Chole Masala Spice Mix

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Chole or Kabuli chola or Garbanzo beans is a big hit in all Indian homes. Though, its originally a North Indian recipe, but chole bhature is a big hit in my family. The fluffy fried breads, bhature accompanied with spicy garbanzo beans is a big hit all the time.

Whole spices

To make kabuli chola along with the regular blend of ginger garlic paste, coriander and chili powder a spice mix is used. This spice mix is sold by almost all popular Indian spice brands from Everest to MDH, its called chole masala. But, I’m a little apprehensive of using the packaged spice mixes, mainly for two reasons. First, they don’t have the freshness that you get from homemade spice powders and secondly, they come in large packages and for a family of two most of the times the spice mix expires before I can finish the whole package. So, the simple solution to my problem to make my own batch of chole masala spice mix.

chole masala

Definitely, it takes some time and work to make it, but the flavor and aroma of freshly ground spices is worth all the trouble. It takes more than 15 spices to make this masala, so even a tablespoon of each spice will yield quite a good amount of the masala. I grind the spices in a coffee/spice grinder and takes me 2 to 3 batches to grind the whole amount.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon caraway seeds/ shah jeera 

1 tablespoon white sesame seeds

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon dry ginger powder

1 teaspoon peppercorn

1 teaspoon black salt

1 tablespoon dry mango powder/ aamchur

1 nutmeg

3 – 5 dry red chilies

3 – 5 2” cinnamon stick

10 green cardamom

5 black cardamom

8 – 10 cloves

2 bay leaves

 

Directions:

Dry roast the cumin, caraway, coriander, peppercorn, cinnamon, bay leaves, black cardamom, green cardamom and chillies until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer on a bowl to cool

Dry roast the sesame seeds using a lid on the pan, as the sesame seeds splatter. Transfer to the same bowl and wait till it’s cool.

Place in a spice or coffee grinder and grind till it’s transformed into a fine powder. Transfer to the bowl and mix with the already powdered spices. Grate the nutmeg into the bowl

Sieve once to get rid of the larger bits and store in an airtight jar or use immediately.

Ground spice for chole

Chef’s tips – For ease of grinding in the grinder, once all the whole spices are dry roasted you can put them in a zip lock and use a rolling pin to crush the spices and then transfer to the grinder to make into a powder.

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Chicken Tikka Kebab

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Chicken tikka is the quintessential appetizer in of all Indian restaurants all over the globe. Whether it’s a restaurant in Bangalore or in Belgium, chicken tikka will always be there in the menu. I have had my fair share of chicken tikka kebabs in restaurants all over the place. Most of them I found were either too dry or too bland. So, I tried experimenting on the best way to cook this oh-so-important appetizer.

After a lot of tries with various store bought dry tikka masala, and failing almost every time, I took the matter pretty seriously. So, this time I made the masala paste from scratch. And, just to give it that oomph I added some Sriracha and carom seeds to it. Yes, you heard it right, I added the very Chinese sauce to this very Indian recipe, but the result was just fabulous. The heat of the Sriracha mixed with the carom seeds gave it a much better taste.

Kebab is a very Middle Eastern dish, but like all other Middle Eastern recipes, kebabs also got included in the Indian menu as a part of Mughlai cuisine. Kebabs are generally cooked in open fires, in a charcoal grill. The charcoal gives it a smoky taste, and probably enhances the flavor (I have tried chicken tikka kebabs in stovetop, oven and charcoal grill; but the last one turned out to be the best).

And, here’s another recipe to add to the what to cook for Rakhi series

Chicken Tikka Kebab from scratch

Ingredients:
2 lbs chicken thighs

2 tablespoon grated green papaya

2 tablespoon tomato paste

¼ cup onion paste

2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste

½ cup greek yogurt

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon paprika powder

1 teaspoon garam masala

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoon mustard oil

1 tablespoon sriracha

1 tablespoon carom seeds

Salt to taste

 

Directions:

Clean the chicken thighs, and trim off the extra fat. Cut into 2 inch size pieces, and keep aside

In a nonstick frying pan, heat the oil, add the onion paste and fry till the onion starts changing color, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the green papaya, ginger garlic paste, and tomato paste. Fry till the oil starts to come out of the paste, about 3 minutes.

