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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Masoor Dal with Mixed Veggies (Red Lentil Curry)


          This is a wholesome and a nutritious recipe that has both lentils and mixed veggies. I prepared in a Bengali style by tempering it with panch phoron and whole garam masala. Masoor Dal (Red Lentils) is a common dal preferred in most of the Bengali homes. So I try to prepare it in various ways. 

          This is best relished with plain streamed rice, accompanied by either aloo bhaja (fried potato strips), begun bhaja (fried eggplants) or just fried or roasted papads. This is a "no onion-no garlic" dal recipe, so it can be well incorporated in those fasting days. 

           I just added ginger, which if preferred can also be omitted. But make sure to add some ghee and coriander leaves to the end product to enhance the flavour. It can also be served to young kids along with some mashed brown rice for a well balanced meal.





  • 1/2 cup masoor dal (red lentils), soaked for an hour
  • 1 cup mixed veggies (pumpkin, bottlegourd, green papaya, raddish, etc), chopped
  • 1/4 cup green peas
  • 1 tbsp. mustard oil
  • 1 tsp. panch phoron (equal quantities of mustard, fennel, fenugreek, cumin & nigella seeds)
  • 1" cinnamon stick
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 tsp. ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 green chilies, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1-2 tbsp. coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ghee (clarified butter)





          Boil dal along with the chopped veggies and green peas in 1 1/2 cups water for 2-3 whistles. Heat oil in a pan and temper with panch phoron, cinnamon, cardamoms and cloves.

          Saute till it stops spluttering. Then add the ginger and green chilies. Fry for a few seconds. Add in the boiled dal, salt and turmeric powder.

          Simmer on low to med. heat for 2-3 minutes. Add coriander leaves and ghee. Give it a stir and serve, garnished with more coriander leaves.





                          Boil the dal, chopped veggies and green peas in 1 1/2 cups water
                          for 2-3 whistles.




                        Heat oil in a pan and temper with panch phoron, cinnamon, cardamoms
                        and cloves.



                         Add the ginger and green chilies. Saute for a few seconds.



                            Add the boiled dal, salt and turmeric powder. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.


 

                           Add the coriander leaves and ghee. Combine well and serve.










Lemony & Peppery Green Chicken Curry


          Want to have a light chicken curry for dinner? Then here is this delicious lemony and peppery flavoured dish just for you. I went a little low on the spice level, but it can be adjusted accordingly. Increase the quantity of pepper or green chilies if you want it to be spicy and make it a soup like consistency if desired. 

          I added some coriander stalks along with the leaves for the gravy base. For more intense flavour, drop in a few kaffir lime leaves. This will give the dish a lingering aroma. It can be relished either with plain steamed rice, jeera rice, plain Biryani, naan, paratha or any Indian bread. So please check for a step by step method with pictures to prepare it.





  • 1/2 kg chicken, curry cut
  • 2-3 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. pepper powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. lime zest
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1" ginger, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic, chopped
  • 1-2 green chilies
  • 10-12 coriander stalks, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. coriander leaves
  • 1 tsp. roasted cumin powder
  • coriander leaves, sliced lime & sliced onion to garnish (opt)





          Marinate the chicken pieces with 1 tbsp. oil, 1 tbsp. 1 tbsp. lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper powder and 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder for an hour.

          Grind the onion, ginger, garlic, green chilies, coriander stalks and coriander leaves into a smooth paste. Keep aside.

          Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a pan and shallow fry the chicken pieces till light brown. Drain on a kitchen towel and keep aside.
   
          Heat remaining oil and saute the ground paste till the oil separates. Add the fried chicken, salt to taste, cumin powder, remaining turmeric powder and 2 cups water.

          Simmer, covered on a low to med. flame till they turn soft and the gravy reduces according to the desired consistency.

          Add the remaining lime juice and pepper powder. Mix well and serve, garnished with coriander leaves, sliced lime and onion.





             Marinate the chicken with oil, salt, pepper powder, turmeric powder, lime zest and
             lime juice for an hour.
  



                 Grind onion, ginger, garlic, green chilies, coriander stalks and coriander leaves 
                  into a smooth paste.




                         Heat 1 tbsp. oil and fry the chicken pieces till light brown in colour.



                        Heat remaining oil and saute the ground paste till the oil separates.



                           Add the turmeric powder and cumin powder followed by the .......



                 .........chicken, salt & 2 cups water. Cook, covered till the gravy is slightly thick.



                              Serve, garnished with coriander leaves, sliced lime and onions.
                        









