Saturday, August 11, 2012

Chingri maach diye bandhakopi-Cabbage with shrimps

Shrimps!!!Awsome on their own and one of the best flavor elevator around.You add them to soups,noodles,pasta,fried rice and you are sure to receive some compliments.We bongs have been adding chingri to our everyday veggies to create magic-lau chingri being probably the most popular of all the chingri veggie combination.Today I created the chingri magic with cabbage.This combination is also a popular combination in bengali kitchens.
Cabbage -1 head chopped fine
Onion-1 medium sliced fine
Garlic-2 big cloves minced
Ginger-1 teaspoon minced/greated
Turmeric powder-1 teaspoon
Cumin powder-1 tablespoon
Corriander powder-1 teaspoon
Potato-1 peeled and cubed.
Chilli-either green or red -2or Chilli powder-1 teaspoon
Salt-to taste
Oil-3-4 tablespoons

Heat oil and fry the shrimps lightly with some salt and a pinch of turmeric.This will take about 3-4 mins.Take out the shrimps from the oil and keep aside.Now add the onions and saute it in the same oil.Add in the garlic mince and the ginger.Once the onions are cooked addin the potatoes and fry them a little.Now add in the cabbage,let the cabbage settle down in the kadhai.It will do so in a couple of mins.Now add in the turmeric,the chilli powder and corriander powder.Let the cabbage simmer and cook.Keep giving the cabbage nice stirs at regular intervals so that it does not start burning from below.Add salt in the end since cabbage reduces in quantity when cooked.Add in the shrimps and mix it into the cabbage.
Sometimes garam masala is also added at the end.In my opinion let the smell and taste of shrimps rule the cabbage instead of complicating the flavor with garam masala.
It's your choice and your liking. You can add in ghee,garam masala,maybe a tomato. You can add powdered dry roasted cumin seeds instead of garam masala.Your wish :-)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Aloo Phulkopir jhol-Cauliflower Potato gravy

I do most of the cooking and cleaning after Daddy D comes back home from work....daytime goes in trying to keep up with the energy,tantrums and the inquisitive mind of a 10 month old.Somedays back our Mommy Group decided to have a pot luck and the organiser mommy called for a meeting.Not sure how long the meeting would take I decided to make dinner before I went out for the evening.We had some leftovers of mutton curry and majher jhal,all that was needed was a sabji and rice.I pulled out the vegetable tray of the refridgerator and looked at my options- cabbage,cauliflower and a box of mushrooms.I decided on the cauliflower by the method of elimination rather than selection.Cabbage takes a lot of time to chop,I had only 40 mins to make a sabji from start to end.40 mins...that's the usual time my princess sleeps in the afternoon.Mushrooms got eliminated cause i wanted to save them for pasta planned for later during the week.
There are some great bong ways of making cauliflower.The aloo phulkopi bhaja is my all time favourite.Long long time back when all cousins would gather at my grandparents house for winter vacation,aloo phulkopi bhaja with triangular shaped parota was our typical bengali breakfast.However this cauliflower needed to be made into a gravy for the rice to be had at dinner.We were out of onions so it had to be the "niramish jhol".
Cauliflower-1 head cut into florets
Potatoes-2 peeled and cubed
Green chillies-3-4
Tomatoes-1 large chopped
Turmeric powder-1 teaspoon
Cumin powder -1 table spoon
Corriander powder -1 tablespoon
Bay leaf-1
Ginger-1/2 spoon grated
Cinnamon stick -2 inch piece
Salt to taste
Ghee-1 table spoon
Vegetable oil-4 tablespoons
Sugar -1 teaspoon

Heat the oil in a kadhai and put in the sugar, bay leaf  and cinnamon stick.Caramalize the sugar to a nice flame red colour,make sure not to burn the sugar or it will end up being bitter.Once the sugar is of the warm red colour and the cinnamon has turned fragrant add in the tomaoes and green chilli.When the tomatoes are half cooked add the grated ginger.Let the ginger fry for a minute then add in the cauliflower and the potatoes.Add the turmeric powder and salt and let the cauliflower and potatoes soften.You can put a lid on the kadhai and let the vegetables simmer.Once the vegetables are soft,add in the cumin and corriander powder mixed with 2 spoons of water.Give the vegetables a nice stir for a couple of minutes to cook the cumin and corriander.Now add 1 1/2 cups of water and let the "jhol" come to a boil.Right before you take the phulkopir jhol off the flame add in the tablespoon of ghee and cover the kadhai.
It takes a little more time than 40 mins for the end result.I had little princess in my arm when I added the Ghee and covered the Kadhai.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Nimona -Green Peas Curry

