Friday, December 14, 2012

Phulkopir Chire Ghonto - Cauliflower cooked with rice flakes

Little S hates cauliflower. As a result it is rarely cooked in my kitchen. After a long day at work,  I cannot usually think of cooking multiple courses, so it is usually my favourites which are sacrificed. But not today. S has gone for a Birthday party, and I am assured by the host who is a very dear friend that he will not come back by dinner time. So today I have the liberty of cooking and eating cauliflower to my heart’s content. There is one problem, though. There is no cauliflower in the refrigerator. :( But when there is opportunity, can the mere absence of the wonder flower deter me ? Of course no! What can stop me from going down and getting the coveted vegetable from the sweet Bangladeshi girl sitting with her vegetable-ware spread across the pavement  -  all in just two minutes? When will I take advantage of Mumbai being one big market place?
So today I cooked this wonderful flower. The original recipe is from a cookery book in Bengali written by Shatarupa, but over the years, I have modified it to suit my convenience...and D’s taste.

Cauliflower: 1 medium
Potato: 1(optional)
Whole cumin seeds: a pinch
Flattened rice flakes(chire/poha) : a handful fried/roasted. You can also use 1 tbsp soaked rice if you donot have chire.

Whole garam masala: 1 tsp
Bay leaves: 2
Green chillies: 2
Ginger : 1 inch, grated
Jeera powder: ½ tsp
Salt: to taste
Sugar: ½ tsp
Turmeric pdr: ½ tsp
Raisins: 1 tsp(optional)
Peanuts: 1 tbsp(optional)
Green peas: a handful
Tomato: 1, chopped
Ghee: optional

How to:
1.       Heat 1 tsp mustard oil.  Saute the cauliflower florets and potatoes lightly, with a little salt and turmeric. Remove. You can also boil the potato like I did instead of sauté-ing.
2.       Add a little more oil, and throw in the bay leaves, whole cumin seeds, and whole garam masala and the peanuts. If you are using soaked rice, add it too along. Mix and cover for apprx. 5 mins.
3.       Now, add the green peas , tomatoes, ginger, green chillies, Jeera powder, mix well. If you are adding flattened rice, add it now. Sprinkle a little water if it sticks to the wok. Cover for some more time.
4.       When the tomatoes are nicely cooked, Add sugar, the cauliflowers potatoes and raisins. Mix well and cover. Cook till the cauliflowers and potatoes are completely cooked and mushy.
5.       If you are adding ghee, add it just before turning off the flame.

Enjoy with hot rotis or dal-rice !

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Chaat from Mumbai Streets – Dahi Puri

Another chaat  item I make regularly at home is Dahi Puri. When S comes back home from school, its almost 7 in the evening, and he is famished. But not enough so that he will eat anything that I give him. Atleast not if it is bland. So I need to cook up something that needs little preparation ( since I too return the same time), is healthy and TASTY.  This Dahi puri is an item which S loves, and is not bland, and you can almost call it home-made.  

Panipuri puris: readymade or homemade.
Potatoes : 1 large, boiled and chopped/ mashed
Moong sprouts:  as it is or steamed for 5 mins with salt
Chutney: tomato/imli/you can also use tomato sauce
Onion: 1 chopped
Coriander leaves
Green chillies: finely chopped
Chaat masala/ roasted and ground cumin seeds
Bareek sev: optional
Rock salt
How to :
1.       Fill in the boiled potatoes and sprouts.
2.       Pour dahi generously
3.       Add the chutney
4.       Sprinkle the chopped onions, coriander, rock salt and barik sev.
Serve with a smile J and be ready for a big hug from the kid!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fish Fry

Good friend Z has been asking me the recipe for this typically  Bengali fish fry for a long time now. This s for you Z!

Fish fry


Fish fillets: bhetki, salmon, rawas
Ginger : ½ inch
Garlic: 5 pods
Onion: 1 small
Green chillies: 2
Lemon: 1
Bread crumbs: 1 cup
Egg: 1
Oil for frying

How to:

  1. Grind the ginger, garlic, onion, green chillies, into a paste.
  2. Marinade the fillets with the paste, juice of a lemon, and salt. Keep for atleast 20 mins. If you are keeping it for longer, keep in the refrigerator.
  3. Beat the egg with a pinch of salt in a bowl large enough to fit the fish fillets.
  4. Spread the bread crumbs in a plate.
  5. Now coat  the marinated fish fillets with the bread crumbs, dip it in the beaten egg and then again in the bread crumbs
  6. Heat oil in a frying pan or wok.
  7. Deep fry.

