Archive for September, 2010

Daler Vada

I love Bong Daler Boris. I would hand pick Boris from my Tarakaris and relish them with my eyes closed and my jaws moving in a cylcic velvety motion! Now what the hell is cyclic velvety motion? I simply conjured up this expression from nowhere to describe my expression of elation. If you have seen the new ad of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk’s New Silk series, you would know what I mean!
One fine day I ran out of Boris carried all the way from Kolkata to Chennai and my cravings for Bori had to be somehow satisfied. Like they say “The true worth of a thing or a being is best known in its/his/her absence”. Then came a timely post from Sandeepa. Instantly made them, although she had fried them in an appe pan, I deep fried them. Also my South Indian soul coudnt resist dumping in some chopped curry leaves and leaving some dal unground too. I did not have any Vadas left coz my kiddos too gobbled in quite a few. Had fried half of the batter without green chillies for them.
In the blender add

a cup of soaked lentils – I used channa dal, and kept spoonfuls of dal aside before grinding
1″ piece of peeled and chopped ginger
3-4 green chili
1 small onion chopped
a tsp of chopped curry leaves
1/2 cup of water
and make a smooth paste.

Add salt to taste and unground dal to this paste. If you wish add 1 tsp of roasted cumin powder . I deep fried them. Serve hot with a hot cup of tea or with rice, dal, ghee and pickle for an “out of this world” meal. Ma loves to have her bhaat with ghee, kaacha lonka and these vadas.

Chicken Rezala

First time I tasted this dish was at my office cafeteria in Kolkata. One look at the dish reminded me of the famous ‘Chicken White Curry’ from my hometown. When I tasted it, it tasted quite similar except Rezala is very very low on spices. This, I believe is an authentic Nawabi dish and is included in party fares accompanying Biriyani or Indian breads. Somehow this dish never occured in my To-do list. It’s been almost a year now since we moved from Kolkata and Rezala had faded away in my memory. When Sandeepa posted Mutton Rezala, my mind was filled with the taste, texture, aroma of it and I simply could not wait to try it out. I marinated chicken overnight and simply loved my long lost Rezala back on my palate.
Abbas is the kind of a person who is non-intriguing when it comes to food. Yes, he does occassionally request to prepare an Omelette for him, but he is never demanding when it comes to food. After the Rezala was pressure cooked and I removed the lid, the mesmerizing aroma filled up my kitchen. Abbas said “Seemu, it does smell like Rezala!!!” Well, I only guessed he must have been very hungry to have uttered those words. I was very elated though!!! The rezala turned out awesome, since we generally have our chicken in fiery hot gravies, I’m planning to add loads of green chillies next time.
Sandeepa, I’m a Konkani and have been intoduced to Bengali cuisine only after marriage. Your blog is like a never failing saviour to me when I’m cooking the Bong way… Not just your recipes, I am an ardent fan of your writing style. You have a mindblowing sense of humor. Been following your blog for quite some time now, must have commented a couple of times. Keep up the good job.

Chicken  -1 kg
Onion – 21/2 cups of chopped onion
Garlic – 6 cloves
Ginger – 1″ piece
Yogurt 1/2 cup for marinade + 2 cups for later

Grind to a Dry Spice powder
Cardamom – 2 big black + 10 green
Mace/Javetri – 1 tsp
Clove – 5
Pepper Powder ~ 1 tsp

For Gravy
Onion – 1/2 of a large thinly sliced (Optional)
Ginger Paste – 1 tsp
Garlic Paste – 1 tsp
Cashew – 2 tbsp soaked and then made a paste
Kewra Water – 1 tsp (must for the fragrance)
Milk – 1 tbsp
Saffron – few strands
Salt – to taste
Ghee – 1/2 tbsp

Whole Spices for tempering
Bay Leaf – 3
Whole Red Chili – 5 — Do not crack the red chili, use whole, this brings you the smell of the spice without excess heat. Depending on your spice level decrease this quantity
Black Peppercorn – 2-3 tsp whole is better or use 1/2 tbsp of pepper powder
Cardamom – 1 Black + 5 green
Clove – 8
Cinnamon Stick – 2-3

1. Grind to a dry powder the spices listed under “Grind to Dry Powder”

2. Heat Oil. Fry the onion + garlic + ginger until onion is soft and browned at edges. Cool and make a paste.
Add to this 1 cup of yogurt and blend well.

3. In a big large mouthed bowl (or use an aluminum tray) add the washed and cleaned chicken pieces. Add the paste + yogurt from Step 2. Add the dry spice powder from Step 1. Add salt to taste. Mix well. Let it rest for 2-3 hours, overnight is better.

