Friday, September 19, 2014

Bhapa (Steam-Baked) Katla Maach (in the Oven and Pressure Cooker)

Just finished a real "rock-and-roll" dinner this Friday night. Reason? The star attraction of the menu was Bhapa Maach (Steam Baked Fish).

I learned this recipe a long time ago from a lady who was a fabulous cook herself. She taught me this recipe in her characteristic motherly way. I don't know where she is now because I lost touch, but I hope she knows how grateful I am for this! I have made this simple dish numerous times for family get-together and its an evergreen hit, every time.


Originally, this steamed fish recipe is used for making the delicate Hilsa fish (Bhapa Ilish) or the flavorful prawn (Bhapa Chingri). If you are using fresh water fishes such as Rui (Rohu/ Labeo rohita) or Katla , you need to saute the fish lightly in oil before steaming it.

I am sending this recipe for the upcoming event on Kolkata Food Bloggers, called "Durga Puja Bhuri Bhoj".




Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

Katla maach: 5-6 big pieces
Thick curd: 1 cup
Mustard paste (2 tsp black mustard seeds + 2 green chillies + 1 pinch salt, mixed and ground into a wet paste): 1/2 tablespoon
Poppy seed (posto) paste: 1 heaped teaspoon
Mustard oil: 3 teaspoons
Salt: to taste
Sugar: 1 and a half teaspoon
Chili powder: 1/4th teaspoon
Green chillies: 6-7
Mustard oil for frying the fish

Process:

1. Dust the fish pieces with turmeric powder and salt. Fry the fish in hot mustard oil. Make sure you do not deep fry the fish. The fish should just be fried lightly to get rid of the rawness.
2. Gather all the ingredients as shown in the picture. This includes, fried fish, thick curd (you can use curd made from toned milk if you prefer that), green chillies, mustard paste, poppy seed paste, sugar and salt.

3. Mix all the ingredients (except fried fish). You will get a thick batter. Add a teaspoon of mustard oil to this batter.

4. Now place the fish pieces in a dish and pour the batter over it. Add some slit green chillies.

For steaming the fish, you can use the pressure cooker or the oven. Both the methods are given below:

Using pressure cooker:

1.  First take a steel tiffin box or any steel vessel with tight-fitting lid. Place the fish pieces as well as the gravy in this vessel and close the lid tightly.
2. Add water in the pressure cooker and place the vessel or box inside the pressure cooker. The water should reach about half the sides of the box. Make sure that the water inside the pressure cooker is not too much.

3. Close the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook for two whistles.
4. Take off the gas but do not open the pressure cooker. 
5. Let the steam get released on its own. Open the pressure cooker and take out the box.

Using oven (OTG):

1. Take a heatproof dish that is flat in shape.
2. Place the fish pieces in the dish and pour the batter over it.
3. Before baking do not forget to add a teaspoon of mustard oil and a few slit green chillies.
4. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F/176 degrees C for ten minutes.
5. Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Place the dish on a tray containing boiling hot water. This is essential for building steam inside the oven. Make sure that the water does not spill over inside the dish.

6. Bake the fish for about 30 minutes at the same temperature. Keep the fish in the oven for five more minutes.
7. Remove the foil.

Finally drizzle a few drops of oil on the dish. Add 1-2 slit green chillies and garnish with coriander leaves.

Enjoy with hot steamed rice. Lots of good wishes for this festive season!







Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Eggless Chocolate Cake

(Adapted from Eggless Chocolate Sponge Cake Recipe (No Butter): Edible Garden )    

Chocolate cake is the ultimate comfort for all of us. I have made it loads of times but this recipe has become my "go-to" savior in times of crisis.
Not only is this recipe eggless but it yields a plump cake that is moist, yummy, and "melt-in-the-mouth" chocolaty!
On principle, I avoid eggless baking because I love the light and airy texture that eggs provide. However, when I tried this one, I loved it! The texture was exactly like a chocolate brownie! And the best part is that you don't need to add curd or yoghurt to the batter. Instead we need to add vinegar...yes you heard me right! Vinegar. Any kind of vinegar that you use at home.
The lovely slices
I am forever indebted to Edible Garden for this yummy and easy recipe. You can find the original recipe here.
Here is the recipe:

Ingredients: 

