Thursday, 24 February 2011

Doi Kopi / Cauliflower in Yoghurt Gravy

... & Au Revoir.

As promised in my last post, here is the vegetarian version of the wonderful dish called the Doi Maach.

Not much is needed to be done ... it is pretty quick and easy to make.
Just as we fry the fish first and then add, so is the cauliflower fried first.
Just make sure that you do not fry it till done ...
it will cook in the gravy.
The frying part is to give the florets that crispy brown colour.

I am not repeating the recipe again. 

Right now I do not feel like writing much,
but I have something to say.

Ever since I started this blog, I have been hooked to it.
I have loved sharing not only recipes, but also small pieces of my life here.
I have found some very good friends too.
And I love my blog so much.

But now I seriously feel that blogging is jinxed for me.
While all these years I should have blogged numerous recipes and my experiments, it has
been the other way 'round.
I have been forced to take numerous breaks.
Unwanted breaks.
And since all were health related issues ... I had no choice.

 And every time you all have stood by me, supported me with your strong words 
and encouraged me to be back.

Which is why am feeling so bad to say that I may not blog again.
At least not for a very long time.
I'll keep the hope alive in my heart though.

At first I thought I'd just stay quiet and disappear.
But could not.
Because I am selfish. I need all your prayers.
Because I am scared. I need all your positive thoughts.
Because it would have meant I am ungrateful ... which I am not.
Not after the deluge of mails and comments and good wishes that I got on my last break post.
Hence this post.

There are a few friends I have made here who I cherish a lot;
who are very special to me.
And who, I, know will worry and start to mail me.
To them I request ... Please don't.
I hope I do not sound too indifferent  or rude ... but really,
I can say nothing now.

Just stay well dear friends.
And take care ... very good care, of yourselves.

Love you all.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Doi Maach / Rohu Fish in Yoghurt Gravy

( Vegetarians ... do stay tuned. The next post will be on the veggie version of this wonderful dish. )

It has been a while since I made a post on fish last.
Not that I've not been eating my staple diet ... just that I make something quickly, 
seem very pleased with the results
and serve myself a hot hot meal.
Just do not feel like picking up the camera, arranging and clicking.

Doi Maach is very common to Bengalis ... a very common dish on a Bengali lunch table.
And there are many ways of making this.
You can make it with a lot of masalas. You can make it spicy.
Or you can make it simple ... like I do.

This dish is supposed to be creamy, very light coloured.
But there are no hard and fast rules here.
Add more turmeric if you like the colour ... add more chilli powder if you like it spicy 
( and it gives colour too ) ... etc. etc.

I keep my recipe straight and simple. 

One very common problem while making the Doi maach is the curdling of the curd.
One of the reasons I hated eating Doi maach at home or at a relative's place was due to the curdled doi/dahi.
I abhorred the watery liquid that separated the solidified curd
... with the woebegone fish lying in
in the joke called Doi maach.

The reason is ... most people use sour curd ...
i.e. curd set at home and is older than 2/3 days.
Later when I started my affair with the kitchen, I learnt a lot.
Like when you add sour curd, no matter how well you beat it, 
to a dish cooking on  high heat, it will curdle.
What to do?
Nobody had the  right answer to this query of mine.

And then I learnt how to make the kadhi !!
SIL, on her description of the recipe, had mentioned the addition of a very little besan/gram flour 
to the curd mixture so that it does not curdle.
And bingo!!
I had my answer!

While my very pure vegetarian SIL patiently explained to me how to make the Kadhi,
 I was busy with visions of the perfect Doi Maach that I can finally relish 
swimming before my very eyes!
No ... I did not let the gentle soul know about my visions ... 
 ... of the most unthinkable non veg food ... the fish! 

And ever since I've always been able to make the Doi maach sans a curdled gravy of doi/dahi!

I keep the gravy of my Doi Maach very mild flavoured and light coloured.
I do use a little onion paste here ...
( if you are a regular on Kichu Khon you will know how little I use onion,ginger,garlic pastes).
And I love the flavour of the cardamom that infuses with the paste while cooking
and gives a beautiful flavour to the gravy.