Add all the dry powder and season with salt. This paste you can make ahead, and store in the fridge for upto 3 days.

In a large glass bowl add the cooked masala paste, yogurt sriracha and carom seeds and mix everything together evenly. Now add the chicken pieces to this paste and gently toss so that the chicken pieces gets covered fully in the masala. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for marinating for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight

When you are ready to cook, take out the chicken and bring to normal temperature about an hour before.

You can cook the kebab in stovetop, oven or charcoal grill –

For stovetop cooking –

Heat a shallow pan and lightly grease with oil or cooking spray, lay down the chicken pieces on the pan, make sure all the pieces touch the bottom of the pan, if you have more chicken, then fry in batches. Cook each side for about 2 minutes or till the chicken is cooked through.

For roasting in the oven-

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C), line a cookie sheet with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray. Thread the chicken pieces in skewers, 6 pieces if you are using the long skewers and 2 pieces each if using the smaller ones. Place the skewers on the cookie sheet and baste with melted butter or oil. Grill for 20 minutes, turning and basting once in between

Turn on the broiler and broil for about 3 minutes or till the edges start to char

For grilling on charcoal grill-

Thread the chicken pieces in skewers, and grill on an open grill basting with oil on each side. Grill each side for about 5-7 minutes or till the chicken is cooked through

Serve immediately with freshly cut onion rings and raita

Chef’s Tips – If you are using skewers for grilling the kebabs, then soak in water the skewers for at least 2 hours before using, else the skewers will catch fire and burn before the chicken is cooked through

Chicken Tikka Kebab

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Balti Chicken

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The word “balti” always remind me of the Bengali word for bucket, why a chicken recipe will be associated with such a word was quite appealing to me. My first guess was that the dish was served in little copper coated buckets in the restaurant, but that reasoning seemed a little too far fetched. So, I did a little search and of course Wikipedia came in handy.

Apparently, the phrase “Balti Chicken” came from the origin of this recipe. Here again there is much argument about where the origin of this recipe was. Some say that this recipe originated from Baltistan, Northern region of Pakistan  and hence the name. The other theory says that the chicken dish was first prepared by the Balti restaurants in Birmingham in UK.

Anyways as Shakespeare had said, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”, there is no point in fighting over a name of a chicken recipe. But, it’s definitely worth trying. The recipe calls for a lot of tomatoes, and the chicken is cooked in the tomato juice making this chicken dish a sweet and sour preparation. This chicken side dish is the new item for the rakhi series. 

Balti Chicken with naan

 

Ingredients:

1 ½ lb chicken, skinned and cut into medium size pieces

1 onion, thinly sliced

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

3 cups chopped tomato

4-6 garlic cloves, sliced

2 green chilies, chopped

6 tablespoon canola oil

3-4 sprigs of cilatro, chopped

Salt to taste

 

Directions:

In a heavy bottom pan, heat oil, add the onion and cook until translucent. In the meantime in a small bowl add all the ground spices and make a paste with about 2 tablespoons of water. Stir in the spice mix with the fried onions, and cook until oil starts separating, about 3 to 4 minutes

Add the chicken pieces and mix with the fried spices and onions. Put in the tomatoes and season with salt. Cook covered for about 15 minutes. Give it a stir once or twice in between so that the chicken doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan

Add the garlic and green chili and cook covered till the chicken is fully cooked. Pour little water if it gets too dry.

Garnish with the chopped cilantro. Serve hot with naan or rice

Balti chicken

 

Chef’s Tips: I used about two cornish hen in this recipe. If you want to make it a boneless preparation, you can use chicken thigh; breast pieces tend to get very chewy.

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Doi Begun – Eggplants in Spiced Yogurt

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Almost every state in India has their own style of making doi begun or dahi baingan. So, this is one recipe where you can do loads and loads of combination, and I assure use you’ll not get wrong.

