Chhanar Dalna

9:31 AM

‘Burning milk’ and ‘I’ are always together. There is hardly any time when I wanted to heat and boil a packet of milk and didn’t burn it. Before marriage our household help M didi often jokingly asked for extra Rs.10 to clean that burnt vessel. Now when my maid here refuses to put in so much effort and finally I myself have to do all the scraping I realize that was a very less price I paid those days….

Events Awards Interview

Root Vegetable Soup with Chili Infused Oil

10:32 AM

The last one and a half month was very hectic. It seemed we were always on a go. First, Hubby’s abroad trip, then Mil’s visit, then guests came for their son’s treatment, cooking, cleaning, attending them, visiting the hospitals, consulting the Doctors, running to the local supermarket, the fish shop, medicines shop, then the operation and God knows what…but at the end we are happy, as the boy is now cured and on his way home. But in this entire battle baby H has missed his parents a lot. We hardly had time to shower him with all the Tender love and care that he deserved. So before this weekend began we decided to keep everything aside and just to be with the baby.

As we don’t have our respective families here so all the works are to be done by two of us, and weekends are the time when we have to complete all our works that we cant complete over the week. Then the grocery shopping, the bill payment, visiting the pediatrician, sometimes friends drops in without notice or we have to go out… sometimes weekends seem busier. But this time we wanted to relax, wanted to laze around and have fun with the baby. As he is a bit grown up now so we wanted to go to Madiwala for our vegetable shopping after a long time. We thought he would love the open atmosphere and the hustle n bustle of this local wholesale vegetable market, and we were right he thoroughly enjoyed his stay there and drawn a lot of attention with all his gummy smiles and sweet babbles.

Madiwala is one of the markets I like to visit for the fresh, local and seasonal produce. You get every kind of vegetables, spices and sometime local handicrafts at a throw away price. It’s a colourful, busy but muddy market place. Today also we bought some fresh veggies but the best buy is this bunch of baby carrots. As soon as the baby had his bath, food and felt asleep I wanted to do something quick for our brunch and made this gorgeous looking root vegetable soup flavored with some chilli oil.

The thick soup with a bright colour, tasted amazing… the sweetness of the baby carrots, the sharpness of the tomato and the earthy aroma of the chilli oil gave it a rounded taste…we had bowlfuls of this with some stir fried veggies and coffee.

And here is the quick recipe

Root Vegetable Soup with Chilli Infused Oil (Serves 2)
Carrots: I used 6 pieces of baby carrots
Potato: 1 medium
Tomato: 1 small                 

Onion: ¼ of a medium
Garlic: 1 clove
Dried Red chillies: 2-3 pieces
Oil: 3 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Water: 3 cups

Wash and peel the potato. Cut the carrots, potato and tomato in cubes. Pressure-cook them with salt and water till soft.

In the mean time, heat 2-teaspoon oil and when it’s smoking hot switch of the gas and put thinly sliced dried red chillies. Keep it covered. The infusion is best if kept overnight.

Cool the veggies and puree it in a mixer till smooth. If you find it very thick adjust the consistency by adding more water.

Chop the onion and garlic as finely as you can.
Heat 1-teaspoon oil in a pan and add the garlic and onion. Give it a stir and add the puree. Adjust the salt and bring it to boil.

Enjoy in separate bowls with a spoonful of the chili oil poured on top.

Am sending this warm bowl of soup to Monthly Mingle:38 guest hosted by Harini of Tongueticklers.A brainchild of Meeta of whats for lunch honey.


Remembering 26/11

2:31 AM

'Give Peace A Chance!'

Today is 26/11, that black day when Innocent citizens were slaughtered  all through Mumbai.... standing on this dark eve, I dont question, I dont judge or I dont comment...but am hurt, am hurt and scared as a commoner. Today I want to stand beside those who mourns the loss of their dear ones and I pay homage to those killed in that irrational brutality....

May God bless their souls, May God bless their families with strength and courage, May God bless everyone with wisdom to see the world in its true light...

My Home and Garden

My Winter Garden

9:09 AM

am damn tired today so no more recipes today, just some lovely snaps from my winter garden. the veggie patch is not yet ready for its turn under the limelight instead a few flower pics which has managed to bloom till now.

hope you all like it.

