Well, this is a special post, as after 2 days on April 15th, it is Bengali New Year, the first day of Bengali calendar year 1422. It falls either on 14th or 15th of English month of April. This Bengali calender is maintained in Indian state of West Bengal, Tripura, Assam & our neighbouring country Bangladesh. Naba Barsha or Poila Boisakh is a very important occassion for Bengalis. First day of the first month of the year, Baisakh(name of the month), which is popularly known as "POILA BAISAKH", where 'poila' means the very first. It is very important yet another eventful day of the year, which Bengal celebrates with lots of excitement and zest and welcomes the new year with lots of enthusiasm. To know more about this day, click this post link where I mentioned how we, Bengalis celebrate this special day.
    As you all know, Bengalis are famous for their love of food and just need an excuse to feast. So, what better excuse can it be to indulge in their favorite recipes other than this day. "Kasha Mangsho" is one such dish for that Bengalis can go to any extent. I mean to taste this lavish dish they can go to any part of the city at any time. The famous food joint who makes the bestest "Kasha Mangsho" in the city is "Gol bari" in North Kolkata. People come from neighbourhood cities to taste their famous kasha mangsho. Luckily, I live very close by to this place and went there many times. But, as a health freak person, I don't give my family permission to eat all those oily and spicy food frequently, rather I enjoy creating those dishes in my kitchen for my family. 


 Traditionally, this dish is quite rich in calories, as the whole dish is cooked using a lot of oil/fat and the meat is fully cooked in oil in slow heat without using any water. But I'm not ready to compromise on health even I need to compromise little on taste. So I prefer to make it at home using lot less fat still it tastes awesome. Now let's move on to the recipe..................


You Need :
Mutton : 500 gm.
Potato : 3-4, cut in halves

To make into a paste :
Garlic : 5-6 fat cloves
Ginger : 2 inch piece(1)
Dry red chilli : 2, seedless

For Garam masala :
Green cardamom : 3
Cloves : 4
Cinnamon stick : 1(1")
Mace/javetri : 2(1/2") pieces

Spices for marinade :
1/2 of above ginger-garlic-red chilli paste
Yoghurt/dahi : 2 tblsp.
Mustard oil : 1 tsp.
Turmeric Powder :1 tsp.
Salt : 2 tsp.

Whole spices for tempering :
Green Cardamom : 3-4
Cloves : 3-4
Cinnamon Stick : 2(1")
Bay leaves : 2

For gravy :
Onions : 3, medium, grated
Tomato : 2, medium
Cumin powder : 2 tsp.
Coriander Powder : 2 tsp.
Turmeric Powder : 2 tsp.
Sugar : 1 tsp.
Salt to taste
Oil : 2 tblsp.
Ghee/clarified butter : 1 tblsp.

How To :
  • Preperation : 1)Marinade mutton with ingredients listed under "spices for marinade". Mix all the spices very well in a bowl, add the cleaned mutton pieces in there. Mix carefully, making sure that all the spices are nicely coated all the mutton pieces. Keep aside for at least 4-5 hours, for best results marinate it overnight or as long as possible. 2) Smear little turmeric powder and salt on potatoes and keep aside for about an hour. 3) Dry roast the spices listed under "For Garam masala" till they are lightly browned, then grind them to fine powder. Store for later use. 4) Make a fine paste of dry red chilli, ginger and garlic, adding very little water possible.
  • Cooking : Heat the oil in a deep bottomed vessel, add potato pieces and fry them in hot oil till they are golden brown. Keep them aside. Now add the ghee in the pan. Temper the oil with the spices listed under "For tempering". As soon as you get the aroma of the spices, add the sliced/grated onions. Fry for about 2-3 minutes, when the onions have just started changing the color, add the sugar. Continue stirring the onions till they are nicely browned. Sugar will caramelize and will give the gravy a nice brown color.
  • Next, add rest of the red chilli-ginger-garlic paste and fry for 2 minutes. Then add the chopped tomatoes and fry till oil separates. Add cumin, coriander and turmeric powder one by one and stir fry for 2-3 minutes till oil separates from spices. Add the marinated mutton and mix it nicely with the spice blend. At medium flame stir fry all mutton pieces mixing well with the spices, stirring continuously. Add grounded garam masala powder in it and continue stirring.
  • This time, mutton may loose some water. Continue stirring for at least 15-20 minutes without adding any water. This process of cooking the meat in its own juice is called in bengali cuisine "kashano". How long you'll do this process, the flavour will go more inside the mutton pieces. In between, if you need can sprinkle little water. When you see the mutton pieces are half cooked and its color has darkened, add 1 cup of hot water into the pan. Add fried potato pieces into the pan. Check the seasoning, if needed add salt. 
  • Close the lid and in medium-low flame, let it cook. Check and remember to stir time to time. You can use a pressure cooker to cook the mutton pieces, but this dish gets its distinctive rich flavour and taste by this slow cooking without adding much water in it. So try to make it this way. The mutton will take almost 45 minutes to 1 hr. to cook and the water will also evaporate by the time and the oil will surface over the mutton pieces. Don't worry, this is because of the slow cooking. Remove from heat and serve hot.
  • Enjoy this nicely cooked soft mutton curry with some simple Pulao or roti with some red onion rings and cucumber and few lemons by the side.

