Sunday, January 25, 2015

Kheer Malpoa from Ume's Kitchen

        This week the star of " Kolkata Food Blogger " is Urmi Ghosh of Ume's Kitchen. She is one of youngest members of KFB yet she is quite versatile in her kitchen. She is blogging for last 2 years seriously and her blog is full of healthy and delicious recipes. She is quite an active blogger after being a mother of a little girl. She is also an avid and devoted baker and bakes cakes professionally from her own home bakery. The most amazing fact is that seeing her cakes you won't believe that she is a self-taught baker. To view some awesome birthday or any ocassion cakes, chocolates and her awesome recipes, you must visit her blog right now. With all of these, she is also very soft-spoken and down-to-earth person. It always feels good talking to her every time we meet.
      I have bookmarked many recipes from her blog, but recently I've tried this Kheer Malpoa and I'll share that today. Malpoa is a deep-fried and sugar syrup coated sweet dish, made with a batter of maida(flour), milk and sugar. But in this recipe Kheer/Khoya/Mawa is also added to enhance the taste. Usually I prepare Malpoa with basic ingredients, after seeing her mouth-watering Kheer Malpoas thought to give it a try. AND needless to say that all the malpoas was pillowy soft and extreme delicious. I totally followed her recipe, just added fresh saunf/Mouri/fennel seeds in the dough as I do in the basic malpoas. Here I posted the basic Bengali Malpoa recipe long back in my blog.




Here is the original recipe from Urmi's Blog 

You Need :
Khoya/kheer/mawa(grated) :1 cup 
Flour : 3 cups
Fenned seed/Mouri/Saunf : 1 tblsp.
Black cardamom : 2 (grind to powder)
Ghee : 2-3 tsp.
Cold milk : 4-5 tblsp. or as needed
White oil or ghee - for frying 
For sugar syrup
Sugar : 1 cup+3 tbsp.
Water : 2 cups
Green cardamom : 3-4, grounded coarsely

How To :
  • In a mixing bowl put flour, grated mawa/kheer, fennel seed, cardamom and ghee. Rub and mix everything well. Add milk gradually as needed to make soft and smooth dough. The dough should not be dry or mushy. 
  • Make small equal balls from the dough. Now spread each ball with rolling pin on a flat surface with the help of a bit of oil. [Oil will help the dough to spread out easily and evenly and it won't stick to the surface too.]
  • If you see that while spreading the dough balls, the edges are breaking, then immediately mix little flour into the dough and knead it well. 
  • Now heat enough oil in a pan to deep fry the malpoas in medium hot oil and drain on a paper towel. In another boil, boil water and sugar, when sugar dissolves and thickens a bit, add green cardamom powder to it. Dunk the fried malpoas into sugar syrup, keeping the syrup pan in very low heat. Keep them in sugar syrup for 5 minutes and then remove them on a plate.
  • You can garnish malpoas with chopped almonds or any kinds of nuts and serve this mouth-watering sweet in room temperature or chilled.

I'm sending this to Kolkata Food Blogger's Ongoing event : Know Your Blogger-2 







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Friday, January 23, 2015

Murg Malai Kabab/Chicken Malai Tikka

    Kebab or kebap or kabab is a Middle Eastern, Eastern Mediterranean, and South Asian dish of pieces of meat, fish, or vegetables roasted or grilled on a skewer, originating in the Eastern Mediterranean, or in the Middle East, and later adopted in Central Asia and by the regions of the former Mongol Empire. In the Middle East, kebab refers to meat that is cooked over or next to flames; large or small cuts of meat, or even ground meat; it may be served on plates, in sandwiches, or in bowls.                                                                                        Info. Source : Wikipedia
     The traditional meat for kebab is lamb, but depending on local tastes and religious prohibitions, other meats may include beef, goat, chicken, pork or fish. Like other ethnic foods brought by travellers, the kebab has remained a part of everyday cuisine in most of the Eastern Mediterranean and South Asia. There are several varieties of Kebab/Kabab available in the Indian Subcontinent, some of the popular ones are Kakori Kebab, Shami Kebab, Boti Kebab, Galauti Kebab, Reshmi Kebab, Hara Bhara Kebab and many more. 
   This variety here is also another popular one. Malai kebab or Malai Tikka gets its name as malai/fresh cream is one of the key ingredient of this variety and result is juicy, melt-in-mouth succulent meat. Flavour them with fresh mint and coriander leaves and serve it with Mint-Coriander Chutney, thinly sliced onions and hot Naans (tandoor-baked Indian flatbread).
 