Sunday, 27 September 2015

Sweet & Sour Sausages with Bell Peppers


          This is a Chinese style sweet and sour recipe, where I substituted chicken with sausages. Absolutely yummy and very quick to make, it can be dished out in no time, if all the ingredients are available. It goes very well with either plain rice, noodles or Chinese fried rice. 

          I added some chili sambal and chili sauce to make it more spicy and appetizing. The addition of the assorted bell peppers and green peas gives this dish a very colourful appearance. Please also check for the recipe of chili sambal too.











  • 1-2 cups sausages, chopped into 1" pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups coloured Bell Peppers, chopped into large chunks
  • 1 onion, chopped into large chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 1 tsp. garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1-2 whole dry red chilies
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper powder
  • 1 tbsp. chili sambal paste
  • 2 tbsp. red chili sauce
  • 1-2 tsp. vinegar
  • coriander leaves to garnish









         Heat oil in a pan and fry the sausages till light brown. Drain and keep aside.  Temper the same oil with the dry red chilies and garlic.

         Saute till the garlic changes colour and add the onion. Saute for a few seconds. Then add the chili sambal and give it a stir.

          Add the chopped bell peppers, green peas, salt and pepper powder. Saute on high heat for a minute and then add the chili sauce and vinegar. Mix well and serve, garnished with coriander leaves.











Chili Sambal - 

  • 15-20 dry red chilies, soaked for an hour
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon grass, sliced
  • 8-10 shallots
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tbsp. dried anchovies., cleaned, drained & pat dry


          Heat oil in a pan and fry the anchovies till crisp. Drain on a kitchen towel. When cool, grind along with chilies, garlic, lemon grass, shallots, salt, vinegar and sugar to a smooth paste.

          Heat the same oil in which the anchovies were fried. Saute the prepared paste on a low flame till it turns slightly dark brown in colour and the oil starts to separate from the sides of the pan. Serve along with Nasi Lemak, noodles, Nasi Goreng, etc.










Sunday, 20 September 2015

Mini Bengali Platter


          A traditional Bengali platter is an elaborate affair with a very large spread. But this is a no-frills mini platter with some comforting Khichuri / Khichdi (Porridge), Tok Dal (Sour Red Lentils), Aloo Sheddo (Mashed Potatoes) and Puishaag-Chingri Chorchori (Malabar Spinach Curry with Prawns). 

         As I wanted something simple for my lunch today, I decided on this combination which gave me a very satisfying feel to it. Then I went on my brain racking session of how to present it so that it looks appetizing. So here's my creation.        









1.  Khichuri (Khichdi) - 


         A simple and a hearty comfort food that tastes so delicious any time and every time I prepare. It is a wholesome and a balanced meal in itself with just the rice and lentils. Veggies can be added if preferred. Just a tsp. of ghee brings out the actual essence of this yummy dish. Nothing can beat having this humble khichuri along with some side dishes.

          Bengalis usually offer the vegetarian version of this khichuri (please note - there is no onion or garlic) to Goddess Duga during the Dashera / Durga Puja festival. Khichuri in general is usually had during rainy season. There is a certain bond between khichuri and the monsoon. No sooner it starts raining, the only one thing that comes to our mind is "KHICHURI".

          Today I bring to you my version of Khichuri, which is not runny or soft as is usually prepared. It is a bit on the dry side called (Jhor jhore in the Bengali lingo) just like pilaf.



  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1/2 cup moong dal (split green gram)
  • salt to taste
  • pinch of turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. ghee



         Dry roast the dal till light brown. Soak along with rice for 30 minutes. Pressure cook with 1 1/2 cups water, salt and turmeric powder for 1-2 whistles. When done, add the ghee and mix well.



2.  Tok Dal (Sour Lentil) - 


          One of my favourite dish, it is also called Tok Er Dal, meaning a tangy, sour red lentil prepared with green mango. A traditional Bengali dal, it is prepared during summer. But I can have this almost everyday without getting bored. 

          You can call it a sort of comfort food. This is absolutely a very refreshing dal had with rice and some aloo bhaja (deep fried potato strips) as a side dish. There is nothing like it. I do sometimes add few drops of ghee. It enhances the taste and flavour.






  • 1/2 cup masoor dal (red lentil), soaked for 30 minutes
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. tamarind paste
  • 1 tbsp. mustard oil
  • 1-2 dry red chilies
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds



          Pressure cook the dal in 1 cup water for 4-5 whistles. Add salt, tamarind paste and turmeric powder and give it a whisk.