Sending this traditional Bengali dish to Kolkata Food Blogger's "Poila Boisakh Special" event









 
Wishing all my Bengali readers, fellow bloggers and friends a very happy & prosperous Bengali New Year( Shubho Nababarsha)




   Today I'll post a quick recipe of a beverage I make quite often. I make at least 3-4 time a week. Its very necessary to keep your body hydrated throughout the Summer and around this time when we all kind of loose our appetite, this drinks keep us healthy. You need very few ingredients for this - few watermelon pieces, few cucumber pieces, lemon, Black salt and honey.


You Need : [Makes 3 tall glasses of drink]
Watermelon(1/2 of a watermelon), seedless : chopped
Cucumber : 2, chopped
Juice of 1 Lemon
Black Salt to taste
Honey : 2 tblsp.

How To :
  • Take chopped watermelon and cucumber slices in a tall mixer, add 2 cups of water and blend well. 
  • Strain the liquid with a strainer and collect in a jar.
  • Mix lemon juice, honey and black salt to taste.
 

 Enjoy with this superb drink and keep your body cool during hot Summer !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




   Today's post is quick in every way..my post will be short :) and the recipe is for a quick stir-fry salad made in less than 10 minutes. You can say it a salad or chat or a stir-fry side dish. Any way, it's finger-licking delicious with just two main ingredients, paneer and corn. This tangy salad is very easy to put together and packed with flavour and fun.


  Corn is one of the most beloved vegetable in allover the world. I just love it and always add in my daily salad or in curries every way possible. Here are some of the health benefits of corn you should know ::::::::::::
  • Corn is one of the healthiest vegetable available, its health benefits includes controlling diabetes, prevention of heart ailments, lowering hypertension and prevention of neural-tube defects at birth. 
  • Corn is a rich source of vitamins A, B, E and many minerals. Its high fiber content ensures that it plays a significant role in the prevention of digestive ailments like constipation and hemorrhoids as well as colorectal cancer. 
  • The antioxidants present in corn also act as anti-carcinogenic agents and prevent Alzheimer’s disease. 
  • Corn contains abundant minerals which positively benefit the bodies in a number of ways. Phosphorous, along with magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron and copper are found in all varieties of corn. 
  • It also contains trace minerals like selenium, which are difficult to find in most normal diets.
  • Corn also has a significant level of iron, which is one of the essential minerals needed to form new red blood cells; a deficiency in iron is one of the main cause of anemia as well.
Here is a pictorial guide of health benefits for you.................
Pic. Source : https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/cereal/health-benefits-of-corn.html


 So, if you didn't include corn in your diet yet, go ahead, there are enough benefits we get from corn to include it in our daily diet. so let's move on to the recipe........


You Need :
Paneer(Indian cottage cheese) : 1/2 cup, cubed
Fresh corn kernels : 2/3 cup
Green capsicum : 1/2, finely chopped
Cumin seeds : a pinch
Onion(small) : 1, sliced
Tomato(small) : 1, diced
Green chilli : 1, finely chopped
Red chilli powder : 1/2 tsp.
Chat masala or use dry mango powder(amchur) : 1 tsp. [can substitute with fresh lemon juice - 1 tsp.]