APF/Maida: 1 and a half cup
Sugar: 1 cup
Vinegar (Apple cider vinegar/ any type of vinegar you use/ lemon juice): 1 tablespoon
Cold milk/ water: 1 cup
Oil: 1/4th cup
Vanilla extract: 1 tsp
Baking soda: 1 tsp
Cocoa powder: 3 tablespoons
A pinch of salt

Procedure:

1. Add cold milk, vanilla extract, vinegar, sugar and oil. Remember to use cold milk. If you use warm milk, the milk will curdle. Cold water works fine for this recipe. 
2. Next add all the dry ingredients.
3. Now start adding the dry mixture to the wet one gradually. Mix using the "cut-and-fold" method. Do not overbeat.
4. Mix till there are no lumps  in the batter.
5. Grease a cake tin and pour the batter into it. I added some chopped nuts and raisins as well.
6. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C for ten minutes. (My cake surface tends to crack at this temp so I pre-heat at 176 degrees C.) Also place a small steel bowl of water in the oven. This will ensure that your cake remains moist.
7. Place the cake tin in the pre-heated oven and bake for 45 minutes at the same temperature.
8. Insert a toothpick or skewer in the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, your cake is done.
9. Now take the cake out of the oven and let it cool down for some time,



10. De-mold the cake and have it with chocolate sauce or vanilla ice-cream. I don't like any kind of toppings on this cake. Yummy....ummmmm!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Jam Roll Loaf: A Sweet Bread

(Adapted from Veg Recipes of India: Jam Roll Bread)


This week I am posting a hot favourite at my home. The first time I made this bread, everyone loved it. The whole loaf was over in no time.

The jam roll loaf is basically a loaf of bread with a swirl of jam in the center. Unlike the Swiss roll, where you bake the cake and then roll it up, the jam roll loaf is baked with jam inside it.

I got the original recipe from here.

This is a complete eggless recipe and very easy to make.


Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

All purpose flour: 2 cups
Whole wheat flour: 1 cup
Instant yeast: 1 and a half teaspoon
Sugar: 1 and a half tablespoons
Butter: 1 and a half tablespoon
Salt: 1 teaspoon
Milk: 3/4th cup
Water: 1/2 cup
 

Process:

1. Mix milk, water, and sugar. Warm this mixture till lukewarm. Add the yeast and keep undisturbed for 10 minutes.
2. Now add salt to the APF and whole wheat flour. Add the liquid mixture to this and mix well with hands.
3. Knead the dough till it is smooth and pliable and springs back on pressing down,
4. Now grease a deep-bottom vessel and dunk the dough in that. Let rise till double in size.
5. Once the dough has risen to double its size, press the dough to release all the trapped air.
6. Dust the working surface with some dry flour. Roll the dough to form a rectangular shape.
 
7. Smear jam on top on the dough.
8. Roll up the dough to form a log shape. Pinch the seams to form a loaf.


 
 
 

9. Now grease a loaf tin and dunk the log in that. Allow it to rise for 45 minutes. The dough will rise above the rim of the tin.
 
10. Pre-heat the oven to 240 degrees C for minutes. Cover the bread tin with tin foil and place in pre-heated oven. Bake for 10 minutes.
 
11. Now lower the temperature to 210 degrees C. Bake for 25 minutes.
 
12. Now remove the foil and bake for 5 minutes more at the same temperature in the Grill mode.
 
13. Take out of the oven. Brush with butter/oil/milk.
 
14. Let the loaf come down to room temperature. Slice and enjoy
 


Friday, August 29, 2014

Easy Peasy Buttery Pancakes

Have you ever woken up late on a school-day morning and wondered what to make in 10 minutes. Or panicked before your kid was back from the playground...what to make? A snack that was tasty, needed minimum ingredients and ready in 10 minutes flat! The answer is...Pancakes!

Pancakes are easy to make, yummy, and made from the scratch in minutes. I am really impressed by my fellow KFBian Sarani. She makes these delightful pancakes with various toppings. Super yum!

I thought I will share the pancake recipe that I make most often at home. The hubby man and little S loves them. Period.



Here is the recipe:

Ingredients

All purpose flour: 1/2 cup
Whole wheat flour: 2 tablespoons
Milk: 1/3rd cup
Egg:1
Water: 1/3rd cup + 2 tsp
Butter: 1 tablespoon
Vanilla essence: 1/2 tsp
Baking soda: 1 pinch
Sugar: 1 and a half tablespoon (1 tablespoon if you want it mildly sweet.)
Salt: to taste
Oil for frying.

