Sunday, 28 August 2011

Crispy chilli baby corn

About the food:

This is a Chinese recipe, perfect to be a starter. This is really easy to make, and is absolutely delicious.

Preparation time: 10 mins.

Cooking time: 30 mins.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

1 bowl baby corn, sliced through the middle, and then in half
1 bowl mushroom, sliced
1 medium onion, diced
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup corn flour
3 tbsp red/white wine
2 tbsp soya sauce
1 tbsp black pepper powder
2 green chillies, chopped


1. Put oil in a pan. Fry the garlic until light golden.Take it out of the oil and reserve.

2. Part boil the baby corn and the mushroom separately for about 5 mins. This makes them soft and tender.

3.Coat the baby corn and the mushrooms with corn flour and deep fry until golden in colour. For best results, fry them separately. Remove them from the oil.

4. Heat a fresh pan and add some oil. Add the onion and green chillies and saute for 3 mins. Add the baby corn and mushroom. Add garlic, soya sauce, wine, a pinch of salt and black pepper. Mix them well.

5. Remove from flame and serve it hot.

Best served as a party starter. Goes well with baked garlic breads.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Misti Doi (Sweet yogurt-pudding)

About the food:

Ask any Bengali, and s/he would crave for this dish. Bengalis are renowned for their sweet teeth, and this dish is at the pinnacle of their desires. Any Bengali meal would finish with a generous helping of Misti-doi with soft and squeezy rossogollas: with many bengalis, they are part of even the regular home meals: my family-in-laws have them usually for instance. Living abroad, and being away from home, I craved for misti-doi: I could not get it in the market, and this made me even more home-sick. I learnt this recipe from a dear friend of mine, and guess what? She is a Bengali. I am extremely grateful to her for sharing this recipe, and I could not believe how easy it is to prepare. Try it, you would be amazed by the grandeur of the Bengali cuisine.

Preparation time: 1 hour

Cooking time: 30 mins.

Ingredients: (serves 6)
Greek style Yogurt: 500 ml.
Condensed milk: 400 ml.
Evaporated milk: 200 ml.
Dry fruits (cashew, pistachio) (optional): finely chopped.


A. Steaming.     

1. Hang the yogurt in a fine cloth for about 1 hour to let the water drain. Greek yogurt is best for this recipe as it has less water content, which makes the doi really smooth and thick.

2. Mix the drained yogurt, condensed and the evaporated milk and mix well until smooth. Add the dry fruits. Pour it in a heat-proof serving bowl. Cover it with a cling film so that water cannot enter. You can also use a tight lid if you don't have the cling film handy, but opening the lid later becomes a toil: pour cold water over the lid to cool it, before trying to open.

3. Put water in a steamer/ pressure cooker and steam it for about 20-25 mins.

4. Take the bowl out and chill it in a refrigerator for 2-3 hrs. serve at the end of a meal, or eat it
straight away!

B. Microwave    

Learning to prepare this in microwave has brought  a revolutionary change in my life, as I can now prepare it under 10 minutes! For this follow the step 1 as in steaming and then the following steps:

1. Put the mixture in a microwave proof glass container, preferably one with a flat bottom and mix until smooth.

2. Adjusting the power and time in the microwave is the whole essence of this preparation, which can be quite tricky in the beginning. In my microwave which has 800watts maximum power, I cook it at  50% power for about 3 minutes, and then at 80% power for about 1-2 minutes, checking after every 30 seconds. This took me a while to adjust. You know it is done when touching it nothing sticks to your finger, and as well you have to be careful not to overcook such that the yogurt surface breaks.

3. Take it out of microwave and let it cool and put it in fridge to serve chilled.

You can also prepare them in small pots for individual servings, and that can really impress the guests. For this put about 4 pots in the microwave, and it would take between 2-3 minutes for one lot.

Pamper yourself and your guests with misti doi and feel accomplished!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Bengali style cottage cheese curry (Chanar Dalna)

About the food:

This food is reflective of a typical Bengali Cuisine, and is most commonly found as an vegetarian option in almost all occasions. I learnt this recipe from our dedicated cook, who had been catering my in-laws' family for 3 generations: from the marriages of my grand-parent-in-laws, of my parent-in-laws, my marriage, and also my son's birthday. And guess what, all these occasions had this Chanar Dalna, served in the same old unaltered fashion. This is a superb and delicious dish, and never has this dish failed me and had become a hit whenever I served.

For the cottage cheese, you can prefer to buy it from market, mostly all the Indian sweet shops sell them. I make them at home, as then it is fresh and it saves the pain of going around the market searching for it.

Preparation time: 30 mins.

Cooking time: 30 mins.

Ingredients: (serves 4)

For the Cottage Cheese:

If buying from market: 500gms
If making at home:

Full cream milk: 2 litres
Lemon juice: 1/4 cup, from about 3-4 lemons.

For the curry:
Vegetable oil for deep frying
White flour: 1/3 cup
Sugar: 1 tbsp
Ginger paste: 1 tbsp
Tomato puree: 2 tbsp
Haldi powder:1 tsp
Cumin (Jeera) seeds: 1/2 tbsp
Cumin powder: 1 tbsp
Coriander powder: 1 tbsp
Cashew nuts: dry ground, 1/2 cup
Water-melon / sunflower seeds: dry ground 1/2 cup
Slit green chillies:3-4
Red chilli powder: optional
Baking powder: 1/2 tbsp

Spices for dry grind:

1/2 nutmeg fruit
Jayitri whole: 3-4 florets
10 cloves
7-8 cardamon pods
2 inches cinnamon


1. Dry roast the spices and grind them to a powder in a grinder. Store it in an air-tight container.

2.Bring the milk to boil. Add the lemon juice, slowly, through a sieve. The solid part of the milk would separate out. Keep on adding the juice until the water from the milk is clear light blue. Pour the mixture into a cotton linen, and squeeze the liquid out. Squeeze it hard so that you get a solid chunk of the cheese.Let it cool a little.

3.In a mixing bowl put the cheese, flour, a pinch of salt, baking powder and the ground spices. Mix them well and knead it into a soft dough. Sprinkle some oil on the base of a deep tray or pan, press the cheese to form an 1/2 inch high level and press it hard and uniformly. Cut them in 2 inches squares and deep fry them over high heat until golden brown.
Tips:Drop the fried cheese-cakes in cold water, directly from the pan: it keeps them soft. Take them out after 2-3 mins.

4.Heat 2-3 tbsp of oil in a pan. Add 2-3 cardamon, 1/2 inch cinnamon and 3-4 cloves. Add sugar, the chopped green chillies, ginger paste, tomato puree, cumin and corinader powder, red chilli powder and saute for 2-3 mins. Mix the cashew and the seed powder with 1 cup of water to make a paste. Add it to the pan. Add haldi and salt, and let it simmer.

5. Place the cheese-cakes on the serving bowl. Pour the gravy from the pan on top it, and serve.

Best served with hot plain rice.