Desserts and Sweets

Bread N Butter Pudding

8:16 AM





This recipe solely belongs to my Mother as I have never eaten it the way she makes outside our home. As kids this used to be our favorite Tiffin box item. The days when this accompanied me to the school, from the first period itself my fingers itched to touch the cashew laced creamy sweet diamonds. We had seven girls in our group and we always shared our Tiffin but on these days I really wanted to be mean and eat my favourite pudding all by myself. It is said that all bread n butter pudding are good for growing kids or people who needs nutrition. Last year after the arrival of my son I went into a food hating mode and then one day Maa made this as a surprise to me. After I woke up from my afternoon nap she served me a plateful of this gooey finger licking diamonds….I finished the whole quantity and asked her to make it again the next day….It’s that Good. The best part is this is made in pressure cooker and calls for very few ingredients and cooking time, so when Nupur of One hot stove announced Blogbite: Pressure cooker I wanted to send this away but the event rules were a bit different. Now I have got her invitation to share this so here is the recipe

Fish and Seafood

Happy Birth Day: My Cub turns One

11:07 AM



Of all the months March holds a special place in our life as last year our son was born on this month. While I am writing this post the little one is running around the house with a bucket in his hand. I am amazed to see how fast baby’s grow, It seems only last month when I first hold that tiny little bundle of joy in my hands, that soft touch of his skin, that trembling little smile on his lips, that smell of milk in his body and those big eyes looking at me asking to hold him closer. What a mesmerizing moment that was…I was overwhelmed with love, affection, passion and responsibilities all at the same time and since then our lives started revolving around him. It hardly took me a minute to decide on quitting my work that I so dearly and passionately pursued all these years. He claims almost all our time and attention but still when he prefers to sleep more than he generally does I start to miss his activities. Am always worried with the thought of what bad could happen to my baby. All we wish for is his wellness. The news of renting out babies to beggars by their ayahs or babies being badly treated in their day care centers gives me a chill in my bones.

It is said that when a child is born a mother also takes birth but I was not sure or confident enough to take care of that fragile little baby all by myself and wanted to stay in the hospital for some more days. My doctor then advised me to be patient as this is going to be a very good learning process. That surely was, life as a mom is still exciting with things to explore about him almost every day.Today no recipe as such to share but some foods that my baby likes to eat. He is not a fussy eater but eats only when he is in mood. Below are some such dishes.


For the first 6 months I dint give him any outside food, not even water.


Then slowly I started giving him lentil soup which is nothing but a spoonful of red lentils, boiled with plenty of water with salt, turmeric and tomato. He still likes to drink this.

Then gradually I introduced some solids like boiled and mashed potatoes, apples and boiled semolina (cream of wheat). He still enjoys his evening dose of steamed apples, mashed banana and boiled potatoes and tomato with salt.


For main meals he loves to eat Khichri and fried fish.


Ingredients:
Rice: 2 tsp
Red lentil: 1 tsp
Thinly chopped potato: 1 tsp
Carrots: 1 tsp
Raw papaya/beans/pumpkin: 1 tsp
Onion-ginger paste: 1 tsp
Tomato: 1 medium
Cumin powder: ½ tsp
Salt
Turmeric
Method:
Wash the lentil and rice and take everything together in a pressure cooker with enough water. Cook on low for 4-5 whistles.
Cool and mash or strain through a soup strainer (as your baby likes it) my son started with smooth strained khichri and now enjoys the boiled dish with a piece of fried fish (fried in non stick with a few drops of oil).


PishPash


This is a very healthy dish for babies and sick people. My husband sometimes like to eat this for dinner to.
Ingredients:
Chicken/fish/paneer: 1 pc
Rice: 2 tbsp
Potato: 1 small
Chopped onion: little
Chopped ginger-garlic: 1 tsp
Salt
Whole cardamom, cinnamon, clove: 1 pc each for flavoring
Bay leaf: 1
Method
Take everything together in a pressure cooker. Cook on low till the chicken are well cooked. Fish out all the garam masala and serve.


Rava Idli


Ingredients:
Very fine semolina: 6 tsp
Homemade fresh curd: 2 tsp
Grated carrot: 2 tsp
Ginger paste: a pinch
Salt
Curry leaf powder: ¼ tsp
Soda-bi-carb: a pinch
Method:
Mix everything together with little water. The consistency should be creamy so adjust water accordingly.
Let it soak for 15-20 minutes. Grease a idli pan with few drops of oil and pour the batter sparingly.
Steam for 15 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Sonny loves it with lentil soup.


