Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Narkel Chicken / Chicken in coconut sauce

( Vegetarians can replace the Chicken with Paneer ... it tastes even better. )

I learnt this from Jaya's blog.

Though using coconut paste or coconut milk is not a novelty to many, I had never used it in any chicken dish.
So I was a little curious when I saw Jaya's "Hassle free chicken curry" post. But on her assurance that chicken tastes good with coconut too .... I decided to try it.

I have made a few changes ... more out of necessity than my usual tendency to experiment. So am giving my recipe here. The original recipe is with Jaya here.

I have used coconut milk and not the paste. I have also skipped out on the haldi powder just to retain the creamy colour that the curd and coconut milk would give.

Also I have not used any garam masala powder .... as it would tend to darken the colour ..... so just whole green cardamoms ...... they give a wonderful flavour in hot oil. And instead of red chilli powder I used chopped green chillies.

Needless to say .... this is one dish that I am going to make again and again. It turned out so good ... am going to make it the next time I have guests for dinner. :-)

And it indeed is hassle free.
Thanks a lot Jaya for sharing such a wonderful recipe. :-)

Need :

Chicken pieces,
Sliced onions,
Chopped or sliced green chillies,
Whole dry red chillies,
Green cardamoms / choti elaichi,
Crushed garlic,
Coconut milk,
Salt to taste,
A little sugar,
Cooking oil.

How to :

Marinate the chicken with curd, garlic, salt and a little oil. Since I was using coconut milk I did not use it in the marination as per Jaya's instructions.

Heat oil in a heavy kadhai. Add the green cardamoms and whole red chillies.

Now add the sliced onions and fry till they turn translucent.

Then add the chicken and cover. Cook till chicken is half done.

Then add the coconut milk and and the chopped green chillies.
Stir a little. Cover and cook till chicken is done.

Great with hot rotis or rice.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Chutney from leftover chashni

Am in the midst of cleaning the house .... a ritual I follow every year inspite of my house being extremely clean. My helping hand rolls her eyes every time I mention the word cleaning ... saying " Tai la sagala swaccha pahije !" ..... "Sister wants everything to be always clean". :-)

Bengalis clean their houses before Durga Puja ... and hubby's side do their cleaning before Diwali.
I do the job before Durga Puja .... serves both ways for me ..... and am more relaxed and get more time for making Diwali delicacies. :-)

But I have been dying to share this recipe with my blogging friends.
It makes good use of left over sugar syrup that we are often left with after all the gulab jamuns / rasgullas have been devoured.

I came across the word 'chashni' when I had spoken to my then would be sis-in-law on the phone for the first time . She described my voice to her brother (hubby) as 'chashni jaisi '. :-)

Learnt this from Sanjeev Kapoor's show on the tv. And it is just soooooooo good. Easy to make, tastes heavenly and lasts for as long as you want it to .... that is if you don't polish it off in a couple of days. ;-)

I guess this is called Saunth or Sonth that is usually served with chaats in Northe India.

I made rasgullas sometime ago ... so naturally made this after a while.

Need :

Left over sugar syrup / chashni
Equal amounts of jeera / cumin seeds and whole Black Pepper
A few whole dry red chillies
A little Hing / Asafoetida
Tamarind pulp ... soak tamarind in water for half an hour and strain out the pulp
A little salt.

How to :

Dry roast the jeera, pepper, chillies and hing in a heavy bottomed pan.

Grind them coarsely in a mortar and pestle.

Bring the chashni / sugar syrup to a boil ( if it is rasgulla chashni you will need to boil it for a while to thicken it slightly as syrup for rasgullas is thinner in consistency).

Add the tamarind pulp ,the ground masala and a little salt and boil for some more time.

If you want to you can strain it. Otherwise it is good as is.

Goes great with kachoris, samosas, parathas ...... whatever.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Dahi Karela / Bitter gourd in curd

For this dish I scraped and fried the karela ... something I usually don't do when am making karela masala or plain fried. But too much bitter would not go with the slightly sour curd.

This actually turned out great. Hubby likes it with parathas ... but for me .... always rice. :-)
Need : Karelas ( scraped , cut into long slices and marinated with salt for about an hour ),
beaten curd, haldi powder, red chilli powder, dhaniya powder,
jeera, a pinch of hing, cooking oil and salt to taste.
How to : Drain the karela and wash it well. Heat enough oil and fry them till done.
In a different pan heat about a tablespoonfull of fresh oil.
Add jeera and hing. Now add the curd and haldi and red chilli powder.
Add dhaniya powder.
Cook in low flame , stirring gently.
Add the salt and the karelas.
Cook till gravy thickens slightly.
Or you can dry it up completely, like a sukha dish.

