April 27, 2010

The Reflection


Once upon a time in a far away land was born a little princess who gave her parents the first proud feeling to become a Father and a Mother. What her parents felt at that time and what the dreams they might have woven in their eyes she never knew or never understood until she faced the same state what her parents confronted so many years back. Throughout her stage of celibacy she tried to revolt against the norms those were delineated around her by her parents. She wanted to taste the life of freedom and independency. But she was always unaware of the fact what actual freedom meant and what was the meaning of true independency. She wanted to run away from most of all those disciplines made by her parents and always wanted to prove that she was a grown up lady and also the most matured person like her parents, taking all decisions of her own. That was the meaning of freedom and independency to her. She never wanted to feel like a kid when her mother or father used to show their altruistic love to her. She never knew then what she was to her parents. Until the day came when again she held a little princess in her arms and saw the reflection of her mother in herself. All her past years kept on moving like a slideshow and within a fraction of moment she understood her parents, their love and care, their disciplines and they were right all those years and she was proved wrong in front of her bundle of joy. Before she got married to her prince she earnestly wished to god that when she would get married she should have a girl to bring her up just after her mind. She would not put any discipline on her; give her the full freedom to do whatever she wants. Silly she never knew that she was going to espouse the reality so soon.


Today her little princess turned three years old. The little princess is the same reflection of her childhood and she is in the same shoe of her mother. Now she feels herself the mirror image of her mother inside her. And she is following all the same steps of motherhood how her mother fostered her.


One instance- Whenever she used to sit or sleep by her mother, her mother used to put a hand on her. She used to feel very irritated at that time. But her mother told that the touch gave her a feeling of protection and security for her daughter. She never understood the meaning, rather she felt more ragged. Now again the same reflection she is watching in herself, the same scenario too. She feels very content in her mind when she is in a touch with her daughter, but her daughter shows her disapproval.


We only understood our parents when we are on their shoes. Now she is weaving the same disciplines and norms, what she has learned from her parents. She never knew how and when those agitated rules became fundamental in her personality and now cycling in the character as the salutary quality. Now she is looking forward to face her daughters revolts and complains and making herself prepare to be a perfect mother with the help of the reflections of her parents and herself too.


Again the time has come to enjoy the childhood once again with her daughter. Face the reflection of her and feel her mother in her with the fullest.

.......Happy Birthday Little Princess.....

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April 20, 2010

The Bengali New Year Delicacies


How we celebrated our Bengali new year, what we kind of foods we had, there would be a different story if we were celebrating this day in Bengal. Staying far away from home to a foreign land the story of the celebration day is nothing so special. The very day just passed like a common and busy day. My Husband went to office and my daughter to her school. I buried myself with all the household chores. Just to illuminate the festive mood I cooked a couple of speciality dishes, what we usually cook in a festive occasion and one of my family’s favourite taste. Food is an integrated part of any festival. And mainly in this New Year day fare of delectable dishes are served in the lunch and dinner menu. But at my home I just cooked a dish with Ilish/Hilsa fish which is probably the Bengali's first love, with coconut milk. This dish is mainly famous in the Eastern part of bengal.

 Pulav or polao, the most famous and common festive dish in the Bengali houses.
And my husband’s and daughter’s favourite Saag chicken/palak chicken or Spinach chicken.

CLICK ON THE DISHES TO VIEW THE RECIPES.



Apart from what I cooked, the most precious gift I had in this New Year day was the first craft made by my ready to turn three years old daughter which she brought home from her school. She came jumping and hugged me, saying “Mama this is for you”. I was just on the verge of the watery line with the intense feeling joy and surprise. Just on that day I posted and shared my childhood memories with you all where I mentioned about the creative cards exchange and I also shared that might be I would get those days back through my daughter. Didn’t guess, that, this wish would come so soon to me and would make my day so beautiful and special like this.

