Friday, 30 May 2008

Instant Dosa

Learnt this from a tv show.

Need :

Bread slices - 5 to 6 pieces
Rawa ( sooji / semolina ) - 2 cups
Cornflour 1 tbsp
Dahi / curd / yogurt - 2-3 tbsp
Garlic - 1 or 2 cloves
Salt - to taste
Fresh green chilles 1 or 2 pieces
Water - enough to make a batter
Cooking oil - to fry.

How to :

Soak the bread slices and rawa together in water till well soaked.

Add into it salt, dahi, garlic, green chillies and grind to a paste.

Add water to adjust consistency of dosa batter - it should fall easily when poured.

Add cornflour to it and mix well.

Heat a tawa / gridle.

Smear a little oil and pour in a big spoonful of batter and spread into a round shape.

Let it cook till the sides leave. Flip it over and brown the other side also.

Serve the crisp dosas hot with sambar and coconut chutney.

I make it directly in the pressure cooker.
You can add vegetables to it too.

Need :

Toor dal - 1 cup , washed and soaked
Sambar powder - 2 to 3 tbsp ( I use Everest Sambar powder )
Sliced onions - 1 medium sized
Whole dry red chillies - 1 to 2 pieces
Curry leaves - a few
Tamarind pulp - 4 to 5 tbsp
( soak the tamarind in water for about an hour and extract the pulp )
Haldi / turmeric powder - a pinch
Salt - to taste
Cooking oil - 1 tsp
Rai / whole black mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Water - around 4 cups

How to :

Heat oil in a pressure cooker.

Add the mustard seeds. When they start to splutter add the chillies and the curry leaves.

Now add the sliced onions and fry well.

Add the dal, haldi, salt and sambar powder and stir well.

Add water and the tamarind pulp.

Close cooker and cook on low heat till 3 whistles.

Cool and remove cover.

Adjust water, check seasoning and simmer for a few more minutes or till desired consistency.

Serve hot with dosas.

Wednesday, 28 May 2008


Since this is a hurried post ....will put up a snap later ...when I get to make them again

: 2 cups maida, 1/4 cup milk,1/2 cup water,1 mashed ripe banana,2 tbsp sugar for the batter, 2 cups sugar for the syrup, elaichi / cardamom (crushed) , half crushed saunf / fennel seeds, oil / ghee to fry.

How to : Mix maida,water, a little sugar,saunf and the mashed bananas. Add milk to make a thick batter.

Heat oil or ghee in a heavy bottomed flat pan.
Ladle out a big spoonful of batter in a round shape. Deep fry till golden brown and crisp.

Take it out and dip into sugar syrup.Keep for some time and then remove from sugar syrup else they will soak too much and turn soggy.

Sugar syrup : Heat 2 cups of water and 2 cups sugar in a kadai / deep vessel.
Bring to a boil.
Add safron / elaichi powder ...whichever preffered.
Boil well till the syrup loses its watery look and starts getting a little thicker.

A Bengali Lunch

Sometimes I do crave for an elaborate Bengali lunch ... but since a typical Bengali lunch consists of a lot of items ... like a lot of vegetable fries, at least one saag / leafy vegetable dish, one bitter vegetable like karela / saag like gima, mixed vegetables chorchori, at least one vegetable curry, and then fish curry / chicken curry.
Then there will be ambol (something sour) , either vegetarian or non vegetarian ... to wind up with. I definitely don't feel like cooking the whole list only for one person lonely self. ;-)

Had some Tyangra maach in the freezer and decided to make a simple jhol.Then sliced up a baingan and chopped some karelas for bhaja(fry). The rest of the karelas were made ...but differently.Made some masoor dal with lau (lauki).

Missed saag bhaja, chorchori , ambol.....but still this turned out to be a decent baangali lunch ... :-) A little Aamer chaatni and lebu (lemon) and kancha lonka (green chilli) worked well as accompaniments.

Learnt this from my cousin didi. This is a very simple recipe ...but tastes great.Goes very well with hot rice.

