There is a new cooking technique available for frying food in the market nowadays. The machine is called Air Fryer. what that mean? That means, food is fried/cooked by hot air using no oil and almost oil. In today's life, our health is connected with our diet and lifestyle. Everyone is trying to eat healthy food avoiding fried food, sweets and so on to maintain their calories. If we can have our comfort food like deep-fried foods without using much oil or almost no oil, then there is no harm and we can enjoy our favorite deep-fried food in a healthy way.

  In an air-fryer, the hot air technology works in such a way that food is not only cooked using no oil or 1 tblsp. of oil, but it also expels excess oil from the food. You can also grill or bake food inside an air fryer. So you can only gain from this food machine. So go ahead and buy one immediately.

I'll give you an easy recipe today to try out in Air Fryer...Delicious and moist Chicken Tikka. This I have made using only 1 tsp. oil.

You Need :
Chicken Breast : 2, (~ 500 gms.)
For marination ::
Ginger-garlic paste : 1 tblsp.
Green Chilli Paste : 1 tsp.
Turmeric Powder : 2 tsp.
Red Chilli Powder : 2 tsp.
Coriander Powder : 2 tsp.
Garam masala Powder : 1 tblps.
Lemon juice : 1 tblsp.
Yogurt/dahi : 2 tblsp.
Gram flour(besan) : 1-2 tblsp.
salt to taste
Kasuri Methi(dried fenugreek leaves) : 1 tsp.

Oil : 1 tsp.(to be applied during air-frying)

How To :
  • Cut the chicken breasts in small to medium sized chunks. Take all the ingredients listed under "Marination" in a big bowl. Mix everything well and marinate the chicken pieces with this marination. Keep the bowl refrigerated for at least 1 hour, more the merrier.
  • Prepare your air-fryer by pre-heating it in 180 degreeC for 10 minutesby setting the timer for 10 mins. when ready, place the marinated chicken pieces in the basket, drizzle 1/2 tsp. oil over the chicken pieces, place the basket inside the air-fryer and set the timer for 25 minutes. Check after 10 minutes and turn the chicken pieces to the other side, drizzle rest of the 1/2 tsp. oil over the chicken pieces. Oil doesn't let the chicken pieces get dry into the machine.
  • Then cook the other side for rest of the set time or until the chicken pieces turn slightly brown from all sides. 

You can also bake Chicken Tikkas in oven and make similarly delicious chicken here for oven baked version HERE.  

   Ladies Finger is such vegetable which is loved by most of the Indians. Lady finger (Okra) has been a part of Indian cuisine for ages. Its rich fibre content is what mainly contributes to its benefits.
Here are some of the nutrients that contribute to the benefits of lady finger. Dietary fiber (9 %), folate , pyridoxine, thiamine, Vit C, Vit A, Vit K , copper, calcium , potassium , iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc and phosphorus.

Here are some of the health benefits your Ladies Finger provides you.............
1)  WEIGHT LOSS - The low calorie content of Okra (30 kcal / 100 gm) and its high fibre content make it a suitable food for weight loss. It provides minimum calories and its high fibre levels help in keeping you full for longer.
2)  HEART DISEASE -  Okra contains soluble fibre pectin. Pectin helps in lowering bad cholesterol and prevents atherosclerosis by helping in elimination of deposited cholesterol and clots.
3)  IMPROVES DIGESTION -  The fibre content of lady finger helps in better digestion, and regularization of bowels.
4)  IMPROVES IMMUNITY -  Another important benefit of lady finger is that it contains Vitamin C which helps in improving immunity.
5)  ANEMIA -  Lady finger contains iron and folate and Vitamin K, nutrients that help in treating and avoiding anaemia.
And many more.................

This one recipe I cook the most when I tend to cook Ladies Finger at home. Bhindi Do Pyaza, it's a North Indian spicy stir-fried dish made with okra/hindi/ladies finger and double the amount of onions. In hindi, "do" means twice or double. This curry uses double the amount of onions than what is used ina curry usually. It's a must try dish if your love ladies finger. The way of cooking and both ladies finger and onions stir-fried with tomatoes, it's just a match made in heaven. Usually I only use ladies finger in this curry, but for experimentation, I used potato this time and It tasted great with rotis. SO sharing the recipe with you......but you can only use ladies finger and make the curry same way as it is.

