Archive for April, 2011


Rasagulla

When in Kolkata, I used to often buy an earthen pot laden with 15 rasagullas on the way back home from work. The sweet shops usually prepare fresh rasagullas in the evening. Ma and I are huge fans of hot rasagullas and we would gulp down rasagullas as if there was no tomorrow. We would keep aside a couple of them for Abbas. After moving out of Kolkata we rarely got fresh rasagullas. And I don’t like tinned ones much. Even if we get, we find them too expensive as we were used to buying them at 2 bucks each. It was in Chennai that I learnt making rasagullas as milk used to curdle every other day and I had to find a way of putting it to good use.
Turns out that my kids have become huge fans of rasagullas. Whenever Ma leaves Bangalore, they ask her to bring ‘Lottotullas’ for them. There’s nothing like Kolkata’s fresh rasagullas from Mishtir Dokan. But my version is quite good too. If you have the sugar syrup left after finishing all the rasagullas, don’t throw it. You can make Bengali chutney using the sugar syrup.
1 litre milk gave approximately 25 small rasagullas
Ingredients:
1 lt milk
3 tbsps lemon juice
3 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
pinch of cardamom pwd

Method:
1. Take a heavy bottomed vessel and boil milk. Once its boiled, slowly add the lemon juice and you will find that the milk will curdle and the whey will separate. The whey will become clear which is an indication that the milk has curdled completely. Immediately add about 10-12 ice cubes and turn off flame. Leave aside for 3-4 mins.
2. Strain the whey and add the chenna to a damp cheese cloth or a light cotton cloth. Gather the four corners of the cloth and twist it gently and rinse under cold water to remove the sourness of the lemon juice. Tie the ends and hang it at a height and allow the whey from the chenna to drain completely. Leave aside for 30 mts.
3. Remove the chenna onto a wide plate. Now knead it gently for 7 mts till there is no trace of moisture and is absolutely soft on touch. This is a very crucial step in the process of rasgulla making.
4. While you are kneading the chenna, prepare the sugar syrup. Place a pressure cooker on the stove and add water and sugar and allow the sugar to dissolve. Bring it to a rolling boil. Add a pinch of cardamom pwd.

5. While the sugar syrup is cooking, make small smooth balls of the kneaded chenna. Ensure there are no cracks on the balls. Slowly add the chenna balls to the boiling sugar syrup. Place lid and pressure cook upto 1 whistle and continue to cook for another 4 mts.
6. Turn off heat. Once the pressure is off, remove the lid. The balls will double in size and become light and springy on touch. If you feel that the balls are not cooked yet, place lid and cook for another 5 mts without the whistle at medium heat.

I’m sending this to Flavours of Bengal event hosted by Priya and origintaed by Nayna

Paneer Pound Cake

Being in Bangalore during summer this year seems like a relief when I recollect last summer that we spent in Chennai. Kids’ were taken to the salon every month to chop all the hair off their head. We would make them wear smallest of chaddis (How we wished we could flaunt in a similar attire) They were given bath atleast thrice a day and prickly heat powder sprinkled generously all over their body. Severe heat meant all food items persihed even when kept out of the refrigerator for a small duration. Milk would curdle every other day and I learnt making rasagullas out of it. Recently I saw this paneer cake recipe at Divya’s blog which she had made out of curdled milk. It don’t possess the heart to forcefully curdle milk on purpose. One night I forgot (unintentionally) to place the milk saucepan in the refrigerator before going to sleep. The next morning when I saw the saucepan lying on my kitchen deck, I knew it was time for the bookmarked Paneer Cake. 
I made the cake in a Bundt Pan. The colourful eggs that you may see in the pics are empty egg shells that I preserved and painted.
Ingredients
Cake flour – 3/4 cup[make your own-add a tbsp of cornflour into your measuring cup and top it with flour-sift well] – (I used Weikfield’s vanilla custard powder instead of cornflour)
Baking powder – 1 1/2 tsp
Salted Butter – 60 gms
Fresh Paneer [drained] – 3/4 cup
Granulated sugar – 3/4 cup *
Egg – 1
Lime juice – 1 tsp
Vanilla Extract – 1 tsp (I added rose essence)

Method
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line an 8′ round cake tin. (I used a Bundt Tin)
2. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Keep aside.
3. Make a smooth paste of Paneer by blending it in the mixer. Cream the paneer and the butter till soft and fluffy.
4. Mix in the sugar and beat till the mixture is creamy. Scrape down the batter from sides of the bowl in between.
5. Add the egg and vanilla extract (in my case, rose essence) and beat well till mixed.
6. Spoon in the flour mix and beat on medium speed till you get a smooth batter. Add the lemon juice and beat again. The batter might look slightly curdled, but that’s alright.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 30-35 minutes or till the top has turned a golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
8. Cool the cake in the tin for 5 minutes and then gently transfer to a wire rack for further cooling.
9. Slice and serve.

