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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Paneer Butter Masala ( the Easy and Healthy way )



Paneer Butter Masala is a very rich Indian Vegetarian dish made with Paneer ( Indian Cottage Cheese ). Marinated Paneer is cooked in a spicy, smooth and creamy red-colored tomato-based gravy. It’s the vegetarian version of Chicken Tikka Masala and the most frequent dish to order in an Indian restaurant just after Chicken tikka masala. It’s a bit higher on the calorie scale as the recipe uses lots of cream and butter. It makes this particular dish more appropriate for occasional treats.




Today I will share the recipe of Paneer Butter Masala that you can include it in your everyday menu. Basically, my version of Paneer butter masala gives you the same creamy texture of the Restaurant’s recipe but with lesser fat. Instead of butter, I used here Canola Oil and replaced the cream with milk. Not only it’s a healthy version of actual Paneer Butter Masala, but it’s an easy and fast recipe. Trust me it involves very little effort and needs about 20 minutes to complete the dish.





Paneer Butter Masala pairs very well with most of the Indian Bread like Phulkas, Naan, Tandoori Roti, Paratha etc. as well as with some Rice dishes like  Pulao, Jeera Rice or even with plain rice. 



Recipe Of Paneer Butter Masala:

Ingredients:

Paneer: 200g, cut into small cubes (for best result use homemade Paneer or Haldiram's Malai Paneer)
Oil (or Butter) : 2 tablespoons + 3 tablespoons
Fenugreek seeds: 1/2 teaspoon
Green Cardamoms: 3 
Cinnamon stick: 1 inch 
Cloves: 3 
Tomatoes: 2 large, make it puree 
Green Chili: 1 paste
Ginger paste: 1 teaspoon
Garlic paste: 1 tablespoon
Kashmiri Red chili powder: 1 teaspoon 
Coriander powder: 1 teaspoon 
Cashew paste: 2 tablespoons 
Milk: one cup or as needed. 
Crushed Dry Fenugreek Leaves (Kasuri Methi): 1/4 teaspoon 
Salt: as needed 
Sugar: one teaspoon or to taste 

Method:

1. sprinkle salt over the paneer pieces. Toss gently and set it aside. Take a pan, add oil to it and heat it up. Lightly fry the paneer pieces until they are golden color on both sides. Once they are done, set it aside. 

2. Add the remaining oil to the pan, add fenugreek seeds. Once aroma comes up, either you can discard the fenugreek seeds from the oil or keep it as it is. But don't burn it. It will taste bitter if it is burnt. 

3. Add green cardamoms, cinnamon stick and cloves to the oil. Once it sizzles, add garlic paste, ginger paste, and green chili paste. Fry it until raw smell goes off. 

4. Add tomato puree to the pan. Stir it and cook for a couple of minutes. Once it becomes thick and the oil starts to come up from the sides of the pan, add Kashmiri red chili powder and coriander powder. Stir and cook it for another couple of minutes. 

5. Add the cashew paste to the pan. Stir it to mix it nicely. Cook it again until oil separates from the spice mixture. Add salt and sugar. Add the crushed fenugreek leaves. 

6. Add a cup of milk. You can add little more or less milk as per your desired consistency. 

7. Once the gravy starts to boil, lower the flame and add fried paneer pieces to the gravy.  Stir gently and cover the pan. Let it simmer for another 7 to 8 minutes. Check the seasoning, add salt and sugar if needed. Once the gravy reaches your desired consistency switch off the gas. Paneer Butter Masala is ready. Garnish it with chopped Coriander and serve hot with your choice of Indian bread or Rice preparation.









Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pineapple Chutney ( Anarosher Chatni )



Bengali Chutney is little different in taste from the Chutney of other parts of India. It’s not a condiment, rather in Bengali Cuisine, Chutney is a side dish and a part of a meal. It’s served at the end of a Bengali meal just before the dessert. It tastes usually sweet and sometimes a combination of tart and sweet with a hint of spicy.  Most of the Bengali Chutneys are made of seasonal fruits like tomatoes, mangoes, pineapple, papaya or a combination of fruits and dry fruits.




