Chicken nugget qualifies to be a cute form of non-veg appetizer which can readily be served with tea or coffee in the evening snack. It is a suitable successor to my earlier post of Chilli Cheese Nuggets. The best part about chicken nugget is that it can be preserved for weeks in the freezer to be taken out at the right time, deep fried and served immediately. Moreover, it requires only a handful of ingredients with hardly much time to prepare.
‘Macher chop‘ or fish cutlet is among the most popular street foods in Kolkata. Spicy mashed fish content makes the cutlet savoury inside with a crunchy outside twist. This is the newest addition to my list of chop & cutlet recipes which I shared earlier. This is a perfect evening snack, a party winner and a delight to your guests. Any fish with less bone can be chosen for this recipe, for example Rohu, Bhetki, Lote (Bombay duck fish) etc. So with no more delay save a little fish from your daily menu and try this mouthwatering snack.
After a long sabbatical of almost three months, I again find my calling here to share with you a well known snack “Dahi Vada”. Originated sometimes during the 12th century, in the present day Karnataka, as Dahi Vada kept on making fans all over India, it can hardly be called a South Indian Snack. Found in every corner of India these days, Dahi Vada plays a multi-purpose role, from being a filler to starter and from a party dish to a road-side delight. I am also in sheer love with this fried dumpling of lentils dunked in yogurt with a topping of bhujia. An absolute pleasure sharing this recipe.
I just love to have cheeses without looking at my weight meter 😛 . While returning from Europe I brought a large chunk of Cheddar cheese which I bought from cheese factory in Netherlands. I utilize the cheese in many a dishes, one of my favourites among those is the ‘savoury curried bites’. These are basically savoury biscuits with richness of cheese and flavoured with spices. It highly satisfies ones need for tasty teatime snacks.
Mung Daler Bhaja Puli is a special preparation for Makar Sankranti or Poush Parbon, as celebrated in Bengal. Last year also I posted few recipes on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, such as Sedhyo Pithe, Dudh Puli, Patishapta, however this year quite late I am. But that does not bar me from sharing this tempting recipe. Bhaja (means fried) puli is also a departure from my previous recipes as it is not only sweet but savoury as well. That’s why it could be served as snacks with surprise of sweetness inside. Each bite of fried mung dal cover and sweet coconut filling brings in a heavenly feeling.
Alur chop is perhaps the most quintessential street-side snack in Kolkata. Perhaps the most common as well, among all the Pakoras or “Chop”s as known in Bangla, it can’t be separated from Bengali identity. However, being so common and available at every other snack vendors, it is taken granted and hardly anyone feels the urge to prepare at home. I felt the urge dearly; since being away from Kolkata for so many years now, missing the good old Alur chop is quite obvious. The recipe comes here, though a bit late, as I have been preparing it for quite some time now. It is time to rekindle the love again.
Egg roll is perhaps the most quintessential Kolkata street food one comes across these days. It acts a form of quickie cheap filler when you are out on the road, feeling hungry and not in a mood to spend too much bucks. Stop by at one of the umpteenth roll corners, buy the roll which as the name suggests, is nothing but a wrapped paratha with egg and salads inside and just pass over while munching. It is amazing how the roll took over the once mighty traditional mughlai street foods slowly but vehemently in Kolkata. Egg roll however is the simplest form of non veg wraps. One can find chicken or mutton role, tikki roll, kebab roll and even the veg paneer role which are equally lucrative. I hope this recipe will give you a lead on how to prepare roll at home which you can always try as an evening snack.
Quite in the same line of Shami Kebab, which I have shared with you earlier, here I present a completely vegetarian counterpart, made of Soya nuggets and can proudly be called Soya Nugget Kebab. I have always felt that Soya nugget is a perfect foil for meat and can give the latter a run for its money, if prepared rich with generous amount of spices. Then I thought as the word ‘Kebab’ always sounds meaty, why not give it a vegetarian version with the good old soya nuggets? The result is as delightful as ever and serves as a great appetizer, snacks or whatever you like to call it. Kebab is not any longer the monopoly of flesh eaters 🙂
I have found in the cocktail parties people craving for appetizers with their drinks if they find them even a bit out of the usual. Sadly in most of the in-house parties, the snacks are the same age old ones, bought from the shops and heaped on the plate. It must have been very interesting if the appetizers are also home made like the food following, just out of the oven, light, less oily and devoid of any artificial flavour. Well well, the present recipe satisfies all of them and comes up with a mind blowing snack which fits in apt for the cocktail parties. If you are ready to put in the extra effort, having the extra amount of Cheddar cheese in your kitchen, no body cant stop you making your guests ga ga over these delicious bites.
