water to come halfway up the sides of the mold. Let the water come to a boil over medium heat whiel you are mixing the pudding batter. The mold must have a lid or be snugly covered with a tin foil while steaming a 3 lb coffee can with a plastic lid works well). Also, there must be a rack under the mold to allow the water to circulate freely while the pudding is steaming.

Grease the mold.

Put the persimmon puree in a small bowl and stir in the baking soda set aside while mixing the other ingredients (persimmon mixtrue may become quite stiff). Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, lemon juice and rum and beat well. Add the flour, cinnamon and salt and stir to blend.

Add the persimmon mixture and bat until weel mixed. Stir in the nuts and raisins.

Spoon the batter into the mold, cover and steam for 2 hours. Remove from kettle and let rest for 5 minutes. Turn onto a rack or cool just little and serve warm with unsweetende whipped cream or lemon sauce. Freezes well.

Lemon Sauce:

1 cup sugar
2 heaping tbsps corn starch
2 cups water
Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick and clear.

Stir in: 4 tbsp of butter
2 or more tbsp of lemon juice
1 tbsp or more grated lemon peel.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Vegetable biriyani in Tamil Nadu Style

This vegetable biriyani is one of the quick ones where you put all the spices together and let the vegetables cooked with the rice. You can also do the whole thing in pressure cooker but the vegetables need to be added later... . I generally pressure cook chicken/mutton/beef biriyani. Otherwise just cook in the rice cooker or in a regular pot with lid or in a dutch oven. Since I learn this from my Tamilian friends in Mundanthurai, especially Pushpa Akka in the Mundanthurai Guest House Kitchen and from my friend Sara' s mother (U. Saravana Kumar). Thanks go to both of them.

I used long grain basmati rice here. In Tamil Nadu they use biriyani rice which are short grain fine quality unboiled rice.

Recipe:

Rice: 3 cups
Vegetables: carrots. broccoli, bell pepper, cauliflower, peas
tomatoes: 2-3
onions: 1 big red one
garlic: 4 cloves
ginger: 1 tbsp
Mint leaves: fresh 1 sprig
Coriander leaves: 2 aprig
Thai green chiies: 2-3 chopped
Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
Salt: as you want
curry leaves: 3-4
Black pepper: 1/4 tsp or less
chilli powder: 1/2 tsp or as you want
coriander powder: 1tbsp
aniseed/fennel: 1 tsp
nutmeg: 1/8 tsp
star anise: 1
clove: 2-3
cinnamon: 1/2 inch stick or powdered 1/8 tsp
cardamom: 2
oil: to fry

I first add all the whole spices and green chili in there. Add garlic ginger and onion fry them well add the chopped mint leaves. Then add tomatoes. Fry them well. add vegetables and then add rice. Fry them for little bit. Add water: for three cups add 6 cups of water. Cover the lid and let it cook until the rice is done. You can add some more mint leaves and coriander leaves at this point too. Remove from the hat mix it well granish it with coriander leaves and serve hot.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Ghugni - a chat/snack from the street of Eastern India



Here is the recipe for this yummilacious snack that we always wanted to get from the street vendors! I still remember our local vendor Jaydev-da who had a cart full of delicious snack like ghugni, aloo dam, dhoka and all sorts of chops (fritters) and come to our school every dat at tiffin time ( I guess it is equivalent of lunch time) here in the USA. We did not have free school lunch option, neither we had a cafeteria. So the option was either you bring your own tiffin from home or you can buy from the vendors they would allow during the tiffin time in the school complex!

Recipe:

Matar (yellow peas): 1/2 lbs soaked in water for 4-5 hours
onions: 1 medium size onion chopped some and some chooped with soaked with lemon juice
potatoes: 1 medium size potato
oil: 2 tsp
garlic: 1 clove chopped
ginger: 1 tsp chopped
cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
bay leaf: 1
cumin and corainder powder: 1 tbsp
salt: as you want
turmeic powder: 1/2 tsp
chat masala: 1 tbsp to sprinkle on the ghugni (optional)
lemon: 1
amchur powder: 1 tbsp (optional)
chili powder: as you taste
coriander leaves/cilantro: 2 sprigs
green chilies (thai or serrano or jalapeno): chopped some

Soak the dried yellow peas for 4-5 hours. If you have a pressure cooker then this enough and if you do not have a pressure cooker then soak it for longer. Boil them in water with salt, half of the chopped onions, garlic and ginger. When it is cooked (in pressure cooker it takes about 10 minutes) get it out of the stove. Meanwhile in small pan or wok heat the oil. In hot oil add cumin seeds, bay leaf and rest of the ginger. Add turmeric, chili powder, amchur, cumin and coriander powder in the oil. Add the potatoes and saute them in medium heat for five minutes. Then add the boiled peas and let it boil with some additional water. In case of no amchur you can add lemon juice while cooking or tomatoes if availabel during the season.

