Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Welcome to my culnary world..

Prawn masala :::
Shrimp or prawn cooked in simple onion and tomato gravy is one what I always my mother-in-law whenever I go to India. This is one of delicious preparations I have learned from her. I often prepare this simple yet delicious shrimp preparation for weekends and in parties and always appreciated by many of my friends.
Ingredients :::
15-18 nos medium shrimps / prawns, washed and de-veined
one big onions, finely chopped or paste,
2 large tomatoes, finely chopped,
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste,
1 tsp turmeric powder,
1 tsp red chilli powder,
9-10 nos. fresh curry leaves,
a pinch of garam masala,
half cup tamarind pulp, optional
fresh coriander leaves for garnishing,
salt to taste,
2 tbsp oil.
1. Heat oil in a pan or kadai. Add ginger-garlic paste and curry leaves. Saute for a minute on low flame.
2. Add chopped onion and sprinkle salt. Let it fry until onion becomes translucent. Now add turmeric powder and red chilli powder and then chopped tomatoes. Mix thoroughly and let it cook covered for 10 mins or so. Add little water and mix again and let it cook for another 10 mins.
3. Now add shrimps / prawns to the pan and mix with onion-tomato gravy. Fry on medium flame until shrimps / prawns become whitish. Now add little water and then cook covered for another 12-15 minutes or until water almost dries off. Open the lid and let is simmer for another 7-8 minutes. Sprinkle garam masala and chopped coriander leaves on the top and serve with hot steaming rice , pulao or biriyani.
If you don't want to add shrimps directly to the gravy then marinate with turmeric powder and salt and keep aside for 10 minutes and then fry lightly both the sides. Adjust your spice level. Sometimes I add a pinch of sugar while heating oil. That gives a nice red color when I use less red chilli powder.

Andhra Chicken / Kodi Pulao ::::

Andhra cuisine has many best preparations but I love this one the most. For so many months I wanted to try this recipe from vah re vah but dint have quiet time for this as this needs lots of patience and time for preparation but when you serve this dish, it takes all attention and you are satisfied with your effort. This chicken pulao is one exquisite pot-meal and basically needs nothing as side dishes.

2.5 lbs / 1.2 kg medium size chicken pieces,
4 small cups rice, washed
1/3 tsp shahi jeera,
5 nos. slitted green chillies,
1" cinnamon,
2 nos. cloves,
2 nos. cardamon,
7-8 nos. curry leaves,
one big onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste,
1 tbsp coriander powder,
3-4 tbsp oil, preferably ghee or clarified butter,
salt to taste. 

for marination...
1 tbsp turmeric powder,
1 tbsp red chilli powder,
salt to taste,
5-10 nos. curry leaves,
handful of chopped coriander and mint leaves,
5-8 tbsp yogurt / curd.

for ground masala...
4 tbsp poppy seeds / khaskhas,
5-7 nos. cloves,
7-8 nos. cardamons,
3-5 nos. small cinnamon,
1/2 cup fresh or frozen coconut pieces.

for garnishing...
1/2 cup fried cashew nuts,
1/3 cup chopped fresh coriander leaves. 

1. Soak rice in a large bowl for 30 minutes. 
2. Marinate chicken pieces with all the ingredients mentioned for marination
3. Dry roast all the ingredients for ground masala on low-medium flame until raw smell of poppy seeds goes off. Once done, let it cool completely and then make a smooth paste adding 1/2 cup water. Keep aside.
3. Now heat oil in a deep-bottomed pan, add shah jeera, cloves, cardamon, cinnamon and curry leaves. Saute a little and then add sliced onions adding salt. Fry for one or two minutes or when onions starts changing colors add ginger-garlic paste and green chillies. Fry for 2-3 minutes on medium flame. Cover the pan and let it cook for 4-5 minutes.
4. Once done, add coriander powder and then ground masala and saute a little.
5. Add marinated chicken pieces and fry for 5 minutes on medium flame. Then cover the pan again and let it cook for 10-12 minutes unless chicken pieces are half-done. 
6. Now , add soaked rice to the pan and press lightly and then add 1 1/2 cups of water and let it cook covered for 10 minutes. 
7. Now, open the lid and lightly mix rice and chicken and then add half cup of water and sprinkle fried cashew nuts and chopped coriander leaves on the top and cover the pan for another 15 minutes on very low flame. Once done, serve hot with any raita and salad.
As your taste bud permits , you can add or remove green chillies. You can remove mint leaves too.
for more rice recipes , click here.
Corn palak :::

