Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Healthy Oats Upma


It’s been more than 45 days since I had uploaded my last blog post. And, what a terribly hectic period this has been! There was immense work pressure in the office. To add to the woes, my elder daughter’s school too scheduled their exams in this period.

Well, daughter’s exams have got finished and work pressure in the office, too has kind of eased off. The biggest casualty in this period was cooking. I would virtually fix dinner with whatever I could get near me at that time.

And for the breakfast, it was Oats, Oats & Oats. Blame it on the quick & non-fussy way it gets cooked or the healthy-lots of fibre-low calorie tag associated with that. The last Sunday, I said enough is enough. I need to make a breakfast which my kids & hubby would love to have.

For some reasons, my mind was so clouded with Oats, I wondered if I could make something interesting out of Oats only. Thus was born Oats Upma. Try this out, I bet you’ll love it.



Ingredients


Oats – 200 gms
Onion – 1 Large, chopped
Carrot – 1 medium, grated
Green peas – ¼ cup (optional)
Green chilli –  3 to 4, chopped
Peanut – 2 Tbsp
Chana daal – 1 Tbsp
Curry leaves – 8 to 10
Mustard – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Chilli powder – ½ tsp
Coriander leaves – 1 bunch, chopped
Sugar – ½ tsp
Salt as per taste



Method

Heat a pan and dry roast the oats for 3 to 4 minutes with constant stirring so as to avoid burning of the oats. Remove it and keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan, add peanut and fry for 2 minutes. Add Chana daal in that and stir fry for half a minute. Add Mustard and Curry leaves. When it starts spluttering, add onion & green chili and fry for some time. 

Add grated carrot and peas and fry for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt and mix well.

Now add roasted oats and mix well. Reduce the flame and sprinkle  water slowly, little at a time so that it doesn't become sticky. Cover with a lid and cook it for a minute and   then add some more water continue to stir with spatual till the oats become soft but not sticky. Add 1/2 tsp of Sugar, fried peanuts & roasted chana daal and mix well

Finally add chopped coriander. Switch off the flame and keep it covered for few minutes.
Oats Upma is ready to serve for a healthy yet tasty breakfast.






Monday, June 24, 2013

Chhanar Jilipi / Chhena Jalebi - Fried sweetmeat made of cottage cheese drunken with sugar syrup

This post is late by more than a week. It was supposed to be uploaded immediately after 14th June’13, the day of Jamai Shoshthi. I had made this quintessential Bengali sweet for the first time that day and had dared to try because the day was so special to my hubby.

Jamai Shoshthi is a traditional Bengali ritual with a slight religious touch where the son-in-law is pampered and fed by his mother-in-law. In our decade long married life, my mother has managed to be with us during this occasion a couple of times. Needless to say, both the times, she took excellent care of my hubby.

In her absence, this great responsibility, very naturally comes upon me. I, being a passionately-foodie and love-to-cook type person, welcome this opportunity to cook up a delectable spread, which my whole family relish.

This time, though I had cooked a range of mutton, fish and typical Bengali shaak-shukto, I wanted to make something sweet for him and zeroed in on Chhanar Jilipi or Chhena Jalebi.  This is a jalebi, but unlike the traditional fermented besan made one, it is made with Chhana (cottage cheese) mixed with Khoya (dried up milk).

Chhanar Jilipi/Chhanar jalebi recipe


Ingredients


For Jilipis:

Paneer(Chana) – freshly prepared  from 2 litres of milk
Khoya – ½ cup
Maida – 4 tbsp
Sooji (semolina) – 2 tbsp
Baking powder – ½ tsp
Cardamom powder – 1 tsp
Oil for frying

For sugar syrup:

Sugar 3 cup
Water 3 cup
Cardamom powder – 1tsp

Method

Prepare chhana freshly at  home adding a Tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar in boiling milk. Drain the excess water and run tap water through the chhana to get the smell of lemon/vinegar from it. Try to get out all excess water out of it.

Take chhana and khoya in a flat bottomed vessel and mix well. Rub it continuously with your palm and knead it for quite sometime till it becomes a soft & smooth dough without any lump and doesn’t stick in hand.

Add maida , semolina and cardamom powder and baking powder and knead it well to form a soft and smooth dough.

Keep the dough  in a bowl covered by a moist cloth or cling film. Put the bowl in room temperature for 1 ½ - 2 hours.



Divide the dough into  equal sized round balls . Now roll each balls with your palm into a long thick  rope. Coil the rope into  one and half turn leaving small space in between, as shown in the picture.