Narkoler Dhudh Diye Ilish Machh/ Hilsa Fish With Coconut Milk

 Ilish machh or Hilsa Fish has its own taste and because of that taste we Bengalis die for it. Despite of the excessive bones in the flesh we are ready to spend what ever time is needed to devour the fish. When it comes to cook Ilish or Hilsa fish my family restricted their taste withing the Bhapa Ilish or Shorse Ilish. They will not go for anything else. I love this unusual way of making the Ilish or Hilsa fish. A bit offbeat dish that I treasure as a heirloom recipe. So one day I make this dish for them and they really enjoyed it. So one more Hilsa recipe entered to my regular menu. 
                                Being a staunch Brahmin at my maternal grandparents' house, Garlic, Onion, Chicken and Chicken Egg were totally restricted at my Grandfather's house. They only used to eat Mutton and the duck eggs. So you can imagine that all the non-veg dishes used to get cooked without the flavour of garlic and onion. For me I really dare to try. Now this Narkoler Dhudh Diye Ilish Machh or Hilsa Fish With Coconut Milk, my grandmother used to make with out onion. It was just about flavouring Coconut milk gravy by tempering with Garam Masala and ending up with a dash of ghee to make the flavour of the dish more aromatic. That taste was so heavenly that we all cousin brothers and sisters keep on licking the last drop of the gravy on the plate and would ask for more and more to have. I still think that she had magic in her hand and the power to make anything tasty by just touching it. 
                                       My father's house belongs to the liberal Brahmin family where they eat chicken onion garlic eggs meat. So to tickle my father father's taste bud (who loves to eat rich and spicy but not hot dishes) my mother introduced onion to this dish to make a bit more enriched in taste. I once tried making this dish without onion. But it didn't taste like the one my Grandmother used to make. So I too continued to make the dish with onion. So enjoy the recipe given below and let me know how much you liked it. 

Ingredients:-
Ilish/Hilsa fish- 4 blocks
Coconut milk – Out of one small size coconut or the ready made coconut milk 200ml + 1/4 cup water (See Notes - How to make coconut milk).
Onion- 1 small (Optional)
Garam Masala (Whole) - 2 of each (Cardamom, Clove & Cinnamon)
Bay Leaves- 2-3
Mustard oil- 2 tbsp
Turmeric powder- ½ + ½ tsp
Red chili powder - 1/4 tspn (optional)
Salt as per taste
Sugar (optional - See notes #Tips2)
Green Chilli-2-3
Ghee- 1/4 tbspn


Method:-
1. Season the Ilish /Hilsa Fish with pinch of salt and 1/2 tspn turmeric powder.
2. Grate or grind the onion.
3. Heat the oil and shallow fry the both sides of the fish blocks and reserve.
4. In the same oil add the garam masala and bay leaves. Wait to splutter. Add the onion. Fry till the onion turns brown. Add the light coconut milk first. Add turmeric powder, Red chili powder and salt. (If using the ready made coconut milk see notes #Tips1)
5. Stir nicely. Let the milk boil, and then add the fish. 
6. Boil till as much thick consistency you want. If required then you can add water for more gravy.
7. Just before taking off the stove add the Thick coconut milk. Cook for a minute. Then add green chilies and ghee. Serve with rice or pulav/polao.
Notes:
How to make coconut milk -
1. Scrape out the coconut flesh out using a coconut scraper.
2. Keep semi hot water ready by your side.
3. Now take bowl and squeeze out as much milk you can by using a muslin/ cheese cloth or by hand. I would like to suggest to use a muslin/ cheese cloth, because it is quick.
4.. Now sprinkle hot water on the squeezed coconut. Make sure that it is moist enough. But don't make it too soggy. 
5. Now take a separate bowl and take out the light milk out of the coconut. Repeat this for 2 to 3 times.
6. Hence your Thick and light coconut milk is ready.

Tips:
1. If using ready made coconut milk then take half of the milk and mix it in 1/4 cup warm water. Use this light milk first and the at end the remaining thick coconut milk.
2. Taste the coconut milk, if it is not sweet then add a bit sugar in the curry.

I am sending this recipe to Priya's Cooking With Seeds - Cardamom Seeds Event.


PS. I have updated the post with new set of photos that I clicked on 15th August'2015 at Kolkata. Attaching the old set of photos here. Looks like I have improved a bit in Food photography.

Pulav/Polao

(serves 4)

Ingredients:-
Basmati Rice- 2 cups
Garam Masala (Whole) - 3 of each (Cardamom, Clove & Cinnamon)
Bay Leaves- 3-4
Ginger- 1 inch thick
Turmeric Powder- 2/3 tsp
Sugar- 2-3 tbsp
Salt to taste
Water- 4 cups
Oil/ghee- 2-3tbsp
Cashew and Raisins to decorate.



