Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Palak Raita


Come Winter and my list of must have's spring out from my recipe diary. My little kitchen bustles with a variety of bakes with seasonal fruits and dishes with vegetables. I start the long list with one ingredient at a time and think of various ways to use it. The fruits end up in cakes, tarts etc and the vegetables get experimented in a variety of sabzi's, soups or eaten just like that, boiled and sauteed in a little butter.
My favourite way to eat spinach leaves, raw and fresh, is in this recipe of Palak Raita. The idea came from someone who shared a salad recipe on the same lines. Since then, it is a winter ritual to have this raita at least once. 
The sight of fresh bright green Spinach leaves in the vegetable patch of our house in Allahabad made me share this simple and humble recipe. Vanya, my daughter, and me have been enjoying ourselves feasting on fresh produce from the garden.
When making be careful to choose baby spinach leaves, tender and fresh. Wash them well and just roll them, a few at a time, and very finely slice them. Do not skip the roasted cumin powder as it gives a very distinct and important flavour to the humble raita. I like my raita with a little dash of sugar to balance the taste. Skip it if you do not like. 

Spinach leaves/Palak in the vegetable patch

Ingredients : No measurements here. All ingredients are as per your taste and requirement
  • Curd 
  • handful of baby spinach leaves
  • roasted cumin seed/jeera powder
  • red chilly powder
  • rock salt
  • sugar
Procedure : 

Wash spinach leaves well. Take care to choose the small baby leaves. Roll the leaves and slice them as fine as possible.
Beat curd with a fork and add sugar, salt and red chilly powder. If curd is thick add milk/water to thin it.
Add spinach leaves and mix.
Roast cumin seeds on a hot griddle and then grind them. Sprinkle it on curd and mix.
Garnish with some spinach leaves and with a sprinkle of red chilly and roasted cumin powder.

Happy Palak relishing
Amrita

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Easy Strawberry Icecream



Vaanya, my four and a half year old daughter, is at a 'I love everything Pink' stage. Pink is not just her favourite colour but the only colour she wants everything around her to be in. Her fetish is not just limited to clothes but even food. She chooses to eat her oreo biscuits in strawberry flavour because it is pink! If she could, she would have painted the entire city pink.
Last month when we got a box of strawberries home, this simple and quick recipe was on my mind for my darling pink daughter. As I thought, the mere all natural pink colour of this ice cream made her eat spoonfuls straight from the container. The super easy recipe worked perfect and I did not have to use any artificial colour. 


Ingredients : 
  • 1 cup whipped cream
  • 1 cup condensed milk
  • strawberries, chopped, as required
Procedure : 
Take a little less than 1/2 cup of whipping cream (to achieve 1 cup of whipped cream) and whip it to stiff peaks. 
Fold in the condensed milk and whip it again.
Fold in chopped strawberries and put the mixture in a freezer proof container and freeze for 3-4 hours. 
Scoop out and enjoy the soft serve type ice cream.


Happy Pink ice cream relishing
Amrita

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Sugar Cookies shaped as Gingerbread men


Vaanya, my four and half year old daughter, is at a stage where she is enjoying the world of fairy tales and stories. During the Durga Puja holidays, she got a scrapbook assignment from her Montessori to illustrate her favourite story. Vaanya chose to draw pictures of Goldilocks and the three bears. After the school reopened each story from the scrapbook was read in the class. 
Vaanya's classmate Alvira had chosen The story of Gingerbread Man. Alvira's mother, knowing my passion for baking requested me to bake some Gingerbread cookies for the class. The happy baker in me jumped on the chance to make these cute cookies. We decided not to go the traditional way of adding ginger and spices to the cookies and planned to keep them simple. 
These simple sugar cookies are inspired from Sayantani's blog and I have added a wee bit of cocoa powder to give them a little colour. The cookies are shaped in the Gingerbread man and are decorated with melted white chocolate. 
I was happy to see kids with their gingerbread shaped cookies merrily chomping on it. These cookies are a perfect Christmas treat.