Boil until water is some what dry in simmering heat for about 10 minutes or so. You can garnish with onions with lemon juice, sprinkled chat masala, coriander leaves and green chilies.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Misti Doi (Sweet Yogurt - Indian style)



I have been meaning to make sweet yogurt (misti doi) that is part of bengali culture in some ways for a long time! I had done it in the past but at that time i had matka (unsealed clay pot) for making doi! I had got it from India! However, since that was broke in one of our moves across US, I have not got a new one! Now that i am making plain yogurt at home regularly, i thought of making it again! My father used to make at home some times when we would have lots and lots of milk from the two Jersey hybrid cows we had.... that was almost 25 years ago....Gosh, we are getting old! 80s now is ancient:-)

Anyway, here is what I did.... I made it from 2% milk. It would have been better if I had used whole milk. But this was good enough! My daughter complained saying it was not like the one you get in all the sweet shops in Kolkata!

Recipe:

Whole Milk/2% milk (in the USA): 1/2 gallon
Sugar (brown sugar is better): 4-5 tbsp or as much as you like

You can also mix some Grade A maple syrup as a substitute of khejur gur (date palm sugar). In Bengal, you can get yogurt made with khejur gur/nalen gur (date palm sugar) instead of cane sugar. That gives a special flavor! I find that Maple syrup and Khejur gur have very similar flavor. Not surprising... they both are made of sap from the plants even though the plants are from complete different family in two different continent!

I boiled the mild and stir it with a ladle as it was boiling. You make it some what thick... half a gallon should end up with 2/3 of the total milk! Then cool it but again need to stir it so that it does not get the cream layer (malai) on the top! You can add sugar as you taste while boiling or while cooling it down. When it is warm, add the curd culture in it and mix it well. Now get a clean pot and use some of the culture to layer it one the inside wall of the pot! Add the milk and let it set for overnight in a warm place. I do it inside the oven or on top of the stove! you can also cover the pot with some folded towel or a tea cozy! Next day it will be set and then you can transfer it to the refrigerator to eat later.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Indian Masala Dabba (spice box)






Masala Dabba (spice box) is essential part of an Indian kitchen in any part of South Asia! Spice type and combination may vary between regions, state, family and local areas but the box stays the same! In southern India, the regular essential spices will be cumin, mustard, urad dal, and some sambar masala or ingredients of sambar/rasam powder. In Western India (Maharastra) sambar masala will be replaced by goda masala or kalaamasala while in the east it will be cumin and corainder powder and in North it would be garam masala! Of course in North and east where they use mustard oil for cooking the mustrad seeds get replaces by panch phoron or simple cumin seeds!

Here is a masala dabba that I inherited from my mother -in-law who is from North Karnataka (Bijapur town) and lives in Bombay. Her essential spices included a mix masala powder that she made (I guess her mother's recipe) which she used in almost all her cooking... right from huli (a lentil soup/dal with pigeon pea lentil) to sambar to all her vegetbale dishes! This was her signature spice mix without any specific name! My mother's spice box always have panch phoron ( the five spice mix, see the picture)! Here in our case, it is mixture of east and southwest of India! We have mustard, cumin, urad dal, chili powder, turmeric powder and panch phoron and corander/dumin powder mix! Those are essential in our mixed kitchen....! Additional spices are in the shelf!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Here is what I cooked for dinner:-)




