Prawns in Mustard and poppy seed paste / Postu chingri

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Poppy seeds paste has a delicate and addictive taste to it. Now combine this with the delicate taste of Prawns….I know it does sound amazing. For Bengalis postu or poppy seeds paste is part of daily diet, but for a non Bengali it is usually used in rich and thick gravies. This is a very simple preparation without much spices etc …as many good cooks say that the best food is made with least number of ingredients.

Preparation time- 10 min

Cooking time- 10 min

Ingredients

Prawns- 500 gm

Poppy seed- 1 tbsp

Mustard seeds-                ½ tbsp

Onions- julienned 1 cup

Green chilli- 2

Panch phoron- ½ tsp

Turmeric Powder- 2 tsp

Salt as per taste

Mustard oil- 2 tbsp

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Method

Peel and wash the prawns. Marinate in turmeric and salt and keep aside. Meanwhile grind poppy seeds and mustard seeds with a bit of water to a paste consistency. Add around 2 tsp water to the paste. Keep aside. In a wok heat oil and fry prawns. Do not deep fry them; keep around 2 min each side. Drain on tea towel and keep aside. In the oil add panch phoron, and then green chili. Add onions and sauté for 2 minutes. Let them be caramelized and then add prawns to it. Stir so as the prawns are coated in the oil and then slowly add the paste of poppy n mustard seeds. The trick here is to not stir the watery paste as it will help the bitter mustard seed shells stay at the bottom. Stir in the whole paste along with some water and add salt. Allow it to boil and then simmer for 1 minute. Enjoy with hot rice.

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Prawns in Coconut Milk /Chingri Malai Curry

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Prawns are definitely a delicacy and favorite of many esp Bengali’s. My husband begs to differ, he prefers to stay nose diving distance away from sea food and aromatic fishes (tch tch). So when it comes to authentic Bengali fish dishes I eagerly await for my in laws to arrive. Hilsa and prawns are my Mil’s favorite so last evening when I saw some good prawns at fish market had to grab them for her. This was my first solo attempt with prawns and I was definitely scared. Didn’t want to butcher the delicate taste of the amazing prawns but they turned out really good (ask MIL). Prepared them in two ways, the other one being cooked in poppy n mustard seed paste.

Preparation time- 10 min

Cooking time – 15 minutes

Ingredients

Prawns- 500gm

Mustard oil / vegetable oil- 2 tbsp

Green chili- 2

Onion chopped – 1 cup

Ginger onion n garlic paste – 2 tbsp

Coconut Milk- 1 can

Bay leaf- 1

Turmeric powder- 2 tsp

Salt as per taste

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Method-

Peel and wash prawns. Marinate with turmeric and salt and keep aside. Heat oil in wok and fry the prawns for 2 min on each side. Do not deep fry them. Drain them out on tea towel. In the oil add slitted green chili and bay leaf. Then add chopped onions, saute till golden brown and then add the ginger garlic paste. Saute till for 2 minutes, slowly add the coconut milk to it. Season with salt and allow it to come to a boil. Add the fried prawns and simmer for 2-3 minutes. You can add 1 more green chili at this stage if you like it spicy. This curry has very subtle taste and not a spicy one. Enjoy with steaming hot rice.

 

Eggless Almond and Custard powder cookies

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These cookies were inspired by Fauzia M Afif’s custard cookies. I initially thought of going the same way but by the time I pinged my hubby saying I’m planning on making them he was like- “just custard cookies ” and here I would sincerely like to mention that when it comes to his regular food my hubby prefers the simplest the best. But give him snacks, midnight munchies or dessert (which he is not so fond of) he is nowhere near simple. So I thought of adding almond essence and then garnishing with finely chopped almond with a hope that it might click. I kept my fingers crossed till he was back from work, served it with tea, and was actually relived to get the nod from him. This might not be the perfect version but it is quick , delicious and sure is a hit. Did I forget to mention in the whole drama that these are egg less? Well I used milk to bind the flour so the cooking time stretched a bit extra but the texture is almost same.

