Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Navarin of Lamb


Navarin of Lamb






It might sound cliched but I had realized long time back that one of the most important relationships for an adult or for that matter child is friendship.

So basically work or no work I knew I needed a Christmas Party and what better way to celebrate it than to have a Potluck Lunch where  kitchen enthusiasts whip up amazing dishes and share it .

Off late I have become obsessed with Larousse Gastronomique's recipes if not for anything else then for the sheer variety of recipes it offers , mostly French but then there is so much to learn and flipping through the pages I realized many dishes can be cooked universally because the ingredients are quite universal.

I chose Navarin of Lamb because a stew seems comforting and delicious on a pleasant winter's day and what better to make a stew than add white wine.


Serves 6 to 8

1.5 kilogram of lamb meat (Preferably a mix of meat from the  legs and neck)
2 plump large tomatoes peeled seeded and crushed
2 large cloves of garlic
250gm of baby carrots
100gm to 150gm of baby peas
200gm of turnips (if they are baby turnips you can leave them whole but mine were large and I chopped them up )
Bouquet Garni which I made with Parsley, Thyme, Bay leaf and Rosemary
Salt as per taste
Pinch of nutmeg
1 tsp freshly crushed black pepper
7 to 8 baby onions
200ml of white wine
Water for cooking
4 tbsp butter

Melt 2 tbsp butter in a large flat bottom casserole and brown the lamb well and keep aside. Take out 1/3rd of the fat which is left behind and then add the lamb back to the flat bottomed casserole and add the minced garlic and the wine and mix well , then add enough water to submerge the meat with the bouquet garni , crushed pepper , nutmeg and salt and bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes and then transfer the meat with all its contents in a pressure cooker and put it on low flame till the first whistle. switch off the gas immediately after the first whistle and let the steam go out on its own.

In a separate wok melt the remaining butter and brown the vegetables and now put back the meat with all its content and the vegetables and bring to a boil and simmer . Add a bit of water if required. Serve hot with crusty bread.

Cooking tips


  1. The flat bottomed pan ensures that the heat gets distributed evenly and all the meat is cooked evenly
  2. I use the slow pressure cook method to reduce time on the gas stove and this process ensures that the meat is soft and super tender. If you do not use the pressure cooker you need to simmer the meat for a good 1 hour to 1.5 hours till the meat is super soft but firm and juicy.  





Sunday, December 21, 2014

Strawberry Tart

Strawberry Tart 





Of late the markets in Calcutta are being painted red with all those beautiful strawberries which seem irresistible. Now I have wanted to make a Strawberry Cake for the longest time but getting hold of good quality fresh cream can be a daunting task in Calcutta and so I eventually enjoy these plump sweet and sour delights by themselves or make preserves out of them.



Ever since I bought this edition of recipes from Larousse Gastronomique I have been extremely happy. In-between office work I keep checking the book for recipes to mark and create. It was one such day when I was aimlessly flipping through the pages when I came across the recipe for strawberry tart.



What immediately caught my attention was the pure love for strawberries that this classic recipe expressed. There wasn't any pastry cream which was exactly what caught my attention. I wanted a recipe which solely depended on crisp buttery shortcrust pastry and the delightful taste of strawberries and nothing else.

This is part of our ongoing virtual event 'Kickstarting Christmas' which I am hosting with Pritha from Guilt Free. Do check out this lip smacking Mango Spiced Glazed Roast Chicken from her blog.

Recipe source :
Larousse Gastronomique

So here goes the recipe :-

1 kilogram of strawberries washed hulled and macerated with  50gm castor sugar and juice from 1 lemon
1/4th cup strawberry jam


For the pastry :-

300gm all purpose flour
150 gm butter which is chilled and chopped into tiny pieces and re-chilled.
2 tbsp water ice cold water


Start by mixing the chopped chilled butter with the flour till you get a breadcrumb like consistency. Work as fats as possible and add the water and make a dough as quickly as possible and chill for 15 minutes and then flour a surface and roll it out and line a buttered tart pan with the dough trimming off any extra dough and chill for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 180C and blind bake till the edges brown slightly and then let it cool in the tart pan for 20 minutes and then take it out of the pan and cool on the wire rack for the entire night.

The next day drain the strawberries and let it dry and in the meanwhile mix the jam and the liquid from maceration to make a jellied consistency. It is important to note that the consistency cannot be liquid at all else it will make your tart base soggy. Now fill the tart with this jellied consistency and arrange the strawberries and chill and serve with a dollop of creme fraiche.









Saturday, December 20, 2014

Coq au Vin

Coq au Vin 

Chicken cooked in Red Wine 





And Our Christmas event 'Kickstarting Christmas' which I am organizing with Pritha from
Guilt-Free  continues.

Today's choice , Coq au Vin Rouge. So basically I have been obsessed with the classic culinary book 'Larousse Gastronomique ' and decided that I must make the Coq au Vin which I had planned on making quite some time ago before I purchased the book but then again my grandmother doesn't eat bacon and I adapted the recipe and my friend Karen from France assured me that as long as there is the coq and the vin its Coq au vin.

My first Coq au Vin

So my father is coming back home and I had decided to make a stew and what better way to spruce it up than some full bodied red wine.

For this recipe a chicken with the skin on is a definite requirement else it loses out on its flavour.

Its a simple recipe and yields amazingly comforting warm results. The flavour of wine infused with bay leaf, thyme, rosemary , parsley along with onions carrots and a good quality stock makes it the perfect winter treat and the wine gives it a definitive Christmas like feel.

Once you have this dish bursting with flavours do have some Spiced carrot Cake with Apricots , Walnuts and Raisins  which Pritha has made.

Serves 5 to 6

So here is the recipe :-

1 whole 2 kilogram chicken with the skin on
20gm butter
250gm baby carrots
5 to 6 small onions
Bouquet garni made with Thyme, parsley, bay leaf and rosemary
Salt as per taste
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4th cup red wine


Ask your butcher to  carefully debone the chicken  and make pieces with the skin on.

Use the bone from the breast along with the liver , some fat and giblet to make a stock with 1 litre water , salt and a bay leaf. Bring this to a boil and simmer till reduced to half.

Once the stock is made melt the butter and brown the onions and carrots and then add the chicken all except the pieces from the breast and brown it well on medium flame stirring from time to time and then add the stock and bring to a boil and then simmer covered for 20 minutes and add the pieces of breast along with the wine and simmer covered for another 10 minutes and then let it rest for 10 minutes to 15 minutes and take out the bouquet garni and serve it with some freshly made bread.

Tips


  1. Chicken breasts when over cooked become dry and tough which is why it is added much later while cooking.
  2. Resting the dish not only enhances the flavour but gives time to the pieces from the chicken breast to become soft and juicy if at all they become stringy.  