Method:-

1. Wash the rice and drain out all the water.

2. Cut the ginger in to thin round slices.

3. Add the turmeric powder, salt, sugar and the ginger to the rice and fold nicely. Spread the rice on a large plate and keep to dry for 20-30 mnts.

4. Take deep dense pan or a handi. Heat the oil/ghee. Add the the garam masala and bay leaves. When the whole masala starts to splutter add the rice. Fold nicely and continuously keep on sautéing till the rice gets translucent. Add the water. Taste if more salt or sugar is needed. Cook in medium heat with a lid on. In intervals keep on checking and stirring. When the rice is cooked and the water is dried up add the cashew buts and the raisins. Serve hot with your favourite side dish.
Note:-
1. The measurement of rice boiling in this recipe is 1:2.
1 cup rice = 2cups water.
If you think the rice is not cooked and more water is needed then add very little hot water.

2. Now a days I prefer to cook the Polao in Microwave. The process is same. Just the boiling part will be done in MW. After frying the rice put in the Microwave and cook for 15-20 mnts. The Water and rice measurement will be same as given above. (Updated)




Sending this dish to Priya's Cooking With Seeds - Cardamom Seeds Event.

Saag Chicken/ Palak Chicken/Spinach Chicken:-


Ingredients:-

Chicken-7-8 medium size pieces
Spinach- 1 bunch
Onion-1 medium
Tomato-1 medium
Ginger & garlic paste-1 tbsp
Yoghurt-2 tbsp
Turmeric Powder- ½ tsp
Cumin Powder- ½ tsp
Coriander Powder- ½ tsp
Cashew nuts- a handful
Garam Masala (whole)- 2 of each (Cardamom, Clove & Cinnamon)
Star Anise- 2 flowers
Cumin seeds- ½ tsp
Bay Leaves- 2
Salt as per taste.
Oil- 2+2 tbsp (It can less or more)


Method:-



1. Marinate the chicken with the yoghurt, all the powder spices (turmeric, cumin, coriander) and salt for 15 mnts.

 2. Roughly chop the onion, tomato and the spinach. Heat 2 tbsp oil. Temper with cumin seeds. When the seeds start to splutter and the ginger garlic paste. Add the chopped onion when the ginger garlic turns brown. Keep on frying the onion till it turns brown. Add the tomato and sauté till the oil separates. Then add the spinach and the cashew nuts. Fold all together nicely. When the spinach is fully cooked and all the juice evaporates, take off the heat and cool aside. Grind the cooked and cooled spinach in to a smooth paste. Reserve.

 3. Heat 2 tbsp oil. Temper with star anise, garam masala and bay leaves. Add the chicken and fry the chicken till it turns brown. Then add the spinach paste and folds nicely. Cook for few mnts and then serve with roti, rice whatever your heart desires.

Variations:-



1. I used here boneless Chicken. The taste enhances more if you use with-bone chicken pieces.

 2. You can add Coriander Leaves too. If you wish to add then add it when you are grinding the spinach. But of course it’s up to your wish when you want to add the coriander leaves and how.

Sending this dish to Priya's Cooking With Seeds - Cardamom Seeds Event.


April 15, 2010

Celebrating Shubho Naba Barsho (Happy Bengali New Year) with Strawberry Mango Lassi


Dear Friends, on this auspicious occasion of Bengali New year, I would like to share few of my childhood memories which are engraved in my heart so deeply that every year on this very day I feel profoundly nostalgic and sad to get those days back.

I always felt exceedingly blessed when I thought that I had completed my education from Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, a place founded by Rabindranath Tagore. The natural beauty of the place infuses its elegance through the mode of education. The freedom of creativity and ideas always evince through the various festivals celebrated on the auspicious occasions of special calendar events. During my school days this Bengali New Year celebration used to start a week back. Those days are crystal clear to me. I can still visualise the little girl holding her mother’s or father’s hand heading towards the crafts shop to buy a bunch of white blank cards with full of excitement. The next few days passed within a fraction of moment with full concentration on filling the blank cards with all those imaginary creative mentation. In our school the best part of Naba Barsho (New Year in bengali) celebration is the exchange of these self-created cards. Each and every student used to create cards by his/her own hand and would gift it to his/her friends or would make friends by exchanging the cards. The new day becomes emblematic for inviting new friends, divulging one’s talent through the cards and a learning process of acculturation. Now coming at this age I realise the hidden truth of the festivity. But then that was only a satiated fun to amplify the friends’ group and also an exhibition of talents. Self-written short poems used to be scripted in the cards too.
Another fun of this day was to stand in a long queue in the scorching heat only to get a Kachori and two sweets. In our school premise this snack used to be distributed to the students on this day. These most common bites used to become too tasty and sumptuous only on this very day. Now I am never going to get back those days, the tastes. Only what I have the fragrance of the sweet retention and an urge to make alive few of those memories through my daughter. My father has few of those New Year cards made by my sister and me in his collection. Sometime I will surely share those with you all.



