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!
 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Restaurant Review: Koshe Kosha

This week I am back again with another restaurant review.

After a lunch outside on my hubby's birthday, we decided to venture out once again on Eid.

This time the hubby man chose Koshe Kosha, the authentic Bengali "bhuri-bhoj" joint. The main outlet of Koshe Kosha is near Golpark, but we went to the Salt Lake outlet.
Koshe Kosha
FE-18, Ground Floor, Opposite Central Park,
Fourth Avenue Rd, FE Block,
Sector III, Salt Lake,
Kolkata, West Bengal 700106
 Pocket pinch for two: INR 650 - 700 approx

The interiors of this restaurant was done up the authentic Bengali way. A big palm leaf fan adorned one of the walls. The other walls were tastefully decorated with Jamini Roy paintings and woven baskets. But the lighting was very low, so my photography was not as good as it should have been.
 
We ordered for two starters: Begun bhaja (fried eggplant) and Aam aadaar chop (INR 45). The Begun bhaja was humungous in size. It was crispy on the outside and soft inside...done just right! The Aam aadaar chop is a speciality of this joint and it was truly yummy though a bit too spicy for my little one who staunchly refused to eat it.

Aam aadaar chop and begun bhaja
For the main course, we ordered the following:

Steamed rice (INR 70)
Sona Muger dal (INR 80)
Kochi Paanthar jhol - tender mutton curry (INR 265)
Dhakai manghso: Mutton cooked with a recipe from Dhaka(INR 235 approx, I dont remember it too well)
Basanti Pulao (INR 115)
Anarosher (pineapple) chutney (INR 60)


The Sona Muger Dal was extremely delicious but the Kochi Paanthar jhol was a dissappointment. We had ordered this dish for little S, but none of us liked it. The mutton was tender, but the gravy/jhol was not flavourful.
The Dhakai Mangsho was spicy and quite tasty.

My little one fell in love with the Basanti Pulao and Anarosher chutney and she would not eat anything else. 

I also came to know that they have take-away system. They serve a number of snacks in the evening such as a variety of cutlets.

In a nutshell, you can visit this joint of an evening to have some snacks with friends. A lunch/dinner with family is also not ruled out but you have to select the menu items carefully.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Steamed Chicken Momos: A Healthy Anytime Snack!

(Adapted from Veg Recipes of India: Steamed Veg Momos)

This week I am posting a favorite street snack: steamed momos. Momos are basically steamed dumplings stuffed with a lightly spiced filling.

The filling can be both vegetarian or non-vegetarian. On our recent trip to Darjeeling, we ate momos galore. I was even planning to lug home a momo-steamer all the way from Kurseong but the hubby knocked some sense into my head. He promised that he would buy one for me in Kolkata.
But the momo bug had bit me and I started hunting around for the perfect, easy recipe. Voila! found just the one in my fave blog Veg Recipes of India. You can find the recipe here.

Here is the recipe, my way:

Ingredients:

Makes about 8 momos

For the momo base:
All purpose flour/Maida: 1 cup
White Oil: 2 tablespoon
Water to knead the dough
For the filling:
Minced chicken: 320 grams (vegetarians can use grated paneer and sweet corn)
Onions: 2 medium (chopped fine)
Ginger (chopped): 1/2 tsp
Garlic (chopped): 1 tsp
Spring onions (chopped fine): 2 tablespoon (optional)
Oil: 1 and a half tsp
Salt to taste
Pepper(crushed): 1/4th tsp
Sugar: a pinch
Vinegar: 1/2 tsp
Soya sauce: 1/2 tsp
For the chilli-garlic sauce:
Dried red chilli: 5-6
Garlic: 6 cloves
Tomato ketchup: 3 tablespoon
Salt: to taste

Process:

1. First knead the dough. Add enough water so that the dough is smooth and pliable but not sticky. Set aside for 30 minutes, covered with a wet cloth.
2. Chop all the ingredients for the filling.
3. Heat oil in a pan. Add the onions and fry for a minute. Next, add the ginger and garlic. Fry for another minute. 
4. Add the chicken mince. (Vegetarian options are grated paneer and sweet corn.)