Recipe source : A homemaker's diary

Ingredients : yields about 3 dozen cookies of medium size
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 200 gms butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
Procedure
Preheat oven to 170 degree Celsius.
Take butter and sugar in a bowl and beat till it gets light and fluffy.
Sieve all purpose flour, cocoa powder and baking powder.
Add egg and vanilla essence to the butter-sugar mixture and mix well.
Add the flour mixture in 3-4 additions and keep mixing. 
Knead into a dough and wrap in a plastic or cling wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Take a little of the dough and roll it to the desired thickness, preferably 1/3rd of an inch.
Cut cookies in desired shape and place them on a butter paper lined baking tray.
Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes.
Allow to cool.
Decorate the cookies with melted white chocolate piping or icing sugar mixed with little water. You may add food colour to make colourful icing.



Happy Cookie enjoying
Amrita

Monday, 14 December 2015

Chocolate Cloud Roll with Strawberry cream filling


Winter time marketing is so much fun as you get to see and buy such a fresh and colourful range of vegetables and fruits. Fresh strawberries boxes are nowadays seen with every fruit seller and with the prices now reduced to almost  half with what it started off, I decided to do a strawberry recipes marathon. 
My first thought was to simply fill a tried and tested Chocolate cloud roll recipe with whipped cream tossed with strawberries. This particular recipe has been made by me many times but has never been documented in the blog. Amongst all the baking books sitting pretty on my bookshelf, Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum is my favourite for many reasons than one. Firstly she gives scientific explanations to her bakes and her recipes are very detailed and easy to follow. Her Chocolate Cloud roll recipe is as delicate as it sounds and has a melt in mouth texture.
As Rose mentions, this is more of a flourless souffle than a cake. With no flour to give it a definite texture this cake is very very light and is just about sweet. I have usually filled the cake with a dark chocolate ganache but this time tried a whipped cream and strawberry filling. The cake can have endless fillings from a jam, chocolate ganache, coffee flavoured cream filling or just a plain whipped cream with fruits filling. 
Do not forget to follow the baking tin instruction which mentions a grease, line,  grease and then flour. This is very important as the cake otherwise will stick to your butter/parchment paper. 



Recipe source : Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Ingredients : I have reduced the recipe to 1/2 and baked in a 11X8 " jelly roll pan
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 3 tbsp and a 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar, separate 
  • 50 gms melted dark chocolate
  • a pinch of cream of tartar (optional)
Strawberry cream : 
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream
  • 4-5 chopped strawberries
Garnish : 
  • melted dark chocolate
  • chopped strawberries
  • icing sugar

Procedure

Preheat oven to 176 degree Celsius.
Grease your jelly roll pan and then line it with butter/parchment paper and then grease it again and lightly flour it. 
Take egg whites in a bowl and beat till foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat again till soft peaks form. Sprinkle 1/2 tbsp sugar and beat again till stiff peaks form. 
In another bowl beat 3 tbsp sugar and egg yolks for about 3-4 minutes till light and fluffy. Add melted chocolate and beat again till incorporated.
With a rubber spatula or a whisk, fold 1/4 of the egg white mixture into the egg yolk-chocolate mixture. Gently fold in the remaining egg white mixture.
Pour batter in the prepared tin and spread with the spatula. Bake for 15 minutes.
Take a piece of butter/parchment paper the size of the tin and sprinkle it with cocoa powder. Invert the cake on it and let it cool. Remove the parchment paper to spread the strawberry filling and roll the cake gently. 
Garnish with a dusting of icing sugar/powdered sugar, melted dark chocolate drizzle and chopped strawberries. 
Slice and serve.