White Chrysanthemum; I call this one Egg Poach; Sunny side up :-)

Red Chrysanthemum

White Musanda

Pink Euphorbia Mili

Red Pointsettia



Healthy Ghugni

11:13 AM

Ghugni or yellow peas cooked in thick gravy is a very famous yet common snacking option for Bengalis. Whenever there is a big crowd gathering, Bengalis tend to prepare ghugni for them. One reason for that is, its easy to cook yellow peas in mass as it doesn’t loose its shape easily. In Kolkata you would find ghugni everywhere…go to any roadside Fuchkawala (golgappa seller) he would be having ghugni to top his plates of chaats, the sweet shops would have them to accompany kochuri or luchi which is a famous breakfast option for Bengalis, the Chopwala (fried fritters seller) will definitely have them in his thela (cart) just to serve with chopped onion, lime juice and bhaja masala…and at home they are served either with luchi, paratha, ruti or with muri (puffed rice).

Cooking ghugni is very easy and I believe my Maa makes the best one in this world. She always gets it perfectly boiled…soft but every grain Separate from each other. Her mangsher ghugni (ghugni with chicken pieces) is very famous among friends and family. As kids we used to have narkeler ghugni (with coconut) as the after school snack with roti or puffed rice.

When my marriage was fixed my in laws someday informed me that my hubby loves ghugni so much that whenever he visits home he goes out to local sweet shop to indulge plates of their sinful ghugni. So once I reached Bangalore and got everything set, one day I made a big batch (a real big bowlful) of ghugni and served it with other curries and roti. He loved it so much that he had the whole quantity in one go (ok I managed to get one bowl too). And from thet on ghugni is regular in my kitchen. Though we never fight (at least not yet; touchwood) but I guess if ever that happens and he gets angry…a bowlful of Ghugni will be my best bet.

Ghugni is commonly made with yellow chickpeas but green chickpeas are also being used these days. But my healthy ghugni is made with soybean. Actually I thought of this recipe during my pregnancy. Those were the days when my gynecologist continuously insisted on incorporating protein in my diet. Being an eggitarian I had very few options so I thought of making ghugni with soybeans. Now ‘Soybeans are considered by many agencies to be a source of complete protein A complete protein is one that contains significant amounts of all the essential amino acids that must be provided to the human body because of the body's inability to synthesize them. For this reason, soy is a good source of protein, amongst many others, for vegetarians and vegans or for people who cannot afford meat. According to the US Food and Drug Administration: Soy protein products can be good substitutes for animal products because, unlike some other beans, soy offers a 'complete' protein profile. ... Soy protein products can replace animal-based foods—which also have complete proteins but tend to contain more fat, especially saturated fat—without requiring major adjustments elsewhere in the die’t. You can find more about soybeans here

These are boiled , dry and soaked soybeans (from left to right).

I also have added some oyster mushroom to give it more power boost, and finally the outcome was a great success. Hubby said the mushroom tasted like chicken and it smelled actually like mangshor ghugni (ghugni with keema). Simply delicious.

Am sending this bowlful of Healthy legume to My Legume love affair created by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook and hosted this month by Sra of When my soup came alive.

Now the recipe:

Healthy Ghugni-with Soybean and Mushroom

Soybeans: 1 cup
Oyster or any other mushrooms: 1 packet
Potato: 1 small
Onion Paste: 2 medium
Ginger garlic pate: 11/2 teaspoon
Tomato: 1 medium
Chilli powder: 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder
Oil: 3 teaspoons
Garam masala powder: 1/3 teaspoon

Wash and Soak the soybeans for 3-4 hours. Again wash and Pressure cook with salt and turmeric up to 2 whistles.

Chop the onions as finely as possible and keep aside. I chopped one and make paste of the other one.

Peel the potato and cut in small cubes.

Wash and shred the mushrooms and reserve.

Now heat the oil and fry the potato till light brown. Add the onion and fry for a couple of minutes. Then add the ginger garlic paste, salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Keep on frying on low heat till oil separate at the side.

Add the chopped tomato and again fry till it becomes soft and mushy.Now add the mushroom and fry for 4-5 minutes. Mix in the boiled soybeans and fried potato. Check the seasoning.

After another 4-5 minutes add 1 cup of warm water and cook covered on low heat.

Once the soybeans are cooked sprinkle the garam masala powder and serve hot. We had ours with roti for dinner and with puffed rice for evening snack.

Sandeepa of bongcookbook has one version of quickfix ghugni with chickpeas here.