Friday, December 19, 2014

Napolitain Biscuits

Napolitain Biscuits 







Its that time of the years when I feel happy even if I want to be grumpy. Quite honestly Christmas ushers in the time for delightful lunches and dinners but my favourite time of the day is the tea-time when the tabled and laden with a variety of savoury puffs and sandwiches and buttery biscuits. Ah well buttery biscuits do never go out of style.

This is part of Patience Brewer's Cookie Exchange event. Do visit their special page on Christmas Ornaments for beautiful handcrafted gifts this festive season.



I have recently purchased the Big Fat book of collected recipes from Larousse Gastronomique. Its one of those books which is what a passionate cook cherishes. I have read and re read and marked numerous recipes and when I saw the recipe for Napolitain biscuits I was amazed because I had previously made a very similar biscuit which uses almond flour and butter and is a delight to eat. The only difference was the use of egg yolks and the decoration with Jam.

So I made a boozy Brandied Strawberry jam and then went on to make these fabulously crisp yet buttery biscuits.

This is part of the event 'Kickstarting Christmas' which I am taking part with Pritha from Guilt-Free and don't forget to check out her fabulous Strawberry Pistachio Cake.

Recipe Adapted from : Larousse Gastronomique



Yields about 16 to 18 Biscuits :-

150gm of chilled butter
128 gm of all purpose flour
175gm of almond flour  (I blanched about 175gm of almonds and then dried it toasted it and ground it)
130gm of castor sugar
2 small egg yolks
Jam for decoration

For the Brandied Strawberry Jam :-

1 kilogram strawberry washed and hulled
300gm sugar
Juice from 1 lemon + the seeds tied in a cloth
1/2 cup brandy


Make your strawberry jam a day ahead. Macerate the strawberry with the sugar. Just mix it and leave it on its own for about 2 hours or overnight. Bring this to a roaring boil and skim the foam and let it boil and add the juice from the lemon and add the cloth in which you have tired the seeds and let it boil on medium heat till it sets. To check whether it has set, dab a spoonful onto a chilled plate and if it stays put then its done.  If its runny  boil it on high heat for a few minutes till it sets. I like mine set but soft and spreadable. never ever over boil the jam else it will become hard.  The boiling process takes me around 15 minutes or so.                                                                                                        


For the Napolitain biscuits :-

Finely chop 150gm of chilled butter  and mix it with the flour till you get a bread crumb like consistency and then mix in the sugar , almond flour and finally the egg yolk and quickly make a smooth dough and put it in the refrigerator for 1 hour and then take it out and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough to a 1 cm thick dough and cut round shapes with a cookie cutter and bake at 200C for 10 minutes to 12 minutes.

let it cool down completely and then decorate with jam.




A Classic way to Celebrate Christmas

The Season of celebration at Flury's 


Flurys is iconic and classic and can never go out of style. I firmly believe that  one cannot move ahead without firm roots and if Calcutta's Western cuisine is evolving its roots is embedded in places such as this  iconic tea room. 

A few years ago a friend of mine had come down to Calcutta and when I took my friend to Flurys and told him that it is Calcutta's 'tea room' , he had corrected me saying its more like a 'tea palace'.

Flurys can actually never go out of style. Quite honestly, in recent times I have heard people complaining about Flury's monotonous menu but quite frankly tradition is what makes Flurys so special and it is this tradition which has led them to keep their Heritage food all of which is mostly brilliant. And along with tradition Flurys is offering a modern Breakfast menu and a lot more.

When it comes to service my experience has always been completely satisfactory. In the past if I have complained about my coffee being a bit weak it has been immediately changed to my liking or if I have complained about a pastry it has immediately been changed and in a world where people believe in immediately going in a defensive mode this is nothing short of delightful.

So when the lovely Supreeta asked me to come down for a tasting of their Christmas menu I could not resist the temptation even though my hands were full with office work and a bake sale to bake for.

It is Christmas round the corner and as always Flurys is ready with their lip smacking Plum cake, Dundee cake, Rum n Raisin Cake, Mince Pie, Mince lattice and a wide range of assorted goodies.

If you are tired of Cakes there are assorted biscuits waiting to be taken with that steaming cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. Then there is the classic range of chocolates which you simply cannot miss.

Now the special attraction of this season is the amazing spread that Flurys is offering till the 4th of January.

You can choose from the traditional Turkey or grilled pork chop or if you would like  to stick to the usual bird  try the delightful Chicken cooked in red wine or say the Parmesan crusted Basa .

They have a few selected desserts which are must tries . So you may try the warm and rich Pannetone Pudding served with hazelnut creme Anglaise  or White chocolate and strawberry Trifle.

While the Turkey or Pork Main course is priced at Rs950 per head inclusive or taxes, the Fish main course is at Rs750 and the Vegetarian option is at Rs600 per head.

You can head over to The Park for a special Christmas Buffet which includes some exotic dishes such as Veal Ossobuco or our very own Anglo-Indian style Pork vindaloo at the Bridge. prior reservation is required. Do ask them for their special menu for new year's lunch and dinner. With Saffron , Zen, The Bridge and Aqua offering a wide range of lip smacking food Christmas and new year probably just got better.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Butter Brandy Chicken

Butter Brandy Chicken 





At times you need a little nudge from friends to get back your spirit. In my case the spirit to cook. I am a bit too tired with too much work to handle and after a very successful Bake Sale I somehow lost interest in cooking. Of course all this is for just over a week . Anyway when Pritha from  Guilt Free decided to start a Christmas event  I decided to join her to keep my cooking mojo intact.


So we have entered Day 2 of Kickstarting Christmas and its a day of butter brandy. To be fair Christmas might be the time for merriment but its also the time for too many deadlines. So I am late but then as they say 'better late than sorry'

What's Christmas without a bit of brandy and while we usually associate brandy butter with a rich Christmas pudding a brandy butter sauce for your chicken on a bed of potatoes makes a lip smacking dish.

Its one of the most easy recipes, requires few ingredients and gives amazing flavours. I guess butter does make everything better.

Don't forget to check out Pritha's Rum Spiked Hot Chocolate

Serves 2

350gm of chicken from breast and thigh cut into medium pieces
3 large potatoes
4 to 5 tbsp softened butter
A good splash of brandy roughly 4 tbsp
Salt as per taste
A bit of freshly rushed black pepper
1 tsp final chopped chive
Flour for dredging
Half a handful of grated gruyere cheese


Dredge the chicken in flour . Melt 2 tbsp butter and add the chicken and saute on high heat for 2 minutes shaping the pan . Cut the potato in circular shapes and make a bed of potatoes after buttering a baking. Add the chicken on top. Add some salt and crushed pepper.  Melt the remaining butter and add the brandy and make a smooth sauce and then add this on top of the chicken and finally topit with the gruyere cheese and bake in a preheated oven at 200 C for 30 minutes and enjoy a buttery boozy chicken.

