Friday, December 21, 2012

Shrimp Pilaf / Prawn Pulao

It has been a while that I updated a recipe on my blog. It is not that I have not been cooking, I have; it is just that sometimes 24 hours seems too short to do all you wish to. The other day a friend ‘E’, who had previously shared her precious Bread Pudding recipe with me came to work and got some Prawn Pilaf, I ate and instantly liked it, it was mild with no strong flavors and just right for my taste. I had to make it the following weekend, considering the food freak I am.

I made it and it was an instant hit at my place. I made the same Pilaf with Chicken a few days later, I did not click any pictures though, but Chicken Pilaf can be made with this same recipe as well, only the Chicken is not pre-fried.

No stories today though, it is 21.12.2012, the day the world was supposed to end. It has not yet and it is already mid day where I am. In New Zealand, Australia and some other countries it is evening, so I guess the end has been postponed. I read this at a little girls (the reason I call her a little girl is because the last time I saw her, she was indeed little) wall on FB the other day ‘Given the rate at which we are regressing as a human race, I sincerely do hope the Mayans were right’ – so true – after the recent events in our National Capital, I feel ashamed to call myself an independent citizen or the fact that we live in a democracy. But this is too big an issue to be placed or discussed here. I leave you with my recipe with a very heavy heart & a prayer that the budding young girl can sustain the scars to her body and soul and recover. Thank you.  

Here is what you will need to make the Shrimp / Prawn Pilaf:

Shrimps / Prawns – about 300 gms – deveined and washed
Basmati Rice – washed – 2 cups
Cooking Oil – 2 tbsps
Bay Leaf – 2
Green Cardamoms – 4
Black Cardamoms – 2
Cinnamon – 1” stick
Cloves – 4
Whole Black Pepper – 7-8
Ginger paste – 1 tbsp
Garlic paste – 2 tbsp
Green Chili Paste – 1tbsp (we like it hot, decrease if you want it mild)
Onions – 2 medium – thinly sliced
Peas – half cup (optional, it was in season hence I added)
Tomatoes – 1 medium – chopped
Biryani Masala Powder – 1tbsp (optional)
Turmeric Powder – 1tsp
Salt to taste
Sugar to balance
Luke Warm Water – 4 cups + a little more if needed
Clarified Butter / Ghee – to drizzle on top


Heat 2 tbsp of Cooking Oil in a vessel and shallow fry the deveined and cleaned Shrimps and set aside. The Oil will be fully flavored from the just fried Shrimps. Use the same Oil.

Add a little more Oil if needed, about 1 tsp, heat. Add the Bay Leaves, Cinnamon, Green and Black Cardamoms, Peppercorns and Cloves and let them sizzle for 30 seconds.

Add the sliced Onions and fry them for 5 minutes in the same oil.

Add the Ginger-Garlic-Green Chili Paste and keep frying.

Add the Peas, stir.

Add the Tomatoes.

Add the Sugar, Salt, Turmeric Powder and Biryani Masala Powder, mix. Keep frying for some time.

Add the washed Basmati Rice, I did not soak the Rice at all. Mix thoroughly.
I add exactly double the quantity of Luke Warm Water to cook my Rice, if you use more or less, you will be the best judge. I slow cook this for the flavors to incorporate into each other. I cooked this at the lowest flame of my burner.
When the Rice was almost done, I added the Shrimps and mixed it one last time.

Switch off the Stove when you feel the Rice is done, if the top layer is a little underdone, do not worry, give it one good mix very gently, cover and let it sit for 10 minutes before you eat. The top layer which was a little underdone, will get done by then. Drizzle 1tsp of molten Clarified Butter for extra flavors, I did not.

Serve hot.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Kosha Dim – The same Egg Curry, a different day, a different way ...

Kosha Dim – The same Egg Curry, a different day, a different way
It was a cold winter evening when she headed home from an uneventful day at work thinking of making something simple and easy for dinner.  It had not been a very good day, like most days now .. she was tired of doing the same things for so long. She frantically needed a change, not from her workplace, but the work she was doing. However, she could not winch or make a face, there were people around who would have been happy knowing she was not happy and getting frustrated – a typical work environment it was.

She got back home & went through her stockpile, there was a pack of Eggs sitting there, as always. However, just like doing the same work was getting her frustrated, she was bored of the same Egg Curry she had grown up eating. Thoughtlessly she picked out some Onions and Green Chillies and made a paste, she also puréed a Tomato, shelled some Peas, all this while she kept thinking what she thought life would be and what it was today. Not that she was unhappy, she married the Man she loved and settled down some time back, the way they had wanted; she was pretty happy in fact, in her personal life. It was her professional life which troubled her day and night. She couldn’t comprehend where she was heading, she did enjoy her work very much, but fate had been unkind to her and the thing she enjoyed doing till some time back, now she dreaded the most.