Tyangra maacher jhol

Need : Tyangra fish, kalaunji (kalo jeera / nigella seeds) , green chillies,
chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, salt, mustard oil, haldi / turmeric powder,
freshly ground black pepper , fresh coriander (dhania) leaves chopped,
water to cook.

How to : Clean the fish.
Apply tumeric powder and salt. Heat mustard oil and fry the fish.
Remove from oil and keep aside.

In the same oil add kalaunji, whole green chillies (make a small cut in them so that they don't burst) and chopped onions.
Fry well .... but do not brown.
Add the chopped tomatoes, haldi and salt.
Add water,cover and bring to a boil.
Now add the fish, cover and cook. Just before removing from heat add black pepper powder and chopped coriander leaves.

Begun bhaja (Brinjal fry)

Need : Black brinjal (the big variety), haldi / turmeric powder, salt, mustard oil(for deep frying).

How to : Cut brinjals into half inches thick roundels.
Apply salt and haldi.
Heat mustard oil well. Fry the brinjals till well done and brown on both sides.
Drain and serve when still crisp ....else they tend to get soggy very soon.
( A more recent Begun Bhaja is here. )

Ucche Bhaja (Karela fry)

Need: Karelas (bitter gourd), haldi powder, salt, mustard oil.
How to : Cut karelas in small pieces (or chop them).
Heat mustard oil. Fry the karelas with a pinch of haldi powder and salt to taste.
Cover and cook.When done remove cover and cook till crispy.

Lau Daal ( Dal with lauki / Bottle gourd)

: Masoor dal(washed and soaked), lauki chopped in to small pieces, chopped
onions, chopped tomatoes, paanch phoron, green chillies, haldi, salt, cooking
oil,a little ghee.

How to : Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add the paanch phoron and green chillies.
Then add the onions and fry for sometime.
Add the chopped lauki and stir. Add haldi, salt and then the tomatoes.
Fry for some time and then add the dal.
Stir well and add enough water. Cook for 2-3 whistles on slow flame.
Wait for the pressure to release, open cooker and add a dash of ghee.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008


  1. If a tablespoonful of cooking oil is added to any batter and a non-stick tawa is used, then almost no extra oil is need to fry chilas / dosas / pancakes.
  2. When storing Panch Phoron break a few whole red chillies into it. That way you don't have to add them seperately. Also add methi seeds lesser than the actual amount ... they can be very bitter if bitten into....say ... 1:1:1:1:1/2 .
  3. Always make sure to cover any chutney while storing in a refrigerator. That way they don't dry up fast and the flavours stay intact too.
  4. To keep dals safe from insects store them with a few whole black pepper or cloves (lavang).
  5. Whenever a dish has a dahi (curd) based gravy....always beat in a little besan (around 1/2 or 1 tablespoonful, as per the quantity of the dish) into the dahi. The dahi won't curdle .
  6. To store rawa(sooji) and groundnuts for a long time, dry roast them in a thick bottom kadai first. Cool and store.
  7. If not using maida, rice flour or besan very frequently, store them in the refrigerator. They will stay without spoiling for a very long time.

A simple thali

View from the open restaurant.

This thali was our simple lunch on the first day of our trip to Harihareswar beach last month. After a long journey in this hot weather (our car's AC must have been quietly moaning for relief) when we reached the place it was already past noon. The resort's restaurant had only this thali available. Reluctantly we said yes to it.
And we had no regrets.
The food was delicious and simple. The chana had a lot of masala ...just as it should. The dal was simple and so was the aloo jeera. And the best of all ....tandoori roti ...made from wheat atta....and not the usual maida ones that we get everywhere....that go elastic as soon as it goes cold.
The onions were juicy and fresh and the pickle was home made. Never before had I tasted anything so good....(well ....I say this everytime I have a simple meal in the most non-descript places).

More details on the trip to Harihareshwar is here on my travelogue.

Monday, 26 May 2008


( As I am getting a lot of visits here I am updating the post with some good snaps ).

Amongst the different kind of Ghugnis that I have ever tasted, the most memorable
ones are Shankar babu's ghugni and a cook's mangshor (mutton) ghugni.

