Achari Aloo

How is Winter treating you? News Flash showed it's snowing in some parts of India and the places are attracting lot of tourists. However, most of the parents of school going kids are busy with their kids on-going exam, can't enjoy vacation at this moment. This year winter is consistent in Bangalore it's not too hot or too cold within a short period of time. We are taking the fun of Winter days with varieties of food prepared from winter goodies. 


Achari Aloo Recipe with babby potatoes

Apart from peas, carrots and other fresh vegetables, winter also gives us baby potatoes and potatoes. Potatoes are grown during winter months and later stored in the cold storage as the stock for the whole year. While baby potatoes are available during this time of the year. I remember my maternal grandmother was fond of these baby potatoes and she used to prepare stir fry with these baby potatoes.

In Bengali, we call 'kucho aloo' to these baby potatoes. Normally when dida used to make the stir fry she never used to peel the potatoes. There are two-three reasons behind this. First of all she used to prepare in a big batch so peeling was avoid to save time. Secondly, new potatoes have very thin skin and difficulty in peeling. If you peel the potatoes and over cook them, stir fry will be mushy. Lastly, stir fried baby potatoes were paired with a cup of hot tea in the evening. While peeling and eating is a kind of fun and time pass with all your family members. Even if you don't peel and chew the peel you can get the mild sweetness which gives a different flavour and can take out the remaining part. 

These baby potatoes are good for aloo dum too. Normally, I prepare Aloo Dum or baby potato stir fry using baby potatoes. This time I tried making achari aloo which also an easy and tasty dish. Achari aloo goes very well with roti, naan or paratha. I have not used onion or garlic here. However, if you want can use onion to make thicker gravy. You can also make achari aloo as a vegetarian starter and people will enjoy it. This is a good recipe for kitty parties or kids parties.

In Northern part of India, people prepare pickles with winter vegetables and enjoy through out the year. Earlier winter vegetables were only available during winters and excess produce of winter vegetables were converted to pickle or achar and relished for the remaining year. However, advanced techniques in Agriculture has changed the scenario and we get all the vegetable through out the year. But Winter produces taste best at their own season. People still follow the tradition of making achar. So I thought why not give these baby potatoes an achari make over. 

I used all types of spices including fennel, fenugreek, nigella, mustard, cumin,used for the preparation of pickle to give the aroma and the taste of the pickle. You should use mustard oil to cook this dish as the main ingredient of pickle is mustard oil. The oil content of this dish is bit excess otherwise it won't taste like an achar. I have used dry mango powder and curd for the tanginess of the pickle. Achari aloo is a dish which has the right balance of sweet, sour and spice just like the pickle. This is a very easy and tasty dish and learn here how to make achari aloo or achari alu.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Serving: 2

Achari Aloo


Ingredients


Baby Potatoes - 400 gms

Asafoetida - 1/4 teaspoon
Dry Red Chilli - 1
Hung Curd - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Cumin Seeds - ½ teaspoon
Nigella/Onion Seeds - ½ teaspoon
Mustard Seeds - ½ teaspoon
Fenugreek Seeds Powder - ½ teaspoon
Fennel Seeds Powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - ½ teaspoon
Green chilli - 2 to 3 finely chopped
Ginger Paste -2 teaspoon
Coriander Powder - 1 teaspoon
Red Chilli Powder - ¼ teaspoon
Aamchur(Dry Mango) Powder - ½ teaspoon
Garam Masala Powder- ½ teaspoon
Mustard Oil - 1/2 cup

Procedure


1. Wash the potatoes and peel them. Later put them in pressure cooker and allow 1 to 2 whistles. 

2. Once the pressure releases, drain the water. 
3. Now heat oil in a pan and fry the boiled potatoes with turmeric powder and salt. Take them out and keep aside. 
4. In the same oil add a pinch of asafoetida (hing) followed by dry red chilli, cumin seeds, nigella seeds and mustard seeds. 
5. Once they started spattering, add ginger paste and fenugreek seeds powder, fennel seeds powder, turmeric powder. Mix them well and add fried potatoes. 
6. Next add red chilli powder, dry mango powder, chopped green chilli and coriander powder. 
7. Once the masalas are well cooked, beat the curd adding garam masala powder and add into the pan. 
8. Cover the pan and reduce the flame. 
9. Adjust the salt and when gravy becomes dry  you can switch off gas and garnish with fresh coriander leaves. 


Achari Aloo Recipe using baby potatoes



Ranga Alur Puli Pithe

Ranga alur puli or sweet potato dumpling stuffed with coconut khoya filling and dunk into sugar syrup is a traditional recipe from bong's kitchen. Nowadays sweet potatoes are available almost throughout the year however, earlier it was available only during winter days. Hence Ranga alur puli was also prepared during Winter days mostly during pithe puli utsav.



