Monday, August 24, 2015

Kolkata r Lal Mishti Doi / Calcutta style Sweet Yogurt

The sweet dish that I am going to share today is the signature Bengali Yogurt called “misti doi”. Probably it’s the second well-known and popular in rest of the India, next to Rasogolla.  The word “misti doi” immediately reminds all of a clay pot filled with brownish sweet yogurt. Bengali wedding lunch is not complete without serving misti doi at the end. There are several sweet shops in Calcutta like Ganguram, where the quality of misti doi is simply awesome and you shouldn’t miss an opportunity to visit these shops, if you are travelling to the city of joy.

Since it is readily available in almost every local sweet shops, it’s rarely made at any Bengali’s kitchen. But the cravings for Misti Doi haunts me so much that I started searching recipes from net and tried making Misti Doi at home. The result was so good that I won’t miss Kolkata’s Misti Doi again. The process was not complex either, even a beginner should give a try. Though only 2 or 3 staple ingredients are required, you really need patience to make this scrumptious sweet because it’s a long process.

The process of preparing Mishti Doi starts with heating milk on the stove. As the milk gets thickened, sugar is added to give the dish its characteristic sweetness. Next, yogurt or curds must be added to the sweetened milk and mixed thoroughly. This mixture is placed in a traditional clay or earthen pot. The clay pot absorbs excess moisture, giving the mishti doi its dense texture.

Recipe of Authentic Kolkata style Mishti Doi : Serves : 6 

Ingredients :
Whole Milk : 1 and half liters 
Sugar : 250 g ( one and half cups ) or as per taste 
Plain Yogurt : half of a cup 
Sugar : 4 tablespoons ( for caramelizing ) 

Method :
1. Take a heavy bottomed big pan, add the milk and heat it up. Stir and simmer the milk until it gets thickened and it becomes less than half of its original volume. Add sugar and stir it. The texture of the milk will be kind of malai - rabri. Once it is done set it aside. 

2. In a separate pan add sugar. Caramelize the sugar by heating it up. Keep stirring and make sure it does not stick at the bottom or burn. 

3. Add the caramelized sugar to the reduced milk. 

4. Once the milk is not too hot, it is just warm, add the whisked yogurt to the milk. Mix it well.

5. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F or 100 degrees C. 

6. Pour the mixture into a oven proof dish or earthen pots, cover it with aluminium foil and bake it until the top of the yogurt is set. It takes one and half hours to two hours to set. 

7. Switch off the oven and let the yogurt rest in the oven for couple of hours. 

8. Once it is cool down completely, put it into the refrigerate for another 4 to 5 hours or overnight. Serve cold. 

In Calcutta, they don't use oven to set the Mishti Doi. The thickened milk is let to ferment overnight in a warm place, once it has set put it into refrigerator to chill. 

" The recipe is adopted from Pinkii Sarkar' s Kolkata style Mishti Doi "

Monday, August 17, 2015

Chocolate Soufflé

Today's recipe may sound bit unknown and complex that can be found only in high end restaurants. But actually it's not too difficult to prepare at home. A Soufflé is a lightly baked cake. As the French name means, when a Soufflé comes out of the oven, it would look puffed up. It's basically made with egg yolks and beaten egg whites. A Souffle would have two parts, the base and egg whites beaten to soft peak. The base adds the flavor while the whites give the lift.

Last week I was doing kind of trial and error with several recipes to get the flawless result and finally I am happy with the result. With the first two recipes that I have tried, it tasted good but after rising up they got crack on the top. The third one was adapted from Martha Stewart and it came out as really a foolproof recipe.  

Traditionally Soufflés are made in ramekins, though you can use small cups too. They can be made with different flavors. I have chosen Chocolate and so the recipe that would share today is of classic Chocolate Soufflé. You should serve the Soufflé individually, means one at a time. Note that once they are puffed, remove from the oven and dust with confectioners sugar and serve immediately. It would be nice if you can serve them as soon as possible.

