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Sunday, 28 June 2020

Bottle Gourd Soup with Rosemary Flavour


          Low in fat, Bottle Gourd soup is very healthy and nutritious. A handful of rosemary adds to its flavour. However, you can substitute it with mint or coriander leaves. Bottle Gourd contains calcium and dietary fibre. 

          It is good for the heart, improves digestion, aids in weight loss and is good for the tummy. So this nutritious and wholesome soup is ideal for everybody. You can add a dash of lime to enhance the taste and flavour. It can be relished as a light dinner with few bread sticks or bread croutons.











  • 2 cups bottle gourd, roughly chopped
  • handful of rosemary
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2" ginger
  • 1-2 green chilies
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste / 1 tomato, roughly chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • any garnish of your choice








          Heat oil and butter in a pan. Saute the onion, ginger, garlic and green chilies till translucent. 

          Add the chopped bottle gourd, rosemary, tomato and all the dry spices. Saute for 2-3 minutes.

          Add 2 cups water and pressure cook for 2-3 whistles. Keep aside to cool and then blend into a smooth puree.

          While serving, heat through and garnish as per your choice. Enjoy just as it is or with soup sticks / bread croutons for a light comfort meal. 

























Parwal Ki Mithai (Stuffed Pointed Gourd in Sugar Syrup)


          Parwal or Pointed Gourd is generally used in making curry. However, in North India, especially Bihar, it is turned into an exotic stuffed sweet in sugar syrup. So this was my first try at making and I simply loved it. This is a very delicate sweet and needs to be handled with care in the process of making. 

          Parwal Ki Mithai is very popular during festivals and special occasions. Khoya or milk solid is generally used for the stuffing, however, I had to make use of paneer as the former was unavailable. So why wait for any occasion? Go ahead and give it a try in your kitchen and enjoy it chilled.











  • 5-6 Parwals (Pointed Gourd)
  • 100 gms. paneer (cottage cheese)
  • 2 tbsp. fresh grated coconut 
  • 2 tbsp. pistachio, powdered 
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom powder
  • 2 tbsp. + 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • chopped pistachio & dry rose petals to garnish 








          Wash the parwals and pat dry. Then scrap them and make a slit lengthwise on one side. Carefully deseed them and keep aside. 

          Meanwhile for the stuffing - Heat a non-stick pan and saute the paneer, 2 tbsp. sugar, coconut and cardamom powder for a few minutes till the moisture has evaporated. Set aside to cool. Then mix the pistachio powder to it and keep aside. The stuffing is ready.

          Heat sufficient quantity of water in a saucepan. Add the baking soda (this will help retain the colour) and bring it to a boil. Drop in the parwals and simmer, covered for 2-3 minutes. Drain and keep aside. 

          To make the sugar syrup - add the sugar and water in a pan and bring it to a boil. Simmer on a medium flame till the sugar is completely dissolved.

          Add the boiled parwals in the syrup and simmer for 2-3 minutes or till it softens. Switch off the flame and keep it covered for another 5-10 minutes so that the parwals get nicely soaked in the sugar syrup. Drain completely and let it cool down.

         Then carefully stuff the parwals with the prepared stuffing and press them lightly. Garnish with chopped pistachios and dry rose petals. Refrigerate till serving time. Then enjoy.




















Friday, 26 June 2020

Chingri Mach Bata (Prawn Chutney)


          Today I gave a shot at a dish indigenous to Bengal, the recipe of which is slowly fading away from cookbooks. 'Chingri Mach Bata' or Bengali style prawn chutney is a traditional dish and has its roots in the very heart and soul of Bengali cuisine. 

          In fact, it has been an integral part of Bengali cuisine for generations. Less common these days, it is mostly sourced only in the interiors of West Bengal and Bangladesh. Do give this dish a try by following an easy step by step pictorial recipe to prepare this traditional rustic fare. 






          This dish is made of mashing together small prawns, garlic, green chilies and onion. However, I added some coconut and coriander roots too. 

          To get some pungent kick out of this bata / chutney, some raw mustard oil can be added to the end product. This is mostly consumed as a side dish with hot steamed rice. 

         




           In Bangladesh, this dish is popularly know as 'Bhorta' and uses 'Kucho Chingri' (small prawns) traditionally. but can also be made with regular size ones. 

          This recipe has been on my bucket list for a while now. I have only heard about it through family tales and cookery shows, but never tried it out for myself. 

          It is little know to the present generation. So to revive a lost culinary art, I though I'd give this recipe a try. It is probably my Bengali instincts talking, but in the end this dish was out of this world. 





  • 1 cup prawns, deveined, washed & rinsed
  • 2 tbsp. fresh grated coconut
  • 2 tbsp. mustard oil
  • 2 green chilies
  • 1 dry red chili
  • 8-10 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp. coriander roots, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. nigella seeds (kalonji)
  • 1/4 tsp. asafoetida 
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp. coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp. mustard oil to garnish








          Marinate the prawns with a pinch of salt and turmeric powder for 10 minutes. Heat a pan and dry roast the coconut till light golden in colour. Keep aside. 

