Showing posts from 2016

Pudina Ghosht: Goat meat in Mint curry!

Chicken just like potatoes can be cooked and flavored in infinite ways. But every Sunday which is ourgoat meat /mutton feasting day, I am torn between the left creative side of my head and cautious practical right side. I usually pair the goat meat with strong spices which compliment it well. Today I took a detour and decided to try a refreshing herbmint/pudina. I supported the mint with some cilantro/coriander leaves and churned out a delicious Mint flavored Goat curry /Pudina Ghosht. The refreshing herbs balanced the spices and meat flavors perfectly. This recipe is a winner and will have many repeats.

2 lbs goat meat pieces on bone1 large red onion, sliced4-5 large cloves of garlic, chopped1.5 inch ginger chopped3-4 thai chilies chopped1 packed cup of fresh mint leaves3/4 cup of fresh cilantro (coriander leaves)1 heaped teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper (can add more to increased heat and flavor)1/2 cup thick yogurt1/4 teaspoon turmeric powdersalt to taste1 teaspoo…

Methi Chicken with Fenugreek Micro-greens!

This summer I exercised my green thumb and tried growing a few easy plants and vegetables at home. I managed to get my hands on Indian favorites like Tulsi (Holy Basil), Hibiscus and Money Plant (Epipremnum aureum). In a tiny corner of my solarium, I am enthusiastically growing fenugreek (methi), chilies and tomatoes from seeds. The fenugreek micro-greens are easiest to grow with 3-4 weeks growth cycle.

My first harvest of fenugreek micro-greens was so beautiful that I didn't have the heart to pull it out. My daughter loves munching on the micro-greens raw. That's the healthiest snack anybody could ever have.  I noticed some stems slowly wilting away so had to think of ways to put them to good use. I had some ideas dancing in my mind like Methi Bajra Debras -Fenugreek Millet Flatbread, or Fenugreek Millet Fritters but wanted to try something new. I had to prepare a chicken curry and decided to add fenugreek micro-green to enhance the taste and nutritional value.

This Methi Chic…

Lau Ghonto: Creamy Bottlegourd Curry!

Bottle gourd/dudhi/lauki/lau is a mild tasting vegetable. Its usually heavily flavored with spices or other ingredients to make it more enjoyable. Lau Ghonto is a gem in the Bengali cuisine repertoire which not only celebrates the mild flavor of bottle gourd but further enhances it by lending a creamy texture with milk and mildly sweetening it with sugar.

Bottle gourd contains high water content and is considered to have cooling properties on the body. This vegetable is ideal to cook during the hot summer months. It really cooks in a jiffy so you can be out of your kitchen and enjoy your summer outdoors.

This recipe is a must try for even bottle gourd haters and easy to appease kids.

1 bottle gourd, de-skinned and chopped into small pieces1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas1 tsp kalonji (black onion seeds)1/4 cup milk1-2 tablespoons rice floursalt to taste1-2 tablespoons sugaroil

In a large saucepan, heat a tablespoon of oil to medium heat.Temper with kalonji and let the …

Savory Lentil Squares/ Dhokar Dalna

Lentils are a great source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. Indian cuisine has a well  evolved understanding of vegetarian food habits and balances the diet with a large variety of lentils and vegetables. Lentils also known as dals is a regular staple in every Indian meal. Each lentil is cooked in numerous ways across Indiasuch that you could make a different recipe of dal every day of the week.

Lentils/ Dals are also made into snacks or desserts. These Lentil Squares/ Cakes can be had as a healthy protein packed snack or you could smother them in your favorite sauce as a main course meal.

There are many variations of this recipe all across India. My mom would make daliche vade or pan fried dal fritters by soaking the chana dal for a few hours and then coarsely grinding them with green chilies, ginger, cilantro and salt. She would then drop a couple of tablespoons of this mixture on a greased heated pan and spread them into small 2 inch discs. The fritters would be flipped and coo…

Gluten Free Buckwheat Crepes!

I just returned from a trip to Quebec and all I could do was to ogle and drool over the amazing crepes been dished out at every corner there. This is one of the times when I feel deprived cause of my gluten free diet. Coming back home I just had to make crepes but these would be better and much more healthier. My daughter is home on her summer break so these buckwheat crepes turned out to be a delicious, healthy breakfast that we put together.

Buckwheat, quite contrary to its name is naturally wheat and gluten free. Its a rich source of protein, dietary fibers, B vitamins and minerals. Buckwheat is 72% carbohydrates, including 10% dietary fiber, 3% fat and 13% protein.

Buckwheat noodles are very popular in Soba noodles of Japan and the rest of Asia.  In India, its usually consumed as a grain during Hindu religious fasting days. Locally called as Kuttu, it is used to prepare kuttu ki puri (fried bread).

In addition to being gluten free, this recipe is also egg free and can be made vegan …

Apricot Chicken Curry Indian Style!

Summer is finally here and with that came farm fresh fruits and vegetables. Apricots have began to flood the market. After chomping down on some fresh apricots. I have been torn between deciding to make a sweet or savory preparation with it. Finally the curiosity of a fruity chicken overcame me and that became our dinner last night.

Apricot Chicken is a mild Moroccan tagine which I have adapted to an Indian Curry style. The tagine recipe has ingredients like onions, garlic, cumin and coriander which are common elements in an Indian curry too. I also happened to read that Kashmiris, who inhabit the north of India, have also been cooking apricots in a curry style. I didn't have access to their authentic recipes so just worked around my usual chicken curry recipe.

Apricot Chicken Curry turned out fruity, creamy and delicious. It even tasted much better after a few hours of resting time. This is an easy recipe which incorporates apricots in your usual chicken curry. You can also try i…

Tomato Dried Cranberry Chutney!

