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Friday, January 29, 2016

The Meat and Potatoes

So I made this super healthy Mexican bowl yesterday (that I'll be putting up later) and although I was satisfied, my husband wasn't. So I turned to meat and potatoes to salvage me for one last healthy meal of the week before the weekend hits and we eat everything in our sight. Well, more like poultry and potatoes.

Skinny chicken salad with baked potato wedges.


Shredded chopped chicken, chopped onions, tomatoes, coriander, cabbage or lettuce, celery, mustard, Greek yogurt, avocado, cumin powder, salt, pepper, paprika and very little mayonnaise. Mix and serve with toast.


Cut wedges, skin on, and parboil for 8 minutes. Remove and run under cold water. Coat in olive oil, cumin powder, salt, pepper and paprika. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Toss in a dry pan for 2 min to add a roasted feel. Sprinkle oregano and serve. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Kosha

Kosha mangsho is oh so good to know. It is not a quick recipe but who cares. So worth it.

Marinate a kg of mutton in yogurt, a little mustard oil, and salt and turmeric, overnight.

Roast whole garam masala (whole cumin, coriander, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and black pepper) on a dry pan for a bit, and grind into a powder. Keep aside for cooking. Fresh garam masala adds a whole new kick.

Get yourself a nice thick bottomed pan for which you have a lid ready. Heat some mustard oil, and fry two chopped onions and a spoon each of ginger paste and garlic paste. Add salt and a spoon of sugar, and some whole garam masala. Add the mutton. Add some more coriander and cumin powder if you want, and some red chilli powder. Add some more of that garam masala (leave a little to sprinkle in the end and add the rest, basically). Cover with the lid.

Now comes the painful part of standing there and constantly stirring the pot. You have to keep lifting the lid and stirring so the bottom doesn't burn, and then replacing the lid. (If it gets too dry add very little water just to keep it a little mushy, but that's it.) This process is called koshano in bengali. It would be so much easier to just pressure-cook the mutton but DON'T DO IT! Stir, cover, stir, cover, till the mutton is cooked. I took it out right after it was cooked because I was impatient, but typically you want it to almost start disintegrating before you turn off the heat. Sprinkle the leftover garam masala on top and you're set! Serve with luchi and be amazing.

PS: It's also common to put potatoes in this but I like to leave them out.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Veggie Tempura

So Mondays have turned into vegetarian recipe days, somehow. :)

Vegatable Tempura with Pan-Fried Teriyaki Udon


Slice up your favorite vegetables for the tempura. I used mushrooms, broccoli and sweet potatoes. Create the tempura batter by mixing 3 parts cornflour to one part flour with a little baking powder, salt and pepper. Now if you don't eat egg, just add water and use that as your batter. If you don't mind egg, that's actually what makes the tempura batter fluffy and awesome. so you want to add a lightly whisked egg white in the batter along with some water. I like to leave the batter a tiny bit lumpy, as in don't overmix the batter, and make sure it's cold. Dip each veggie into the batter and deep fry. Remove before it starts to really brown. 


Udon = rice noodles. Boil and drain. Heat up a pan and get scallion and cabbage (and anything else you want to throw in) cooking in some oil. Add teriyaki sauce. Finally toss the cooked noodles in. I'd top with sesame seeds but I didn't have any. SERVE!

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Rocky Forest

Chicken meatballs and a lychee cucumber salad makes for a healthy Friday in.
I went with a slight Thai theme.


Mix minced chicken with the following: salt, ginger paste, garlic paste, blended or finely chopped onions, cumin and coriander powders, chopped coriander leaves, a dash of lime, basil, and Thai green curry paste if you can get your hands on that.

Heat up a pan of vegetable oil and take little bits of the mince mix, make balls and shallow fry for a few minutes. Take one out and cut open to make sure it's cooked. Top with dried basil seasoning.


Peel the lychees and make a side incision to get the seeds out. Throw in spinach and cucumbers and season with a lime-basil vinaigrette (dressing of a tiny bit of olive oil with a dash of lime and some basil, maybe a little sugar and a drop or two of soy sauce).

Remember to undo all this by cheating this weekend.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Cantonese

Chow mein... from somebody who doesn't know anything about Cantonese cuisine. But it came out pretty good! I made mine with prawns; you could make yours with just veggies, or chicken, or whatever. I love a good stir-fry.