You need :
Okra/Bhindi : 250 gms.(10-12 nos.)
Potato : 2, medium
Onions : 3, medium, thinly sliced
Tomato ; 2, medium
Ginger paste : 1 tsp.
Green Chilli :1, chopped
Cumin seeds : 1 tsp.
Turmeric Powder : 2 tsp.
Red Chilli Powder : 2 tsp. or to as required
Salt to taste
Oil : 3 tblsp.
Amchur or dry mango powder : a pinch or 1/4 tsp. [optional]

How To :

  • Wash whole ladies finger/okras. Pat dry and then cut them into halves. Similarly, cut the potatoes also lengthwise. Also cut the onions lengthwise.
  • Heat 1 tblsp. oil in a pan. Fry the cut potatoes and okras with a pinch of salt added, one by one in a pan till they are half done. Keep aside.
  • Heat 1 tblsp. oil in the same pan, temper with cumin seeds and chopped green chillies, then add sliced onions and saute them for 2-3 minutes in medium heat(do not let them change the color), then add chopped tomatoes. when tomatoes soften, add turmeric powder and red chilli powder. Mix well, lastly add ginger paste and saute for 1 more minutes. In there, add fried potatoes and okras and mix well with the onion-tomato mixture.  
  • Keeping the heat to medium-low, cover the lid and stir fry time to time till they are done but not overcooked. Lastly, add a pinch of amchur powder and mix well with the veggies. 
  • Remove from heat and serve immediately with rice or rotis or parathas. 
Tips for making the Bhindi Do Pyaza :
  • Always wash okras first, then wipe them dry and then cut them. Otherwise while cooking them, okras become slimy and mushy.
  • It's a stir-fry dish , so do not add water.   
  • You can avoid adding the amchur powder as we already added enough tomatoes but it's up to you. I like a little sourness in this curry.

         It's that time of the year again when whole India will lit up like a fairyland. yes, It's Diwali, the biggest festival of India, we are expecting in 10 days. That means every family will gear up to buy gifts for every family members and relatives. Diwali time means painting the house or giving house a new makeover like we dress up in new clothes. And also Diwali means for Indian families, making different types of sweets at home for loved ones. We feel great pleasure serving our families fresh home-made delicacies to our families, it's all part of the celebration.
       At the same time, if the sweets or desserts we make gives lots of nutrition to our families, that gives us double pleasure. Laddoos are very common sweets made during Diwali. I happened to find my favorite Lion Dates which had offer of  BUY1 GET 1. I immediately picked two packs and then this idea of making dates laddoo came to my mind.  I made these Dates, Oats & Nuts Ladoos for my family. I made laddoos with dates and added quick instant oats for extra crunch and walnuts and almonds for wholesomeness and covered the ladoos with Til or white sesame seeds. All the ingredients are full of fibre and good proteins. You can add other alternatives also in this laddoo like coconut or chocolate chips or your choice of nuts etc. Since dates are naturally sweet, you don't need to add any extra sweetner/sugar to these laddoos although you can if you want to. 
     This one laddoo will fullfill your dry fruits & nut requirements for the day. And it tastes great with all these goodness and crunch from nuts and sesame seeds. It's hard to eat just one. It's a total guilt-free and healthy snack which requires no elaborate cooking n stirring like other Indian sweets. I have not used any ghee or butter or extra sweetner in this recipe. You'll be hooked once you try it.

You Need : makes around 10-12 laddoos
Dates : 250 gms.
Instant Oats/oatmeal : 1 cup
Assorted nuts(almonds, walnut & cashews) : 1 cup, crushed
Til/white sesame seeds : 1/3 cup, to cover the laddoos from top

How To :

  • First de-seed the dates. Then chop into halves and take them in a microwave proof bowl and micro for 3-4 minutes or till they start to soften. This process will soften the dates enough. 
  • Heat a non-stick wide pan, transfer the softened dates to the pan and continue stirring it in medium flame. About 5-6 minutes later, you'll see the dates are becoming soft and mashed up. 
  • Now add crushed nuts and oats in there. Switch off the flame and try to incorporate the nuts and oats with dates. It'll be little sticky first but it'll be mixed with dates in no time.
  • After all of these are mixed up, transfer the content to a wide dish. In another plate, take til or sesame seeds. Now take a little amount of dates and nuts mixture and roll into a smooth ball on your palm. You can take a drop of ghee on your palm to roll them easily or can just avoid it. After you make a ball, roll it over the sesame seeds and keep aside. Make rest of the laddoos the same  way.


         Hope you are making these delicious and healthy dates and nuts laddoos this diwali. You can distribute these sweets among your family and friends as it's a common tradition during Diwali to distribute dry fruits to family and relatives to wish them good luck and good health. Also these sweets are easy to pack as they can hold their shapes and you can store these laddoos in room temperature for at least 2 weeks. So, enough reasons to try these gorgeous beauties this Diwali, isn't go ahead and surprise your friends.............they'll bless you for sure.
           Try these other Sweets/Desserts complied in one post from this blog or click my
RECIPE INDEX and go down to Sweets/dessert section for more options.

