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Friday, December 13, 2013

Crunchy Tofu Salad

Tofu, or bean curd is very "IN" these days, Everyone is becoming very heath conscious an the idea of a high protein diet is pretty much on everyone's finger tips. Tofu is pretty much set curds of Soy milk with a coagulating  agent Epsom Salt. There are various types of Tofu but only a few available on India. Majorly it is considered to have oriental roots and there are various alternates available world wide, from pickled, dried, smoked, fermented, cured, and sweetened.

The Most popular ones and the ones that are available easily are The Rustic home made tofu and the silken tofu. The hand made tofu are much like Paneer or Cottage Cheese and is available at grocers in New market or most people dealing in exotic vegetables. Silken on the other hand is available at leading stores selling imported food items and available in Firm or Soft variants . 

This Particular recipe uses the Local tofu and is an amazing salad and also a lovely snack .

Tofu 200g ( cut into tiny cubes)
Corn flour 100g

  • Coat the tofu in the corn flour and keep deep fry 
  • Fry till golden and crisp 
  • Keep aside to cool 

Onion 1 nos chopped
Red capsicum 3 tbsp (diced)
Yellow Capsicum 3 Tbsp ( diced)
Green Capsicum 3 tbsp Chopped
Tomato deseeded diced 1 nos
Chopped spring onion 3 tbsp
Litchees 5 nos chopped
Chili oil 2 tbsp
Tabasco sauce 2 tbsp
Sugar 1 tsp
Lemon juice ½

  • Make dressing with lemon juice , chili oil, Tabasco, salt, pepper 
  • Mix the tofu with the chopped ingredients and toss in dressing 

This dish has one of the best textures and is riot in the mouth ,

Seeya !

Monday, December 2, 2013

Winter Soul Comfort :Short-cut Cream of Tomato Soup

Cream of tomato, is one such dish that appeals to people of all ages. Old, young, all love it and its very difficult to find a substitute of it. A tomato soup is what is very difficult to displace. On a cozy winter evening, a big mug of soup with some crunchy grissini or some cheese straws, the combination is nothing but eternal.

Tomato as an ingredient is very soul comforting and the redness is very pleasng to the eye. Thus most tomato based soups taste nice. It requires a herculean effort to run a tomato soup. Be  it a basic Creme de Tomate or a rustic Minestrone or a homely Tomato Dhania Shorba, all of us love tomato in out soups.

Well, there are many ways of making a cream of tomato soup but I being my lazy self always like to simplify it. Sharing a simple but super scrumptious recipe below.

Cream of Tomato Soup

Tomato juice 2 cups
Tomato puree ½ cup
Tomato ketchup ½ cup
Butter 1 heaped tbsp
Maida 1 tbsp
Cream ½ cup
Chili powder ½ tsp
Onion 1 nos chopped
Celery chopped 2 tsp
Carrot grated ¼ nos

  • Melt butter in a pan and sauté onion celery and carrot red chili powder
  • Add the maida to make roux
  • Add tomato juice and cook till thick and puree and ketchup and boil
  • Finish with cream and seasoning and strain the soup
  • Garnish with a cream swirl

 This recipe is not authentic but super easy to make and really appeals to the palette ...
Bon Appetit ...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christmas.... Here I Come

The coming of Christmas, means joy, happiness, and smiles, and not to forget the main reason this happens to me is ... THE FOOD ! Its time for Sangria, Roasts, Loads of strawberries, Eggnog, and last but not the least the Cake .

I know that Christmas is still over a month away and I might be looking stupid to be dancing already. I am doing so because guess what I was smelling like last Sunday... I was smelling of Figs, Dates, Rum, Brandy, Wine, Cinnamon, Allspice, Mace, vanilla, Honey ... and lots more. Still guessing? It was my cake mixing. Christmas cake mixing usually a ceremony I love to celebrate. So I called some friends over at the Cafe and we got an amazing mix. The aroma in the air just made everyone high and the the whole process was Brought to life thanks to Plugged In who covered the vent and gave us some priceless pictures.