          Heat 1 tbsp. oil in the same pan and saute the dry red chili, green chili and garlic till light brown. Add the marinated prawns and stir fry till light brown in colour. Keep aside to cool.

          Then grind along with the roasted coconut, coriander stem and little water to a smooth paste. Keep aside. 

          Heat remaining oil and temper with nigella seeds and asafoetida. Add the onion and stir fry till light brown.

          Now add the ground paste, salt to taste and turmeric powder. Saute on a low flame till it turns dry and all the moisture has evaporated.

          When done, switch off the flame and add coriander leaves. Serve with hot steamed rice and a drizzle of some raw mustard oil for that ultimate pungent kick.

          


                   Marinate prawns with a pinch of salt & turmeric powder for 10 min. 



                   Heat a pan & dry roast coconut till light golden in colour. Keep aside. 




                  Heat 1 tbsp. oil in the same pan & saute dry red chili, green chili & garlic till
                  light brown. Add marinated prawns & saute till light brown. Keep aside to cool.



                   Then grind with roasted coconut, coriander stem & little water to a smooth
                   paste. Keep aside. 




                   Heat remaining oil & temper with nigella seeds & asafoetida. Add onion &
                   stir fry till light brown.




                   Add the ground paste, salt to taste & turmeric powder. 




                   Saute on a low flame till it turns dry & all the moisture has evaporated.



                  When done, switch off the flame & add coriander leaves. 






                             Serve with hot steamed rice & a drizzle of some mustard oil.

















Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Eggplant Soup


          How about some eggplant soup? Yes you heard it right. This is what I tried and it turned out amazing !!! It is a real hearty and wholesome one pot meal for a dinner on the lighter side.  It is prepared with a few basic ingredients that are easily available. 

           I added some mint, however, it can be substituted with any other greens of your choice. You can enjoy it just as it is or with some soup sticks or bread croutons for a great comfort meal. Why stop there? If you wish you can also add a dollop of cream or cheese to make it even more irresistible. Do give this recipe a try.








  • 2-3 long eggplants, cut into roundels
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2" ginger
  • 1-2 green chili
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 stock cube
  • salt if required 
  • handful of mint leaves
  • 1 & 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup yoghurt
  • a sprig of mint, a pinch of red chili flakes and 1 tsp. olive oil to garnish 









         Heat olive oil and fry few eggplant roundels till golden brown on both sides. Drain and keep aside for the garnishing. 

          Now add the butter in the same pan and saute the onion, ginger, garlic and chilies till they turn translucent. 

          Add the remaining eggplants and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the mint, stock cube and 1 & 1/2 cups water. Adjust the consistency accordingly.

          Pressure cook for 2-3 whistles. Let it cool down before you blend along with the yoghurt to a smooth consistency. 

          Just before serving, heat through and garnish with the fried eggplants, mint, red chili flakes and a drizzle of some olive oil.




Note - If you are using stock cube, do check before adding salt. 


























Sunday, 21 June 2020

Cabbage kofta Kadhi (Cabbage Fritters in Yoghurt Sauce)

      
          Koftas are generally fried fritters made of  chickpea flour and different veggies. Kadhi on the other hand, is a yoghurt-chickpea flour based sauce with a tempering. So I combined both kofta and kadhi to come up with my version of this yummy cabbage kofta kadhi. As this humble veggie is not too popular with many, this particular dish, when served, will be a sure hit. 

          The kadhi is light in the stomach and I fried the koftas in a paniyaram chatti for a healthier version with very little oil. So enjoy this melt-in-the-mouth koftas dunked in a mildly spiced kadhi with pulao, hot steamed rice, jeera rice, naan, kulcha, tandoori roti or just plain chapati for a great comfort meal.









Kofta - 

  • 1 & 1/2 cups cabbage, shredded & steamed
  • 1/3 cup gram flour / besan
  • 1 tsp. ginger, grated
  • 1-2 green chilies, chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp. coriander roots, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh grated coconut
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. carom seeds / ajwain, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander-cumin powder
  • pinch of baking soda
  • 1-2 tbsp. oil 

Kadhi - 

  • 1/2 cup yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp. gram flour / besan
  • 3 & 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. asafoetida / hing
  • 1 tsp. ginger-garlic paste
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander-cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp. coriander leaves to garnish
  • pinch of red chili flakes & a drizzle of pickle oil to garnish








          Kofta - In a bowl, combine all the mentioned ingredients (except oil) to make a soft dough. Add water accordingly. Make equal sized balls out of the dough and keep aside. 

          Heat oil in a paniyaram chatti and fry them, few at a time, on both sides till well browned. Drain and keep aside.

          Kadhi - Whisk together yoghurt, gram flour and water. Keep aside. In a small bowl, mix ginger-garlic paste and all the dry spices along with some water to form a paste. Keep aside. 

          Heat oi in a pan and temper with cumin seeds and asafoetida. Now add the paste and saute till the oil separates.

          Add the whisked yoghurt and bring it to a boil. Simmer on a low flame till the consistency thickens to a desired consistency. Be sure to stir at intervals. When done switch off the flame.

