Friday, April 18, 2014

Eggless Coconut Cake

I am a huge fan of Coconut. Even everyone in my family love to munch on fresh coconut slices, only one of my sons don't like to eat coconut. For him, he can live on cakes, not any other cake, just plain vanilla cake. So, I made this eggless Coconut Cake with vanilla flavour for him to give him the goodness of coconut. It was just awesome with tea and we all enjoyed it as a evening snack, kids even asked to pack for their school lunch-box next day. I was out of eggs that day, so tried the eggless version from Gayathri's blog, came out so soft, moist and fluffy. Thanks Gayathri for this awesome recipe.

I'll recommend everyone to try this guilt-free recipe of Coconut cake..just go so well with evenign tea/coffee
Ingredients : {Measure everything with the same cup}
All purpose flour : 1/2 cup
Wheat Flour : 2/3 cup
Freshly grated coconut/ dried coconut flakes : 2/3-1 cup
Butter/Margarine(room temperature) : 1/3 cup
Sugar(granulated) : 2/3 cup
Oil : 3 tblsp.
Curd/yoghurt : 1/3 cup
Milk : 1/3 cup
Baking powder : 1 tsp.
Baking Soda : 1/2 tsp.
Vanilla essence : 1 tsp.

How To :
  • Preheat oven to 175 degree C/370 degree F. Grease your baking tray with oil/butter and sprinkle little flour allover the baking tray. Dust off the excess flour from the pan and set aside.
  • In a bowl, take wheat flour and APF, add baking powder and baking soda. Mix well and set aside.
  • In a big mixing bowl, take butter, oil and sugar. Beat till creamy, then add curd, milk and beat again till creamy. Add vanilla essence and just stir to mix. Now slowly add flour mixture little at a time and beat to mix. This way, mix all the flour mixture and beat. You can add little more milk if needed to get a creamy batter. Finally,a dd grated coconut and mix well in the batter. Do not over beat.
  • Now pour the batter in the prepared baking tray and bake for about 40-50 minutes or till a toothpick inserted, comes out clean. Invert cake on a wire rack and cool.
  • I didn't frost the cake, but if you wish can cover with a easy frosting.

Try this easy-to-make cake and give your family a happy surprise.

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Echorer Dalna (Bengali Raw Jackfruit Curry)

    All bengalis are now enthusiast about the Bengali New Year which is on 15th of April this year. The current Bengali year is 1421. The Bengali year is 594 less than the AD. The first day is called "Poila Boisakh". In Bengali, Poila stands for ‘first’ and Boishakh is first month of the Bengali calendar.
   In bengal, the whole Boishakh (the first month) month is considered to be an auspicious time for marriages. On Poila Boisakh, people wear new clothes and meet with family and friends. Also, cultural programmes are being organized in every corner of the city, Kolkata. Young women wearing white saris with red borders and men in dhuti-kurta, take part in the Probhat Pheri(morning procession), where men, women, small girls and boys walk around the locality singing and dancing to some folk tunes in the early hours of morning to welcome the first day of the year. This day being auspicious, new businesses and new ventures are also started.
   Poila Boishakh is the beginning of all business activities in Bengal. The Bengali traders purchase new accounting book or halkhata and begins business only after offering puja. Mantras are chanted and shostik ("Hindu swastika") are drawn on the accounting book by the priests. Long queues are to be seen in front of the temples to seek the blessings of the almighty on the first day of the year.
 After all these, comes the part which any bengali can't skip, indulging in delicacies are cooked on the first day to welcome the new year. As you know Bengalis are synonymous to fish and meat, but we have so many Vegetarian delicacies, that people have no idea. "Potoler Dorma", "Doi Sorshe Phulkopi", "Dudh Lau", "Sukto", "Mochar Ghanto" are some of the veg delicacies we have along with many others. You can visit my Recipe Index for more such Bengali veg. preperation.
Today I want to share another such vegetarian delicacy which is only available on early summer days.