Today I will share the recipe of Pineapple Chutney, that I cooked for a potluck party where everyone liked it. So thought of sharing the recipe here. This is really easy and quick one to prepare. The taste is sweet and a bit spicy, perfect to complement any lunch or dinner menu. I have used fresh pineapples here but the canned pineapples will also work well here.  So if you are a Chutney-lover, do try this recipe and enjoy it until licking your fingers clean. 





Recipe of Pineapple Chutney ( Anaraser Chutni )

Ingredients:

Pineapple: 2 cups, peeled, cut into small pieces.
Mustard oil or any vegetable oil: 1 tablespoon 
Dry Red Chili: one, broken 
PanchPhoron: 1/2 teaspoon 
Salt: a big pinch 
Sugar: 1/2 cup or to taste 
Turmeric: a pinch 

Raisin: 3-4 tablespoons
Bhaja Masala/ Dry Roasted spice powder: 1 teaspoon (for Bhaja Masala, take 2 tablespoons of whole Cumin and one whole red Chili, dry roast them and pound it into a fine powder) 



Method:


1. Heat the oil in a pan, add panchphoron and the whole red chili. Once they start to splutter add the pineapple. Add salt and turmeric. Stir it for 4 to 5 minutues on a low heat. 

2. Add 1 and a half cup of water to it. Add the sugar and raisins. Cover the pan and let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Once the pineapple becomes soft and the sauce is at your desired consistency, check the sweetness. Add sugar if needed. Turn off the gas. Add the roasted spice powder and mix it well. Serve it as a side dish with a meal. 









Monday, May 22, 2017

Bengali Style Fried Rice ( Ghee Bhat )




Every family has their very own heirloom recipes that have been handed over from one to another generation. Today I will share a recipe that is our family favorites from my grandmother’s time. Whether it’s someone's birthday celebration or an anniversary get together, the recipe was always a big hit at our home.





This is a mildly sweet and fragrant rice dish, loaded with some vegetables, dry fruits and ghee. This is not an elaborate dish rather it’s a very simple, and quick to prepare. In this recipe, an assortment of spices, veggies, and dry fruits are first sautéed in oil and ghee. Then cooked rice is added to the mixture of vegetables and dry fruits. After few minutes, add salt and sugar to the rice and it’s ready to serve. It pairs well with a rich dish like Kasha Mangsho - chicken or  Mutton cooked on the slow fire, in the Bengali way. 



Recipe of Bengali Style Fried Rice:

Ingredient:

Rice: 2 cups, good quality Basmati or Deradhun Rice
Carrots: one cups, chopped into small cubes. 
Green Capsicum/bell pepper: 1/2 cup, chopped into small cubes
French beans: chopped, 1/2 cup
Frozen or fresh Green peas: 1/2 cup

Ghee (clarified butter): 3 tablespoons
Oil: 1 tablespoons
Bay leaves: 2 
Green Cardamoms: 3 
Cinnamon sticks: 1-inch piece
Cloves: 3 
Cashew nuts: one handful
Golden raisins: 2-3 tablespoons

Green Chilis: slit, one or two
Salt: to taste
Sugar: 3 tablespoons or to taste 



Method: 


1. Cook the rice in a big pot. Add salt to it. Once the rice is 90% cooked drain the water from the rice. Spread the rice on a flat surface and let it come to the room temperature. This helps to prevent your rice from being sticky.

2.  Soak the cashew and raisins in a cup of water separately. Take a big pan, add oil to it. Fry the cashew until they are golden brown. Once they are done, take it out of the pan and set it aside. Add raisins to the pan, and fry for a few seconds. Be careful, they burn so fast. Once they puff up, take it out of the pan and keep it aside. 

