Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Taking a Break...

Friends of this blogging world, I'll be enjoying few days of a much needed computer, no internet, few days of total relaxation.

I’ll miss you all and your wonderful recipes.

Will be back by the first week of July.

Till then...Happy blogging to all and I know there’ll be a lot to read once I come back.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Aloo Potol-er Dalna – Curried Potatoes and Parwal

Potol is a summer vegetable. Moving away from this Bengali name of the vegetable, you can know it as Parwal in Hindi and Pointed Gourd in English. Aloo Potol-er dalna is a common dish in our home and especially in most Bengali families. Cook it the simplest way or use more spices...up to you.

I always like to cook my curries in a simple way...mainly without onion and garlic. Mrs. B was surprised when I told her I don’t add onion and garlic in cooking this. She said, “Then how will the curry taste? And what about the gravy, do you use lots of tamatar?

I gave her a smile and said, “No tomatoes but simple everyday spices and all the juices and flavours mix together to give out the taste”.

“So you’ll cook and let me get the taste”.

“Of course, what’s the big deal about it?

She tasted the curry and liked it and said, “It tastes really good”.

Here comes my simple recipe.

All that is required:

Parwal: ½ kg

Aloo (potatoes): 4

Tej patta (bay leaves): 3-4

Garam Masala (home-made): ½ tsp

Jeera powder: 1 tsp

Dhania powder: ½ tsp

Lal mirch (red chilli) powder: ½ tsp

Haldi powder: 1 tsp

Salt to taste

Sugar: As to your taste. Add ½ tsp if you don’t like to for the sugar adds colour to the curry and balances the taste with simple spices.

Cooking oil

                         The Potol or Parwal

Working time:

Now peel the skin of the potol and cut it into half. I don’t peel off all the skin. See in the picture.

Peel the potatoes and make 8 pieces from each one.

Wash the vegetables and set aside.

Put the dhania, jeera, lal mirch and haldi powder in a small bowl and soak it in some water.

Cooking Period:

Heat oil in a kadhai and as the smoke start rising put in the potol (parwal) pieces and fry till it starts changing colour. Don’t over fry. Take them out. The oil will take a black colour. Don’t throw it away.

Tip in the bay leaves and then the potatoes in the remaining oil. Stir occasionally as the frying process goes on for 4-5 minutes.

Now add the soaked spices and stir. Couple of minutes into this course of action, add the salt and sugar. The cooking process goes on, sometime on low flame and for a time on high flame. Cook till the oil starts separating from the masala. Add the fried parwal stir for a couple of minutes and then add sufficient water, sufficient for the type of gravy you want, and cook till the potatoes and parwal is cooked to be served. Add the garam masala, mix it well in the curry and pour into the serving bowl.

Serve with hot rice along with some dal. It can also be served with roti, paratha or luchi (puris).
Next the taste will speak.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Green Mango Panna – Simply Summer Comfort

On hot summer days its lots of liquid intake that gives relief and comfort to thirst. So many comfort drinks can be made at home. With lots of green mangoes in this season, mango treats are loved and relished by many...almost every Indian will say, “I love mangoes”.

Green mangoes are rich in vitamin C. In summer whenever Ma made this simple drink she spoke about its power: “This is good to fight against heat stroke and how easily it takes away the tiredness and fatigue created by the heat”...true it is...refreshing my thoughts...

Talking about this it reminds me of the lemonade and soda making factory which was just two houses down the row of buildings on the opposite side of the road of our house. When she added that small quantity of lemonade to this sherbet, minuscule bubbles started coming up and these exploded, spreading the thinnest spray that was born from the bursting bubbles. While some enjoyed the taste with lemonade, it was never to my liking. I loved to see the lemonade coming out of the mouth of the glass, filling up the glass and some crushed ice going into it, making me feel happy as I drank to the last drop. Whenever elders felt uneasy after eating a heavy lunch, they drank a bottle of soda and believe me they belched soon after saying, “Aah! ki aaram (what a relief!)", the relief from the discomfort could well be read on their face.

For this comfort drink all that is needed for 2 glasses of Aam Panna:

Green mango: 1

Sugar: 3 tbsp (I added but you can adjust as to your taste)

Salt: It should be to your taste

Ice cubes or only cold water (as you prefer)

Few drops of ginger juice (if you want the ginger flavour) and a pinch of pepper powder for the spicy touch.

As I said earlier you can add some lemonade, about 1 tbsp for that extra (large) tangy taste, I didn’t.

Now it is time to put in your labour to make this soft drink.

Wash the mango, peel and cut into small pieces discarding the seed. Place the mango pieces in some water in a pan and leave it on the burning stove to cook till it is soft. Let it cool.It is time to add the sugar and salt to the cooked mango and bring together in a blender. Now add lemonade (optional), ginger juice, pepper powder and mix well.

Pour this into two glasses, add chilled water and mix well again. Add some ice cubes before serving.

Beat your heat with this Panna and get some relief from the heat and exhaustion.

Sending this to Nithu's Sizzling Summer Contest

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Thanks Madhu for sharing the Awards

Madhu of Sweet, Spicy and Sour has shared these awards with me. Madhu, really sorry for putting them up late, there was some problem at my end with ‘Copy and Paste’ from there (your blogspot) to here (my blogging space). Now I’ve done it!!!

Thanks so much dear for remembering me and making me happy with this beautiful sharing.

 a picture from my photo album

Awards and Thanks to Suja

Thank you Suja of Kitchen Corner-Try It for passing on these Awards to me. It’s a great pleasure to receive nice of you to think about me.