Boil noodles according to instructions on the packet. Mine said submerge in hot water for 5 minutes, so I did that. Once cooked, run under hot water for a bit. Set aside.

In a wok, heat some peanut oil and add a little ginger and garlic. Throw in scallions. Add the prawn and a spoon of dark sesame oil, and stir for a bit. Add any veggies you'd like: I'd go with water chestnuts, mushrooms, bean sprouts.... I added a few cashews and some corn. Add a few spoons of oyster sauce, and a spoon of soy sauce, and toss. (At this point you can add broth to simmer, and then add cornstarch to thicken the sauce, but I avoided this step so I wouldn't have to put cornstarch in.) Finally add the noodles and give the whole thing a toss or two to coat and fry. Throw on a tiny bit of coriander garnish and remove from heat.

Serve (for a personal kick, I broke a dried red chilli onto the dish before serving).

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Veggie Platter

I'd call it a veggie Bengali thali, but we don't say thali in Bengali :D Also, the karela recipe isn't exactly Bengali. So basically you can call this whatever you like.

Stuffed karela (bitter gourd) with begun bhaja (pan-fried aubergine/eggplant) and of course, the rice and alu posto. The recipe for alu posto is up under "The Bengali" last December.

Begun Bhaja

Pretty simple. Get a fat eggplant and slice in half vertically. Cut slices almost an inch thick and coat in salt and turmeric. Pan fry in mustard oil till cooked.

Stuffed karela

Slice long pieces of karela. Take out the seed bit. Rub with salt to reduce the bitterness a little, and let it sit for 20 minutes before washing. Meanwhile saute chopped onions, ginger and garlic in a little oil with cumin seeds,and add salt, turmeric, coriander powder, cumin powder and a tiny bit of amchur (substitute with achar masala if you want). Take the entire cooked mixture and grind. Stuff each washed karela piece with this mixture and pan fry together for a bit before serving.

Serve with alu posto and rice :)

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Husband's Pomfret

About once a month I get lucky when the hubby suddenly declares that today he will cook. This time he came up with a delightfully light and tangy pomfret tomato curry that I wanted to share.

Coat pomfret in salt and turmeric and set aside. Grind mustard seeds and keep in warm water. Keep grated coconut handy (if it's frozen, keep in a little warm water). Meanwhile pan-fry the pomfret in shallow mustard oil until golden and cooked.

In a pan, sauté mustard seeds and green chilli. Add a little turmeric, chopped tomatoes and the ground mustard seeds with the water; then add salt to taste. Put in the coconut and let the curry thicken a little bit before sprinkling sugar. Finally add fish. Simmer on low covered for a few minutes and serve with coriander garnish. Dash of lime on top with rice seals the deal! Yum.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Straight-Up Street


You know, these look a lot easier than they really are. These took me a decent amount of hard work to make! But two Bengalis in the house + no access to Kolkata street food = desperation. At least they turned out nice!


Marinate bite-sized boneless pieces of chicken in yogurt, salt, and tandoori chicken masala for at least an hour. Slice a whole lot of onions (two big ones for about 800 g chicken).Heat mustard oil, and add ginger-garlic paste, and then the onions. Once the onions are translucent, add the chicken. Cook till done and dry, and set aside. Slice up a little more raw onion to put in the roll, and also slice cucumber thinly. Chop up some green chillies. Keep all this for the stuffing.


Knead about 2 cups of all-purpose flour with 2-3 spoons of oil, a spoon of salt, a pinch of sugar, VERY LITTLE baking soda (like a fourth of a teaspoon), and warm water. Make it smooth and soft. Ball them up. Roll out a ball and flatten into a giant flatbread. Then start pleating from one side. Once pleated, twist the entire thing and roll up and set aside. If you don't know what I mean, look at the pictures. On the side, crack an egg and add a spoon or two of milk and some salt/pepper to it, and beat.

Heat the pan with a little oil. Flatten out one of the little rolled-up balls into a paratha and cook till half done; then take off the pan. Add a little more oil and add the egg thing to the pan. While it starts to form an omelette, add the paratha on top of it so that the egg and the paratha join. Cook till done and browned as much as you like.