A dear friend and the first lady of Kolkata's Food blogging scene Poorna was there too and it was really sweet of her to write about us on the Blog. Believe me ... She has a brilliant blog. I am sharing some awesome pictures that we clicked ... I am sure you will see the joy coming through .

14 kgs of dry fruits
12 lts of booze
2 kgs of spices
and a million bubbles of happiness

Whats the recipe of a good cake mix? That is !!


Wishing everyone a beautiful Christmas !! Cheers !!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

One Bowl Cookies ... As easy as baking can get

I have seen people make a huge cry about baking chocolate hip cooking especially the ones that are slightly chewy inside and crunchy outside and I have always wondered why in the mane of the lord.
In-fact this recipe I stumbled upon ages ago in an old book and that I bought from a shop if second hand books and I have always found it so easy to make.

There are many people who just throw in some chocolate chip in a basic short bread, those I detest. Have a look at these beauties and tell me how it was ...

Here goes ...

150 g Maida/ Refined Flour
1 tsp Baking Pwd
125 g margarine
85 g mascavado sugar/ brown sugar
5 tbsp fine caster sugar / breakfast sugar 
2 tbsp Cocoa powder
1 egg
125 g chocolate chips / chopped chocolate 
  • · Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a wooden spoon . Do not use hands… make sure the egg is chilled and the margarine is at room temp
  • · Make 12 – 14 equal balls or scoops of the dough and chill for 30 mins in the freezer spacing then with a gap of 1.5 inches all around on a baking tray lined with butter paper
  • · Bake in preheated 190 degrees Celsius oven 
  • · Cook till evenly golden
  • · Cool on a wire rack and serve once hard
These are so easy to make but pleas make sure you follow all the measurements to the hilt. Even slight changes can change the product quite a lot 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Suhaag and Matthi .... Forgotten traditions

Punjab is a very colourful state, and Punjabis are people who are known for their larger than life ways. Be it hospitality, Festivals, food, weddings, traditions, We punjabis just know how to do it crazy. Not many know that punjabis are very sensitive about their traditions. And they have many such customs and rituals that are gradually disappearing. Its disappointing to see that the present day punajbis barely can even speak the language. Thankfully so, in Punjab even today a lot is being done to preserve the dying arts and customs.

Punjab is the Wheat Bowl of India, we studies this in class 4 in school ( not sure if many really bothered) and wheat plays a very important role in the cultures of Punjab. Wheat is Worshiped, wheat is respected. and is considered a blessing. I am here to talk about MATHI..  or some call it Mathri
Most think that it is nothing but a flour fried snack but in the life of a Punjabi Housewife, it plays a very important role. 

Some time back i had written a post on karwa chauth and the mathis associated with them. Mathis hold a lot of significance in the marriage customs as well. On the morning of the wedding, when the bride-to-be is being blessed by all her relatives. Most people call it Haldi, But the true name is Maiyan. Where the MATHI JHOLI ceremony is done. The uncles of the bride fill up her wrists with a Choorha ... Or red and white bangles, which ideally a bride is supposed to wear for one year, Now a days the girls remove is in 40 days ( calling it a Chiliya ), and Matthis are placed in her lap. It shows significance of a new life, and the mathis symbolise the advent of the process of become a woman. Suhaag songs are sung, A paste of sandal and turmeric is applied all over the girls body by all her female relatives, and each person makes her eat a little mathi and halwa and blesses her.