Happy cake relishing
Amrita

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Cold oven Fig and almond tea cake



Winters are here and it is by far my most favourite season because it is the season to bake and indulge in all sinful good things. Baking in the holiday season is such a delight and is soul therapy. The fresh produce in the markets has pushed my lazy self to whip up some bakes and enjoy them.
On a recent trip to our fruit vendor, my husband Vishal spotted fresh figs. He was quick to point them out to me but I refused saying that they will be expensive. But Vishal knowing how much I love to bake with fresh fruits urged me to buy and use them. The box of figs sat in my fridge for two days before the thought of them getting spoilt made me push myself to start baking. 
A quick browse on the net led me to this cold oven tea cake recipe. I have heard of the cold oven baking method but had never tried it. Cold oven baking method is more popular with the pound cake recipe where putting your cake in a cold oven and then adjusting the temperature is believed to help make the cake dense and achieve a more crisp crust on the top. The cake is basically baked at low temperature for a long time in a cold oven which has not been preheated. 
As weird as the method sounds, it worked wonders for my experiment. My cake was, most arguably, the best one I have ever baked. The cake does not rise much which gives it a compact dense texture and the crust on top is to die for. I cooked my fresh figs with some sugar and brandy and used them in the cake along with roasted and chopped almonds. The fresh figs on top added to the figilicious experience. Pairing the slice of cake with our evening tea was just the right thing for this weather.  



Recipe source : Hungry rabbit. I have reduced the recipe to 1/4th and adapted it to yield a 6X3" cake loaf.

Ingredients :
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour + 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1/4 cup + 2tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut milk (I used Dabur Homemade tetrapack) 
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • a drop of almond extract(optional)
  • 3 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg
  • 8-10 almonds, dry roasted on a pan and chopped
Fig filling
  • 2 fresh figs, chopped
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp brandy or water

Procedure : 

Fig filing:
Put chopped figs and sugar in a saucepan and add brandy or water. Let it simmer on medium heat till the consistency becomes thick and the figs gets squashed. Cool.

Cold oven tea cake : 
Grease and line 6X3 loaf pan.
In a bowl, combine all pupose flour, cornflour, salt and baking powder.
In a small bowl, mix coconut milk with vanilla and almond extract.
Take butter and sugar in a big bowl and beat till it becomes light and fluffy.
Add egg and beat.
Now add the flour mixture in 3 additions alternating with the coconut milk mixture. 
Add the roasted and chopped almonds to the mixture and drop in little chunks of the fig filling. 
Lightly fold the mixture and pour batter to the prepared baking tin. 
Put the tin in the cold oven and adjust oven temperature to 170 degree Celsius for 30 minutes. Do not open the oven door in between.
Cool.
Garnish with some powdered sugar, fresh fig slices and chopped almonds. 


Notes

  • You may use dried figs instead of the fresh figs I have used for the filling. Just chop dried figs and use them in the batter.
  • Instead of coconut milk, you may use normal milk


Sending this recipe to Kolkata Food Bloggers ongoing event Baking Palooza 2015. Check out the page for some more exciting holiday bakes. 



Happy tea cake enjoying
Amrita

Momo Lover's Delicacyz..!

There is a word in the food world that started as a name of humble dish somewhere up in the deserted pocket on the Himalayan Range that now has become a culinary league by itself. Its a dish that now is universally loved by one and all, from young to old and people from all walks of life. It is one of the few dishes that one can find people selling as a street food to to all the way up at five star and fine fining restaurants. You must have guessed the name of the dish. Yes its the humble Momo.



My first thought, reviewing Momo Lover's Delicacys as a part of Kolkata Food Bloggers Team, was what can I expect and not expect for the outlet to offer.

There were two simple point for me to consider.

The first was how would a new outlet such as this, amidst zillions of others in the city, can place itself into recognition.

The second thought was if the momos at the outlet would be able to level or even breach the two other places in the city which I consider the best place that gives momos.

My first impression of the outlet as I approached it, situated at the parallel street from Gariahart Auto Stand (which was simpler to find than I originally thought). was the cleanliness and organization of the same.

I noticed that they had trade marked their brand, which a lot of other places do not even think about in the beginning.
Then I noticed that they had taken a lot of small details into consideration such as fire safety and having a clean looking staff to work.

We met up with the manager, and later the owner, who was very courteous. We talked a lot on how the idea sprout out in his mind while he was working for a job and then decided to quit and start this full time.

Moving over tot he menu card I was first of all quite amazed at the range of momos that they had to offer. We setteled for trying Mutton Momo, Fish Momo, Chicken and Veg Soya Momo.