Tips

Chicken breast is a very delicate item which dries out easily hence the dredging in flour helps it stay moist.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sinful Hot Chocolate


Sinful Hot Chocolate 







Its that time of the year when bells are ringing in my head at all times and Christmas is in the air. Lets have a Chococlaty start. Presenting 'Kickstarting Christmas' with my friend who is equally crazy and passionate about cooking Pritha from 'Guilt Free. While she gives you this tempting recipe of Christmas Rocky Roads here is a sinful chocolaty drink from my end.


Social media can be infectious. Take the simple case of the Hot Chocolate. A few days ago my friend Pritha who blogs from Guilt-free shared a tempting photograph of Hot Chocolate with white marshmallows floating in dark hot soothing chocolate.

To be fair, when she had posted the photograph I was in humid Bombay while winter was just about setting in Calcutta. At this time of the year Calcutta has the most pleasant whether. The sun doesn't hurt you, the weather is cool and you can take long walks and feel energized.

Anyway after a hectic crazy and wonderful week of preparation for Kolkata Food Bloggers' BakeSale2014 which was out and out hugely successful I decided it was time for some indulgence.

Now for years I have tried satisfying my taste buds with Hot cocoa which is kind of the poorer cousin of the creamy hot chocolate where you just about use cocoa powder with milk and sugar.

This time I decided I must settle for nothing else but a cup of indulgence and so hot chocolate it was.

I liked Nigel Slater's article on The Guardian and decided if its going to be hot chocolate it had to be made with some indulgent chocolate. I used about 3 tbsp 70% dark chocolate chips.

Making hot chocolate is easy enough :-

Serves 1

200ml milk
1 tbsp whipped fresh cream
3 tbsp 70% dark chocolate
Sugar as per taste (I needed 1 tsp brown sugar )

The only trick to follow as per Slater is to not let the milk come to a boil once you add the chocolate. So simply add the chocolate to the milk and put it on low flame and keep stirring till all the chocolate melts well and pour it in a cup and then use 1 tbsp fresh cream which is whipped well and enjoy an indulgent cup of deliciousness.




Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Coffee Walnut Cake with a Coffee Caramel Glaze

Coffee Walnut Cake with a Coffee Caramel Glaze 





As part of the Kolkata Food Bloggers not only do I get to meet other people who share my passion for the kitchen but I get to make great friends. I met Pritha who blogs from Guilt-Free  a few months ago but we almost connected instantly and would keep chatting over the messenger and our mutual obsession with creating new dishes would lead to these fun trips to the market. Having never had a partner to go out with and share the same passion I cannot express how much joy I feel when I get to flock with a bird of my own feather.

When I had gone to visit my husband for a few months it goes without saying I missed my friend and so the moment I came back we had a lovely potluck lunch .

Anyway coming back to our event Know Your Blogger 2 I had actually picked a certain recipe of Pritha's quite some time back which I wanted to make but then came work and it just kept piling with a deadline which had robbed me of my sleep.

I was quite at a loss when I suddenly remembered the very first time I was fascinated with another recipe of her's.

I wasted no time in recreating what had initially impressed me and it goes without saying the end result was superb.m Lets just say that this is a dream cake for all coffee lovers. All I did was change the amount of sugar a little bit, leave out the oil and make the glaze a bit differently.

So her is Pritha's Coffee Walnut Cake

Serves 5 to 6

125gm butter
150gm castor sugar
128gm all purpose flour sifted with 1 tsp baking powder
2 medium sized eggs
50gm of walnuts crushed to make walnut flour
1 heaped tbsp ground coffee soaked in 6 tbsp hot  boiled milk and strained twice

For the glaze

Half a cup of castor sugar
50gm butter
Half a cup of  freshly brewed extra strong coffee

Start by creaming the butter and sugar till its pale and fluffy. Now add the eggs one by one and whisk well to create a smooth fluffy batter. Add the strained coffee flavoured milk and beat well. Preheat the oven to 180C. Now fold in the ground walnuts and then fold in the sifted flour + baking powder bit by bit . When you mix the flour you must never whisk it else it looses that airy fluffiness.

Pour the batter in a 6 inch to 7 inch baking pan and bake for 30 minutes to 45 minutes. Here I must expressly mention that the temperature of ovens vary greatly. My friend Pritha and I both use Convection oven and while she required 25 minutes to 30 minutes of baking time , I checked at 30 minutes and the batter was wet in the center and I required 44 minutes in total.

Now let the cake cool completely and in the meantime make the glaze by first caramelizing the sugar on medium heat and then adding the butter and then the coffee and once it bubbles let it cool down. Once the cake has cooled down completely pour the glaze on top and enjoy this delightful treat with what else but a cup of coffee.

Please note that you must wait till the cake cools down completely to glaze it else it will become soggy.




This is part of



Monday, December 8, 2014

Minced Fish Curry

Minced Fish Curry 






And so we are in our 4th week of the lovely event from our group Kolkata Food Bloggers called 'Know your Blogger 2' This week our star blogger is Indrani who blogs from Recipe Junction. My interaction with Indrani has been completely virtual but from her huge collection of recipes it is quite apparent that our lady in question is a passionate cook.

She is one of the most active people I have come across. After all not many people manage 3 kids , a household and a beautiful food blog.

Now I have been away from home for quite sometime and so upon my return to Calcutta the first thing I wanted to have was the river fish we get here in Bengal.

Indrani's Fish keema  seemed the perfect dish since it is one dish which goes well with rice, Flat-bread or yeast  breads. Keema is the hindi and Bengali word for minced. It usually applies to red meat or chicken and so this came across as quite unique.

I made it on an evening when I was dead tired after my usual visit to New market for fresh fruits, amazing pork from kalman's and a meet with a dear friend and the thing about this recipe is that its quick and easy which anyone can make no matter how tired they are.

I did change the spice quotient as per my taste buds but the end result was relished by our family.

So here goes the recipe :-

4 medium pieces of Rohu Fish
1 medium tomato
1 medium potato
1 medium onion
1 tbsp smooth ginger garlic paste
Salt as per taste
1 tsp Kashmiri red Chili powder
1 clove
1 green cardamom
1 inch cinnamon
1 green chili
2 tsp mustard oil
1 bay leaf
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves
Pinch of turmeric

Boil the fish in water with a tiny bit of salt and once done take the fish out and smash it with a fork and let it cool down. In the meantime make a smooth paste of ginger and garlic and then make a smooth paste of the tomato and finely chop the onion and cube the potato in small sized cubes. Reserve the water in which you have boiled the fish.