Whenever I prepare palak or spinach, my kid always asks for the delicious spinach preparation what he had couple of years back in Kolkata. After searching couple of sites and Tarla Dalal's recipes I have prepared my version of corn palak or what widely known as Makai  palak. Spinach or palak ,which is easily available in market and full of nutritions ,makes a very colorful and delicious combination with corn. I have followed Tarla Dalal's recipe with slight modifications.

250 gms / 16 oz baby spinach, washed 
one big cup fresh / frozen corn, washed and drained
one medium size onion, sliced
one small size tomato, sliced
6 nos. green chillies, slitted
1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste,
1 tsp cumin and coriander powder, each
a pinch of garam masala,optional
1/4 tsp of sugar, optional
1/4 cup of dry fenugreek leaves / kasuri methi, 
1/2 cup whole milk,
salt to taste,
2-3 tbsp oil for frying,
a pinch of cumin seeds for tempering,
1/2 tbsp heavy cream for garnishing.

1. Heat 1/4 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker. Add sliced onions, tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste, green chillies, dry fenugreek leaves  and spinach leaves. Add salt. Saute for a minute and then add little water and let it cook up to one whistle. If you are using normal pan or vessel then cover the vessel and let it cook until spinach gets completely cooked. Let it gets cooled. Then make a smooth puree with it. 
2. Now heat oil in a wok or kadai, sprinkle cumin seeds and when it starts spluttering, add corn to the kadai and saute for half a minute and then add spinach puree into it. Once it starts boiling, add cumin-coriander powder, sugar and whole milk and mix thoroughly on low-medium flame. Let it simmer on low flame for 10-15 minutes. 
3. Once oil starts coming on top of the gravy, sprinkle garam masala powder and adjust salt. Let it simmer for 5 more minutes and garnish with heavy cream and serve hot with naan, chapati or parathas.
You will need minimum 2 bunches of spinach and if you need more spicy then add red chilli powder to the gravy.

Rangalu r puli :::

Puli or pitha is a kind of dessert what you will find only in eastern parts of India like Assam, Bengal ,Orissa , Bihar and Bangladesh. Basically pitha or pithe are made of new harvested rice, jaggery and freshly scrapped coconut and fried, baked or steamed and then cook in sugar syrup or sometimes in thickened milk too. These desserts are prepared in special occasions in winter time. This particular dessert, a Bengal delicacy , is prepared with sweet potatoes, coconut and jaggery / molasses. Here I have followed Jayati Saha's recipe from one of the famous Facebook community.

Ingredients :::

for 8 nos..

3 medium size sweet potatoes or ranga alu,

1 cup all purpose flour / maida,

1 cup date molasses / jaggery,

1 1/2 cup freshly scrapped or frozen coconut,

for sugar syrup...

4 cups of sugar,

4 cups of water. 

Method :::

1. Heat pan, add jaggery /molasses with little water and when it melts , add coconut and cook on low flame. Stir continuously until it becomes semi-dry and sticky. Let it cool. Your fillings is ready.

2. Boil sweet potatoes in 2-3 cups of water or bake until soft. Drain extra water completely if you are boiling and then peel off the skin. Take potatoes in a big bowl and mash with a fork or hand. Add all purpose flour / maida little at a time and knead for sometime to make a dough.

3. Take small amount from the dough and then make small flat disc and fill with coconut filling and bring all the corners together and seal it to give a round or oblong shape. Your ranga alu r puli is ready. Make all other pulis ready and place in a flat plate.

4. Boil water and sugar in a large pan until water comes to almost half in quantity.Keep it warm on low flame.

5. Now heat sufficient oil in a wok or kadai. Fry all the ranga alu pulis one or two at a time on low flame. Once it becomes golden brown from all the sides, take off carefully from kadai and then put it on warm sugar syrup. Let it stand for minimum 10 minutes. Serve hot or cold.

