One Pot meals

Bhat Bhaja (Bengali left over rice fry with veggies and spices)

10:55 AM

My Maa has plenty of time saving kitchen tricks up her sleeve. Same goes for her ability to use up leftover dishes. Though I can not fathom the crisp chapatis that she fries up every other day for breakfast but pretty much follow her ideas for other things.

This bhat bhaja (bhat means cooked rice, bhaja is frying) is perfect to use up the short grain par boiled rice that most Bengalis eat on regular basis. For the uninitiated Parboiled rice is the result of a process where rice, still in its brown rice grain form is either parboiled or steamed and then dried in its husk. The milling process comes next. The resulting grains are lest brittle, yellow in colour and have more nutrients as the Thiamine moves from its husk to the grain. but this process also causes a gelatinisation of the starch in the grains and therefore par boiled rice are often thicker than regular milled white rice. (info:Wiki)


A lavish Brunch at Durbari, Swissotel, Kolkata

1:20 PM

It is hard to say no to an invitation by the Swissotel, especially when most your foodie friends are all praise about their food and hospitality. I was happy to be back on the active blogging circuit and to another KFB special Blogger's table meet arranged by Swissotel, Kolkata. So what, if its just the next day after a similar review! Who needs reasons to meet one's friends over good food.

Swissotel Kolkata is the newest addition to the city's five star Luxury hotel scenario. As part of FRHI Hotels & Resorts It provides a striking mix of leisure and business  facilities. Being true to their parent company's mission Swiss Kolkata also is very conveniently located near the Airport, at Rajarhat, attached to a mall, restaurants and multiplex where access to business and shopping are right around the corner. 


A Royal afternoon with Master Chef Imtiaz Qureshi at 'Dum Pukht', ITC Sonar

10:35 PM

"Pukht means cooking in a Clean area..." he said in his Chaste Urdu. His voice low yet reached every corner of the room as the guests hanged on to his words in pin drop silence. "and Dum means to cook in its own flavour' he added with a grin. That's master chef Imtiaz Qureshi for you. The 85 year old living legend who weaves magic with taste, flavour and texture when it comes to Awadhi cuisine. Whi is also the man behind ITC Hotels’ celebrated Dum Pukht chain of restaurants.

The event was the press lunch at the fine dining Indian restaurant of ITC sonar, The Dum Pukht, where they introduced a set menu of five courses crafted by the master himself. This unique set called the 'Royal repast with Chef Qureshi' has a selection of shorba, kebab, qorma, salan, nehari, naan and meetha to sample from. 

This 'royal' menu is beautifully paired with Royal Salute 21 YO by whiskey expert Sandeep Arora. Its an effort by ITC to always showcase 'the Globe's best Indian cuisine and India's finest global cuisine'. being true to that effort this signature collection at Dum Pukht is truly a Nawabi Dawat experience (Royal feast). Here one is guided through the menu and each dish is presented with a piece of history and signature service rituals.The carving of the Raan or breaking of the Pardah (the seal of the biriyani pot) is a big part of this ethereal experience.

photo: Pritha Chakraborty

Meat n Poultry

Sunday Special Mutton Curry (Bengali Goat meat Curry)

11:47 AM

During the time of Bengali Nabobarsho (new year in April) I put up a question on my facebook page as what recipe they would like to see next, Bengali Mutton curry or Chanar Kofta (cottage cheese dumplings). To my surprise 90% of them voted for the vegetarian kofta. I posted the recipe and conveniently forgot about the mutton curry which was patient enough to  sit in my 'not yet' folder till last month. Then a reader gently reminded about it. But with the heat wave on I could not risk to post such a heavy and rich dish. Now with the Monsoon finally in our region... with a cooler weather and comparatively cool me can present to you the very famous, very Bengali Mangshor jhol or Mutton curry.