Serve with salad on the side.

Stuffed Capsicum with left over pulao

What do you do when you have had a party at home the previous night, you have little bit of every thing left, but your family will not have the same food again today ? Simple, you cook up some new dishes with the leftovers.

Stuffed Capsicum with left over rice dish

Fried rice/  any vegetable :  any quantity
Capsicum: any number enough for the left over

How to:
1.       Remove the top of the capsicum, clean the inside of the capsicum of seeds
2.       Fill with the leftover rice.
3.       Top with dry fruits
4.       Grill at 200 degrees for 7-10 mins.

Tip1: If you are cooking in a microwave oven, cook it in a micro+ convection for about 5 mins.

Tip2: If you are cooking in a pan, fry the capsicums, till they are semi-cooked. Remove from heat, cool and now fill the stuffings. Put it back on the pan, cover and cook till the capsicums are fully done.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Keema Sandwich

“Imagine you are one of the smartest employees in the office - all your peers acknowledge the fact. And you are reporting to two of the dumbest blokes on earth. How would you feel? That is exactly how your teenaged child feels.”
These are the observations of Dr. Don Fontennele – renowned child psychiatrist, not mine. And I am seeing a lot of truth in it already, even as my little devil is on the threshold of being ten years old. He challenges all my instructions with a defiant “Why?”. He confronts all my reprimands with “ You also did that yesterday, or the day before, or last week, or last year”…okay, you got it.  Are your experiences same as mine ?

Keema Sandwich:

What you will need:
Kheema Sandwich (makes 4)
What you will need:
Bread: 8 pieces, white/brown/ multigrain
Butter: 1 tsp (optional)
Chicken keema: 100 g
Onion: 1 large
Garlic pods: 2, chopped
Green chillies: 2
Cumin seeds: ½ a tsp
Salt: acc to taste
lemon juice: 1 tsp
chilli pdr: ½ tsp

How you will go about it:

  1. Marinade the keema in lemon juice, salt, chilli pdr. Heat oil in a wok
  2. Throw in the cumin seeds
  3. Throw in the chopped garlic
  4. After 30 secs, throw in the chopped onions,
  5. When the onion take a beautiful golden hue, and you can feel the lovely aroma of frying onion, add the marinated keema, green chillies & grated ginger.
  6. Add salt, Mix well, cover, and cook till the keema is done, and the water dries up.
  7. Remove, cool.
  8. Put a good quantity of filling in between two pieces of bread, and toast in a sandwich toaster.If you want you can butter the breads on the top, I don't, for me and hubby, but for S - yes.
Have it with tea or coffee. Makes an excellent breakfast, or even an evening snack.

Green Moong & mothbeans salad

“How to be a connoisseur of food and still remain trim” is a book my friend M should write. Her food is always so yummy, so wonderfully flavourful and so appetizing to look at. While I always secretly wished I too had a metabolism (read: figure) like her, I was shocked to find her in a fitness clinic, for reasons diametrically opposite to mine – to gain weight ! So that’s it. Nobody is happy with herself. The dawning of the eternal truth upon me made me feel a lot better, so much better that I immediately soaked some legumes to carry a nice salad tomorrow for work. Without Dressing, and yet mouth-watering.

Moong –Matka salad( Green Moong & mothbeans salad)

Moong sprouts
Matka(moth beans) sprouts
Fruits of your choice

How to:
1.      Steam or microwave moong and matka sprouts for 3-4 mins
2.      Mix it with grated ginger, rock salt,  chopped green chillies and any or all of the fruits like pomegranates, chopped apples, chopped grapes and chopped muskmelons.
3.      Sprinkle juice of half a lemon and chaat masala. Keep aside.

4.      Scrape 1 cucumber 1 capsicum and 1 tomato with a scraper.
5.      Now  line a salad dish with the scrapes of tomato, capsicum and cucumber. You can also add shredded lettuce leaves.
6.      Sprinkle some rock salt and lemon juice.  
A Add chopped fruits.

7.      Now pour the sprouts mixture on the bed prepared. Garnish with some chaat masala, coriander leaves and serve.
It’s yummy. The rock salt and lemon juice soak into the scrapes, and make such a heavenly combination. Its better had 10 mins after preparation, to allow the juices of all the ingredients flow into each other.