A marriage has a lot to do with carrying the traditions of the family forward . And a daughter evolves into a wife and parents bid her adiew with a smile on thier faces and tears in the eyes 

Hai o Mereya Daadeya Rabba
Kinna Jammiyan Kinna Ne Le Jaaniya

Loyi – Babul Tere Mehlan Vicho
Teri Lado Pardesan Hoi Hai

Chhole Chhole Chhole - Babul Tere Mehlan Vicho
Satrangiya Kabootar Bole-Hai
Babul Tere Mehlan Vicho
Satrangiya Kabootar Bole-Hai

Talliyaan O Talliyan – Maanvan Dheeyan Milan Lagiyaan
Chare Kandha Ne Chubaare Diyan Haliyaan Hai
Maanvan Dheeyan Milan Lagiyaan
Chare Kandha Ne Chubaare Diyan Haliyaan Hai

Pheeta Pheeta Pheeta Pheeta Pheeta – Aena Sakiyaan Veera Ne
Dhola Tor Ke Agaanu Keeta-Hai
Aena Sakiyaan Veera Ne
Dhola Tor Ke Agaanu Keeta-Hai

Mehndi…. Mehndi Mehndi Mehndi – Lagdi Suhagana Nu
Nai Marde Dama Tak Laindi
Lagdi Suhagana Nu
Nai Marde Dama Tak Laindi

Jhumke Jhumke – Amrhi Da Dil Kambeyan
Aj Mu Lado Da Chum Ke

Maape Maape – Naazan Nal Palke Dheeyan
Ho Jaan Paraye Aape Hai
Naazan Nal Palke Dheeyan
Haan Naazan Nal Palke Dheeyan

Choodiyan Choodiyan – Saure Ghar Jaan Waliye
Shaala Hon Muradaan Puriyan Hoi
Saure Ghar Jaan Waliye

Sharing a Suhaag song very common song that usually i have sung at most weddings and made sure people are in tears and the atmosphere is very somber .

The mathi also goes with the daughter to her new home as a blessing from the parents. During karwa-chauth, Where most bollywood movies show a coy bride shying and looking at the moon through a drum sieve, well, Punjabis have a "Mathi with a Hole" ... and they see the moon with that mathi, and then break their fast. ( Cute, isn't it?)

Most such small traditions are just phasing away with time and its there little traditions that i aspire to carry with me in the form of heritage and values. Hope this post will give a small insight to the emotional aspect of a community that is usually known for its heartiness and colors.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pommes Marquise .... A Classic

First of all let me apologize for such a long gap in my post. Let me make it up with a timeless dish, a classic, The Pommes Marquise ... A classic dish that is not just delicious but is like a melody is taste on the palette.

Here goes ...

Boiled potato 6 nos
White Pepper Powder 
Powdered sugar
Egg yolk 2 nos 
Cheese spread 2 tbsp
Tomato Concasse / home made tomato sauce 6 tbs
  • Mash the boiled potato and pass through a sieve 
  • Blend in cheese spread and seasoning 
  • Pipe through a piping bag and make cups with mash 
  • fill with tomato sauce and gratin-ate for 10 minutes at 200 degrees and bake till golden 
  • P.s. Make sure the potato you use are old potatoes (aged)
For Tomato Sauce

Tomato 4 nos
Tomato ketchup  ½ cup
Tomato Puree ½ cup
Chili flakes
Onion 2 nos chopped
Garlic 2 cloves grated
Celery 2 tbsp chopped
Sugar 2 tsp
Chili flakes
Olive oil 3 tbsp

  • Deseed the peeled tomatoes and chop them
  • Sauté onion. Celery. Garlic  in olive oil
  • Add the chopped tomato, and the puree and the ketchup
  • And dry spices and herbs and cook till oil leaves sides

This is a simple recipe but when done right it can taste marvelous. Bon Appetit ...

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Coco-Choco Wedge

A few days back i had the chance of going to the heavenly place Mcleodgunj, Himachal Pradesh. I
had gone there with friends from Mystic Yoga Studio. There we chanced upon this brilliant dish that they called Bhagsu Cake (Bhagsu was where we were staying) at the German Bakery. This dish had a very simple cheesecake like base and and was topped with a thin layer of fudge ganache. My friends told me there to recreate this and I added my personal touches and made a version of it.

So here goes...

