Tag Archives: Cook

Simple Grilled Pomfret

By Tahira

pomfret 1

Bengalis love fish. True. So being a true blue bong, there was no reason as to why should I not drool over this aquatic creature. I love all kinds of fish – be it the royal hilsa, or the humble rui or pomfret – direct from the sea. Back home for my holidays (that stretched for nearly 3 months) I would often concoct up fishy delicacies in the kitchen.

Most of the time, I cooked pomfret. One of my favourites. So, just thought of sharing the recipe of this delicacy with my readers. Its simple, easy and definitely lip-smacking.

pomfret 2Ingredients

  • ŸPomfret – 2 medium-sized
  • ŸGinger paste
  • ŸGarlic paste
  • ŸRed chilli powder
  • ŸTurmeric
  • ŸYogurt
  • ŸLemon juice
  • ŸSalt to taste
  • ŸCooking oil 1 tablespoon

Method

Wash and pat dry the fish. Make deep slits on each side. Rub lemon juice and ginger-garlic paste on the fish and keep aside for at least minutes. In a bowl make a smooth paste with yogurt, turmeric, red chilli powder, oil and some salt. Apply this paste evenly over the fish. Marinate it for at least two hours. Pre-heat oven and place the marinated fish. Cook for around 20 minutes at 180 degrees. You may apply some butter for basting while cooking. Serve hot with onion slices and lemon wedges.

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Masor Tenga – Assameese Fish Curry

By Tahira

masor tenga

Being born and brought up in Bengal, my interaction with the other Indian communities had been quite limited. However, once I shifted to Delhi, my first roommates were an Assameese and a Punjabi. That was my first major stint with communities belonging to other parts of India. I was quite perplexed and excited at the same time. Wondering how would I gel with them and also looking forward to a newly learning experience – getting to know people from various cultures and regions.

So, it was from Sanchayita (S) that I got to know a lot about not only Assameese culture but also their food habits. Being a hardcore non-vegetarian she enjoyed almost every delicacy – from fish to chicken – and from pork to pigeons. Every time I wanted to have  non-veg she would be my partner-in-crime (the PG accommodation offered vegan food). So, one fine day she took me to Mukherjee Nagar where I tasted Assameese cuisine for the first time. Geographical closeness definitely has its impact on the cuisine. It reminded of my home especially the tangy taste of Masor Tenga.

Since then I have tasted many a dish peculiar to the north-eastern part of our country. But, the simple tangy Masor Tenga score above all.  This post is definitely dedicated to S and my other friends from Assam

PS: Natives from Assam, you may put in your signature touch to this recipe as most of it have been collected from memory.

Here’s the recipe.

rohuIngredients

  • Fish (rohu/carp) 500 grams cut into medium-sized pieces
  • ŸTomatoes 2 large, sliced
  • ŸMustard seeds, a handful
  • ŸGreen Chillies, 2-3 slit lengthwise
  • ŸLemon (juice of half or 1 full lemon)
  • ŸTurmeric
  • ŸSalt to taste
  • ŸMustard Oil, 4 tablespoons

Method

Marinate fish pieces with salt and turmeric for at least 30 minutes. In a wok heat 3 tablespoons of mustard oil and fry the marinated pieces. Keep aside. In the same wok, add the rest of the oil and throw in the mustard seeds. Once they began to splutter, add green chillies and the tomatoes. Stir for two-three minutes and then sprinkle some salt. Adding salt after the tomatoes will help the tomatoes to become tender thus enabling you to make a pulp. Add turmeric, stir for a minute and then add some water. You can add some salt at this stage depending upon your taste. Keep stirring for a few minutes and then add the pieces of fried fish. Cook for some time on low flame. Drizzle the required amount of lemon juice (depends how tangy you want it to be), bring to a boil.

The gravy should be a runny curry or jool as Assameese call it. So make sure the quantity of water you add. Remove from gas. Serve hot with boiled rice.

A Date With the Kitchen

By Shwetha Kalyanasundaram

girl_cooking.83102123

For a very long time now, the day a girl comes to this world, she’s born not with a silver spoon in her mouth, rather a silver ladle in her hand!! And would I be far from it?!?

I grew up watching my mother conjure up delicious and mouth-watering dishes in the kitchen. I did notice that the man of the house (my father, that is) stayed away from the kitchen. The curiosity in me was piqued as I wondered why men basked in blissful ignorance and weren’t as kitchen savvy as the women. At school, my sexist idea of “Women Only” in the kitchen changed, when my male classmates proudly displayed their kitchen cuts and bruises. In today’s age, the cooking profession is dominated by that category of homo-sapiens who bear the Y chromosome.

When I was in college, being a “bad cook” would have been princely. Growing up, I didn’t have to worry about peeling potatoes or playing with oil. I had my mother to do it all. I couldn’t cook anything—I even burnt water!! Then my mother sat me down and reasoned with me that to be a wonder girl of sorts, I should learn to cook.

Here’s why!

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Attracting men through your culinary skills have proven to have a success rate greater than that through your intellect. Cooking is art and science rolled into one. It helps you build skills, be imaginative, and is a stress buster. At a marriageable age, spurred on by her advice, I decided to explore the art of cooking.