Ranga alur bhaja pithe is also prepared during this time. There are different ways to prepare it. The outer shell of ranga alur puli or pithe contains ranga alu or sweet potato. Outer shell of bhaja pithe also contains yellow moong dal which I prepared earlier. You can view the recipe of ranga alur bhaja pithe here. Recently I prepared the ranga alur puli. The outer shell of the puli is made of ranga alu and all purpose flour or maida. Both ingredients gives a wonderful texture and taste to the outer shell. Sweetness of ranga alu makes the shell slightly sweet in taste no need of adding sugar, this is natural sweetness.

Let's talk about the stuffing now. Normally it is stuffed with coconut khoya filling which gives Jamun (Gulab Jamun) like taste when dunk in sugar syrup. In bhaja pithe you can give the similar filling or you can give coconut jaggery filling.


Ranga Alur Bhaja Pithe before dropping in sugar syrup

The recipe of ranga alur puli I have learnt from my mother. I remember my grandmother used to prepare ranga alur puli, ranga alur pantua and later the legacy is passed to my mother followed by me. This kind of traditional recipes are almost going to be extinct as they are time consuming. I would suggest you can prepare the filling couple of days before then the whole process you can do quickly and enjoy this traditional sweet during winter.

Ranga alur puli taste the best when you serve it with warm sugar syrup. If you prepare the sugar syrup before hand it might become cold so when you fry the dumplings and about to dunk them in syrup just warm up the syrup.  If you wish you can store in the refrigerator and next you can warm up and have them however I would suggest to eat them fresh. After frying the pulis you can also enjoy them as bhaja pithe if you don't dunk them in sugar syrup. Many people use nolen gur syrup (date palm jaggery) to dunk the dumplings instead of sugar syrup.

Check out the recipe here and prepare ranga alur puli this Sankranti. Wish all my readers Happy Poush/Makar Sankranti.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 3 hrs
Yields: 16 approx


Ranga Alur Puli Pithe

Ingredients

For the Shell
Ranga alu/ Sweet Potato - 300 gms (Approx)
Maida/ All Purpose Flour - 1/2 cup (use as required)

For the Stuffing

Khoya - 50 gms, grated
Coconut - scrapped, 11/2 to 2 cups
Milk - 11/2 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup

For the Syrup

Sugar - 2/3 cup
Water - 2 cups

Refined Oil for deep frying - 2 to 3 cups

Procedure

1. Wash the sweet potatoes and peel them. Cut into pieces and boil them in a pressure cooker 2 whistle or until they are soft and tender. However, sweet potatoes should not be overcooked.
2. After slightly cooling down, knead the sweet potato pieces when they are slightly warm. While kneading them if you get any uncooked pieces, discard them.
3. Now add flour to it little by little and make a smooth dough.
4. Cover the dough and keep it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
5. On the other hand, take scrap coconut in a blender and add 2 tablespoon of milk and make a smooth paste.
6. Heat remaining milk in a pan, once the quantity of the milk is reduced 3/4 th add the coconut paste and stir continuously under slow flame.
7. After 5 to 7 minutes, add the grated khoya and mix it.
8. Finally add sugar and dissolve it properly and allow the mixture to let dry completely. Keep aside.
9. In a wok take sugar and water  to prepare sugar syrup. Boil it for few minutes to make the syrup slightly thick.
10. Now take out the dough from the fridge and take a small portion (similar to big marble) and make a round shape with your greased palm.
11. Put little stuffing in the centre and seal the edges giving a shape of semi circle or crescent.
12. Follow the similar procedure for the remaining dough.
13. Heat oil in a wok and deep fry those stuffed sweet potato dumplings until they are light reddish brown in colour. Fry all the sides carefully under low flame.
14. Now take out the fried dumplings from the oil and drop them into the warm sugar syrup.
15. Allow them to soak the sugar syrup for some time (say 5 to 10 minutes) and serve either hot or cold.


Masala Makhana or Spicy Foxnuts

Spicy Foxnuts or as we call it masala makhana is a quick snacks which you can pair with your evening cup of tea or coffee. After indulging for a month of cakes, cookies and high calorie food now you may want to put a control on your indulgence. Does that mean you have to have blunt and tasteless food? Because if you want to have some chatpata snacks, most of them are deep fried stuffs which is completely 'no-no' at this stage. Here I am sharing a recipe of low calorie snack, masala makhana or spicy foxnuts which are yummy bites coated with spices.



What is fox nuts or makhana?

Foxnuts or makhana are louts flower seeds availed from the water plant named Euryale ferox. It is also known as phool makhana, gorgon nuts and lotus seeds.

Does fox nuts have health benefits?