You Need :
Chicken breast : 400 gm., cut into 1" size pieces
Ginger-garlic paste : 2 tblsp.
Vinegar : 1 tsp.
Lemon juice : 2 tsp.
Red chilli powder : 3-4 tsp. or accr. to taste
Processed cheese(like Mozzarella) : 2 tblsp., grated
Fresh Cream : 2-3 tblps.
Tandoori Masala/Shahi Gram masala : 1 tblps.
Chaat Masala : 1 tsp.
*Mint-coriander chutney : 2 tblps.
Salt to taste
Oil : ~ 2 tblsp.
 

How To :
  • *Mint-Coriander Chutney : Take 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves and 1/2 cup fresh coriander leaves, add 1-2 chillies, 3-4 cloves of garlic and salt to taste. Make a smooth paste without adding much water to it. Your mint-coriander chutney is ready.
  • Take only chicken breast pieces. Cut them in medium bite size like 1 inch pieces. Poke all the chicken pieces with tooth-pick. First marinate them in vinegar, lemon juice, 1 tblsp. ginger-garlic paste, 2 tsp. red chilli powder and salt for 1/2 an hour. Then second time marinate the chicken pieces with mashed cheese, fresh cream, mint-coriander chutney, rest of the ginger-garlic paste, tandoori masala, chaat masala and 1-2 tsp. red chilli powder for at least 4-5 hours.
                                                            After second marination
  • When done, cover a baking tray with aluminium foil, over that grease the foil with enough oil and place the chicken pieces over the tray. Lastly drizzle little oil on every chicken piece. Pre-heat your oven in 200C and bake for about 30 minutes or until top side turns brown, flip to the other side, drizzle little more oil this side and again bake for another 30 minutes. Remove when chicken pieces are cooked and turned brown.
  • Enjoy with mint-coriander chutney, onion slices and lemon wedges.

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Strawberry and Nutella sandwich cookies


    After a month break I'm back again with another fellow blogger to feature in this space. As many of you know that this is an event started by my group, "Kolkata Food Bloggers", where we feature one of our fellow blogger on every member's page and we all cook something from her blog. This week, I introduce you to Manjari of For the Love Of Food. She is blogging for little more than a year now, but her blog is a treasure trove of all classic recipes from allover the World. The speciality of her cooking is that she never uses any short-cut method, instead she cooks all of them from scratch and explains the method in a very simple way to be understood by novices too with her in-depth knowledge on them off course. You'll get to know all sorts of recipes from all kinds of cuisines, International and Indian regional cuisines if you visit her blog. So, do not waste time and visit her blog now.


      I've eyed on one of her post "Napolitain Biscuits" when she posted it last month. She tried out that recipe from a book of collected recipes of Larousse Gastronomique. My kids are fond of cookies and I prefer to make them at home. These crispy buttery biscuits are delights for kids. I followed her recipe and made the cookies. From my research on web, I found out that there are a pastry from Mauritus available where they make cookies with almost similar ingredients and then sandwich two cookies with strawberry jam and then they dip them in pink sugar glaze. I was intrigued with the looks of the pastry and wanted to try that out. So I followed Manjari's cookie recipe and followed the looks of Mauritian Napolitain cookies. I sandwiched some cookies with strawberry jam and some with Nutella in kid's demand. I used very less sugar glaze on cookies as I want my kids to consume as much less sugar they can. I just decorated a little with the sugar glaze. You can also totally skip the sugar glaze part. My kids helped me a lot doing these cookies and they loved it.