Heat oil in a pan and when it’s smoking hot, put the flame in low. Slowly drop the jilipis in oil and deep fry till they turn golden yellow.

Chhanar Jilipi/Chhanar jalebi recipe


Prepare the sugar syrup with putting sugar and water in given ratio and by boiling the syrup till the sugar gets melted completely with the consistency is near to one string. Put some crushed cardamom in the syrup.

Take out the fried jilipis from the pan and drop into the warm syrup and keep them fully immersed in it for 3 to 4 hours.


Juicy Chhanar Jilipis are ready to be served as sweet ending to a sumptuous meal.

Chhanar Jilipi/Chhanar jalebi recipe

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chicken Bharta Roll – deep fried shredded chicken pancake roll

As I was mentioning in my last blog post, children become hyper active during summer vacation. They would be running, jumping and playing all day, as a result of which they would feel hungry every now and then.

The most common request my daughters would put to me as soon as I return from office in the evening, is to make some snacks for them. It’s a challenge for me to think out something new and innovative every time.

That day, confronted with a similar request, I was at my wit’s end to make something attractively delicious. Then I remembered that I had got some boneless chicken in my freezer, which I had got last night. It was meant for making something for the dinner but for some reason, I couldn’t make it.

Like a lightning bolt, this idea came to my mind. It’s a fusion of Chinese Spring Roll and typical Bong chops. I must say, the end result came out to be so crisp and yummy that the plate was finished within a little time. As I had to shred the chicken to make this dish, I named it Chicken Bharta Roll.



Ingredients
Filling:

Chicken Boneless – 250 gms
Onion – 2 Large, finely chopped
Ginger – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Garlic – 6 cloves, finely chopped
Green chilli – 3 to 4, finely chopped
Green peas – ¼ cup, boiled
Garam Masala powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Salt as per taste
Chopped coriander leaves

Coating & batter:

Flour – 1 cup
Egg – 2 nos
Chilli powder – ½ tsp
Cumin powder – ½ tsp
Corn flour – 2 Tbsp
Salt as per taste
Bread crumbs for coating
Method

Wash the chicken pieces and boil them in a pressure cooker with little salt. Take the pieces in a mixing bowl and shred them into fine pieces. Keep the bowl aside.
Heat  little oil in a pan, add chopped onion and fry them until they become softer. Add grated ginger, garlic and chopped green chilli. Fry them in high flame for 2–3 minutes and then add turmeric powder, garam masala powder and salt.

Add chicken and boiled green peas. Mix them well, sauté on high flame for 3–4 minutes. Add chopped coriander and mix well. Filling is ready. Take it in a bowl and let it cool.

Now take a mixing bowl and add flour, salt, chilli powder, cumin powder and 1 egg and finally add some water. Beat the mixture nicely to make a thin batter.

Take and flat bottom nonstick pan and heat it.   Pour some batter and spread it over the surface. Once it is cooked it will look like a thin pancake. Take it out and keep in a plate. 



Pour some chicken filling over the pancake and roll it in the way shown in the photo. Repeat the process to make more rolls.

In a bowl, beat another egg and mix with 2 tbsp of cornflour and salt. Dip the rolls in the  batter and coat them evenly with bread crumb spread on a plate. Once they are coated well, they would be ready to fry.

Heat oil in a pan and deep fry the rolls till they turn golden brown in color and crispy.


Take them out in paper towel to remove the excess oil. Chicken Bharta rolls are now ready to be served with your choice of sauce.



Monday, June 3, 2013

Cheesy Veggie Quesadillas - as easy as a child's play

All through the year, kids look forward to their summer vacation. When it comes, they become so happy that they become hyper active and tend to go out of bounds. As a working mom, my job to keep them engaged with studies, activities & games, is getting tougher day by day.

My elder daughter Kuhu, who is normally a well-behaved 8 year old, keeps on jumping on her toes during these days, as if her feet are tied on spring boards. One of her new found passion this vacation has been spending time in kitchen with me. She would watch me intently and try to help me by running errands.

The other day, she came running to me saying that she had just watched a cookery program in TV where they showed how to cook Quesadillas. She was very excited and almost forced me to agree to her demand that we would prepare Quesadillas at home and …………….………she would help me in cooking actively.

Well, it turned out to be a really enjoyable experience. Except for cutting and frying, she did all the hard work including kneading dough, cutting in shapes, making the parcels and sealing them at the ends. The Quesadillas were fabulous and both my daughters enjoyed eating them as evening snacks.