Recipe of Classic Chocolate Soufflé : serves 4  

Ingredients :

Unsalted butter : 2 tablespoon ( at room temperature ) 
Granulated white sugar : 1/2 cup plus more for ramekins 
Egg whites : 3 (at room temperature)
Egg yolks : 3 (at room temperature)
Cream of tartar : 1/8 teaspoon ( as a substitute, you can use 1/2 teaspoon of white vinegar ) 
Bittersweet chocolate : 5 and 1/2 Oz 
Vanilla extract : 1/2 teaspoon
Whole milk : 2/3 cup
Cornstarch : 1 tablespoon and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons 
Salt : 1/8 teaspoon 
Sour cream : 3 tablespoons
Confectioner's sugar : for garnishing 

Method :

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F or 200 degrees C. Brush four small ramekins with the melted butter and coat each ramekins with white sugar.

2. Whisk egg whites with a hand mixer until it is foamy, about 2 minutes. Add cream of tartar. Whisk until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and whisk until medium peaks form, it will take about 5 minutes. 

3. Melt the chocolate and set it aside. Take milk in a sauce pan, add corn starch and salt, whisk it nicely. Bring to simmer. Stir it until it is thick, it will take about 2 minutes. Now add the chocolate to milk mixture and whisk it. Add egg yolks and sour cream and mix it. Gently fold in egg whites. 

4. Fill the ramekins evenly with batter. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake. Rotate it halfway and bake until souffles puffs but centers should be still semi-liquid. It takes 14 to 15 minutes. Once they are done, dust with confectioner's sugar and serve immediately.

 ( the recipe is adopted from Martha Stewart )

Tips :

When you separate the eggs or whisk the egg whites, these tips will help you to get perfect meringue :

Cold eggs separate more easily.

Tiniest bit of fat or egg yolk will wreck a meringue.

After separating , bring egg whites to room temperature, it will take about 30 minutes. 

Stainless steel bowl or glass bowls work best, make sure the bowls and whisks are spotlessly clean, grease free and dry.

Don't over beat. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Lebu Lonka Murgi ( Bhojohori Manna Style Lemon Chilly Chicken )

Today I am going to share a chicken recipe with a special type of lemon called “Gondhoraj Lebu”. It’s almost juice-less lemon, wrapped in a green rind. It’s mainly grown in West Bengal and its aroma and flavor send most Bengalis into world of joy. Today’s generation of chefs are featuring it widely in their new dishes. Whether it’s simple fish, chicken or vegetable dishes, few drops of juice and aromatic pulp of this lime is sufficient enough to juice up your lunch or dinner on a hot summer day. 

The name of today's recipe is “Lebu Lonka Murgi”. The origin of this dish may be from the chefs of a popular Bengali Restaurant called Bhajohori Manna and later it made entry to modern day Bengali's kitchen. Last week I tried this new chicken recipe at our home and everyone loved the taste. First let me admit that this may not be a good looking dish with its thin and white-brownish curry, but most fresh and flavorful Chicken Curry I have ever made. When you don't feel hungry after having rich curry and lose your appetite, can try this tangy chicken curry to get your appetite back.

You need to follow only few simple steps to make this summer dish. First  marinate the chicken pieces with lime juice, chili paste, yogurt and other ingredients. Then cook the marinated chicken until it is done. The marination process is the main part of the recipe and here are the steps:

Recipe Of Lebu Lonka Murgi ( Chicken Curry with Lime and Green Chilies )

Ingredients :

Chicken : 500 g, with bone cut into medium sized pieces 
Onion juice : 5 tablespoons, make a paste and squeeze out the juice or can use a small onion paste 
Ginger paste : 1 tbsp
Garlic paste : 1 and half tbsp 
Green chili paste : 2 tsp 
Yogurt / Curd : 1/2 cup 
Lemon Juice ( preferably Gondhoraj Lebu ) : 1 and half tbsp
Lime juice : 1tbsp
Green Chilies : 2-3 (slit lengthwise) 
Lime leaves ( a handful, about 4 to 5 )
Green Cardamoms : 4 
Coriander powder : 1 tbsp 
Oil : 3 to 4 tbsp 
salt :
Sugar : if needed 

Method :

1. Take a nonreactive bowl, add chicken pieces to it. Now add half of the yogurt, onion juice, ginger and garlic paste, chili paste, lime juices, coriander powder, half of the oil and salt to the chicken. 