3. In the same pan add 2 tablespoons of ghee. Add the whole spices, like green cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves and add the bay leaves. Once the aroma comes up, add the vegetables. Stir it and cook for a couple of minutes. Add salt to it and keep stirring. Add the green chilies. Once the vegetables are just cooked, add the rice. Stir it to mix it well. Add the remaining ghee. Add salt to taste and add the sugar. Again mix it well. Taste it to check the salt and sugar. It will be mildly sweet. The balance of sugar and salt is the important part of this dish. Once you are happy with the taste. Switch off the gas and serve it hot with a Chicken Curry, or Mutton Curry or with a veg dish like Aloo r Dom, Malai Kofta or Sahi Panner. 







Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Crème Brûlée Ice Cream





Sometimes new recipes are born out of necessity. In this case, the need was to use up a big bowl of unused egg yolks. In some baking process, I had to use only the white part of the eggs and so extra egg yolks were left over. So I started searching on the net about how to make use of the almost dozen egg yolks left in my fridge. Then I came across this interesting recipe of Cream Brulee Ice Cream, a custard-flavored ice cream based on the timeless French dessert. 




It’s been a month I posted the picture of this Ice Cream. Then a couple of my friends requested for the recipe and finally today, I got some time to write down the recipe. Making a creme Brulee ice cream is not complicated and you need only four or five ingredients. Only tricky thing is to make it smooth silk like custard. This is no-churn ice cream, meaning that you don't need any ice cream maker either. Once the custard is done, there are two ways to add the burnt sugar. If you have a kitchen torch, add sugar over the frozen ice cream and caramelize the sugar using the torch. As I had no torch, I ended up caramelizing sugar separately and pouring it onto a lined baking sheet and broke the hard caramel into small pieces.  Then I sprinkled it over the top of the ice cream before serving.








On the top crunchy caramelized sugar and underneath the rich creamy ice cream. Wow, it's totally worth every single scoop. Enjoy the summer with this home-made version of Cream Brulee Ice Cream.




Recipe of Creme Brulee Ice Cream: serves 3

Ingredients:

Egg yolks: 5 
Sugar: little less than half cup
Heavy Cream: 1 cup
Whole Milk: 1/2 cup
Pure Vanilla extract: 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract) 

For topping:

Sugar: 3/4 cup 
Cold water: 2 tablespoons 

Method:

1. Whisk egg yolk in a bowl until smooth. Add sugar to it mix it well until thick. 

2. In a saucepan, pour the whole milk. Slowly bring up to the boiling point. But don't boil it. Pour the milk into the mixture of egg yolk and sugar. 

3. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Heat gently, stirring until the custard thickens. But don't bring to the boil. It will curdle. When you see the thin layer is forming on the back of the spoon remove it from the heat. 

4. Let it cool down. Now stir in the cream. Add the vanilla extract. 

5. Transfer the custard to a chilled bowl and refrigerate the mix for overnight. 

6. Now remove it from the refrigerator and whisk the mixture again. 

7. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and freeze it until firms about 4 hours or overnight. 

For the crunchy caramelized topping:

Place the sugar and water into a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir it continuously until it brings to the boil. Once the mixture turns golden brown. Pour slowly on a prepared baking tray lined with foil. Leave it to cool. Once it comes at the room temperature break up into small pieces. Sprinkle over the top of the ice cream and serve. 








Monday, April 24, 2017

Lemon Chiffon Cake





I am a bit obsessed with the flavor of lemon, probably because of its smell of freshness. Recently when I received a bag full of lemon from a friend, I wanted to bake something that would be full of zesty flavors. Lemon Chiffon Cake is exactly the same one that I wanted to create. I baked this cake at the start of this month and the first one came out so pretty and delicious that I had to bake one more Lemon Chiffon Cake within a week. 


Today I will share the recipe of this Cake, a crowd pleaser for every occasion. It’s an impressive dessert that doesn’t need any fancy frosting, but you can do it with a light glaze or a dusting of powdered sugar if you want to dress it up. The recipe below is for lemon chiffon cake, but you can easily use orange or another citrus fruit. You can even make a vanilla cake if you prefer, by replacing the citrus zest.