You Need : (makes 24-28 cookies)
All purpose flour : 1 cup
Almond flour : 1/2 cup(take few almonds and grind them to powder)
Baking powder : 1 tsp.
Sugar : little more than 1/2 cup(powdered)
Egg yolk : 1
Butter : 100 gm.
Strawberry jam/preserve : 1/2 cup
Nutella/chocolate spread : 1/3 cup

For glaze :
Sugar : 1/2 cup, powdered
Milk : 1 tsp.
Red food color : 2-3 drops

How To :
  • Mix the flour with baking powder and Keep aside.
  • In a bowl, take butter and mix with the flour using your hand till you get a breadcrumb like consistency. Then add in sugar, almond flour and finally beaten egg yolk. Mix in everything and form a smooth dough. If needed you can add little more flour but do not add even a drop of water in the dough. 
  • When dough is done, wrap in a cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 30-45 minutes. 
 
  • Take out and divide the dough in two equal portions. Sprinkle little flour on your kitchen counter and roll out the dough using a rolling pin in about 1 cm. thick circle. Cut in round shape with a round glass or in any shape with a cookie cutter. Similarly, cut out cookies using the other half of the cookie dough. 
  • Grease a baking tray and arrange the cookies on the tray and bake in middle rack of your oven in 180 degree C for 12-15 minutes. The cookies should not turn brown. Cool on wire rack when you bake the next batches of cookies. 
 
  • To make sugar glaze, take powdered sugar in a bowl, add few drops of milk in there and mix with a spoon. The sugar glaze should be very thick. Add few drops of red food coloring and mix. The glaze is ready.
  • Apply a little strawberry jam/chocolate spread on the down side of a cookie and apply down side of another cookie on top of the jam used. This way make sandwich cookies. lastly, dip in sugar glaze or drop little glaze on top of the cookies. You can also decorate with sugar glaze as you wish. I didn't want to dip the whole cookies (just did two to show you the original Neapolitain cookies), as it'll be too much sweet for kids, instead I just decorated the cookies with few drops of glaze. I wrote the initials of my kid's names I, T and S and some little decorations.

 Try these simple yet healthy cookies at home for your precious ones and see them enjoying these crispy delights. You can totally skip the sugar glaze too. It takes hardly an hour to bring joys to your loved ones.

I'm sending this to KFB's ongoing event, "Know Your Blogger-2" .


















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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Noodle & Mix-Vegetable Soup ~ A heart-warming meal

   In winter, there are plenty of colorful vegetables available in the market. So, the most pure and healthy way to consume these vegetables is making a soup out of them. And that's what I do quite often in my kitchen, kids also love this soup. It's a good way to feed them the vegetables, they don't like to eat. It takes very less time and makes a good meal when you are in hurry. So let's move on to the recipe how I make it..............there are no fixed vegetables I use for this soup, use whatever winter vegetables you have, like carrots, cauliflower, pumpkin, cabbage, green peas, broccoli, spring onion, sweet potato, tomato etc. You can use any combinations of vegetables. This time, I added little amount of cooked instant noodles in the soup in daughter's demand. But you can totally avoid it.


You Need :
Instant Noodles(Maggi, Knorr etc.) : cooked seperately, optional
Carrots : 1-2
Cauliflower : few florets
Broccoli : few florets
Green Peas : 1/2 acup
Pumpkin : few cubes
Sweet potato : few cubes
Sweet corn kernels
Tomato : 1
onion : 1, small
Ginger : 1/2 tsp, grated
Garlic : 3-4 cloves, grated
Oil : 1 tblsp.
Butter : 1 tsp.
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Corn flour : 1 tblsp.


How To :
  • Chop all the Vegetables, wash and keep aside. Heat oil in a pressure cooker, add chopped onions and let saute them for couple of minutes, then add grated ginger and garlic. Mix and saute for 1-2 minutes, then add all diced vegetables. Add salt to taste and stir fry for 2 minutes. Then add 2 cups of water. Cover and cook till they are done. Remove from heat and reserve the water/stock.
  • When veggies have cooled down a bit, in a mixer/food processor make a smooth puree along with the stocks. Place a pan again on heat, add the pureed vegetable, if needed add little more water if you like thin soup. Adjust the seasoning by adding salt and black pepper according to your taste. If you are adding cooked noodles, add now and mix well.
  • If you think your soup is quite runny/thin, you can add cornflour(diluted in little water) in the soup and when you have your desired consistency of soup, remove it and serve hot. Add a drop of butter on the served soup. 
Serve it with any kind of bread and salad as a side dish......a delicious and truly healthy meal.