Eggplants

I like to use the baby eggplants, as the whole eggplants or brinjal, as I used to call while growing up (read before entering USA) gives a good texture to the curry. You can also use the larger eggplants, and cut them into two to three inch size pieces. Using asafoetida is an optional step in this recipe, I like the flavor of it and it goes with the whole yogurt and eggplant mix, so I use it. Also, if you want to enhance the flavor of this dish you can temper with curry leaves and sprinkle dry roasted and then powdered fennel seeds. So the possibilities are unending. But, one thing’s for sure, this recipe is a must have for a hot and dry summer lunch. You can also serve this as a side dish with biryani.

Doi begun

 

Doi Begun - Eggplants in Spiced Yogurt
Serves 4
A must have for summer lunch
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb baby eggplants
  2. 2 cup Greek yogurt
  3. 1 tablespoon canola oil
  4. 1 teaspoon chili powder
  5. 1 teaspoon dry ginger powder
  6. ½ teaspoon sugar
  7. ¼ teaspoon asafoetida (optional)
  8. 2 teaspoons mustard oil (optional)
  9. 3-4 green chili
  10. Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Wash and cut the baby eggplants into fours, keeping the stalk intact. Take a pan which has a lid, pour the canola oil and place the eggplants, so that all of them touch the base of the pan, cover with the lid and fry on low heat for about 5 minutes, turning the eggplants once or twice in between
  2. While the eggplants are getting fried, in a mixing bowl beat the yogurt with 2 tablespoon of water. Add the chili powder, dry ginger powder and sugar. And beat again.
  3. Once the eggplants are fried, the skin will turn a darker shade of purple; don’t wait till they turn black; take the eggplants out and place on a kitchen towel to absorb the extra oil.
  4. In the same oil add the asafoetida if using, if not then go straight to the next step. As the asafoetida starts to splatter, about 10 seconds, transfer the eggplants back to the pan.
  5. Pour the spiced yogurt, and add in the green chilies. Stir and cook covered for about 2 to 3 minutes, or till the eggplants are cooked. You can add a little water if the gravy starts sticking to the pan.
  6. Transfer to a serving bowl and pour the mustard oil, if using. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately with rice or chapati
Notes
  1. If you add the eggplants while the oil is still not hot, the eggplants will absorb less oil.
Cook like a Bong http://bengalicuisine.net/

Dahi Baingan nnn

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Chicken Korma

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Korma or Qorma is a very old method of cooking meat. It was first used by the Turkish and was brought in to India by the Mughals. The Turkish word kuvurma means braising, the meat is at first cooked in high heat and then simmered in tight pot for a long time to get cooked in its own juices and marinade.

 

Chicken Korma spices

The chicken korma was cooked by Kalyan the other day, and it turned out superbly awesome, and so I had to put it up on the blog. After his stint on mastering the art of making rajbhog, Kalyan has become keen on entering the kitchen more often, much to my relief :). This recipe was inspired by a book “Complete Indian”, which we bought from Salvation Army though he made some changes while he was cooking.
Though the recipe is straight forward, korma takes a long time to cook, and so you have to have that patience to cook. But, trust me the end result is definitely worth all the time you spend in the kitchen. As Rakhi is just a few weeks away, here’s the first dish of many more dishes to celebrate this special with your sibling. Stay tuned to learn many more awesome recipes to make for Rakhi.
Chicken Korma

Chicken Korma
Serves 4
Print
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
9 hr
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
9 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3lb chicken
  2. 1 large onion, sliced
  3. 4-5 tablespoon of ghee or canola oil
  4. 3 cloves of garlic
  5. ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  6. 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  7. 2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  8. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  9. 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
  10. 1 teaspoon chili powder
  11. 5 cloves
  12. 5 black cardamom pods
  13. 1 2” cinnamon stick
  14. 1 ½ tablespoon desiccated fresh coconut
  15. 10-12 almonds
  16. 2-3 twigs of cilantro
  17. Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut the chicken into 3-4” size pieces. Crush one clove of garlic, beat the yogurt and turmeric together with the garlic. Mix the yogurt with the chicken and put it in a ziploc bag. Marinade for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator, better overnight
  2. Before you are ready to cook, take out the chicken from the fridge and bring it down to normal temperature.
  3. Toast the almonds in a cast iron pan and then chop the nuts. Keep aside
  4. In a heavy bottom pan heat the ghee, add in the onion and fry till they are translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add all the whole and ground spices, and salt and fry for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly
  5. Add in the marinated chicken to the pan, put in the desiccated coconut and mix well with the fried spices. Cover the pan with a tight lid and simmer for about 45 minutes or till the chicken is soft and cooked. Keep watch, if the chicken gets too dry or starts sticking to the pan, then add a little water
  6. Transfer the chicken to a serving bowl and garnish with the toasted nuts and cilantro. Serve immediately with naan or rice.
Notes
  1. If you are using oil to cook, then before taking out of the pan, you can pour a teaspoon of ghee to the chicken to give it the additional flavor and smell.
  2. Kalyan used 3 1lb cornish hen to make this dish. The hens were skinned and cut into 3 to 4 inch size pieces. You can also use chicken thighs to make it boneless recipe or use a whole chicken.
Cook like a Bong http://bengalicuisine.net/