In stead of cooking meat, I decided to cook small round new potatoes with some of the spices tonight! I have been eating less meat these days... more I think and read about the meat and meant industry (not to mention the environmental damage to natural habitat) and all the chemicals in terms of hormones go in the meat production, I would like to less meat! But that does not mean I am a vegetarian or I will be a vegetarian in near future! In fact, in some ways we are lucky that there are good all the hormone free grass fed, free ranging organic pasture raised meat is available commercially in the market... I mean in alternative grocery stores such Whole Foods or some of your local food co-ops. However, given the economy in our household these days, I cannot afford to eat or buy those meat products regularly any more! Irony is that I cannot even go to a regular grocery store and buy meat, fish or any other animal products or even any produce! Now, some of you may argue about the chemicals that are sprayed on the plants or use in the soil as fertilizer for plants... what about those bad ones! It is true commercial production of crop has made us to alter the crop growth in many ways! In some parts of India they even soak the vegetables in colored water for the artificially bright looks! I bought moong dal from Indian store recently with extra yellow colors! It is the alternative of adding wax on the fruits and vegetables or food irradiation for longer shelf life in the grocery stores of 40 plus countries! It is probably worse because the toxic chemicals of the inedible colors are not known and there is no regulations by any authority like FDA! sure the crop production cause major damage to the local environment, changes soil composition, water level in the area and air pollution due to all the chemical spray in large commercial mechanized fields! So what is the alternative? Are there any? I guess, if you are are living in high density urban landscape in high rise buildings there are very little options for you! But if you are in a suburban landscape with some land around you...yes, you can! But it takes more effort and time to find fresh produce or grow them. Here in California and most part of USA, you can buy fresh vegetables and fruits from the farmer's market or local small grocery stores that may keep local produce! You can also produce your own some vegetables at home even if you have just a small piece of land! It is not difficult to do edible landscaping especially if you own your own house! We have done some backyard gardening in the last couple of years in our house and if I had an option in this rental property I would get rid of all the back and front yard grasses and try to grow my own food!!

Well, in effort to eat and cook more vegetables, I tried going to the local grocery stores and tried to buy fresh asian vegetables, but got out with out buying anything! Here goes my so called yuppie/ hippie lifestyle...as some of my friends would say! I just could not buy those nice, clean, glossy wax covered vegetables and fruits. However, eating healthy is perhaps the most important thing in our life (more than wearing fancy clothes or buying a nice big house)!! We used to be part of a local CSA where you could get organically produces greens and vegetables once a week! After doing that for four years, I got tired of eating only lettuce, various roots and other local faram produce of European origin! I decided to stop that for while and buy Asian vegetables that are organically grown! I know people in this country or in India who like to lead a luxurious life by fulfilling their dreams of buying a big house, more than two cars and of course fancy clothes... however, they would shop for food as cheap as possible! They do not bother to read the label of food they buy or chemical content like high fructose corn syrup ( in the US) or hydrogenated fat or rBEST hormones in the milk! Then you wonder why do they have to worry about all the diseases related to diet!!! In fact, I recently noticed that food in the fast food restaurants are not really cheap... even in McDonald's a kid's meal cost you over $3 and the chemicals that are in there!!!!!!!!! Thankfully, our kids do not like to eat at McDonalds and therefore do not have to bargain with them about which fast food place to go!

So what are my options to buy vegetables that are not expensive but organic! I started going to local farmer's market in downtown Fresno where farmers from small farms come and sell there produce! After talking to them and also from friends, I got to which farmers do not use chemicals or spray any pesticides! For some farmers buying pesticides and fertilizers are difficult since they are expensive!

We made chapatis and ate those chapatis with aloo dom and dal! I love the smell of new potatoes with thin skin and simple dishes that do not take much effort! This reminded me of beginning of winter in India when you can get new potatoes and especially the small ones! They are like Rasogollas... you can eat one at a time!

Here is the recipe:

Small potatoes: I counted 30 of them in 1.5 lb bag
tomato: i medium/big size roma tomato
peas : optional I use frozen peas
onion: chopped 1/4 of an onion ( optional)
green chili: 1
kalonji seeds: 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder: 1/4 tbsp
coriander-cumin powder mix - 1/2 tsp (optional)
Cilantro leaves: few sprigs
bay leaf: 1
salt: as you need
water: some

Boil the potatoes separately ( in pressure cooker for two whistle). Cool them if you want to peel the skin, I did not remove the skin. In wok, heat oil ( You can use a mixture of mustard and regular canola oil if you want). Add kalonji seeds and a green chili (slitted) when the oil is really hot. Add the chopped onion ( again optional) Add the tomatoes, turmeric, coriander -cumin powder mix, salt and let it cooked a little. Add the potatoes now fry them for 5 minutes and add water. LEt it get cooked well for about 10 minutes. When the water is thick and leass (depends on if you want it dry) Garnish with chopeed cilantro and you are done! You can eat it with chapatis, rice or totillas!