          Heat oil in a pan and temper with the red chilies (broken into half) and mustard seeds. After it stops spluttering, add the dal and simmer for 2-3 minutes on low flame. 



3.  Mashed Potatoes - 


          This is a best comfort food that any Bengali will vouch for. When time is a constraint or laziness overpowers us, this quick and simple meal is so heavenly and satisfying. Having it with either mustard oil or ghee, both tastes simply delicious.

          It can be relished with plain steamed rice or as a side dish with dal-chawal (lentil & rice). For more variations, it can also serve as a spread on toasted bread or parathas. In the case of the latter, it can simply be rolled and had as a lunch box meal. (Boiled eggs or boiled lentils can also be substituted).









  • 2 med, size potatoes, boiled
  • salt to taste
  • 1 onion, chopped (opt)
  • 1-2 tbsp. coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1-2 green chilies, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. mustard oil



          Mash the boiled potatoes and mix with the rest of the ingredients. It is ready to be served.




 4.  Pui Shaag-Chingri Chorchori (Malabar Spinach Curry with Prawns)


          This is a mish mash of veggies & Pui Shaag (Malabar Spinach) cooked with prawns in a Bengali style. For a veg. version, omit the prawns and add fried bodi / mangodi / vadiyal. As greens generally contains a lot of iron, vitamins and calcium, it is good to add in our daily menu. A little bit of mustard paste gives this dish an authentic Bengali touch.





  • 2-3 long stems of Pui Shaag / Malabar spinach
  • 1/2 cup prawns
  • 2-3 eggplants, cubed
  • 1 large potato, cubed
  • 250 gms. red pumpkin, cubed
  • 3 tbsp. mustard oil
  • 1 tsp. panch phoron (equal quantities of fennel, mustard, cumin, fenugreek & nigella (kalonji) seeds
  • 2-3 green chilies, slit
  • 1" ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp. mustard paste (kasundi)


           Chop the leaves and the tender stems from the Pui shaag. Wash and keep aside. Heat 1 tbsp. oil and fry the prawns for a minute. Keep aside.

          Heat rest of the oil and temper with the panch phoron, ginger and green chilies. After it stops spluttering, add the potato, pumpkin and eggplant.

          Saute till light brown. Now add the chopped greens, salt, turmeric powder and cumin powder and saute, covered on low flame.

          Halfway through, add the fried prawns and continue to simmer till the veggies are cooked. When done, add the mustard paste. Give it a stir and serve with hot steamed rice.






Thursday, 17 September 2015

Mangshor Korma (Mutton Curry - Bengali Style)


          This is a traditional Bengali style Mutton Korma / curry, where I have used large chunks of potatoes, as it is well known, Bengalis love them in each and every dish. And to think of preparing a mutton curry without it, is not easily digestible. 

          Mangsho /Mutton is a very popular sunday menu in almost all Bengali homes and is prepared in many ways. Here in this particular version of mine, I added some roasted fresh coconut and fried onion along with the usual ingredients to make the dish more rich and aromatic.

           It is relished either with plain steamed rice or chapatti. There is no harm in trying it out with jeera rice, khushka, naan, tandoori roti or any Indian bread. There are obviously many versions to this dish, where yoghurt or poppy seeds are also added according to individual preference. So here is a step by step guide with pictures to prepare this delectable dish.        








  • 500 gms. mutton on bones, cubed
  • 3 tbsp. mustard oil
  • 1-2 potatoes, cut into half
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1" cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 green cardamoms
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 1-2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fried onion
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh grated coconut
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1" ginger, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp. roasted coriander-cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1 tsp. garam masala powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. ghee (clarified butter)
  • coriander leaves to garnish 
  • few onion slices to garnish 
  • lemon wedges to garnish (opt)
  • fresh chilies to garnish (opt)







          Dry roast the coconut till golden in colour. When cool, grind along with ginger, garlic, fried onion and tomatoes.  

          Add all the powdered spices (except salt and garam masala powder) to it with 1/4 cup water to form a paste. Keep aside.

          Heat oil in a pan and fry the potatoes to light golden in colour. Drain and keep aside. Temper the same oil with the bay leaves, cardamons, cinnamon and cloves. Saute for a few seconds.

          Add the onion and fry till light brown in colour. Now add the ground paste and further saute till the oil separates. 

          Add the mutton and salt and keep stirring on a low flame till dry. Add 1 1/2 cups water and pressure cook for 25 minutes on a low flame after the first whistle.