It has always been our priority to start a day with healthy breakfast. At the same time, these days, leading fast lives, we can’t afford to go for a lengthy recipe. Although our taste bud always look for something different from regular bread and butter. Vegetable Upma, a savoury dish mainly with semolina and few vegetables, would be a great option for a healthy yet tasty breakfast. Althoug a South Indian delicacy, it is quite similar to our daily food and we Bengalis often call it “Nonta Suji”, ‘nonta’ means savoury and ‘suji’ stands for semolina. My mother used to make it often for breakfast and even for lunch during my school days. The present recipe is very simple and pretty similar to the usual upma recipe. So have it and stay healthy 🙂
The word ‘Fish fry’ means either shallow frying or deep frying the pieces of a fish coated with salt and some spices. But in Kolkatan lingo, fish fry is a special snack rather a starter made from Bhetki fish (Asian Seabass) fillet coated with breadcrumbs. One can just stop by any of the numerous road side snack bars in Kolkata and find the inexpressible pleasure with just a bite in the crunchy fish fry dipped in mustard sauce with a bit of salad.
During my stay in Europe I always missed the Bhetki fish and forced to substitute it with either Atlantic Seabass, Cod or Pangasius if I had any plan of making fish fries. This time I took the opportunity to the fullest for being in Kolkata and did not miss the chance to prepare Bhetki fish fry for one of my good friends during her visit to my place. She was most certainly impressed.
Aloo Tikki is a very popular, easy to make tea time snack. Basically it is nothing but a fried spicy potato ball given a flat kebab like shape. You can come up with the Aloo tikki literary in no time with ingredients that are generally available at our kitchen. It proves that the best snacks do not always demand whole of your time and energy, but a little bit of creativity.
I am very fond of stuffed foods and often keep experimenting on them. They can be served well as quick handy snacks and even as appetizer before settling into the main dishes. Earlier I shared with you one such recipe of Stuffed Mushrooms. Now It is the turn for stuffed tomatoes. I have so far found some Greek recipes where tomatoes get stuffed with meat minces. Here instead I give it a complete vegetarian treatment and fill the tomatoes with mushrooms, corns and cheese. Hope you will like it.
Miniature forms of anything around us are always attractive and win one’s heart quickly. The same applies for the food and I am not an exception here. When I first came to know about the miniature form of tarts, known as ‘tartlets’, it turned me on instantly and the adoration grew over the days. Among the various types of tartlets, the fruit tartlet could be a great dessert, while the savoury ones serve the purpose of tempting snacks. In fact in one of my earlier posts, I shared with you the recipe of Cherry tomato & poppy seed tartlets. No one on earth can dislike the cheesy filling of savoury tartlets. Although different cheese can be used for the filling, as the name reveals I used blue cheese in this recipe. Make these tartlets to surprise your guests and I bet they will enjoy it and end up licking their leaps 🙂
Cordon bleu is a cutlet in which a thin slice of pounded meat is wrapped around cheese, then breaded and pan fried or deep fried. Various meat can be used for this purpose, such as chicken, veal, ham etc.
But as the name reveals I replaced meat with fish fillet and made a fish cordon bleu. I used Atlantic Cod fillets which can be replaced well by our favourite ‘Bhetki’ fish. The combination of fish with molten cheese made it so exquisitely delicious that is hard to explain in words. So better to prepare and try yourself. 😉
Ingredients to serve 2-4 :
- Fish fillet – 1 (approx. 150 gm)
- Onion paste – 1½ tbspoon
- Ginger – garlic paste – ½ tbspoon
- Green chilli paste – 1 teaspoon (optional)
- Lime juice – 1 tbspoon
- Black pepper powder – ½ teaspoon
- Salt to taste
- Mustard sauce or “Kasundi” – 1 tbspoon
- Grated cheese – 3-4 tbspoon
- Chopped Parsley – 2 tbspoon (heaped)
- Egg (beaten) – 1
- Breadcrumbs to coat
- Flour – 2-3 tbspoon
- Oil for pan fry
Clean and take out 4 medium size thin fillets of square or rectangular shape out of the large fillet. Try to cut them in equal size as they are going to be sandwiched with one another.