Murgh Korma

 

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Malai Kulfi – Indian Spiced Ice Cream

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The Texas summer is in full swing now. The highest temperature for an average day is now above 100F, that would be almost 38C; yes the high school mathematics is of much help these days. Texas summers are hot and dry, and for me there is no chance of going out in the afternoon. Though I have seen many people love the sun and go for running especially during midday.

I hate summers, the heat, the sun, almost everything about it. But, the only two things I love during this time of the year is of course the worry free binging on ice cream and the abundance of berries. I love ice cream, as long as there is no chocolate involved; yes you heard it right, I don’t like chocolate ice cream.Indian ice cream, kulfi

When we talk about ice cream, one thing I miss after coming to the US is the tall dark mustached kulfi-wala who used to come to our neighborhood during the summer afternoon with his big red cloth covered handi on the back of his cycle. Kulfi, the indigenous Indian ice cream is generally made with non-homogenized milk, boiled to a thick consistency, the creamy fat on top of the milk is called malai, and that where malai kulfi name came from.

Apparently, kulfi was first made in the kitchen of Mughal emperor, Akbar. The ice was brought from the Himalayas to freeze this ice cream. While malai kulfi is the most commonly prepared kulfi, you can also use mango puree to mix with the kulfi mixture to prepare mango kulfi.

Kulfi

 

Malai Kulfi - Indian Spiced Ice Cream
Serves 4
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
6 hr 15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
6 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1-1/2 cups half and half, room temperature
  2. ¼ cup condensed milk
  3. ¼ cup milk powder
  4. ½ cup blanched and peeled almond
  5. ⅛ cup shelled and chopped pistachios
  6. 10-12 whole almonds, crushed
  7. ¼ teaspoon saffron
  8. ½ teaspoon green cardamom powder
Instructions
  1. In a blender blend the blanched almonds to a thick paste.
  2. In a heavy bottom pan, preferably non-stick one add the milk powder, slowly pour the condensed milk while stirring the mixture, make sure the milk powder doesn’t form any lump. Once the condensed milk and milk powder is mixed, it will become a thick gooey paste, pour the half and half, and keep on stirring
  3. Now keep the pan over low flame and bring it to simmering bowl, stirring often. Take out about one-fourth cup of the boiling mixture and immerse the saffron in it. Once the saffron is dissolved and color turn yellowish, pour it back in the pan. Give it a stir.
  4. Take out of flame and fold in the almond paste and cardamom powder. Let the pan to cool down completely. Mix the chopped pistachios and almonds.
  5. Pour the mixture in kulfi or popsicle molds, and freeze for at least 6 hours.
Notes
  1. The best way to take out the kulfis without breaking them in halves is to pour hot water over the mold for a few seconds and then inverting the molds on a plate. The kulfi will come out smoothly.
  2. To give the kulfi a mughlai flavor, you can use a drop of rose water and keyra water.
  3. If you don’t have kulfi molds at home, use paper or plastic disposable cups.
Cook like a Bong http://bengalicuisine.net/

 

malai kulfi

 

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Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp Scampi

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When there is a baby at home, it’s really hard to cook. You chop the onions, and there he is under the table, you heat the oil and about to add the onions in the skillet and there he is eating a magazine page. The last 6 months have taught me a lot of things, but above all it has taught me to multitask.