Great with hot rotis / parathas / steamed rice.
Am sending this to Sunshinemom's event FIC GREEN.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Shorse Ilish Bake / Baked Hilsa in Mustard Sauce

( Vegetarians can make this dish with Paneer or Mushrooms ).
With this post I'll be done with Ilish for the year. Though my fishwala has profusely promised me one more fish before the rains leave for good, am not counting too much on him. :-)
Ma always made this dish in an oven ... and the house would fill with that distinct smell of Ilish and mustard and green chillies and mustard oil. So I did it just that way.
Usually raw fish is used ... as it gets cooked eventually .... but since the Ilish that I get here may not be absolutely fresh .... I prefer to lightly fry it first.
And yes ..... all that oil is necessary. ;-)
Need : Lightly fried Ilish / Hilsa pieces, mustard paste ( strained and diluted with water ), a little beaten curd, whole green chillies, salt, a pinch of sugar, mustard oil.
How to : Arrange the fish pieces in a baking dish.
Add the diluted mustard paste, curd, green chillies, salt, sugar and pour in a good amount of mustard oil.
Bake at 180 degrees for half an hour.
Since the fish is already fried, the aim is to cook the mustard sauce till it thickens slighlty.
Enjoy with steamed hot rice. ! :-)

Ilisher Muro Diye Chenchra / Mixed vegetables with fish head

This dish has mixed vegetables and a leafy vegetable to give it some body. It may or may not be made with fish head .... a Bengali delicacy. Called the Chorchori / Charchari in Bengali, I am used to the word Chenchra / Chencheda (in Oriya) too. My part upbringing in Orissa is responsible for this ... I often mix up Oriya and Bengali words ... not knowing which is which actually. :-)

Usually made with the Pui/ Poi shag, the good old palak can also be used as a substitue. But of course, the taste will differ greatly.

I would give my right arm happily today just to get even one small bunch of Poi. The last time I had it was last year .... when I was in Delhi. Jiju had got some fresh bunches of this beautiful leaf and I had made the vegetarian chorchori. Everybody loved it .... yes .... their teen daughter too .... which may speak volumes about the dish. :-)

Out here I don't get it. :-(
I have heard it is available easily in Mumbai .... but not here.

I had got Ilish this time .... and was in a dilema with what to do with the head. Considering I get this fish only once in a year .... I will have to be very,very,very lucky to get it twice .... and so many types of dishes that can be made with it .... I was in a fix.
So went on a trip down memory lane and found out that I miss the chenchra more than the Ambol ( sour dish ). So decided to make it.
Of course it doesn't taste the same without the poi. :-(
Again, this dish does not have too many masalas and the taste is greatly from the vegetables and the fish head.

The vegetarian version can have mungaudi / sun dried lentil dumplings added to it.

Need : Fish head (marinated with salt and tumeric and fried well), palak / spinach ( or whichever leafy vegetable you are using) washed and chopped coarsely, paanch phoron, whole red chillies, vegetables (pumpkin,brinjal,potato, etc) cut into cubes, grated ginger, haldi powder, mustard oil / any cooking oil and salt to taste.

How to : Heat oil. Add the paanch phoron and red chillies. Add the vegetables and fry for some time.
Add the haldi powder, ginger and palak. Then add the fish head. Stir well.
Add salt ( remember ... the fish head has salt .... and palak too is slightly salty).
Cover and cook till the vegetables are done. Add a little water if necessary.
It should be mushy and well done and the fish head will be all broken up and blended well into the dish.
Goes best when served hot with steamed rice and dal.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Rosogolla / Rasgulla

No introduction needed for this sweet I guess.:-)

I learnt this from my cousin N didi ... having two much older and much married cousins in the same city has helped me a lot as far as cooking is concerned.

N didi makes the biggest sized rosogollas one can ever imagine .... but then again ... the perks of being the wife of a C-in-C includes a huge ration allowance.:-)

I had a lot of milk in the fridge ... and it has been a long time since I have made some proper sweets ... so set about making rosogollas.

Contrary to what most people believe, making rosogollas is very easy ... and the whole process takes just about an hour.

Just a few pointers to keep in mind -

Rosogollas should always be made from cow's milk and it is better if fresh lemon juice is used to curdle the milk .... though vinegar too helps as a substitue.

The milk, once curdled, should not be boiled for a long time .... this tends to harden the paneer ... for rosogollas we need soft paneer.

The syrup for rosogollas is thin ... unlike that of gulab jamuns/jalebis.

Most people add a little rawa/maida to the paneer for fear of it breaking ... I do not. Nothing happens .... as you can see. :-)

I am giving the measurements ... for a change .... so that everybody can try.

Need : 1 litre cow's milk, 2 cups sugar, 2 cups water, crushed green cardamom/elaichi, 1½ tbsp vinegar / lemon juice.

How to : Boil milk and curdle it using lemon juice / vinegar.

Hang the paneer to drain of all water for about half an hour. Alternatively you can dump it into a sieve and keep a heavy pan on it.

( Don't throw away the whey ... it is high in protiens ....use it to make dals or add to the gravy of dishes ... gives a beautifully rich flavour).

Mash the paneer ... for a long time ... till it is soft and fluffy.

Make small balls , using a very light hand .... unlike when you make gulab jamuns.