Foxnuts contain high amount of magnesium and less amount of sodium. Therefore, it is good for heart diseases and obesity. Foxnuts are rich in fibre and helps in bowel movement and improves constipation and indigestion. It is good for weight loss as it is very low in calorie. Foxnuts re packed with antioxidants helps to manage early aging process and stress.

Are foxnuts gluten free?

Yes foxnuts or makhanas are gluten-free, vegan, cholesterol-free, protein rich and has high content carbohydrate.

How to use foxnuts?

In India, foxnuts or makhanas are used to make different types of food by Hindu community during Navaratri. Foxnuts are used for making different sweet and savoury recipes. These are very good option for snacks during your 4 pm hunger pangs.

Until few years back I had no clue about foxnuts or phool makhana. It was a thing about which I read in biology books but never thought I of cooking or eating. Actually, in Bengal we don't do fasting during Navaratri hence we were not aware about foxnuts. However, it is not the same case now due to the knowledge sharing in various media people know about foxnuts and included them in their diets.

I first had makhana as a prasadam given in a temple and I really liked the taste of it. Recently when I purchased a batch of makhana I thought of preparing some snack option and I created Masala Makhana or Spicy Foxnuts. After I tasted the first one I was totally hooked to it and even my family members also liked it very much. I have decided to experiment with various flavours in coming future.

Here I am sharing the easy and quick recipe of masala foxnuts which you can prepare anytime when you are craving for. This is a recipe which you can cook under 15 minutes or even lesser than that if you are making a small batch. You can carry them to your office in a small container and munch during your hunger pangs. Even you can pack them to your kiddos snack box to keep them away from the junk foods. Nowadays you get Readymade makhana snacks available in the market however I would suggest you to make your own as it is completely hassle free and you can make flavours of your own choice.



Preparation time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 10 mins
Servings: 6

Masala Makhana or Spicy Foxnuts
Ingredients

Makhana / Foxnuts - 3 cups
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Chaat Masala Powder - 1 teaspoon
Ghee - 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Refined Oil - 2 teaspoon

Procedure

1. Heat a pan or wok and dry roast the phool makhanas or foxnuts for 5 to 8 minutes until they turn crunchy and makes crisp sound when you bite them. The process should be carried out under low flame. Keep them aside.
2. Now heat ghee and oil together and add all the spices and salt together and mix them quickly. Turn off the gas.
3. Immediately transfer the roasted makhanas into the pan and stir well to coat each makhana with spices. You have to do this process real quick otherwise the spices will be coating only the makhanas came in contact with it.
4. Serve them or cool them and store in a airtight container for a week or so.

Dudh Pithe/ Dudh Puli

Poush Sankranti is denoted as the last day of the Bengali month Poush and it is like Makar Sankranti festival. Poush sankranti is also known as Poush parbon. It is celebrated as a harvest festival with sweet and savoury dishes made out of rice flour and date palm jaggery. We also call it as Pithe Parob. I have seen both my grandmothers (paternal and maternal) making Pithe Pulis on this auspicious occasion.
 My paternal grandmother was culinary genius and she used prepare a wide varieties of pitha pulis. Though my memories are very fade (as she left us for peace heaven when I was in school) but I could remember I used sit with grandma and keep on chatting like a chatter box and used to eat stuffing of coconut jaggery little by little. She used to make dal pithe, bhapa pithe, rangalur pithe, Gokul pithe, patishapta and many more.

My maternal grandmother used to prepare dudh puli predominantly and bhaja pithe on the next day with the left over bhapa pithe. I also remember, on the night of Poush Sankranti Dida used to chant some songs in front of Goddess Lakshmi. It is called Poush daka.


Happy Poush Sankranti





Dudh Pithe or Dudh Puli is a traditional recipe especially prepared during Sankranti which is known as Poush Parbon. Dudh pithe is nothing but rice dumpling with coconut & jaggery stuffing and dipped in reduced milk (kheer). These dumplings are made in crescent shape. In my childhood, whenever I tried making them, never did justice with their shape :(. Not only childhood, even after my marriage I could not do justice with their shape. However, Avijit (Read My Husband) used give a proper shape :P. Last 2 - 3 years I am really doing good, that's why I can say practice makes a person perfect! Instead of coconut, I prefer the stuffing of Makha Sandesh. You can also stuff them with store bought sondesh/kalakand if you are running out of time.

You can prepare the stuffing a day before and keep it in the refrigerator and use it on the next day to make the whole process less time consuming and hassle free. Earlier these occasions are celebrated in joint families and each member used to contribute so work was divided but today's nuclear family does not have any help so we have found our own way of doing to save our tradition and culture. 