Preparation time- 10 minutes

Cooking time- 20 minutes

Ingredients-

Custard powder- ½ cup

All purpose flour- 2 cups

Butter- 250gm

Castor sugar- ½ cup

Almond essence- ½ tsp

Finely chopped almonds – ½ cup

Milk – ½ cup

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Method-

Mix custard powder and flour in a bowl. Cream sugar and butter along with almond essence in a separate bowl, once the sugar is incorporated mix the flour mixture. Work on the dough by adding tsp of milk to bring the dough together. Wrap it in cling film and refrigerate it for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare the baking tray. You can use baking sheet / parchment paper or grease it with simple butter and sprinkle flour on it. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin and using a cookie cutter cut as per desired shape. Place it on the tray, sprinkle the almond on top of the cookies and seal it off by brushing some milk carefully on the top and the edges (this gives the golden brown color). Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Dhokar Dalna – A Savory Bengali dish

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This dish has been an all time favorite of my father in law and he made sure I had a taste of its authentic version during my stay at my in laws place in West Bengal. This dish is very common in Bengali household and each house has it’s different version. The base or Dhokar is almost like Dhokla which is a very common Indian snack. Dalna is gravy which in this dish is a bit thin as the dhoklas tend to absorb liquid.

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Preparation time- 10 min

Cooking time- 45 min

Yield- 4 people

Ingredients-

Chana dal / Bengal Gram – 1 cup soaked overnight

Ginger – 1”

Tomato- 3

Green chili- 4

Eno – 1 sachet

Salt- as per taste

Turmeric powder- 1 tsp

Panch phoron – ½ tsp

Mustard oil- 1 tbsp

Bay leaf-1

Soybean oil- for frying

Dried red chili- 2

Sugar- ½ tsp

Water- 2 cups

Method-

Grind the soaked Chana dal with half ginger and green chili. Make a smooth batter but not loose batter. Grease the steamed tin and pour the batter. Add salt, turmeric and ENO. Mix quickly and place it in the steamer. Cover and steam for 20-25 minutes. Remove from steamer and keep aside. Invert it onto a flat tray and cut small square pieces. Be careful as they are not only hot but also can break very easily. Heat the oil in a pan and fry them carefully lifting and rotating using a tong. Fry till crisp light brown and place them on kitchen towel so get rid of excess oil. Grind tomato, ginger and green chili to a smooth paste. In a separate pan heat mustard oil, add panch phoron, sugar, bay leaf, dried red chili, sauté and then add turmeric powder, mix and then add the pureed tomato paste. Sauté and let it cook for 5 minutes. Add water, salt and let it simmer for 7 minutes. Add the fried dhokar’s to the gravy and cover it. Cook for 2-3 minutes and it’s done.

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Apricot Upside Down Chocolate Cake

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It’s again birthday month in my family. Today is my husband’s official birthday (sounds funny lol) and two days back was my brother in law’s birthday. On 10th is my sis in laws bday so yes another cake is in pipeline. This cake I had made on my brother in law’s birthday but my husband missed it so made it again today. He is really fussy when it comes to eating fruits, so fruits in dessert are the only way I have been able to sneak up fruits in his diet. I replaced brown sugar with Jaggery Sugar for the sticky taste, it definitely worked.

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Preparation time- 10 minutes

Cooking time- 40 minutes

Ingredients-

Apricots- 250 gm

Brown sugar / Jaggery Sugar- ½ cup

Star anise- 1

Butter- 1 cup

Castor sugar- ½ cup

Vanilla essence- ½ tsp

Eggs- 3

Flour- 2 cups

Cocoa powder- ½ cup

Espresso Coffee powder- ½ tbsp

Baking powder- ½ tbsp

Milk- 2 tbsp

Method-

Line the cake tin with parchment paper; preheat the oven to 180°C. Wash the apricots, remove the stone and slice them. In a saucepan add apricots, sugar, ½ tbsp butter and star anise. Make a caramel with occasional stir till bubbles form on the surface and apricots are completely coated in the syrup. This will take 5-8 minutes. Remove the star anise, line the apricots in the cake tin as per the design you wish on the cake top and pour in the caramel. I did in circular motion (requires a lot of patience). Cream butter and sugar and then add eggs gradually to a fluffy mix. Add vanilla essence; sift flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder and baking powder together in the egg mix. Fold together and add milk if required to loosen the batter. Transfer to the apricots lined cake tin and layer the batter smoothly. Bake for 25- 30 min or till the skewer comes out clean. Allow it to cool for 10 minutes. Get the cake out on the serving plate carefully as the juice and caramel would spill out once inverted on the plate. Make sure the serving plate is the edged one to contain the caramel and juice.

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Versatile Blogger Nomination

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This is my first ever nomination on Word press and many thanks to SandraDanby. She has been a regular supporter to this amateur food blogger whose blog is not even a year old. I have followed her blog regularly as I really appreciate and like to read her views and her take on the book she reviews. I’m eagerly waiting for her book Ignoring Gravity – http://michelleclementsjames.com/2014/06/01/ignoring-gravity-by-sandra-danby/ to come to India soon .

