Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Vegetable Pancakes

( Vegetarians & Vegans can use soy milk or coconut milk or plain water with a little baking powder for the batter. )

Before I start off with the recipe, first things first. A big Thank You !! to everybody for your heartfelt wishes, sweet words, praise and encouraging lines.
I am so glad I started this blog ... through which I got to know all you wonderful people out there. :-)

Today's recipe is a quick fix breakfast / brunch ..... filling as well as healthy. Instead of making the usual sweet ones, I made these salty and a little spicy. BTW I realised that the arranged shape in the first snap resembles a fish only after I uploaded the snap and saw it on full screen . :-)

Had some vegetables at hand .... threw them in. Made for a great brunch for vagabonds like us ... who leave the house at the begining of the day on every weekend and roam around like there is no tomorrow.
At least one meal of the day was at home ... that is my consolation when we hog outside the rest of the day. :-)

If you are not too inclined to use maida / APF, go ahead and use atta / wheat flour. I used eggs becuase I had some ... no problem if you don't want to.
And you can add any veggie you want to ... I used whatever I had at hand.

Need : Maida / APF, enough milk to make a batter of pouring consistency, egg/s , chopped onions, chopped / grated cabbage, grated cauliflower, chopped green chillies, frozen sweet corn, chopped coriander leaves, salt & sugar to taste, a little cooking oil.
How to : Mix everything to make a batter of pouring consistency. Add a tablespoonful of oil to the batter ..... that way it needs less oil to fry ... and does not soak up too much oil too.
Heat a non stick tawa / griddle and smear a little oil on it. Pour a ladleful of batter and spread it into a round shape .... ( well ... mine refused to be round .... so cut them up ;-) ).
They will be thickish due to the veggies ... so don't worry about spreading them too much.
Cover and cook for a while on low heat. Remove cover after a while and flip over and fry for some more time .... till they are brown on both sides.

Serve hot .... yes, they will turn soggy if kept for more than 15 minutes as the cooked veggies release water . :-)
Enjoy !!

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Celebrating Kichu Khon with Eggless Mango Cake

Warning : Long Post :-)

Two years back, on a whim I made an account on blogspot for my ramblings ... which I still do here . And then suddenly life took me on a whirlwind tour so fast I forgot who my own self was ..... leave alone blog. Then a year later when I came back to it, I decided to turn it into a log of my adventures in the kitchen.
And today Kichu Khon completes a whole year ! :-)

Learning how to cook does not only mean heat a vessel, dunk in stuff and wait for it to cook. After numerous accidents and burnt food, after numerous burns and scalds, after destroying the cooker completely for using it without enough water ... I learnt what this adventure is all about.

I learnt that the oil has to be smoking hot before you let in those potatoes / fish. I learnt that just browning the vegetables in a fry does not mean they are cooked inside too. The water has to boil well before letting in the rice / noodles.

Iodised salt is different from plain salt ... so the amount you are using matters. Not to mention learning how to buy fish / vegetables ... and to knead atta .... the biggest challenge of all.

I had to learn the North Indian way of cooking, the Rajasthani way of cooking and for my nostalgic self the Bengali way of cooking. All the while wishing I had spent a little time everyday in the kitchen back home. But cooks consider kitchens their domain ... so had no luck ( now I consider it luck). :-)

Today I am confident in the kitchen ... can rustle up a snack from almost nothing ... and can serve a dinner for 6 ( that's the max I allow at home ... if more ... we eat out ) successfully.

When I go through my blog, I see how I have grown. And the number of dishes I have dished out amazes me .... and that is only the tip of the iceberg. Not all dishes we cook lands up in our blogs. I wonder if every woman kept a track of the number of dishes / snacks she made in her lifetime ... what would the figure come to?

Anyway ... am ranting now. One year back, with much apprehension I started off with my first post. Today I have a pretty ok kinda blog ... if not a very gorgeous one.

And I want to thank Everybody who has visited Kichu Khon and have cared to leave a line. I thank those who have stuck by me even when I had no comments ... who have encouaged me ... advised me and helped me with your suggestions. I have learnt so much from your blogs.