Dudh Pithe/ Dudh Puli

Ingredients
For Stuffing
Chena (Homemade Cottage Cheese) - 300 gms
Date Palm Jaggery - 1/2 cup (adjust the sweet according to your taste buds)

For Coating

Rice Flour - 400 gms
Salt to taste
Hot Water as required

For Kheer

Milk - 1 litre 250 ml
Date Palm Jaggery - 11/2 cup

Procedure


1. Take chena  (chena should not contain water) and jaggery together in a vessel and knead properly for 5 minutes. 
2. Now heat this on gas flame and stir continuously for 5 minutes. Mixture will leave water, when 90% of water dries up, switch off gas and allow it to cool.
3. Mix rice flour and salt together. Now add hot water as required to make a soft and smooth dough.  Here cold water will not work. 
4. After kneading the dough cover it with a damp cloth. Now take marble size dough, press the middle of it and make a pocket using your fingers. Stuff it with makha sandesh or coconut filling (See Ranga Alur Bhaja Pithe). Fold it like a half moon. 
5. Similarly, follow the procedure for the remaining dough. While making these dumpling you should cover the dough and the prepared dumplings with a damp cloth to avoid cracks on the outer shell.




6. Now heat the milk and reduce it to almost half the quantity. Add the dumplings and boil it for 10 minutes or until the pithas are cooked. Next add date palm jaggery and a pinch of salt. Boil it for another 5 to 7 minutes. Serve it hot and next day you can serve cold too.  




Bring #SmartHomeRevolution and Ease Your Life




Last visit to my native town was fruitful and satisfying. It feels so good to sit and chat with your parents and discuss old and modern life, childhood memories and many more things. One such fine evening I was chatting with my beloved mother and I found that mother was a bit anxious. When I asked what is the matter, she immediately started telling that my tech savvy father is planning some new gadgets at home. Now let me give you a clear picture in detail. My mother is technophobic person and who is not very comfortable using any gadgets. Even a smart phone makes her worrisome. On the other hand, my father is totally opposite. At the age of 71 he is ready to learn every new technology and want to make them part of his daily life.
The conversation between me and my mother started like this...

A Picture from our last Kerala Trip (Ma, Baba, Me & Gurguri)

'Why do we need smart devices in our lives? We are quite happy in our own space at this age. I don't see any need of smart device to spoil the peace of our live".

I understood my mother is boiling like hot lava, so now forcing to buy new things won't work. Now only thing if I explain her well and change her perspective. I thought it would be best to make her understand if I give her examples.

I said ' Ma you remember those days when there was no telephone and then landline telephone came to our home for the first time.'

Ma said 'Yes how can I forget that day. Telephone was one good thing that happened to our life. I could talk to my parents and when you father used to travel so far, at least he used STD booths to call and inform that he is coming late. Later when you went to hostel and your sis got married we could talk to you. Otherwise if we would have waited for the letters, my blood pressure would have been very high by now.'

I was thinking so many memories and again came back to the point and said 'yes you are right. But sometimes it was difficult to get my hostel lines and baba (I call my father) used to try the line for hours. That was really pathetic! Isn't it?'

Ma said ' Oh yes! Sometimes it was difficult to inform urgent news to you and good that at the last year of college you already had a mobile. But it was okay till simple mobile and smart phone came into picture and making all problems.'

I said ' Wait! wait! wait!  Ma.. Nothing like that. You know it helps me and many other including you in different way. Ma, you both are so far from us and yearly visit doesn't satisfy our soul and through smart phone we do video calling and can see you. You can see your grand daughters so frequently. Isn't that true? Google map! How can I not mention that...I totally treasure it. Most importantly banking, buying, selling and many other things in your finger tips. Isn't it? What would you say now.'

Ma said ' yeah... I agree with you."

By that time my father came into our discussion and mother wanted to change the topic.

Ma said ' Let's talk about you. We could not come to your place for long vacation because so urgent house renovation. So how is your work and how are you managing home and work together? Don't forget to take care of your health, you know the saying 'Health is wealth'.

I replied 'Every thing is going very smooth Ma which I ever imagined. Thanks to the evolution of technology.'

Ma questioned ' Now from where technology came in to picture behind your peaceful life?'

Baba was smiling.

I calmly said 'Smart devices are the key behind my smart home solution.' I pointed towards my Smart wearable and said ' This watch takes care of my health. It helps to track my activity and fitness. It helps to monitor heart rate, calorie and even sleep monitoring.'

smart watch Stock Photo - 42121442

Ma said 'Interesting! tell you what are the other Smart devices that helps you. When gurguri (they call our daughter) at home and you have to go shop how do you manage then. Is your smart device help you that time?

I said ' yes of course! Recently we have installed a Smart Camera to monitor your gurguri's activity when she is alone at home. Even if I am away for half an hour I am satisfied that someone is keeping track of her activity and I can see it from remote place in my smart phone.'

Ma said ' I agree you smart devices are has brought #SmartHomeRevolution in your life. But your father is planning to buy Smart lights. What are those and how they will help us?'