Echorer Dalna or Raw jackfruit Curry :

Echor as we call the raw jackfruit in Bengali. Jackfruit is rich in important nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium and many other nutrients. After the winter, fruits slowly start to come and with the onset of summer, it ripens. If you want to eat it raw, then this is the right time. Still you'll get teh raw jackfruit in market. For me, My in-laws have a big tree and we can pluck one or two whenever we want to eat them. I am not fond of ripe jackfruit, but I love the raw ones. Raw Jackfruit is also known as 'Gach Patha' in Bengal, which literally means "tree goat". Echor or raw jackfruit is compared to goat meat because its texture almost matches with the goat meat and the nutritional benefits are also the same. Actually it is cooked with the same spices like goat meat and the curry also tastes like meat only. So vegetarians who want to enjoy the taste of mutton without actually having it can have this curry.
Now lets head to the recipe :

Cutting of jackfruit :
Cutting jackfruit can be intimidating. If you want to eat it raw, but the one, which has small sized seed. That tastes best. First and foremost, spread a big newspaper on the ground. Put mustrad oil to your knife or any other cutting device, because jackfruit secrets a sap that is very sticky and also not easily washable. Also rub oil on both sides of your hands well. Cut into half and then take out the thick and spiky outer skin. Then cut the hard region in the middle as that part is not edible. After that cut into small cubes from the rest. If you have a raw jackfruit that has big seed in it, then take the seed out and there is a skin, covering over the seed, take that skin out and use the seed in the curry.
Another quick tip : when you cut a raw jackfruit, you'll see some sap got stuck to your knife. Place the knife over the flame of gas for a minute, then rub with newspaper, your knife will be clean in a jiffy.

Ingredients :
Raw jackfruit : 500 gm.
Potato : 2, medium, cubed
Onion : 2, thinly sliced
Ginger : 1" piece, grated
Garlic : 2-3 cloves, grated
Green chillies : 1-2, as per taste
Tomatoes : 2, chopped
Turmeric Powder : 2 tsp.
Red Chilli powder : 2 tsp.
Cumin powder : 2 tsp.
Coriander Powder : 1 tsp.
Bay leaf : 1
Cardamom : 2
Cloves : 3
Cinnamon stick : 1(1")
Cumin Seeds : 1 tsp.
Oil : 2-3 tblsp.
Salt to taste
Sugar : 1 tsp.
Ghee(clarified butter ) : 1 tsp.
Whole Garam masala : 3 cardamoms, 3 cloves & 1 Cinnamon stick - roasted and pounded together

How To :
  • Pressure cook the cut jackfruit pieces with a pinch of turmeric powder and salt until just done. Jackfruit cooks very fast. Drain and keep aside.
  • Heat oil in a pan, fry the potato cubes till golden brown and keep aside. Keep aside. In the same oil, temper with bay leaf, cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon and cumin seeds, when they start to crackle, add sliced onions and saute till onions turn brown. Add grated ginger-garlic paste and green chillies. Saute for a minute.
  • Then add all powdered spices along with chopped tomatoes. Add 2-3 tblsp. water and cook teh spices well till tomatoes softens. Add cooked jackfruit and fried potatoes in there. Season with salt and sugar. Then add just about a cup of hot water in there and let them soak the juices, covered with a lid. Check time to time and stir in between.
  • When water evaporates and jackfruit and potatoes are cooked well, add ghee and roasted and pounded whole garam masalas. Mix everything well in the curry. Cook for another minute or two and then remove from heat. 

Serve with freshly cooked hot rice..............................

I'm sending this recipe to Kolkata Food Blogger's Ongoing event : "Poila Boisakh-Veg negali Dishes"

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Kashmiri Dum Aloo

 Today I'm going to take you on a ride to a very aromatic cuisine of India, Kashmiri Cuisine. What comes to your mind first when we talk about Kashmiri Cuisine, yes, Kashmiri Dum Aloo. Today, I'll share the authentic(hopefully) recipe of Dum Aloo.
   In kashmiri cuisine, onions and garlic are not used much unlike other Indian Cuisines. But dry ginger, saunf/fennel powder, saffron, turmeric powder and ghee are used extensively. Dry fruits, whole spice, nuts are some of the secret ingredients, which makes kashmiri cuisine so aromatic and irresistible. Yoghurt/curd is another thing that is also very common in Kashmiri delicacies to make them creamy. Even though Kashmiri Cuisine is known for its non-vegetarian dishes, there are some very popular Vgetarian dishes which are widely popular in allover the country.
  Kashmiri Dum Aloo is one such vegetarian dish which is loved by all. It is made using baby potatoes cooked in yoghurt gravy with fennel powder and ginger powder as the main spice ingredient. Kashmiri red chilli powder is used to make it spicy and red in color. It has got its name Dum Aloo bacause potatoes are cooked in Dum method(in sealed container) in this recipe. The creamy and spice laden Dum aloo we get in restaurants, is not the authentic one. In the authentic Kashmiri Dum Aloo, very few chosen spices are used and is cooked in Dum method and the gravy should be nicely coated all potato pieces. It is a no onion no garlic recipe and it goes well with any Indian flatbreads, like naan, roti or freshly cooked hot rice.