I’m not much of a versatile person, or it has been the opinion of my loved ones as they see me very stubborn. But yes this blog has helped me focus on Cooking in a different manner and opened the Pandora box for me. Now it’s almost been a year that I take this task of cooking the recipes to the T and even taking care on the presentation part (which has not improved till date but I’m working on it). My inspirations have been the following fellow bloggers and the entire nominated are not into cooking but looking at a life with prism view.

Please see the following rules for this award-
Include a link to the blog of the person who nominated you.
Nominate 15 bloggers to receive the award, with links to their blogs.
Share seven things about myself.

Corina- http://photocory.com/ – Her perfectly described and beautifully photographed chronicle of Europe .

Georgina- SteppingoutofPain – Not only her blog name inspires but also her posts and her take on brighter aspects of life.

Lisa- http://nwframeofmind.com/ – I can spend an entire day on her blog’s archive

Sandra- http://sandradanby.com/ – her blog makes you feel like running to the bookshop

Madhu- http://theurgetowander.com/. I always believe a picture is worth a thousand words. Her sojourns through the various parts of the world including viewing the moments captured by her lens of my favorite city Kolkata are great.

James and Terri Vance – http://gallivance.net

and Josh and Malinda – http://squeakywhale.wordpress.com/

– Beautifully captured, aptly described pictures and blogs that vary from art to architecture, from history to current affairs and yes their visit and focus on so many things that are in my bucket list too.

Shivaay Delights – https://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/54752941/ her take on global cuisine with Indian roots , beautiful presentation and yes an encouragement to many fellow bloggers whom she introduces from time to time.

Hannah – http://ohheyiceland.wordpress.com/ all I can say is I envy her.

Sonal Gupta – http://simplyvegetarian777.wordpress.com/  Her endless list of amazing and mouth watering vegetarian recipes.

Pat Geyer- http://rantingchef.com/ – I always look forward to his posts.

Lillian- http://sugarandcinnamon.com/ Her take on Vegan and Gluten free food with delicious recipes.

Sara – http://aboutaddisababa.wordpress.com/ – From History, to culture, to Food and nature, her blog captures all the essence of Addis Ababa.

Daniel – http://breadcakesandale.wordpress.com/ – Read his post about the tour to local brewery and yes really good bread recipes.

http://365thingsiloveaboutfrance.com/ – Needless to say – France through his lenses.

 

Seven things about me –

I live for sweet things I guess evident from my blogs name

I took to cooking more seriously since I lost my life’s balance due to slip disc surgery.

I’m a movie buff and can watch Pretty Woman, Sabrina, Roman holiday, Runaway bride and many more umpteen times….let me cut it short…Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck, Humphrey Bogart, and many more from the Black and white era.

I’m an engineer by qualification and took to Human Resource and Training as profession.

My hometown is Jaipur and I always, love to see a tourist’s perspective when they visit my city.

I’m a vegetarian and took to eating Non-veg for a brief period of time. Nevertheless it helped me understand the taste and now helps while I cook for my husband who is a Pure Non-vegetarian.

I love to travel but due to my surgery have been grounded for quite some time. Looking forward to spread the wings again soon.

Happy Birthday Jam Gems cookies

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It’s my brother-In law’s B’day today and he is still a fan of Gems (who am I kidding…we all are, different names same format…gems for us in India. MnM’s for others). I had planned for Chocolate dipped cookies with Gems…but last minute….no chocolate (what a crime I know). So used the same shortbread cookies recipe and quickly made Cherry Jam to top the biscuits. Initially had planned to sew all of them together with ribbon to form a garland but with jam topping not possible so, just plated them like that. Smile on my sis-in law’s face and the twinkle in the eyes of the birthday boy was sufficient to say they were good to go.

Preparation time- 15 min

Cooking time- 35 minutes

Ingredients-

Flour – 2 cups

Butter- 250 gms chilled

Castor sugar – ¾ cup

Cinnamon powder- ½ tsp

Cherry Jam – 1 cup

Gems / MnM – 1 ½ cup

Method –

Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Mix together flour, sugar, cinnamon powder and butter in either a food processor or if doing by hand rub all the butter into the flour and make a soft smooth dough. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour. Flour the slab and roll out the dough keeping the thickness ¼ inches. By using cookie cutter (I didn’t had access to them) cut the cookies and place them on prepared baking tray. Bake for 15-20 minutes or till the cookies are golden brown. Cool them on wire rack. If using fresh jam then you can use it straight away on the cooled cookies. If using refrigerated jam, melt it and then directly apply on cookies as per the shape. Dust with icing sugar and decorate with Gems. As the temperature here is touching 47°C, had to refrigerate the cookies till serving.