Once the mashed fish cools down carefully take out every thin bone. It takes a bit of patience but is well worth the effort for the end result.

Now heat the oil and add the onions and fry till translucent and add the ginger garlic paste and cook till you get rid of the raw smell and add the tomato paste and cook on medium heat stirring continuously till the colour changes to a deep red and add the spices after crushing them along with the bay leaf , red chili powder salt and turmeric and finally add the potatoes and mix well and add the water in which you have boiled the fish and cook covered till the potatoes are cooked add the mashed fish and green chili and mix well and cook uncovered till you a semi dry mixture, add the finely chopped coriander leaves  and serve with Chapati or rice or even bread.

Tip

Be careful while adding salt when cooking the fish because the water in which you have boiled the fish will already contain some amount of salt.

This is part of



Sunday, November 30, 2014

Milk Poached Chicken

Milk Poached Chicken 




My experience with poaching chicken breast was quite a culinary effort and so when I finally learnt to make perfectly poached chicken I was simply elated. All this while I was using water with bay leaf and other flavouring and now that I got that part right I decided it was time to move on to this recipe I had read a long time ago. It was poaching the chicken in milk which the article promised would give super soft results.

Before we move on here are the few points to remember when poaching chicken


  1. Use a pan which just about fits the chicken breasts. 
  2. Never ever let the liquid in which you are poaching the chicken come to a boil.
  3. Simmer the breasts for 3 minutes to 5 minutes and let it rest in the liquid with the stove off and the pan covered well for 8 minutes to 10 minutes. This is a crucial step in keeping the chicken moist and juicy.  

So here goes the recipe :- 

Serves 2 

400gm chicken breasts 
Enough milk to cover the breasts 1/2 inch above the chicken when placed in the pan 
1 clove of sliced garlic
Salt as per taste 

1 cup of peas 
1.5 cups of shredded cabbage 
1 cup of mushrooms 

Place the chicken with the sliced garlic in a small pan and pour enough milk so that the level reaches 1/2 inch above the chicken and then gently simmer this for 3 minutes to 4 minutes. Make sure that you don't let the milk come to a boil else it might curdle. 

After 3 minutes of simmering cover the pan with a lid and let it rest for  8 to 10 minutes. Now take out the chicken and add your vegetables and simmer for 4 minutes and drain the vegetables. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes and slice it and add salt and freshly ground pepper and enjoy a healthy juicy meal.   
       


Friday, November 28, 2014

Chicken Aubergine Stew

Chicken Aubergine Stew






So the idea of this stew stems from the fact that stews were an integral part of my entire childhood . Basically my father would make this lip smacking stew with a host of vegetables , chicken and a few spices. Later on when I read about Tagines from Morocoo I found a lot many to be using spices which were known to me and even though the flavours are not really Indian because Indian food is more spicy it does remind me of the stews made by my father which would use the spices sparingly to simply add a touch of flavour.

The other reason why I made up this stew was to use up Aubergines. Here is the difficult part about aubergines, they taste great but take up too much oil when they are cooked. The other healthy option is to make Baba Ghanoush and so here is a recipe which uses them but doesn't require too much frying.


3 slim aubergines
400gm chicken Leg + thigh
1 tsp Homemade Harissa Paste
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
2 plump tomatoes blanched , skinned and chopped
550ml water
Salt as per taste
Chopped parsley
2 to 3 tbsp black currant (dried black grapes)
1 tbsp olive oil

For the harissa substitute

50gm dried chilies
1/4th  tsp Caraway seeds (in case you don't have Caraway seeds use Shah Jeera which isn't really caraway but gives a nice flavour )
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp Olive Oil


Soak the chilies in luke warm water for 1 hour 30 minutes and then de-seed them . (I advice using gloves else your hands will have a painful sensation) reserve some of the water for blending.

Now blend it  with the spices after dry roasting the spices , salt and add the oil. Add the reserved water bit by bit till you get a smooth paste. Let it sit in your jar for 1 day and its ready to use. Beware, this stuff is hot so use sparingly. The flavours develop more and more with passing time.

Now for the stew start by blanching the tomatoes, skinning them and chopping them. Now simply heat the oil and add the chicken and seal its juices on high heat for a minute on both the sides and add the chopped aubergine and cover and cook on low heat for 7 minutes to 8 minutes and add the chopped tomatoes and mix well and the spices , currant and then the water and simmer it on low heat for 20 minutes. Check and add salt as per taste, garnish with parsley and serve with some flatbread or couscous or brown rice.



Monday, November 24, 2014

Junglee Murgh (Priyadarshini's recipe)

Junglee Murgh (Priyadarshini's recipe) 




I thought November would be a month I shall relax. Well what you anticipate and what actually  happens in life can sometimes differ greatly. Its not always bad , in fact here are some great bits of news.

So after a crazed work schedule till the first week of November the parents visited us in Mumbai since the husband will be off to South Africa for research work for a good 2 years. So sooner had I finished this massive Project there was celebration with the parents and sightseeing in Bombay can be beautiful if you enjoy classic architecture but the travel can wring you of all your energy. Well once they were gone I thought I would relax a bit but then there is back to back work and I am not really complaining because to be honest I love work. In between all this work I met my good friend Claudia and then a week later it was a gathering of friends . I finally met Gungun from Sinfully Your's and what a lovely day it was.

On top of all of this Kolkata Food Bloggers' is conducting its ongoing Project of 'Know Your Blogger Part II' where each week we choose a member and each participating members, recreates the member's recipe.

This week the star is my good friend and the most creative food blogger I know, Priyadarshini from 'Lets Talk Food' What you need to know about this gorgeous lady is that she is a creative rebel. I mean she puts her own creative touch in every dish that she posts about and this is not the first time that I have followed her recipe. Previously I tried out her 'Kancha Lanka Murgi', this lip smacking Chicken dish from Bengal cooked with loads of Green chilies and it was out of this world.

So when it comes to selecting a recipe I usually try and find one which suits my needs of the time. So this time I was in Bombay with a husband who follows the green diet and I am personally on a high protein, extremely low carbohydrate with lots of vegetables diet but the good news is since I exercise I can have fat in controlled portions.

I'l be honest I mostly chose her Junglee Murgh which literally translates to Wild chicken due to the reigning flavour of garlic and chilies two of my favourite ingredients and the fact that its cooked in pure clarified butter. Here is the thing with Most North Indian food and clarified butter. Ghee makes every dish better which is why these days I cook these recipes rarely but when I do so I use what was originally intended for it and the results are just unbelievably good.