      Recently, Kolkata Food Bloggers was invited by the famous "The Biryani Company", situated near Mudiali Club, Kolkata. "The Biryani Company" who are famous for their Burp-less and low-fat Biryani running thier biryani take-away outlet for almost 2 years now. Recently they have opened a fine dining restaurant by the name of "Biryani Bistro" just beside their take-away outlet. They are serving Moghlai/awadhi delicacies with fusion of popular International dishes, cooked with bestest ingredients and by the health-conscious people behind it.

            The "Biryani Bistro" is the brainchild of owner Mr. Sougata Banerjee, who was a Professor and Management Consultant earlier and worked in Istanbul, Russia, Paris, Africa and many places Worldwide. It was his dream to open a fine dining restaurant one day, as he is a great cook himself and has passion for cooking and good food. His whole family is very passionate about food and very health conscious too. They have fulfilled their dream and created a dream place for foodies and serving food in a healthy way to people of Kolkata thru their new venture "Biryani Bistro", where authentic meets contemporary.  The USP of this restaurant is that they serve food cooked with best of the ingredients, using low fat and without using artificial colour or preservatives or MSG.

        Me and my friend, Urmi Ghosh, representing KFB, reached there and mesmerized with the warm and homely feeling of that beautifully decorated place. The restaurant is on the ground floor of their own house and has a very pleasant and homely touch to everything. The total dining space is decorated with art objects collection of the owner from around the world. We were warmly greeted by the PR, Gargi Neogi and Manager, Anupam Muhuri as we reached there. After some time, Co-owner  and wife of  Mr. Sougata Banerjee, Mrs. Sona Banerjee also joined us and she was explaining how they have started this place. Their intention to start up this restaurant was to serve people a variety of food but cooked in a healthy way. She was explaining how they have experimented each and every recipe in their kitchen to deliver a healthy menu in their restaurant. They have designed a menu where they serve mainly Lucknowi/Awadhi food fusioned with International popular dishes, like fondues, canapes, tacos, croquettes etc.
        Now, about the menu, as I mentioned above, you'll get authentic Awadhi delicacies as well as some fusions like Galawati Kebab on the bed of Paratha, Murg Tacos, Fish Croquettes, Veg and Non-Veg Fondues, Lucknow Canapes or Cottage Cheese coriander skewers. Another interesting food in their menu is Lucknowi Kebabs on a bed of Salads as a full meal idea if you are on diet. Their speciality is off course their light and fluffy Awadhi biryanis, cooked with just Sunflower oil and ghee not dalda and best quality saffron which is very essential for flavourful biryani, will make you crave for more and more. Other than this, you'll get to devour many Awadhi delicacies like Gosht Nihari, Murgh Champ, Murgh Bharta, Murgh butter masala like usual Moghlai delicacies. They have also vegetarian and sea-food delicacies as well in the menu. 

Food Review :

         While we were there, we got to taste their Murg Tacos, Chicken Banno kebab, Galawati Kebab on the bed of paratha, a no-carb salad with chicken Reshmi kebab, other than Awadhi Mutton Moti Biryani and delectable Phirni on dessert. No need to say that all the kebabs were cooked till perfection and Galawati kebeb was just melting in my mouth as soon as I took a bite. Salad meal was very refreshing and quite filling.

         By the time they finished serving all these appetizers, I was almost full, but still tasted their speciality biryani and it was just so light and just the right flavour, not heavy at all. I never had a Mutton Biryani in Kolkata where mutton had such a soft texture as this one, it was just melting in my mouth but still holding its shape just perfectly. It was just a more than perfect biryani for me. Rice was not covered with a thick layer of fat or there was not a strong odor of attar, it was light and fluffy, all the rice grains were just rightly cooked and had a sweet scent of Saffron. You'll feel full but still crave for more. I think all Calcuttan should try their biryani at least once. I say once because once you taste it, you'll hooked to it, just like I've become fan of their biryani. Biryani was served with a spiced mutton stock and a spiced buttermilk or Mattha.

Awadhi Mutton Moti Biryani @ Biryani Bistro  

     Similarly, Phirni was also just perfect, so flavourful, a well-balanced dessert where sweetness and flavour all got blended into a mouthfull of bliss.