Put water and sugar in a cooker. Add the elaichi and bring to a boil .... don't fix the cover ... just keep it covered so that it comes to a boil quickly.

Now add the rosogollas and fix the cover.

Set to two whistles on high flame and two more on low flame.

Remove from flame and wait till the pressure is released ... on its own ... do not force release ... else the rosogollas will harden.

Done. :-)

1 litre milk yielded exactly 11 of this sized rosogollas.

Enjoy !!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Fish Kheema

Also called as Maacher jhuirya, this fish kheema can be eaten as is or can be used as a stuffing for bread rolls, parathas or cutlets.

The fish pieces can be steamed too .... but the fishy smell stays.
So I prefer to lightly fry them first.

Need : Lightly fried , deboned and mashed fish pieces (preferably rohu),
Ginger & garlic paste,
lemon juice,
chopped onions,
chopped green chillies,
haldi / turmeric powder,
garam masala powder,
a little oil ( I use mustard oil ),
a pinch of sugar,
salt to taste.

How to : Heat oil and add the chopped onions.

Fry for sometime and then add the ginger/garlic paste. Fry.

Add the chillies and the fish. Add haldi powder, salt and sugar.

Stir well. Add the garam masala powder, the lemon juice and stir a little more.

Done. :-)

This goes to Sudeshna's non-veggie food event.

Updated : If there are some fine bones still left in the mashed fish .... do not worry. When cooking, they are visible prominently ... so you can easily pick them out.
But to be on the safer side ... especially if kids are going to have it ... I would suggest the bigger sized rohu or bhetki's fillet.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Chatpata Kaddu / Spicy Pumpkin

The most lovable of all gods ... our golu-molu Ganpati Bappa is here. :-) The day has already started with a festive note ... the rains have abated and the day is bright and clear. The notes of Ganpati bhajans are already wafting in the air ... a few lines from this side merge with a few others from other sides.
And it won't be long before the strains of "Sukhakarta Dukkhaharta ..." will fill the air twice a day ... for ten whole days.

For me it is doubly exciting as Durga puja is just around the corner. :-)
So decided to post something veggie ... inspite of a whole lot of non-veg recipes are lined up in the waiting line.

This kaddu ki sabzi is from hubby's side and I learnt it from my sis-in-law. The novelty of this is the beautiful fragrance that the methi seeds combined with hing give it.

Need : Pumpkin cut into slightly big pieces, with the skin on,
methi seeds,
a pinch of hing,
amchur powder ( just enough to give a tangy taste) ,
dhania powder,
red chilli powder,
haldi powder,
 whole green chillies,
salt to taste and a little cooking oil.

How to :

Heat oil.

Add the methi seeds and wait for sometime ... do not brown them ... just long enough for the oil to soak up the flavour. 

Now add the green chillies and hing. Add the pumpkin pieces and fry for some time. Add haldi powder and salt and cover. 

Cook till the pumkin is completely done .... it will leave a lot of water. 

Remove cover and add the red chilli powder, dhania powder and amchur powder. 

Keep tossing till the spices blend in well and all water dries up. 

Serve hot with rotis / parathas. 

May the good Vighnaharta keep all 'vighna' and troubles away from everybody's life. :-)

Monday, 1 September 2008

Baingan Bharta / Roasted Brinjal

The Begun Pora!
I have been wanting to share this for so long ... ok, ok ... it was only last week ... but am so completely in love with this dish ... I want everybody to try it at least once.

It is simple, easy to make and this time there was no oil / frying of onion/ tomatoes etc etc .... that is usually used to temper the roasted brinjal .... thus successfully killing all the smoky flavour and its actual taste.

Hubby donned the apron this weekend and came up with this rustic dinner. He also made a slight change like stuffing the brinjal with chopped garlic and then roasted it ... something I have never done.

I roasted some green chillies too .... the flavour was awesome!

Need : Big brinjal, chopped garlic, chopped onion, 1 tbsp mustard oil ( for flavour ... can be skipped too), chopped / crushed/ roasted green chillies, salt to taste.

How to : Make slits in the brinjal on both sides .... they should be more deep than long.
Stuff in the chopped garlic .... like so.
Try to stuff it real deep.

Apply a little oil on the skin of the brinjal and roast it from all sides till well cooked and the skin turns flaky.

Remove , cool and skin it. Check for any unwanted little friends inside.

Add the chopped onions, chillies, salt and mustard oil and mash well.
Done !! :-)

I did not add any coriander leaves as they would have overpowered the smoky flavour.
Serve hot with rotis.

To go with the rustic flavour we decided to make thick rotis on our earthern tawa .... our most precious possession .... that we had picked up from a dhabawala on the highway to Udaipur. On asking how much to pay for this tawa, the simple man had taken a long time and then demanded the princely sum of Rs.5. And no ... am not talking of any ancient time .... just a couple of years back. :-)

A perfectly smoky flavoured and hot dinner for a dark, rainy night.