And for turning into such dear friends ( you know who you are .... I could not have done it without your continious support & love ). :-)
Today I can say I love my virtual world friends as much as I do my real world ones. :-)
My blog gets so many hits .... and am so happy about it. People spend so much time here ... visit so many recipes ... download snaps ... my site has even been ripped once ... (I take it as a compliment though ) .... return to the same recipes. BTW I would like to mention here that my most visited recipe is .... Kundru ki Sabzi !! :-)

I just wish they would leave a line here. It does not take much to say "I liked this" / "I did not like this". I am not about to pout or stomp my foot demanding a comment ... but I still think it is good manners.

Initially I was disheartened .... the number of comments never seemed to increase ... now I know better. So all you fellow bloggers ... don't judge the popularity of your blog by the number of comments it gets. :-)
I made an eggless Mango Cake to celebrate ... ok, ok ... I am still on the lookout for a reason to get rid of those mangoes. I have made this cake earlier with mango juice ( I used Slice ) ... but this time I have added milk.

1 cup maida / APF, a little less than 1 cup powdered sugar, a little less than 1/2 cup cooking oil, 
a little cold milk [ ( use enough to make the batter of pouring consistency ... I prefer a batter that keeps on flowing when pouring into the baking dish .... and not fall in huge lumps .... (get the idea? ) ],

2 teaspoon baking powder, 5-6 drops of vannila essence, one meduim sized ripe mango pureed ( I used the Begunfuli / Badam variety ... they are quite fleshy ... if using a smaller variety you can use 2 or 3).

How to : Mix everything together .... you can use a hand blender too.
Add the milk after adding the mango puree. The batter should be thick but of pouring consistency. So adjust the milk accordingly.
Warm oven. Grease a baking dish with a little cooking oil / butter. Pour in the batter and bake at 130 - 160 degrees C.
The cake turned out to be dense, moist and very flavourful. I got two medium sized cakes from the above measurements.

Note : If you are preheating the oven ... check that it does not get too hot. If you have the Warm option .... use it to preheat.
I start the baking at a low temperature first ... it helps in cooking the inside of the cake ... and then increase the temp. to brown it.
Keep checking ( by inserting a wooden knitting needle / knife / chopsticks) and turning off the oven at intervals for proper and even baking and browning.

And if you see that the cake is done yet has not browned well ... keep it in grill mode for around 2 mins ... and then switch off the oven. Do not leave it even for a while when on grill ... it burns very quickly.
Go by your instincts and by what you see. You will get that perfect cake. :-) 

Here's a slice for everybody who has visited Kichu Khon. :-) Enjoy !!

Updated on the 26th: Am sending this cake to Srivalli's Mango Mela! :-)

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Mango Pancakes

( Vegetarians can skip the egg and Vegans can use soya milk .... just add a little baking powder to the batter. )

It is the mango season now and so the fruit basket is groaning with mangoes ... and the whole complaint is not from the weight alone .... sometimes over ripe mangoes can cause an overwhelming smell that induces a kind of aversion to it. :-)

Well ... aversion may not be the perfect word ... but when I noticed I have been making my way about in the house avoiding that table with the basket .... I decided to do something about those reeking fruits. I usually use over ripe bananas to make Banana Pancakes. So knew what to do with the mangoes.

Was making pancakes for a filling breakfast before leaving for Bombay early in the weekend .... so just picked up a couple of mangoes and dunked them into the batter. And what lovely flavourful pancakes they turned out to be !

I usually do not like to blend or juice mangoes .... love to eat them as they are ... the burst of juices and the texture in the mouth sends me back to childhood days. And for the batter too I hand mashed them ... loved the little lumps of fibre in a biteful. :-)

Need : Roughly mashed fresh mango pulp, a little sugar, maida / APF, milk, egg(s), a little vanilla essence ( only if you are using eggs ) , a little butter / cooking oil.

How to : Make a batter of pouring consistency from the maida, milk, eggs, sugar.
Add sugar and the vanilla essence. Stir in the mango pulp.

Heat a non stick pan / girdle / tawa. Smear a little butter / cooking oil and pour a ladleful of the batter.
Spread it into a round shape. Wait for a while for it to brown on one side .... you can cover it if you want to .... but keep the heat low.

Remove cover , flip it over and cook the other side too.
The pancakes got a glorious yellow colour too! See ?

Serve with fresh mango pieces. You can spread a little honey or any other syrup of your choice on it if you wish to.