Marinate the fillets with the ingredients from 2-7 for at least 2 hours.
To make the filling, mix together the grated cheese and chopped parsley in a bowl.
Now coat one side of a fillet with ½ tbspoon of mustard sauce, spread half of the cheese filling over it, then sandwich it with another fillet. Prepare the other one following the same way.
Now spread the flour and breadcrumbs in two separate plates.
First coat the sandwiched fillet with flour, then dip in the beaten egg and finally coat with breadcrumbs.
Now heat oil in a pan over medium heat and shallow fry both sides of them till golden brown.
Transfer them on a paper towel and then cut diagonally in gentle hand.
Serve hot with mustard sauce , chopped parsley and salad.
- You can also deep fry the fillets. Always maintain the oil temperature moderately hot.
Chilli cheese nuggets used to be my favourite snack while I was living in Germany. There it was readily available in supermarkets to be baked into oven. Here in Netherlands, though one can find different croquettes with cheese, meat or vegetables, chilli cheese nuggets seem to be missing. So to reinstate the taste of melting cheese in my mouth with crispy fried breadcrumb coating, I thought to give it a try at home.
Selection of proper cheese for this recipe was a challenge at the beginning. Netherlands is a heaven for cheese lovers and one is amused to find the vast collection of cheeses here. Initially I tried this recipe with good quality cheeses but without much success. Finally I succeeded with “processed cheese”. The emulsifying salts, present in processed cheese, results in a product that melts without separating when cooked. However for natural cheeses (especially cheddar and mozzarella), they tend to separate into a lumpy, molten protein gel & liquid fat combination with prolonged heating, which is not desirable for this recipe. Rest of the process was rather simple and easy to be followed. You can enjoy this mouth-watering snack with a hot cup of tea/coffee.
Ingredients for 60 pieces. :
- Processed cheese slices – 400 gm.
- Big chilli or Jalapeno – 3
- Egg – 3
- Black pepper powder – 1 teaspoon
- Paprika – ½ teaspoon
- Salt to taste
- Breadcrumbs to coat
- Oil for deep-frying
Remove the seeds from the chillies and finely chop them.
Roughly chop the cheese slices and transfer to a heat proof bowl or steel pan. Set the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water and heat until melted completely to liquid, stir occasionally.
Remove it from the heat and stir in the chopped chillies.
Now line the bottom and sides of a square/rectangular shape plastic box with cling film and transfer the liquid cheese mixture into it, smooth the top.
Chill it in the refrigerator for 3 hours to form a cheese block.
Now cut the cheese block into cubes of your desired size.
Beat eggs in a bowl, mix salt, pepper and paprika.
Dip cheese cubes in egg mixture and then coat with bread crumbs. Repeat the process once more and chill in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes.
Heat sufficient oil over medium-high heat and deep fry the nuggets.
Transfer to a paper towel to absorb excess oil and serve hot.
- Chilli cheese nuggets can’t be baked in oven. In that case cheese will melt fast while the outer coating will remain uncooked. But you can shallow fry the nuggets uniformly instead of deep-frying.
- You can shallow fry the nuggets and refrigerate them in an air tight container or plastic bag for a long. Take them out from the refrigerator and bake in the oven when needed.
- If you want to make the dish completely vegetarian then make a flour/cornflour batter instead of egg.
‘Shami Kebab’ is a small patty composed of minced or ground meat mixed with Bengal gram lentils and spices. It is a very popular snack in India and features regularly in Pakistani and Afghan cuisine. In India it is generally prepared with mutton. However one can use any kind of meat like beef, chicken or lamb. Since mutton is unavailable at my current place, I used lamb mince to prepare these kebabs. They act as delicious starters to impress guests. 🙂
Ingredients for 12 pieces :
- Meat mince – 250 gm.
- Bengal gram or chana dal (soaked for 1 hr.) – 50 gm.