Thank You

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Aloo-r Chop or say Potato Chops – Something Different with Muri Crumbs

Aloo (potatoes) is liked by every one – Big or Small, Young or Old – all love the taste of potatoes. At times when there are totally no vegetables at home except a few potatoes lying in the basket, nothing to worry. That was what happened with me the other day. With some potatoes at home I was in no mood to cook neither Aloo- dum nor Aloo posto (potatoes cooked with poppy seeds) and I also thought only Aloo bhate (mashed boiled potatoes spiced up with few drops of mustard oil, chopped onions and chopped green coriander) would not solve my problem.

I cooked Dal, Bhat (rice), Aamer chutney (mango chutney), Aloo bhate and then made up my mind to make some Aloo chops, and serve them hot and sizzling for lunch-time.

With my domestic help ‘Absent without Information’, I was facing Trouble and Problem who were trying to make life pathetic for me. I knew both Trouble and Problem were glad to make my life a Hell. I could have easily ordered some food from our neighbourhood Restaurant. But I was not at all willing to submit before the TWO (Trouble and Problem) trouble-makers of my life.

I said, ‘Get, Set and Go’, and then everything began to fall into place. By lunch-time food was ready...a simple meal but everyone enjoyed the home-made food.

I boiled 5 big size potatoes. After peeling off the skin, mashed them using my hand and fingers...that’s how I like to do in my kitchen. Kept some mashed potatoes for Aloo-bhate. With the rest of the mashed potatoes I began working with it.

To the mashed potatoes added...

½ tsp Haldi and ¼ tsp red chilli powder. Then added the salt to taste and some sugar (sugar is optional). Mixed all the spices with the mashed potatoes and kept it for the next process.

Heated 1 tbsp oil in a wok. Put in the mashed potatoes taking care that the potatoes got cooked correctly to get the pinkish touch. Switched off the flame and transferred the contents onto a plate to let it cool.

Once it cooled down, broke up into small quantities that could fit into a fist and slowly gave the chops its final shape.

In the meantime placed my regular frying kadhai (I use an iron kadhai for deep frying as the heat is equally distributed in it) and poured enough refined groundnut oil to deep fry the chops. Placed it on slow burning fire for the oil to warm up slowly.

I had no bread crumbs. My Ma never panicked when she didn’t have bread crumbs. There was always a stock of Muri (puffed rice or murmure) at home. She made a coarse powder of the Muri as a bread crumb substitute. So I took some Muri and the dry grinder did the rest of the work. Spread my coarse Muri-crumb on a plate.

Subsequently made a thin batter of maida and water. You can use a thin besan (chick pea flour) batter, I used maida as my besan jar was empty. Dipped in the aloo chops one by one into the maida batter and then rolled it over the Muri-crumbs and sent them into the oil to come out brown and crunchy.

Once it was done, all of us enjoyed our meal.

These chops can also be served as a tea-time snack...serve with tomato sauce or some home-made chutney. You can also relish this with Tel-muri. For Tel-muri, take some puffed rice (Muri) in a bowl. To this add few drops of mustard oil and salt (to taste), some finely chopped onion, mix well and enjoy the Muri Feast...bite into the chop along with every fill of muri that goes into the mouth.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pui Shaag - er Chorchori

Pui Shaag - er Chochori is a typical Bengali dish. Chorchori in Bengali - a medley of vegetables, cooked over low heat and not very spicy.

The Botanical name of Pui Shaag is Basella alba. It is also known as Malabar spinach, Red vine spinach, Creeping spinach, etc. This creeping or climbing spinach grows very fast, can also be grown in a flowering pot at home.

                                   Picture of Pui Shaag

My pui shag chorchori is a very simple recipe...can be cooked easily.

Pui shaag – 1 kg. The leaves need to be broken from the soft stem and chopped into small pieces. Cut the stem into 1 ½ length.

Kumro (pumpkin) cubed – 2 cups

Potatoes – 2, peeled and cubed

Eggplant (optional) – 1, cut into cubes

Green chillies – 2-3 slit in the middle

Mustard seeds – 1 tbsp and Poppy seeds – 1 tsp, made into a paste (This dish can also be cooked without adding mustard and poppy seed paste).

Panch phoron – 1 ½ tsp

Haldi and red chilli powder

Sugar (optional) – as per taste. The red fresh pumpkin adds sweetness.


Mustard oil – 1 tbsp

Heat oil in a pot or wok and as soon as smoke comes up add the panch phoron and as the crackling sound comes up add the green chillies. One minute and then all the vegetables along with the pui shaag goes in. Stir and cover. Cook for a couple of minutes. Next goes in the haldi and chilli powder soon followed by salt and sugar. Cover the pot and cook over low flame. The shaag and the vegetables releases water and the whole medley begins to cook in the pot...slowly.

Don’t let the pot go unattended. Open the lid and stir it from time to time. Before all the water dries up add the mustard and poppy seed paste and cook for another 3-4 minutes over high flame till the whole thing looks mushy.

Transfer into a serving bowl...serve, eat and get the taste of it.

The dish I’ve cooked is totally vegetarian. You can also add chingri (small size prawns) and fish head to this Chorchori to serve as a non-veg dish.

To add the prawns, first clean and devein the chingri, fry and keep it. For the fish head, the hilsa fish head adds a distinct Ilish (hilsa) flavour. But you can also add the Rohu fish head and even others. Clean the fish head, fry till it looks dark and crispy. The prawns can be added 2-3 minutes before the gas is switched off. For the fried fish head, break into small pieces before adding to the chorchori.