Monday, September 7, 2009

dinner sample...




Here are some regional variation in Indian vegetarian cooking! I cooked Shukto which is mixed vegetable dish with bitter gourd or any other bitter vegetables or leaves in it, Split pea lentil soup (matar dal) with asian white daikon. Both are from Bengal and the third one is green beans sauted with spices and coconut. this recipe is from North Karnataka!

Shukto:

It taste bitter because of the bitter gourd or any other bitter vegtables. That is why you eat this mix vegetables with rice at first and then eat other dishes such as dal, sauted or fried vegetables, meat or fish and sweets at the end. A lot of non India friends ahve hard time eating bitter vegetables. Therefore, you have to be willing to try and like bitter food. The intensity of the bitterness depends on how much bitter gourd you use. Here I used:
green plantain - 1
zucchini: 2 small one
potatoes: 2 small red skin
eggplant: 1 long Japanese one
bitter gourd: 1 or 2 small Indian variety

If you have pumpkin or yellow squash you can use that instead of zucchini. you can add radish or white daikon and string beans or French beans there. In India, combination depends on the seasonal vegetables. There are a lot of variation of this dish. In fact, every family or person have their own recipes. And some times cook it differently depending on the availability of spices and vegetables!

Spices:
mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
panch phoron: a mixture of five spice mix from India (optional)
mustard and white poppy seeds paste: 1 TBSP
oil for cooking: 1 tsp or so ( I use little mustard oil for traditional flavor)
salt: as you want
turmeric: 1/4 tsp or less
ghee: 1 tsp (optional)

Mustrad and poppy seeds paste:
soak both of them in water and grind them in a grinder.

process:
Cut all the vegetables in to small cubes. I use a wok to cook this. In hot oil add mustard seeds and when they splatter I add all the vegetables. saute them for a while with salt and turmeric powder. When the vegetables are some what soft add the mustard seeds paste and let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes. when they are some what dry remove it from the stove.
I like to add the panch phoron later on. But it is not necessary. In a small pan roast the panch phorn ( five spice mix) and coarsely grind it. Add them on the top of the cooked vegetables. ghee is also optional and you can add on tsp at the end!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

An afternoon snack from the street corners in Bombay!


I guess the English translation would be potato fritters and gralic-coconut chutney! Another of the street food from Bombay! Madhu made that couple of days ago... Batata vada is his own recipe taste exactly like eating from a street corner some where in Bombay! Garlic and dry coconut chutney is his mother's recipe and this time it came exactly like MIL makes it! This is one of my favourite!

Here is the recipe of batata vada:

Potatoes: 2 lbs
red onions: 1 big one
ginger: 1 tbsp
garlic: 1 tbsp
Thai green chili: according to taste
chili powder: up to you
turmeric: 1/2 tsp
asfaetida: 1 pinch
mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp
cumin seeds: 1/4 tsp
curry leaves: few of them (optional)
salt to taste
Canola or vegetable oil to fry
A wok

Gram flour/chicpea flour/besan batter:

Gram flour/chicpea flour/besan: 2 cups
water : a cup or so
salt: according to taste
turmeric: 1/4 tsp

Chutney:
Unsweetened dry coconut powder: 1/2 cup
gralic cloves: 4
chili powder: according to taste
salt: according to taste

Recipe:

Boil the potatoes. We generally do it in a pressure cooker. Remove the skins and mash it well. In a wok, heat 2 tbsp of oil. Add mustard seeds when the oil is really hot. once the mustard seeds started splattering add cumin seeds, asafetida, turmeric, green chili, curry leaves. then add ginger, garlic and onions. Once they are sautéed, add potatoes and salt. Cook it well by mixing it with a spatula. Now take it out of the stove top and set it aside to cool it.

Make the batter with flour. Heat a cup or more oil in wok to fry the vadas. Make little ball of the potato mixture, dip them in the batter and fry them in hot oil.