- Potato (medium size, cut into halves) – ½
- Onion (small, cut into large cubes) – ½
- Ginger-garlic paste – ½ tbspoon
- Cumin seed – ¼ tbspoon
- Dry red chilli – 3 to 4
- Whole gamar masala (Cinnamon stick – 1″, Clove – 3, Black cardamom – 1/green cardamom – 3 pods)
- Black pepper corn – 6-8
- Salt – ¼ tbspoon
- Chopped onion (medium size) – ½
- Chopped fresh coriander leaves – 2-3 tbspoon
- Chopped green chilli – 1
- Egg – 1
- Water – 1¼ cup
- Cooking oil to fry the kebabs
Take the ingredients from 1 – 10 & 15 in a large pot, mix well and put over gas on medium flame. As water starts boiling, cover the pan with a lid and put the gas on low-medium. Let it cook for 30-35 minutes, stir occasionally so that it doesn’t get brunt from the bottom . When the lentils get cooked and all of water evaporated, put the gas off. Let the mixture come to room temperature.
Now discard whole spices and dry red chillies from the mixture and grind it to a coarse paste.
Add ingredients 11, 12 & 13 to this meat paste and mix well. At this point the mixture remains little soft. Leave the mixture for 30 minutes and you will get the binding consistency.
Then wet your hand with little water and start making ‘Kebabs’ i.e. flat round shaped balls out of the paste. The size of them will depend completely up to you. I made 12 medium size kebabs, you can make larger or even smaller than that.
Beat egg in a bowl and dip the kebabs into it.
Heat oil in a frying pan over medium flame and shallow fry the kebabs from both sides evenly until brown.
Serve hot with salad and tomato sauce.
- Make sure all of water evaporates from the meat mixture, otherwise your paste will be too soft and you won’t be able to make kebabs out of that mixture.
- I throw out the whole spices from the mixture before making the paste. However it is not mandatory and you can keep them with the mixture, if you like.
- You can store the kebabs into the refrigerator for one or two days and then fry while needed after defrosting. Keep the kebabs in layers separated by a plastic sheet in an air tight container.
I already shared with you the recipe of Spicy Chicken Muffins which I liked a lot. Since then I got enthusiastic about savoury muffins and started looking for them. Suddenly I came across an interesting recipe in my baking book as they told the story of a muffin with herbs and cheese in it. The recipe is very simple and quick to make. If you don’t dislike the flavour of herbs, this muffins will not disappoint you.
Ingredients to serve 12 :
- Sunflower oil or groundnut oil (for oiling) – 1 tbspoon
- Plain flour – 280 gm.
- Baking powder – 2 teaspoon
- Bicarbonate of soda – ½ teaspoon
- Smoked hard cheese (grated) – 25 gm.
- Fresh parsley (finely chopped) – 50 gm.
- Egg (large, lightly beaten) – 1
- Thick strained plain yogurt – 300 ml. (I used Greek style yogurt)
- Butter (melted) – 4 tbspoon
Oil your muffin tin with sunflower oil, or line it with muffin paper liners.
Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl. Add the smoked cheese and the parsley and mix together well.
In a separate bowl, lightly mix the egg, yogurt and melted butter together. Add the yogurt mixture to the flour mixture and then gently stir together until just combined. Do not overstir the batter – it is fine for it to be little lumpy.
Divide the muffin batter evenly between the cups in the muffin tin or the paper liners (they should be about 2/3 full).
Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C or 400ºF for 20 minutes or until risen and golden.
Remove the muffins form the oven and serve warm, or place them on a wire rack to cool.
I love to try different recipes for evening snacks. Generally, you cant afford to experiment much over lunch and dinner all the time. So I put most of my experimental skills at test on either preparing evening snacks or on baking.
Today I am sharing another recipe from my cute baking book, which is a bit different still appropriate to have in the evening.
Here in Europe, I discovered the “Puff pastry sheet” which is quite amazing in its multipurpose utility to make a large variety of savoury as well as sweet dishes. It is readily available in the freezer section of all the super markets although one can prepare at home too. If not exactly the “Puff pastry sheet”, still something similar is used to make the layered coating of veg & non-veg patties in India as well. Although I often prepare these patties with the pastry sheets, the current recipe tells the story of an experimentation with pesto sauce, aubergine and cheese. The food is light, munch and tasty and perfect to impress your guests.