Amazing Grated Papaya Salad

Good friend M recently told me that she was leaving early that day as she wanted to accompany her younger sis to meet a guy whom her parents wanted her to meet (for marriage prospects). She told me that this was the 11th guy she was meeting and she has already rejected ten (!) guys before this. Thanks to the skewed sex ration in our country !! That set me thinking...what is it that these young girls are looking for, that they are not finding ?  What is it exactly, that girls are seeking while sizing up a guy for marriage prospects…what is it ?   I was too interested n finding out I decided to speak to all the PYT's I could get in touch with and asked them the most important question...what do you look for in a guy. Here is what I found:

  1. Dependability…it means literally in all senses. The guy has to be able to manage expenses in a situation where the girl decides to stay at home to look after kids, or whatever reasons. It also means he should be there for her whenever she is in distress, both emotional and physical…of course this will not include the distress when she cannot choose which shade of blue skirt  will go best  with her new green halter neck.
  2. Emotionally expressive…A woman hates it when the only emotions her guy displays are hunger, anger and frustration. Joy comes only in the event of Brazil winning a football match. There is another emotion very important to women, called love, and every girl wants to see her guy expressing love once in a while with a simple gesture like a kind word, a public praise, or an sms. Expressing love is not only PDA.
  3. Caring…small helps around the house, understanding when the stress levels are high and acting accordingly, are small manifestations of caring. You cannot show care, unless you really do…if you fake it, you’ll be caught.
  4. Presentability: Yes, the guy has to be someone she is not ashamed to introduce to her friends and colleagues. Which means you need to be polite, courteous, and if you have a sense of humor-nothing like it ! It also  means that if your weighing scale tips more towards the right, do something NOW !

Today’s dish is healthy, tasty, and can be readied in a jiffy.  AND  if the way to your girl’s heart is through her stomach, it might be of help. Girls, this may work other way round too…if the guy has really impressed you, now it might as well be your turnJ

Grated papaya salad:
Green papaya: 1 small
Tomato: 1
Green chilly: 1
Rock salt: pinch
Tamarind chutney: 1 tsp (optional)
Pomegranate: 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds: ½ tsp, roasted, ground
Garlic: 1 pod, chopped
Herbs: basil, coriander leaves, or acc to choice
Peanuts: 6-8, roasted
How to:
  1. Grate raw papaya.
  2. Mix with rock salt, imli chutney, chopped green chillies, pomegranates, chopped tomatoes, roasted cumin seeds, chopped garlic and dried basil leaves.
  3. Garnish with coriander leaves and roasted peanuts.

There you are! Guilt free indulgence is readyJ

Black Chana Chaat

Little S was not like this. Infact he was completely opposite of what he is now. Till the age of 6 he ate only healthy food. My mom-in-law was not very happy about this habit of palate for different types of food, so that he doesn’t have difficulty with food when he grows up and leaves home. She tried to feed him on bits of samosa, and was aghast that he just refused after the first bite ! My boss said children not liking potato chips have some serious problem, I should consult a doctor !
I did not need to. He soon started behaving normal, much to the relief of everyone, and today he is the king of junk food….and in the process of being so, has made me the queen of home made junk food. Sneaking in bits and pieces of good health in his favorite snacks…..

Black chana chaat:

The day  after the day I make pani puri’s  is usually fixed for a chaat – be it aaloo, or moong or chana. To use up the broken pani puri crumbs left in the packet, after enjoying pani puris the previous day.  

You will need:
Black chana: 1/2 cupful(soaked overnight and boiled)
Onion: 1 medium, chopped
Ginger: julienned, 1 small tsp.
Tomato: 1 chopped
Green chillies : 1 chopped( for adults, I would recommend 2)
Oil: 1 tsp (optional)
Jeera: 1 pinch (optional)
Rock salt/ table salt/ masala namak: according to taste
Chaat Masala: ½ tsp(optional)
Amchur powder/ lemon juice
Coriander leaves
pani puri crumbs

How to:
  1. Heat oil in a wok.
  2. Throw in the cumin seeds
  3. And the boiled chana. Toss for 2 mins, on high heat and remove.
  4. Garnish the chana with copped onion, tomatoes, green chillies, amchur pdr, Coriander leaves and finally the pani puri crumbs.
  5. Squeeze the juice of ½ a lemon. Serve.

You can omit the 1st 3 steps, and start directly from 4th, if you want to avoid oil. Trust me it tastes great too !  It’s very healthy, low in calories, and yummy.