Chutney:
Grind all the ingredients in a dry grinder together and it is done.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

White Asian Daikon/radish/muli sauted in spices

Daikon or radish is not a very popular vegetable in India. In North India, they are more common for Muli paratha or stuffed flat bread. In Bengal, daikon is either used in mixed vegetables dishes or cooked on its own with aromatic spice and vada made with masoor dal (red lentil) or with vadi (sun dried lentil drop). This somewhat elaborate dish is called mulo ghonto. It is one of my favourite vegetarian dishes. And amazingly it does not have any onion or garlic among the spices.

Recipe:

Dikon or muli or mulo white ones: 5
Oil: 1tsp
ghee: 1 tsp
cumin whole: 1/2 tsp
bay leaf: 2
green chilli: 2 or more
ground cumin: 1 tsp
ground ginger: 1/2 tsp
turmeric: 1/4 tsp or less
Asafaetida: i pinch
salt: as you want
sugar: little bit ( little more than a pinch)
Chili powder: 1/4 tsp or more if you want
coriander leaves /cilantro: 1Tbsp

Optional:
milk: 2 TBSP
vada: made from ground masoor dal (red lentil) paste and then deep fried (optional)
vadi: you can buy sometime in Indian stores as Punjabi vadis. They are sundried ground lentil paste with spices.

Grate the mulis with a grater or food processor. In a bowl in the grated muli add salt, sugar and red chili powder and mix it well. Keep the mixture for five minutes. Water will come out. Press them with your hand and remove the water.

In a pan add some oil. In hot oil put the whole cumin, bay leaf and green chili and asafaetida and turmeric. Add the muli mixture. Saute it for few minutes. Let it simmer. Check it occasionally and stir it so that it does not get stuck at the bottom of the pan. You can add little water too. When it is dry add the little milk and ghee. Cook it for couple of more minutes. Remove from the stove.

In another pan deep fry the vadas or vadis. Then add them to the muli mixture and garnish with coriander leaves.

We generally eat this dish with rice and masoor dal.But ti goes well with rotis or chapatis too.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

GREEN TOMATO CURRY



This is dish that my sister-in-law Vaijayanta made for me last time when Iwas in Bombay. This dish has influence of bith Maharastra and North Karnataka. My in-laws are from North Karnataka (from Bijapur http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bijapur,_Karnataka)and lived mostly in and around Bombay for many years. Vaijoo as we all call her is also married to maharashtrian from Satara district (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satara). So her cooking is a influenced by Karnataka and Maharashtra both. And then it came to me... so it is not exactly tasted like her... but it was good. I also used a roasted peanut-sesame chutney powder that Madhu made instead of the roasted peanut powder that Vaijoo had told me to use.

Here is the recipe:

Green tomatoes: app 1lbs/1/2 kg
onion: 1/4 of a cup or less finely chopped
garlic:one clove minced
ginger: 1/2 tsp minced
mustard: 1/4 tsp
cumin: 1/4 tsp
curry leaves: a few
asafaetida: i pinch
turmeric: a pinch or as you want
green chillies: couple of them at least
red chili powder: as you want
Roasted peanut and sesame seeds powder or roasted peanut powder (without the skin).
Salt : as you need

In a kadhai or in a large pan add oil and let it get hot. In very hot oil add mustard seeds first. When the mustard splatters, add cumin, curry leaves, asafaetida, green chillies and turmeric. Then add garlic, ginger and onion fry them for couple of minutes. You can add now red chilli powder. Add the green tomotoes and salt. Saute them for few minutes. If you do not want the chunky texture you need to add little water and cover it with a lid and let it simmer. When they are soften add the mixture of roasted peanut and sesame seeds powder and mix it well. Remove from the stove and you are done!

It goes best with chapatis but we had other day with dosas too. Hope you will like it. Please share with all of us, if you have a different version.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Homemade Panipuris/Golgappas for dinner



This is perhaps the most popular Indian street snack in North, East and West India including Pakistan and Bangladesh. You can get them on the road side where vendors stand in one corner with their little stand which contains all those puris in a box, a big clay pot with the tamarind and spice water and potato mixture!
It is an art to cook them and prepare them with the water and stuffing as well as an art to eat them! It took me a while to figure it out how to make them.I got tired of paying $9.00 for a bag of 40 puris in the local Indian grocery stores! Looked for recipes online and found this great Indian cooking site with you tube demonstrations called Manjula's kitchen. Check that site out for vegetarian Indian cooking recipes!