These days I try searching for food, which is wholesome and is easy to cook. When it comes to cooking time, nothing can beat shrimps. You can cook shrimps in less than 5 minutes, you don’t believe it, try it. Whether its the Bengali favorite chingrir malaikari or Italian style shrimp scampi, shrimp is the easiest and quickest meal you can prepare. You can prepare scampi and serve it as an appetizer, or you can also serve it with rice or pasta.

I am not a big fan of pasta, but I love angel’s hair pasta, the thin and smooth texture of the cooked pasta steals my heart every time.

Angel Hair Pasta

 

 

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp Scampi
Serves 2
A quick and easy lunch
Print
Ingredients
  1. For the scampi-
  2. 1lb fresh shrimps
  3. 1 tablespoon butter
  4. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  5. 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  6. 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  7. A few sprigs of parsley
  8. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  9. ½ cup dry white wine
  10. Salt to taste
  11. For the pasta-
  12. 1 lb angel’s hair pasta
  13. 2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. For the pasta, boil a large pot of water, when the water starts boiling add a tablespoon of salt and the pasta. Cover and let the water come to a boil. Once it starts boiling keep it on high heat for 6-8 minutes or till the pasta is soft to touch. Drain in a colander and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil so that the pasta doesn’t stick to each other
  2. In a skillet add the olive oil and butter and wait till the butter is melted. Saute the chopped garlic and let it start to sizzle.
  3. Add the chili flakes and shrimp. Season with salt.
  4. Chop the parsley leaves and add it to the shrimp, give it a good toss and then pour the wine.
  5. Let the shrimps simmer in a the wine sauce for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Divide the pasta in 4 equal parts, and top with equal portions of the scampi. Garnish with parmesan cheese
Notes
  1. You can use cilantro leaves instead of the parsley and if you don't like to add the wine then substitute it with chicken or vegetable stock/broth.
Cook like a Bong http://bengalicuisine.net/

 

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp Scampi

 

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Kachumber – Spicy Indian Salad

 

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I grew up eating salad as a side with spicy Indian food. Be that dum alu or Chittagong chicken, salads were always on the side line. But coming here, and living in the US for almost 4 years now, the take on salad has almost changed, from being a side dish salad has now turned into a meal. Over the years I have started liking the abundance of greens in my salad (read loads of spinach, arugula and how can I forget iceberg lettuce), but when it comes to touching your roots a medley of cucumber, tomatoes and onion always seals the deal.

Mexican pico de gallo comes very close to this garden fresh North Indian green salad, but the vegetables are cut in a little larger size and when its Indian it has to spicier. Generally, cucumber, onions and tomatoes are the main ingredients in this salad, but tamarind is also mixed sometimes to give it a more tangy taste. And, if you want, you can also add a portion of yogurt to make dahi raita.

 

Kachumber

 

 

Kachumber
Yields 1
Print
Prep Time
7 min
Prep Time
7 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 medium cucumbers
  2. 2 tomatoes
  3. 1 medium onion
  4. 2 Thai green chili
  5. 2-3 sprigs of cilantro
  6. 1 teaspoon lime juice
  7. Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Chop the cucumber, tomatoes and onion to bite size pieces. While doing so, scoop out the seeds from the cucumber and tomatoes with a spoon
  2. Slice the green chili and coarsely chop the cilantro leaves, leave the stalks behind
  3. Mix everything together in a glass bowl, sprinkle with salt and lime juice. Mix and serve with your choice of spicy curry
Notes
  1. The quantity of ingredients depends entirely on you, it doesn't matter if you use 3 cucumbers instead of 4, if it tastes good to you, that's what counts.
Cook like a Bong http://bengalicuisine.net/

Kachumber

 

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Strawberries and Cream Cheese French Roll Up Toast

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I am a big proponent of breakfast. I love to pamper myself with large lavish breakfast, so whenever I travel my first criterion to choose a hotel is they have a good breakfast bar. My choice for breakfast always include bread and eggs and when they come together there nothing stopping me. Be it the humble bread butter with a side of poached eggs or the Indian style spicy French toast – I love them all. So, when I saw this photo on Pinterest for a French toast roll up, I just had to have it.

