Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mughlai Paratha

Mughlai Paratha, egg stuffed Indian Flat Bread, a Bengali delicacy which we have not eaten for years. Last weekend, I was craving for this spicy and tasty Bengali Snack. Typically back home, this is served with Mutton Kasha or Aloor Tarkari. We decided to have with spicy Aloor Tarkari (Potato Curry), and my husband volunteered to make this Mughlai Paratha for us, the best weekend Brunch we ever had.

Ingredients: Mughlai Paratha 
  • 1 cup Maida / All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 small Onion chopped
  • 2 Green Chilli chopped
  • Roasted Cumin Powder
  • Chaat Masala
Ingredients: Aloor Tarkari (Potato Curry)
  • 1 large Potato cubed
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger Paste
  • 1/2 Tomato chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • Green Chilli

We started with making the spicy Aloor Tarkari (Potato Curry), heat oil in a pan, add the Cumin Seeds and let them splutter. Then add the cubed Potatoes and stir fry them for few minutes. Next add the Ginger Paste and the chopped Tomatoes, season with salt ,Turmeric Powder and Cumin Powder. Add very little water, cover and cook till the gravy is dry and Potatoes are soft.

In a small bowl beat a egg with salt, pinch of Cumin Powder & Chaat Masala, Onions and Green Chilli. To the flour add some salt and oil and knead to a soft dough. Divide into 2 parts and roll out each to about 8-10 inch round shape. Heat a tawa and place the Paratha, put he egg filing in the middle and fold the sides carefully.

Occasionally press the sides so that the egg is cooked properly. Spread some oil and fry the Paratha well till both sides are golden brown. The main trick to this recipe  is the folding of the Paratha.

When the Mughlai Paratha is completely cooked from inside and outside, serve hot with the previously made spicy Aloor Tarkari and if you like some Tomato Ketchup on the side and enjoy !!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Paneer Butter Masala

Paneer Butter Masala, one of our favorites. This recipe calls for butter, but if you are on diet, you can omit the butter and use regular oil. This is mainly a North Indian Recipe and very popular in almost all Indian Restaurants. I love Paneer, we buy the low fat Paneer and make a variety of Paneer Recipes at home. I served this Paneer Butter Masala with homemade Roti or Naan.

Ingredients: Paneer Butter Masala
  • 1 Packet Paneer
  • 1/2 small Onion
  • 2 Tomatoes 
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Kasuri Methi (Dried Fenugreek Leaves)
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala Powder
  • 2 tbsp Sour Cream
  • 1 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
Cut the Paneer into small cubes and lightly fry them with butter and keep it aside to be used later.

Using the Food Processor I make a fine paste of Onion, Ginger and Garlic. I also puree the Tomatoes, if you want you can even use store bought Tomato Puree. Heat one tbsp Butter in a large skillet, add the Cumin Seeds, wait till they splutter, then add the Onion and Ginger Garlic paste. Stir fry them till they become brown in color. Then add the Cumin Powder, Coriander Powder, Turmeric, Salt and the Kasuri Methi, stir fry them for about 5-10 minutes. Next add the Tomato Puree, cover and cook for sometime till you see oil separating out.

Once the gravy is almost done, add the fried Paneer, Garam Masala Powder, the Sour Cream and stir it gently, cook for some more time. Serve this hot and creamy Paneer with Rice or Roti or Naan.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tetor Dal / Bitter Gourd Lentil Soup

From childhood, I loved the bitter taste of Uchhe as we call in Bengali or Karela/Bitter Gourd. I remember my ma used to make Uchhe and Aloo makha almost every single day, and I used to love it. She sometimes used to make this Tetor Dal ( Bitter Gourd Lentil Soup) which I make often to incorporate this vegetable in our diet. We enjoy this Bengali Dal with plain white rice and Papad on the side.

Ingredients : Tetor Dal/Bitter Gourd Lentil Soup
  • 1 cup Moong Dal
  • 1 medium Uchhe / Bitter Gourd
  • 1/2 inch Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Radhuni / Wild Celery Seed
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder

I use Moong Dal, I think you can even use Masoor Dal/Red Lentils. Dry roast the dal and then boil the dal. Meanwhile cut the Bitter Gourd into thin round slices, season them with salt.