These are not the best pictures! I had to take them in a hurry beacuse they were disappearing quickly-:)

Here is the recipe:

For Puri (Manjula's kitchen):
3/4 th cup of suji/rava
1/4 cup of all purpose flour/ maida
!/4 cup of water
knead them and keep it covered for about half an hour with a moist towel/cloth.
Make tiny balls and roll them in to round puris. Keep them covered with another moist towel. Deep fry them in hot oil. Cook them until they are brown on both side, IF they are white, then they are not crispy and it isn ot fun to eat soggy regular puri with the water and potatoes. Here is the trick that Ms. Manjula does not describe well in her video... if you keep it for too long and wait to roll all the puris and then fry them, the uncooked puris tend to get dry and do not puff up well. If your puris are too thin then they do not puff up as well. You need to roll them about 1 mm thick at least! It is a trial and error method:-)

Potato fillings:
4-5 potatoes
onion: one red one
green chillies: as you want
chat masala: 2 tsps
chickpeas/garbanzo: cooked or cans 1 cup
cilantro/coriander leaves: 1/4 cup
salt: to taste
Sev/mixture snack: 1 cup
tamarind water: as you want

Make your own chat masala:
black salt:1/2 tsp
roasted coriander and cumin powder: 2 tsp
amchur/dried mango powder: 1 tsp
pomegranate seeds: 1/2 tsp


I do boil potatoes really well in the pressure cooker. And mash them very well add all the ingredinets and keep it aside.

Pani/ Tamarind water:

tamarind paste: 2-3 Tbsps
tamarind: 1/4 cup and soak them in water and tehn remove the seeds and other parts and keep the water
Water: 6-7 cups
roasted cumin and coriander powder- 2tsp
Sugar: 1-2 tsp
salt: to taste
black salt: 1/4 tsp
ginger: tiny bit
Onion -1 tbsp
coriander and mint leaves: optional, some from the bunch depends on how minty you want.

Grind all of them in grinder and mix them well.

How to eat: brake one of the puris with your left hand to make a hole, stuf the potato mixture and then dip the whole thing in the tamarind water. You have to eat the whole puri at one go so that water and stuffing do not come out!
 
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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Kitfo

 
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Recipe is coming....

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kerala Fish Curry....



Kerala Fish Curry...., originally uploaded by lorises.

Here is a fish curry that has gone through some cultural changes... My friend Robin whose parents are originally from Kerala but he grew up mostly in Bharatpur in Rajasthan and now work in the forests of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and more recently in the US. Therefore Robin's cooking skill has evolved like his taste buds! He has made this mazing fish curry in traditional Kerala style with little bit of Bengali influence. This is supposed to be a special fish curry that one makes for special occasion because you need to make the coconut milk and fry the fish pieces. Here in the USA, it is easier to make coconut milk because you can just buy it from the Asian stores. Nowadays, even some grocery stores keep them in their Asian grocery section. If you are not afraid of buying the regular coconut milk then the curry taste much better than the low fat coconut milk from Trader Joes or Whole Foods. We tried both with low fat and whole coconut milk. Robin recommends it marinade the fish few hours before you cook the curry. This fish curry taste even better a day after.... oh... my mouth is getting filled up by water...!!! Thank you Robin.

For the fish curry, heres the really simple recipe
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Ingredients:
Turmeric powder - 2 spoons
Chilly powder - 2 spoons
Red Onion - 2 large
Tomato - 2 large
Lime -1
vegetable Oil - quite a bit
Fish - suggested Tilapia (cat fish doesn't work well) - 4 big fillets (feeds 3-4 people as the only dish)
Ginger and garlic paste - 2 spoons
Coconut milk (unsweetened - this is very important) - 2 cans (I found a brand called 'goya' at Kroger to be fairly good)