I replied 'Smarts lights are results of cool innovative technology which controls the home's lighting system. Using your smart device you can control the lights at home and save energy. It uses automatic light dimming and saves energy consumption. Some of the smart lights also change colour and set the ambience of your home according to your need.'

I continued 'I would recommend you to get a Google Home, so that you can control your Smart Home with your voice.'

man sitting on a sofa and holding a tablet computer with smart home on the screen Stock Photo - 53553969

I did not see any oppose and anxiousness in my mother's face but she asked 'But how do we get them here in a small town. Those smart devices are mostly available in the mega cities. Isn't it?'

Yes I could make her understand why Smart Devices are part of our life now. I told her 'Flipkart has envisioned #SmartHomeRevolution, so you can order it from Flipkart easily and they do deliver at small towns.'

End of the day I made my parents happy and we continued with our chat followed by some garam samosa.

Readers who are reading my post right now I would recommend Smart Home to ease your life and don't forget to add a Smart Watch and #GetFitWithFlipkart.





Broccoli Baby Corn Chicken in Soya Sauce

Cold has increased since the start of a new year and morning newspaper has the evidence as the news said mercury was dropped to 12.4 degree C. I know many of you are staying in the freezing zone might laugh. But then people adapt the weather where they belong to. Bangalore always have a moderate temperature throughout the year hence we enjoy this climate. 

I am not complaining about cold because this is the season we get lot of fresh produce and varieties of Winter veggies. Do you love veggies too? Being a pure non-vegetarian, I have grown up in a family who relish vegetarian meals. My mother has more affinity towards a vegetarian meal than a non-vegetarian and the reason we grew up in a similar manner. 



Due to moderate climate condition, we get almost all the vegetables throughout the year. However, the price of the vegetables definitely vary depending on the season. But if you wish to have something at any point of year, your wish will be full filled and this is another reason Bangaloreans are lucky. 


When I see colourful vegetables in the market I end up buying all the varieties including broccoli, baby corn, three colour bell peppers, spring onions and many more . After putting them into fridge I start thinking about some recipes using those vegetables. There are some usual recipes using these veggies however, I am a food blogger and my hands itch to try something new every time. I had some chicken breast pieces which we normally use in fried rice, noodles, pizza or soup as we prefer bony pieces in our curry.



Immediately I thought of creating a Chinese style chicken recipe with loads of vegetables. I named the dish Broccoli Baby Corn Chicken in Soya Sauce which is a medley between chicken and vegetables. Chicken breasts are apt for this recipe and it goes very well with fried rice or noodles. People like me who are non-vegetarian and love eating vegetables this is the perfect dish for them. So if you have bought all varieties of vegetables like me and don't know how to use them up, try this broccoli baby corn chicken in soya sauce and you will repeat it. People who are purely vegetarian can replace chicken with tofu or Paneer or even soya chunks.


Broccoli Baby Corn Chicken in Soya Sauce

Ingredients


Chicken - 400 gms, boneless medium pieces

Broccoli - 1 cup florets, blanched
Baby Corn - 6 to 7, cut into halves
Capsicum - cut into cubes, 1/2 cup
Red Bell Pepper -cut into cubes, 1/2 cup
Yellow Bell Pepper - cut into cubes, 1/2 cup
Onion - 2 medium, cut into cubes
Garlic pods - chopped, 1 teaspoon
Spring Onion - 3 tablespoon, chopped
Green Chilli -  2 to 3, sliced
Soya Sauce - 2 teaspoon
Tomato Ketchup - 1 tablespoon
Dry Red Chilli - 2 to 3, cut into pieces
Black Pepper Powder - 2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Sugar - 1/2 teaspoon
Corn Flour - 1- 2 tablespoon (use as required)
Lime Juice - 2 teaspoon
Refined Oil - 1/2 cup or as required for deep frying


Procedure

1. Marinate the chicken pieces with lime juice, black pepper powder and salt for 30 minutes. 

2. Now heat oil in a wok and sprinkle corn flour on the chicken pieces and deep fry them. Drain the oil and keep them on kitchen towel to soak the extra oil. 
3. Reduce the oil on the wok and keep 2 to 3 tablespoon of oil and add the chopped dried red chillies.
4. Next add chopped garlic and once they are golden add the onion cubes.
5. Add a pinch of sugar and cook under medium flame.
6. Once the onions are translucent add all three bell peppers, baby corn and broccoli and cook under high heat. Add salt at this stage.
7. Next add spring onion, green chilli and black pepper powder. Toss them well. 
8. Now add fried chicken pieces and mix well. 
9. Next add tomato ketchup sauté for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes add soya sauce. 
10. Now dissolve 2 teaspoon of corn flour in chicken stock or water and add in the pan. Allow to boil and taste the salt. 
11. After 3 to 4 minutes switch off the flame and sprinkle some chopped spring onion on top and serve hot.