I used cream cheese and strawberries for the filling, but to say the least, the options are unending. You can try it with cream cheese and chocolate chips, or nutella and raspberries or the American favorite peanut butter and jam.

Try out these easy to make French roll ups and comment on what you used for the filling.

French Roll Up

 

Strawberries and Cream Cheese French Roll Up Toast
Serves 2
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 large sandwich bread
  2. 2 large eggs
  3. 4-5 strawberries, hulled and cut to bite size pieces
  4. 6 tablespoon cream cheese
  5. 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  6. ½ cup refined sugar
  7. Cooking spray for frying
Instructions
  1. Take the crust out of the breads, and flatten them with a rolling pin. Beat the eggs in a spread out bowl
  2. To one side of the bread spread the cream cheese and top it with a good amount of strawberries
  3. Mix the cinnamon powder with the sugar and spread on a plate. Spray the cooking oil on a frying pan
  4. Roll the bread, and dip in the beaten eggs and place the rolled up bread on the frying pan.
  5. Fry the roll up till they are golden brown on all sides, roll on the cinnamon sugar and serve immediately
Cook like a Bong http://bengalicuisine.net/

Cream cheese and Strawberries French Roll Up

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Shrikhand – Indian Saffron Mousse

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Desserts are my weak point, I’m sure its for most of you. So, it was quite a blow to me when I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes in my third trimester of pregnancy, oh yes, here’s the good news, me and Kalyan are now the proud parents of a 8 week old boy, Samiron Banerjee. Ok, so coming back to my sweet eating habits, so once the baby was I born, I am compensating for the lack of sweets in the last 3 months. I had been eating cookies, cakes, sweets – I mean anything and everything that is sweet.

My friend brought me a bowl shrikhand, her own recipe and I loved it so much that I wanted to make it myself. The first attempt turned out awesome and I just couldn’t help but share this recipe with you all.

Shrikhand

Shrikhand is a very popular dessert in Western India and some parts of Kerala. It is a yogurt based recipe, and the best part is it you don’t even need to turn on the stovetop to make this delicious recipe. Even though shrikhand is made generally with yogurt, which is hung almost overnight to drain out any excess water, I used kefir cheese, which is as dense as hung curd and the taste is the same.

Gujrati dessert

Ingredients:

1 lb kefir cheese

3 cups confectioner’s sugar

⅛ teaspoon saffron

¼ teaspoon cardamom powder

⅛ teaspoon nutmeg powder

10-12 whole almonds

Handful of almonds and pistachios slivered

1 drop of yellow food color (optional)

Directions:

Add the saffron to 2 tablespoon of warm milk and keep aside

Coarsely grind the whole almonds in a spice grinder

In a large bowl pour the kefir cheese and beat it gently to get rid of any lumps

Add one cup of confectioners’ sugar and fold in gently, do it till the rest of the sugar is folded in. You can add more sugar according to your taste

Pour in the saffron milk and fold in to the cheese. You can also add the food color now if you are using

Add the ground almond, cardamom and nutmeg powder and give it a good stir to mix everything together

Chill in the fridge for 2 – 3 hours. Serve cold garnished with slivered almonds and pistachios.

Shrikhand Gujrati dessert

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Manhattan Cart Style Chicken Over Rice

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Though I have been calling Texas my home for the last 3 years, I got the chance to live in Big Apple for sometime. I may sound cliche, but living 2 blocks away from Times Square was like a dream come true. Raised in Kolkata, I’m used to the noise, dirt and crowd of cities. Probably, thats one of the reasons why NYC became so close to my heart.

Just as you step into the streets of Manhattan, there is so much to see and do – that you feel like getting lost in those streets. NYC has its own charm. The city has a lot to offer, and talking about food, no city in US and probably in the world has so much variety than Manhattan. From $500 pre fixe menus to $5 meals – Manhattan has it all.

If you are in New York city and want to grab a quick bite without burning a hole in your pocket, the carts on the streets of Manhattan is your answer. There are hundreds of carts selling tens of different type of food – from gyros to pretzels. One such cart, one of my most favorite cart food is on the intersection of Broadway and 39th street. This Bangladeshi guys offers the best chicken over rice in all of Manhattan.