Half heartedly she got back to her Egg Curry and prepared it, absent minded all the time. He returned home and she tried being her usual cheerful self. The last thing she wanted was to pester him after a tiring day. Though he was very patient with her when she was upset still she refrained from dragging work to home midweek.

They sat down for dinner and after the first bite he said, “How do you mange to cook so well even after a hard day at work? How do you manage to make something different every time”? She smiled, first a grin and then a wide beam, this is what she lived for. This was what formed the base of her being; doing little things for people she loved dearly, the ones she held very close to her heart. She continued eating with her head bent tucking at the food on her plate. She realized yet again, there were some relationships in life which made life worth living, there were some moments in life which made life worth living like the one she just shared with her Man. That night sleep did not come easily, she kept changing sides, but she had understood, this is not the end of the world; while it was night where she was, in another part of the World, the Sun had already risen and it was a bright day with new hopes and fresh imaginings.

Here is what you will need to make Kosha Dim (Egg Curry):

Eggs – 6, hard boiled, shelled
Onion – 1 large – made into paste
Green Chillies – 5 – made into paste along with the Onions
Tomato – 1 medium – puréed
Peas – a handful, shelled
Whole Dry Red Chillies – 3
Bay Leaf – 1
Ginger – Grated – 1 tsp
Ginger – Grated – ½ tsp
Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp + 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
Coriander Powder – 1 tsp
Cumin Powder – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Sugar to balance
Mustard Oil / Cooking Oil – 3 tbsp


Hard boil the Eggs, shell them and smear them with 1 tsp of Turmeric Powder and Salt for 10 minutes. Make slits on them lengthwise like in the picture, do not puncture the Yolk. Just to make sure some flavors go into the Egg White while cooking.

Heat 1 tbsp of Mustard Oil in a Pan and shallow fry the Eggs till brown and keep.

Add 2 more tbsp of Mustard Oil to the same Pan, heat it up.
Add the Whole Dry Red Chillies and Bay Leaf and let it sizzle for 30 seconds.

Add the Onion Paste and sauté them till golden brown.

Add the Ginger Garlic Paste and cook till for some time.

Add the puréed Tomato and cook for some time.

Add the Peas.
Add the dry spices, Turmeric Powder, Cumin Powder, Coriander Powder, Red Chilli Powder, Salt and Sugar and mix.

Once they gravy is cooked, add water and bring it to boil.

Add the Eggs and let the Curry simmer for some time.

Once desired consistency is reached, turn off the stove.

Serve with plain white Rice.

Bengali Crab Curry

I have been scared of Crabs since childhood; never have been able to fathom how some people could dig into these clawed creatures.  Everyone in the family is fond of My Mother’s Crab Curry but being her daughter I have never tasted the dish.

During one of my trips back home, my best friend ever (D) took me to Flame & Grill as she wanted me to taste their exclusive Kebab platter, which had Crabs too. That was before the nuptial knot and as right afterwards we were heading for one of the beaches along the Indian Ocean, I had to give in to some other seafood besides my first love, Shrimps.  I tried the Crab Kebabs that they had made, and yes I did not have to shell them. The Kebabs tasted exotic & I fell for them instantly.

Since then, I have been planning to make some Crabs at home. However, I never got live Crabs here. I kept nagging about these clawed creatures to our dear Sagar, the best Fish Monger who caters to all our demands; God bless him. Last Saturday when we were out brunching, he called and informed that he has got live Crabs finally, we agreed right away. After a good nap in the afternoon, A rushed to get the Crabs, Sagar made sure I did not have any difficulty cleaning them up. He made sure they were inert, shelled and cleaned.

All I had to do was giving them one final wash and a quick call to Maa (My Mother) to get her recipe. She ended by a word of caution, ‘make sure you do not gulp down any pieces of the shell; else you might have to get hospitalized to get rid of the shells from your tummy’, she ended.