 I must say that since this recipe uses very few ingredients modifying it would simply ruin the taste. The best part is that it being dry it makes the perfect appetizer and if you are on a diet you can just team it with some salad on the side or a spicy spinach paste like I did.

Now here is a crucial part, working with chicken breasts can be very tricky so read on to make sure you never again end up with dry chicken. If you follow the steps I guarantee that you will always get soft succulent chicken breasts.

Now here is another good news before I finally share the recipe with my good readers,We The Kolkata Food Bloggers proudly present a Bake Sale on the 13th of December 2014 and I would have a small stall which I am sharing with Pritha from 'Guilt-Free' and it gives me great pleasure to invite all of you to drop in.

So here comes the recipe

Serves 1 to 2

380gm of Boneless cubed  Chicken
2 tsp minced garlic
7 to8 Dried red chilies (preferably the ones from Rajasthan'
2 tbsp unmelted ghee
Salt as per taste
3 Fenugreek seeds
2 to 3 Black peppercorn

Simply heat the ghee and garlic together. This step ensures that your garlic doesn't burn at all in the end.

Once you get the aroma of garlic filling your kitchen add the chilies, peppercorn and fenugreek and finally the chicken , add some salt and seal  its juices on high heat for a few seconds on each side. Now is the tricky part. You see chicken breasts are very delicate and if cooked for too long it turns dry and stringy. So now your lower the heat and cover and cook for 5 minutes to 7 minutes. Open the cover and cook for another minute or 2 till it becomes dry.

Now is a very crucial part to end up with moist juicy chicken. Cover and let it rest for a good 15 minutes before you dig in.

Enjoy this lip-smacking dish.



This is part of : -


Penette E Pomodorini D'O Piennulo (Pasta with Tomatoes and basil)

Penette E Pomodorini D'O Piennulo 

(Pasta with Tomatoes and basil)





I used to think I make a decent Tomato based pasta be it the Arrabbiata or just a normal Tomato based Pasta . Well in my defense the sauce would mostly turn out flavourful and ever since I discovered al dente pasta I would in fact think I was creating quite the Italian dish in my kitchen.

Then one day I finally invested in La Cucina one of the best Classic Italian cookbooks of all times. You see I started cooking from a very tender age and to be able to afford a good book it does take a bit time. Your mid 20s are very different from your late teens. Anyway the point is I somehow believe that the mark of any good restaurant, cookbook or for that matter a cook lies in how he or she makes the most basic of dishes. Which is why I chose one of the simplest dishes of all times,

Now in these modern times when cooks can't seem to find their way around the kitchen with step by step photographs this classic book is quite the opposite. It has tons of exquisite recipes but not even one photograph which is quite fine by me. In fact you won't even find most of these recipes over the internet.

Well I am kind of an old fashioned world. People often ask me why a 25 year old (almost 26) would want to spend hours in the kitchen for a dish . Here is the thing I want to learn the characters of the dishes I cook and a dish's character can be traced back to its cuisine.

So if you really want to learn Italian cuisine a good old classic book is essential.

Anyway coming back to our recipe I was quite startled for a the technique used was completely different than not only what I usually use but what is mostly shared far and wide from across continents and chefs.

Now I somehow tend to be passionate and so I passionately believe that a cookbook brought by by the Culinary Acedemy of Italy will not leave any scope for mistakes. Period.



So I went about doing exactly what they had asked to. In the end I was dumbstruck. I have been to some of the fine dine restaurants of India in both Calcutta , Mumbai and Delhi and never have I tasted a tomato based pasta which had so much of flavour and the colour was the colour of passion, a deep red that I could romance with romance in my head  just by looking at it.

So here is what you need :-

Recipe :from La Cucina . Before I begin I must admit that for when I cooked the tomato sauce I halved the recipe and used half the time for cooking and being on an extreme low carb diet I used very little pasta and kept most of the sauce for later use. I am sharing the original recipe exactly as was given and I suggest you don't alter it.

1 lb Penne Pasta
1/2 lb ripe plump tomatoes blanced and skinned
1 large clove of garlic , minced
Pinch of chili flakes / Half a ripe red chili
Several Basil leaves chopped
Salt for taste
2/3rd cup EXtra Virgin Olive Oil


Chop the skinned tomatoes. Place the minced garlic and finely chopped chili with the oil and let it slowly brown . Once its browned take out the garlic and chili and add the chopped tomatoes and add salt and cook on high heat for 15 minutes stirring it and pressing it down with a masher or back of a big spatula from time time time.

While the sauce is cooking bring a pot of  water to a boil on another stove with a pinch of salt and add the pasta and cook till al dente and once done add it to the sauce and mix well and add some basil and serve.

I can promise you this is the most flavourful tomato based pasta ever.


The reserved Tomato 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Hearty Tomato Soup

Hearty Tomato Soup 







Soups and I have a strong connection from as long as I can remember. When I was young we would mostly have Chicken stew at home, which is basically a warm hearty soup with lots of winter vegetables thrown in with chicken in bones. My old man would cook it once every week and the entire family enjoyed it. He would say that bones have a crucial job in adding flavour. Once I grew up and discovered the maestros of cooking I realized how well my father knows about food since a good stock is crucial for good soups as suggested by all good cooks from all over the world.

The other kind of soup we would relish were those delicious Chinese soups. Calcutta has an old Chinatown. In fact some good folks from China settled in the 1700s and have ever since been serving exquisite Chinese food . Sadly most of these eating joints are closing down.

Anyway coming back to the soup of the day, the first time I tasted this tangy throat warming soup was on the Rajdhani Express Train when I was 10 years old. Rajdhani is one of the best rains in India connecting different cities to the capital. I loved it.

My mother wasn't much of a cook , rather she didn't like spending her time in the kitchen so she would constantly buy these packaged Knorr soups which I quite honestly relished till I realized how much more healthy and delicious it is to make these soups the traditional way.

The first time I tried my hands on Tomato soup was somewhere in the winters of 2003. I was 14 years old going on 15 and the year was coming to an end and I decided to make it. Well it was not the best one and over the years I have tried various recipes of this one humble and lip smacking soup, sometimes with carrots and beetroots added in , sometimes with leek and carrot , sometimes with celery and I finally decided to try a recipe where I mostly stay true to this plump and delicious fruit.

Now before I begin I have to say what stays constant and is a major flavour giver is the stock. It just wouldn't taste the same without it.