Need :

4 Pieces of the Rohu fish
( washed, marinated with salt and turmeric and lightly fried in Mustard oil )
1 cup of Fresh curd / dahi / yoghurt
1 tbsp of  Besan / Gram flour
A Pinch of Haldi / Turmeric
2 Green Cardamoms
2 small pieces of  Dalchini / Cinnamon
2/3 Whole dry Red Chillies
4 tbsp of Onion paste
1 tsp cooking oil
Salt and sugar to taste

How to :

Beat the curd and the besan well and keep aside.

Heat oil in a kadahi / wok.
Add the cardamom, dalchini and whole red chillies.
Add the onion paste and keep stirring on low heat till the oil leaves sides and 
the onions lose their raw smell.
Now add the curd and besan mixture, turmeric and a little water.
Keep the heat on low all the while.
When it starts to boil slowly, add the salt and sugar.

Cook for a while.
When it reaches the desired consistency, add the fried fish pieces.
Let them simmer for some more time.
( Do not cook for a  long while after adding the fish ... the pieces will soak up the gravy and 
turn very soft  ... might break when serving).

Serve hot.

Goes great with steamed plain rice.
Enjoy !!

Other Dishes with Dahi / Curd on Kichu Khon

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Sarson ka Saag & Makke ki Roti

It surprises me that I have never made a post of this favourite meal of ours inspite of
blogging food
for so long!

Sarson ka saag means Mustard greens/leaves.
Makke di roti means flatbread made from maize flour or corn meal.

Every winter, this is one dish that becomes a regular on my table.
While this city is pathetic when it comes to
the availability of fresh greens,
winter is one time when we do get some fresh bunches of methi, palak
and sometimes the sarson.

Last year, when I had cooked this, I had clicked some snaps.
But never got 'round to making a post.
So this time, instead of making this for dinner, I made it our lunch.
So could click ... and hence this post.

I never try to make this dish ... a complete meal ... at one go.
Becomes quite overwhelming that way.
What I do is ...
work with sarson ka saag one day ...
I clean, wash, boil in water, puree it ..
and freeze it.

Work on the palak next, when I get some time.
Exactly the same way ... and freeze it.
So, on the day I decide to make this dish, all I need to do is get the purees and cook!
Easy and quick again !!

I love the coarseness in the mustard greens' paste ...
so usually add the stems along with the leaves.
If you feel that will add to the sharpness
of the sarson,
just add a little more of the palak paste.

And I never use chopped onion or garlic in this.

And the fried garlic gives it a wonderful rustic flavour.
Pair it up with butter, and this dish is something that you will want to make again and again.

If you cannot make the makke ki rotis, you can still enjoy this with plain rotis.
But then, of course, it won't be the same.

I am posting the recipe the way I make it.
I do not claim this to be the traditional way it is cooked
in the North or the Punjab.
And so I do not want any rude comments on how this is not the authentic way, etc.etc.

Makke ki Roti

Need :

Makke ka atta / Maize flour - 1½ cups
Atta / Wheat flour - ½ cup
Cooking oil - 2 tbsp
Ajwain / Carrom seeds - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste
Lukewarm water - to knead
Maida / apf - to roll the rotis

How to :

Knead all the above ingredients together into a soft but firm dough.
Keep aside, covered, for around 15 minutes.

Divide the dough into medium sized balls.
Roll out slightly thickish rotis ... use dry maida to roll them.

Heat a tawa.
Cook the rotis, flipping occasionally.
Use the spatulla or a thick, folded cloth to apply slight pressure on the rotis
so that they puff up slightly.
When done, remove and apply butter on them.

Serve hot.

The Sarson ka Saag / Mustard Greens

Need :

Sarson ka saag / Mustard leaves (boiled and pureed ) - 1 big sized cupful
Palak / Spinach leaves - ( boiled and pureed ) - ½ cup
Garlic - around 10 - 12 cloves
Ginger - 1" piece
Green chillies - 2
Kasuri methi / Dried Fenigreek leaves - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Sugar - to taste
Oil - 2 tbsp
Corn meal - 1 to 2 tbsp

How to :

Crush the garlic, ginger and the green chillies into a rough paste ... seperately.
( Use a mortar and pestle for this).

Heat oil in a deep kadahi.

Add the garlic and on slow flame let them turn brown.
( Do not raise the heat ... let them cook slowly. )

Add the ginger and the chillies and fry well.