    After we were done with the test taste, we met their Lucknowi Chef, chef Ajijur, a well-trained Lucknowi Chef, who is in this profession for years and by generations. We had to take a snap with the chef who can cook such an amazing Biryani. Thank you Chef and and thanks to all Biryani Bistro team for inviting us and for the great hospitality you have offered to us. For once we didn't feel taht we were at a restaurant, but felt like we have come to anyone's house.

 I strongly recommend all the people of Kolkata and to all my readers who reside in Kolkata or who are even living outside Kolkata, when you visit Kolkata, Visit this place once, you won't regret.

You can get there..........................
Biryani bistro : 24, S. R. Das Lane, Mudiali, Kolkata - 26
Visit their website :!biryanibistro/c8c9                                       You can also reach them here :
For free home delivery around South and Central Kolkata, call at 833 503 5757

      Who doesn't know about Sandesh, a bengali sweet made with just two ingredients and little bit of flavouring. One and the main ingredient is Channa or paneer, which is made by curdling the fresh milk, sugar is added in the freshly made channa/paneer and some flavouring like saffron or crushed cardamom and you have an awesome flavourful sweet with pure goodness of milk within an hour. I'm saying an hour because if you want to have a melt-in-mouth sandesh, you have to give an hour and a little bit of labour.
     The simplest kind of sandesh in Bengal is the makha sandesh (makha = kneaded). It is prepared by tossing the chhana lightly with sugar over low heat. When shaped into balls, it is called kanchagolla (kancha = raw; golla = ball). There are many varieteis of sandesh available with more complex process, some are flavored with essence of fruits, and some are even colored, and cooked to many different levels of consistencies. Sometimes it is filled with syrup, blended with coconut or kheer, and molded into a variety of shapes such as conch shells, fishhead etc. Another popular variant is Nolen Gurer Sandesh, which is made with Khejurer gur/nolen gur or date plum jaggery. It is known for its brown or caramel colour that comes from the nolen gur.

     Today I'm sharing the basic type of Sandesh making, which is called makha Sandesh, for a variety, I added some Tutti Frutti to add some color into the Sandesh. Tutti frutti is a colorful confection containing various chopped and usually candied fruits, or an artificially created flavouring simulating the combined flavour of many different fruits. You can skip adding tutti frutti and can follow rest of the process. My kids love to have these colorful Tutti Frutti Sandesh, try these for a change. 

You Need :
Milk : 1 liter, full cream milk, preferably
Lemon juice : 2 tblsp.
Sugar : ~ 1/2 cup, powdered
Tutti Frutti : 2 tblsp.
Green cardamom powder : 1/4 tsp.
How To :
  • To make Channa/paneer :: Bring milk to boil over medium flame. When it starts to boil, reduce flame to low. Add lemon juice gradually while stirring continuously. Within 1 or 2 minutes, milk solid and whey (liquid portion) will start to separate. 
  • When it separates completely, transfer it to a colander or a large sieve, spread some fine and clean cloth over it and drain the whey. Rinse paneer (chhana) under running water to remove the lemony taste. Tie prepared chhana in a manner so you can hang it. Squeeze it gently to drain some of the water and hang it for 30 minutes to drain the water. Do not hang it for more than 30 minutes otherwise channa will become dry.
  • Making Sandesh :: Untie and transfer solidified chhana to a big plate. It should be moist. If it is too dry, Sandesh will turn crumbly. You can add very little milk to knead the dough if you feel it's dry, Knead the dough for around 4-5 minutes with your hand or back of a small bowl. Add sugar and cardamom powder. Knead again for around 4-5 minutes till channa feels silky smooth. 
  • Transfer prepared channa to a heavy bottomed non-stick pan. Stir it continuously and cook it over low flame until mixture turns a little dry but still moist; it will take around 5-6 minutes. When you see that the whole thing is coming together and no longer sticking to the pan, turn off the flame and pour over a big plate to cool. Lastly, add tutti frutti, mix and knead little more until smooth.
  • Divide mixture into small portions of same amount and make round shaped balls from it. Take each ball, press it gently between your palms and flatten it a bit. You can use any garnish of your choice,like can place few pieces of chopped pistachios in the center and press it with your thumb or you can also use mold to give desired shape. 
  • Cool and serve. Consume it within two days and store in a refrigerator.

    Sending this to Kolkata Food Blogger's Durga Puja event. 