Anyway so here is the perfect tomato soup for me :-

Makes 3 to 4 servings

600gm plump red tomatoes which you shall blanch
1.5 litre of homemade stock of your choice  (I usually use chicken)
Salt as per taste
1 tbsp butter
1/2 a large chopped leek
1 large clove of minced garlic
1 tsp freshly group white pepper
Cream for serving (optional)
If you want a spicy touch instead of the optional cream you may add chili oil


Blanch and skin the tomatoes and chop them well. Now heat the butter till it foams and add the leek and garlic  and saute till they fill your kitchen with their aroma but take care to not brown them. Now add the tomatoes and cook till it for 5 minutes and add 800ml of the stock and let it come to a boil and add salt and simmer covered for 5 minutes. Now simply let it cool down and blend to a smooth puree. Get the puree back to the pot and add the remaining stock and bring to a slow boil while stirring it constantly and simmer for 5 minutes and serve it if you are having this on a normal day with a drizzle of chili oil or some cream.

In case you are serving it for a formal dinner or for guests strain the tomato soup once done and bring toa  slow boil and immediately serve it with added cream.





Monday, November 17, 2014

Chicken Yogurt Soup

Chicken Yogurt Soup




If you have read my previous post you would know that Kolkata Food Bloggers is hosting this amazing event called, Know Your Food Blogger Part 2. So basically the reason behind this initiative is interesting. So you see we are a group of cooking enthusiasts and we mostly cook, click , write and share but then again with so many recipes to be tried and tested we don't always get to explore each other's kitchens and with this event each week a blogger is chosen as the star of the week and we try out her recipes. This time our Star Blogger of the week is the lovely, Jayati Saha.

My interactions with Jayati has been virtual from the beginning. A doting mother, her blog was actually born due to her son's encouragement. She is a busy mother and holds a full time job and creates some mouthwatering dishes which she shares with us. You can find all her recipes at Jayati's Food Journal . Not only that when the very popular Calcutta based newspaper, 'The Telegraph' decided to write an article on Food Bloggers they did not forget to mention Jayati.

Since I am still on a high protein and vegetable and almost no carb diet I  chose her Chicken Stew with Curd . With a few changes here and there to suit my taste I created this dish which I am calling Chicken Yogurt Soup. Now I did have some homemade Harissa substitute which I had made the day prior to making this dish which I used in the soup and which added much flavour.

So here goes the recipe.

Makes 2 servings

400gm chicken ( leg + thigh)

For marination :-
4 heaped tsp plain yogurt
4 medium sized garlic cloves
1/2 inch ginger
1/4th tsp Harissa substitute paste (In case you don't have Harissa just use 1 dried red chili + small pinch of cumin seeds and a pinch of caraway seeds)
2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt as per taste

Spices for the soup :-
1 bay leaf
1 inch cinnamon
1 green cardamom

2 cups of mixed vegetables (Broccoli, Red bell pepper, Yellow Bell Pepper, 1 medium sized leek)

Make a paste of the ingredients mentioned in the marination and marinate the chicken for 1/2 an hour to 1 hour. Now heat a pot and add the marinated chicken and the bay leaf, cinnamon and cardamom  and let it brown a bit on both sides and add 1 litre water and boil for 7 minutes. Now take out the chicken and drop it in a bowl of cold water and separate the meat from the bones and shred it put the bones back in the pot and boil till the liquid is reduced to half its content and then take out the bones and add the broccoli and simmer for 5 minutes and add the rest of the vegetables and the shredded chicken and taste and add salt if required and simmer for another 5 minutes and turn off the stove and rest it for 15 minutes and have some hearty soup.

This is part of







Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pan Seared Lemon Garlic Basa Salad

Pan Seared Lemon Garlic Basa Salad 






These days I am on a high protein, high on vegetable and extremely low on carbohydrate diet which I absolutely love and what also puts me in a good mood are salads especially a light fresh one.

So here is a simple Pan seared basa salad

Serves 1 :

200gm Basa fillet
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 fat clove of garlic
A pinch of freshly ground black pepper
Salt as per taste
1 ripe red chili sliced
1 tsp Olive oil + extra for spraying

For the salad

2 cups of assorted lettuce
5 to 6 cherry tomatoes
Half a red bell pepper chopped
1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive oil


Thinly slice the garlic and chili and then marinate the fish for 1/2 an hour and then heat a pan and spray with a bit of oil add the fish and seal it juices on high heat for less than a minute on each side and cover and cook for about 5 minutes to 8 minutes on low heat .

Arrange the lettuce , cherry tomatoes and bell pepper and drizzle with a little EVOO and add the fish and enjoy a healthy meal. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pasta Cooked in Ground Chicken Spinach Sauce


Pasta Cooked in Ground Chicken Spinach Sauce 



Kolkata Food Bloggers is presenting another fabulous event. This time its Know Your Food Blogger 2. For those of you who still do not know who we are. We are a bunch of mad hat food lovers who loves cooking, clicking , sharing and knowing. For this event we are dedicating a week each for our members who are participating in this fabulous event and recreating some wonderful dishes. This week's star is our very own Sarani Tarafder from Cocoawind: Back to Basics.

My entire interaction with Sarani has been virtual. Early on we realized that this bubbly enthusiastic lady and I have studied in the same school and my older cousin sister has been her former classmate and has in fact attended her wedding. Talk about it being a small world but then again that must have been years ago since our lovely lady in question has spent a large chunk of her married life in the USA.

What I love about Sarani is the balance she maintains between food which is indulgent and food which is mostly healthy yet delicious.

For quite some time have I eyed and marked her fabulous recipe for Pasta Cooked in Ground Chicken Spinach Sauce . What I love about this particular recipe is how well the lovely Sarani has camouflaged Spinach for her tiny tot. Now having become an aunt at quite an early age thanks to my older cousins,  struggling to make kiddies have veggies is something which is highly familiar to me and the way our lady in question has skilfully been successful in getting her lovely child to eat Spinach is proof enough of her expertise in the kitchen. Well I have always loved spinach and it doesn't need camouflaging for me but there is something about blend spinach which gets me very excited.

Anyway coming back to recipe,  after the week long indulgence during Diwali I had sadly ruined months of exercising and careful eating and this recipe couldn't have come at a better time. Since I am following a low on carb  high on protein and vegetable diet I did modify the recipe a little bit but it essentially remains the same. The original recipe asks you to use spices or herbs as per your choice which is what I did and to make it oil-free and even more healthy I chucked out the frying part altogether and added some Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the end which is optional. This dish was so fabulous and healthy that I know that it will be a staple in my ktichen.