2. Mix it well and let it rest for about an hour. 

3. Take a big pan, add the remaining oil and heat it up. Add cardamoms and wait until nice smell comes up. 

4. Take the chicken pieces from the marinade and add to the pan. Fry them on medium high heat till the chicken pieces start to get light brown. 

5. Now add the marinade along with the remaining yogurt to the pan. Stir to mix it well. Add the lime leaves. Cover the pan and let it cook on medium high heat until chicken is cooked. 

6. Check the seasoning, add more salt or sugar if needed. Add the green chilies, give some stirs and turn off the gas. Serve hot with plain rice or Indian flat bread.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Hing Diye Niramish Aloo-r Dom ( Dum Aloo without onion and garlic )

I am re-posting a different version of Aloo’r dom that I posted sometimes back together with “Koraishutir Kochuri”. This one is called “Hing diye Niramish Aloo'r Dom”. This Dum Aloo recipe is perfect for any day, whether you have it with daily meal or served in party menu. Hing Diye Aloo-r Dom is a much simpler version of the classic Dum Aloo, perfectly goes with any kind of poori, parathas, luchi or Pulao. 

Since no onion or garlic is used in this preparation, it is called “Niramish”. There are many recipes in Bengali Cuisine that starts with the phrase 'Niramish' and it means onion and garlic can’t be used in those recipes. There are many ways to cook Dum Aloo, but each recipe is different from the other one, in terms of ingredients, spice and way of cooking. Unlike north Indian Dum Aloo, this version is not rich, but comforting, light and simple.  

Tiny little potatoes are coated with asafoetida (hing) and cooked slowly with other spices and tomato sauce.  Hing / asafoetida is the key ingredients that makes this dish super yummy! Though I have tried and posted other Dum Aloo recipes on my blog, for particular this one, I'm very much thankful to my one of friends .

Recipe of Hing Diye Alur Dom : (serves - 2 )


Baby potato – 6
peas(frozen) - 1/2 cup
cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Bay leaf – 1
asafoetida (hing) - a pinch
Ginger - 1/2 inch( grated or paste)
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Kashmiri red chili powder- 1 tsp
Red chili powder ( optional)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp ( optional )
Tomato - a medium one (grated)
Salt :
Sugar :
Oil - 3 tbsp

Method :

1. Wash the potatoes and boil or microwave them with skin on and with salt for 10 mins or so. Once it is done, let them cool down and peel off the cover.

2. In a small bowl, add grated ginger paste, cumin powder, kasmiri red chili powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, half tsp sugar. Mix with 2 tbsp water and make a paste.

3. Take a pan, add the oil and heat it up. Once oil is read, add the bay leave and cumin seeds. When it begins to splatter, add asafoetida, after few seconds and the peeled potatoes.

4. Smear them till they become brown colored. Add the masala paste with the potato, stir for 3-4 minutes until the raw smell goes off. Mix the grated tomato and stir continuously till oil separates.

5. Add salt, sugar, half cup to a cup of water and cover it. Let it cook at medium flame until potatoes are soft and the gravy coats them nicely.

6. Check the consistency and seasoning. Sprinkle the garam masala powder.

7. Turn off the gas. Yeah it's ready!! Serve hot with Kochuri / Puris / Paratha.

Related Recipe : Kashmiri Dum - Aloo

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Egg-less Blueberry Yogurt Cake

Though Winter is commonly known for its fresh foods, there are some nutritious and delicious foods in summer too. One such example is sensational summer berries, specially Blueberries are a great choice. Plump and juicy, with bright colors blueberries are one of nature’s precious produce.  It also has one of the highest antioxidant capacities among all fruits and vegetables. There are hundreds of ways to use this nutritious and delicious fruit as part of your diet. You can have fresh berries as a snack or can add it to your parfait.