This was the first time I had mutton momo. I never could imagine that we could have momos made from mutton also. It gave a very beautiful flavour. At the outset along with it the soup that was served as an ac-compliment was simply outstanding. It was one of the best momo soup that was served to me. Stock with a touch of lime leaves (that is generally used in thai dishes) gave a very beautiful flavour. In my opinion, the soup could have the ability to be sold just by itself without the momos and I would go back over and over just because of it.



The Fish Momo was outstanding. Very amazing fill of the minced fillets. It was interesting that the outlet made these momos in different shape to identify from one to the other.

The chicken momo was the true test as it was this that help me to compare it with other outlets. I expected it to have a very thin maida on the outside and with a lot of chicken inside. Of course there is a ratio to consider with the other mince as well but a lot of other places give more proportionate of onions than chicken. When there was a time when the price of onion sky rocketed I did notice some momo outlet mixing in huge amount of cabbage in place of onion. Nevertheless, in the mid segment market, outlet generally use a lot of onions/cabbage and just traces of chicken and sell them as chicken momos. At the Momo Lover's I was very impressed with the wholesomeness of chicken that they had filled and now I must admit that it now has become my third point in the city that gives really good momos.

The veg soya momo was very interesting as it had a beautiful mince of the soya chunks along with other beggies that go with it. Something different in a way that if I am given to have the soya momo, I would probably not miss eating a non veg momo. Certainly a lot better than just plain veg momo.

I am very thankful for the Momo Lover's Delicacyz for inviting us to relish their really amazing momos. It certainly is an outlet where they have announced their arrival and I am optimistic, given that they maintain their quality, they would be a great place to make a bee line all the time.

Happy Momo-ing

Vishal Tupper

Monday, 9 November 2015

Besan Ladoo


Its the season of festivals in India. The nip in the air is the indicator of a month long list of festivals falling one after the other. After all the fun and frolic and major binging during Durga Puja, we start afresh with the Diwali celebrations. 
Staying in Kolkata, we had the privilege as children to enjoy a month long holiday which started with the Durga Puja and ended with Diwali. Pre-Diwali preprations meant cleaning up every nook and corner of the house with great zeal by every member in the family. I remember as a kid I would love to scrub floors and feel elated at the tiny help I would provide my mother. Alongside, Grandma and mum would prepare all the Diwali goodies which ranged from sweet to savoury. I would love the job of making tiny cuts on the savoury 'Mathri'. By Diwali eve, our house smelled heavenly with Gulabjamuns, Balushahi's, Gujiya's, Mathri's etc and my personal favourite Besan ladoos. I remember relishing on these ghee laden balls of sweetmeat. 
Diwali nowadays is not the kind of Diwali I have grown up into. Its no more about making all the yummy sinful stuff and distributing it to all the neighbours. It is no more about the joy of hopping into all the neighbourhood houses and eating all the homemade yummies at their place. People have become lazy with time and prefer buying instead of enjoying the fun of making things at home. 
This Diwali, I attempted to bring back a slice of my childhood fun with these Besan ladoos. I have tried to give it a contemporary look with a little drizzle of chocolate. The pat on my back was my husbands question when he returned back from his trip to the Sunderbans, "Who gave these?" 



Ingredients : Makes 6 medium sized ladoos

  • 3/4 cup besan/gram flour
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar 
  • 3 tbsp melted ghee (or a little more if the mixture does not bind)
  • 1/4 tsp elaichi/cardamom powder
  • Silver warq for  garnishing
  • melted chocolate compound for drizzling
Procedure : 

Take a heavy bottomed pan and dry roast the besan on low heat for about 10 minutes or till the raw smell goes away. Keep stirring all along as it can easily get burnt. 
Add melted ghee and stir well. Keep stirring and cooking on low heat till you see the mixture binding well and leaving ghee. 
Remove from heat and add the powdered sugar and cardamom powder and mix well.
Allow to cool completely.
Shape them in round balls and place them in an individual wrapper or place them on a greased plate. 
Garnish with silver warq and drizzle the melted chocolate on top. 