With its velvety gravy, succulent and juicy meat pieces and plump potatoes, Mangshor jhol never fails to lure Bengalis. There was a time when heart attacks, cholesterol, red meat were terms found only in text books and not something that we uttered everyday. Those days mutton curry used to enjoy it's cult status in Bengali livelihood. It was 'THE' dish which was must for each and every Bengali party. and in almost all Bengali families it was synonymous to Sundays.


Mango Haat at ITC Sonar in association with Murshidabad Heritage Development Society and iLead

12:51 PM

Murshidabad, the city in the western tract of Bengal (known as Rarh), on the bank of Bhagirathi has a  glorious past that with time shaped India's history. Its home to many medieval architecture, grand palaces, intricately worked tombs, exquisite gardens and some beautiful handicraft that is treasured by the whole nation. 

These are facts that are well known to everybody but what nobody knew till date is, The numerous rare, exotic and exquisite varieties of mangoes owned by this land, found no where else but in Murshidabad. The nawab's of Murshidabad were connoisseurs of mangoes and it is said that during the era of Akbar, Murshidabad's orchard had more than 200 varieties of mangoes. Though they are getting extincted day by day still the taste, texture, flavour of Murshidabdi mangoes are unmatched by that from the other parts of India. 

It was a beautiful initiative by Murshidabad Heritage Development society (MHDS), ILead and ITC sonar to bring these legacy in notice and host 'Mango Haat', an event to display some handpicked and exclusive varieties of the fabled mangoes from Murshidabad. The program was dedicated to the many varieties of mangoes from Murshidabad, right from the Nawab's garden to present day, with a noble aim 'to encourage the mango growers of the region to preserve this heritage and initiate market supply.' 

As Atul Bhalla the General Manager of ITC very well points out that -“In keep

with ITC Hotels philosophy of being “rooted to the soil”, we celebrate the
unique diversity of flavours through which Murshidabad mangoes delight
connoisseurs of the fruit. This is in keeping with our commitment to
sustainability and Responsible Luxury.”
Us the KFB table members were one of those lucky lots who got a chance to sample some rare flavours of the fruit.


'Vicky Goes Veg' The book launch with the chef himself at The Corner Courtyard

1:35 PM

I am totally not a cookbook person. The recipes in a book, accompanied by beautiful clicks always make me restless, forces me to lift my bottom and enter the kitchen to create something similar. That urge is so overwhelming that nowadays, I completely have stopped entering the cookbook aisle in any bookshop. So when Chef Vicky Ratnani's book launch invite came along I was a little skeptical as I was sure that the chef with his infectious energy will have the same effect on me...and I was not wrong.

If you have watched his shows on NDTV then you know his passion for food. He not only innovates, cooks, creates dishes but constantly talks about it...he mixes, stirs, chops, blends and do n number of things all at same time yet makes it look so easy. So on the designated day I set out to meet the chef and his first book that is making the round for sometime.

The program was hosted by The Corner Courtyard, A boutique hotel on Hazra road. The hotel, with its beautifully curated 100 year old Colonial style building, in itself is quite impressive and I have heard rave reviews of its food from my fellow bloggers in Kolkata. 

Before the function started We were given a copy of the book to go through and Boy did I like it. I had no intention to buy another cookbook but the book with its simple recipes, World class plating, styling and photography just stole my heart. The best part of this book is how it has incorporated local vegetables in World cuisine. i was not prepared to see a salad with cucumber ribbons and ivy gourd (kundru/kundli) or a pancake with raw mangoes. Truly delightful.

Meat n Poultry

Cheese Stuffed Chicken Nuggets

1:04 PM

All mothers with a school going kid must have a secret stash of food. Food that serve as quick snack for those 'any time' hunger pangs. Or for those sudden moments when you need something to boost their moods. It also is the best medicine to soothe a pain. And is just perfect to bribe them to do their chores or use as an incentive. so its always wise to have something hidden, out of the sight and reach of your kids.

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