The last couple of weeks, I have been haunted by some of the smells from my childhood. Like the milky smell of condensed milk poured over hot patishaptas, heeng laced kochuris and the mildly flavoured evening snack of noodles that my mamma used to make. It was called chow-chow. It was made with thin noodles with a smattering of vegetables and served with a fried egg garnish. Last sunday, Sankarshan and I were insane enough to drive down to the Bengali Sweetshop at the other side town to grab some Radhaballabis. The store also stocks groceries (like kasundi, daals, ghee etc.) and some wierdly exotic stuff like Sankha, Aalta etc., which are generally not available around here. Amongst the stash I found packets of thin noodles for chow-chow. Without delay, I grabbed some and made them last evening.

Noodles

The recipe follows:

Serves:

2-3 persons

You Will Need:

  • Noodles – 2 small packs
  • Potato – One small to medium, chopped finely
  • Carrot – One small to medium, chopped finely
  • Peas – Half a cup
  • Egg – one, beaten with a little salt
  • Water – To boil the noodles
  • Vegetable/Groundnut Oil – 4-5 teaspoons
  • Salt – As required
  • Butter – Half a teaspoon
  • Black Pepper Powder – As required

Procedure:

  • Heat adequate amount of water in a cooking pan with about a teaspoon of water and a little salt
  • Crush the noodles roughly and when the water starts bubbling, add them into the water. Let it boil for about 3-4 minutes
  • Turn down the heat a little. Test if the noodles are about 3/4th done, by pressing a couple of them
  • Take it away from the heat and let it stay in the water for another 2-3 mintues. Drain and sift through them lightly with a fork. Let it cool
  • In a yok or suitable cooking pan, add about 3-4 teaspoons of oil
  • Add the chopped potato, carrots and peas and lightly fry them. Add salt. Turn down the heat and cover and cook, until the vegetables are done. Make sure to check that the vegetables do not get burnt.
  • When the vegetables are cooked, add the drained noodles and mix well.
  • Adjust salt if required.
  • In a differnt pan, heat about a teaspoon of oil and spread out the beaten egg like an omlette. When cooked, cut thin stips of this and add them to the noodles.
  • Add black pepper powder and butter to the noodles. Mix well and serve hot.

Note:

  • These are made from all-purpose flour, and a healthier alternative would be to use the semolina or rice noodles. I made an exception for only this time, just to get the effect right.

  • Shahi Toast

    27Jul09

    After all the talk about gulab jamuns and rasagollas over the past few weeks, today I finally could not resist walking determinedly into the kitchen to actually make something sinfully sweet. And I made something that I was dying to try out. Shahi toast as made by Amrita, who is the wife of my colleague and friend Piyush. This young lady knows all the charms that can create magic out of the most mundane of ingredients.

    I had always believed that shahi-tukda requires quite an assortment of ingredients, especially milk and its various products and dry fruits. In its more authentic form.. yes. However, this simpler version is none the less tasty and takes care of the craving pretty satisfactorily. The important element here is the aroma of Ghee on the toast, which makes up for the lack of the other rich ingredients. So in case, you don’t have ghee around, use some butter instead, but not oil.

    Shahi Toast

    Serves:

    3-4 persons

    You Will Need:

    • Bread Slices – 1 per person
    • Clarified Butter (Ghee) – To fry the bread slices
    • Sugar – 1 cup
    • Water – 1 and 1/2 cup

    Procedure:

    • Cut the bread slices in half
    • In a frying pan, fry these slices in Ghee such that they are nicely crisped. Set Aside.
    • Boil the sugar and water, to make a sugar syrup of medium consistency. To test if its done, take a drop of the syrup between your thumb and forefinger. If it becomes sticky on the skin, you are good to go,
    • Put the toasted bread slices on a plate and pour the sugar syrup over them.
    • Let it rest for about 15-20 minutes, to allow the bread slices to absorb the syrup completely.

    Note:

    • The sugar syrup can be further flavoured with cardamom powder and saffron strands. I used around 3 strands of saffron.
    • The amount of sugar and water may need readjustment. I often mess it up a bit, but at the end it gets fixed by trial and error.

    This can be had either as an accompaniment or dessert.

    Strawberry Raita

    Serves:

    2-3 persons

    You Will Need:

    • Fresh strawberries – about 4 per person
    • Yoghurt – 250gms
    • Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 teaspoon
    • Fried Cumin Powder – 1/2 teaspoon
    • Salt – to taste

    Procedure:

    • Chop the strawberries into tiny cubes and keep aside
    • In a bowl, mix the yoghurt, salt, red chilli powder and fried cumin powder
    • Tip over the strawberry cubes in this and mix them in
    • Refrigerate
    • While serving, spinkle a small pinch of fried cumin powder on top again

    Note:

    • This dish can be sweetened too
    • Fried cumin powder can be made at home. Fry about 100 gms of whole cumin seeds without oil, in a pan. When an aroma emanates, take them off the flame. Let the cumin cool slightly. While still crispy grind them into a fine powder and store in an air-tight jar.