Shankar babu had a small shop in our locality ...the last in a line where there was a kirana shop and a tailor's shop.The smells of these shops have a very dominant place in my childhood memories. Shankar babu's ghugni's smell used to waft around the whole place ... could never make out the concoction. The elders used to insist that it is the gutter nearby that is the source of that smell ... but for us youngsters, it was that heavenly ghugni ... bubbling away in large, blackish aluminium vessels.

The helping hand at Pishemoshai's (Uncle ) house ....made the most wonderful mangshor ghugni ... small pieces of mutton in matar ( white peas ) gravy ... heavenly!
Every time he made it, he made sure to bring some over for me.

Most recently had a very simple Ghugni in a small stall in front of the Konark temple in Orissa. It was late morning and we were starving for breakfast.
The simple ghugni served with hot maida luchis / puris were like manna from heaven.

Tried making that simple recipe at home ...and till date love it every time. Have said goodbye to any other masala for ghugni henceforth.

Need :
Dry White matar / peas, whole red chillies,
whole jeera / cumin , a pinch of haldi / turmeric,
a pinch of sugar, salt to taste,
grated ginger and some cooking oil ( I use Mustard oil).

How to :

Soak white matar halfway (will take around half an hour).

Heat oil in a cooker. Add whole red chillies and jeera. Do not brown the jeera.

Add matar, haldi,salt and a pinch of sugar. Fry.

Add the grated ginger and enough water and cook for 2-3 whistles.

Cool and open cooker.

If needed add a little more water and bring again to a boil.

Simmer for some time.

Goes great with Luchi / Puri / Parathas.

Enjoy !!

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Aamer Chatni (Mango chutney)

This is a sweet and sour chatni. The sugar gives the sweetness ... and the mango gives the natural sour taste.
If you want it very spicy then just increase the amount of red chilli powder.

Need : Raw mangoes (the Totaphuli variety is good for this as it is not too sour), Panch phoron powder , sugar, haldi powder, red chilli powder, mustard seeds, whole red chillies,curry patta, oil and a pinch of salt.

Panch Phoron powder : Take a few teaspoonfuls of Panch Phoron and dry roast on a heavy bottomed pan till it gives out an aroma. Cool and grind into a powder.

How to : Cut raw mangoes into thick slices or cubes. Heat oil in a kadhai. Add mustard seeds, whole red chillies and curry patta. Now add the mangoes and fry for some time. Add haldi powder, red chilli powder and a pinch of salt. Cover and cook till the mangoes are almost done. Now add sugar. The mangoes will let out a lot of water now. Cook uncovered till water evaporates completely. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of Panch Phoron powder and remove from heat. Serve cool.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Coconut chutney

This coconut chutney tastes slightly sweet and salty.
How to : Dry roast a little toor dal (1/2 a coconut : 2 tbsp toor dal) and red chillies.Grate coconut.
Put coconut, dal and chilles,curry patta, 1 clove of garlic(optional ... but it really gives a good flavour), salt
and a pinch of sugar in a mixer and grind to a paste.
Can also temper it with mustard seeds and curry patta in hot oil and poured over it.
Stays well in the refrigerator (covered) for about a week.

Dalna / Dalma / Lentils & Vegetables cooked together

Dalna or Dalma (in Oriya ) is a complete dish by itself. Simple and made with a minimum of fuss.

Whatever leftover vegetables are lying in the refrigerator can be used. I make this when am cleaning out the fridge.

The dal used can be yellow moong (dry roast it lightly first in a kadhai) or chana dal. I have tried making it with whole green moong dal too ... is equally wonderful. Those who like coconut can use grated coconut too.

Need :
Yellow moong dal or Chana dal , vegetables cut into cubes ( potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, beans, pumpkin, brinjals ....), sliced onions, haldi / turmeric powder, salt & sugar to taste, whole red chillies, ghee, roasted jeera powder, oil to cook, grated coconut(optional).