Note:
* I found the cake a bit extra sweet for my sweet tooth although when I tasted the batter before baking it seemed fine. I’m gonna reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup next time.

Sending this to ‘Bookmarked Receipes every Tuesday’ event hosted by Priya and Aipi
When we have Fish served on our table, it’s Ma who gets to eat fish heads. Neither do I nor hubby eat fish heads. Ma is certainly expert at eating heads (pun intended, wink wink) So nowadays when we bring fish we generally preserve the heads in the freezer for use in side dishes like this or even the Bong Classic Mug Dal with Fish Head. Initially I used to nauseate looking at a large fish head swimming in a bowl of dal. Now I have kinda got used to this fishy addition to my otherwise veg dishes. I have begun liking my Sabzis with fish heads coz you don’t get to see the scary thing staring back at you coz the whole piece gets disintegrated as you keep stirring while the dish is getting made and gets united with the veggies. You would have a fishy flavour to your vegetarian dishes. This dish could be prepared without the fish head and tastes wonderful on its own.
Ingredients:
A small cabbage – finely shredded
Potaoes – 2 medium sized, cut into 4 or 6 cubes each
Green peas – a handful (optional)
Tomtoes – 2 medium, finely chopped
Ginger paste – 1 1/2 tbsp
Onion – 2 medium, finely sliced

Turmeric powder – 1 tsp

Red chilli powder – 3 tsp or as per spice tolerance
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Roasted cumin powder or Bhaja Masala – 1 tsp
Ghee – 2 tsp
Oil – 3 tbsp
Sugar – 1 tsp
Coriander leaves – 1 a handful, finely chopped
Fish Head – one half of a large fish (Use head of Rohu or Katla) – absolutely optional
Method:
1. If using fish head, marinate it with salt and turmeric powder and deep fry in oil till it is cooked and keep aside.
2. Pressure cook cabbage and potatoes with salt and very little water as cabbage will release water for 1 whistle and keep aside. Strain the cabbage and potatoes and throw away the water. (The water is not retained coz Ma says it will becoz Cabbage boiled water causes gastric problem.)
3. Heat oil in a pan, add sliced onions and saute till they turn golden brown.
4. Add ginger paste and saute till the raw smell goes away.
5. Add tomatoes and saute till they turn mushy and oil is separated.
6. Add cabbage, potatoes, peas, fish head (if using), turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, salt and sugar and combine well.
6. Cover and cook on low flame till all the veggies are well cooked. Now remove the lid, increase flame and cook till excess water is evaporated, stirring once in a while. This is a dry side dish so, we don’t want it to be watery.
7. Remove from flame, add chopped corainder leaves, Bhaja Masala or Roasted Cumin Powder, Ghee. Give a gentle stir and keep covered till served.
8. Mostly served with Indian breads or as a side with Rice and Dal.

Moist Carrot Cake

I like trying out a new cake each time I bake and this time I picked up this Moist Carrot Cake from Nags’ Edible Garden. The picture of her cake frosted with cream cheese haunted me for days until I finally prepared it on one of those busy weekday nights. I chose to skip the frosting as the cake itself was dense, moist and we simply loved the cinnamon flavour in it.
Recipe:
Ingredients:
AP Flour / Maida – 1 cup
Baking powder – 1 tsp
Baking Soda – 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder – 1 tsp (Nags stresses on not skipping this and I second)
Salt – ¼ tsp
Ground all spice – ¼ tsp (optional – I didn’t add this)
Eggs – 2
Vegetable oil – ½ cup + 2 tbsp (I used sunflower oil)
Sugar – ½ cup
Brown sugar – 2/3 cup
Milk or buttermilk – ¼ cup (I used milk)
Grated carrots – 1 ½ cup
Walnuts – ½ cup coarsely chopped
Method:
1. Preheat oven to 350F / 180C
2. Grease and dust a baking tin.
3. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and allspice. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl whisk the eggs, oil, both sugars and milk (or buttermilk) until blended. Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture just until combined. Fold in carrots and walnuts.
5. Transfer to your greased and floured baking tin. Bake about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a rack and let cook completely.
 

Sending this to ‘Bookmarked Recipes Every Tuesday’ event hosted by Aipi and Priya.

 

Like I said in my previous post, Koraishutir Kochuri and Alur Dom are match made in heaven. I have an Alur Dom recipe in my archive but this one right here is a Niramish version meaning sans Onion and Garlic. You wouldn’t know the absence of Onion or garlic and relish this delicacy during festivals.

