Monday, July 13, 2015
It is absolutely overwhelming when anyone requests for a recipe, I want to post it right away. However, with a 9-5 job, family, friends, books, my plants, and my craziness for cooking, I sometimes wish days were longer than 24 hours. This one is for one of the nicest and prettiest woman I have known, 'T' Di, thank you for those kind words, they indeed mean a lot to me.
So it was sometime last week when I wanted to make a simple, ‘on the burner’ dessert at home, ‘on the burner’ as my Microwave Oven is down for close to a week now and I have not yet managed to open a ticket with the vendor to fix it. Spoke to Mum and she mentioned a Barfi she knew of made with Milk Powder and desiccated Coconut, I was instantaneously interested. I ordered the required ingredients from BigBasket and waited for them to arrive. Once they arrives, I made them for the weekend. Initially, I told ‘A’ they were store-bought, he believed me and I was elated! (They were seriously that good).
Desiccated Coconut – 100 gms
Milk Powder – 140 gms
Milk – 3/4th Cup
Powdered Sugar – ½ Cup
Cardamom Powder – ½ tsp (I pounded 6-7 whole Green Cardamoms for this)
Any dry fruit of your choice – chopped – I had Raisins, so I cut them in half and used them, you can use broken cashews, sliced almonds, sliced pistachios or none – to your taste.
Unsalted Butter – 60 gms
Clarified Butter / Ghee – ½ tsp
Heat a Pan and drop the butter in and let it melt, bring down the heat to low
Add the Milk and mix well
Add the Milk Powder, little at a time and keep mixing, make sure no lumps remain
Add the desiccated coconut and mix in with a spatula
Add the powdered Sugar and mix it in, add the cardamom powder as well (be careful while adding sugar, don’t add all of it at once, you might like it a little less or more sweet than me, mix little at a time and do a taste test to check if the sweetness is right for you. Many a times I have added all the sugar at once, as recommended by the recipe and it has been way sweeter than my taste).
Keep cooking this on low - medium flame, stir continuously to make sure it does not get burnt from the bottom, cook until the consistency is dense and the mixture starts to leave the sides of the Pan. Once the right consistency is reached, turn off the gas and set aside
Take a plate where you want this mixture to set, I used a simple stainless steel plate with about .5 cm sides as I did not want my Barfis to be very thick.
Take ½ a tsp of clarified butter and butter the surface of the plate so that the Barfis come off easily after they are set, pour the mixture in. Using a spoon spread the mixture on the plate, make sure the thickness is the same throughout, else you will get Barfis with uneven thickness, this process takes a little while, be patient.
Once done sprinkle the chopped dry fruit on the mixture, use the spoon and press them in lightly.
Keep it in the refrigerator and let it set. I kept it for 1.5 hours. Take it out, run a knife and cut slices as per your wish.
Light the burner again, and heat the plate a little (30 seconds should do it), so that the clarified butter melts at the bottom and it is much easier to separate the pieces from the plate. Using the same knife to separate the pieces and enjoy!
Coconut and Milk Barfi can be refrigerated for up to a week, though this batch only 48 hours at my home :D
Monday, June 22, 2015
Balsamic Vinegar is the base of this marinade; it looks like red wine, adds an amazingly rich taste and texture to the dish.
Whole Chicken Legs – 2
Balsamic Vinegar - ½ cup
Extra Virgin Olive Oil – 2 tbsps
Dried Rosemary – 1 tsp
Dried Mixed Herbs – 1 tsp
Garlic – 2 medium cloves – crushed
Ginger Powder – 1/4th tsp
Lime Juice – ¼ the juice of a Lime
Chili Paprika – ½ tsp
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Sliced Onion and Bell Pepper rings - optional
Wash the Chicken Legs thoroughly and pat dry. I used frozen one’s, let them completely defrost, pat dry.
In a bowl, mix all the ingredients and marinate the Chicken legs in the marinade in the Refrigerator for an hour or more (I did for an hour).
Heat the Grill Pan and place the Chicken Legs in them over medium heat, I cooked them for about 7-8 minutes on each side.
Add more EVOO if needed.
Once one side is cooked, turn and cook the other side.
Add the Onion and Bell Pepper rings, sprinkle some more salt and pepper.
Run the knife through the thigh of the Chicken, if the juice runs clear, the meat is done.
Give it standing time for 5-7 minutes before you serve, if cut immediately, the juices will run out and the meat will become extremely dry.
Friday, June 19, 2015
I have been intending to post the recipe of my Basanti Pulao for close to 2 years now. Sometime back, I actually took pictures of the step by step process and was still not able to post it for reasons unknown. Basanti Pulao and Kosha Mangsho (slow cooked spicy Mutton curry) is a match made in heaven and is an absolute regular at my home. We celebrate the craziest of occasions with this menu, even occasions like both of us working from home on a given day! The sweetness of the pulao compliments the hot and spicy mutton curry and they just have to be tried together.