Chiffon cakes are one of the most beautiful cakes I have ever seen. They are very light and fluffy, perfect for our tea-time snacks. They are lighter than a buttery pound cake and moister than a sponge cake. The light texture of this cake comes mainly from beaten egg whites. Instead of butter, the vegetable oil is added to a batter, that gives its high rise and light texture.


Recipe of Lemon Chiffon Cake: (makes 12 servings)

Ingredients:
Large Eggs: 7, separated
All-purpose flour: 2 cups
Sugar: 1 and 1/2 cups
Baking powder: 3 teaspoons
Salt: 1 teaspoon 
Canola oil / white oil: 1/2 cup 
Water: 3/4 cup
Grated Lemon peel: 5 teaspoons
Vanilla extract; 2 teaspoons
Cream of tartar: 1/2 teaspoon 

Method:

1. Preheat the oven 325 degrees F or 160 degrees C.

2. Separate egg whites in a large bowl, let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. 

3. In a small bowl whisk the egg yolks. Add oil and lemon peel and vanilla extract to it. Mix it well until smooth. 

4. Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture. Beat it well until well combined.

5. Now add cream of tartar to the egg whites. Beat it on medium speed until stiff peaks form. 
Gradually fold the egg whites into the batter, one-fourth at a time. 

6. Spoon the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Bake on lowest oven rack for about 50 to 55 minutes or until top springs back when it is touched. 

7. Remove it from oven and cool completely. Run a knife around the sides and center tube of pan. Place the cake on a serving plate. 

(The recipe is adapted from Taste of Home)





Friday, March 31, 2017

Macher Chop (Bengali Fish Croquettes / Fish Cutlets)




Off late I have been really enjoying Instagram, the other social networking platform, mainly for pictures. I have been actively sharing photos and videos about what’s happening in my kitchen. The good thing about this change is that I have started using my camera more frequently. After spending more time with photography, I am getting my blogging mojo back!  Last week when I invited some of the friends over dinner I made some Fish croquettes and while I was making those, shared the photos on my Instagram story. Some of my followers-friends made a request to post the recipe of Fish Croquette on the blog.





Croquette is a small deep fried food that generally contains mashed potatoes, ground meat, fish or vegetables as stuffing. In today’s recipe that I am sharing, I have used fish filling. To make Croquettes, first, you have to prepare the filling and dip the filling in egg wash. Then roll in bread crumbs and finally deep fry them in hot oil. The Croquette is mainly oval shaped. Once fried, they become quite crispy on the outside but remains soft inside. It’s very tempting as an appetizer or a party snack, commonly served with tomato ketchup. You can also serve with your choice of dip and with onion rings and some salads. 




 Earlier I have shared a couple of similar recipes like Dimer Devil, Fish Fry, Chicken Kabiraji and the Baked version of Fish Cutlets. There are lots of Cutlets/croquettes items available in Bengali cuisine. Each variety has a distinctive taste and texture. This culture came in Bengali cooking mainly from the kitchen of old British Clubs in Kolkata.






Recipe of Macher Chop ( Fish Croquettes / Fish Cutlets ) for 10 to 12 pieces 

Ingredients:


Fish fillet or boneless fish: 1 lb / 500 g
Onion: a big one, finely chopped 
Ginger paste or grated ginger: 1 teaspoon
Garlic paste or minced garlic: 1 tablespoon
Tomato: a small one chopped 
Green chilies: chopped, one teaspoon or as per your tolerance
Coriander powder: 1 teaspoon 
Red chili powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Potato: 1 or 2 medium sized, boiled 
Coriander leaves: half cup ( optional ) 
Raisins: 1 tablespoon ( optional )
Green Cardamoms: 2 
Cinnamon stick: 1 inch
Cloves: 2 
Salt: to taste
Egg: 1 
Breadcrumbs: 1 cup 

Oil: 3 tablespoons and for deep frying 


Method:

1. Boil or bake the fish until it is cooked.  Take a big pan, add 2-3 tablespoon oil to it and heat it up. Once the oil is hot, add cardamoms, cinnamon stick, cloves to it. Once they are fragrant, discard them from oil.