Mocha Chingrir Daal

10:49 AM

I am cooking a lot these days and by ‘a lot’ I mean almost twice daily. My MIL is visiting and we also have a few guests over here. It feels like am in the kitchen for the whole day because apart from the main meals I also have to prepare food for my son. Though I love to cook but this much cooking is quite tiring. But the thing that’s paining me most is good foods are prepared but I hardly get any chance to take the picture. Cause am sure they are not aware of this special human species called food bloggers, who set the table, click the pictures and then with a happy grin eat the cold food. Jokes apart but seriously I can’t risk my image in front of my MIL and take pictures when she is around. So though several elaborate Bengali dishes are prepared no pictures have been taken.

This recipe of ‘mocha chingrir daal’ or ‘Bengal gram daal cooked with banana flower and prawns’ was made a couple of weeks back. Well mocha or banana flower is a vegetarian delicacy for Bengalis. We Bengalis actually banana trees and never waste a single part of it. Like bananas are eaten both in raw and ripe form and not even the peels are wasted. Then the flower is cooked to achieve traditional delicacies like mochar ghanto(banana flower curry) or mochar chop (banana flower fritters) etc. the inside portion of the stem is called thor and is again cooked as curry or with lentils. Thor is said to have high content of iron and the juice us used to treat kidney stones and high blood pressure. The leaves are used for cooking a beautifully flavored fish dish called paturi where the fish is steamed with spices wrapped in banana leaves.

I am a self-proclaimed mocha lover. I can finish my whole meal only with a bowl full of delicious mochar ghanto. I even love the Mocha petals. As kids we used to decorate the petals with flowers and float them as boats. Especially in monsoons when the street side drains would overflow, we have spent hours following them. The only thing that restrains me from cooking mocha is the difficulty in cleaning and preparing it. One has to clean each floret by picking out the stick and the transparent petal from it. Then you have to chop it finely and have to boil it with salt and turmeric before its ready to be cooked as a vegetable. But trust me the end result will be finger licking good and will make up for all the hard work and patience. I always cook it in big portions to get more for my hard work and this recipe is a complete meal when served with rice, roti, paratha or luchi (puri).

This is the banana flower or our Mocha with all the petals and florets.

Now let me explain how to clean the mocha. First rub your hand with a few drops of mustard oil Otherwise you will end up having black stains on your hand. Be very careful with your clothes cause the Mocha or thor stains does not go away easily.

This is how a single floret will look like.Take out this stick… And the transparent petal and you are ready to chop it.

Be patient and repeat for all the florets. Now take 7-8 florets as bunch and chop them as finely as possible. Soak them in water. Wash and boil them with salt and turmeric. Don’t over boil, It should be soft with a little crunch. Drain the water and you are ready to go.
Mocha Chingri’r Daal

Mocha: 1 cup boiled

Bengal gram daal: 11/2 cups
Prawns: 10 pieces small sized
Grated coconut: 1/3 cup
Ginger paste: 2 teaspoon
Cumin and coriander powder: 1 teaspoon each
Vegetable oil: 3 teaspoon
Garam masala powder: 1/3 teaspoon
Ghee or clarified butter: 1 spoon (optional)
For tempering:
Bay leaf: 1 piece
Whole cumin: 1 teaspoon; I used shajeera , normal cumin will also work.
1-2 pieces each of whole cardamom, clove and cinnamon
Green chilies: 2 pieces, chopped

Method: soak the Bengal gram for 30 mnts, wash and strain the water. Boil it with salt and turmeric till soft but not mushy.

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the prawns lightly with salt and turmeric. Keep them aside.

In the same oil put all the tempering items. When the aroma rises add the ginger cumin paste and turmeric. Give it a stir.

When oil starts separating from the spices add the drained banana flower and salt. Mix everything together, cover and let it cook on low heat for 5-8 minutes. Stir in-between to avoid sticking at the bottom.

Once the juice dries up add the prawn and the grated coconut. Mix and cook uncovered for 2 minutes.

Tip in the boiled Daal and stir to mix everything together. Add a cup of warm water and check the seasoning. Cover and let it cook on low heat for 10 minutes. Stir in between.

Once it reaches a thick consistency sprinkle the garam masala powder and ghee. serve hot.

we had ours with some carrot and spinach paratha.

am sending this to Think Spice:Think Turmeric event this time hosted by Sudeshna of Cook like a bong. This great event is a brainchild of lovely Sunita, who has inspired a lot like us.

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