And here’s my first date in the kitchen, rather with the kitchen!!!

Our day usually kick starts with a cup of coffee. An engineer that I am, my mother handed me the “procedure” to prepare coffee. Boil milk – check; Measure exact amount of decoction into cup – check; Add sugar – err?!? And that’s my first goof up and it’s an obvious guess. Sugar and salt should never be kept together – NEVER! The expression on my parents face in the morning as they sipped coffee laced with salt – priceless!

A three course meal that maketh a typical Indian meal involves using a variety of pulses. Phew! It’s easier identifying a salt in the chemistry lab rather than identifying the right pulse for the right meal!!! What a harrowing time I had!! The number of times I had to abandon ship and start over again, I used up the entire ration in the kitchen.

And the Indian bread! Gosh, to get the rotis in a perfect circle can be a humungous task. Mine resembled the continents on the world map!!! Who cares about the shape as long as they were edible!

You know what happens to vegetables when they’ve cooked too much? They turn to mush. And that’s exactly what happened to my ladies finger curry! Here’s a small piece of advice – wash the ladies finger before cutting them rather than washing them after the cut!

You may have heard it a million times, but do you practice it? Do you taste your food as you cook it? If you don’t, you really should start. Recipes aren’t always accurate and can often times lead you astray. Tasting your food as you cook means the difference of a mediocre meal or a delicious one.

In the latter half of the day, my mother asked me to curdle the milk. While I knew that adding curds  to milk will  result in fermentation, I did not know the proportion and hence added the whole lot of curds to the milk and when I innocently asked my mother what I should do with the balance curds as the vessel was filled to the brim , my mother’s temper rose sky high!!!

Every cook, being human, errs, bungles, botches, and screws up in the kitchen once in a while, but in my case, the whole date was a disaster! For your day to go alright, guess it helps waking up on the right side of the bed *chuckle*.

And years down the lane, with a sizeable portion of hours spent inside the kitchen, I’m definitely making great inroads to the heart of my man through his stomach!

Simple Home-Cooked Garlic Chicken

By Tahira

garlic chicken

I love garlic. I love Chicken. So, this time I thought why not make a delectable delicacy out of the two.

A friend of mine had just shifted base to NCR after spending a decade in the Silicon Valley of India (Bangalore). Somewhat morose and trying to adjust to the idiosyncrasies of the Jat Land (Gurgaon), Amrita would often call me up. So, one fine day I just dropped in at her place impromptu to give her a surprise.

Well, indeed she was. We both ended up chatting for long when suddenly she came up with the idea, “ lets concoct up something in my kitchen.” So instead of placing an order for lunch, we immediately donned the chef’s hat. Amrita’s kitchen had almost everything. So, we dint have to worry much to make Garlic Chicken along with soy bean rice.

I must say that we enjoyed the sumptuous lunch of Garlic Chicken and Soybean Rice accompanied by some red wine. Yes, though the latter part may sound a little westernized for Indian homes, nonetheless, since we both are gourmets, it goes without saying that the wine goblets exuded the essence of the entire activity – the grand lunch that we had. Here’s the recipe.

garlic 1Ingredients

  • ŸChicken 500 grams
  • ŸGarlic  15-17 cloves
  • ŸGinger  grated, 1 tea spoon
  • ŸGreen Chillies 2-3 (you can add more if you want)
  • ŸJulienned Onion 1 large
  • ŸYogurt ¼ cup
  • ŸLemon Juice 1 teaspoon
  • ŸWhole cloves 6-8
  • ŸWhole Cardamoms 5-7
  • ŸPinch of turmeric (optional)
  • ŸOlive Oil 3 tablespoons
  • ŸSalt to Taste

Method

Make a paste with ginger, 10 cloves of garlic, lemon juice, yogurt and a pinch of salt. Marinate the chicken in this paste for at least four hours. Now take a heavy-bottomed pan and heat olive oil in it. Keep the flame low. Smash the remaining garlic pods and throw in the oil along with cloves and cardamoms. Sauté for a few minutes. Believe me the aroma released from the spices were absolutely to die for.

Now add the onions and fry till they become translucent. Add the marinated chicken along with cloves and cardamoms and turmeric. Sprinkle some salt according to your taste. Add a little water and cover with a lid. Cook slowly on a low flame while stirring constantly for around 20 minutes. Remove from stove, garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice.

Fried Pork Belly

Tahira was inspired by her friend, Nilakshi Barooah, for this delicacy

pork

One of the oldest forms of livestock, pigs have been domesticated since 5000 BC. The culinary name of the meat obtained from domesticated pig is termed as pork. Pork is one of the most commonly consumed meat worldwide.

I love pork. It is one of the red meats that I can savour with taste buds. Though I started consuming pork at a much later age, but I simply fell in love with it. The appreciation for pork reach its height when my one-time boyfriend (who hailed for the north-east) took me to some exotic food joints in Delhi to have pork delicacies.