Ingredients


Onion (finely chopped) – 1 no
Tomato (finely chopped) – 1 no
Capsicum (finely diced) – 1 no
Corn kernel (boiled) – ½ cup
Green chili (chopped) – 1 no
All purpose flour – 1 ½  cup
Shredded mozzarella cheese – 1 cup
Coriander leaves (chopped) – 1 sprig
Crushed black pepper – ½ tsp
Cooking oil – 2 Tbsp
Salt – as per taste

Method

Wash vegetables separately and keep them in a strainer so that water drains off completely.

Mix together Flour, salt and 1 tbsp of oil in a large bowl. Add water slowly, mixing with hand to make a soft dough. 

Knead a few minutes on floured surface until smooth and elastic. Lubricate top with oil, put back in bowl and let it rest, covered for 10 minutes.

Spread the dough on a floured surface and roll it out into a big size and thickness you prefer. Take a cookie cutter or a stainless steel bowl with sharp edges and cut out small tortillas out of it (as shown in the photo).



Take one tortilla and spread 1 tsp shredded cheese on it and then add chopped onion, tomato, coriander leaves and diced capsicum on top of that and finally, sprinkle some salt and pepper.

Take another tortilla. Wet the edges with water and cover the tortilla with vegetable with it. Seal the edges by pressing with a fork. Repeat the process with some more tortillas. Your Quesadillas are ready to fry.

Heat oil in a pan with around ½ inch depth.  Fry the Quesadillas, turning over occasionally, until they turn golden yellow. Transfer with slotted spoon to paper towel to drain off extra oil.

To make Salsa, take the left over chopped onion, tomato & coriander leaves in a mixing bowl and add one chopped green chili. Add little bit chilli sauce (I didn’t add much as I was making them for my kids), tomato ketchup and sprinkle a little pepper powder and salt to taste. Mix it well. You can make this beforehand and refrigerate for an hour.
.

Enjoy your evening with smoking hot Quesadilla served with Salsa.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Maachher Dimer Bora/ Fish Roe Fritters


It is said that, Bengalis are so avid fish-eater that they eat each & every part of fish. Apart from the fish, it’s oil and the head, the biggest delicacy Bengalis look forward to, is the eggs or roe of fish.

Internationally, the two most sought after fish roe are Tobiko (Japanese for Flying Fish roe, the crispy little things which they use in some variants of sushi) and of course, Caviar (Sturgeon fish roe, mainly found in Caspian Sea). Unlike those, which are mainly eaten after curing and seasoning in presevatives, Bengalis love their fish roe fresh & as fried into fritters.

Though, the more regal & hyped roe comes from Hilsa or Ilish fish, fritters or Boras are made from Rohu/Katla, the fish from the Carp family. It’s highly recommended that only fresh fish roe are used to make this preparation.



Ingredients


Fish Egg/roe –  250 gms (I used Rohu fish eggs)
Onion – 1 large (Chopped)
Garlic –  5 to 6 cloves (finely Chopped)
Green chili – 3 to 4 (chopped)
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Chili powder – 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves – finely chopped
Salt – As per taste
Oil for frying

Method


Clean the roe by washing thoroughly under running water. Take it in a large pan and add 3 cups of water and 1 tsp of salt.

Boil the fish egg in water for 10 to 15 minutes in low flame till it becomes hard and slightly pink in color. Check the water level in between as eggs soak water and increase in volume.
Remove the eggs and drain off the water completely. 



Take it in a mixing bowl and crumble it into fine pieces. Add finely chopped onion, garlic, green chili, turmeric powder, red chili powder, salt, chopped coriander leaves.

Mix it well and and if needed, add some water to it to make it a thick gooey mixture. Make small balls out of it and flatten them.



Heat 1 cup of oil in a pan and drop the flattened balls in it. Fry them in medium flame until they become golden brown in color.

Take them out in a paper towel to remove excess oil. Maacher dimer bora or Fish Roe fritters taste heavenly when served with steamed rice and Musur Daal (Red lentils). This is an excellent evening snacks too.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Beetroot Cabbage Sprouted Moong Thoran



Despite the fact that deep in my heart I’m a pure unadulterated Bong, I have an ever-growing curiosity to try out food from various cuisines around the world. Ever since my marriage, I have been staying in the Southern part of India, first Hyderabad and now for the last 9-10 years, in Bangalore. I never get tired of picking up recipes from my southern friends & neighbours and try those at my house.