A. Prepare the marinate for the fish:
1. Mix 1 spoon turmeric, 1 spoon chilly powder, salt (about 1/2 spoon) to taste, ginger & garlic paste, juice of half a lemon and 2 spoons of oil.
2. Smear the marinate on medium size pieces of fish
3. Marinate minimum for 15 minutes, best if marinated for 4-5 hours or more (I marinate over night)
4. Fry the fish in oil. Dont worry if the fish is spicy by itself, the dish wont be spicy at the end.
B. Prepare the sauce
1. Add one spoon of oil in a hot wok and when its hot add sliced onion and cook till it is soft and light brown.
family: arial; font-size: 13px;">2. Add diced tomatoes to this and let it cook till the tomatoes break down into pulp.
3. add 1 spoon of chilly powder and 1/2 spoon of turmeric powder and salt to taste. Mix well.
4. Add coconut milk and fried fish pieces (or should I say "product from step-A") and bring it to boil. You can add some water to increase the quantity of sauce but best if cooked entirely in coconut milk.  
5. Add the juice from 1/2 lime
6. Stir very gently and in one direction (clockwise or anticlockwise) so that fish pieces dont crumble.
7. Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes in low flame. Adjust salt levels. If the dish is too spicy add more coconut milk. (I usually make the dish with 1.5 cans and then use the last half to adjust the spice if necessary).
8. Let the dish stand till it cools down (tastes better when cool and even better the next day!



Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Payash (Rice pudding)....

 
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In eastern India winter is time to eat lost of home made sweet... Rasogollas and rasamalai do not count as home made and they are available throughout the year in the corner sweet shop at your neighbourhood! So it is time for making lots of different kinds of rice based sweets such as puli pithas and patisapta and payasah. New paddy gets harvested during this time of the year along with the khejure'r gur (date palm jagery) which is one the delicacies of Bengal. Traditionally rice pudding is used as a sweet made for birthday.. an equivalent of birthday cakes in the West!

This rice pudding is very different from the rice pudding in the Western culinary one... In fact, Indian rice pudding did not use egg. Here milk is boiled over simmering heat for a long time so that it is thick! Aromatic Rice (in Bengal they prefer short grain Gobindobhog or Kalijira rice) is generally used to make the Bengali style payash. There are other versions all over the India and anme ranged form Khreer in Northern part of the subcontinent to Payasam in the South. I used my mother's recipe with modifications for this one! Nalen gur/khejure'r gur is not available in the US of A easily unless you happened to live near a Bangladeshi grocery store! I find the flavor of maple syrup is very similar to khejur gur and hence substitute gur with Grade A maple syrup! Technically, they both are sap from plants. Both khejur gur and maple syrup are the sweet watery saps of the plants that are tapped from the tree trunks and then boiled for a long time to thicken it.

One of my best memories of childhood days is drinking kehur ras early in the morning at my uncle's house in the village near Bangladesh border. After the partition of Bengal in 1947, my father's family moved to West Bengal and bought some land in a village. We used to wait for the winter brake to go to my uncle's house! And then my grandma and uncle would fire the big fuelwood chulah (stove) outside in the corner of the courtyard to cook the sap in huge iron karhai (wok) for hours! We kids would hover around to see the boiling bubbling sap and taste the new hot liquid gur. Finally they would make the hard one (patali gur) and dry it the sun for couple of days before packing it up to send it to other relatives' house. They liquid gur (we call jhola gur) would be tightly sealed in terracotta pots in which they collect the sap for next few months' use. I love winter for the khejur ras and gur!
Recipe is here:

3 liter of whole milk
0.5 liter of half and half
Kalijira rice 250 grams
Raw cane sugar 250 grams or to taste
Maple syrup couple of table spoons
Raisins, cashew, pistachio and almonds (these are optional) a handful
small cardamom 2
bay leaf 1 or 2

I boil the milk in low heat for at least half an hour. I add cardamom and bay leaves while boiling the milk. Add the washed rice and let it cooked. You have to stir it a lot while cooking so that milk does not get stuck in the bottom of the pan. Once the rice is cooked, you can add sugar and raisins and other nuts and let it boil in low heat for another half an hour or so.Add maple syrup at the end to get the nice smell! you an serve it warm or cool and can be kept for a few days in the refrigerator! And please add your own recipes here in the comments....

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pav bhaji ... an Indian street food



Pav bhaji ... an Indian street food, originally uploaded by lorises.

Well, pav bahaji is probably not going to disappear from the indian street vendors soon....yet I some time worry what will happen to the locally grown street food or fast food industries in India...Will multinational corporations gobble them up too?