2. Add the chopped onion to the pan, saute it till it changes the color to light brown, add ginger and garlic. Stir it, cook until the raw smell goes off. Add the chopped tomato to the pan, sprinkle some salt. Cook it till the tomato becomes soft and smashed. 

3. Add coriander powder, red chili powder, and green chilies. Stir to mix it, till oil starts separating from the sides of the pan.

4. Break the fish pieces into small chunks with a fork and add it to the pan. Mix it nicely with the spices and keep stirring for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the potato or potatoes, smashed it with a spatula and mix well with fish-spice mixture. ( The potato will work here for binding the mixture. If you think the mixture is still watery or not holding the shape you can add one more potato or a cup of breadcrumbs. )

5. Give some stirs, until the mixture is well combined. Check the seasoning, add salt or chilies if needed. Add coriander leaves and raisins if you are using. Turn off the gas, now filling is ready. 

6. Divide the mixture into 10 to 12 equal balls, give them shape like a cylinder, disk or oval. 

7. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 2 tablespoons of water. Take a flat dish and spread the breadcrumbs on it. 

8. Take a ball first dip into the egg mixture, then roll it in the breadcrumbs until it gets a nice coat all over it. Do the same process for the rest of the balls. 

9. Now take a deep frying pan, add oil and heat it up. Once the oil is hot, deep fry the balls in two or three batches on medium-high heat till they are evenly golden brown on both sides. 

10. Take out them from oil and place it on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Bengali Fish Croquettes / Macher Chops are ready to serve. Serve hot with Kasundi or tomato ketchup or with your choice of dip and with onion rings and some salads. 





Thursday, March 30, 2017

Chicken Parmesan Pasta Bake




Today’s pasta dish is one of those meals that I make at least once in a month and every time my 9-years old son would be delighted when he gets the smell. Last Thursday I made Chicken Parmesan Pasta and next day we were planning to dine out. But he didn't want to go out for dinner. We were surprised with his behavior because he always likes to eat in the restaurants. We understood the reason when he started saying that we already have good food at home. He loves pasta so much that he can eat the same meal for several days in a row.





Though this pasta is generally cooked with no ready-made pasta sauce, the recipe is still very simple and doesn’t take longer. When you are feeling lazy or too busy to spend time around your kitchen, but still want to impress your family, this recipe is perfect for those days.




To make this baked pasta, first I cooked a packet of Penne and then tossed it with the freshly made tomato sauce. For the Chicken Parmesan part, I put the chunks of leftover chicken. Then some garden fresh basils and lots of grated Parmesan need to be added. At the end, it turned out to be a really delicious dish. I am not a big fan of Pasta but I ended up eating some extra serving on that day.






  


Recipe of Chicken Parmesan Pasta Bake: Serves 5 

Ingredients:

Chopped Tomatoes: 2 cans, 400g can each
Olive Oil: 2 tablespoons 
Dried Oregano: 1 teaspoon
Sugar: 1 teaspoon
Salt: to taste
Black pepper (crushed): to taste
Chicken: 2 cups (cooked and chopped) 
Pasta: 500g ( I used Penne here ) 
Mozzarella Cheese: 2 cups, grated 
Parmesan Cheese: 1 cup, grated 
Fresh Basil leaves: 1/2 cup 

For Topping: grated mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup


Method:

1. Take a pan, boil water and salt. Add pasta to it and cook as per package direction. Once it is cooked, strain the excess water and set it aside. 

2. Take a sauce pan and add oil to it. Add the chopped tomato to the oil and stir it. Cook it for a couple of minutes on medium heat until tomatoes become soft. Add dried oregano, salt, sugar, and pepper. Stir to combine. 

3. Add the cooked pasta and cooked chicken to the sauce and mix it well. Turn off the gas. Set the pasta aside. 

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Layer the pasta with grated cheese and basil leaves in an oven-proof dish. Add the extra mozzarella cheese on the top. 

5. Bake it for about 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese on the top is golden brown. 

6. Remove it from the oven and serve hot. 







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