Today I will share the recipe of Blueberry Yogurt Cake. It’s very easy to make, no need to have a mixer, only a bowl and a spatula are sufficient. You don’t need to deal with layers or frosting. It’s a simple but delicious breakfast cake, studded with fresh berries, super moist and tastes really fresh.  

Most of the time I make cakes with eggs. Earlier many of my readers asked about if they can make the same recipes without egg. Today’s recipe is the perfect example of eggless cake and hope it would solve the problem of my vegetarian friends. I used Greek yogurt in the place of egg and it turned out so moist and fluffy that people won’t realize that this cake is eggless. 

Recipe of Egg-less Blueberry Yogurt Cake : for a 9 inch loaf pan

Ingredients :

All purpose flour : 2 cups 
Baking powder : 1 tablespoon 
Salt : a pinch 
Oil : 1/2 cup 
Sugar : 1 cup and 1/4 cup 
Yogurt or Greek yogurt : 1 cup 
Milk : 3/4 cup
Fresh blueberries or other berries : 1 cup 
Vanilla extract : 1 tablespoon 

Method :

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or 177 degrees C. Lightly brush a 9- by 5- by 3- inch loaf pan with butter or line the pan with a parchment paper and then again spray the paper with non stick vegetable spray. 

2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl and keep it aside.

3. Take another bowl, and beat the oil and sugar, till it becomes fluffy. Add vanilla extract and mix it. gradually add the yogurt and milk and keep mixing. 

4. Now slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Fold it in. 

5. Take a small bowl, add blueberries to it. Sprinkle a teaspoon of all purpose flour and coat blueberries in flour.

6. Add the blueberries into the batter. Pour it into the prepared pan and bake the batter until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. It will take 55 minutes to 1 hr depending on your oven.

7. Let it cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Take it out of the pan when it is completely cool. 

**  You can use other fresh or frozen berries or cherries instead of blueberries. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Dum Ka Murgh / Lagan Ka Murgh / Chicken slow cooked in Hyderabadi Style

Today I am going to share a special chicken preparation called Dum Ka Murgh. This one is originated from Hyderabad and highly influenced by Mughals. There is slight difference between Hyderabad cuisine from rest of the India’s Mughal influenced styles. It seems the Nizams of Hyderabad preferred their food to be more spicy and it resulted in a distinct Hyderabadi Mughal cuisine.  

This particular dish is also called Lagan ka Murgh. “Lagan” means the wide and heavy-bottomed Indian utensil. Traditionally this recipe is cooked and served with this kind of pot. This dish is prepared by the technique of “Dum”. In this process, the dish is sealed with dough  and gently simmering  over a very low flame. It helps to increase the absorption of aromatic spices.

It  is a very rich, aromatic and flavorful dish; chicken first marinated with lot of spices, yogurt  and almonds / cashew paste then slow cooked in slow cooking method. There is a saying in Hyderabad cooking patiently is the key, slow cooking is the hallmark of hyderabadi cuisine. 

Since I am not very familiar with this kind of cuisine, I cannot vouch for the authenticity of this recipe. But I can assure you that this delectable and flavorful chicken dish will compel you to lick the plate till it becomes clean. You can serve Dum Ka Murgh dish with Naans, Plain rice or Parathas. 