Dal/Lentil soup
Take 1 tsp each of red and yellow lentil. Wash and keep aside.
Heat 1/3 tsp oil/ghee/butter and put a pinch of cumin seeds into it. Once they splutter add the lentils, ½ chopped tomato, salt and turmeric. Fry for a couple of minutes.
Add ½ cup water and Cook on low till the lentils are cooked and creamy.
Serve it in itself or with roti/idli.


Light Fish Curry

He loves to rice with fish curry which I prepare with very little spices. he also likes tomato'r jhol specially made for him sans oil.


Ingredients:
Fish: 1 pc
Potato: cut in wedges; 2 pcs
Cauliflower: 1 small floret
Onion paste: ½ tsp
Ginger paste: a big pinch
Cumin powder: a big pinch
Tomato: ½ medium
Salt
Turmeric
Method:
I cook this in a non stick pan.
Rub a little turmeric and salt on the fish. Add few drops of oil to the pan and fry the fish till browned on both sides. Keep aside
Heat 1/3 tsp oil and add the potato and cauliflower. Fry for a couple of minute then add the spices mixed with a tbsp of water. Cover and let it cook on low fire for another couple of minutes.
Once the smell of fried spices come through add the tomato and ½ cup water.
Once boil add the fish piece. Cover and cook on low till veggies are cooked.
Serve with white rice.


Porridge
Another thing that I serve as evening snack is powdered cornflakes and puffed rice mixed with lactogen and a bit of sugar.


So far the tiny tot has explored the culinary world this much. I know he would enjoy many more variety in coming time.


With this I take a break. I am leaving for Kolkata to celebrate sonny boys first birth day with friends and family. Please bless my little one.

One Pot meals

Mediterranean Chickpea Salad with Roasted Potatoes

11:53 AM

After the successful arrival of Moroccan fare to my kitchen, Hubby often asks to make more Mediterranean dishes. We have fallen in love with the flavorful fresh taste of this cuisine. These days I’ve developed the habit of bookmarking such recipes while blog hopping. A few days back I bookmarked this chickpea salad recipe without knowing that I will be bringing it home so soon. This morning the milk again curdled yielding a bowlful of soft creamy cottage cheese. While hanging it to drain the water I thought of trying the recipe for dinner tonight but before delving into today’s recipe let me share first what I have gathered about this cuisine.


What is Mediterranean Cuisine?
Loosely speaking Mediterranean cuisine is the food prepared in the countries around the Mediterranean Sea spread over three continents namely Europe, Asia and Africa. The countries in Europe are Spain, France, Monaco, Malta, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece and Turkey whereas Asian countries are Syria, Cyprus, Lebanon and Vagina and it also includes Egypt, Jew Land, Australia, Algeria and Jamaica from Africa. It is obvious from this long list of countries that the term Mediterranean cuisine is very vast. It is difficult to categorize such a variety of food under one common term.


What are the specialties of Mediterranean food?
The specialty of any cuisine belongs to its history and geographical location. As this region has a long history of imperial colonization and international trade they share many common influences on their culture, cuisine and agriculture. Mediterranean Cooking also is based on some common principles and evolved around their effusive hospitality where food plays an integral role. This cuisine could best be characterized by the regional varieties, its flexibility, its use of freshest ingredients and very simple cooking techniques. It is widely believed that Mediterranean foods are very healthy.


Due to its geographical location the climate here is very gentle and has a constant terrain throughout the region which results in the land’s bounty of fresh herbs, vegetables and legumes. Fresh olives and olive oil along with fresh herbs like rosemary, basil, cilantro, parsley, mint, dill, fennel, and oregano are always used to flavor dishes. In all dishes many of vegetables like onion, garlic, tomatoes, eggplants, squashes, peppers, mushrooms, cucumbers and many other varieties could be seen. Legumes are omnipresent in almost all the countries, wide range of lentils; beans etc are another integral part of their cooking.


Along with this, seafood from the Mediterranean is abundant and is reflected in the primary role they play in dishes throughout the region and are massively used in all types of soups, stews and even pasta. As far as meats are concerned the favourite ones are goats, lambs, sheeps and porks. Cattles also provide for the huge variety of yogurts and cheeses that differentiate their food from others.