          To serve, ladle the kadhi in a bowl and arrange the prepared koftas over it. Garnish with coriander leaves, red chili flakes and pickle oil. Enjoy with any form of rice or Indian bread. 
























Aam Ras Pakora


          A summer without mangoes is meaningless unless you try out something new with it. So this season, I bring to you AAM RAS PAKORA, a new mango dessert which is sure to get your senses tingling. The dish involves pakoras or fritters made of mango scoops prepared in a paniyaram (appe) chatti, served chilled in a bowl of aam ras (mango pulp).

          Aam Ras is very popular in the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra especially, where it is enjoyed plain or with poori. My recipe has tweaked this age old delicacy just a bit, to give it an innovative kick. So add some adventure to your summer and do give Aam Ras Pakora a try. I'm sure you will not be disappointed. 











  • 1-2 Alphonso mangoes
  • 1/3 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom powder
  • 2 tsp. powdered sugar or to taste
  • 2 tsp. ghee 
  • chopped pistachio, dry rose petals & pinch of cardamom powder to garnish











          Take out few scoops from one mango and keep aside. Puree the remaining mango and refrigerate till serving time.

          In a bowl, whisk together chickpea flour, sugar and cardamom powder with some water to make a batter of pouring consistency.

          Grease a paniyaram chatti with some ghee. Now dip the mango scoops in the prepared batter and fry them in the chatti till light brown. Drain and keep aside. 

          To serve - ladle some mango pulp / puree in individual glasses or glass bowls and top it with 2-3 pakoras. 

          Garnish with chopped pistachios, dry rose petals and cardamom powder. Enjoy this chilled  dessert as and when desired.























Friday, 19 June 2020

Lauki (Bottle Gourd) Kofta Curry


          This is a very delicious kofta curry made of grated Lauki or Bottle Gourd in a onion-tomato-yoghurt based gravy. As this vegetable is not too popular with many, this particular dish, when served, will be a sure hit. This restaurant style dish is a great party recipe apt for special occasions. 

          The gravy is very smooth and creamy with melt-in-the-mouth koftas dunked in it. To make it more rich, cashew nut paste can be added to the gravy. It is best relished with pulao, hot steamed rice, jeera rice, naan, kulcha, tandoori roti or just plain chapatti. So check out the step by step pictorial recipe to prepare my version of this curry.









Kofta - 

  • 1 & 1/2 cup lauki / Bottle gourd, grated
  • 1/2 cup besan / gram flour
  • 2 tbsp, fresh grated coconut
  • salt to taste
  • 1-2 green chilies, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ginger, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. coriander leaves & roots, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala powder
  • pinch of soda
  • 1/2 tsp. carom seeds / ajwain
  • 1-2 tbsp. oil to grease the paniyaram chatti

Gravy - 

  • 2-3 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1" cinnamon stick
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 4 cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. asafoetida
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1" ginger, chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup yoghurt, well beaten
  • 1 tbsp. kasuri methi, crushed
  • 1-2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp. coriander leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. beaten yoghurt to garnish (opt)











          kofta -  Add 1/2 tsp. salt to the grated bottle gourd and keep aside for 5-10 minutes. Then squeeze out all the juice and combine with all the mentioned ingredients (except oil) to make a dough. Add the juice only if required.

           Make equal sized balls out of the dough and keep aside. Heat oil in a paniyaram chatti and fry them, few at a time, on both sides till well browned. Drain and keep aside.

          Gravy - Grind together onion, ginger, garlic and tomatoes to a smooth paste. Heat oil in a pan and temper with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cumin seeds and asafoetida. 

          Add the ground paste and sauté till the oil separates. Now add all the dry spices and give it a stir.

          Add the beaten yoghurt and kasuri methi. Sauté further till well blended. Add the leftover juice and water (according to the consistency desired) and bring it to a boil.

          Now drop in the koftas and simmer, covered, for 4-5 minutes or till the gravy is reduced to the desired consistency.

          When done, switch off the flame and add the chopped coriander leaves. Drizzle some beaten yoghurt and serve with any form of rice or Indian bread. 




                  Add 1/2 tsp. salt to the grated bottle gourd & keep aside for 5-10 min. Then
                  squeeze out all the juice.



                   Mix with all the ingredients (except oil) to make a dough. Add the juice only
                   if required.



                   The prepared dough.




                   Make equal sized balls out of the dough & fry them in a paniyaram chatti.



                  Fry them on both sides till well browned. Drain and keep aside.



                  Heat oil. Temper with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cumin seeds & asafoetida. 




                   Add the ground paste & saute till oil separates. 




                    Now add all the dry spices & give it a stir.



                   Add beaten yoghurt & kasuri methi. Sauté till well blended. 



                   Add the leftover juice & water (according to the consistency desired) &
                   bring it to a boil.



                   Drop the koftas & simmer, covered, for 4-5 minutes or till gravy is reduced
                   to the desired consistency.



                   When done, switch off the flame & add chopped coriander leaves. 



                  Drizzle some beaten yoghurt & serve with any form of rice or Indian bread. 















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