You need :
Baby Potatoes : 500 gms.[If you do not have baby potatoes, can use big potatoes also]
Kashmiri red chili powder : 1 tblsp.
Fennel seed/saunf powder :  1 tblsp.
Dry Ginger/saunth powder : ½ tbsp[if you don't have dry ginger powder, use 1 tblsp. ginger paste]
Curd/yogurt, beaten :  4-5 tblsp.
Asafoetida/hing : ¼ tsp.
Cardamoms : 2
Cinnamon :  1 inch stick
Cloves: 2-3
Black peppercorns : 4-5 nos.
Caraway seeds/shahjeera :  1 tsp.
Oil(mustard oil) : 2-3 tblsp.
Salt to taste
Pinch of shah jeera for garnishing

How To : 
  • Wash and parboil the potatoes, just boil till they are 3/4 done. Cool and peel the potatoes. You can peel potatoes or can keep the skin, it's upto you. Then a very important and must step, prick the potatoes with a fork or toothpick, so that potatoes can absorb all the flavours of the gravy. 
  • Sprinkle 1 tsp. turmeric powder and a pinch of salt on all the potatoes, keep aside for 10 minutes. Roast the fennel seeds on a hot tawa and dry roast them, do not let them change colour. Cool and grind into a coarse powder.
  • Heat 1-2 tblsp. oil and saute the potatoes till golden brown. Remove and keep aside.
  • Heat 2 tblsp. oil for cooking in the same pan, add cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, black peppercorns and 1 tsp. shahjeera and let them sizzle. Then add asofoetida and kashmiri red chilli powder. 
  •  Add 2-3 tblsp. water in the pan, so that red chilli powder doesn't burn, now you have a red color gravy, lower the flame or remove the pan from heat and add the beaten curd, because heat can curdle the gravy once you add the yoghurt.
  • Now add fennel powder, dry ginger powder if using(I used ginger paste as I didn't have ginger powder) and mix well. Add the fried baby potatoes and mix well with the prepared gravy.
  • Add about 1 cup of hot water and season with salt. Cover and check the steam should not release. The gravy should be dum cooked. Lower the flame and let it slow cook on dum for about 10-12 minutes, so that the potatoes can absorb all the flavours from the spices. Remove when you have a thick gravy nicely coated all the potato pieces.

Serve hot with naan, roti or rice and enjoyyyyyyyyy......................

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Mouri mangsho (Fennel Flavoured Chicken Curry)

  Today I'm here to share a very distinctive traditional bengali recipe of Chicken, fennel flavoured Chicken or Mouri(fennel in bengali) Mangsho. Traditionally, mutton is mainly used for this recipe, but chicken is another variety which I ate in my friend's house. For a long time I looked for the recipe, then finally I found a co-blogger's recipe on web, who is also a good friend of mine, Soma of eCurry. I can totally rely on her recipe with closed eyes and this time also I was right. I totally followed her every step and no doubt the end result was something very distinctive. Fennel seeds are highly aromatic and flavourful. It has many medicinal properties, a good digestive being the very important and first one. In India, at homes and in restaurants, it is used as a after-meal digestive and sometimes, sugar-coated, or un-coated and slightly roasted fennel seeds are some of the varieties used as a mouth freshner.

Let's jump on the recipe now :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

You Need :
whole chicken : 1 kg, cut into medium sized pieces
Potato : 5-6 pieces, cut into big cubes
Mustard Oil : 4 tblsp. (for cooking)
For marinade :
Thick Yoghurt : 3 tblsp.
Turmeirc powder : 2 tsp.
Red chilli powder : 2 tsp.
Salt : 1 tsp.
Mustard oil : 1 tsp.