Oil : 1 tblsp.
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander leaves : a little, chopped



How To :
  • prepare vegetables as mentioned in the ingredients list. heat oil in a pan, temper with cumin seeds, then add sliced onions. Stir fry a little till they change color. Now add chopped capsicum, green chillies and tomato. Stir fry for another 2 minutes, then add cubed paneer pieces and stir fry in medium heat for 2 more minutes. 
  • lastly add corn kernels along with all the spices, chat masala and red chilli powder. Season with salt and stir fry for another 1 minute. Remove from heat and add fresh coriander leaves and mix thoroughly, cover and set aside.
  • Enjoy this simple salad with dal or any Indian sabji as a side dish.

I'm sure you'll be hooked to this dish once tried like me.......Bon Apetit !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




     Kadai mushroom is an easy and quick dish and very delicious. Button mushrooms seasoned with an assortment of spices in a semi dry gravy of tangy onion-tomato sauce along with bell peppers. Mushrooms, onions, tomatoes and bell peppers - this combination never go wrong, brings out a flavorful dish always. The Indian Kadai is a deep bottomed pan, almost like Chinese Wok but deeper than wok. The dish is fully cooked in the kadai, hence got the name "Kadai" Mushroom. Also This Kadai Mushroom recipe hails from the Punjabi Cuisine where some specific spices go and make it do delectable. I usually use the store-bought spice powders but this time I thought to make it from scratch making my very own "Kadai" masala and needless to say, the taste was incredible, lot better than the other time I cooked the very same dish. And I promised myself to make any Kadai dish in future like Kadai Paneer with this freshly made masala.

     And believe me, it's not a huge task but makes a huge difference. I just followed my regular recipe for making Kadai recipes like Kadai Paneer which I posted earlier in the blog, only I used this freshly made Kadai masala. so, let's proceed tot he recipe......

You Need :::
Button Mushroom : 250 gms.
Capsicum/bell pepper : 1-2, sliced/cubed
Onions : 2, medium, chopped
Tomatoes : 2 , big, pureed
Ginger-garlic paste : 1 heaped tblsp.[1 inch ginger+3 big cloves of garlic]
Green chilli : 1, finely chopped
Kasuri Methi/dried fenugreek leaves : 1 big pinch or 1 tsp., crushed between palms
Turmeric Powder : 2 tsp.
Oil : 2 tblsp. oil
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing

For Kadai masala :
Coriander seeds : 1 tblsp.
Cumin seeds : 1 tsp.
Dry red chilli : 1-2, depending on how much spicy you want
Green cardamom : 1
Cloves : 2
Black Pepper : 4-5
Mace/Javitri : 1 small strand(optional but recommended)



How To ::::
  • To make the Kadai Masala : Heat a griddle on high heat, add the spices one by one starting with red chilli first. Lower the heat to medium and stir continuously till a nice aroma of roasted spices comes out and spices turn a shade darker. Remove from heat, cool a little just enough to go inside a dry drinder/coffee grinder, grind when the spices are still warm to get the best aroma for the spices. You can store this grounded spice ina n air-tight container. 
  • Heat oil in a pan, add chopped onions, when they turn little brown, add sliced mushrooms. Mushrooms can loosed some water, stir fry till it evaporate. When all moisture has evaporated and mushrooms turn little brown, add green chilli and ginger-garlic paste. Mix well and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add tomato puree and sliced/cubed capsicums. Mix well and then add the grounded kadai masala we prepared. Mix very well and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Season with salt this time and add about 3/4 cup water. Cover the lid and let it cook in medium heat. Tip : Mushroom and capsicum both don't take much time to cook and as it's a semi-dry gravy dish, so don't add too much water.
  • When gravy has nicely coated the mushrooms, add crushed kasuri methi from top and mix well with the gravy. Remove from heat and garnish with fresh coriander leaves. 
  • And your are done to relish an awesomely flavourful side dish with rotis, naans or parathas.