The Rice traditionally used for this recipe is Gobindobhog and one should never deviate from this tradition. If you do, you will still make a pulao, but not the Godly Basanti Pulao! I have lived in Maharashtra for 8 years and always carried my share of Gobindobhog from back home; however, I did find a variant of this which I used when I ran out of Gobindobhog, Ambemohar! A dear friend from work once introduced me to Ambemohar, and I agree it is a lost sibling of the Bengali Gobindobhog!
I usually assemble the dish and put it in the Microwave Oven for the final cooking bit. Though the last time I made it in the Pressure and it came out just perfect!
Gobindobhog / Ambemohar Rice – 1 cup
Cashews – a handful
Raisins – a handful
Green Cardamom – 2-3
Cinnamon – 1” stick
Cloves – 2-3
Bay Leaf – 2
Grated Ginger - 1 tsp
Nutmeg Powder – ¼ th tsp
Frozen Green Peas – ½ cup (optional)
Sugar – depending on how sweet you want the Pulao to be – I add about 7 tsps, as this is essentially a sweet pulao with a little bit of salt to balance out the taste.
Salt– to balance
Turmeric Powder – ½ tsp (traditionally soaked Saffron is used for the color, I use Turmeric Powder for the yellow hue as Saffron is not always handy in my Kitchen)
A small slice of Lime (if cooking in the Microwave Oven)
Ghee / Clarified Butter – 2 tbsp
Wash the Rice till the water runs clear, drain and set aside.
Heat Clarified Butter / Ghee in a Pan, drop the whole garam masalas (cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and bay leaves) in it, let them sizzle for a while. Add the cashews and raisins and roast them till golden, do not roast too much and burn them.
Now add the Rice to the Pan and keep stirring so that every grain gets coated in Ghee.
Add the grated ginger and keep stirring till the raw ginger smell is gone.
Stir in the frozen Peas.
Add the Sugar, Salt, Turmeric Powder and Nutmeg Powder and mix well.
Do a taste test to see if the sugar and salt are okay, add more if needed, remember this is mishit pulao so it will be a LOT sweeter than other Rice dishes and Salt will only balance out the taste.
Now for the final bit there are two methods:
Microwave Oven: Transfer the contents into a Microwave safe bowl, add 2 cups of water, add a few drops of lime juice, cover with a cling film, and Microwave on high for 20 minutes. Unwrap the cling film, and serve the Basanti Pulao with the Kosha Mangsho – slow cooked spicy Mutton Curry!
Tuesday, June 16, 2015
So I made the simple Bengali Chire Bhaja - ‘Crispy flattened rice with sweet peas and peanuts’ as a snack last evening and we both loved it. As a kid I never enjoyed this dish, I guess that is because, wherever I ate, they either added peanuts like misers or the Chire was not as kurmure (crispy) as I like. There are different variants of this snack in different households, some add peas, some don’t, some add sugar, and some don’t. This recipe requires quite a bit of cooking oil as the flattened rice absorbs all the oil you can pour and very fast at that, hence keep the Oil to minimum. The ingredients listed will make the snack for three people, I wanted to make for two, but it was more than enough for the two of us.
Ingredients to make Chire Bhaja:
Chire Bhaja/Flattened Rice – 2 cups
Cooking Oil – 2 tbsps
Raw Peanuts – ½ cup
Shelled Green Peas – ½ cup – I used the frozen kind
Whole Dry Red Chilli – 2
Red Chilli Powder – ½ tsp (to your taste)
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Black Pepper to taste
Sugar to balance
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a Kadhai and fry the raw peanuts in the oil, add a pinch of salt, keep stirring, fry them till the peanuts are done. The skin of the peanuts will turn a dark color indicating that they are done. Once done scoop them out and drain them on a paper towel.
To the same oil, add the green peas and fry them for a while with a pinch of salt. The frozen green peas take very less time to get done compared to the Peanuts. Scoop them out and drain them on a paper towel too.,
Add the rest of the Oil to the Kadhai. Once the Oil is hot, tear the two whole dried red chillies and add to this oil, let it sizzle. This process flavors the oil.
Stir in the 2 cups of flattened rice, keep the heat to medium while frying the flattened rice. Keep stirring otherwise it will burn the rice at the bottom and it will not taste good. The flattened rice will absorb all the oil, keep stirring.
Add the Salt, Sugar, Red Chili Powder and Black Pepper Powder and keep stirring. Once desired crispiness is reached, add the Peanuts and Peas to it and mix thoroughly. Be very careful while doing a taste test as all the ingredients tend to get extremely hot and can burn your tongue like never before.
Serve with Chai - Tea of your choice..heaven!