Burger patties...healthy n yummy

Women are essentially multi-taskers. I will even go to the extent of calling it Compulsive Multi-tasking Disorder (CMD) that most women suffer from.  Women who might not even be familiar with the term, do so with effortless elan.
I chanced to come across this rather remarkable lady in the local train the other day.  While most of us manage one other task while talking on phone, here she was sitting on the floor near the door doing 5 things all at once -
  1. Selling hair clips,
  2. Breast-feeding a tiny baby in her arms
  3. Cleaning fenugreek leaves ( dinner preparations, probably)
  4.  Talking on her cell-phone(business for next day), and of course
  5. Travelling in a crowded Mumbai local !

It’s a pity such wonderfully efficient women expend their talent just making the two ends meet !
Coming back to today’s recipe, it’s about burger cutlets. My S just loves burgers, as I’m sure the lovely kids at your home do too. Osho tells that if you want to wean your kid of something, give him so much of it that he simply gets bored of it. Voila ! Now to give him too much of burger would mean I would have to find a healthier burger…I can’t just let him have the regular version…so I decided to be a spoilsport, as always.
  1. I replaced the burger bun with brown bread.
  2. I made the patty at home
  3. Increased the amount of greens in it.
S has given up on eating M burgers since. He is yet to give up on the home made ones…however I’m not the one to lose hope J
I prepare large number of cutlets on weekends, and freeze them. Once your patty is ready, preparing a burger is a matter of 5 mins.

Burger Patties:
You will need:
Onion : 2 large
Garlic: 6 cloves
Green chillies: 2 ( add more if you want it hot)
Ginger: grated, ½ tsp
Potato: 1 boiled
Carrots: 2
Beetroot: 1
Cauliflower: 4/5 florets
Capsicum: 1
French beans: 10-12
Green peas: a handful
Cumin seeds : toasted and ground
Oil: 1 tbsp:
Salt : to taste
Bread crumbs: 1 cupful
The above quantity will be enough for about 10 cutlets.
How to:

  1. Grate all veggies and keep aside.
  2. Heat oil.
  3. Add chopped garlic
  4. When garlic is slightly browned add the onions.
  5. When the onion is translucent, add all the remaining vegetables, salt, ginger, mix well and cover.
  6. Remove cover occasionally and stir.
  7. Towards, the end, remove cover, to allow the moisture to escape. Since the veggies are grated, they will take not more than 10 mins to cook
  8. Remove from heat, allow it to cool.
  9. After it has cooled, mix it with boiled and mashed potato, shape the cutlets,
  10. Roll them in breadcrumbs
At this point your patties are ready to be stored in the freezer. You can safely store them for 10 day.
  1. Before consumption, prepare a batter of egg + salt, or cornflour+ milk+ salt.
  2. Dip your patty in the batter, roll them in another round of breadcrumbs, and shallow fry them. You can also deep fry them, if you want to, and if you are not watching the calories.

13.Do what you want with the patties. Have them just like that with a hot cup of chai, place them in the middle of buns, cheese slices and salads,  to make a burger. Or have it on the side with your plate of salad to make it more palatable J

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cheese toast...for those who donot need to watch their weight

 Tomorrow, I promised to myself. Tomorrow I can set myself a goal of losing half-a Kg ever week, tomorrow I can dial that Institute which promises to “Shed 5 Kgs in 5 weeks or else your money back”. Tomorrow I can go ahead and pretend that Beetroot raita is the best tasting food in the world, second only to celery chutney. For now, I want to immerse myself into the celestial bliss called Cheese Toast.

Cheese toast

Bread pieces: 2 (I use whole wheat bread, you can use any)
Garlic : 6 cloves grated
Butter : 1 tsp
Mozzarella cheese shavings: As much as you want
Chilli flakes

You can also sprinkle basil & thyme…I donot.

How To:

  1. Butter the bread slices.
  2. Grate garlic on the slices
  3. Grate mozzarella cheese on them.
  4. Sprinkle chilli flakes and oregano.
  5. Line your baking tray with kitchen tissue (to prevent the toast from getting soggy underneath)
  6. Grill on Pizza mode for 10 mins.

You’re done !!

Hubby loves this with his evening chai J

You can also make this in a tawa. No need of adding the tissue underneath.  Just keep the tawa covered. Your toast is done when the cheese has melted. It should take around 5 mins.

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