    After long time I'm posting a Bengali Fish recipe in this blog. This was a long pending post. This recipe is with tiger prawns, which is quite expensive than any other fish in Bengal, so it is cooked on special occasions or rarely at home. Few months back on hubby's birthday, I made this dish which is a finger-licking delicious and his favorite, where big tiger prawns are cooked on low heat along with some assorted spices. The method of this slow cooking is called "dum". This slow cooking makes this dish so rich and flavorful. I've adapted this recipe from a cookbook, "Bong Mom's Cookbook by Sandeepa Mukherjee Dutta" who is a fellow blogger, a good friend and my inspiration for blogging. I have used medium sized tiger prawns or "Golda Chingri" for this recipe, but you can use any size of prawn you have and go ahead with the recipe.


So let's proceed to the recipe.....................

You Need :
Prawn : 7-8, shelled and deveined
Potato : 2, medium, cut into chunks
Onion : 1, medium, grated
Ginger-garlic-green chilli paste : 1 tblsp. [you can omit green chilli from the paste if you want]

Yoghurt/dahi : 1/4 cup
Turmeric powder : 1 tsp.
Red chilli powder : 1 tsp.
Garam Masala Powder : 1/2 tsp. [A grounded powder of 2 cardamoms, 2-3 cloves & 1 cinnamon stick of 1"]
Sugar : 1/2 tsp.
Salt to taste
Oil : 2 tblsp.

For Tempering :
Bay leaves : 2
Cinnamon : 2 sticks(1")
Cardamoms : 3-4


How To :
  • Wash the deveined prawns in water very well, smear a little of turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp. of ginger-garlic-green chilli paste and salt, keep aside for 10 minutes. 
  • Heat 1 tblsp. oil in a pan, add potato chunks and fry for few minutes from all sides. Keep aside. In the same oil, add prawns and fry till both sides are just lightly brown, do not keep them in oil for long. Keep aside.
  • In a big bowl, put the fried prawns and potato pieces, add rest of the onion-ginger-garlic-green chilli paste, yoghurt, turmeric and red chilli powder and sugar, toss well so that everything is well coated with this marinade. Keep aside for at least for 30 minutes or more. 
  • Heat rest of the oil in the same pan, temper it with bay leaves, cinnamon and cardamoms, when they start to splutter, add the sugar and let it brown a little, then add the marinated prawns and potatoes along with rest of the marinade. Lower the heat and simmer, toss everything together and cover with a lid for "dum" cooking. Once the masala is cooked (you can see the oil is surfacing to the top), add about 1/2 cup warm water. Adjust the seasoning by adding salt.
  • Cover and keep cooking until potatoes are done and the gravy is thick and nicely coated the prawns. Prawns get cooked fast and it takes hardly 12-15 minutes even at low heat. Lastly, add garam masala powder and switch off the heat. 
  • Serve with warm rice or pulao. It is extremely delicious. 
Try this Bengali delicacy at your home and let me know how much you have liked it....................








    

Pizza is one of the most beloved food of kids and my kids are no exception. They love it to the core. After trying few breads at home, I thought to make a pizza from scratch and surprise my kids for dinner one day. After you understand how yeast works, pizza making is like a breeze. In first attempt, I made soft and spongy pizza base, with homemade pizza sauce and topping what my kids like, one veg pizza with paneer and vegetable and one non-veg. with chicken sausage and vegetable.


You Need :
For Pizza dough::: [yields two 7-8" round pizza]
Flour : 3-31/2 cups 
Active Dry Yeast : 1 tblsp.
Sugar : 1 tsp.
1-1/4 cup warm water
Vegetable Oil : 1 tblsp.
Salt : 2 tsp.
Some extra flour for dusting
Olive oil for brushing
For Pizza sauce ::::
Tomato Puree: 1/4 cup or puree of 5-6 medium size tomato
Onion : 2, chopped
Garlic : 3 fat cloves, crushed
Tomato : 1, big, chopped
Dried Oregano or mixed Italian herbs : 1 tsp.
Olive Oil : 1 tsp.
Sugar : 1/2 tsp.
Salt and black pepper to taste


Topping for Veg. Pizza:::
Paneer/cottage cheese
Fresh corn
Capsicum slices
Tomato slices
Onion slices
You can add any vegetable of your choice
Topping  for Salami Pizza :::
Chicken sausage
Fresh corn
Capsicum slices
Tomato slices
Onion slices



