July 10, 2015

Hilsa Festival Preview at Buzz, The Gateway, Kolkata

Festival - Hilsa Festival

Venue - Buzz, The Gateway Kolkata
Date - 10th July'15 to 26th July'15

Serving typeÀ la carte

Timing
Lunch : 1230 hrs to 1500 hrs
Dinner : 1930 hrs to 2300 hrs
Pocket Pinch - Meals for two, approx.INR 1500, inclusive of taxes (The price is based on main course items)

My recommendation: Ilish Pulao, Ilish Pithe, Doi 
Ilish & Smoked Hilsa
With the welcoming note of the Monsoon season, our home atmosphere got quite festive when the Man came after the morning shopping chore from the local market and announced with an elated smile:  "Ilish eshe gachhe" (Hilsa has come). The family members like a greedy child with salivated mouth sat down to decide the recipe that would do justice to the Hilsa/ Ilish fish for that day. My FIL with a gleeful joy started reciting a poem. Its a very old bengali poem what my FIL said. He had forgotten the title and the writer's name. But the gist of the poem what I understood is:
An old lady was all set to start her religious tour. Just at the moment she was leaving one of her relatives gave a surprise visit carrying "Jora Ilish" ( Previously people used to buy pair of Ilish). That lady without wasting any time cancelled her tour and sat down to cook Hilsa/ Ilish and enjoyed every bite of it.
 Thus Bengalies are that much carzy when it comes to Hilsa/Ilish. Though it is the national fish of Bangladesh, West Bengal would die for it. This is the one fish which can be cooked in various way. 

Team KFB reached Buzz on an invitation from Taj Gateway to sample the menu of the Hilsa Festival
Special thali for the tasting session.
that has started from today and will continue till 26th July'15. Buzz, the hotel restaurants of The Gateway Hotel has become famous for presenting the "Purbo Bangla/Opar Bangla" or the East Bengal delicacies along with the continental dainties. They never fail to celebrate the core Bengali festivals through their delicious delicacies. And to make sure they bring out the traditional regional dishes mostly from East Bengal and partially of the west Bengal. As the Monsoon knocks the door and the local fish market is flooding with Hilsa, Buzz without wasting any time organised the Hilsa Festival for the Hilsa Lovers with some traditional Bengali dishes from the both sides of Bengal. Thanks to Chef Ashish Roy, who took out his precious time and explained us each and every dish, like how they cooked, why they kept the dish in the menu etc. Now let us take a tour through the dishes that were designed specially for the Hilsa Festival.

What you will get in the Menu:
Starter
{Per dish INR 550 }
Shukno Lanka Peyaj Diye Ilish Bhaja
Block of Ilish fried in churned mustard oil with dried chilies and slices of baby onion
Ilish Pithe
Boneless Ilish stuffed in savoury dough and deep fried. This was the take of the day and highly recommended. Dhaka, Bangladesh specialises and is famous for the sweet and savoury Pithe. Among the the savoury one Ilish Pithe is one of the signature delicacies of Dhaka. 
{Picture Courtesy: Vishal Tupper}
Main Course
{Per dish INR 650 comes along with steamed rice, except Smoked Hilsa}
Narkol Diye Ilisher Paturi (Boneless)
Boneless Hilsa marinated with coconut and the steamed inside banana leaf. Paturi needs no introduction. Check any festive occasion  Paturi is a must added dish to the menu. And if it comes to the Hilsa season the menu goes incomplete without Hilsa/Ilish Paturi.
Ilish Mishti Kumror Jhol
Chef's special peparation cooked in iron griddle with the red pumkin and ground spices.

Ilish Pulao
Hilsa cooked in dum along with the finest hand-picked rice. Slowly cooked in the Hilsa fish stock the dish tasted heavenly. I have tasted Ilish Pulao in many famous food joints, but every where I found a kind of fishy smell dominating the dish. So I kept this dish out of my menu after that. But here to my surprise after tasting it, I didn't get that small rather I had fallen in love with it. So do try it.

Doi Ilish
Classical preparation with hung curd and churned mustard oil. This is another dish which I will highly recommend to try. Goes perfect with the white rice and also with Hilsa/ Ilish Pulao.