Chicken Vindaloo or Goan Chicken Vindaloo

Chicken Vindaloo or Goan Chicken  Vindaloo is a popular chicken dish from Goa. Whenever I talk about Goa, I become nostalgic. So many memories comes in my mind and I go back to my good old bachelor days.. Ha ha...who doesn't love his/her bachelor days!😉

We are all aware about the Portuguese colonial era in Goa and the Portuguese rule lasted for almost 450 years. Hence, the Goan culture is lot more influenced by the Portuguese culture. Goan cuisine has also Portuguese influence. This is how one culture influence another.



Vindaloo is a dish where any meat or seafood is cooked with chilli and vinegar based gravy. Sometimes vegetables are also used in vindaloo. Meat could be of any type starting from chicken, mutton, beef or pork.

There is a Portuguese dish Carne de vinha d'alhos. It means meat with wine and garlic. Pork is predominantly used as meat. History also says that Portuguese sailors preserved their meat with garlic soaked in wine vinegar. Gradually, the dish was more customized by local Goans and the Indian interpretation of the dish became Vindaloo.

Most of the coastal cuisine contains lot of coconut in their food and Goan cuisine is not an exception. However, this particular dish Chicken Vindaloo does not contain any coconut or coconut milk. This may be because the dish is totally adapted from the Portuguese cuisine where there was no use of coconuts in the original dish.



Chicken Vindaloo contains a good amount of vinegar. It tastes quite similar to pickle as it has vinegar and spices like mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds which are used for making of pickles in India.

Last week while I was cooking chicken vindaloo I was not sure how my family members will accept the dish. To my surprise it was a super hit. Though the gravy contains dry red chillies and black peppercorns but somewhere vinegar and tamarind neutralizes the pungent taste and gives a tongue tickling taste. Avijit says why didn't you cook it earlier? I said I cooked it earlier (my initial blogging days) but something did not go well and it didn't turn out a 'wow' dish. Even our daughter enjoyed it thoroughly.

This is the last weekend of the year 2018, so if you are planning a party at home, you can surely try this Chicken Vindaloo to treat your guests. Now check how to prepare Goan chicken vindaloo at home.

Preparation time: 1 hr
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Chicken Vindaloo or Goan Chicken Vindaloo

Chicken - 500 gms, curry cut
Onions - medium 2, finely chopped
Dry Red chillies - 5 to 6
Garlic Cloves - 7 to 8
Ginger - 1 inch
Mustard Seeds - 1 teaspoon
Cumin Seeds - 1 teaspoon
Coriander Seeds - 11/2 tablespoon
Clove - 3 to 4
Green Cardamom - 2 to 3
Cinnamon - 1 inch stick
Black Peppercorn - 7 to 8
Fenugreek Seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
White Vinegar - 1/4 cup
Vegetable Oil - 1/4 cup
Tomato Puree - 1/2 cup
Turmeric Powder - 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Tamarind Paste - 1 tablespoon
Sugar - 1 teaspoon

Procedure

1. Soak the dry red chillies in vinegar for almost one hour.
2. Dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, black peppercorns, cinnamon stick, cardamom, clove and after cooling them take into a blender and blend them to dry powder.
3. Now add ginger, garlic and soaked chilli along with the vinegar into the blender and make a smooth paste and add tamarind to this paste.
4. Marinate the chicken pieces with the prepared paste for approximately 1 hour.
5. Heat oil in a pan and fry the chopped onions until they are golden brown in colour.
6. Next add the marinated chicken and add little turmeric powder and cook under medium flame by covering with a lid. Stir in between.
7. After cooking for 10 to 15 minutes, add the tomato puree and cook until the raw smell of tomato is gone.
8. Add sugar and salt as per the taste.
9. Next add one and half cup of water and allow the chicken to cook for some more time. Once the gravy turns thick switch off the gas and serve it with plain rice or any Indian bread or bun.




Eggless Jam Drop Cookies or Thumbprint Cookies or Vanilla Flavoured Jam Drop Cookies

Wish you all Merry Christmas!

Christmas celebration has started and every nook and corner has been decked up with festive decors and colors. People are totally in holiday mood and relaxing last few days of the year with friends and families.  Now Christmas has become a secular holiday season around the world. Celebration is not complete without good food!Every kitchen is filled with aroma of cakes, cookies and other baked goodies. I am not far behind in this celebration.



I don my apron and decided to bake some Christmas special cookies. First thing came to my mind is making of Jam Drop Cookies. These Jam Drop Cookies are also known as thumbprint cookies or Jam filled thumbprint cookies. After making the round shape cookie you just have press the middle of the cookie with your thumb which creates an indent (dent). Fill the jam here using a small spoon. If the dent is not deep enough and quantity of jam is more then there is a chance to spread the jam but that doesn't alter the taste of the cookie.