For base 

1/3 tin condensed milk 
50 g butter (salted) 
1 tbsp corn flour 
100 g coconut biscuits 
50 g wheat flakes 
1 tbsp flax seeds 

For topping 

150 g dark chocolate 
70 ml cream 
25 g butter 

  • In a chopper / food processor blend wheat flakes, coconut biscuits, and flax seeds
  • blitz till they look like coarse bread crumbs 
  • in a pan heat butter and condensed milk and till it starts bubbling 
  • add the cornflour and cook till u see it coming together 
  • add the crumbs and turn off and mix well with a wooden spoon 
  • set in a greased lose bottom tin 
  • for topping melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler
  • warm the cream and add to the chocolate. 
  • whisk till its mixed homogeneously 
  • pour over the biscuit base and set for 1 hour in the refrigerator 
  • cut into wedges and serve 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Estranged Discoveries ...

My love for Kolkata, or maybe Durga Puja is very melodramatic. I have this metamorphosis from a hard core punjabi into a bengali. The Kurtas come into the wardrobe, I tell myself every year that I will not buy any and yet again I bought three. Not to forget 3 dozen Plastic Kurta Buttons for the four days of Pujo, and the hangover that will last till Diwali. 

So, in pursuit of my Bengali split identity , I go back into the alleys of North Kolkata, Kumhartuli... Like ever year, I am hyperactive, jumping in joy, clicking pictures, going "oh wow" at every sight, splashing puddles, slipping on clay and yet being so happy like it is my first time ever there. This happens to the extent that people going with me are calling me over and over again because I am too busy trying to make my miserable attempt at photography with my point and shoot camera .  

First time I went to Kumhartuli, I discovered not only my bengali self but also a gem of a sweet shop, Nakur... Next was Bagbazaar and Golbari ... This time we decided to tread an unfamiliar path .We decided to drive down parallel to the river Hoogly and saw it get dark from dusk and how Gonga changes its appearance from a pale grey to dark with reflections if lights shimmering like a beautiful bride draped in a saree... 

There comes the nostalgia again, We drove down memory lane and the road at the same time, sharing anecdotes, stories of childhood, pujo memories and how we are vegetarian during puja.. So my hosts for the evening wanted to give us a surprise and took us to the Ahiritola Ghaat / Bhootnath Mandir and Explored the Bengal - Bihar Connection. With Discussions that were laced with songs from Bhanu Shigher Padabali and the Maithili connection, we were brought to this small dingy shack, bustling with crowd and asking for a very humble county cousin of the Marwadi Daal Baati Choorma. We  tasted it . The Litti Chokha. 

Ok now let me just simplify it. 
Chokha - Mashed Potato with spices / Makha in Bengali / Bharta for UP-ites/ Can also be mashed brinjols 
Litti - Dough dumplings stuffed with spiced roasted gram flour and the char grilled on glowing embers

This heavenly LITTI is the dunked in Ghee ( clarified butter)  and crushed and served with Chokha and a chutney that can be mind blowing. Notes of chili, ginger, sattu ( gram flour ) all just hit us like a blow. Whoa ! it was remarkable . The charred Litti , had some magical charcoal aromas. Smokey, crunchy and simple . This according to me is food at its honest, humble best . 

Sitting on wooden benches we hogged ourselves and were purely intoxicated. 

Puja, I am told, makes hearts grow fonder, and I have a new love in the city now, Litti Chokha ... 
Cant wait for the next visit. Will soon write and elaborate about the BANGAAL CONNECTION with durga puja. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Afternoon Indulgence - Mushroom Pot-pie

Mushrooms, are my happy vegetable . By "happy vegetable" I mean something can not only bring instant happiness to the taste buds but also something that goes really well for every course of the meal, every cuisine, every time of the day, low fat, high fat, EVERY SINGLE WAY. I just love mushrooms.