Bengali Chaatni or Chutney is a sweet and tangy condiment/side with a mild kick of spice. Traditionally it is served towards the end of the meal and eaten by itself. But I prefer to eat it as a side with my main course-usually rice, dal and some vegetable curry. This lip smacking chutney can oomph up even the most boring or bland foods.

Bengali food culture is the only one of its kind in India which has multi course dining cuisine. The first course usually served is rice with a vegetable curry with predominant bitter flavors- recipes like shukto or saag. The second course is rice with dal and a vegetable curry like cauliflower, paneer, cabbage etc. Most vegetablecurries/stir fries in Bengali cuisine are made without any onion and garlic. The third course is rice with any non vegetarian preparation like fish curry, mutton or chicken curry. Then its time for the sweet and tangy Chaatni. Followed by dahi/yogurt and lastly a dessert/sweets/mishti. After which you will likely go into a food…

Beet Greens Stir Fry!

I have always loved Beets more of their deep reddish magenta hue than for its taste. But that's because I have had it only raw in salads. Recently I learned how to roast them and a whole new world of beet recipes emerged. I have made them into beet dips, beet hummus, beet chaats (Indian tangy snacks), beet dalna (stir fry). I even roasted some neat beet chips.

This time around I pushed my curiosity further and bought some beets with their greens too. I am working on adding more greens to my diet and kind of tired of spinach, methi(fenugreek) and kale. These turned out to be a breeze to cook and tasted awesome.

Serves: 2-3 as a side

1 bunch of beet greens1/4 cup chopped red onion1 clove of garlic, minced1 tablespoon butter1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds salt and pepper

Wash the beet greens well. Pull out the leaves from the stalks.Chop the stalks into one inch pieces. Roll up the leaves into a log and chop into ribbons.Heat a saucepan to medium and melt butter in it.Tem…

Bottle gourd with Shrimps/ Lau Chingri

Bottle gourd/ Dudhi/Lauki/Lau is one of those mild tasting vegetables which doesn't feature in our favorite vegetables list. But we love it as a dessert, Dudhi ka halwa which is a thick fudge made by simmering grated bottle gourd in milk and sweetening it with sugar and dry fruits. I have been consciously working towards introducing it as a savory vegetable to my family. The other day I made Lauki dal wherein I boiled bottle gourd with yellow moong dal and tempered it with an onions tomato and spices. This was devoured with white rice.

Bottle gourd is made up of 96% water content making it a preferred choice during summer. It is considered to be beneficial for health especially for diabetic patients. Its a low calorie, high fiber vegetable rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. 

Bottle gourd has a mild flavor of its own but has a tendency to absorb whatever flavors you add into it. Bengali cuisine has many unusual recipes created with this beautiful vegetable. Lau Ghonto is one such re…

Plantain Kofta Curry Bengali Style

Koftas are usually spiced meatballs but the vegetarian versions taste great too. In fact its my preferred method to feed my daughter vegetables that she's not very fond of. I just slightly boil or steam veggies, mash it well, add spices, roll into balls and deep or pan fry them. These kid friendly finger foods are a delight.She gobbles many down dunking them in her favorite ketchup. Today we tried the same trick with plantains. She hungrily ate them as an after school snack.

Koftas by themselves can be had as snack or appertizer. A curry/sauce base is added when you need to make it into a main meal.

This recipe is in Bengali Niramish Style. Niramish means without any onions and garlic. Bengali vegetarian recipes are usually made this way. They only use onions, garlic and tomatoes for seafood or meat preparations. Their curries are very light with spice powders mixed in water and cooked till their flavors develop. Bengali preparations also use a lot of potatoes. Its like a must in ev…

Tilapia in Mustard Sauce/ Sorshe Tilapia

My in-laws are visiting us this summer which means we get to enjoy authentic Bengali food. Mother-in law is a good cook and am trying to pick up as many tips as possible.

Yesterday we made Tilapia in Mustard Sauce or Sorshe Tilapia. Sorshe is a Bengali recipe which uses ground mustard seeds as the main flavor and forms the sauce of the fish curry. It is traditionally made with Hilsa/ Ilish fish. Hilsa fish is abundantly found in the Bay of Bengal and is a prized catch. Eating Hilsa has become an integral part of Bengali Culture.Here we had to settle for Tilapia as Hilsa is not easily available.

In Bengali recipes you are always required to deep fry fish/eggs/vegetables before adding them to any curry. They tend to use a lot of oil in their cooking with Mustard oil being the preferred choice. You can always pan fry for a healthier version.

Here in Canada, I tend to use mustard oil only for flavoring. Our stomachs now adapted to eating milder foods cannot bear the pungency of mustard seed…

Balti Chicken Curry with Simple Rice Pilaf!

Balti Chicken Curry is a very simple preparation which can be easily made with regular staples in your pantry. Its the quality of spices used which makes this curry so flavorful. The dried fenugreek leaves/ kasuri methi are a must as they impart a depth of flavor to this curry.

Balti Chicken is considered to have originated from Baltistan in northern Pakistan. Its said to have made its way to Birmingham, UK by way of immigrants. Its here that this dish was reinvented and popularized. It has now become one of Britain's favorite curries. "Balti Houses"- restaurants exclusively serving this dish are very popular in Birmingham.

Balti Curry- could also get its name from the container its usually cooked or served in. Its a round bottom iron kadhai/wok with 2 handles on each side. Balti in urdu/ hindi usually means "bucket".

There are many variations of this recipe. I have adapted it from a "Balti house" chef from here.

1 lb chicken meat on bones1 …