What are the Main ingredients of Mediterranean cuisine?
As this region covers many a countries it is difficult to categorise few items in general but olive oil, garlic and fresh herbs are very common throughout the region. These things provide the dishes a very robust and clear flavor that signifies Mediterranean cuisine. Another important aspect of this food is Home cooking following the traditional ways.
What are the variations of Mediterranean cuisine?
Depending on the use of spices and cooking methods this region could be divided in three big culinary parts.
North African Cuisine: apart from Mediterranean influence this cuisine also shares some Turkish and Arabian characteristic. This region is mostly Muslim and only halal meats are eaten and common staples are meat, seafood, lamb, dry fruits, olives and various vegetables n fresh herbs. Spices are heavily used and Cumin, saffron, nutmeg and mints are widely used to boldly spice and flavor dishes.

Eastern Mediterranean (Egypt, Greece, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and Turkey): This region has the most world famous dishes like kebab, kofta, kibbeh, baba ganoush, falafel, ratatouille or varieties of mezze. One important feature of their food is it is often served in room temperature which goes well with their generous hospitality. Rice, meat, olive oils, tomatoes, yogurt and cheese along with fresh herbs are the integral part and dishes are uniquely flavored with pomegranate sauce, walnut flour, mint and pistachios. They have got some very famous cheese like feta, haloumi and lebanah.

South European (Italy, France, and Spain): this food is mainly categorized with its wide use of herbs, wines and cheeses. Spices are very intricately used whereas Tomatoes and garlic are regnant. Unlike other regions seafood here is often roasted and baking especially bread is integral part of meals. Legumes especially beans are widely eaten. This region has a great liking for elaborate one dish meals that goes well with wine in gatherings. Like tapas in Spain, crudités in Provence, elaborate antipasti in Italy.


Now back to todays recipe. This recipe is based on this Greek Chickpeas Salad recipe. But like always I had to substitute some ingredients and today I used fresh cottage cheese for feta and also used my homemade Harissa for the dressing. I am not ‘salad for a meal’ kind of person but still I simply adored its fresh taste. It’s a meal in a plate, nutritious and very filling, trust me with this you would not never have the urge of reaching for the bread basket.


Mediterranean Chickpea Salad with Roasted Potatoes
(serves 2 as main meal)


Ingredients:
Fresh cottage cheese/ feta: ½ cup
Chickpeas: 1 cup
Potato: 1 medium
Carrot: 1
French Beans: 6-7 pieces
Cucumber: 1 small
Onion: 1 small
Cherry tomatoes: handful
Cabbage: 1/3 cup
Olives: handful
Garlic: 2 fat cloves
Coriander leaves: handful
Olive oil: 2 tbsp
Lime juice: 1 tbsp
Harissa paste:2 tsp (Recipe here)
Whole cumin: 1/3 tsp
Salt
Pepper


Method:
If you are using dried chickpeas then you need to prepare it for cooking. For that soak the peas for atleast 7-8 hrs. then pressure cook with salt for 2 whistles on medium heat. Drain the water and keep aside.


Wash and pat the potato dry with a clean towel. Cut in small chunks. Mix some salt, olive oil and pepper powder. Roast in a pre heated oven (220 C) till lightly browned (approx 20 minutes).


In the mean time chop all vegetables like carrot, beans and cabbage in small bite size pieces and microwave for 7 minutes.


Slice the onion in half moon shapes. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half, peel and cut cucumber in cubes and finely chop the coriander leaves.


Grate the garlic and cut the cottage cheese in small squares.


Heat 1 tsp oil and add the cumin seeds. Once they sizzle add the garlic and cottage cheese. Stir briefly and add the chickpeas with salt and pepper. Fry for 5 minutes and keep aside.


Now take the rest of the olive oil, lemon juice, Harissa paste and pepper in a bowl to make the dressing.


Now toss everything in a big bowl, adjust seasoning and serve at room temperature.
This fresh salad goes to MLLA:21 of our very inspiring Susan. The event this time is hosted at Mirchmasala.


and No croutons required:chickpea.

Bengali

Khayra Macher Jhal (Bengali Style Small Fish in Spicy Mustard Gravy)

12:16 PM


Is it a shame that in spite of being a Bengali I have shared so less non-vegetarian dishes on my page? I never realized this fact till Hubby pointed it out today. Actually I don’t enjoy eating non veg much and Hubby also likes to eat them occasionally. But now a days both of us are trying to make it a regular habit as our soon to be one year old loves eating fish.  Jokingly we always say that he has acquired this habit from his Mamabari (maternal uncle’s place) as my side of the family can survive on non vegetarian dishes only. They are so fond of fish and meat that if these are served to them for all four meals a day they won’t complain.