You can also boil milk with palm molasses or jaggery and then add these pulis into it too. All the sweet potatoes are not same so may be you want more or less all purpose flour / maida to mix with boiled potatoes. Take one or two drops of ghee or oil while preparing the dough and the shapes on your palm.

For more Bengali sweets click here.

Navratan korma :::
Navratan korma or nine-jewels curry is very popular Moghlai dish where it gets the name because of using nine different types of vegetables,fruits and nuts. You can choose your own favorite vegetables, fried nuts and add paneer too. I tried to use the true Moghlai fashion preparing cashew nut paste and cream for gravy. But you can always use healthier version too but once in a year for a special occasion we can have little more calories. 

Ingredients :::
for 10 people..
12 pieces medium size paneer / cottage cheese,
one big of mixed cubed vegetables ,
one small pineapple pieces,
1 tbsp raisins,
one cup cashew nuts,
one big cup onion slices,
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste,
1 tsp turmeric powder, white pepper powder, coriander powder each,
a pinch of garam masala,
half cup heavy cream,
4-5 tbsp whole milk,
1/4 tsp sugar, 
3 tbsp oil.

for seasoning..
4-5 nos. broken green cardamons,
3-4  nos. cloves,
2 inch cinnamon,
one bay leaf.

for garnishing..
fried cashew nuts,
fresh or whipped cream.

Method :::
1. Heat oil in a pan, add turmeric powder and salt and fry all the paneer pieces in small batch until all the sides become light brownish. Keep aside.
2. Boil onion slices and cashew nuts in two cups of water with little salt till onion becomes very soft. Once done, strain onions and cashew nuts and keep the water aside. When it gets cold, make a smooth paste out it adding the same water.
3. In another saucepan, boil all the vegetables with little salt till all the vegetables become soft.
4. Heat oil in a wok or deep-bottomed pan. Add cardamons,cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf and add saute a little and then add cashew nut-onion paste adding little boiled water what you used for boiling onions and cashew nuts or little warm water. Cover the pan and let it cook on medium flame for 5 mins.
5. When oil starts oozing out , add ginger-garlic paste and fry for half a minute. Then add all the dry spices and if needed add some more boiled water from step 2. Let it cook 5 minutes.
6. Add the boiled vegetables and stir carefully to coat the vegetables. Add salt and sugar and let it cook until oil oozes out or 5-6 minutes. Now add fried paneer pieces, pineapple chunks and raisins. Let it simmer while stirring occasionally. 
7.  Now add garam masala , cream and milk to the curry and stir carefully and let it simmer for some more time. Once done, garnish with fried cashews and little cream. Serve hot with paratha or naans.
I use beans, carrots , peas, potatoes and different bell peppers / capsicum. These vegetables and nuts are all optional and you can omit pineapples too. If you don't want to use cream then use milk little more. I wanted little spicy so added green chilies too.

For more paneer recipes , click here.

Puti machher tok / ambol :::
This is one of the East-Bengal specialties what is very unique than other famous dishes. I had found a big packet of Puti or Swamp barb (English name) in freezer and with Purnadi's suggestion I have one more delicious recipe in my collection with very less time and effort. 
10 nos. small fish, cleaned 
1tbsp turmeric powder,
1/2 tsp red chilli powder,
one cup tamarind pulp,
2 nos. dry red chilli,
a pinch of mustard seeds,
salt to taste,
oil to fry, preferably mustard oil.

1. Marinate fishes with half of turmeric powder and salt. Mix tamarind pulp, red chilli powder and turmeric powder in a bowl adding water and keep aside.
2. Heat sufficient oil, fry fishes until almost crispy. Once done, keep aside.
3. Add mustard seeds and red chillies in oil. When seeds splutter, add tamarind water to the pan and let it boil. Then add fried fishes to the pan and adjust salt. Let it simmer for 10-12 minutes and then switch off the gas. Serve hot with plain steaming hot rice. You can garnish with coriander leaves too.

For more fish recipes, click here.