Be it the Italian Portobello topped with cheese, or delicate Inoki in a miso, Mushrooms just know hpw to find their way in every restaurant meal I order. And when at home, I am forever doing things with them, Satay, kebabs, biryani, tikkas, the works.

Well today I am bringing to you something that's a favorite family lunch/brunch recipe. Essentially, a POT PIE is a hearty vegetable or a meat ragout or maybe a stew or maybe a braise which is encased in a ceramic pot and sealed with puff pastry or a short crust pasty and baked till golden and often opened at the table, yielding some amazing aromas that would usually be missed while its cooked open.

Maida / flour  2 cups
Olive oil 4 tbsp
Butter 1 tsp
Sugar powdered 1 tsp
Butter 50g

  • Knead into a firm dough and roll thin 8 inch sheets (all ingredients except butter)
  • if u are unable to roll even rounds, make large ones and cut with a cutter 
  • butter each sheet on one side and make 2 sets of 5 layered 
  • make sure the sheets are paper thin 
Milk 3 tbsp
1tsp sugar
  • Dissolve together and use to brush the pot pie 

Assorted mushrooms 2 cups (sliced)
Onion chopped 1 nos
Grated carrot 1 nos
chopped celery 1  tbsp
Fried garlic  tsp
White sauce  2 tbsp
Grated cheese  50g
Tomato ketchup 3 tbsp
Olive oil 1 tbsp
Spring onion 2 nos

  • Heat oil and sauté onion and carrot
  • Add chopped celery  and mushrooms and sauté till they becomes soft and moisture almost evaporates
  • Add seasonings of salt pepper sugar and add white sauce
  • Add garlic and tomato ketchup and cheese
  • Fill in pots and cover with layered dough sheets 
  • blanch the spring onion greens and use them to tie the dough in place 
  • Tie with spring onion and top with milk brushing
  • bake at 200 degrees or till crust is golden ... 

 This recipe should yield 2  pot pies enough for 4 people 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Mihidana Cheese Cake - Durga Puja Delights

On the onset of Durga puja, Kolkata becoms sheerly festive. Every year Kolkata celebrated this festival like a carnival, Pujor Khabar forms an integral part of the entire Parikrama. Going to restaurants and smapling new fare, as almost every restaurants serve some Puja specials. 

Pujo, as I correct myself, comes with really wild memories, all nigh long panadal hopping session, the smell of dhuno, the ecoes of conch early in the morning, the dhaak beating at a tempo that would render anyone dancing. The Giant wheels, the adda at Maddox Square all keep me waiting every year for durga puja . They say you always meet lost friends at Maddox Square in the pujas. 

The biryani, kosha stalls at puja pandals, those paara pandaal cultural functions, Shayama, Chandalika, Chitrangada, all coming to life in local pandals. And not to forget the early Morning breakfasts at Terhatti bazaar. 

Well before I get carried away, Let me tell you what I have in Store. I am taking a Present day hit Cheese Cake and giving it a traditional Bengali twist. Taking the quintessential Bangali MIHIDANA and paring it with a cheese cake .  Had Shared this recipe with RJ Arvind on Radio One .... In his show Arvind's Kitchen. 

Gelatin 50 g
1/2 cup water 
Whipped cream 200g
Cream Cheese 100g 
Marie biscuits 75g
ginger biscuts 50 g
Butter 50g
Powdered sugar 50g + 50g
Mihidna (motichoor ) 250 g 
2 tsp badam syrup 

  • Whip the cream and set aside
  • Beat in powdered sugar 50g in to the cream with some chopped fresh fruit or crush
  • Crush the biscuits and mix 50g sugar and butter into the biscuits for the base
  • Set the crust and chill
  • Dissolve and melt gelatin in water 
  • Add the gelatin to the cream mixture
  • mix in 200 g of the mihidana and badam syrup 
  • Pour over the crust and chill
  • Finally top with remaining mihidana and set 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Cinnamon Apple Patishaptas

Cuisines all over the world, share many common aspects with each other. All Cuisines share many common cooking techniques, they have common food groups, some even have very similar dishes. Most cuisines have custards, dumplings, fritters, Wraps, pancakes etc.