In a wok. heat oil and fry the Bitter Gourd slices for few minutes. Make a paste of the Radhuni spice and the Ginger, add to the fried Bitter Gourd, next add the turmeric and cook for few more minutes. Add the cooked dal, water and mix them well. Adjust the taste with salt and very little sugar.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Vermicelli Upma

As I like to cook at home and enjoy my meals, I always like to pack lunch for both of us. Initially it was a challenge to make breakfast and also pack lunch everyday and then rush to work. Well as time went by I got better at it, and now I have many more ideas for quick and tasty lunch boxes. I remember I often used to ask my ma for suggestion, as she used to make us a variety of food and pack our lunch boxes. We got this Vermicelli from a local Indian Grocery Store, and now Vermicelli Upma is one of our favorite lunch pack.

Ingredients : Vermicelli Upma
  • 1 cup Vermicelli
  • 1 Onion sliced
  • 1 small Tomato chopped
  • Green Chillies
  • Assorted Bell Peppers chopped (Optional)
  • 1/2 cup Cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp Roasted Peanuts
  • 1 tbsp Raisins
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice 
  • Chopped Cilantro 
For Tempering:
  • 1 Dried Red Chilli
  • Pinch of Asafoetida (Hing)
  • 1 Strand of Curry Leaves
  • 1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 1/4 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Chana Dal
  • 1/2 tsp Urad Dal
  • 1/2 tsp minced Ginger

Dry roast the Vermicelli, meanwhile boil 2 cups of water in a pan, season with salt. When the Vermicelli is roasted, you will see the color changing to light brown, pour them on the boiling water, cover and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Strain the water when the Vermicelli is about half cooked and keep it aside.

Heat oil in a pan, when the oil is hot, add the Dried Red Chilli, Asafoetida, Cumin Seeds and Mustard Seeds, let them crackle. Then add the sliced Onions, chopped Cauliflower, Green Chillies and stir fry them. As the onions become tender, add the chopped Tomatoes, roasted Peanuts, Raisins, chopped Bell Peppers and stir fry them together. You can add as many types of nuts you want as it adds to the taste. I sometimes even add Sunflower Seeds to this Upma.

Season the mixture with salt and pepper and when the onions and tomatoes are almost cooked, add the previously strained Vermicelli, cover and cook for about 2 minutes. Garnish with freshly chopped Cilantro, lemon juice and serve hot.

Awards & Appreciation

Priyanka of Buon Appetitio was kind enough to pass these 3 awards to us. It felt great and thanks a lot Priyanka.

Rules to claim and share these awards:
  • Thank and Link the blogger who has given you the award.
  • Copy and paste the Logo in your blog.
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other Great Bloggers
  • Comment and let them know of the award.
Seven Interesting things about US:
  1. We have been together for 1 year.
  2. We both share the passion of cooking.
  3. We both are 3 siblings.
  4. We love to travel and have made successful and excellent travel plans so far.
  5. We both love the 5th day of the week.. TGIF !!
  6. Both of us are quiet persons, can spent hours just being with each other.
  7. We both love to watch movies.
I would like to pass these awards to:
  1. Sunanda
  2. Linn Ann
  3. Soumya Vineeth
  4. Divya
  5. Elisabeth
  6. Gina
  7. Cake Whiz
  8. Cranberry Jam
  9. Eftychia
  10. Suchi
  11. Ushnish Ghosh
  12. Aaha Oho
  13. Deepa
  14. Ann
  15. Raw Girl

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Baingan Bharta

Baingan Bharta (Roasted Eggplant Curry), a spicy curry made with roasted eggplant. My love for Baingan Bharta has developed over the years I have been away from home. From childhood I have never been fond of vegetables, I would only eat a few of them. Eggplant/Brinjal, I have always loved to eat, and slowly learned to cook a variety of Eggplant Recipes. I always roast the eggplant and love the smoky flavor of the dish.

 Ingredients: Baingan Bharta (Roasted Eggplant Curry)
  • 4 Long Asian Eggplants or 1 Medium Sized Eggplant
  • 1 Onion chopped finely
  • 1 Tomato
  • Green Chillies
  • 1 tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander Powder
  • Sliced Ginger
  • Cilantro

I like to Roast my Eggplants in the Oven. Make vertical slits on the eggplant and rub them with oil, season with salt. Now place the eggplants on a foil and broil them for about 30 minutes in the oven. Once the eggplant is done, peel off the skin and mash well.