Recipe here....

cauliflower - half of the flower head

Carrots- 2-3

mid size golden potatoes- 2

peas: fresh or frozen - 1 cup

green beans: 5-10 chopped small

onions: 2 medium sized and finely chopped

ginger/garlic: 2 table spoons

coriander/cilantro: few sprigs

butter: 100 gms

oil: 2tbs

salt: to taste

tomatoes: 3 mediun sized ones chopped finely

pav bhaji masala: 3 TBSp

Boil all the vegetables together except peas. I generally do it in the pressure cooker, take them out of the cooker and mashed them.

In a dutch oven or wok/kadhai fry the onions, ginger garlic paste. Then add the tomotoes and the pav bhaji masala mix. add the peas at this point and fry them. Now you can add boiled vegetable mix.

Let them cook for some time. Serve with chopped coriander leaves, onions and butter and dinner rolls.



p.s. Pav bahaji spice mix one can get in any Indian grocery store in th

Thursday, February 26, 2009

North African style Vegetarian couscous

 
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This is a couscous recipe modified from Mark Bittman's book of international recipes. Here I used two cups of couscous boiled or steamed and all the ingredients that were available at the time of cooking. I made it mildly hot for my kids.
Vegetables:
One pack of frozen artichoke hearts from Trader Joe's
Tomatoes: 1 chopped
Red Onion: 2 tbsp
Leek: 1/4 cup
garlic 4 cloves
ginger: 1/2 tsp
green chilies: 1
Paprika or kashmiri chili powder: 1/2 tsp
turmeric: 1/8 of tsp
cloves: 2
saffron thread: a few of them soaked in warm milk
salt: to taste
Olive oil: 2 TBSP

Use a wok or a kadhai. In the pan add olive oil. When it is hot then add onions, leek, garlic, ginger, cloves green chilies, stir fry them for few minutes. when the onions are translucent add turmeric and paprika. Add the tomatoes and frozen vegetables. fry them for few minutes and then add the couscous. Mix them well in low heat and serve hot.

Chapli kabab with buffalo meat


Chapli kabab with buffalo meat, originally uploaded by lorises.


Eating buffalo (American Bison) meat is an acquired taste. You need to get used to the strong meatiness that comes with it. But if you are used to eating beef then it is ok... According to Amearican Heart Association, it is better than eating beef since they are much more lean than the stall fed cows. My friend Chandra commented on Facebook that if the European settlers tamed buffaloes for their source of meat instead of importing cows from Europe, North American landscape would not have been such an ecological disaster! Anyway, I thought of spicing up my buffalo burger that I bought from Trader Joes few nights ago. I used Chaplli kabab masala powder from Shan (a Pakistani spice mix company) which one can get in any Indian grocery stores in the USA and used onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, green chillies and coriander leaves(cilantro)to make chapli kabab. It came out well, I must say....

Recipe:

Buffalo meat ground: 2lb
Shan Chapli kabab masala: 4 tbsp
Onion: red, 1/2 cup minced
Garlic: 2 cloves minced
ginger: 1/2 tsp minced
tomato: i chopped well
green chilli: 1 or 2 nicley minced
Cilantro (coriander leaves) some
oil: to fry
1 Egg to mix with the mixture

Add all of these together and mix well. In a pan fry them well. Use burger buns, mayo, tomato slices, letuce leaves to serve.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mustard fish curry any one? Recipe is here....

Mustard fish curry any one? Recipe is here....

I cooked fish curry in mustard paste other day after a long time! Accompanied vegetarian dishes are masoor dal (red lentil), dhonka'r dalna (split pea lentil cake in a curry) and brussels's sprout with bengali five spice mix.

Mustard fish curry recipe:

Any kind of freshwater fish or shad/cod/ mahimahi: 2 lbs
Mustard paste:
Yellow mustard seeds: 3 table spoons
Brown mustard seeds: 2 table spoon
Salt: for your taste
Little bit of oil ( mustard oil is good, if you can stand it!)
Little water to grind

Grind all of them in paste to in a small grinder.

Oil to cook: One or two tbsp
green chillies: two of them ( more if you want spicy)
salt: to taste and marinade the fish
Turmeric: to marinade the fish

Wash and marinade the fish for 5-10 minutes before cooking.

In a Kadhai or Wok add some oil and let it get hot. Add the marinated fish. Fry both sides very lightly. Add turmeric powder, green chillies and salt.

Now add the mustard paste with water and let it boil. Please do not fry the mustard paste. It makes the paste bitter. It should be dry curry not very watery and remove it after 10 minutes or so.