After some major convincing my 'now camera shy' daughter agreed on getting some pics clicked while she enjoyed the ladoo just like I would do when I was her age. Circle of life, they say. 


This recipe is part of Kolkata Food Bloggers ongoing event "Dessert/Festive Dessert" where Sarani Tarafder is the featured blogger who blogs from Cocawind




Wishing you all a happy and safe Diwali
Amrita

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Crepes with Spinach Paneer filling


This Durga Puja turned out the best one for Vishal Vaanya and me as we had the lovely company of my sis-in-law and her family from Lucknow. We spent seven crazy days full of fun, non stop eating out and visiting beautiful places. It was more of a 're-discovering Kolkata' for me and I have replenished my love for the city. 
Park street, as usual, enthralled us with its beauty and I discovered some lovely restaurants there serving amazing food. Along with my niece, I enjoyed the street food served opposite Vardaan market from the famous Puchka's, Bhelpuri, Jhaalmuri and the irresistible Kulfi. With my sis-in-law, I discovered some amazing shops that I have never visited before. The Santiniketan trip was like a cherry on the cake. I was unaware that there exists such a relaxing and beautiful getaway from the city life. 
Well, everything good comes to an end and their short trip ended soon and now we are struggling to come back to our routine life. 
This particular recipe was tried a month back when I saw it on a tv show. I am a sucker when it comes to breakfast options and the fusion crepes shared on the program excited me. The healthy ingredients made the otherwise 'lazy Savoury experiment' person in me try them soon. 
I served the crepes with some balsamic vinegar and honey glazed beetroot. 
(To make them, take olive oil in a pan and add the chopped beetroot. Add balsamic vinegar, honey and soy sauce and let it cook. Adjust seasoning and serve.)



Ingredients : 

Crepes : 
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour (maida)
  • 4 tbsp besan (gram flour)
  • a pinch of turmeric powder and red chilli powder
  • salt to taste
Filling : 

  • two handfuls of spinach leaves, washed and finely chopped
  • 50 gms paneer, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup sweet corn kernels
  • a small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • salt to taste


Procedure : 

Filling : 
Heat oil in a pan.
Add jeera and as it splutters, add chopped onion.
Cook for a minute and add the chopped spinach leaves.
Cook for another minute or two and then add the crumbled paneer , sweet corn kernels and salt. 
Mix and cook for another minute. 
Allow to cool.


Crepes : 
Take all purpose flour and besan in a bowl. 
Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt and mix well.
Add water, as much as required, to attain a crepe like consistency. 
Heat a non stick pan and pour a little oil.
Add a ladle full of the crepe batter and let it cook.
Turn side and allow to cook.
Remove and let it cool to touch.

Take a crepe and make a slit from the centre.
Arrange the filling on the side next to the slit in a triangular manner.
Start rolling the crepe in a triangular shape with the filling till you finish the entire circle.
You may saute the rolled crepe on the oiled pan again to give it a glaze on top. 





Happy healthy indulgence
Amrita

Friday, 16 October 2015

Kheer tarts


Its that time of the year when Calcutta dresses up in its fineries to welcome Ma Durga. The little nip in the air and the fragrance of the Shiuli phool (night jasmine or harshringar) are the heralds of Durga Puja - a festival which is incomparable to others. The zest and enthusiasm to dress up in new clothes and visit pandals all across the city is seen in every Calcuttan irrespective of them being Bengali or not. The intricacies of the beautiful work done in Pandals makes everyone hold their breath and wonder at the hard work that has been put in, only to be demolished after the Puja is over. 
As with any other festivity, Durga Puja is also synonymous to great food. Grand plans are chalked out which includes pandal hopping and eating out. From street vendors to five star hotels, every place is packed up with people and each place tries to give the best and attractive offers.
Since the blossoming of Shiuli phool marks the beginning of the month of this festivity, I wanted to incorporate it in my picture shoot. Along with Vishal, my husband, we hunted down many flower vendors but did not find any. While buying some vegetables, I asked the lady vendor in Bangla, "Didi, shiuli phool kothaye pabo?"(Where will I find Shiuli flower?) She smiled and said, "Aamake aage bolte, aamaar badi samne koto phool maati te pode thake" (Why did you not tell me earlier. In front of my house, these flowers are found fallen on the ground) She was sweet enough to ask me to come the next day and collect it from her. And that is how I got these humble little fragrant flowers for the shoot!
The idea of this recipe has an interesting story too. Last month while visiting a Gurudwara, 3 hours away from Calcutta, we happened to cross one of the small towns called 'Kheerpai'.The name intrigued us all and we were contemplating the place to be famous for a certain kheer served in a pie form. Since I wanted the dessert to be bite sized, I experimented with these Kheer tarts. I was fortunate to find some nolen gur from last year in my fridge. You can try the same with normal sugar and enjoy this month of festivity. 