So here goes the recipe which serves 1 :

1/4th cup wholewheat penne pasta
Half a large bunch of fresh spinach
200gm to 250gm ground chicken
1 extra large garlic
3 to 4 peppercorn
Salt as per taste
1 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)

Bring a pot of water to boil along with a pinch of salt and add the spinach when the water starts boiling and cook for exactly 2 minutes and take out the spinach and let it cool down and add the pasta and let it cook as per instructions on the packet. In the meantime once the spinach has cooled down blend it with salt, garlic and peppercorn and keep it aside. Once the pasta is cooked drain it but reserve the water and bring this water to a boil with the ground chicken and cook till its cooked all the way though. If there is extra water left drain it and keep aside the stock and now put the cooked ground chicken and blend spinach back in the pan and add the pasta and mix well and serve with a drizzle of 1 tsp EVOO. Enjoy a delicious healthy meal.



This is part of


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Potato Mushroom Soup

Potato Mushroom Soup 




I love soups especially a healthy one which is creamy. I was a complete mess during the past 3 days. With a terrible deadline I was working 10 hours a day and with little sleep, no exercise and bad food which meant I ate take out and  stir fried rice I was feeling very uneasy by the 3rd day which is when I decided that if not anything else I must eat healthy.

So I started my day with a filling potato frittata and went on to have a fresh smoothie and then decided I needed some comforting soup. For some reason I have always loved soups even though I was born and brought up in a hot country like India.

This is one of the easiest soups ever.

Makes 4 servings

4 medium sized potato
1 large onion
2 large cloves of garlic
1 tsp fresh thyme
Salt as per taste, I required about 2 tsp and a pinch
6 whole black pepper
3 cups of vegetable stock or chicken stock
1/2 cup of toned milk
1 tsp oil
200gm mushrooms
1 tbsp olive oil

Heat the oil and add the garlic and onion and stir a bit and then add the potatoes and 1.5 cups of  stock and bring to a boil and then add the black pepper and half the thyme and simmer covered till the potatoes are cooked. Once cooked allow it to cool and blend to a smooth puree. Now transfer it back to the pot and add the remaining stock , milk and salt as per taste and bring it to a boil on low heat stirring frequently and then simmer for 2 minutes and before serving stir fry the mushrooms on high and serve the soup by transferring it in bowls and adding the mushroom from the top.




For a healthier version you may steam the mushrooms. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cheesecake Ice-cream with Confiture de Lait

Cheesecake Ice-cream with Confiture de Lait 





I love Cheesecake made with Cream Cheese. Its creamy and delicious but then again till now all the Cheesecake that I have made were baked and contained eggs. I was in a real fix when I came over to Bombay for a few months since I neither have an oven in this temporary house nor does my other half eat eggs and once one has had the baked cheesecake the unbaked ones seem incomplete . I was reluctantly thinking of making eggless bakeless cheesecake when the idea of a Cheesecake Icecream came to my mind.

Truth be told a lot of people indirectly contributed to this dessert. Some months back Nazneem, a lovely lady had posted about Dulce De Leche on a food group and it immediately caught my attention. This was back in September and then there was one festival after the other which meant that I was busy making traditional Indian desserts such as the Bengali Cootage Cheese Jalebi, Bengali Gulab Jamun called Pantua, Kalakand, Malai Chomchom etc , the recipe for all which you would find in this blog's Dessert section.

Confiture de Lait 


Anyway coming back to the recipe I made my own Confiture de Lait aka Dulce De leche which in simple English is called Milk Jam. Its a creamy reduced caramelized milk.

Many people take a can of condensed milk and steams it till its caramelized but I for one like getting to the bottom of a recipe and more importantly I am not too fond of shelved packaged fresh food and when you make your own Milk Jam you can add a bit of Vanilla which gives it an amazing flavour .

I was in love with Confiture de Lait but the surprise was when my Cheesecake Ice-cream which turned out smooth creamy and amazingly rich and all this was made using a non-electric hand held whisk. This frozen delight had no ice-crystals at all.

This is a 2 day procedure and completely worth it.

So here is the recipe

Makes 3 to 4 serving

For the Confiture de Lait

1 litre whole milk
500gm sugar
1 tsp vanilla beans
1 tsp butter

For the Cheesecake Ice-cream

226gm aka 1 packet of Philadelphia Cream Cheese
200ml of cream
1 tbsp vinegar
2/3rd cup sugar
1/2 cup water Few drops of lemon
1/2 tsp vanilla beans

On the first day simply mix the vinegar with the cream and let the sour cream form for 24 hours at room temperature.

The Sour Cream after 24 hours of fermentation 


Now start with the Confiture De Lait. Remember that you would probably have a lot more confiture de lait topping than required but its delicious and makes for a lip-smacking spread on buttered toast or as a dip for apples etc.

The Final Confiture de Lait 


Take a heavy bottomed deep pan and add the milk, sugar , butter and vanilla and put it on the lowest flame possible and keep stirring every  7 minutes for the next 45 minutes. Make sure you use a broad spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan so that it doesn't stick to the bottom. Once the colour turns beige which takes about 1.5 hours from the start you must keep stirring it continuously to avoid burning the Confiture de Lait. Once done if the result looks grainy don'y worry about it. Just wait for it to cool down and blend it well and you have smooth creamy caramelized milk jam aka Confiture de Lait. Once cool put it in the refrigerator.

The next day bring the Cream cheese to room temperature . Just keep it at room temperature for an hour or so. I live in India and it takes very little time to soften the cream cheese but in case you stay in a cold country it might take you a bit of time. Instructions are provided in the pack on how to soften cream cheese. By now your sour cream would have thickened and ready to be used.

Make the sugar syrup by combining the 2/3rd cup sugar and water and add the lemon juice to prevent crystallization and then simply let it cool down.

Whisk the cream cheese, sour cream , vanilla beans with the sugar syrup. Add the syrup bit by bit and keep tasting so that you get the perfect amount of sweetness for your taste buds . Chill it for 2 hours in the refrigerator and then whisk it again and transfer to an air-tight container and freeze for 4 hours and serve delicious creamy smooth Cheesecake Ice-cream and top it with the Confiture de lait.

Important tips :-


  1. The butter added to the Confiture de Lait keeps the milk as smooth as possible 
  2. In my experience sugar syrup leads to a smoother consistency 
  3. The lemon juice added to the sugar syrup when making it prevents crystallization 
  4. Bring the Confiture de Lait to room temperature before serving. You should let it come to room temperature, 1 hour before serving. 











Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Khasta Kachori

Khasta Kachori 




 The festivals bring forth the joy of celebrations and celebration is incomplete without gastronomic indulgence. For The Festival of Lights , Diwali, here is some Khasta Kachori a popular snack from North India.

While growing up I have mostly seen my own family hosting luncheons or dinner parties. The truth is even if a guest was invited over for tea they were always made to stay till dinner which is why the idea of snacks was always neglected a little bit in anticipation of the exquisite dishes prepared for the main meals.



It was only during a particular celebration, when my grandmother would make these amazing Samosas for breakfast since for that occasion everybody stayed over from morning till evening.

