Christmas is perhaps synonymous with fruit cakes. As the mercury dips down, jingle bells ring around, it is time to indulge in the pie of fruit cake, teasing the tongue with sweat-sour diced fruits. Although I am into baking for quite some time now, this is for the first time, I have prepared a full-fledged fruit cake during the Christmas with generous amount of candied fruits viz. pineapples, orange, ginger, cherry, raisin, currant and nuts. One can use few drops of alcohol too, although I refrained. Friends and family was happy and I was over the moon.
With the winter is knocking at the door announcing its arrival, sweat shirts are out of the closets, soaking in the sun gets delightful, I am also geared up to share a very interesting preparation with you. It is called ‘Komolabhog” which you can translate into Orange flavoured rasgulla. Actually I was thinking to prepare Rasgulla for a while the recipe of which is already shared with you (Bengali’s Popular Dessert “Rasgulla” or “Roshogolla”). With the oranges started to showing their faces, I thought to blend the mild sourness of oranges with the soft pulpy rasgullas.
In fact, it is a traditional and a very common sweet all over Bengal particularly during the winter which I immensely enjoyed preparing. The process is fascinating right from handpicking the oranges, squeezing the juice, making the orangy cottage cheese to actually coming up with the wonderful juicy balls. Welcome Winter !!!
Chicken Kosha is a very common preparation in bengali households. I often include the item in my Sunday lunch menu or while serving guests in our house. This is a spicy and dry curry of chicken in contrary to my earlier post ‘Murgir Jhol‘ which is a light dish of chicken with runny gravy. The most suitable accompaniment of this dish is ‘mishti pulao‘ or ‘fried rice‘. One can also serve it with roti, paratha or luchi.
The festival of light ‘Deepavali” has arrived with hope to rekindle the joy of our lives, to shed off the regrets and to ignite the purity of soul. A dose of overpouring sweetness is a must in this occasion. While dabbling with ideas, thought of good old “Besan ka Laddus”, synonymous to Diwali. These crunchy golden spheres, gently yellowish, soaked in desi ghee, with a piece of almond or cashew sneaking out tell a fascinating story while getting melted in the mouth. Laddus never get old. They just get fascinating during Diwali.
Capsicum is a quite a key supplementary vegetable in oriental dishes, particularly Chinese and Thai if one forgets to mention green salad. We as Indian with the inherent expertise of making curry of everything, can’t afford to leave capsicum either out of the grasp 😉 On a serious note, spicy capsicum curry with cubed potato can make into quite a lovely dish which goes really well with chapatti. Here I share such a recipe which I try often during winter with abundance of capsicums.
How much can you experiment with your favourite dishes, they still remain dear in traditional forms. Likewise, although I have tried so many innovative dishes with mutton, mutton kosha is something most alluring to me. ‘Kosha Mangsho’ is a rich preparation of mutton with a thick brownish gravy almost dried. No need to add additional water here, the mutton gets cooked by its own fat and water coming out of it. Cashew nut and poppy seed paste makes the gravy sublime, so does the ghee as well. Being a slow cooked dish, patience is fully rewarded at the end. Recall the good old days when the ‘Golbari’, the food joint at North Kolkata was famous for its ‘Kosha Mangsho. In fact it still is and favourite to the Kolkatans. Here I just tried to replicate Golbari’s ‘kosha mangsho’ in my own way.
Off late, I realised that I have hardly shared much of an interesting egg recipe in my blog. Dim kosha / Egg curry is the common and regural preparation at my kitchen. The recipe is already present in my blog along with another interesting recipe of ‘Dudh Dim or Egg in Milky Gravy‘. To try something new I went through few you tube videos and chose the recipe of a ‘baked or steamed egg’. So here comes the recipe of baked egg with a spicy gravy. An exciting break for the eggetarians from the conventional and hackneyed recipes and sheer joy for me to present it to you with an eye to add diversity to the existing egg dishes.
It has been a while since I had delved into the business of making sweets which led me to ponder what could be the ideal comeback. Finally I decided to make ‘barfi’ with mawa and milky white grated coconut. I am a fan of sweets made of coconut, the fact can be proved with my earlier post of coconut laddus (Chinir Narkol Naru , Gurer Narkol Naru , Carrot Coconut Laddu). This time I coupled it with mawa to make it even more lucrative. The barfi is indeed a quick to make recipe. The raisin (kismis) on the top enhances its beauty. By this recipe you can impress your guests within a jiffy.