Here I am sharing the eggless version of the Jam Drop Cookie. Some people prepare Jam drop cookie using eggs. Eggless Jam Drop Cookie recipe contains either corn starch or custard powder. The reason behind this is addition of corn starch or custard powder gives you a tender melt-in-mouth texture to the cookie. While I was going through the other recipes I saw few of them are made only all purpose flour. Though I have not tried it but you can try both and share the feedback which one is better. 

I have used mixed fruit jam as it goes well with the vanilla flavour and it looks great too especially red colour jam is according to the theme of Christmas. However, you can use any flavour of jam and any flavour of custard powder. 

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Yield: 24 to 26 (It depends on the size you are making)

Eggless Jam Drop Cookies or Thumbprint Cookies or 

Vanilla Flavoured Jam Drop Cookies

Ingredients

All purpose Flour - 2 cups

Custard Powder (Vanilla Flavour) - 1 cup
Powdered Sugar - 1 cup
Cooking Butter - 100 gms
Baking Powder - 1 teaspoon
Mixed Fruit Jam- 1/2 cup
Milk - 2/3 cup

Procedure

1. Take all purpose flour in a bowl. Sieve baking powder with all purpose flour.
2. Now add custard powder in to it and mix well. You can use any flavour of custard powder.
3. In another bowl, add melted butter and mix sugar powder into this. 
4. Now add the flour mixer into it and add milk as required to make a  smooth dough. 
5. Next take out lemon size balls from the dough and press between your palms. Press the middle of the cookie with finger and put a drop of jam on that. 
6. Preheat oven at 180 degree C for 5 minutes. 
7. Prepare a baking tray (avoid black colour tray) lining with a butter paper and keep the cookies on it. Bake them for 12 to 14 minutes and serve this crispy cookies. (Adjust time and temperature depending on your oven's nature).
8. Allow them to cool and later you can store them in an air tight container.






Pur Bhora Kakrol or Stuffed Teasel Gourd

Kakrol or Kankrol is a famous vegetable in Northern and Eastern part of India available during summer. The English name of kakrol is Teasel Gourd. I didn't know this name till I came to this blogging world. In Bengal, we also call it by the name 'Ghee korola' as it has spines on the skin just like karela or bitter gourd. However, this is not at all bitter in taste.



In West Bengal, we get this vegetable plenty throughout the summer and monsoon. My mother used to cook it with potato in mustard gravy and we used to call it kakrol er jhal or kakrol er chochhori. Sometimes she slice kakrol very thin in round shapes and fry.



After coming to Bangalore, initial years I haven't seen kakrol anywhere in the vegetable market.Four  to five years back when I first visited HAL market (a famous vegetable and fish mandi --where you get most of the vegetables and fish of Bengali's choice) I first time saw kakrol and I can't tell you about my joy. It's like I am getting a lost friend or like won a lottery! Yes, I had similar kind of feeling and without wasting much time I bought half kg.

I cook kakrol-potato combination with onion and ginger paste and other dry spices and It is a dry version. This year during monsoon I got these teasel gourds in the local Monday vegetable market. I decided to prepare authentic Bengali recipe Pur Bhora Kakrol or Stuffed Teasel Gourd.



Stuffing is the primary part of this recipe. Normally, the teasel gourds are stuffed with the filling of freshly grated coconut, poppy seed paste and mustard paste. Some people also use the seeds of teasel gourd as the part of filling. However, I did it on my own way. We don't prefer ample amount of coconut in our food (except sweets made of coconut) hence I made the stuffing with homemade cottage cheese or chena. I also added coconut in the filling to have the mild taste of coconut in the filling.

While you cook teasel gourd it is important to slightly boil them as it takes lot of time to cook the outside shell. Boiling makes your task easy. So next time when you get to see teasel gourd in the market you know the recipe you want to prepare with it, bookmark this stuffed teasel gourd recipe and make it in your kitchen.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 60 minutes
Yields: 8 to 10


Pur Bhora Kakrol or Stuffed Teasel Gourd

Ingredients
Stuffing
Kakrol or Kankrol or Teasel Gourd - 4 to 5
Homemade Cottage Cheese or Chena - 1/2 cup
Scraped Coconut - 2 to 3 tablespoon
Poppy Seeds - 3 tablespoon
Black Mustard Seeds - 1 tablespoon
Yellow Mustard Seeds - 1 tablespoon
Green Chilli - 1 or 2
Salt to taste
Sugar - 1/2 teaspoon

Batter
Gram Flour or Besan - 11/2 Cup
Rice Flour - 3 to 4 tablespoon
Salt to taste
Nigella Seeds - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Chilli Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Water as required