        Hindu's biggest festival of the year, Navratri/Durga puja is just around the corner and I just can't control my excitement. While North Indians celebrates Navratri for 10 days, us Bengalis celebrate Durga puja for 5 days with full enthusiasm and zeal. Durga puja is celebrate to welcome Divine power Goddess Durga with her full family in our abode for 5 days. In 5 days we live our lives to the fullest forgetting all teh problems of our lives. Actual excitement starts almost 2-3 months prior the festival, buying new clothes for the festival for the family and relatives, cleaning the house, make new paints on the wall- all these are part of the festival. Another thing that is very much part of celebration at my home and also in almost all bengali households is menu planning for all the 5 days of festival. If you want to know how Bengalis celebrate Durga Puja, then go thru my previous posts below.
         A blogger group I belong to, i.e., Kolkata Food Bloggers has also organised a "Durga Puja" festive event for the upcoming Durga Puja. Click on that link to check more such Veg and non-veg delicacies from allover the World.

         For today's recipe I choose to post a fish delicacy from Bengali Cuisine. The star ingredient or the fish of this recipe is everyone's favorite Pomfret Fish. This is one amongst many sea fishes that contains relatively high nutritional value. It is cited to be used in traditional Chinese medicinal due to the fact that it promotes healthy skin along with digestive health benefits. It may be considered good for your skin for its high vitamin A, vitamin B3, and vitamin E content; which give you what you need to fight off wrinkles, skin redness and maintain moisture in your skin. Sliver Pomfret is an excellent source of B vitamins including vitamin B12 and Niacin. Because of its high nutritional value, the price is quite high all the time. But Bengalis never think of prices when it comes to fish, specially during festive times. Therefore, the recipe I'm sharing today is often cooked in special occassions or festive time in Bengali households.
        This is a very common fish preperation of fish in Bengali Cuisine which we call as Kalia. Kalia is a Bengali cooking term which means a very rich preparation of fish, meat, egg even vegetables, using a fair amount of oil and ghee with a sauce usually based on ground ginger and onion paste and finally with a sprinkle of bengali Garam masala(a grounded powder of cinnamon, cardamom and cloves).
    This preperation can be made using any sweet water fish or sea fish. when using Pomfrets, this way of cooking brings out the best taste. so let's move on to the recipe............

    You Need :
    Pomfret fish : 2-3
    Onions : 2, finely chopped/grated
    Garlic : 3 cloves, grated
    Green Chillies : 2
    Ginger paste : 1 tblsp.
    Tomato : 1, medium, chopped
    Black Cumin/kalonji/Kala jeera : 1 tsp.
    Turmeric Powder : 2 tsp.(for cooking) + 1 tblsp.(for marination)
    Red Chilli Powder : 1- tsp.(as per taste)
    Cumin Powder : 1 tsp.
    Salt to taste
    Sugar : 1/2 tsp.
    Oil : 2 tblsp.(for frying fish) + 1 tblsp.(for cooking)
    Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing

    How To :
    • Wash and clean the fish well. Then marinate them with 1 tblsp. turmeric powder and 1 tsp. salt. Rub all over the fish and keep aside for at least 1/2 an hour. Make a paste of Ginger and 1 green chilli. 
    • Heat enough oil in a flat frying pan, place the marinated fish one or two at a time(do not overcrowd the pan) and fry them in medium heat from both sides until they are well browned. Remove and keep aside the fried fish. 
    • Heat 1 tblsp. oil in another pan or kadhai, temper the oil with black cumin and 1 green chilli slitted from the middle. When seeds crackle, add finely chopped onions and grated garlic, mix well and saute them for couple of minutes. Then add ginger and green chilli paste and again mix thoroghly with onions. 
    • Mix turmeric, red chilli, cumin powder and a pinch of salt with 2-3 tblsp. of water. After sauteing above onion-ginger-garlic for 1-2 minutes, add this spice mixture. In medium-high heat, saute the spice paste till oil seperates for about 2-3 minutes. Now add chopped tomatoes in  there and again cook until tomatoes get mixed in the spice blend well and oil seperates the masala(spice blend). 
    • Season with salt and add sugar now. Mix well and add 1 cup warm water in there. Cover with a lid and cook for about 7-8 minutes in medium heat or gravy thickens. I didn't cook till gravy thickens, kept a little thinner gravy, but it's upto you. Both the version has its own taste. Check teh seasoning before you remove the pan from heat. 
    • Lastly garnish with fresh coriander leaves. Serve with plain rice..........tastes just awesome.

    Here are some of my previous posts from where you can get to know about Kolkata Durga Puja with some yummy recipes :

    1. Insight of Kolkata Duurga Puja and Malai Kofta Curry 
    2. Significance of Saptami Durga Puja and Doi Maach

    This fish delicacy I'm sending to Kolkata Food Bloggers ongoing "Durga Puja special Recipe" event


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