Enjoy!! :-)
Am sending this to dear Srivalli who is celebrating 2 years of blogging .... for her Mithai Mela .
Updated on the 26th : I am sending this Srivalli 's Mango Mela too. :-)
An update :
Our ugly little Quasimodo often pays us a visit. Hasn't s/he turned out to be beautiful? :-)

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Doi Morich Chicken / Chicken in Yoghurt & Black Pepper Sauce

( Vegetarians can use Paneer or Cauliflower for this dish. Just add a little water too along with the other ingredients .... as these do not release much water by themselves to cook in.
Vegans can make this with coconut milk. )

This is a real quick dish that I came up with when I was in no mood to go through the process of grinding onions and other stuff for the usual chicken curry.

I had some curd and made the whole dish with it. And no oil too. The little droplets shimmering in the snap are actually whatever fat the curd and the chicken had.

This turned out to be very flavourful (don't go by the snaps :-)) and was made in minutes.

You can increase or decrease the amount of Black Pepper according to your tolerance level.
I love spicy stuff ... so dunked in a good amount.

Another thing .... when this is cooking, you might find the aroma of garlic a little overwhelming ... and you might be tempted to add some garam masala powder or any other stuff to get rid of the smell.

But don't .... after the whole thing gets cooked ... the smell will disappear. All you will get is the lovely aroma of the cooked curd and the black pepper.

Need : Chicken ( or paneer or cauliflower ( a little bigger than medium ) pieces, curd, coarsely crushed black pepper, crushed garlic, salt and sugar to taste.

How to : Mix everything together and let it sit for some time in the fridge ( I left it for about an hour while I finished a chore).

Dunk in everything in a kadhai / wok ... preferably non stick .... and cover and set on slow heat.
Simmer till done.

If you are making with paneer / cauliflower, do check for water at times ... add some if needed.
You can make it slightly dryish too ... tastes even more better.

Enjoy with hot plain rice / rotis !

Monday, 11 May 2009

Potol ar Pakoda Torkari / Pointed Gourd and Fried Lentil Dumplings Curry

There were some long forgotten Potol / Parwal / Pointed gourd lying in the refrigerator ( see the crinkly edges ... that long forgotten .... ).

Set about to make the usual Alu Potol curry .... familiar to any Bengali. Saw some soaked black chana in the fridge. And some left over Besan batter from some pakoras made a couple of days back.

Made some more small sized pakoras ... threw in everything together .... and as usual, without too much masalas this turned out to be a very good dish.

I had clicked the snaps as soon as I made it ... so you can see the thin jhol / gravy. Don't worry ... it gets soaked up by the pakodas.
And I like that slightly mushy dryish torkari even better.

And yes, when I let it sit ..... the parwal got rid of the crinkles too and got all plumped up. :-)

Need : Potol / Parwal .... skin scraped lightly, ends cut off and each cut into two widthwise, potatoes [optional] cut into the same size as the parwal,

soaked kala chana / black chick peas [ optional] , sliced onion,
chopped tomatoes ( I did not have any ... so did not use ) ,

haldi / turmeric powder, Paanch Phoron, dry red chillies, cooking oil,
water, salt and sugar to taste.

The Besan batter had red chilli powder, ajwain, salt and water.

How to : Heat enough oil and fry small sized pakoras / dumplings from the besan paste. Keep aside.

Heat a little oil in a different kadhai / wok. Add the paanch phoron and the whole chilles.
When they start to splutter, add the sliced onion and fry well.

Add the potatoes and parwal and stir for some time on high heat. Add the kala chana.
Then add haldi powder, salt, sugar and water. Cover and cook till the vegetables are done.

Remove cover and add the fried pakoras and the tomatoes. Cover and simmer for some more time.
If you want to, you can add a pinch of garam masala and a spoonful of ghee just before serving. Goes great with hot rotis / parathas.

And don't judge me by the shape of those pakoras ... I am yet to master the art of dropping a perfectly round blob of any paste or batter. :-)

Friday, 8 May 2009

Tried and loved No Knead Bread

Here I am ... trying my hand at baking ... again. This time it is bread. When I saw Soma's No Knead Bread, I was tempted to try it.

It was actually her little daughter who had made it. Knowing I will not have the time in the immediate future for such a beautiful project, I did not dilly dally and set about making it the very next day.