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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Mung daler Puli Pithe ~ Makar Sankranti Speciality from Bengal

Makar Sankranti, a major Hindu festival falls on, 14th of January every year, sometimes on 13 or 15th January(leap year) with exception . Unlike most of the other Indian Hindu Festivals, the date of Makar Sankranti is fixed. Makar means Capricorn and Sankranti is transition/movment. This popular Indian festival is celebrated as "Harvest Festival" and is also regarded as the beginning of an auspicious phase in Indian culture. It is said as the 'holy phase of transition'. It marks the end of an inauspicious phase which according to the Hindu calendar begins around mid-December. Scientifically, this day marks the beginning of warmer and longer days compared to the nights, i.e., Sankranti marks the termination of winter season and beginning of a new harvest or spring season.

      It is one of the major Indian festival celebrated almost every part of the country in myriad cultural forms and in different names. Like, in Punjub, it's celebrated as 'Lohri', in South India, it celebrated in the name of 'Pongal'. Every region celebrates it in their own ways, according to the localization, culture and traditions. In Bengal, Sankranti, also known as "Poush Sankranti/Poush Parvan", named after the Bengali month(Poush) in which it falls (last date of that month is sankranti), is celebrated as a harvest festival. A special kind of sweet, named "Pitha/Pithe", with freshly harvested rice, coconut and date palm jaggery(Khejurer Gur) are the min ingredients. Different varieties of pithes with elaborate methods are made through out the month to celebrate the harvest. recipes passes down from generations to generations are prepared with great zeal in every bengali family. these sweets are very special in taste with heavenly combination of ingredients like grounded rice(rice flour), coconut and gur(date plam jaggery).

 I'll share one such pithe recipe which is passed through generations of my family. 

Mung Daler(yellow lentil) Puli pithe : This is quite different from the usual ones as you can see from the ingredients, it includes a lentil, yellow lentil or Mung daal along with rice flour. An outer covering is made with mung dal, rice flour and sweet potato and filled with coconut-jaggery mixture, and then give it a half moon shape, which is known as "Puli", is deep fried and finally soaked into sugar syrup. The process may sound little elaborate, but it's not at all complicated and the end result will make you crave for more and more and it's all worth.



You need
For the outer layer/Puli :
Mung dal : 1 cup
Sweet Potato(Ranga Aloo) : 1, medium(optional, but it binds the daal very well giving a nice soft dough)
Rice Flour : 1 cup or as needed to make dough

For the filling : 
Scraped Coconut(fresh) : 1 cup
Date palm jaggery : 1/2 cup, grated
Powdered Cardamom : 2 tsp.

For Sugar Syrup   :
Water : 2 cups
Sugar : 1 cup

How To :
Here is a pictorial step-by-step guide for better understanding:  

 
  • To make the outer layer/Puli : (1) Dry roast the mung dal or yellow lentil on a tawa for couple of minutes till it changes to a little darker shade. Then boil the dal with minimum water in a bowl. Remove and let it cool, then mash well. Also boil the sweet potato till done. Take the mashed dal in a bowl, add sweet potato and mix well. (2) In there add rice flour little by little and mix well. After every mixing, knead very well and check time to time if you can make a smooth ball without any single crack. If needed, add little more rice flour and knead again like you make chapati dough. Do not add a drop of water even. 
  • To make the filling : take a wide pan, add freshly scraped coconut and dry roast it for couple of minutes, then add grated jaggery. Mix well and cook on low flame by stirring constantly for about 10-12 minutes. When mixture doesn't stick to the pan any more, the filling is ready. the filling should not be too dry or too juicy. Sprinkle grounded cardamom powder to the mixture and mix well.
 
  • Making the pulis : from the prepared dal-rice flour dough, make small equal sized balls from the dough. take one ball on your palm, press it with other palm to flatten it like a disc, in the center place 1 tsp. of filling, bring two edges together and give it a half-moon shape. Secure the edges well so that filling doesn't come out. Your Mung Puli is ready. Make other pulis same way from the balls. Keep aside.
  • Frying the pulis : In a heavy bottomed kadai/wok, take enough oil to deep fry the pulis. Heat the oil and carefully drop 4-5 pulis at a time and in medium-low flame fry them to golden brown from both sides. Drain on a kitchen towel. Same way, finish frying them all.
 
