Month of July can be regarded as an ideal month for rainy season. However, in Delhi it is hard to find a completely rain drenched day. For me, here, the extended summer starts in April and ends in September. I dearly miss the good old Monsoon of my growing years in Kolkata.
However summer brings with it a plateful of vegetables among which ‘Bottle Gourd’ or ‘Lauki’ or ‘Lau’ (in Bengali) is perhaps the commonest and still my beloved. Thinking of bottle gourd, the dish which comes in my mind at the foremost is Lau Ghanto or the traditional bottle gourd curry. For preparing ‘Lau Ghanto’ one needs to chop the bottle gourd very fine which is a bit time consuming. While an alternative preparation with bottle gourd, known as ‘Lau er Dalna’, can be prepared much easily which I present here.Potato and bottle gourd chunks are simply cooked in Indian spices to make a curry for Lau er dalna. This dish is very delicious too with an aroma of garam masala and ghee and indeed a great accompaniment of plain rice or roti or paratha.
Lau er Dalna (Bottle Gourd & Potato Curry)
Curd or yogurt is found almost in everyone’s refrigerator, particularly during summer. It is also used in many of Indian veg or non-veg dishes as a taste enhancing agent. Many of us have already added this calcium rich home-made ‘dahi’ in our daily lunch menu.
Now to give it an essential Summer touch, I tried for ‘Aam doi’ or ‘Ripe Mango Curd’ since mangoes are my favorite and available aplenty these days. I find it hard to come across the really good quality sugary sweet mangoes here in Delhi. But this season, I was pleasantly surprised to have my hands on the ‘Dasheri Aam’, one of its kind of juicy mangoes, happened to be deliciously sweet as well. And I could not resist myself from trying this recipe of ‘aam doi’ which anyway needed the ripe and sweet variety of mangoes. Though nothing can beat Bengali’s quintessential ‘Mishti doi’ or ‘Sweet Dahi’ as the supreme dessert, Aaam Doi is lip smacking too being as a summer blessing.
Aam Doi or Ripe Mango Curd
Bori or sun-dried lentil dumplings is a traditional ingredient used in a number of bengali preparations. Often it plays a silent role to enhance the taste of the dish and thus the secret USP. We can’t think of many veg curries (like Lau Ghanto or Bottle Gourd Curry , Sukto , Mochar Ghonto (Dry Banana Flower Curry) , Mulor Ghonto/ Stir-fried Radish etc.) and fish curries (with Tangra fish , Rahu, Hilsa ect.) without bori in them.
‘Bori’ can be made of urad dal, masoor dal or even chana dal. Thick airy lentil paste is prepared and dried under direct sun in dumpling shpes. In earlier times, ‘bori’ used to be prepared at home. However, these days it is readily available in market.
‘Masla bori’ is a special kind of Urad dal bori with added spices. Usually, ‘bori’ is a used as a supplementary ingredient. However, it is the key ingredient in this recipe. The whole preparation here is based around ‘bori’ which is made into a tasty curry with mustard sauce.
Masla Borir Jhal (Sun dried lentil dumplings in mustard curry)
Once in a while you stumble across a hidden treasure, somehow forgotten and buried somewhere. Finding this recipe of Salmon fish, prepared long back, gave me the pleasure as such. Salmon was one of my favourites during my expat days and sharing the recipe is like going down memory lane. Here in Delhi and elsewhere in India, Salmon is not scarcely found these days and I assume that over the days Salmon swam across the oceans to reach East. So, on one hand if sharing this recipe gives me immense pleasure while reminiscing good old days, on the other, it also raises the excitement of introducing a glorious continental preparation.
Salmon in Spinach & Mushroom bed
Paneer can be turned into various interesting dishes, once one gets bored to the ideas of usual paneer ki sabzi, matar paneer or even the spicy paneer butter masala. Chilli paneer can be a refreshing break if you adore and love to go Chinese too. This recipe of Chilli panner is a simple, mild but delicious to satisfy more than your appetite and rivets you close to the glorious Asian cuisine. Highly recommended with fried rice but equally engrossing with roti and parantha too.
These days, as we get flooded by baking recipes of so many varieties across the genres, I assume the simple, sober and plain chocolate cake still holds a special place in our heart, bearing the charm of past. Over the last few years, I also tried to put together different cake recipes in the blog, from lovely carrot cake to celebrated black forest and from the lip smacking cheese cake to addictive mocha. And then thought to get back to the roots, to the story of the simplest chocolate cake. Apart from the usual ingredients of baking, I need a good dark chocolate strip with just a bit of vanilla extract and that’s all.
