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:


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


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:


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


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:


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


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