Mustard Oil - 2 to 3 cups for deep fry
Black salt - 1/2 teaspoon

Procedure

1. Wash and clean the teasel gourds and gently scrap the skins. Vertically cut each teasel gourd into half.
2. Boil the teasel gourds until they are tender and seeds start coming out. However, avoid overboiling.
3. Drain the water and allow them to cool. Later scoop out the seeds from each half of teasel gourd.
4. Take poppy seeds, black and yellow mustard seeds, scraped coconut, green chilli, and sugar in a blender and make a smooth paste.
5. Take homemade cottage cheese in a bowl and mash it properly.
6. Now add the smooth paste in to the mashed cottage cheese and add salt in to it. Mix it properly and stuffing is ready.
7. Take a teaspoonful of the stuffing and fill the hollow space of each half of teasel gourd.
8. Take gram flour, rice flour, nigella seeds, turmeric powder, chilli powder, salt in a bowl and add required water to make a smooth semi-liquid consistency batter.
9. Meanwhile heat oil in a wok for deep frying.
10. Now dip each stuffed teasel gourd and fry until golden brown from all the sides and sprinkle little black salt on top of these. Serve as starter with plain rice or snacks with ketchup or any dip.


Mushroom Butter Masala

Featured post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers
Mushroom butter masala is a rich and creamy side dish which can be paired with any type of Indian bread as well as pulao and fried rice. Mushroom butter masala is also known as Mushroom Makhani. This is a restaurant style recipe which quite similar to Paneer butter masala.


I know Paneer Butter Masala must be a frequent affair at your kitchen or in your meal in restaurant. However, have you ever tasted this creamy rich mushroom butter masala? If not then you should definitely try this restaurant style mushroom butter masala at your kitchen.

Some people always complaint that whenever they cook mushroom it turns soggy. Here is the way how to sauté mushroom so they don't turn soggy.  Water content in mushroom is high so when you start cooking it releases lot of water and if you are cooking under low flame it definitely turns soggy. First of all before cooking mushroom, I take time to clean and wash them with care as they are very delicate. I allow to drain the water properly and later wipe gently the mushrooms with kitchen towel. Then I slice them. When I sauté the mushrooms, I do it under high flame so at this time mushroom releases water and evaporates immediately and this is the reason they turn soggy anymore. While sautéing normally we add a bit salt but I would say add salt almost at the end of the process of sautéing.

Many people avoid eating butter masala gravies as it is pretty rich in calories as we are adding butter, fresh cream, etc. We can reduce the calories little bit by cutting down the fresh cream and adding low fat milk instead.  This will not have much affect on the taste part of the gravy.

One more trick is always add kasoori methi after crushing them between your palms which gives the aroma to the gravy. Sprinkling kasoori methi on top will not give the share of flavour and aroma when you crush them and add it.



I have learnt these tricks by trial and error methods in my own kitchen and sharing with all my lovely readers so that you can prepare and enjoy a delicious dish like mushroom butter masala or mushroom makhana.


Preparation time:10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serving: 2

Mushroom Butter Masala 

Ingredients
Button Mushroom - 200 gm, sliced longitudinally
Tomato - 3 medium size
Onion Paste - 2 to 3 tablespoon
Kasoori Methi/ Dry Fenugreek Leaves - 1 tablespoon
Fresh Cream - 1/2 cup + 1 to 2 teaspoon for garnishing
Ginger Paste - 11/2 teaspoon
Cashew Nuts -  7 to 8
Turmeric powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste
Cumin Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder - 1 teaspoon
Butter - 2 tablespoon 
Garam Masala Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Cinnamon Stick - 1 inch
Refined Oil - 4 tablespoon



Procedure

1. Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a pan and sauté the sliced mushrooms with little bit of salt and keep aside. 

2. Soak the cashews for 10 minutes in warm water and make a smooth paste. 

3. In a blender take tomatoes and  make a smooth paste. 

4. Heat butter (1 tablespoon) and refined oil in a pan  and add cinnamon stick. 
5. Once the oil becomes aromatic, add onion paste and sauté until it is cooked well.

6. Next add ginger paste and mix well. 

7. Later add turmeric power, red chilli powder, cumin powder and coriander powder. Mix them well.

8. Now add tomato paste and cook until the raw smell is gone completely.  

9. Add cashew paste and kasoori methi leaves and mix again. 

10. Once the butter starts separating add fresh cream,  salt and sugar to taste and garam masala powder.

11. After mixing the masala, add water (1/4 to 1/2 cup) and allow to boil the gravy. In the mean time add fried mushroom slice. 

12. Lower the flame and give a standing time for 5 minutes and finally serve with some fresh cream on top and crushed kasoori methi leaves for garnishing.




Comments system

[blogger][disqus][facebook]

Disqus Shortname

msora