‘Bhapa Chingri’ or ‘Chingrir Bhapa’ is one of the delicate Bengali recipes with ‘Prawns’ aka ‘Chingri’. I have already shown my weakness for prawns through my earlier posts which include various of its curry preparations, rice dishes as well as cutlet. This recipe is perhaps the simplest and need few ingredients. Time for both preparation and cooking is very less. As we know, mustard seeds are very common in bengali fish recipes. Here, along with two types of mustard seeds (black and yellow), I also added grated coconut and poppy seeds.They reduce the strong pungent smell of black mustard to some extent and infuses an interesting flavour. Raw prawns cooked in mustard paste along with generous amount of mustard oil and green chilli creates the magic which we call ‘ Chingrir Bhapa’. 🙂
The same recipe can also be followed for some other fishes, such as Hilsa, Bhetki etc.
‘Fruitcake’ is ideal to be prepared on the occasion of ‘Christmas’. However, I missed the chance to make it in last Christmas. Few days back, on demand of my family I baked a super soft, fluffy and spiced fruitcake. Moreover the cake is egg-less as my parents become vegetarian few years back. The recipe is quite simple and does not need any electric hand or stand mixer. The reaction of buttermilk with baking soda gives the cake a soft and airy texture. I have used four types of spices in the cake batter which smells captivating while baking the cake. One will have ample amount of dry fruits with each bite of the cake. As the winter is still not over we can enjoy a slice or two with a hot cup of coffee.
Pancakes are popular all over the world. A starch-based batter with milk and egg is used to prepare a thin, flat cake on hot griddle or frying pan. Sweet pancakes accompanied with jam, nutella, whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream can make lip smacking desserts. Whereas a large, round, savoury pancake with cheese, bacon or vegetables can be served as a full fledged meal. In fact, the best pan cake I ever had, was during my stay in Holland. It was very thin, loaded with cheese and bacons.
However today’s recipe is of a simple savoury pancake with a few handful vegetables and cheese. It can be made into a tasty breakfast and prepared quick without much fuss.
With the onset of winter, vegetable markets get exciting with offerings of colourful seasonal vegetables and fruits. Fresh and lively spinach adds to the variety which I prepare often. It is a healthy piece of green and can be turned into some interesting preparations without much effort. Here I prepare a spinach dish with possibly all the winter vegetables like carrot, broad beans with sprinkled green peas and truly can be tagged as ideal mix veg. The USP of the dish is lentil dumplings alias ‘bori’ which is a must ingredient. Indeed winter is splendid with spinach.
Makar Sankranti, the folklore indicating harvesting of crops is celebrated all across India with much fanfare. In Bengal, it is called ‘Poush Parbon’, on the last day of month “Poush” when each Bengali household gets engaged in preparation of varities of ‘Puli’ & ‘Pithe’, a typical rice cake made with ‘Notun Gurh’ or the fresh date palm jaggery, a signature of winter.
The amazing aroma of date palm jaggery coming out of the kitchen, when boiled, to make syrup is nothing short of magical. Usually the pithas are filled with finely grated coconut.
This year I choose the recipe of ‘Gokul Pithe’ share with you. The ‘pithe’ is actually a flat round shaped coconut ball, made with either date palm jaggery or sugar. The coconut ball is then dipped into a flour batter, deep fried in oil and soaked into sugar syrup.
These days, unarguably we are drifting away from our age-old culture and traditional practices. As per the food and recipes are concerned, many of them got deep buried or even lost. On the holy occasion of Makar Sankranti, this is a small attempt to relive the moments through food, we left far behind.
Earlier posts on ‘Makar Sankranti’ recipes :
Participation to ‘A to Z recipe challenge’ provokes to think about recipes which are off-beat, not exactly run-of-the-mill and thus interesting. This time around, the challenge is to prepare a dish with key ingredient starting with the letter ‘E’. Eggplant comes naturally to mind which I thought to use in Pasta. And the pasta has to be ‘Pasta alla Norma’, a typical Sicilian cuisine, coming from southernmost part of Italy. The original recipe is prescribed to be made with macaroni, tomatoes, ricotta salata cheese, fresh basil leaves along with fried egg plants. I could find neither ricotta not fresh basil easily and replaced them with the dried basil and local cheese, without much ado. And I have used ‘penne’ as well. The result is yummy creamy Pasta all Norma with the Italian job accomplished.
Long back, I shared the recipe of Prawn Pulao. This time, I present the same dish, however with some substantial difference, in a new avatar which actually does an interesting facelift altogether. Here I prepare the pulao using Gobindobhog rice, which is a typical rice cultivar found in West Bengal. It has a short grain with an unmatchable, fascinating aroma. The rice pudding or payesh in bengal is ideally made with this gobindobhog rice.
Back to the present recipe, I cook it in the pressure cooker this time which makes it much prompter and easier compared to the previous version. The other good thing is that, in the pressure cooker, the aroma of rice, prawns and the ghee mix so well, that I got the flavour exactly what I desired. For the prawn lovers, the pulao is an absolute joy. Again to mention, the key trick and the ingredient in this recipe is Gobindobhog rice, which you can try to procure online if not available in the Bengali market close by.