Paanch Phoron : A mixture of Methi / Fenugreek + kalonji / Nigella + Jeera / cumin + Rai / Mustard + Saunf / Fennel seeds in equal quantities ( keep the methi seeds a little less than the equal amount ).

How to :
Heat oil in a cooker. Add the Paanch Phoron and whole red chillies.
Add the sliced onions and fry. Now add all the vegetables and fry well.
Add haldi, salt and sugar. Add the dal.

If using grated coconut add now.

Fry well.
Now add water and a tbsp of ghee and roasted jeera powder. Pressure cook till dal and the vegetables are cooked.

If needed add water and bring to a boil. Simmer for some more time.
Garam masala can be added if preffered....I don't takes away the simple flavour of the vegetables and dal.

This goes very well with hot rice as well as rotis. As for me ... I can never resist the temptation of luchis (puris) made some for myself .

Alternatively ...this can be done by cooking the dal first in a cooker with haldi and salt. Fry the vegetables in a different kadhai with the seasonings and then add the dal and boil for some more time.
I use the cooker coz it saves time and need less oil.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Moong Dal Chila / Pancakes made from Lentil Batter

Need : Yellow Moong dal (washed and soaked overnight), green chillies, fresh ginger, jeera / cumin, haldi / turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt to taste and water.
How to : Soak moong dal overnight. Grind into a paste with the green chillies, ginger and a pinch of jeera.
Add water to make a thin batter. Add salt, haldi and a little red chilli powder.

Heat a little oil in a tawa and spread out the batter . Fry till crispy and brown on both sides.

A spoonful of rice powder can also be used in the batter to make the chilas extra crisp.

These go very well with coconut chutney or achar.

Tip : If a tablespoonful of cooking oil is added to the batter and a non-stick tawa is used, then almost no extra oil is need to fry the chilas.

Coffee Cake

If you don't add coffee powder, it will be the ( last snap) usual plain Sponge cake.

This cake turns out perfect with these measurements. A lot of trial and error has gone into this perfection. The number of eggs can be reduced ... just increase the amount of baking powder by half a teaspoon.

Need : 2 cups maida, 4 eggs, 1 cup cooking oil, 1/2 cup milk, 2 teaspoon baking powder, 1&1/2 cup sugar, 1 pinch salt, 6-8 drops of vannila essence, coffee powder (don't use the fine powder ... the granules are better) .

How to :Grind the sugar into powder.
Churn the milk, eggs and vanilla in a blender.
Mix maida, baking powder, sugar, salt and oil in a bowl. (Oily dough)
Add the eggs mixture. Mix well. (Liquid consistency)

Warm oven. Pour mixture into an oven proof bowl greased with a little butter.
Sprinkle 2 tablespoonful coffee granules on the mixture. Just give a swirl , don't mix too well ... that way the taste of coffee comes with every biteful .

Bake at 150-190 degrees. Keep checking and switching off oven in between to get even cooking and browning.
(The cracks in the above coffee cake mean a little more baking powder ...I make this mistake some times. However the measurements above are correct.)


Pora (roasted) vegetables make great accompaniments to any meal. Can be made into a salad (like the above one) or a dish by itself.

Roasted tomato can be had as a salad. Just apply a little mustard oil on the tomatoes and roast them on open flame. Can be roasted in the oven also. Then mash it roughly by hand, add some chopped onions, garlic(optional),green chillies,sprout moong, a little mustard oil, lemon juice and salt. Goes very well with hot rotis (if you are on a diet) and dahi on the side.

Begun pora (roasted brinjal) can be a dish by itself too. Apply mustard oil on the brinjal and roast it. Peel away the skin and mash it. Add chopped onions,green chillies,garlic(optional),fresh coriander leaves , a little more mustard oil and salt.Goes very well with rotis.
The smoky flavour of the roasted brinjal is retained in this dish.

Or else we can always make the baingan bhurta.
Heat oil.Add jeera and chopped onions.Fry well.Then add chopped tomatoes and green chillies.Now add the roasted and mashed brinjal.Add haldi powder, red chilli powder,salt and a pinch of sugar .Cook well. Add chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.