    চিংড়ি মাছের রসা।

    This is how my mum used to make it and I can proudly say that I learnt well. 😀

    Chingri Maacher Rasha

    Chingri Maacher Rasha

    Serves:

    2-3 Persons

    You Will Need:

    • Fresh Prawns – 500 grams (I used 4 prawns about 3 inches long)
    • Potatoes – 2-3 medium sized (diced into 1 inch cubes)
    • Onion – 1 medium sized (finely chopped)
    • Garlic – 2 pods (peeled and finely chopped)
    • Ginger – 1/2 inch piece (finely chopped)
    • Green chillies – 2 (finely chopped)
    • Tomato – 1 (finely chopped)
    • Turmeric Powder – 2 teaspoon
    • Bay leaf / Tej-patta -1
    • Red Chilli Powder – 1 teaspoon
    • Cumin+Coriander Powder – 1 and 1/2 teaspoon
    • Mustard Oil – 2 tablespoon
    • Salt – to taste

    Procedure:

    • Clean the prawns and de-vein them
    • Add salt and 1 teaspoon turmeric to the prawns and leave aside for 2-3 minutes
    • In a wok, heat the mustard oil
    • When the oil is hot, add the marinated prawns and fry them until they turn slightly orange
    • Remove the prawns from the oil and keep aside
    • In the remaining oil, add the Tejpatta, chopped onion, garlic, ginger and green chillies. Fry till the onions turn transparent
    • Add the chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and cumin+coriander powder
    • Fry until the tomatoes mix well. Add the diced potatoes and mix with the masala.
    • After 2 minutes, add about 1 cup water. Put on a lid and let it cook for 4-5 minutes.
    • Check the potatoes and when they are nearly done, add the fried prawns.
    • Let it cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add more water if necessary.
    • Uncover and cook until the desired level of gravy remains.
    • Serve hot with steamed rice.

    Note:

    • This dish tastes best with mustard oil. However, it can be made with vegetable oil as well.

    Chatpata Paneer

    02Jan09

    This is one of our quick-hacks for days when we return late from work. And to add to the misery, we had not shopped for grocery.

    Chatpata Paneer

    Chatpata Paneer

    Serves:

    2-3 Persons

    You Will Need:

    • Paneer (Cut into 1/2 inch cubes) – 250 grams
    • Turmeric Powder – 1/2 teaspoon
    • Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 teaspoon
    • Dry Mango Powder – 1/4 teaspoon
    • Salt – To Taste
    • Zeera (cumin) Powder – 1/2 teaspoon
    • Black Pepper – Coarsely ground (from the mill)
    • Kasoori Methi – 1 teaspoon
    • Oil

    Procedure:

    • In a bowl, mix turmeric, red chilli powder, zeera powder and dry mango powder
    • Mix the paneer cubes in this marinate and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes
    • In a wok, heat the oil
    • When hot, tip over the paneer+marinate mix into the oil
    • Fry for about 5 minutes in medium heat
    • Add the crushed kasoori methi and mix well
    • Spread the crushed black pepper and serve hot.

    Aloo Dum

    02Jan09

    So I am starting with a cheat. 🙂 I have’nt cooked this dish recently and since the time the accompanying photograph was clicked, I made atleast 3 variations of this to suit tastes as per stomach chemistry. Anyways, here goes the recipe.

    Aloo Dum

    Aloo Dum

    Serves:

    2-3 persons

    You Will Need:

    • Small potatoes (Boiled and Peeled) – 500gms
    • Heeng – 1 small pinch
    • Whole Jeera (cumin) – 1/2 teaspoon
    • Whole Saunf (fennel) – 1/2 teaspoon
    • Whole Dhania (Coriander) – 1/2 teaspoon
    • Whole Methi (Fenugreek) – 1/2 teaspoon
    • Turmeric Powder – 1 teaspoon
    • Red Chilli Powder – 1 teaspoon
    • Green Chill (chopped) – As per taste
    • Cumin + Coriander – 3 teaspoon
    • Dry Mango Powder (Amchoor) – 1 teaspoon
    • Sugar – 1 teaspoon
    • Oil – 2 tablespoon
    • Salt – to taste
    • Black Salt – to taste
    • Dhania Patta (Coriander leaves) – about 4 teaspoon
    • Tomato Ketchup – 1and 1/2 teaspoon

    Procedure:

    • Heat oil in a wok
    • When the oil heats up add: heeng, whole zeera, whole saunf, whole dhania, whole methi
    • After about 30 seconds add the turmeric, cumin+coriander powder, red chilli powder, amchoor and sugar.
    • When the sugar caramalizes, add the chopped green chillies, salt and the potatoes
    • Coat the potatoes with the masala and fry for 5-6 minutes, until the masala is nicely cooked.
    • Turn down the heat and add the tomato ketchup chat masala and rock salt. Mix well.
    • Add the dhania patta (coriander leaves) and serve.

    Notes:

    • The dish can be made without black salt. However, if black salt is being used then use less salt during cooking and add black salt to complete the taste.
    • Instead of small potatoes, diced pieces of large potatoes can also be used. However, make sure they are boiled and peeled.

    It official…

    12Nov08

    This officially marks the start of my new food blog. I had made an earlier attempt somewhere else too, but wordpress is so much nicer. I intend to blog mostly about the experimental things that I end up making on weeknights. Simple, sumptuous and hopefully healthy with a mix of carbs, veggies, meat, dairy, fibre etc. other essential items that two tired-from-work people can gobble down easily. And also the special dishes that we make on weekends – mostly a Bengali Thali.

    Also, my best friend at work (and a new mom *hugs*) and me often share recipes and need a placeholder for easy reference later on. Additionally, there are a few friends living alone who have recently started discovering the joy of cooking. I hope you guys find this useful.

    Occassionally, I’ll put up some of our family favourites that I had managed to learn mostly from my mother. Since we restrict the usage of too many spices and oil in our daily cooking, the procedure for some dishes might vary from their regular versions.

    Cuisine style: urban cosmopolitan, bengali, eat to survive

    A list of my favourite food blogs are listed too and I’ll be adding more of them in there.

    Photos would be courtsey Sankarshan. (I did not ask you yet.. 😀 )