But, this recipe is inspired by one of my friends Nilakshi, who also hails from Guwahati (Assam), now residing in Singapore. Her recent status claimed that she has finally mastered Fried Pork. So, a gourmet like me could not possibly have been left far behind to concoct up the dish. I must say it turned out to be yummy. Since Nilakshi was the inspiration, I dedicate this post to her.

PS: N, I have added two seasonal vegetables to the dish. Hope you don’t mind!

Ingredients

  1. Pork Belly Pieces with Fat
  2. Finely chopped garlic (about 10 cloves)
  3. 50 grams ginger finely chopped
  4. 1 large onion coarsely chopped
  5. 1 tablespoon vinegar
  6. 1 tablespoon soya sauce
  7. Half a teaspoon turmeric
  8. Fresh black pepper ground
  9. Half a teaspoon brown sugar (white sugar will also do)
  10. Red Chilli Powder (according to taste)
  11. Chopped Green Chillies ( depends how hot you want it to be)
  12. 1 large capsicum, diced (optional)
  13. 1 broccoli cut into pieces (optional)
  14. Salt to taste
  15. Cooking Oil

Method

Pressure cook the pork pieces with a pinch of salt and keep aside. Heat 3 tablespoons of cooking oil in a pan and sauté the capsicum and broccoli for 5 minutes and keep aside. Now in the same oil,  sauté garlic and onions. In a separate pan, mix all the remaining ingredients together with the pre-cooked pork and stir into the pan containing the sautéed vegetable and garlic and onion. Put on high flame and cook for around 7 minutes and keep stirring. Bring down to simmer. Keep tossing and turning the mixture until the pork turns tender. The pork will start releasing its fat and in the process get cooked in it and it will release a nice aroma! Cover lid and keep for a minute. Remove from gas a serve on a bed of lettuce (optional).

pig

Home-made Pancake on a Sunday Afternoon

pan 3

Pancakes are types of flat breads, generally round in shape enjoyed by millions across cultures. Though not much popular in India, but pancakes can make for an excellent snack in the evening or sometimes even breakfast – on days you want to try something different.

Back home for my summer breaks (spanning nearly three months) I would trying making some or the other snack almost every evening. So, it was just one of those days that I thought of concocting up a continental delicacy in the kitchen. Though the first attempt turned out to be good enough, but consequent attempts turned me into a good pancake-maker. I still make pancakes and sometimes make my friends savour their taste buds over this home-made delicacy. Here’s the recipe of simple home-made pancake for a Sunday afternoon snack.

pancake 1Ingredients

  • pan 22 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups of milk (250 ml)
  • All-purpose flour (maida for Indian Kitchens)
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste
  • Pinch of baking powder (optional)
  • Cooking Oil

Method

pancake 2Take a deep pan and mix all ingredients except oil together. You can either use a spatula or a hand blender. Stir well to form a thick consistency of the batter. Keep it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

In a flat bottomed frying pan pour 3 tablespoons of cooking oil. Once heated, spread the batter evenly. Keep for a minute or two; then turn it over and cook for another two minutes. Reduce flame and wait for a minute or so. Transfer it on a plate. You can enjoy the pancake with a sauce of your choice.

Simple Kadhai Chicken Without Capsicums

kadhai chicken 1

This weekend I had a gala time. My ex-flatmate had been inviting me over to her place in Gurgaon for a long time now. Finally we met after almost a lapse of one year. Now, when two Bengalis meet, food has to make its way into the conversations. So it did. We were so overwhelmed by the fact that, we both ended up deciding that lets cook chicken for dinner. Within an hour the raw chicken arrived and we both arranged all other ingredients in a hurry. I being the gourmet, again dawned the chef’s hat to toss up Kadhai Chicken.

The Kadhai is a not-so-deep or not-so-shallow frying that is idiosyncratic to every Indian kitchen. To know more about Kadhai, you can click on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karahi.

Capsicum is usually used to make this delicacy, but since we were short of time and of course ingredients, I opted for the simplest way to make this delectable delicacy. Here’s how:

onions and tomatoesIngredients

  • Chicken 500 grams cut and cleaned
  • 1 big onion finely sliced
  • 1 big tomato finely chopped
  • 2  table spoons ginger-garlic paste
  • 3 whole dried red chillis
  • 2 table spoons of coriander seeds (dhania)
  • 2 bay leaves (tej patta)
  • Coriander leaves (dhania patta)
  • 3 table spoons of oil
  • Salt according to taste

Method:

Begin by grinding the red chillies and the coriander seeds into a coarse powder and keep aside. Heat the required quantity of oil in a kadhai and add the bay leaves. After a few seconds add the sliced onions and sauté till it turns brownish. Then add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for a minute; add the above-mentioned coarse powder. Add the chopped tomatoes and pinch of salt. Stir for sometime until the tomatoes blend well with the masala. Now add the chicken pieces and stir vigorously until it mixes well with the masala. Pour a little water and  a pinch of salt and cover with a lid. Cook till chicken becomes tender. Sprinkle some garam masala and turn off gas. Serve with rice or roti.

red-chillies-whole-dried--1848-p