Crepes are also there in most cultures and in Bengali Cuisine, the make a sweet crepe made with rice flour and its called PATISHAPTA.

I am taking a modern take on this traditional recipe and making Apple Cinnamon Patishaptas. Had recently shared this recipe with RJ Arvind on air on 94.3 Radio One one his show Arvind's Kitchen

For Patishapta 

1/4 tin condensed milk
1 cup flour
2 tbsp rice flour
125 ml water
 2 tsp Butter for frying

Mix all ingredients into a batter with coating consistency and whisk well to remove lumps 

apply butter on a non stick pan with some tissue and make 10 crepes with the above batter of 6 inch diameter 

For filling 

2 diced apples
3/4 cup grated khoya / mawa / dehydrated milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon powder

heat apples and sugar till apples go soft and moisture evaporated making a semi chutney

switch off and add khoya and cinnamon powder and mix well

cool the mixture and roll the crepes with this mixture

Serve at room temperature or a little warm with vanilla ice cream  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

For the Love of Food

I am sharing the summery of teachings from my two favorite chefs in the world

Chef Ramesh Chaturvedi, God if I may call him ..... Chef Gerard D'souza ... Godfather if I may call him

they taught me to trust my instinct and here is what I learn

I always tell people bring honesty into your food...

Good cooking starts with the heart...

Use all ur senses... good food should not only taste good .... It should look good, smell good, feel good(texture crunch etc) , sound good (sizzle, crispness , crunch ) and then taste...
The food that satiates all the sense buds is way better digested..

Besides cooking savor all your food ... eat in small bites.... chew each bite well so flavors are released...

In cooking, use different textures.... sometimes even different temperatures... add variety to the palette .... If you are combining colorful ingredients .. plan it in a way that your cooking looks like a bouquet of delights .

In all love what u do to your food....  cause it will talk ... some times more than words 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Chatpati Amrood Ki Sabzi ...

Navratras are approaching real soon .... and i would like to share a childhood favorite and a wonderfully delicious dish to  eat during navratri...

In Navratri we cannot consume the following items as a fast

Any Cereal ( wheat / rice / pulses)
Common salt - replaced by pink salt (sendha namak )
Any garam masalas 

I will be sharing more Navratra recipes on and off for next few days and I hope you will like it.

I shared this recipe on Radio One 94.3 FM with RJ Arvind in his show Arvind's Kitchen.


2 large guavas ( less ripe) diced
1 tsp ghee 
1 tsp grated ginger 
2 green chilies chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric 
1 tbsp coriander powder
2 tsp kashmiri chili powder 
1 tsp Raw Mango Powder ( amchoor
1/2 cup yogurt 
Chopped coriander leaves (optional ) 
Salt to taste 
Pepper to taste 
1 tsp Sugar 
1 cup water 

Heat Ghee in a pan and temper with ginger and green chilies and saute till golden 

Add the dry ingredients namely chili, coriander, raw mango powder, turmeric, salt, sugar, pepper 
saute for a few seconds 

Add guava dices and water and saute for a few mins and cook covered for 15 mins

The guavas will go soft and the water with thicken ad evaporate. make sure that the skin of the guava isn't green any more 

Add yogurt and turn off the gas for some time ... switch on again after 5 mins and simmer till oil appears on the edges. This will prevent the yogurt from curdling. 

Please leave your feedback in the comments 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bon Appetit The Cafe

Dear Friends,

Besides writing this blog, I run two cafes by the name of Bon Appetit - The Cafe and we have introduced a few new dishes on the menu just uploading the pictures here

Special thankyou to Poorna for giving her expert advice and critiquing our new dishes.... the link to her review is given below.  She has a fantastic blog and I recommend her for her knowledge of food and her eye for detail.