Recipe of Dum Ka Murgh / Lagan Ka Murgh / Chicken slow-cooked in Hyderabadi Style : Serves 6 people 

Ingredients :

Chicken : 2 lbs (around 1 kg) , cut into medium sized pieces

Onion : 2 medium sized, chopped and fried 
Ginger paste : 1 tablespoon
Garlic paste : 2 tablespoon
Green Chili paste : 1 teaspoon 
Yogurt : 1 cup
Turmeric powder : 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder : 1 tablespoon
Kashmiri Red Chili powder : 1 tablespoon
Red Chili powder : 1 teaspoon

Cashew nuts : 1 tablespoon
Poppy seeds : 1 tablespoon

Chopped cilantro : 1 cup
Chopped mint : 1/2 cup
Lime juice : 1 tablespoon 
Oil : 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons
Salt : 
Cardamoms : 4 
Cinnamon stick : 1 inch stick 
Cloves : 4 

( Dough : to seal the lid of cooking pan ) 

Crisp deep fried onion / Birista : for garnishing 
Boiled Egg ( optional ) : for garnishing 

Method :

1. Take poppy seeds and cashew nuts and put it into the blender. Add water and make a paste.

2. Wash and pat dry chicken pieces with paper towel. Take a big mixing bowl, add chicken, cashew and poppy seeds paste, ginger - garlic paste, green chili paste, fried onions, yogurt, red chili powder, kashmiri red chili powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt, chopped cilantro, chopped mint, lime juice and oil. Mix it well and let it rest for 2 to 3 hours. 

3. Take a big pan and heat it up. Add the remaining oil add cardamoms, cinnamon, and cloves. Once smell comes up, lower the flame and add the marinated chicken. Add half cup of water, ( optional if required as gravy ). 

4. Cover it with lid and seal the lid with dough. Cook it over a medium flame for about 10 minutes, then reduce the flame and let it cook in a slow flame for about 30 minutes. 

5. Switch off and leave it for another 10 minutes. Open the lid and serve hot with steamed rice or Indian flat bread. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Mango Fruit Leather / Fruit Roll-Ups / Aam Shotto / Aam Papad

Few days back I saw a video on Facebook showing what all an Indian student would pack when he goes abroad first time. The list includes all popular Indian snacks and pickles. This made me nostalgic and reminds of my same habit. Whenever I returned back from home, never forgot to bring several packs of Aam Shotto. This might have been true for my other Indian friends, more likely if he or she is from Bengal. The Bengali people are so crazy about it that they even make Aam Shotto'r chatni with it. In rest of the India, it's known as Aam Papad. It is more like fruit leather or fruit roll-up that is made out of mango pulp and tastes sweet, soft and chewy. 

Fruit leather is nothing but a puree of fruit. It is thinly spread and sun dried or baked until it becomes dry. Then it is cut into pieces and wrapped in oiled paper or shaped into different form of packages. Sometimes it is preserved for a long time and can be consumed in off-season when mangoes are not available in market. 

In USA,  Fruit leather / Fruit roll-ups is a brand of fruit snack that is available in grocery stores here and very popular among kids. I have seen fruit roll-ups with different kinds of fruits but didn't see mango version of the same.

I had bookmarked some recipes of Aam Shotto a year back from Pinterest but didn't try until today. This week I had some overripe mangoes, so thought of giving it a try.  When I started to make Fruit leather on my own, thought it would be really a complex process. It turned out to be rather easier one.  Though this particular recipe is made with mangoes, you can use any other fruit or combination of fruits. You don't need to add artificial colors or flavors or preservatives. I can ensure nothing will go wrong and at the end, you will love the taste of this fruit leather. It would be far more healthier than what you will get in the market.

Recipe Of Homemade Mango Fruit Leather ( Aam Shotto ) : for 8 roll-ups 

Ingredients  :

Mangoes : 3 large ripe mangoes ( about 4 cups diced mangoes ) 

Method :

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees F . Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Add diced mangoes to a food processor or a blender and puree the mangoes until smooth. 

3. Divide the puree into the prepared pans. Take an offset spatula and spread it evenly. 

4. Bake the puree for about 4 to 5 hours or until they are fully dried. 

5. Remove from oven and peel off . Cut into long strips and roll in parchment paper.

6. Store in airtight container or freeze it. 

Notes : 

You can use store-bought mango pulp instead of fresh mangoes. 

The total baking time will vary on the thickness of your fruit roll-ups.