 Heat oil in a pan, add the finely chopped onions and stir fry them. When the onions become tender, add the sliced ginger and the mashed Eggplant. Season salt, Cumin & Coriander powder and cook for about 5 minutes. Garnish with sliced tomatoes and cilantro leaves, serve hot with Naan or Roti (Indian Bread)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ginger Tea

Ginger Tea, hot and refreshing beverage and is full of health benefits. Darling husband was under the weather for the last few days and was trying to get some relief from the OTC drugs. But as I believe in natural treatments I made Ginger Tea for him almost every day. Ginger, has been used as a medicinal herb from ancient times and is believed to give you relief from cold and achy throats.
Ingredients: Ginger Tea (2 Cups)
  • Fresh Ginger (1/2 inch)
  • 2 Tea Bags or 2 tsp Darjeeling/Red Label Tea
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1/4 cup Milk
  • 2 tbsp Raw Cane Sugar

First, peel the Ginger and grate it, you can use it more if you want a strong flavor. Boil the water and ginger in a saucepan.  Next add the tea, the milk and let it boil further for few more minutes. Then turn the heat off. Cover the pan for few minutes, strain the tea and enjoy. 
Add sugar and serve hot.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Paneer Egg Curry

Paneer Egg Curry, as I call it, is a recipe which I adapted from my ma. Every time she would make this, we loved it, specially the gravy. Homemade Paneer (Cheese) adds freshness to this egg curry and makes this more healthy. I make it spicy and serve this with Roti, Indian FlatBread.

Ingredients: Paneer Egg Curry
  • 1/2 cup Homemade Paneer or Cheese
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1 tsp Ginger Paste
  • Green Chillies
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala Powder
  • Chopped Cilantro
To make homemade Paneer/Cheese, boil 2 cups of milk and to it add 2 tsp of Lemon Juice. When the milk curdles, strain using a Cheese Cloth or a Strainer. 

Boil the eggs, make a slit on them, season with salt and fry them lightly. Heat oil in a pan, add the Cumin Seeds, the chopped onions and saute them.When the onions become tender, add the ginger paste, the homemade cheese, all the dried spices and stir them together. Sprinkle some water and cook till you see oil separating out.  Next add the previously Fried Eggs, cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Garnish with chopped Cilantro and serve with Roti.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Masoor Dal Khichuri / Red Lentil Khichdi

The Winters where we live seems never ending, every week there is a Snow Storm.In the midst of the last snowstorm, I cooked Khichuri/Khichdi with Masoor Dal (Red Lentils) and Basmati Rice. It is almost a tradition for Bengali's to enjoy this warm and comfort food on a beautiful rainy day, but we enjoyed this on a Snowy Day. Khichuri is served with Ilish Mach Bhaja, Fried Egg and is considered a light and nutritious dish. The best part is we add some vegetables to it, like Cauliflower, Green Peas and Potatoes.

Ingredients: Khichuri/Khichdi
  • 1 cup Basmati Rice
  • 2 cups Red Lentils (Masoor dal)
  • 1 Tomato
  • 2 tbsp Ginger Paste
  • 1/2 cup Green Peas
  • 1 tsp Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 tsp Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
  • 2 tbsp Roasted Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
  • Mustard Oil / Canola Oil
  • Green Chilli
  • Chopped Cilantro
  • Salt to taste
I use a Pressure Cooker to cook this quick, you can even use a pan or a wok. Wash the Lentils and the Rice, heat oil in a wok, add the Lentils and stir them. After about 5 minutes, add the rice and stir. In a separate pan, heat 1 tsp oil, add the Cumin Seeds, Bay Leaf, Tomatoes and the Green Chillies. Saute them, add the Turmeric Powder, Cumin Powder, salt and cook till oil separates out.

Pour the cooked tomatoes in the pressure cooker with the Lentils and the Rice and add 1 cup of water, cover and cook till Rice & Dal gets mushy. If you are adding, Cauliflower, fry them separately, and add with the green peas to the tomato mixture. Mix in the chopped Cilantro and the Garam Masala powder.

We like the Khichuri with extra gravy and I mostly serve this with Ilish Mach Bhaja but this time I served the Khichuri with a fried egg and achar (Indian Pickle).


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hinger Kachori

Hinger Kachori, a deep fried pastry stuffed with a mixture of Urad Dal, Ginger having a strong smell of Hing (Asafoetida).This is one of the favorite snacks of most Bengalis.

Ingredients: Hinger Kachori
  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour/Maida
  • 1/2 cup Urad Dal (Biuli Dal)
  • 1/4 tsp Hing (Asafoetida)
  • 1/2 inch Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp Fennel Seeds (Saunf)
  • Oil to deep fry

Stuffing : Soak the Urad Dal for about 30 minutes, and grind to a coarse paste with green chillies, Ginger and Fennel Seeds. Then heat oil in a pan, add the Hing (Asafoetida) and the Paste. Stir constantly to avoid sticking. When the mixture dries up it is ready to be used as the stuffing for the Kachori.