5. Add salt, sugar, pepper, vinegar, and soy sauce. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add about 1/4th cup water and cook covered at medium heat.


6. Take off the gas and set aside to cool.

7. Now take the dough and divide it into 8 equal pieces.

8. Sprinkle a little maida on the work surface. Roll one roundel of dough into a roti. The thickness of the roti should not be too thick, neither too thin. If the dough is too thin, then it will tear when filled with stuffing.

9. Place one tablespoon of the dough in the center of the roti.
10. Smear the ends of the roti with water. Fold the roti into half.

11. Pinch the edges of the seam like a gujiya. To make it look good I pressed the edges with a fork. This step is optional. Mold the rest of the dough ball into momos. Cover with a damp towel to prevent drying.

12. Now its time to steam the momos. Since I don't have a momo steamer, I used my idli steamer. Pour two cups of water into the steamer and let the water come to a boil.
13. Place a perforated vessel inside the steamer. I used my rice strainer. Grease the perforated vessel and place the momos in that. Cover with the lid and steam for 7 minutes.


14. Remove from the steamer.

15. To prepare the chilli-garlic sauce, de-seed the chillies to remove the hotness quotient. Immerse the chillies in hot water for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, discard the water and grind the chillies and garlic to a fine paste. Add tomato ketchup to the paste. Add more salt if required.

Enjoy steaming hot momos with fiery chilli-garlic sauce.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Restaurant Review: Southern Aminia

This week I am posting a restaurant review. Last week, it was my hubby's birthday, so my parents decided to celebrate his birthday in advance by treating us to a Biryani lunch.

We were planning to visit Arsalan, when the birthday boy suggested we try out Southern Aminia. I was under a wrong impression that this is solely a take away joint. I was pleasantly surprised to find a cozy restaurant on the second floor.

The restaurant is situated close to Golpark and is quite easy to locate.

The interiors are done up with comfy sofas and wrought-iron furniture. The d├ęcor gives a cheerful feel.

 
Southern Aminia
57, Ballygunge Gardens, Gol Park, Kolkata.   
Pocket pinch for two: INR 400-450
 
 
The menu is quite reasonably priced. You can order the ususal favorites, namely biryani and Chicken/Mutton Chaap. Also a number of kebabs and side dishes.
 
The menu card
To our disappointment, we could not order the Aminia Special chicken dish. They said the this dish can be ordered only in their New Market outlet (near the Elite movie theatre).
 
I went in for the Mutton Biryani (INR 140)...my eternal favorite!
 
Mutton Biryani
My parents decided to share a plate of Chicken Awadhi Biryani (INR 255).
 
check the beautiful...Chicken Awadhi Biryani!
 
My little S, settled for Tandoori rotis (INR 10/piece) and a plate of Chicken Rezala (INR 120).
 
Hubby man ordered for Tandoori rotis with a plate of aromatic Mutton Tawa Chaap (INR 150).
 
Tandoori rotis, Mutton Tawa Chaap, and Chicken Rezala
 
The biryani, I need write nothing about. All those who have had biryani at any outlet of Aminia can vouch for it. Though the Mutton Biryani was a tad bit greasy, I just threw the calories to the wind and tucked in with gusto! The Chicken Rezala was in a delicate white gravy and not all spicy. It is the only dish that my little one will have!!!
 
But the star of the ceremony was the Mutton Tawa Chaap. It was fragrant and the meat was beautifully tender.
 
For dessert we ordered for Mango Phirni, which was the season's selection. The Mango Phirni was delectable, totally melt-in-the mouth! We all loved it. Little S had two phirnis!!
 
 
All in all, it was gala feast for the taste buds. I would highly recommend this outlet for any family outing. This foodie-joint is roomy, the food is good, and the service is prompt! :)