On this festive occasion let me give all my friends a treat with a very simple, common and refreshing drink- Mango Lassi with strawberries. I will be sending this refreshment to Indrani’s "Summer foods & drinks" event.



Ingredients:-

Mango Pulp-1 cup
Yoghurt-1/2 cup
Cold Water- ½ cup
Sugar 4tbsp
Chopped Strawberries- ½ cup
Chocolate syrup and Chocolate pop sticks to decorate

Method:-
Mix Mango pulp, yoghurt, sugar and water nicely. Pour in strips the chocolate syrup by the side of the Serving Glass. Place the chopped strawberries in the bottom of the glass. Pour the Mango lassi in it and serve with chocolate pop sticks. You can also add chopped nut and pudina /mint leaves instead of strawberry and chocolate pop sticks.




At end I would like to apologise for the inconvenience you all faced for the non-published post Chicken Biriyani. I was preparing a draft for the post and mistakenly published it instead of saving it. Once again I am sorry for the botheration.

April 12, 2010

Phulkopi diye Mangsho /Cauliflower Chicken

In Bengal, preparing fish with cauliflower is very famous. Few days back, just for a change I thought of cooking chicken with cauliflower. Though I cooked the dish with a pounding heart and with the thought whether my family members were going to like it or not, to my satisfaction the dish turned out too tasty. Here I came with the recipe to share with you all.


Ingredients:-



Chicken- 500gm (cut in to medium pieces)
Cauliflower- Half of a medium size
Potato- 2 medium size (optional)
Onion-1 medium
Tomato-1 medium
Garlic & ginger paste -2tsp
Garam Masala whole- 2 of each (Cardamom, Cinnamon, Clove)
Cumin seeds- ¼ tsp
Bay leaves-2
Star Anise- 2 flowers
Oil- 4 + 2+2 tbsp (It can be less or more)

Marinade-

Turmeric Pwdr- ¼ tsp
Cumin Pwdr- ¼ tsp
Coriander Pwdr- ¼ tsp
Yoghurt-2tbsp
Salt and Sugar- according to taste


Method:-
1. Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients given under the Marinade head. Keep for 15 to 20 mnts.
2. Cut the cauliflower in medium sized florets. Cut the potato in big cubes. Roughly chop the onion and the tomato.
3. Take a deep dense pan or korari. Heat 2 tbsp oil. When the oil is hot enough add the star anise, garam masala and the bay leaves. Let them splutter. Add the marinated chicken and cook in low flame till the chicken becomes almost tender and all the juice evaporates. You can use a lid if you wish. Add the reserved fried potatoes and cauliflower in the chicken and mix them well.
4. On the other hand take another deep dense pan or korari. Heat 4tbsp oil. When the oil is hot enough put the cauliflower and the potatoes. Fry them till they turn semi brown. Take out the cauliflower and the potatoes draining the extra oil and reserve.
5. Add 2 tbsp oil in the same pan with the remaining oil. Temper with cumin seeds and wait to splutter. Add the garlic and ginger paste and fry till they turn brown. Add the onion and keep on frying. When the onion turns brown add the tomatoes and fry till the oil separates. Take off the stove and let it cool. Grind the onion mixture in to a fine paste.
6. Now add the onion, tomato paste in the chicken and fold nicely altogether. Taste if more salt or sugar is needed. Cook till the chicken and potatoes become tender. Serve with rice, roti or bread. You can add green chilli and coriander leaves too..

Note:- Most of the time to get a thick gravy I use the onion and tomato paste. The paste makes a dish very tasty. It takes very little oil to fry  and saves a lot of time to gravy making.

I am sending this recipe to Priya's Cooking With Seeds - Cardamom Seeds Event.