How To :
  • To make Pizza dough : In a large bowl, combine yeast, sugar and water. Stir till sugar dissolves and let it stand undisturbed in a warm place for 5-10 minutes. When you see the mixture turns foamy, that means yeast has activated. Add oil in there. Mix salt in flour and add in yeast mixture. Make a pilable dough. Turn out dough on a lightly floored surface, knead well until dough turns soft and elastic for about 8-10 minutes. Place dough in a greased bowl and keep the bowl in a warm place to rise until it doubles in size.  [Tips : I usually run my microwave for 4-5 minutes, then turn it off, keep the light on and place the bowl in there to rise]
    After it doubles in size, remove the dough to a flour-dusted surface and knead it well to push the air out with your hands – this is called knocking back the dough. Now divide the dough in two round ball. Again on a flour-dusted surface, place one ball and roll it out to make a 1/2 inch thick round pizza base. do the same with the other dough ball.
  • To make Pizza sauce : Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan, add crushed garlic and onions, fry until onions turn transparent. Add tomato Puree, sugar, oregano, salt and black pepper. Stir well. Lower the heat and let it cook for 15-20 minutes stirring frequently. Finally add chopped tomatoes to give the sauce a chunky texture. Cook for another minute or two. Remove from heat.
  • Final assemble and topping : Preheat oven to 200 degree C. Place one pizza base on round pizza baking tray, grease it with olive oil and dust some flour on it. Your baking tray is ready. Prick the base everywhere with a fork to prevent it from rise in oven. Then brush the base with olive oil. Spread the pizza sauce over it and topping of whatever you want. Finally cover it with grated pizza cheese. Bake for 12-15 minutes till the edges of pizza base turns brown and cheese melts and turns slightly brown. 

Enjoy...............Bon Appetit !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!





    This simply moist and soft looking cake is not like any other cake, it has no eggs or flour, so it is a healthier option than any regular cakes. The main ingredient of this cake is semolina or suji, which is a by-product of wheat. It's quick and very easy to make, need no elaborate preparation. I tried this for first time and became fan of it. Surprisingly, one of my kid who is a very choosy cake eater, he loved it so much and asking me every day to make it again. It can be a very healthy add-on in your kid's lunch box or as a after school snack. 




You Need :
Semolina/Suji : 1 and 1/2 cup
Coconut : 1/2 cup or more
Sugar : 1 and 1/4 cup, powdered
Plain yogurt/dahi : 1 cup
Milk : 2/3 cup
Vegetable oil : 1/2 cup
Baking Soda : 1 tblsp.
Vanilla essence : 1 tblsp.
Assorted nuts : 1/2 cup chopped (walnuts, cashews or almonds) [optional]


How To :
  • In a bowl, take sugar and yogurt. Stir to mix them so that sugar dissolves fully. Then add suji/semonlina, coconut, oil and all the other ingredients one at a time and mix properly. Do not overmix. 
  • Then set aside the bowl for at least an hour so that semolina can soak up all the moisture before baking.
  • Pre-heat your oven to 180C. Grease your baking pan with butter or oil and then pour the semolina mixture into the pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. 
  • Let it cool completely before you slice it.
  • Can be a great accompaniment with evening tea/coffee.


Try this effortless cake at home and I guarantee you'll be hooked to it. I made twice in one week, that much addictive this cake is. Let me know whenever you try it...........











  Today I'm going to introduce you to another member of our foodie group, "Kolkata Food Bloggers", Rakhee Dutta of "My World of baking and More", with her our event, "Know your Blogger" is going to end, but I'm going to introduce you many more awesome bloggers in future for sure.
  So now, Rakhee is an IT professional, who manages home and office in equal elan with a food blog by her side. She is very Jolly and jovial in nature. Her passion for baking is extraordinary. She has blogged on many difficult and traditional baked delicacies on her blog within very short period of time. She is the bread baking queen of our group, KFB. I blindly follow her recipe when it comes to bread baking and I've gathered all my courage to bake a bread at home from her blog only. The way she explains all the procedures and minute details, anyone can bake a bread like I did. I've always poured a piles of queries whenever I've tried something from her blog in the past and she answered each and every query very politely and added her personal tips,too. If you want to learn the funda behind Bread baking, her blog should be your destination.