Ingredients:
Baby potatoes – 1/2 kg (you could use normal potatoes and cut them them cubes)
Ginger paste – 11/2 tbsp
Tomatoes – 2 large or 3 medium, finely chopped or ground
Red chilli powder – as per spice tolerance
Salt to taste
Tumeric powder – 1 tsp
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Corinader powder – 1 tsp
Green peas – 1 handful (optional)
Coriander leaves – a handful
Oil – 3 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Red chillies – 2 (broken into 2-3 pieces each)
Bay leaves – 1 or 2
Sugar – 1 tsp

Method:
1. Boil the potatoes and peel them
2. Heat oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds. Once they splutter add red chillies and bay leaves.
3. Add ginger paste and fry till raw smell goes away.
4. Add tomatoes and saute till they turn mushy and oil is separated.
5. Add potatoes, green peas, all the masala powders, salt, sugar and combine.
6. Add 2 cups of water and boil till you get desired consistency.
7. Garnish with coriander leaves.

I’m sending this to Flavours of Bengal event hosted by Priya and origintaed by Nayna
Green peas are abundantly available during the winter and at throwaway prices. Green peas Kachori is made in Bengali households during this season accompanied by Alur Dom. The combo is truly a match made in heaven. Relishing hot kochuris along with the classic potato side dish is truly a bliss that words fail to describe. Friday was Bengali New Year and as it was a working day, I couldn’t prepare anything special. So Saturday morning saw me thaw my frozen green peas and I set out to prepare this much sought after combo. I made a Niramish (No-onion No-garlic) Alur Dom to go with these deep fried beauties. I’m gonna post it soon but if you’re looking for an Alur Dom recipe, I already have it in my archives here.
My Bong Hubby gave me a perfect 10 on the Kochuris!!! Yippee… Shubo Naba Barsho to all my readers.
Ingredients:
For the stuffing:
Green peas – 1 cup
Green chillies – 2-3
Ginger – 1/2″ piece
Asafoetida – a pinch
Roasted cumin powder or Bhaja Masala* – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Sugar – 1/2 tsp (optional)
Oil – 1 tbsp
For the dough:
Maida – 2 cups
Oil – 1 tbsp
Baking soda – 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Water
Method:

How to prepare the stuffing:

1. Grind the green peas, green chillies and ginger to make a fine paste. Add a little water if required.
2. Heat oil in a pan, add asafoetida. Now add the ground green peas, salt, sugar and saute it till there is no moisture left and there is a dry green mass. Sprinkle roasted cumin powder or bhaja masala and combine.
How to prepare the dough:
Knead maida, salt, sugar, oil, baking soda togther using enough water. Knead well to get a soft but firm dough. Instead of maida alone, you could also use maida and wheat flour in equal ratio.
How to make Kochuris:
1. Pinch lemon sized balls from the dough. Lightly flatten them and make deep holes by pressing the centre.
2. Stuff a tsp of grean peas stuffing and cover it by pleating the edges.
3. Dip the stuffed balls in flour and gently roll into discs.
4. Deep fry in oil and serve hot with Alur Dom.
I’m sending this to Flavours of Bengal event hosted by Priya and origintaed by Nayna
Remember this Palak Pathrado I had posted sometime back? I had kept aside a couple of rolls and frozen it. After a couple of days, I simply removed them from the freezer, thawed, cut into thin pinwheels. (Cutting through was perhaps easy because they were frozen) Coat these pin wheels in semolina or rice flour and fry them. You could either deep fry or fry on a dosa griddle by sprinkling oil and turning them over to ensure both side are cooked well.

Watermelon Basket

Chill out during summer with loads of water melons… Easy to carve and best to best the heat!


Calzone means stocking in Italian. It is a pizza folded over and shaped like a crescent. Baking pizza from scratch was this month’s challenge from the Sweet Punch team. I like to have my pizza loaded with Mushroom and Capsicum on top. I have already posted a Musroom Capsicum Pizza in this blog. So I wanted this to be different in some way. That’s one of the reasons I chose to go with calzone. Another reason is because, my little one cleanly sweeps off the pizza topping along with mozzarella and gives me her plate back with the pizza base in tact. Since I was making the dough myself, I had the option of shaping and sizing it as per my will.
The pizza dough did not turn brown but it was well cooked. I baked for about 18-20 mins. And I was unsure whether baking for more time would turn the dough hard. We enjoyed the calzones very much. They were quite filling and a welcome change from Pizza. Thanks Divya for choosing this, this was the first time my dough raised well and I’m slowly overcoming my yeast inhibitions.