Ingredients :

Tarts : Makes 6-8 tarts
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 25 gms butter, cut in cubes, cold
  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp milk
  • cold water, as required for kneading
Kheer :
  • 500 ml milk, full cream
  • 1 rice, washed (I used Gobindbhog)
  • 2-3 tbsp nolen gur(date palm jaggery) You may use sugar or sugarcane jaggery

Procedure : 

Tarts : 

Take flour and butter in a bowl and rub the butter cubes with the flour till the mixture resembles breadcrumbs (in texture).
Mix in the powdered sugar and add milk.
Now add cold water 1 tbsp at a time and knead to get a smooth dough. Do not over knead.
Wrap the dough in a cling wrap or plastic sheet and refrigerate for half an hour. 
Take a little bit of the dough and press it against the tart mould. Starting from the center press out the excess dough and remove it. 
Take a fork and make holes on the dough in the tart mould. 
Refrigerate the tart moulds again for 10-15 mins.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius.
Place the tart moulds in the oven and bake for 10-15 mins.

Kheer : 

Pour milk in a thick bottomed pan and bring it to a boil.
Lower the flame and add the washed rice.
Let the milk cook, on a medium flame, stirring in between till it reduces to half its original quantity. 
Once the milk has thickened to the desired consistency, turn off the heat.
Wait for a couple of minutes and then add the grated/crushed nolen gur. Mix well. Adjust sweetness to your liking.
In case you want to use sugar, add it once the milk has thickened and still on the flame. 

Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.
Add a spoonful of the kheer in the tart shells and bake for 5-10 minutes.
Cool and garnish with some chopped pistachios, cardamom powder and some grated nolen gur.


This recipe is part of Kolkata Food Bloggers ongoing event : Puja week-Mishti special 



Happy Durga Puja
Amrita

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Sindhi Food Festival, Taj Bengal, Kolkata


An invite to a Sindhi Food festival at Taj Bengal, Kolkata, made me sit and wonder about my knowledge of their food. After all I am a Sikh, and Sindh (now in Pakistan) was once a province of undivided Punjab. Therefore, their food must be very similar to ours. At least that's what I thought before I began my quest to understand the intricacies of a cuisine which has influences from the invasions of Mughals, Arabs and Turkhans. 
My early memory of hearing the word Sindhi in relation to food was from my Grandmother which was for a vegetable variation of Kadhi. Punjabi Kadhi is more full bodied with onion and besan Pakodas in it while the Sindhi Kadhi which we used to eat was a lighter version with a variety of vegetables in it. Another dish I grew up knowing as a part of Sindhi food was their delectable breakfast dish called Dal pakwan. I would simply love the crispy pakwans paired less with the dal and more with the tamarind chutney my aunt would serve it with. And who can miss hearing a word or two about their Sai Bhaji. But that was just about it, my knowledge of Sindhi cuisine.
With invites like these it is naturally more of a learning experience for food lovers like us and I was happy to be there representing Kolkata Food Bloggers
The beautiful rural and rustic interiors of Sonargaon, the Indian restaurant at Taj Bengal makes you transport back to a village setting. The walls have been given a mud look, the vessels used are traditional and there is even a faux well which adds to the grand charm of dining there. 