April 11, 2010

The Bunny Chocolates and The Candy Fun And Awards

In my last post I had shared the snaps of  my homemade chocolates and candies. You can view it HERE.Now the time has come to share the easiest and fanciable homemade chocolate recipe. Making chocolate at home is a real fun which I enjoy very much with my daughter most of the time after our dinner. And home made chocolates are also a best way to save your money and to gift your near dear ones. Without wasting much time let me go straight to the ingredients and method. And here they are-

Ingredients:-
Baking Chocolate bar/chocolate morsels
Chocolate mould

Note: Always remember that a single drop of water may scathe your chocolates.

Method:-
1. Slice the chocolate bar in to small pieces.
2. For the first timer I would recommend to go for a double boiler to melt the chocolate. Take two container one big and another small so that the small one should sit on the big one. Pour water on the big container with a fixed measurement so that when you will put the small container it should not touch the water. Boil the water. Take off the stove. Put the chocolate slices on the small one and put the container on the big one. Use a spoon or a spatula to keep on stirring the chocolate. When the chocolate is totally melted take it down from the steam.

3. Take the mould. Slowly pour the melted chocolate on the mould.
4. When it’s done, tap the mould on a hard surface to get the bubbles out and to set properly.

5. Keep in the refrigerator till they set for half an hour.
6. To serve the chocolate, take a plate. Reverse the mould and with a slight tap let the chocolates come out of the mould.

7. If you are confident enough then microwave is the easiest and fastest option for chocolate making. Just make sure that your chocolate should not over melt.

Now to prepare the coloured candy or  candy lollypop, you can use coloured candy melts or you can use white baking chocolate or chocolate morsels and colours. For the Lollypops you need Lollypop moulds and Lollypop sticks. The process will be same. Only what you have to do is to divide the chocolates in to parts and add different colours in them. Give your Candies desired colours and enjoy the fun along with your family. You have to add the sticks just before putting the ready mould in the fridge.



Tips:-
To make coloured candy or Lollypop you can use the decorating bags. The bags make your designing more easy and creative.
Variations:-
If you don’t have any mould then -
1. You can use the Ice trey. I have also made few on it here is the snap. I added chocolate rice for extra taste. You can add vanilla essence or any other essence to enhance the taste.


2. You can add chopped nuts in the melted chocolate and one by one, fill a spoon and cast on the plate. Then put in the fridge to set.

Awards 
Now to share the awards. I am feeling very honoured and Thankful to-
Sheba of Art , Food and Travel Chronicles, who shared this beautiful award with me. She is an owner of a beautiful blog which is a great composition of art, culture, travel and food as well...

PranisKitchen shared these following awards with me. She is also an owner of a talented blog where you can get varieties of mouth watering healthy dishes.




I would like to share these awards with all my blog pals who encourage and inspire me with their lovely comments on my each post. Dear friends please collect these awards from here.


April 9, 2010

My first experiment on Chocolates and Awards

Long back I made these chocolates and a draft but totally forgotten to post it. Now when today tallying out my post list, I bumped with this draft. So here are some chocolaty treat I would like to share with you all with few awards. Yummy Team, from Yummy o Yummy, and Sathya from Samayal Corner shared a bundle of wonderful awards with me. I am really feeling very honoured and  overwhelmed with gratitude. Both these blogs are creatively enriched and a library of delectable and gorgeous recipes. I wish their blogs may shower with endless awards and appreciation. Like Sathya, I would also like and love to share these awards with all my well wisher and supportive blogger friends, who make my day a new day with their lovely and inspiring comments on my each post. All of you enjoy the Chocolates and Candies made by me. The recipe will be following in my next post. [You will find out the awards on the right hand side column of this blog under the Award head].


April 8, 2010

Flower Collection- Part II

For winter's rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.

-By Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837–1909)
Atalanta in Calydon (1865)

After admiring the first part of my Flower collection, many of my friends thought that the flowers are from my own garden. If I think that the world is my garden, then obviously they are from my garden. But the credit is not mine. Flowers are one of the most dulcet beauties that God has ever made. It is well said that Earth laughs in flowers. Thanks to the almighty gardener who gave me a chance to cherish the utmost beauty and take the pride through my clicks. This colourful fest is going around me, right now where I am staying. Just stepping out of my doorstep I become a part of this heavenly beauty where each and every corner of the earth is singing the mating song of Spring and Summer and what I witness, is infront of you.