Just wish to remind however, that a bite of this simple chocolate cake can turn lethal with a dose of caffeine. And of course, coffee etiquette has to be kept in mind, particularly when you are travelling. I came across of all these facts and figures through this fascinating blog, Med Cruise Guide which you would find superbly exciting. Bon voyage to the land of coffee with a pie of chocolate cake.
Paratha stuffed with seasonal vegetables apart from the usual Aloo or Muli parathas are pretty common in Northern India. Likewise, spinach puree in partaha dough infuses a certain kind of herb flavour in the paratha and makes it pretty tasty too. Known as Palak paratha, it is actually quite popular and find many lovers all around. Here I share the interesting recipe of Palak Paratha which one can readily follow.
Palal Lacha Paratha (Spinach Lacha Paratha)
With hardly any bone and more than a taste of sea fish, ‘Bhetki’ is quite a popular and counted among the elites of fishes to Bengalis. “Paturi” (smoked fish cooked with mustard paste in banana leaf) is the best and a top class preparation out of Bhetki. Even the base for fish cutlets and fries is unimaginable without it. However today, I describe a preparation which is very simple and common in Bengali house holds and quite similar to the fish curry prepared with Rahu and vegetables. The added attraction is the cauliflower and green peas in it and of course the charm of Bhetki itself.
Bhetki Macher Jhol / Bhetki Fish Curry
“Kumror Chokka” or diced pumpkin curry is quite a well known vegetarian dish in Bengali Cuisine. It is also often made as a ‘prasad’ among others during household pujas and best enjoyed with luchi aka puri or paranthas. The usual pumpkin curry with the chunks of potato tastes even more lucrative while a handful black chickpeas find their way in the curry. Largely unassuming and underrated, this simply curry, if prepared well can arouse your taste bud with ease.
Kumror Chokka (Pumpkin – Potato Curry)
Apples although being healthy, are not among my favourite fruits. As a result, few of them were left in my fruit basket for long. To finish them off, I thought of an idea to transform them into baked apple in the form of muffins. As an add on, caramelized sugar topping mingled with the flavour of cinnamon enhanced the test many folds. A must try for those who don’t like apple just like me, however equally passionate to bake 🙂
Apple & Cinnamon Muffins
Delhi is heaven for Tandoori lovers. Almost in every corner of this city you will find small shops of tandoors with plenty of veg and non veg options. From the small glass windows you can see hanging marinated chicken or paneer or other marinated stuffs which are ready to be baked in a large charcoal clay oven. Any of these grilled items coming right from the oven can be your first choice as dinner in the chilled nights of Delhi’s winter.
Besides that, restaurants are also available with plenty of options. Whenever we wish to have something in tandoor we usually order for Afghani Tandoori Chicken. The most I like about the white coated tandoori chicken with the burnt brown edges is its tenderness. As it remains marinated in fresh cream, the flavour of malai gets soaked with the chicken pieces getting soft and tender. This post is my hands on the Afghani chicken prepared in the oven which you can try too without much trouble. Although you may miss the smell of charcoal in this recipe, it’s still worth of trying.
Afghani Tandoori Chicken
After a long I am back with an unique preparation of Rahu fish (Rui mach). Rohu is almost in our daily intake of food list and earlier I shared 3 of it’s preparations also. This time I am presenting a bit different dish which I’ve prepared with poppy seed paste (posto). I am actually a die heart fan of poppy seeds which is called “posto” in Bengali and love anything made out of it. In general Bengali fish curries contains a combination of mustard paste and poppy seed paste. However this curry solely made with poppy seed paste. Hope you will enjoy it :).
Rui Posto (Rohu cooked in Poppy Seed paste)
After a substantial gap, I am back to what I love most in blogging, that is to post a new recipe on baking. Here comes the one called “Mocha Layer Cake”, a beautifully garnished cake with the falvour of both chocolate and coffee. As the name suggests, this is an assemblage of separate baked layers, in fact three, which come together drenched in coffee cream. With the grated chocolate giving the top terrain rather a rugged look, I must admit that the Mocha Cake is one of the most lovely looking cakes, I have come across. With a great taste, Mocha can be a smash hit for the coffee lovers who can not afford to miss their favourite flavour in a cake.