Now add the pureed palak and sarson.

Add salt and sugar.
Fry well for a while.

When it starts to boil,
add the corn meal and keep stirring so that no lumps are formed.

Add the crushed kasuri methi and cook till it turns thickish.

Remove from heat.Serve hot with a dollop of butter.

Keep this dish low on salt and
add the sugar to keep it very subtly sweet.

We enjoyed this rustic meal with a few green chillies crushed with sea salt.
And raw onions.

A perfect winter meal!

Another look !

Monday, 7 February 2011

Orange Cupcakes & Vanilla Sponge Cake

In spite of my trying real hard, I have not been able to post as frequently as I'd like to.
The days stay busy, with a thousand chores
And I need more time than usual to finish a job now.

In the midst of all this I cook.
But of late cooking has mostly been on the spur.
Decide, prepare, cut/chop, cook, serve.
With almost no time to arrange a plate and click snaps.

But it does nag at the back of my mind when I prepare something good enough to share
with you all.
So no matter how quick I have to be, I try to manage a few clicks.

I've been craving for some good old fashioned Vanilla cake for a while now.
With eggs.
So baked one last weekend.

With winter gone and the weather turning dry and hot,
it is the evenings that are so endearing now.
A heavy breeze blows that takes me back to summery evenings back home.
Our garden had a grapefruit tree.
And the only thing I loved about it was the flowers.
Or rather their smell.

Citrusy, fragrant and so so sweet.
The evening air would be heavy with a mix of their smell and the smell of wet earth from the
just watered garden.
The elders would be sitting down to a cup of lemon tea
accompanied with something baked ...
either cakes or bakery biscuits.

I baked this cake just around evening, heart heavy with memories.

Just as I set about pouring the batter into the baking bowl,
I spied some beautiful oranges sitting on the table.
Immediately kept some batter aside
and added some orange zest to it.
Baked some cupcakes out of that batter.
Ok ... not some, exactly 5 cupcakes.

The zest gave such a wonderfully warm golden and light sunshine colour
to the cupcakes that
it almost hurt to eat them.
And the aroma of orange coming out of a warm cake is just so heady!

I threw in some choco chips that promptly sank to the bottom.
But it was fun to break open a cupcake and discover the chips in them.

The cake was perfect.
Brown and slightly crusty top.
Very soft and fluffy inside.
Melt in the mouth perfect sweetness.
Am so happy with it that I'm going to write the recipe here.
If not for anybody else,
then for my own self ... lest I forget.

By the time the cupcakes came out, we had finished half of the sponge cake ...
warm and just out of the oven.
So just the other half for a click.

Need :

1 cup maida / refined or all purpose flour
2 eggs
a little milk ( I use it only to make the batter thin )
vanilla essence - 3 big drops
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of baking soda
a little less than 1 cup sugar
3 tbsp cooking oil

Around 1 tbsp orange zest to be added for the cupcakes.

How I made them :

Set oven to 160 degrees C to pre heat.

Grind the sugar into a powder.

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and oil in a bowl.

Add the sugar and mix well.

Beat the eggs for a while and mix in.

Add milk ( I needed just about a quarter cup or less ).

Add the vanilla essence.

Stir well till there are no lumps in the batter.

The batter should be of easily flowing yet slightly heavy consistency.

Brush a baking bowl with butter or cooking oil.

Dust it with some maida / apf.

Pour in the batter and bake at 160 degrees for around 15 minutes.

Switch off oven. Do not take the cake out immediately.

After around 10 mins remove and cool.

The Cupcakes

Just add the orange zest to the above batter.

If you want add some choco chips too.

Oil a muffin tray, pour in the batter and bake at 150 degrees for 10 minutes.

Remove from oven, cool and serve.

All golden in colour,
soft as sponge, sweet, with a bite of chocolate, these cupcakes were beautiful!

We enjoyed them with some light and flavourful
Darjeeling leaf tea.

And I kept smelling my fingers where the wonderful fragrance of
the orange zest lingered ...
long after every crumb was gone. :-)

Other Cakes with eggs on Kichu Khon
Rum Cake with Fruit & Nuts
Coffee Cake
( Yep ... just two!! All others are eggless! )