Ingredients to serve 2 :
- Ready-made puff pastry sheet – 85 gm.
- Aubergines/Bringels (trimmed and thinly sliced) – 8 slices
- Olive oil – 2 tbspoon
- Mozzarella cheese (sliced) – 1 (150 gm.)
- Pesto – 2 tbspoon
- Egg yolk – 1
- Salt & Crushed black pepper
Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface and divide into 2 pieces. Roll each piece into either circles or rectangles, then place on baking sheets. (I used two 12 cm. square sheets and roll them out to12 x 15 cm. rectangles.)
Brush the aubergine slices with 1 tbspoon of olive oil and cook briefly in a non-stick frying pan. Then arrange the slices neatly overlapping on each dough base, leaving a 2.5 cm./1 inch margin along the edges. Lay the mozzarella slices over the aubergine slices and spoon over the pesto. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Brush the edges of the dough with egg yolk.
Bake in a preheated oven, 190ºC/375ºF, for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.
- If you don’t find any ready-made puff pastry sheet, then you can also prepare it at home. There are a number of videos in you tube for this recipe. Follow any one of them.
- I have used ready-made Pesto available in market. You can also prepare it at home. Follow Pesto recipe under “Useful Supplementary” tab.
- Any cheese instead of mozzarella would be fine.
- To make the dish completely vegetarian skip egg wash and use milk instead.
Prawn cutlet is the new addition to my cutlet or crockett family. Never have I thought that cutlets can be made of prawns. I wondered, prawns, how big they are, could not make cutlet. Then I learn the trick that one should spread the flesh like its two wings to give it a cutlet shape. Of course, you need the big sized tiger prawns for that.
Prawn cutlet is quite heavy as a snack with thick coated envelopes and thoroughly enjoyable with a sip of tea. Try it out.
Ingredients for 2 pieces :
- Tiger prawn – 2
- Onion (small) – ½
- Garlic – 1 or 2 cloves
- Ginger – less than ½” piece
- Green chilli – 2
- Coriander leaf paste – 1 tbspoon heap
- Tomato sauce – 1 tbspoon
- Vinegar – 1 teaspoon
- Mustard oil – 1 tbspoon
- Egg – 2
- Breadcrumbs to coat
- Flour – 1½ tbspoon
- Baking powder – ½ teaspoon
- Chilli oil – 1 tbspoon
- Sugar – 1 teaspoon
- Salt to taste
- Cooking oil for deep frying
Remove the shell and head of the prawns, keeping the tail intact. Devein and clean them properly. While deveining, make a deep slit along the center of the prawn and then flat it to give a triangular shape. Hammer the flattened prawns lightly with knife so that the ingredients can go well into it while marination.
Now make a smooth paste with onion, ginger, garlic and green chilies. In a small bowl mix the prepared paste with coriander leaf paste, tomato sauce, vinegar, mustard oil, ½ teaspoon sugar and salt. Now spread this mixture on the open surface of the prawn and keep it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
After that, spread breadcrumbs on a plate and place the prawns with their bare surface on it. Now coat both the surfaces well with breadcrumbs. Press them by hand on flat work surface to give cutlet like shape. Use a knife to make the cutlets even, through the edges. Beat a single egg in a bowl and dip the coated prawn into it and again cover with bread crumbs.
Now make a batter with flour, baking powder, chilli oil, remaining sugar, salt and water (as needed). The batter should not be too thick or thin.
Heat sufficient amount of oil for deep frying the cutlets over medium flame.
Now dip the cutlets into the prepared batter and fry as soon as the oil gets moderately hot. Take them out as they turn crispy and golden brown.
Serve them hot with tomato sauce or mustard sauce (kasundi) and salad.
- For making chilli oil, heat 1 tbspoon of oil over medium flame. Add 1 teaspoon red chilli flakes or 2 dry red chillies into it. After 2-3 minutes put the gas off, pour the oil in a bowl and let the chillies infuse into it for at least 1 hour. The longer you leave, the hotter oil will be.
- You can also add Mint leaf paste in the mixture for marination. I am not a big fan of mint flavour, so I skipped that.
- You can also skip the batter and fry only bread crumbs coated cutlet.
- The oil should be moderately hot while frying the cutlets otherwise the batter envelope will burn and the prawn inside will remain uncooked.