Recipe source – Pioneer Woman
Ingredients:
For the Crust (Makes 2 crusts):
 1 teaspoon Active Dry Or Instant Yeast
4 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (or ordinary salt)
⅓ cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil

To make the Crust:
1. Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water.
2. In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined.

3. Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. 
4. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you need it. 
***It’s best to make the dough at least 24 hours in advance, and 3 or 4 days is even better.

For the filling:

Ingredients:

Capsicum – 1, diced
Onion – 1 medium, diced
Mushrooms – 8-10, washed and sliced or diced
Onions – 2 medium, finely chopped
Tomatoes – 2 medium, pureed or finely chopped
Tomato sauce – 1 tbsp
Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Oil – 1 tbsp
Mozzarella Cheese – grated, to garnish the pizza with
Method:
Heat oil in a pan and saute onions till they turn transparent. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute till the raw smell goes off. Add tomatoes and saute till oil oozes out. Add tomato sauce and salt. Add mushrooms and capsicums. Once mushrooms are cooked well, saute till extra water content is evaporated and you get a spreadable consistency.
To assemble:
Sprinkle your pizza stone or baking sheet with cornmeal/semolina. Roll out the dough into small thin discs. Place the filling in the centre, top it with grated mozzrella cheeze. 
Fold the discs in crescent shape.
With the help of a fork, join the edges as shown in the pic. Also pierce the calzone in a couple of places using a fork. (Egg wash could be applied if desired)

Bake for 15-20 mins at 200C in oven. (Adjust time according to tempertaure)

We were a family of cricket fanatics at home except Amma. We would be glued to the television sets during cricket matches played by India. My Annamma (grandma) was a self proclaimed cricket freak! Sindhu (my sis) and I accompanied Annamma while watching the late night matches. After marriage, I stopped watching matches coz they reminded me of those days. And I didn’t like cricket with the absence of Annamma and Sindhu by my side to cheer and frown. Sindhu would occasionally even put me out of the drawing room and make me sit in some other room when Indian wickets fell coz she believed it was because of me… This time however I couldn’t stop myself from getting hooked to the sport ever since India reached quarter finals. I closely followed all three matches against Australia, Pakistan and Srilanka… Yes, I remembered Annamma and Sindhu all the while. So all I did was imagine how they would have rejoiced at opponent’s wicket fall or boundaries and sixers hit by Indians.
Kudos to the Indian team for bagging the World Cup this time. It sure was a lifetime experience to watch this victory coz I wasn’t even born during the previous Indian World Cup victory… FB and Twitter have been infectious in spreading the Cricket virus. One question by Ria in FB ‘How should we celebrate it?’ had lots of people making something sweet in unison towards a single cause. I too couldn’t resist joining in. So here goes Chocolate Honeycomb Cake for the Indian Cricket Team who worked hard like honeybees with unity towards an undeterred aim and came out with flying colours…
With IPL round the corner, my loyalty is all with Bangalore Royal Challengers. Well, I will be left alone with the rest at home supporting Kolkata Knight Riders. Never mind! Let’s wait and watch… Who are you supporting this IPL season?
Cake recipe source:
It’s the ‘Perfectly Chocolate’ Chocolate Cake by Hershey’s
Ingredients:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa (I used weikfield)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
For assembling:
Whipped cream – 11/2 to 2 cups (I used whipped cream powder, since it had sugar in it, I didn’t have to add any)
Pepsi / Coke – 1 cup
Chocolate curls – for decorating
For the honeycomb pattern:
Semi sweet chocolate – 10 oz
Bubble wrap
Method:
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.
  2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. 
  3.  Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
For assembling:
  1. Once both the cakes are cool, cut them horizontally into 2 layers each.
  2. Place the first layer on the serving plate. Drizzle pepsi / coke all over it. Cover with whipped cream. Repeat the same for next three layers.
  3. Cover the top and sides with whipped cream. Stick chocolate curls all over the sides of the cake.
For the bubble wrap:
  1. Cut a template out of bubble wrap of the size and shape of the top of your cake.
  2. Melt chocolate in microwave for a minute. Stir well. Pour the melted chocolate evenly all over the bubble wrap.
  3. Once the chocolate is half set, carefully invert it over the top of the cake and slightly press it.
  4. Refrigerate for 15 mins and then carefully peel off the bubble wrap.
This was undoubtedly the best cake I have baked so far. It was super moist and perhaps addition of Pepsi on all layers made it even moister. I just couldn’t stop myself staring at the honeycomb pattern. It was hard to believe that it was so simple to get yet looked so elegant. All thanks to Ria, I got this idea from her!
This goes out to Bookmarked Recipes every Tuesday event hosted by Aipi.

And also to Treat To Eyes Series-2 hosted by Rumana