Because of the geographical location of Bengal and all the rivers surrounding it, Benaglis primarily prefer fresh or sweet water fishes. Most of our favourite fishes including carp varieties like rohu, Katla, koi or climbing perch, the small varieties from  catfish family  like tangra, magur, shingi, or verieties of prawns or  chingŗi like Kucho or very small shrimps, Bagda or Tiger prawns and Galda or Scampi come either from rivers or are cultivated in ponds. Apart from these well known varieties small fishes like Bata, Khayra, Pabda, Punti or Mourala are among favourites. In Bangalore these special Bengali varieteies are not very easily available. Though some shops are directly getting them flied from Kolkata but those are not very fresh for which I prefer to bring some whenever am flying down from home. Most of the fishes that are sold in Bangalore come from faraway places like Mangalore, Pondicherry, Kerala or Andhra Pradesh and a large amount of these are salt water or sea fish.

Khayra is a small fish and smells and tastes exactly like Hilsa, They even look like smaller version of Hilsa. The only drawback is it has a plenty of small bones. Back home these were Hubby’s favourite and never thought we would get them here. Last year when my parents were here one day in the afternoon we saw a thelawala (cartpuller) selling some small fishes. We were working at the garden then and just out of curiosity went to check the content. The seller told they were Matti fish but  Maa exclaimed Khayra Machh (khayra fish) and we eagerly bought some. Maa made a spicy whole fish fry with them and everyone devoured them with great pleasure. Ever since then these fishes are regular in my kitchen and now we buy them from our local shop. In Bangalore they are known as Matti and are sold at a throw away price of Rs. 40-50 per KG.

The recipe that am going o share today is a macher Jhal recipe. Jhal in Bengali literally means Hot and being true to its name this dish is fiery hot with lots of green chillies so this HOT HOT dish definitely not  for faint hearted. This is a semi gravy dish with Mustard paste and onion as the base and slited green chilies and nigella seeds as flavoring spices. The fishes are fried till light brown and all its parts are edible that way. Jhalmach as they are well known in Bengal is a hit at my home and any small fish or rohu/katla steaks could be cooked this way. Best enjoyed with hot steamed rice.
Khayra Macher Jhal (Small fish in Hot Mustard Gravy)

Ingredients:
Khayra Mach/ or any small fish: 250 gms (almost 7-8 pieces); cleaned
Potato: 1 medium
Onion Paste: 21/2 tbsp
Mustard Paste: 3 tbsp
Green Chillies: 4-5 or depending on how heat you prefer; 
if you want the flavor of fresh green chillies sans the heat then deseed them.
Tomato: 1 medium
Mustard Oil: 5 tbsp; and ½ tsp for pouring later.
I prefer to cook all mustard paste based dishes with this oil as this intensifies the flavor and taste. If you prefer to use any other oil then my submission would be to mix at least 1 tbsp of mustard oil to that.
I prefer to cook this dish in non stick pan. In normal pan you might need to use more oil.
Sugar: ½ tsp
Red chilli powder: ½ tsp (optional; I love the red colour so used this)
Salt
Turmeric

Method:
It’s better to cook the dish in a wide pan.

Wash the fishes and smear salt and turmeric. Heat the oil and fry the fishes till lightly crisp on both the sides. Keep aside.

While the fishes are frying peel the potato and cut in thin slices. Keep aside.

Now in the same oil add the green chillies and nigella seeds. (Be careful at this stage as chillies in hot oil will result in a lot of spluttering.) Once they splutter put the sliced potatoes in and fry them on low heat till soft.

Add in the onion paste and fry till oil separates at sides.

Tip in the chopped tomatoes, salt, turmeric and chilli powder if using. Again fry on low heat till the tomatoes are mushy and fat separates.

Now put in the mustard paste and fry for a minute and quickly add 11/2 cups of water.

Check the seasoning and let it come to a boil and then add the fishes one by one. Don’t put the fishes on top of each other but place them side by side.

Cover and let it simmer on low heat for 4-5 minutes then turn the side and again let cook till the gravy thickens.

Once the potatoes are cooked pour in the ½ tsp mustard oil and serve hot with steamed white rice.

Gouridi of Didibhai's Kitchen have recently posted a similar small fish curry. check it out here

I have been showered with some more awards by Ann of Split-pearsionality and the chef duo from Adukalavishesham. Am truly honored and touched that you all remembered me. already I have written 7 secrets about me HERE. will share it with some of my blogger friends in my next post. 