For cooking :
Bay leaves : 2
Green cardamoms : 3-4
Cinnamon stick : 1(1")
Cloves : 3-4 
Black Peppercorns : 7-8 nos.
Onions : 2, sliced or chopped
Sugar : 1 tsp.
Green chillies : 1 or , make a paste
Ginger : 2 inch piece, made into a fine paste
Garlic : 4-5 big cloves, made into a fine paste
Tomatoes : 2, big, finely chopped or pureed
Tumeric Powder : 1 tsp.
Red chilli powder : 2 tsp. or as per taste
Coriander powder : 2 tsp.
Salt to taste
Fennel seeds : 1 tblsp.
Cumin seeds/Shah jeera : 1 tsp.
Fresh coriander or mint leaves for garnishing

How To :
  • Wash chicken and pat dry. Then marinate them with mustard oil, salt, turmeric and red chilli powder for 30-45 minutes. After that add yoghurt and rub well in each chicken pieces. Keep aside for another 1 hour or more if possible.
  • Heat a tawa well, then lower the flame, dry roast shah jeera or cumin seeds and 1 tblsp. fennel seeds on it until you get some roasted smell. Do not let them brown or change color. Cool and grind into a coarse powder. Keep aside.
  • Heat 4 tblsp. oil in  a pan, fry the cubed potato pieces, which should be smeared with a pinch of turmeric and salt for 1/2 an hour before frying. Fry till they are lightly brown, then remove and keep aside. 
  • In the same oil, add slightly pounded green cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, black peppercorns and bay leaves. When spices start to splutter, add chopped onions. Fry till they are translucent for about 4-5 minutes, than add 1 tsp. sugar, caramelized sugar gives the curry a nice reddish brown color. Fry for another minute or so or until sugar dissolves. 
  • Then remove chicken pieces from marinade and add all the pieces in oil, fry for 4-5 minutes or until their rawness goes away. Then add ginger-garlic and green chilli paste. Saute for 2 minutes, then add turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder and the roasted cumin-fennel seed coarse powder. Sayte for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Now add left over marinade and tomatoes. Mix well with everything and in medium flame let the spices cook. Do noy hurry at this stage as this is the crucial step of cooking. In medium flame let it cook. Do not forget to stir and mix everything well together. When you see oil is seperating from the spices, then you know it is done. Chicken will also be half cooked by this time. 
  • Add about 1 cup hot water into it. Add salt and fried potato pieces, cover the lid and in medium flame let the chicken cook. When potatoes are just done and chicken pieces are also cooked, and you have your desired amount of gravy, remove from heat. 
  • Keep some amount of curry if you want to devour it with hot rice and if you want relish it with roti, naan or puri, then thicker gravy is more desired. It's upto you, I enjoyed my curry with piping hot rice. 

I'm linking this recipe to my ongoing event, "Spotlight : Indian Spice Tray- Fennel/Panch Phoron"
I'm asking my co-bloggers to send in their treasure recipe using this exotic spice. Please support this event as you always do.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Goan Coconut Rice and Chicken Xacuti

    Since then I've grown a passion for cooking, the passion for trying new recipes has also started along with it. I easily get bored cooking and eating the same dishes again and again. My hubby is a very simple eater, he doesn't need much changes, only it should be tasty, then he is fine. This is only me who needs changes and why not, we live in a country which has infinite versatility, every corner of our country has an unique way of cooking and therefore, the taste also varies from region to region and every cuisine will surprise you with their uniqueness. And I am on a quest to taste all these versatilities in my own kitchen. If you follow my blog posts, you'll see I've posted many regional cuisines of India so far and same time I love trying International recipes too.
     Before I proceed to share two very popular recipes from Goan Cusine with you, let me give you a little insight of Goan cuisine too. Goan Cuisine, the food of Goa(located along India's West Coast), is a blend of many foreign influences it had during centuries. Mostly portuguese, who left their unerasable mark on Goan Cuisine. Goan cuisine, like the land itself, has many flavours and tastes with its vast treasure trove of culinary delicacies. Because of its location, in the coastal region, Goa has fresh fish and seafood in abundance. Therefore, fish(mainly seafood) and rice are the staple food there. The cuisine of Goa is mainly influenced by its Hindu origins and four hundred years of Portuguese colonialism - these two are the main communities living together in Goa and both communities have their own food habits, too. While fish is commonly eaten by both the communities, Christians eat also beef and pork which are taboo in most Hindu households. While Hindu Goan food does not have picked up any Portuguese influence, the Christian food has been influenced not only by the Portuguese, but also by other overseas settlements.