          When the pressure is released, put it back on the flame and add the garam masala powder. 

          Simmer further till the gravy is slightly reduced or till you get the desired consistency. Add ghee and mix well. Serve, garnished with coriander leaves, onion slices, lemon wedges & slit fresh chilies.





Grind together roasted coconut, fried onion, tomatoes, ginger & garlic
into a smooth paste.



Heat oil in a pan and fry the potatoes till light brown. Drain & keep aside.



To the ground paste, add all the powdered spices (except garam masala & salt).
Keep aside.



Temper the same oil with cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms & bay leaves.



Add the onion and fry till light brown.



Add the ground paste and fry till oil separates.



Add the mutton and salt. Combine well and continue to saute on low flame
 till dry.



Add 1 1/2 cups water and pressure cook for 25 min. on low flame after
the first whistle.



Bring it back on the flame and add the garam masala. Simmer till the 
gravy is slightly reduced. Add ghee and mix well.



Serve, garnished with sliced onion, lemon, green chilies & coriander
                         leaves.

                        









Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Mee Goreng (Noodles - Malaysian Cuisine)


          Mee Goreng is a spicy and flavoured Malaysian fried noodles. It is basically a street food and a comfort food, which is also popular in Singapore and Indonesia. Very easy and simple to prepare, this delicious one-pot meal is relished by the locals any time of the day at various hawker centres / food courts and at home too.

          There are many versions to this dish, where the ingredients used, differs. I have added some prawns, sliced fish balls, mushrooms, pak choy, egg and bean sprouts. In fact you can go ahead and add anything according to individual preference, like tofu, beans, carrots, chicken, etc. Chili sambal forms the base of the sauce in this noodle dish which gives it a very authentic aroma.







  • 1 pack noodles (150 gms.)
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8-10 shrimps
  • 5-6 fish balls, sliced
  • 8-10 mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. chili sambal paste (see recipe below)
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp. red chili sauce
  • 1 bunch pak choy, shredded
  • handful of been sprouts
  • 1 tbsp. spring onions, chopped 




          Boil the noodles in plenty of water till al dente. Drain and run under tap water. Add 1 tbsp. oil and mix well. Keep aside.

          Heat 1 tsp. oil in a pan / wok and break an egg. Scramble well by adding a pinch of salt. Keep aside. Heat remaining oil and fry the garlic, followed by the onions. 

          Saute for a few seconds. Then add the prawns, fish balls and mushrooms. Fry for a minute.

          Add the sambal paste and mix well. Add the boiled noodles and combine so that everything is coated with the sambal. 

          Now add the salt, red chili sauce, pak choy, bean sprouts and the scrambled egg. Give it a mix. Sprinkle some water if the noodles turns dry. Serve, garnished with spring onion.                   










Chili Sambal - 

  • 15-20 dry red chilies, soaked for an hour
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 lemon grass, sliced
  • 8-10 shallots
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tbsp. dried anchovies., cleaned, drained & pat dry




           Heat oil in a pan and fry the anchovies till crisp. Drain on a kitchen towel. When cool, grind along with chilies, garlic, lemon grass, shallots, salt, vinegar and sugar to a smooth paste.

          Heat the same oil in which the anchovies were fried. Saute the prepared paste on a low flame till it turns slightly dark brown in colour and the oil starts to separate from the sides of the pan. Serve along with Nasi Lemak, noodles, Nasi Goreng, etc.













Sunday, 13 September 2015

Yummy Rajma Hummus (Kidney Beans Dip)


          Hummus is a traditional dip from the Middle Eastern regions, where it is served along with Arabic bread and / or grilled meat. It can also be relished as a spread on toasted bread and parathas a la Indian style. Healthy and nutritious, they can be had with veggie crudites, crackers or chips for a light snack. 

          Today I made Rajma / Kidney Beans Hummus. It turned out simply delicious and had along with some cucumber strips for a light snack. The presence of garlic and sesame seeds enhances the flavour and gives a creamy texture to the end product. Add some extra lime juice for a tangy taste. So this simple and easy homemade Hummus is a quick fix when you have hunger pangs and time is a constraint.








  • 1 cup boiled Rajma (Kidney beans)
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp. red chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper powder
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. roasted coriander-cumin powder
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. boiled rajma to garnish








          Blend together all the above mentioned ingredients (except olive oil) to a smooth paste with required quantity of water. 

          Mix the olive oil and serve, garnished with the boiled Rajma as a dip. They can also be relished as a spread on toasted bread and parathas.

















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