The one cuisine of South India, that particularly never ceases to amaze me because of its richness and variety, is the Malabari or Keralite cuisine. During Onam, the Malayalis prepare an array of vegetarian dishes which they call as Sadya. Of all the Sadya dishes, the one which I’m very fond of is the Thoran. Thoran is prepared with mainly cabbage (there are variants which use other veggies too!), cooked with coconut, onion & garlic in very little oil.

Here I am, with my own version of Thoran where I have used Beetroot (no prize for guessing….me being a beetroot fan-a-tic) along with cabbage and sprouted moong. It's absolutely easy to cook and a very healthy food.



Ingredients


Beet root(thinly sliced) – 1 cup
Sprouted Moong daal – ½ cup
Cabbage (chopped) – 1 cup
Onion (thinly sliced) – ½ cup
Garlic (finely grated) – 5 to 6 cloves
Coconut(grated) – 1 cup
Green chili (chopped) – 3 nos
Red chilis – 2 to 3
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 7 to 8
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Cooking oil – 2 Tbsp
Salt – as per taste



Method

Wash vegetables separately and keep them in a strainer so that water drains off completely.

 Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and red chilli. Add curry leaves and after few seconds add chopped garlic and onion. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes until onion become soft. Add sprout and mix well.

Add Beetroot and stir fry for some time and then add chopped green chilli, turmeric powder and salt and mix well. Lower the flame, cover it and let it cook for 7 to 8 minutes with stirring occasionally.

When the vegetable becomes little soft add finely chopped cabbage and mix again. The idea of cabbage being added at a later stage is to keep it little crunchy. Cover the lid and cook it for another 6 to 8 minutes.

Now add grated coconut and mix it well with the vegetables. Cover it and cook for a couple of minutes.

Garnish with chopped coriander and your healthy Beetroot Cabbage Sprouted Moong Thoran is ready to eat with smoking hot steamed rice.





Sunday, May 5, 2013

No-oil Murg Malai Tikka


It’s official!!! There’s no denial that both me and my hubby are die-hard fans of kebabs and tikkas. We literally gorge like greedy gluttons as soon as a kebab platter hits our table in the restaurant.

Though we like virtually all types of kebabs, it’s the Awadhi & the ones having their roots in the North-West frontier region, are our most favorite. Of these, I’m particularly fond of the fair-complexioned Murg Malai Tikka.

No over-powering tandoor spices, no artificial color…….only pure, aromatic & succulent pieces of chicken, which melt in the mouth so easily. To make it more guilt-free and healthy, I tried out this version which is absolutely oil-free. The credit for this recipe goes to Santanu da, my brother-in-law from Dubai, who keeps on re-inventing recipes. Thank you Dada for this wonderful version of malai tikka.




In case, you overlooked the last sentence, let me take the privilege of introducing a complete no-oil Murg Malai Tikka, which is no less in taste & flavor. In fact, when I tell this fact to my guests after they have had a couple of tikkas, they find it so hard to believe that you can actually make  such a tasty kebab without using a single drop of oil.

Ingredients
Chicken thigh – 750 gms, boneless cut into 1.5 inch pieces

For 1st marination
Lemon juice – 2 tsp
White pepper – 1 tsp


For 2nd marination
Ginger paste – 1 tsp
Garlic paste – 1 tsp
Fresh/canned cream – 350 gm
Mozzarella cheese – 150 gms, crumbled or shredded
Cardamom powder – ½ tsp
Coriander leaves – 1 Tbsp, finely chopped
Green chilli – 1 to 2 chilies, finely chopped

Method
Wash the chicken pieces thoroughly and pat them dry with paper towel. Prick them with a fork so that the marinade can go deep inside.



Marinate the pieces with the 1st marinade items and keep it covered for around 15-20 minutes. Afterwards, mix all the items of 2nd marinade with the chicken, cover it and keep it refrigerated for at least 1.5 - 2 hours.

Pre-heat the oven in 360 o F or 180 o C temperature. Line up the base of a oven proof flat container with 2 folds of aluminium foil. Put the marinated chicken pieces on the foil, neatly separated from each other so that they don’t overlap with each other.



Cook the chicken in grill mode for around 15-16 minutes, turning them with a tong after 10 minutes. Put the oven in broil mode and cook it for another 4-5 minutes for getting the nice burnt color.

Enjoy deliciously succulent pieces of Murgh Malai Tikka with your favorite dip and salad.



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