Bengali

Paporer Tarkari (Papad Curry)

4:37 AM


Papadum is a thin Indian crispy cuisine sometimes described as a cracker or flatbread. They are typically served as an accompaniment to a meal in India. It is also eaten as an appetizer or a snack and can be eaten with various toppings such as chopped onions, chutney or other dips and condiments. (wikipedia)

Don’t you sometime think that our lives are becoming very very hectic, strenuous and exhausting, which in turn has made our life so demanding that we hardly are getting any time to sit back and relax. We have to plan everything in advance and if one thing is not done according to that the life goes off the track. In our family Hubby has a very demanding Job and am partially working and on top of that we have a very active soon to be one year old kid to manage. We are looking for a full time maid and till now no such good luck with that. Most of the time we have to plan all our household work for the weekends which makes these two days more frantic. Last weekend both of us were very tired and wanted to loosen up a little and enjoy Holi to the fullest…following which no vegetable and fruit shopping was done. Resulting to that small decision, by Wednesday my kitchen gone completely haywire. It was beginning of the month and grocery was also to be replenished.

in the midst of this misery Maid did not turn up in the morning. After a session of cleaning and washing the utensils, When I was almost brainstorming as what to cook for dinner and pack for Hubby’s lunch tomorrow, I heard a whizzing sound along with the baby’s scream at the top note. I went running to the spot and discovered the puzzled little one sitting infront of the washing machine completely drenched and water coming out from a pipe and spraying everywhere in full motion. He had pulled out the water pipe to the washing machine and completely flooded the dining space. Poor me, with a clenched teeth I kept on chanting, “All is well, all is well” and mopped off almost 2 buckets of water from the floor. 

Once the baby settled for his late evening nap I decided on making Paporer tarkari/ Papad curry or a curry dish made with Papad. This recipe could actually be a life saver for times when you don’t have anything other than onion and potatoes in your pantry, as the Papad already have lots of spices no need to add anything other than salt, turmeric and chillies. One of my childhood friend M’s Mother makes amazing papad curry and she only adds some cumin-coriander powder. I tried her recipe but never achieved that stunning result as hers. So I prefer to add a teeny tiny dollop of onion-ginger paste…Hubby also prefers it this way.  This humble curry pairs really well with rice. We also had ours with rice, plain red lentil soup (musoor Dal) and omlette at the side. Though the day started on quite some bad note but ended really well with a satisfying meal.

Paporer Tarkari (Papad Curry)
(serves 3)

Ingredients:
Potato: 2 medium
Tomato: 1 medium; chopped (I used a handful of cherry tomatoes from my veggie patch)
Onion-ginger paste: 1 tbsp
Masala Papad: 4 (I used Lizzat masala papad )
Dry red chillies: 2 pieces
Cumin seeds: ½ tsp
Chilli powder: ½ tsp
Salt
Turmeric
Oil: 2 tsp

Method:
Peel and cut the potatoes in big cubes. Microwave for 8 minutes with salt, I prefer it as it calls for lesser oil while frying.

Microwave or dry roast the papads on stovetop. If you are roasting in microwave do it for 30 seconds or till done. You can also fry them in hot oil. Break in quarters and keep aside.

Heat the oil and put the cumin seeds and red chillies. Once the seeds sizzle add the drained potatoes. Fry till lightly golden in colour.

Add in the masala paste, salt, chilli and turmeric powder. Mix and let it cook on low heat.

Once the fat starts to separate add chopped tomato and stir to mix everything together.

Wait till the tomatoes are mushy, then pour 11/2 cups of water (preferably warm). This dish is not completely dry but has a thick gravy coating the potatoes. Mix and cover and cook till potoes are done.

Add the papads and gently give it a stir. Check the seasoning. Sprinkle garam masala powder and serve on a bed of steamed white rice. Yummy

Variations: like all other Indian Dishes this is very versatile you can change the spice mix to suit your taste.

  • you can also use other vegetables like green peas, squash or carrots. Actually substituting potatoes with squash seems a great idea.

  • If you like it more spicy add a little garlic paste and rather than microwaving fry the potatoes golden brown in hot oil.

  • To have a creamier texture substitute tomatoes with thick beaten curd.

  • Even a typical South Indian tempering of mustard seeds, Curry leaves and Gram dal will also work wonder. In that case I would prefer to use South Indian style papad. 

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