I have always loved green peas.As a kid,I had watched "nimona" being made on some cooking show on Doordarshan.The idea of a full bodied pea mush with indian spices had appealed to me a lot .In fact it had all the things i liked- bori/vadi and potatoes!!.Unfortunately in the fast pace of life and growing up we were never able to try this out and this recipe became hazy and lost from the conscious mind.Not now :-).
I had taken little princess to the playground last week.All mommies were discussing what would be cooking for dinner that evening and I suddenly hear "Nimona"...bang came the image of a green pea mush.Mrs T from UP side of India brought it all back.Since then I have already made it twice.The first time daddy only tasted 2 spoons for dinner.I had packed it for next day's daddy 's lunch.....but daddy had a jumbo sized icecream for lunch next day and daddy's lunch was eaten by a home food starved bachelor uncle.I hope he enjoyed the nimona.Daddy came home expecting to have any leftover nimona for dinner , but mommy had already cleaned all leftovers :-).So mommy made Nimona once again Just for daddy.
Thank you Mrs T for sharing the recipe.
Green peas-2 cups
Fresh Green corriander-1 bunch
Garlic-1 big clove made into a paste
Tomato-1 chopped
Potatoes-1 cut into cubes
Bori-about 12.(I used the moong dal bori,Mrs T uses Urad dal ones)
Green chillies-3-4
Cumin powder-3/4 teaspoon
Salt -to taste
Oil/Ghee-3-4 tablespoons

I blended the corriander ,chillies and the green peas first,you don't need a very fine blend for this...about 75% ground will work perfect for nimona.Now heat the oil and fry the bori and keep aside.In the same oil add the garlic on a low heat so that it doesn't burn.Add the blended mixture of green peas,corriander and chillies.Keep frying till water evaporates,add the potatoes and fry again.By this time your kitchen room will have a beautiful fragrance from the 'BHUNO" of this mixture.Now add the cumin powder ,the salt and the tomatoes and fry again.Once the tomatoes have softened and mixed in, add water bring to a boil.Check if potatoes are done and drop in the fried boris.
Garam masala powder can be added but i did not,I wanted the nimona have the natural green pea taste with as less of other masalas.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Chicken Satay with Peanut sauce

It was daddy's birthday last week.We planned a grilling menu for the birthday celebration lunch.We decided to grill in the park since the weather was nice and sunny.Take advantage of the short lived summer months and it would be a shame not to be outdoors on a Sunday .We decided to grill chicken 2 ways -Thai Chicken satay with a peanut sauce,tandoori chicken with a yogurt and mint chutney.Mommy being a diehard shrimp enthusiast,shrimps had to be a part of the menu,so we did shrimps in a chipotle marinde.This turned out to be the most hassle free entertaining that we had done.The only dampner was the weather, thunderstorms and showers in the Sunday weather forcast....but worry not when you have a patio and disposable charcoal grills on sale at Wal Mart :-)

Thai Chicken Satay.
We did about 10 chicken thighs.

For the marinade
Lemongrass-1 stick
Garlic-3 big cloves
Ginger-1 inch piece
Tumeric-1/2 teaspoon.(If you use fresh you can use about an inch of the root)
Chillies-2.(We used the Thai Red chilli)
Brown sugar-3 tablespoons
Soy sauce-2 tablespoons
Fish sauce-3 tablespoons
Cumin powder-2 teaspoons
Corriander powder-2 teaspoons
Oil-4 tablespoons

The process cannot be any simpler.You just need a blender and blend in all the marination ingredients.Taste to check the marinade and adjust for your taste.If you want more heat add in more chillies or mix some red chilli powder.Check for salt,the fish sauce has salt but we added white salt white adjusting the marinade,I did not want addinitional fish sauce flavor in the marinade.If you like a stronger fish sauce flavor you can add more fish sauce for saltiness.If you like it sweeter help yourself to more brown sugar.

I cut the chicken pieces in long thin strips and put them in the marinade.Keep it in the refridgerator.2 hrs should be good to get all the flavors in.We did it the evening before.
Skew the chicken pieces on a wooden skewer and place them on your grill.We grilled ours on a charcoal grill.The chicken should be done in about 15 mins.Do both the sides till they get the beautiful char.

Enjoy the satay chicken with a peanut sauce.

Ingredients for the peanut sauce is almost the same as for the marinade except for the addition of peanuts,coconut milk and tamarind pulp
Peanuts-1 cup roasted and ground peanut.
Shallots-2 table spoons finely chopped.
Lemongrass-1/2 a stick ground to a paste
Brown sugar-1 tablespoon
Thai red chilli- 2
Fish sauce -2 tablespoons
Soy sauce-2 tablespoons
Red chilli sauce-1 teaspoon
Garlic-2 cloves
Sesame oil-2 tablespoons
Tamarind pulp-2 tablespoons
Coconut Milk-1 cup

In a pan heat the sesame oil and fry the shallots till they change colour.Add the ground peanuts, the lemon grass and red chilli paste.(I blended them together with some water).Add the rest of the ingredients and then stir in the tamarind pulp.You can add some water now and watch all the ingredients come together to form a sauce.Check the taste and add salt or more sugar or some chilli sauce according to your liking.After a minute I added the coconut milk.Once the sauce reached the desired consistency take it off the flame.