Goan cuisine, has a distinct and unique combination of spicy flavours. Goan food is simple but most, though not all, is chili hot and spicy. Traditional Goan cooking calls for plenty of muscle and time as grinding fresh spices is always an integral part of every recipe. With a wide variety ranging from prawns to sausages, chicken to beef, and numerous vegetarian dishes, Goa has some magnificent culinary delicacies like the Prawn Balchao and Sorpotel which have become famous around the world. Another World famous Goan recipe is Chicken Xacuti, which I've tried and I am bowled over the taste of unique spiciness of this dish.To go with Chicken Xacuti, I've made a very simple and mild coconut flavoured rice, Goan Coconut Rice..together it was a hearty and finger-licking delicious meal.

Chicken Xacuti ::::::::::::::::::::::
Xacuti is a curry prepared in Goa, with a wide range of fresh spices, including white poppy seeds, nutmeg, grated coconut and large dried red chilies. It is usually prepared with chicken or lamb and is commonly known as Shakuti in Portuguese. This curry has a burst of flavours, the spiciness from dry red chillies, richness from peanuts and poppy seeds, has a touch of freshly grounded spices like coriander, fenugreek, poppy seeds etc. and also a tangy touch of tamarind, what makes it a unique curry. So with no further delay, let's move on to the recipe...

You need :
Chicken : 500 gms. (with bones)
Onion : 2, big, finely chopped
Ginger : 2" piece, make a paste
Garlic : 3-4 big cloves, make a paste
Green chilli : 1-2, scraped, not pasted
Turmeric powder : 1 tsp.
Tamarind pulp : 2 tblsp. or tomato puree : 1/3 cup
Salt to taste
Oil : 3 tblsp.

Ingredients needed for Xacuti Masala :
Dry red chilli : 2-3(use as per your tolerance level, I used 2 small)
Peanuts : 1/3 cup
Scraped coconut : 1/2 cup
White Poppy seed : 1tblsp.
Fenugreek seed : 1/2 tsp.
Cumin seeds : 1 tsp.
Coriander seeds : 1 tblsp.
Nutmeg : 2 small sticks
Black peppercorns : 1 tsp.
Fennel seed : 1 tsp.
Cloves : 3-4
Cinnamon :1 stick
Cardamoms : 2

How To :
  • Preperation : (1) Cut the chicken into medium size pieces. Marinate the chicken pieces with turmeric powder, half of the ginger, half of garlic paste, scraped green chillies and 1 tsp. salt. Keepa side for at least an hour. (2) Dry roast on a hot tawa all the spices (except peanuts and coconut) until they are golden brown and nice aroma comes out. Remove and grind immediately. Keep aside. Seperately, dry roast peanuts on the same tawa until tehy are lightly toasted. Grind seperately with scraped coconut and make into a paste.
  • Heat Oil in a pan, add chopped onions and saute till they turn brown, then add rest fo teh ginger-garlic paste, salte for another 2 minutes, then add marianted chicken pieces and mix well with onion-ginger-garlic. Saute for 4-5 minutes, then add grounded spice powder and peanuts-coconut paste in there and mix well. 
  • In medium flame, saute till you see oil seperating from spices, it will take another 7-8 minutes. Then add 1 cup hot water, season with salt and covering the lid, let it cook. Stir occasionally to avoid burning, when the chicken is half cooked, add tamarind pulp, mix well and again cover the lid.
  • When the chicken is fully done and a nice thick gravy has coated all the chciken pieces, remoce and serve hot with some flavourful rice like pulao. I served it with Goan coconut rice. ***************************************************************************
Goan Coconut Rice : 

You need :
basmati rice : 11/2 cup
Coconut milk : 1 cup
Onions : 2, thinly sliced
cashew nuts : a handful
Black peppercorns : 8-10
Cloves : 4-5
Cardamom : 3-4
Cinnamon Stick : 1
Ghee(clarified butter) : 2 tblsp.
Salt to taste

How To : 
  • Wash the rice and keepa side for 30 minutes. Heat 1 tblsp. ghee on a pan, fry half of teh sliced onions and fry till they are brown and crisp. Keep aside. Also lightly fry cashew nuts. keep aside for garnishing.
  • Add 1 tblsp. more ghee in the pan, add cloves, cardamoms, cinnamon and black pepeprcorns, add rest of the sliced onions. When onions are translucent, add rice. Fry for 1-2 minutes, then add coconut milk. Season with salt and in low flame, cover and let the rice cook. Do not forget to stir time to time. 
  • If needed, you can add little more water in the rice. When moisture evaporated and rice are done, remove and serve garmished with fried onions and cashew nuts.

I'm sending these two delicacies to Kolkata Food Blogger's Current Event, "East or West- Food is the Best"

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