As the name suggests, the menu is simple – bite size pieces of chicken cooked in mild spices served over a bed of flavored Basmati rice with a side of salads and your choice of sauce poured to make this meal a class apart.

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Quick And Easy Khichdi

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Being lazy and hungry is a tough call. You want to eat something wholesome, yet you are too lazy to cook a full course meal. Khichudi is the answer to such situations. A full bowl of khichudi is a life saver during such times.

This quick and easy khichudi recipe is kid friendly and you can adjust the spices according to your whim. Pour extra water if you want the khichdi to be runny.

Winter Khichudi

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Panch Phoron – A Tale of Five Spices and a City

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I cant believe its already five weeks into 2014. I had been away from the blogging world for quite sometime now, and even though I wanted to write a post, I was too busy even to think about what to post. So anyways I’m back now, and have loads to share. In between my break I went to Kolkata after a long long time. As expected there are new constructions everywhere and the traffic, I just don’t want to talk about it – it seems people have gone crazier on the roads. Though I missed out on Book Fair 2014, but got to visit a lot many other fairs. And, believe it or not there was this fair, Baro bhuter mela (you can loosely transalte it to the Fair of 12 ghosts), okay actually they are not ghosts, but a group of sadhus who come to this place and stay their for a week after Sankranti. So, the crazy part of this fair was not the thousands of people in it but the free eggs. Yes, you heard it right, these sadhus worship a goddess whose the offering is duck egg. After the puja, the eggs are distributed among the locals and there are like hundreds of eggs, and thousands of people in line to get those eggs. It was crazy, but it was really fun to watch such a chaos.

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MagicKart Review

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While picking up your item of choice from a store is a fun experience, waiting in the check out line just to buy one small item take the fun out of it. I prefer to shop online. Also, now that I’m living outside the country, shopping online is my only option for sending gifts to family. Online shopping has opened a new door to customers like us.

MagicKart

Even in India there are now quite a handful of websites offering online shopping options. Most of them are offering various types of items from home goods to electronics. When I came across MagicKart.in I felt like a kid in a candy shop, especially because of the fact that this website is dedicated to kitchen items and table ware. I love shopping kitchen items, and serve wares. MagicKart.in has a wide range of kitchen items and the prices are pretty competitive.

The homepage is plain and simple, and browsing through the website is very easy, you’ll find just the right item for you. And, the best part is they have an online chatting service with the support team. I tried it out, and they are very prompt.

Magickart was started by a team of three enthusiastic people, and their work shows up on the site. Such a big collection of kitchen appliances and cookware is really hard to find online in India and even in stores. So if you are searching for something to gift your loved one this festive season, MagicKart is the right option.

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Durga Puja 2013 Timtable and Kalakand in Microwave

Subho Shashthi

Durga puja has already started. As Bengal gets decked up with all the pandals and the puja shopping almost come to an end, I on the other hand, living thousands of miles away is waiting for this weekend to arrive. The Durga puja in the US is held during weekends just for the convenience of the attendees.

While I miss on my dose of the Kolkata Durga pooja fever, I’m getting ready to celebrate the US style Durga puja. I will definitely miss the phuchka, alu kabli, churmur, ghugni – oh I cant stop writing the list of road side food that I’ll be missing on this puja – but would have a new taste, a new experience of celebrating puja just over the weekend.

The street food on Kolkata adds an added charm to the whole flavor of Durga puja, but there is always the home cooked prasad. Though my family strictly becomes vegetarian during the four days of puja, mainly because of the fact we have our own durga idol at home, and she has been worshiped in the family for more than a century now. And, as Ma Durga is bid adieu, the next day, ekdashi is the day to eat fish and only fish. The entire family with brothers, sisters, cousins, their spouses, their kids – you know how the Indian family tree is – eats, sitting on the floor. Last year I was heading the frying department of the lunch, mostly because my mom felt her daughter is old enough to get married so she is old enough to cook for hundred people, or at least the dal and bhaja part. So, my task for last ekdashi was to make loitta macher vada for the entire family. It was intimidating, it was tiring, yet there was a satisfaction seeing everybody asking for more.

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