Mocha Layer Cake
It is always pleasing to get back to blogging that too after a long hiatus. Now what could be more gleeful than sharing a recipe of grandeur on your comeback. Here I bring it on the table the recipe of Mutton Biryani, an all time favourite for the Mughlai Khana enthusiasts. If you ask me the “Gharana” of the biryani, I can declare it to be originally Lucknowi which found its proud inheritance in Kolkata since the later part of eighteenth Century. However, for me while admitting its glorious legacy, I find this biryani to be typically Kolkatan, which ignited my love for Mughlai food in childhood that I carry till date. Hope to get your love and affection for this recipe too.
Earlier I have already shared with you one of the Tangra fish recipes (Tangra Macher Jhal/Tangra fish in Rich Gravy) which might have introduced you to Tangra, a tasty sweet water fish, adored by many Bengalis. Here I present another Tangra fish recipe which, in contrast to the earlier one, is much lighter in taste, less spicy and makes a traditional healthy “macher jhol” or fish curry with gravy. With some vegetables into it, tangra macher jhol is an ideal example of common daily fish recipe, quick and easy to adopt.
Tangra Macher Jhol/ Tangra fish in Light Gravy
Being stationed in North India, which can unarguably be regarded as “land of parathas”, I come across every possible kind of parathas to be imagined and you start to doubt if anything more can be done with them. Today, however, I present you a very different and one of its kind of paratha, with a history going back decades in the past and known as Mughlai Paratha. As the name suggests, adored by the Mughals, ideally Mughlai Paratha is stuffed with egg, mutton keema and sometimes with fish minces to be served with salads and potato curries. Pretty heavy for being categorized as a snack, mughlai paratha is indeed a fulll fledged non-vegeterian dish which finds a huge fan following in East India, particularly in and around Calcutta. Try it out to know that Parathas can be more than what we can imagine.
Mughlai Paratha with Spicy Potato Mixture
I recall to share with you the yummiest carrot desert ever i.e. Gajorer Halua or Carrot Halwa. Now, this is time to go the extra mile from where we left and make laddoos out of carrot-coconut blend. Perfectly round, super smooth and generously sweet, Gajar Naryal balls are sheer treat and irresistible too. Indeed winter with carrots is a bliss. Happy Valentines day.
Carrot Coconut Laddu
Fenugreek leaves or Methi saag is abundant these days of winter and I often prepare a typical saag curry out of it. However Methi can be used in different dishes and if you recall, once I shared with you Methi Paratha before. Here I present a chicken preparation using methi which can be touted as a successful experimentation. If you are skeptic about methy being of a slightly bitter taste, let me assure you that the certain tricks and a proper method as described in the following will result in a really interesting combination of methi saag and chicken. This recipe will surely be a nice addition to your chicken recipe and a justice to a seasonal herb.
Methi Malai Murgh (Methi Chicken with Cream)
Any form of chocolate cake is a pure fantasy to me where I like to immerse from time to time. In past, I have shared with you the recipe of Chocolate fudge cake which was much appreciated. Here I come up with a cake which is even more richer in chocolate and thus regarded naturally as “rich” chocolate cake. Instead of using cocoa powder, in this recipe I have melted the chocolate and butter together which provided the silky richness. Even while baking the opulent aroma can be felt. I wish you to try this preparation to share this piece of joy.
Rich Chocolate Cake
Ghugni is quite a popular street food in Kolkata which finds a resonance with my childhood and growing up in the city. I still have a vivid memory of the street hawkers carrying a large bowl of ghugni on the flame, roamed around the streets in the evening, calling for the buyers with a signature yell. Ghugni used to be a lucrative tiffin snack at the school gates with a piece of bread too. For those who had never heard about it, Ghugni is actually a spicy curry prepared with dried yellow peas which is known as ‘ghugnir mator’ in Bengali. Pretty riveting in the tongue, Ghugni remains still a favourite and I use the following space to describe its recipe although slightly in a different mould. Here I will add Mutton keema in the Ghugni which makes it even more compelling for the non-vegetarians. Must admit although that is not my innovation at all. In fact ‘keema ghugni’ or ‘mangsher ghugni’ is also immensely popular in Bengal. Happy cooking.
Keema Ghugni (Dried Yellow Peas cooked with Mutton keema)