And as anybody, whose baking recipe I choose to try, knows ... I was a real pain in the neck with lots of questions. Hats off to Soma for explaining with patience. :-)
Thank you Soma! :-)

I followed her recipe ... made no changes at all.
And what a bread it turned out to be ... perfect! Had a crusty top ... and a tough bottom ... and slightly chewy texture. I think it would be perfect to soak up gravy with.
We loved it! The plate looked like this after I brought out the first one .... hold your breath .... in 5 mins. :-)

I made two small balls from the dough .... the first one is the first snap. And the second one is below ... which turned out even better .... I guess because the oven was already so properly hot.
And yes, I made it in a small sized heavy iron kadhai / wok ..... as I did not have any ovenproof pot. It worked very well .... as you can see.
And yes, follow her instructions ... when she says it has to be covered ... it has to be covered.
Here's the second one ... which I decided we will have in a more civilised way.

Civilised? Ruthless, barbaric ... was the way we both fell on it. I was weilding the camera too ... so got a far lesser share.

I had tried out Soma's Roasted Garlic too. Had some cloves left .... so grated them into the butter. Tasted awesome!

Thanks again Soma ... for such wonderful recipes ... and this wonderful breakfast. :-)

( See the garlic in the butter? )
Enjoy all !! :-)

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Rui Macher Jhol / Rohu Fish in Plain Gravy

( Vegetarians can leave out the fish and go on with the rest of the recipe ... and can add other vegetables like green peas, radish, etc. ..... and enjoy this simple but authentic Bengali jhol. )

( Check out my other Rui macher spicy jhol ... almost like the Kalia. )
Has been quite a while since I posted a recipe last. Even though I have been almost perpetually living in the kitchen, I hardly had any time to click the dishes .... leave alone sit down and go through the rigmarole of posting one. Catering to guests and relatives can indeed be exhausting at times.

Anyway ... I was missing my blog. Of course I did visit, see new comments and felt happy .... but it is not the same as posting something new and getting feedback. :-)
Much as I'd have loved to post a new recipe, I can't right now. So picked this up from my draft. I know I won't get too many comments on this ... but then I had just this recipe's snaps left. :-)

Once upon a time I hated any dish that had vegetables. And I hated any dish that tasted Bengali ... having the usual flavour of jeera, ginger and Paanch Phoron. When this jhol used to be made at home, I would just pick up the fish and leave the rest untouched.

Today I have learnt to love traditional Bengali everyday dishes. Simple yet flavourful, this jhol ( curry gravy ) has the authentic flavours of a simple Maacher Jhol ( fish curry ).

It can be made with fishes like Bhetki or Katla or Pabda too. And is usually done without the vegetables except the potatoes.

Need :

(I'll give the measurements for around 4 pieces of the fish ).

4 Medium sized pieces of Rui / Rohu fish ( marinated with salt and turmeric powder )
mustard oil,
1 sliced onion,
1 medium eggplant / brinjals & cut into biggish cubes
around 5 to 6 florets of cauliflower &
1 medium sized potato cut into medium sized cubes,
1 or 2 whole dry red chillies ,
Paanch phoron ( some prefer whole jeera or cumin seeds ... you can use them too instead )
1/2 tsp Haldi / Turmeric powder,
1 tsp Jeera / Cumin powder,
1 tbsp ginger paste,
1 tomato, chopped ( optional),
1 tbsp Mustard oil,
Salt to taste,
Water for gravy

How to :

Updated : To fry the fish :

Heat a cast iron kadahi / wok well. Now add enough mustard oil and heat till the oil is smoking hot.

Add the fish pieces one by one on high heat very carefully ... it splutters a lot ... so holding a cover as a shield will help.

Cover, lower heat and cook till one side is done and browned. One way of knowing is the piece will easily turn over when done.

Turn the pieces over and brown the other side too.

Remove and keep aside.

To make the gravy / jhol :

Heat mustard oil in a kadhai / wok.

Add the paanch phoron ... wait for it to turn a little brown.

Then add the chillies ( break them into 2 ... otherwise they tend to burst ) and the sliced onions.
Fry for a while.

Add the ginger paste and the jeera powder ( add around a quarter cup of water now ... this way it will not burn).

Fry for a while and then add the vegetables , tomatoes and the turmeric powder.
Stir well for a while and then add water. Add salt.

Cover and cook till the veggies are done.

Remove cover and add the fish pieces.

Cover again and simmer for some more time.

If you like, add some chopped fresh coriander leaves just before serving.

This jhol goes great with plain steamed rice. Serve hot.

Updated : Many of you have suggested this with a sprinkle of fresh green lime juice. I completely agree ... and I personally love some green chilli with it too. :-)

Check out my other Rui macher spicy jhol ... almost like the Kalia.