Process:

1. Mix all the ingredients together to make a thick, lump-free batter.
2. Place a frying pan on the gas flame. Heat about a teaspoon of refined oil. Optionally, you can add 1/2 tsp of butter along with 1/2 tsp oil. The pancakes will be really yummy!
3. Place a ladle-full of batter in the center of the pan. Add a little oil at the sides for cooking it well.
4. Once the sides are golden-brown, flip to the other side and fry some more.
5. When both sides are well cooked, remove from the pan.
6. Follow this process to make more pancakes.
7. Serve the pancakes with honey or jam.
Enjoy!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Taaler Kheer - Janamashtami Special

(Adapted from Silence Sings with Kamalika C: Tal Kheer)


The month of August...was also a month of holidays. There was Independence day, Rakshabandhan, and Janamashtami.

This Janamashtami, I made Taaler kheer and Taaler Bora.

The Taal or the Palmyra fruit grows abundantly in Bengal during the monsoon season. So, it a custom to make sweets out of this fruit as prasad for Nandadulal a.k.a Shri Krishna.

This is what the fruit looks like:
Taal/Palmyra fruit (Picture Courtesy: www.dreamstime.com)

Taal kheer is a delicious dish that is surprisingly easy to make. 



I got the recipe from my talented friend Kamalika's blog. You can find the recipe here.


Here is how I made it:

Ingredients:

Taal/Palmyra pulp : 2 cups
Sugar: 1 cup
Grated Coconut: 1 cup
Evaporated milk/Kheer: 1 cup

Process:

1. To prepare evaporated milk/kheer, take 2 and a half cups of milk in a pan and add 1/2 cup of sugar to it. Place the pan to simmer over low heat and keep stirring from time to time. The milk will thicken gradually and turn a light brown colour. You should continue this process till 2 and a half cups of milk has reduced in quantity to about 1 cup. Set aside to cool.

2. In a deep bottom vessel, mix all the ingredients thoroughly with a ladle.

3. Now place this vessel, containing the mixture, on a low flame. Keep stirring continuously till the mixture turns a nice golden-brown and you get a lovely aroma characteristic to Taal.
4. Take off the flame. Cool to room temperature. You can garnish it with some grated coconut or enjoy as is. Super yummy and super simple!


Friday, August 15, 2014

My Daily Bread: Basic Bread with 3 Cups Flour

(Adapted from The Fresh Loaf: Your Basic Loaf)

This week I am sharing a bread recipe that I use practically everyday. Since I don't have a bread machine, I use my hands to bake our everyday loaf.
In the past, I have experimented with a number of recipes. Some yielded one loaf and some yielded two loaves. But I wanted a fool-proof recipe that will yield one perfect loaf.
This recipe is a sure-shot winner. You get one golden loaf.


You can bake a purely white bread loaf or a loaf that has 50:50 ratio of all purpose flour (APF) and whole wheat flour. I used this recipe here. Though I tweaked the measures a bit!
Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

3 cups flour
You can use:
  1. 3 cups all purpose flour        OR
  2. 1 and a half cup APF + 1 and a half cup whole wheat flour        OR
  3. 2 cups APF +  1 cup whole wheat flour
Instant yeast: 1 and a half teaspoon (If using active dry yeast, use 1 tablespoon.)
Milk (any variety): 3/4th cup
Water: 1/2 cup
Sugar: 1 and a half tablespoon
Salt: 1 teaspoon (level)
White oil (Olive oil/ Soya bean/ Any refined oil): 1 and a half tablespoon
A little flour for dusting the work surface

Process:

1. First pour the milk into the water and warm the mixture till it is lukewarm. Add sugar. Make sure that the water-milk mixture is not HOT! Should just feel warm to touch if you dip your finger into it. Add the yeast and mix with spoon. Keep undisturbed in warm place for 10 minutes.
2. In the meantime, sift flour and salt in a pan. Add oil and mix well using your fingers. I also add some mixed herbs or garlic bread spices at this stage (optional).
3. By this time the wet mixture will turn frothy because the yeast has proved and become active. Pour the mixture on the flour and start kneading the dough. Alternatively, you can use the dough hook of your stand mixer to knead the dough. After kneading a while, you will get a shaggy dough.
4. The dough will be a little sticky. Avoid using dry flour to reduce stickiness. Use a teaspoon of oil and keep kneading till the dough is smooth and springs back on pressing it down. Now, grease a deep bottomed bowl and dunk the dough into it.