Croquettes are referred to as fried snacks coated with breadcrumbs. The stuffing can be made of either vegetables, cheese, fish or meat. These kind of snacks are pretty popular among Bengalis and we usually call them ‘chop’ or ‘cutlets’. You will find a few cutlet recipes in my earlier posts, which are given here.
- Vegetable Chop or Vegetable Cutlet
- Egg Devil or “Dimer chop”
- Chicken Cutlet
- Fish Roll
- Prawn Cutlet
- Kolkata style Fish fry
- Fish Cutlets (Bengali Macher Chop)
In the current recipe, I have chosen paneer or the Indian Cottage Cheese as the stuffing since it is extremely popular among vegetarians. I love the soft, crumbly texture of paneer in my mouth with each bite. Icing on the top is the flavour of coriander leaves in the stuffing, symbolizing the onset of winter. Without using variety of spices, the garam masala solely creates the magic.
While one has to be careful while frying the croquettes which is the only tricky part, however, with a few handful ingredients a tasty snack will be ready within minutes.
Bombay Duck Fish or ‘Lote/ Loytta mach’ (in Bengali) although not being considered as a top grade fish, however can be turned into quite a few tasty preparations. ‘Lote Macher Jhuri’ is one of these finger-licking dishes. With ample use of onion, tomato and garlic, this mashed fish curry will surely rouse your taste buds. In contrary to the traditional fish preparations, the spicy dried fish curry is nothing short of a revelation. I can bet you will finish your plate without a blink of your eyes.
When I was asked to participate in the A to Z recipe challenge, a challenge initiated on Facebook Group, I was wondering what could be my recipe, that too starting with the letter ‘D’? Date was something, that I thought about right from the beginning, but was not sure of something interesting with dates. Then, all of a sudden, I got reminded of this recipe, of bars or blocks, made of dates and oats.
These days, oats is a common feature in the breakfast, having a high nutritious and health value. And I could use it in a completely new avatar in this recipe; this thought made me super excited. Luckily the oats and dates bar came out pretty nicely, quite like the way I thought. Now, I am pretty pleased to live up to the challenge. I hope you will love this crunchy bites with the falvaour of dates.
“Oats & Dates Squares / Bars” is my contribution to the A to Z recipe challenge for the month of November. Letter “D” is the challenge for this month and I choose Dates as the key ingredient of my recipe.
Me and Swapna came to know each other through food blogging. This acquaintance quickly turned into friendship which grew only stronger over time. I feel blessed to know such an wonderful person like Swapna with whom my bond expanded beyond the boundary of blogging.
As my dear friend hails from Chennai, her blog Swapna’s Kitchen is full of amazing traditional Tamil recipes. Also one will be surprised to find a bouquet of recipes consisting of sweets, baked goods, snacks and what not. I am bit indulged to know many nice non-veg dishes from her blog. Do check her blog which is a must visit.
Just a few days back I asked her to do a guest post for me. In return she shared with me the recipe of a traditional Tamilian sweet dish, Cheeni Adhirasam.
As I get to know from her ‘Adhirasam’ is a traditional deep fried sweet specially made during Diwali with rice flour and jaggery or sugar. Those who don’t like the taste of jaggery can try this authentic recipe with sugar. In that case one need to take care of the sugar consistency. If the sugar consistency turns hard then the adhirasams would also turn hard. Try to use ponni pacharisi (raw rice) for perfect adhirasams. Always fry the adhirasam in low flame, it does take time to get cooked.
Swapna’s guest post for my blog is one of my sweetest gifts for Diwali ever. Do try this sweet at home this Diwali and have a fun filled celebrations with your loved ones. Thank you so much Swapna and Happy Diwali to all my friends and fellow bloggers.
Bread is perhaps the most common item for breakfast around the world. Even in India, a slice of bread has replaced the traditional regional foods for breakfast. I cannot think of my busy weekdays mornings without bread, which you can just bake and have it with a spoon of butter or jam. I must admit that since my childhood I have been a big fan of a crunchy toast with lots of butter and sugar on top of it and the love affair continues till date. However, with growing age I am trying to cut down the amount of consumable butter and sugar. 🙂
Sometimes I also get bored with bread toasts. Luckily, plenty of options for cheeses are available in the market which tempts me to carry out experiments with mundane breakfasts with breads. And here I am with a quick, easy and delicious ‘Bread Pizza’ recipe with capsicum, tomato, herbs like oregano and basil and grated cheese . I am pretty sure that kids will love it too. It can also be served as snacks anytime in the day.