4. Heat Oil + 1 tbsp Ghee in a heavy bottomed large pan. Temper the Oil with all spices listed under Whole Spice. Add about 1/2 tsp of sugar. When the spices sizzle add 1/2 of an onion sliced thin and fry till onion starts to brown. Add 2 tsp of Ginger Paste + 2 tsp of Garlic Paste and fry for couple of minutes.
5. Remove the meat pieces from the marinade, shaking off any excess liquid and add to the pan. Saute the meat pieces till the raw pink coloring is gone. A lot of water will be released at this point and it will smell heavenly.

6. In a bowl beat about 1-2 cups of yogurt + cashew paste. Lower the heat and add this along with the remaining marinade to the pan. Mix everything nicely. Note: Use 3 cups for a lighter gravy, 2 cups for not too soupy one. Add salt to taste.

7. Transfer everything to a Pressure Cooker.If you think that the liquid is not enough, add some water.Add a tsp of Kewra Water. The Kewra Water is important, DO NOT skip it, you can use Rose Water if you don’t have Kewra Water.

8. Now close the lid and cook till chicken is tender. Do not over cook. Since I had marinated the meat overnight, I cooked for two whistles on a high flame.

9. In a small bowl heat 1-2 tbsp of milk. Add a few strands of saffron to the warm milk and mix. Once the meat is done and you can open the lid of the cooker add the milk+saffron and close the lid again.

10. Let it sit for 30 minutes and then serve with Rice, Biryani or Naan.

Golden Onion Quiche

It was Savoury September on Sweet Punch. Ria presented us with this Golden Onion Quiche as the challenge this time. I stuck to the recipe except that I baked them the mini-way in my muffin tray. As I donned the apron, my twin 2-year olds were begging to sit on the kitchen deck so that they could see what Mamma was baking this time. I began beating eggs, they started shooting questions at me as if it was a cookery show and they were the inquistive anchors! When I took a block of cheddar cheese to grate, ‘BAM’ came another question. “Eta ki Mamma? (What is this Mamma)” They are crazy cheese lovers like me and had till then only known cheese in the form of slices. Me, being the cunning Mamma, did not want to introduce them to this new form of cheese or they would not spare me untill they finish off all the cheese. I am not a lier Mommy too and did not want to blindly say some name for it! To be on the safer side, I said “It’s Cheddar”. Sigh!!! They repeated “Theddallll????”. Happily I nodded proud of my presence of mind. After grating in the cheese, there were some left on the grater, which I hastily remove using my finger and consume (read LICK). This time looking at my lil ones’ faces, I let them lick my finger. Tamanna licked my fingy first and her face lit up and her expression said “EUREKA”. She gave me a sheepish smile and said “Eta Theeeeed eta” (Means This Cheese this). I burst out into laughter.

Serves 4
For the pastry:
Maida -200g
Butter (frozen) -100g (preferably unsalted)
Baking powder-1/4 tsp
Salt-to taste
Beaten egg-1
Ice cold water-as required ( which will be a few drops)
  • Sieve maida ,salt and baking powder together. Grate in the butter and mix it with the flour with your fingertips till it resembles coarse sand.
  • Add in the beaten egg and water and gather it into a soft dough.
  • Roll it out on a lightly floured surface and lift it up carefully and line the tin that you will be baking it in.If it breaks up and you need to do a patch work, big deal! It wouldn’t be seen outside! 😉
  • Which ever tin you are using, make sure the dough comes a little way up the sides, so that it can hold the filling in. 
  • If you are in doubt, see this.
Boiled and shredded chicken-1/2 c ( you can substitute it for paneer or other veggies of your choice)
Onion-250 g ,chopped
Milk-1 c
Cheese-100g (cheddar will work fine)
Beaten eggs-3
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil- as needed.
  • Heat oil and slightly fry the chicken/paneer til it is golden brown. Add in the onions and fry till onions have caramelised.
  • Switch off the flame. 
  • Add milk, cheese, beaten eggs, salt and pepper and mix well.
  • Pour into the pastry case and bake for 25 mins or till golden brown .
 Let it cool in the tin completely . Serve it in wedges…

PS: I have been showing the round-ups of Sweet Punch to Abbas, he would always say “Why are your pics the dullest?” With two brats around, cooking itself is a great deal for me. I don’t get the time and energy to put efforts in clicking although I would love to. This time, I asked Abbas to click for me and and I enjoyed giving him inputs. The pics are better than any of my earlier ones. Having said that, “Every successful man has a woman behind him” Don’t you agree???