Stuff the roll so: put the wrap, egg side up, on foil or wax paper. First add a little tomato sauce and green chilli sauce (didn't have that so I added only a tomato-based garlic chilli sauce). Then add the chicken. Sprinkle a few chopped green chillies, raw onions, and cucumber onto the chicken. Sprinkle some chat masala on top, and then squeeze a lime onto the whole thing. Roll up and serve!

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Munchy Gobi

So apparently chilli cauliflower (gobi) dry is the best appetizer ever.

Blanch cauliflower for a couple of minutes. Separate florets. Make a batter of cornflour, a spoon of all-purpose flour, salt, pepper, a ddrizzle of soy sauce, maybe even a little cayenne. Dip florets in batter and deep-fry. Set aside.

Heat a little oil and add ginger-garlic paste. Throw in scallion (spring onion) whites. Add enough soya sauce to eventually coat the cauliflower, a leeetle vinegar, and sweet chili sauce. Add the fried florets and coat th with the sauce; toss for a minute and you're done! Serve with spring onion greens garnish.

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Hash'n'Tots

Friday food has to be funky fun :) (Extra points for alliteration)

Ham and cauliflower hash with tater tots.


Dice ham. Blanch cauliflower florets. Toss together in a little oil with chopped garlic and onion, salt, pepper, a little cayenne, oregano, and a sprinkle of breadcrumbs just for fun. Top with a fried egg.


Parboil potatoes; then peel and grate. Add a spoonful of flour and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Make little tot babies. Fry till golden and crispy and delightful.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Healthy McHealtherson

WARNING: Could get way too healthy to handle.

Asian cabbage parcels! The veggie version. Vegan, if you want.
(Will turn non-vegetarian if you add fish/mince/egg and fish sauce)

Blanch cabbage leaves (submerge in boiling water for 2 minutes and then run under cold water to stop the cooking process) and keep aside. Toss up a whole bunch of finely chopped veggies in the oil - stuff you'd put in a stir fry. Good stuff to put in would be carrots, corn, mushrooms, cabbage, beet, scallion (spring onions), maybe even tofu. If you eat egg, you could throw in scrambled egg. Toss in a little soy sauce and garlic chilli sauce. Take off the heat.

Lay out a blanched cabbage leaf and cut out some of the hard stem part. Add a little mixture from the stir fry onto one side of the leaf and roll. Steam the "parcel" for a few minutes (3-4 maybe). If you don't have a steamer, boil some water in a pot and put a metal colander on top (not touching the water) and put your parcel in the colander. Serve with a little soy sauce for dipping!


Monday, January 4, 2016

The Shawarma

Shawarma is my life.

I grew up in Saudi Arabia, which basically means I had these 2 Riyal awesomenesses at least 2000 times a week. Well, or I tried to, at least.

So I made this one with toum rather than tahini sauce, but only because I love toum on anything. (Toum is that amazing Lebanese garlic sauce that they serve with shish taouk. Basically just crushed garlic with vegetable oil and lemon.) But you get both on the market, and typically shawarmas have tahini sauce in them.

Sauté shredded chicken in very little oil with salt, cumin and coriander powders. Set aside. Slice up some lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. Heat a khubz (Arabic flatbread) on a pan only for a minute (else it gets brittle) and put the chicken, toum or tahini sauce, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles and roll it up. I like to put the rolled up thing in an oven for a few min and then eat it. Done!

Friday, January 1, 2016

The New Year Splurge

Happy 2016, everybody! Who wants to start the year right with some delish nom nom?

Cue Butter Chicken.

I've tried to get this recipe right without reading about it anywhere for ages, and I made such a simple mistake every time that when I finally got it right this time, I couldn't believe how stupid it was.

There's no onions in this recipe. (WHAT)

Marinate boneless pieces of chicken in yogurt, ginger, garlic, salt, turmeric, garam masala, cumin and coriander powder for an hour minimum. Then tava-fry or grill the pieces till cooked and brown. Set aside.

Puree tomatoes (I used 2.5 for 1 kg of chicken). Puree a handful of cashews too. Heat a slab of butter and put in some cumin seeds. When they sputter, put in the tomato puree and cook. Add the cashew puree and freshly ground and roasted garam masala and a little tandoori chicken masala, and chilli powder. Some might add a pinch of sugar (not me). Add a little light cream and simmer. Taste it to see if it tastes like butter chicken. Add the chicken and simmer a little more till you're happy with the consistency. Serve with a small garnish of cream and nice hot rice or roti!