  • Prepare the sugar Syrup : In a big bowl, take water and bring it to boil. Add sugar and when sugar dissolves and thickens, add fried mung pulis and in very low flame, keep the sugar syrup warm. Keep the pulis in warm syrup for 5 minutes, then remove and keep aside. Same way, finish making other pulis and dunk them in warm sugar syrup.
 

Cool and serve....Enjoy
Caution : once you taste these, you won't be able to control yourself. Wishing everyone a very happy Makar Sankranti







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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Colorful Italian Focaccia ~ First post of the year

Itwas one of my resolution of this year as a blogger to try out more bread recipes and I started to follow it very obediently. On 31st evening, what I was doing, I was making Focaccia in my kitchen so that I can serve a colorful Focaccia on the first day of the year for breakfast and planned it to be the first post of this year. See, I am so serious about my resolution :)) Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and colorful New Year !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     Focaccia is a flat oven-baked Italian bread, similar in style and texture to pizza doughs. Main ingredients includes high-gluten flour, olive oil, salt, water and yeast like other breads and often topped with herbs or/and vegetables like onions, tomatoes, olives, capsicum/peppers and even meat. Focaccia is very popular in Italy and it is used as a side to many meals, as a base for pizza, or as sandwich bread.
  Focaccia is present in many variants in Italy itself. It varies with just one ingredients from one province to another, even a sweeter version is also available.

     I just love focaccia as a sandwich bread and often bought them from shops. This time I gave it a try and what a satisfaction I got, making my own focaccia, I can't tell you. I'll recommend everyone to try it for once. This is a full-proof recipe and I got an excellent result, you can see the result in my pics. So let's move on to the recipe...........



You need :
Whole-wheat Flour : 2/3 cup
All purpose flour : 2/3 cup
Warm water : 3/4 cup
Instant Dry yeast : 1 tsp.
Salt : 1 tsp.
Sugar : 1 tsp.
Olive Oil : 3 tblsp.
Garlic cloves : 4-5(big, sliced thinly), need to make garlic flavoured oil
Italian Herbs : 3-4 tsp.(Parsley, rosemary or mixed herbs)
Toppings : I used tomatoes, capsicum, onion, herbs and grated mozarella cheese



How To :
  • Take a big bowl, take warm water, sugar and yeast. Stir to mix well and let it rest for 10 minutes. You will see froth on top of the bowl, then you know your yeast is working.  
  • In a separate big bowl, take both the flours and mix salt and 1 tsp. of herbs to it. Now make a small well and put the yeast water in it. Slowly start mixing the flour and you will get a very sticky dough. Add 1and1/2 tblsp. olive oil now and mix with the sticky dough and knead some more, at least 10 minutes until you have a smooth dough.
  • Take a well-greased big bowl(so that your dough has space to rise) and place the dough in there, cover with a damp kitchen cloth and place the bowl in a warm place like closed microwave. After about 1-1.5 hr., you will see the dough has doubled and became soggy and sticky. Take out the dough on a floured surface and knead the dough for a minute or two, punching down to deflate the air inside it. Make a smooth and elastic dough.
  • Now take the baking tray you are using, grease it with olive oil very well. Now place the dough on the tray and with your finger tip and palm, spread the dough over your baking tray. Cover the tray once again with the damp kitchen cloth and place on a warm place for the second rise. This time we need not necessarily want the dough to double but rise to at least 50% more to its original size. 
  •  In the meantime, we will prepare our herbed olive oil. Heat 1tblsp. olive oil in a small pan.  Once heated then remove from flame, add chopped garlic, rest of the herbs. Mix well and herbed old is ready. 
  • Once the dough in tray is ready at distance of approx. 4 inches put dimples on the bread dough using your finger. Apply herbed oil allover the bread. Add your desired veggies and finally sprinkle some grated cheese. I sprinkled some chilli flakes too for some extra hotness. You are done.
 
  • Pre-heat oven to 180 degreeC and place the baking tray on a middle rack and bake for approx. 25 minutes or till upper crust turns nice golden brown.
  • Let the bread cool before slicing. 

Enjoy with a warm soup or make a sandwich or as it is..................... 

I served it with a warm Mix-Vegetable Soup, recipe will follow soon...........



 












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