5. Keep in a warm dry place for one hour. I generally keep it in my microwave with the light on. After 45 minutes - 1 hour, the dough will rise and become double in size.
6. Dust the working surface with a little dry flour. Place the dough ball on the work surface and deflate gently by pressing it down. Avoid punching the dough. Now, spread the dough into a rectangular shape. Start rolling the dough from one end press down with fingers.

 7. Repeat this process. Keep rolling and pinching the dough at the seams. This will prevent formation of air pockets while the loaf is baking.
8. Finally you will get a log shape like this:

9. Grease the loaf pan and place the loaf in it, seam down. I use a loaf pan that is 9 inches in length and 5 inches in width. Now, keep it for the second rise in a warm dry place for 40 minutes. The loaf will rise nearly 1 inch above the loaf pan. Place a longitudinal cut on the surface of the loaf. This will allow the trapped air to escape and prevent cracking of the top crust.
10. Pre-heat the oven to 240 degrees C for ten minutes. Place a small steel bowl of water inside the oven during pre-heating.
11. After 10 minutes, place the loaf tin in the oven. Before placing it in the oven, cover the loaf tin with tin foil. This will prevent hardening of the top crust. Bake for 10 minutes at 240 degrees C.
12. After 10 minutes, lower the oven temperature to 210 degrees C and bake for another 25 minutes. All along the loaf should be loosely covered with foil to allow the loaf to rise.
13. Next, remove the foil and set the oven to Grill option for 5 minutes at the same temp. This will give you the lovely golden brown crust. Now take the loaf out of the oven.

14. Brush the loaf with butter/oil/milk.
15. Let the loaf cool to room temperature. Slice and serve with dollops of butter.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Gulabjamuns with Bread

(Adapted from Bread Gulabjamun Recipe: Sharmis Passions)

Its raining almost everyday in Kolkata now. This is the ideal time for steaming hot khichuri with an assortment of fritters and Ilish maach bhaja. All sort of savoury items are being made almost every alternate day in my house.

As a result of this "yummy" eating, a lot of bread was getting accumulated in my fridge. What to make out all this bread? This question was haunting me day and night. I had made bread pulao and the family would not eat any more of bread pulao.

Then, I came across this easy recipe of making Gulabjamuns using bread. What? Gulabjamuns.....using bread! I though that Gulabjamuns were made using khoya!!!!

I used the same recipe that I found at Sharmi's Passions. You can find the recipe here.

Here are the lovely Gulabjamuns.


I went by the original recipe but tweaked the measures a little.

This is how I made it:

Ingredients:

(Makes about 15 jamuns)
 
Milk Bread - 7 slices
Milk Powder - 2 and a half tablespoons
Milk - 1/2 cup
Rose essence - 1 drop
Oil - to deep fry
 
For making the sugar syrup:
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Water - 3/4th cup
Cardamom - 2
 

Process:

1. Mix the sugar in water. Crush the cardamom and add to this mixture. Put this mixture in a vessel and place over medium place on the gas. Stir occasionally till the sugar has dissolved completely. Now lower the flame and let it cook till the sugar syrup becomes sticky. Keep aside to cool.
 
2. Take the bread pieces and remove the brown sides using a knife.
 
3. Dip each slice in milk and then remove from the milk after squeezing the extra milk out from each slice.
 
4. After you are done with all the bread slices, add the milk powder. Place the mixture in a food processor/mixer and pulse for a few minutes till you get a smooth mixture. I mixed using my hands.
 
 
 
5. Roll into round balls. Don't use too much pressure while rolling the balls.
 

6. Heat oil in a kadhai/wok. When the oil is smoking hot, lower the flame and fry the balls. Fry 3-4 balls at a time till they are golden-brown on all sides.
 
 
7. Drain using slotted spoon and place over tissue paper to soak the excess oil. Place the fried balls in the sugar syrup. Let the balls soak in the syrup for more than two hours or better overnight.
 
Serve with love. Enjoy!