{Picture Courtesy: Vishal Tupper}

Smoked Hilsa
A western twist - fillet of boneless hilsa smoked with jasmine rice, honey and a dash of pommery - served with garlic bread. We all had fallen in love at one bite. Soft, creamy melted in mouth hilsa fillet that gives an out most sumptuous experience when you taste it. This dish is specially cooked keeping in mind for the international customers who will get the taste of the queen fish of Bengal with a continental touch up.
Apart from these Shorshebata Ilish (A classical recipe - Hilsa cooked in Mustard based gravy) and Kalojeera Begun diye Tel Jhal (A home style cooked dish with aubergine and tempered with kalonji/ nigella seeds). Hope those readers will enjoy the Hilsa Festival at  Buzz, The Gateway, Kolkata.

Happy Eating....


July 2, 2015

Cherry Banana Bread

Feeling like it has been a decade. Yes I am blogging after almost 7 months. The main reason was my health and the new addition to the family. I was blessed with my second daughter 2 months back and surprisingly both my girls were born on the same date. I didn't have any complications except an uncomfortable back pain which totally restricted me to sit with my laptop. Otherwise I was pretty flexible with long walks and doing all the daily chores. In fact this time I was hardly get any time to think of myself since I had to keep myself fully busy with the elder one. But my only concern was to keep my diet healthy. Only the last month restricted my movement. I had a risk of water breakage which led me to confine myself at home for almost 3 weeks. And then the baby arrived and made our life happy. Lil K wished for a sister and she was gifted a sister on her Birthday. So she was more than happy as we were. She is a doting "DIDI" to her baby sis - very protective and concerned about her each and every movement. And thus we spent 2 months and my darlings were growing together making our each and every day from brighter to brightest.
From this year Lil K's school hours got extended from 4 to 6 hours. This made me tensed, worried and forced me to spend some sleepless nights. The main concern was what to give in her lunch box. Lil K is a picky eater when it comes to her tiffin. She hardly eats anything and I get the lunch box returned almost full. So every day I have to go for a brainstorming session to add something new to her lunch box which can satiate my princess's taste bud. I was always very sceptical using bananas in my bakes. I have never tasted any so was totally unsure about the fact what would be the outcome. But again the passionate baker inside me forced me try this recipe. I have bookmarked it long back. This time I thought of executing it crossing my fingers if by any chance my luck favours. And to my surprise not only I but Lil K and all the family members appreciated a lot. It happily adorned the lunchbox and the box came home empty.  So here is the recipe Cherry Banana Bread..
{Note: I was pretty surprised why a recipe that could be easily justified as a cake, named after a bread. Then a few read made me understand that since were baking it in a bread loaf pan, it was therefore considered as a bread, nothing else. }
{Recipe adapted from HERE}
Ingredients
Ripe bananas – 2 -3 medium size (approx 1 cup mashed)
Butter – 4 tbs (room temperature)
Hung Curd – ¼ cup
Brown sugar – ¾ cup
Egg - 1
Vanilla essence- 1 tsp

Flour - 1 cup
Baking soda – 1tsp
Baking powder – ½ tsp
Salt – ½ tsp

Cherry – 10-12
Flour – 2 tbs
Chocolate chips – ½ cup
Chopped Cashew nuts – ¼ cup
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade for 7-8 minutes.
  2.  Peel and mash the bananas.
  3. In a mixing bowl pour the sugar. Add the bananas and mix well unless the sugar blends nicely. Add the egg and mix. 
  4. Then slowly pour the hung curd and add the vanilla essence. Mix until well combined.
  5. In a separate container combine nicely the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Do not over mix.
  6. Slowly add the flour mixture to the banana mixture and mix well but do not over mix.
  7. Add the chocolate chips and the cashews nuts.
  8. Seed and slice the cherries and fold them in 2 tbs flour and add them gently to the mixture. Again do not over mix.  .
  9. Grease and flour a 9'x 5' loaf pan and then pour the mixture in it.
  10. bake it for for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool it completely and then serve. It tastes better when it is served chill.                                                              
Note:
1. After it gets cool one can keep the bread outside for a day, depending on the temperature. Otherwise suggested to refrigerate and consumed within 3-4 days.
2. It tastes better when it is served chill.