By the time I grew up I had developed an intense passion for cooking which borders on obsession which in turn makes my grandmother extremely happy since I apparently remind her of her mother who would churn out immaculate delicacies from the kitchen.

Sitting far away from home I dedicate this to my grandmother and can't wait to go back home and make these for her.


Makes about 8 Kachoris :-

1/2 cup Split black gram aka Dhuli Urad Dal
Pinch of asafoetida aka hing
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1/4th tsp saunf
1 tsp red chili Powder
Pinch of turmeric powder
Salt as per taste
2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp sugar
1 heaped tsp dry mango powder
2 tbsp melted clarified butter aka ghee
2 tbsp raisins

For the dough :-

2 cups of all purpose flour (cups used hold 210ml liquid)
3 tbsp non-melted clarified butter aka ghee stored in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup ice cold water
The tiniest pinch of bi-carbonate of soda

Oil for deep frying

Basically making these kachori is one of the most easy things if you understand its characteristics.

Soak the pulse for a good 6 hours and then drain it of all the water and grind it to a paste.

Start with the dough. If you have made pie shell before you would know the concept behind using a lot of fat and ice cold water. This helps in creating the flakiness. Mix the flour and ghee to form a crumb like consistency and add salt and sprinkle water to create a firm dough and wrap it in cling film and put it in the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour.

The final filling minus the raisins 

Now heat 2 tbsp melted ghee and add the asafoetida aka hing, cumin seeds, saunf and then add the pulse and add the chili powder, turmeric, salt , coriander powder , sugar and mango powder and mix really well and sprinkle a bit of water and cook on low heat for 7 minutes to 10 minutes. Make sure it doesn't burn. You'l know its done when it starts leaving the side of the pan, add the raisins and once it cools divide it into 8 parts .



Now divide the dough into 8 equal halves and then make balls out of them and then flatten them a bit with the palm of your hand and roll out a little bit in a way where the center remains a bit thick and place the filling which should be almost the same size as the balls and now roll out the edges and then dip your hands in water and fold the dough to make a pouch and flatten it out so that you create a flattened ball.



Press the flattened balls against your palm  to increase the size but make sure no cracks are formed and once you are done with all 8 of them put them in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.



Now deep fry them on low heat till it turns into a brown colour on both sides. It takes about 8 minutes on each side but do check to ensure that it doesn't burn. You should ideally keep turning them so that it doesn't burn on one side.



Important tips :-


  1. The large amount of clarified butter results in flaky crispy delightful kachoris so please do not cut down on the amount 
  2. Fry at low temperature to medium temperature controlling it  at all times else you end up with burnt kachoris
  3. When you are sealing the Kahoris make sure there are no cracks 


Serve with some sweet and sour Sonth Ki Chutney . Recipe : Sonth Ki Chutney






Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Murgh Korma

Murgh Korma 





For years I have heard my grandmother and others of her generation indulging in nostalgia about the good old days when most dishes would be prepared in Pure ghee which has been replaced with refined oil. The first time I decided to give a dish a try with ghee alone it was a big celebration where we had invited a lot of guests and I cooked a delightful recipe of Chicken in it and my guests could not stop praising it even though the recipe was of course collected. It was from then on that I realized that ghee can never be repalced by refined oil.

On any regular day I would rather use Olive oil or extra virgin olive oil for my poached or boiled or steamed chicken but on those rare occasions that I make a special preparation I stick to ghee or in some other traditional cases I use mustard oil which has a full bodied flavour of its own. So these days I only use refined oil on those rare occasions when I deep fry some item.

The influence of Mughal cuisine is quite strong in the whole of North India and even though Bengal lies in the far east it has a strong influence of Mughal because the Mughal  rule had spread out to the Far east by the 16th century which is why most Bengali families have a strong affinity for Mughali cuisine. And not that when the Nawab of Lucknow had to relocate to Calcutta he brought along with him a culinary tradition which has stayed on in the beautiful city of Calcutta currently known as Kolkata.

While growing up I have mostly seen my father prepare a Mughlai Chicken preparation which he liked to call Mughlai Murgi which means Chicken cooked in the Mughlai style.  Much later when I stepped into adulthood and had by that time developed an intense passion for cooking I read in an article about the history of Chicken Korma and realized what my father would cook was essentially Chicken Korma except that he would add that one ingredient which most Bengalis have an intense love for and the one ingredient I hate using in dishes , the humble potato . So what I did was modify the recipe to suit my taste (with influence from that article that I read) by trying to keep it as close to the original Mughal recipe as possible and the result is a lip smacking dish. Cooked in pure ghee with the resultant thick gravy coating the succulent pieces of chicken it is indeed a dish I would suggest people to try.


400gm chicken (preferably leg + thigh)
1 large onion roughly chopped
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste as smooth as possible
2 green cardamom
2 cloves
100gm thick curd
100ml milk
3 tsp non-melted clarified butter
1 large bay leaf
Salt as per taste
1 tsp coriander powder
Pinch of cumin powder
3 dried red chilies
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1 inch cinnamon
Pinch of turmeric powder
1/2 cup water

Cut the chicken into medium sized pieces. Marinate it with half the ginger garlic paste for 1 hour. Now heat 2 tsp unmelted ghee and fry the chopped onions on low heat.

First cover the onions and let it soften and then open the cover and fry it on low heat till it reaches a golden stage. Take it out and let it cool down and in the meantime add 1/2 tsp unmelted ghee and seal the juices of the chicken on high heat till its browned on both the sides and switch off the gas and transfer the chicken to a plate.

Whisk your curd . Once the fried onion cools down blend it to a smooth paste . Now add 1/2 tsp unmelted ghee to the same pan and add the remaining ginger garlic paste and the onion paste and saute on low heat  for a minute and add the dried chili , cloves, green cardamom, cinnamon , mace , coriander powder, cumin powder and bay leaf and then add the curd keeping the heat to low and now you must keep stirring it continuously to prevent the curd from splitting.

Stirring it continuously bring it to a boil. It takes patience but is the only way to prevent the curd from splitting. Once it comes to a boil, add water and then add  turmeric powder, chili powder and salt and stir on low heat and bring it to a boil again and add the chicken and keep stirring and then cover and cook for 10 minutes and then add the milk , mix well and cook till the oil separates and the gravy becomes thick and coats the chicken. Let it rest for 15 minutes to absorb all the flavour and serve with homemade wholewheat flat-bread.

Tips


  1. Covering the onion when softening it speeds up the process 
  2. Take care to fry the onion to a golden brown colour but make sure you do not burn it else it will leave a bitter taste 
  3. Stirring the gravy continuously after adding the curd is essential to prevent the curd from splitting.