The best article I have come across to handle live Crabs was by Chitrangada on her beautiful blog Color and Spices and the post is here. Please refer to this if you do not have a blessing like Sagar in your life :)

Here is what you will need to make a very Bengali Crab Curry that my Maa makes:
Serves - 6

Crabs – 800 gms
Onion – 1 large – made into paste
Tomato – 2 medium – made into paste
Green Chillies – 5-6 – pasted with the Onions
Thick Coconut Milk – 1 Cup – I used one Dabur Hommade Tetra Pack (the one in the picture)

Cinnamon – 1” stick
Green Cardamoms – 4
Cloves – 4
Whole Dry Red Chillies – 2
Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp
Coriander Powder – ½ tsp
Cumin Powder – 1 tsp
Garam Masala Powder – ½ tsp to sprinkle on top
Salt to taste
Sugar to balance
Mustard Oil – 2tbsp


Marinate the washed Crabs in Turmeric Powder and Salt and keep for 30 minutes.

Heat Mustard Oil in a Kadhai and shallow fry the Crabs and keep aside. You will see fat from the seafood seperating; it will look like bits of scrambled Eggs on your Crabs after frying.

In the same Oil, add the Whole Dry Red Chillies, Cardamoms, Cinnamon and Cloves, let them sizzle for 30 seconds.
Add the Onion and Green Chilli Paste and fry till the Onions change color to a light brown.
Add the Tomato paste and a pinch of Sugar and cook for a few minutes.
Add the Cumin and Coriander Powder and cook for a few more minutes till the dry spices are cooked through.
Add the Coconut Milk, mix well and bring it to boil & simmer.
Add the Crabs and mix well. Let them cook. Add Salt to taste and mix. It took me about 20 minutes on simmer for the Crabs to cook. Adjust cooking time if needed.
The gravy should not be runny, again to your taste. Tastes best with minimal gravy.

Sprinkle some Garam Masala Powder when plated. 
Serve with steamed Rice.

P.S: I am eating that Crab Curry next time I am home for sure! :D

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Shrimp Noodles - Indian Chinese

Street food is an absolute favourite when it comes to my home. As we all know Calcutta and food are synonyms & when it comes to street food, no place can beat the City Of Joy. Rolls, Noodles, Kebabs, Chops, Fritters, Momos, Biryani .. you name it, you have it. According to A, nothing can beat ‘KhonchaWala’s’  (Someone who sells street food on their makeshift shops) Noodles be it Chicken, Prawn or even Pork.

After I made the Shrimp Biryani on Friday, I still had some Shrimps sitting in my Freezer and was planning to make Malaikari with it, when suddenly midweek a dinner came up which we could eat together, first A suggested eating Luchi and Aloo Chorchori, then I suggested Noodles as I had a pack sitting at home. I thought of making the plain Jane Noodles that my Mother in Law makes for breakfast, which has its own Bengali world charm. But then I remembered the Shrimps and thought of making Shrimp Noodles. It turned out so good that I simply had to post this. We did not talk while we ate dinner last night; one as we were very hungry and second was because we enjoyed the food thoroughly and did not want to break the charm of eating this heavenly sumptuous dinner.

Here is what you will need to make Shrimp Noodles:

Hakka noodles – pre boiled in salted water, strained under running water (to get rid of the starch) – 200 gms
Shrimps – 200 gms, washed and deveined, I had the tails on
Onion – 1 medium – sliced thin (I did not have Spring Onions available)
Carrot – 1 medium – sliced thin
Green Beans – about 5 – chopped into 1” pieces
Green Bell Pepper – ½ of a medium – sliced thin
Cabbage – 1/4th of a medium – sliced thin
Dark Soy Sauce – 2 tbsp
Red Chilli Sauce – 1 tbsp
Green Chilli Sauce – 1 tbsp
Ginger finely chopped – ½ tsp
Garlic finely chopped – 1 tsp
Green Chilli – 2 – chopped
Chilli Oil – 2 tbsp + 1 tbsp (Can use Cooking Oil totally if you do not have Chilli Oil, we like the zing hence use it in all Chinese preparations)
Cooking Oil – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste


Once you strain the noodles, make sure there is almost no water in it, put it in a bowl and add 1 tbsp of Chilli Oil in and mix with hands and set aside.
 In a Chinese wok or any other non stick Pan with a big surface heat 2tbsp of Chilli Oil & 2 tbsp of Cooking Oil.
Once the Oil is hot, add the sauces one by one, keep the heat to low, otherwise it might splutter.

Add the chopped Ginger, Garlic & Green Chillies.

 Add the Shrimps & increase the flame to high, keep mixing quickly like in stir frying. It will take about 2-3 minutes for the Shrimps to become just like we want them.

Once done increase the flame to high again and add the Vegetables & keep stirring, they will be done (as needed for Chinese preparation) in no time. I would say in about 3 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well.
Add the noodles little by little and keep mixing.

Scramble an Egg in a different Pan & mix. (I did in the same one).

Serve hot.