     So, this week as per event rule when I'm supposed to chose one recipe from her blog and post, what else you think I'm gonna choose other than a bread. And I chose her Daily Bread or a Basic Sandwich Bread recipe. As always, Ive followed her recipe and measurement to the T, still I had few queries in my mind and as usual called her during the baking and she answered all my queries and wished me luck. And Voila, I got a perfect textured bread at one go and it's all thanks to her. Slowly I'm overcoming the fear of baking breads. Thank you Rakhee for being such a wonderful friend, even though we havn't met yet personally, hoping to meet you soon.

Here is the link to her recipe................
You need : [All cup measures should be from the same cup]

3 cups flour { you can use 3 cups of All-purpose flour(maida) or 1:1 ratio of wheat flour and APF or 2: 1 ratio of APF and wheat flour(atta) -- any combination works}
Instant yeast : 1 and 1/2 tsp.
Lukewarm milk : 3/4 cup
Water : 1/2 cup
Sugar : 1 ans 1/2 tblsp.
Salt : 1 tsp.
White oil : 1 and 1/2 tblsp.
A little flour for dusting the work space
An aluminium foil or a butter paper to cover up the bread while baking


How To :
  • In a pan, mix milk and water and warm a little. {V. Imp. : It should be lukewarm, just a little warm to touch not hot. Otherwise it may kill your yeast.} Add sugar and mix till sugar completely dissolves. Add yeast and mix well. Keep this yeast mixture in some warm place undisturbed for 10 minutes.{Tips : I usually run my microwave for 3-4 minutes, then switch it off and keep the yeast bowl in closed microwave}
  • Meanwhile, take flour(in whatever ratio you are using, I used 1and 1/2 cup of APF and 1 and 1/2 cup of wheat flour) in a big bowl, add salt and oil into the flour and mix well with your hands and keep aside. After 10 minutes, check the yeast mixture, you'll see the yeast mixture will be frothy as yeast has proved and became active. {***This is what we want to bake a perfect bread. If your yeast mixture doesn't froth, that means the yeast is not good enough for baking a bread.}
  • Add the yeast mixture into the flour and knead well. The dough will feel sticky, do not add extra flour to knead it, instead add little more oil and the dough will bind well. Now grease a big bowl and keep the dough in a warm place, loosely covering with a damp kitchen cloth for about 1 hour to rise, same way we've kept our yeast mixture in the microwave. The dough will double in size within an hour.{The time depends it can take little more time too}
  • After it doubles in size, take out the dough and deflate it by pressing it down. Do not punch. Using little flour knead the dough for couple of minutes more. Now spread the dough using a rolling pin in a rectangular shape. Then start rolling the dough from one end and press down the open end with fingers. continue the process till the end and make a log shaped dough. 
  • Now grease a wide (at least 8 inches long and 3 inches wide) loaf pan and place the shaped dough inside it. Now keep this ready loaf tin in a warm place for the second rise, covering with a damp kitchen cloth. It takes about 45 minutes to rise. This time it'll not double in size but will rise 1/2 the size of the dough more.
  • Preheat your oven to 220 degreeC and keep the loaf tin inside it after the second rise. Before you place the dough inside the oven, make a slit with a sharp knife from the middle. This will allow the trapped air inside bread to escape and also prevents the top of the bread from cracking. {Tips : Place an aluminium foil or a butter paper loosely covered on the bread, so that the top of the bread doesn't ger hard.}
  • Bake for 40 minutes or when you tap the back of the bread, it sounds hollow. 
  • If you want a brown crusted bread, turn on the grill mode on your oven and grill for 5 minutes. You'll get a golden brown top. 
  • Remove the bread from oven and brush it with butter/milk/oil. Cool completely before you slice the bread, otherwise the bread will crumble.    

Enjoy your favorite sandwich with your homemade bread.........aha, what an awesome feeling.
Here are some more tries with yeast from my blog : Pav buns, Italian Focaccia, Vegetable stuffed buns

Sending this to "Kolkata Food Bloggers" ongoing event, "Know your Blogger"