Kachori:  Take the 1 cup of Flour/Maida in a bowl and add 2 tbsp of oil, salt and mix well. Then knead the dough using warm water and keep it covered for 30 minutes. Make small balls of the dough and stuff with the Dal Mixture and roll them out. Typically these Kachoris are deep fried in Ghee (Clarified Butter) but I use Canola Oil to deep fry them.

Heat enough oil in a wok and carefully slip the rolled Kachori in the hot oil and deep fry them. I served them with Cholar Dal(Bengal Gram Lentil).

Cholar Dal / Chana Dal

Cholar Dal, the yellow colored Bengal Gram Lentil, combined with Kachori, a perfect meal for any Bengali. This is a traditional recipe, this Dal is cooked with coconuts and is sweet in taste. This is like a must have during Festivals, I still remember having this every year on Kali Puja(Diwali) at home.

Ingredients: Cholar Dal/Chana Dal
  • 1 cup Cholar Dal (Bengal Gram)
  • 1 tbsp Ginger Paste
  • 1 Dried Red Chilli
  • 2 tbsp Chopped Coconut Pieces
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala Powder
  • Ghee (Clarified Butter)

Soak the Lentil for about 1 hour and boil it in a pan or use a pressure cooker. For the tempering, heat oil in a pan, add the Coconut pieces, fry them.

Once the Coconut pieces start browning, take them out and keep it aside. Heat oil in the pan, add the Cumin Seeds, Bay Leaf and the Dried Red Chilli. Then add the Ginger paste, Haldi and saute them on low heat. Next add the cooked dal, fried Coconut Pieces, about 1/2 cup of water, cover and let it cook. The consistency of the dal should be thick. Once done, serve this with Kachori/Luchi.

Aloo Makha / Spicy Mashed Potato

At times when we decide to take a break and cook something very simple and light, its the time for Bengali Spicy Mashed Potato/Aloo Makha with white rice & dal. It reminds me of my childhood days back in India. I make the Aloo Makha spicy with Mustard oil and Green Chillies, it is the best comfort food when you are very tired and you just don't feel like cooking...

Ingredients: Aloo Makha/Spicy Mashed Potato
  • 2 Medium Sized Potato
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 tsp Mustard Oil (Preferred)
  • 1 Dried Red Chilli
  • Green Chillies (as per taste)
  • 1/2 tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Chaat Masala 
  • Chopped Cilantro

Boil the potatoes and peel the skin out. I boil them in the Microwave, putting in a Plastic Bag with a little bit of water in it. Meanwhile chop the onions and the green chillies. Heat 1tsp of Mustard Oil or any other oil in a pan, add the dried Red Chilli. Then add the chopped onions and fry till they become tender. Mash the potato in a bowl, add the fried onions, chopped green chillies, chopped Cilantro and mix well with salt and pepper. Season the mixture with Roasted Cumin Powder and Chaat Masala (available at any Indian Grocery Store) and mash them all together very well. If you do not like it spicy adjust the spices accordingly. Serve this with Rice and Dal (Lentil Soup).

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Spinach Pesto Pasta with Shrimp

Spinach Pesto, healthy and flavorful, to this I add Walnuts, Garlic and Sour Cream.. Serve this over Angel Hair Pasta and Shrimp. What more can I ask for ???

Ingredients: Spinach Pesto Pasta with Shrimp
  • Angel Hair Pasta
  • 1 cup of peeled and deveined large shrimp
  • 1/2 cup Mushroom
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Carrots
  • 1 cup Baby Spinach ( or Frozen Spinach)
  • 1/2 cup Walnuts
  • 2 cloves of Garlic
  • 1 tbsp Dried Basil
  • 1 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 tbsp Sour Cream
  • Oilve Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Pesto is easy to make and will taste fresher when made at home, but if you want you can even use a store bought Pesto. In a food processor blend together baby spinach, walnuts, fresh garlic cloves, dried basil leaves. Pour in oil slowly while it is mixing. Make into a course paste and mix the Sour Cream, Salt and Pepper.

Meanwhile chop the onions and mushrooms and cook the Pasta according to the package directions. In a pan, heat oil and add the cut vegetables, season with salt and pepper. Stir fry them on low medium heat.  Once the Pasta is cooked, make sure to reserve a cup of Pasta water for later use.

When the vegetables are tender, add the Pasta to it and mix well with the prepared Pesto, add the reserved Pasta water. The starch in this water will help to thicken the sauce and in turn coat the pasta. Add the Cooked Shrimp and Parmesan Cheese and mix well. Sprinkle with extra Parmesan Cheese when serving.

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