While we waited for Chef Haresh Keswani who is a master in Sindhi cuisine, we were served a light and refreshing drink called Matho which is basically buttermilk with boondi. As I was telling my mom later on, basically a thin liquid version of a boondi raita. Drinks like these are very common in that part basically to beat the harsh heat. 



Out tables were soon adorned with huge and beautiful Thali's which were showcasing the choicest of dishes representing Sindhi food. Sindhi food as we learnt from the chef himself is basically very simple food with minimal spices.
For starters we relished on a simple Sindhi Fish fry and Sanna Pakora which was basically crispy vegetable fritters. 
Our vegetarian fare had stars dishes like the famous Sindhi Kadhi which personally disappointed me as it was nothing like the kadhi I have been eating. Chef Haresh enlightened us by telling that original Sindhi Kadhi is not curd based and is made only with besan. The Sindhi Sai Bhaji was a clear winner as I could see most of us finishing it off from our plates. This was a seemingly simple dal and spinach preparation. Another dish usually cooked as part of homely meals was the Tri dali Dal
Our Non-vegetarian dishes were the Handi Murg which to me was like a very homely cooked onion based Punjabi chicken dish. The Phote bhugal gosht was lamb meat cooked in a rich gravy and flavoured with cardamom. 
To pair the dishes we had Bhuga Chawaran which was rice cooked in caramelized onions giving it that lovely light brown colour. In the bread section we had Koki masale wari which was parantha with Sindhi masala. 
The Tamatan ji chutney (sour tomato chutney) was a lovely accompaniment with the dishes. 
For Desserts, we were served Baata jo Seero which is a broken wheat halwa with assorted nuts. Also served were Nariyal ji mithai and Moong dal halwa


On display were the mainstays of the Sindhi cuisine-dals, papads, wadis, makhane etc

Chef  Haresh Keswani
You can relish Sindhi food at Sonargaon, Taj Bengal as a part of their ongoing festival till the 13th September, 2015 as Lunch and Dinner.  
The vegetarian Thali is priced at Rs 1700/ + taxes
Non vegetarian Thali at Rs 2100/ + taxes
Sea Food Thali at Rs 2400/ + taxes

Amrita

Monday, 31 August 2015

Swiss Apple Roesti


Knowledge about food and food habits of specific regions intrigue me in a special way. My interest invariably lies in the understanding of the dessert of a particular region. The more I dig into it the more I realize that it such a vast area of interest, one which personally I am a big fan of. I keep hunting for dessert ideas from different countries and love to try them out in my humble kitchen. 
Swissotel, Kolkata had invited KFB for their Swiss National Day celebrations some time back. Celebration of such sorts are a great learning experience for us where we are exposed to authentic taste of the dishes and are educated about some traditional dishes from the region. We had the grand opportunity to have GM Mr Marco Saxer and Executive chef Mr Pranay Singh sit with us and talk about Swiss Food. Along with some other dishes discussed what enthralled me was the description of this dish called Swiss Apple Roesti. Mr Saxer was very particular about having this dessert on the menu and found a video on Youtube to help the chef make it. 
All of us were stunned by the simplicity and the flavours of this dessert. Crispy chunks of bread with apple pieces sauteed in French butter with a beautiful hint of cinnamon was truly a winner dessert for all of us. We were told that the French butter was specially imported for this dessert. It was served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and the dessert was drizzled with some vanilla sauce. 
I instantly knew that I just had to try this dessert at home. The high end French butter was replaced with the dairy white butter which is unsalted. Good quality red apples were bought for it especially and a loaf of brown bread was kept for 2 days to make it stale. The entire process takes hardly 5 minutes because all you need to do is throw in a large chunk of butter in the pan and get your bread crisped in it. Add in the chopped apples, sugar and cinnamon and you are done. 
The video is a must watch for the detailed and hilarious take on the traditional Swiss dessert. 
  
Recipe adapted from here : FX cuisine on Youtube

Ingredients : For 2 servings
  • 1 apple
  • 2 slices bread (stale) (I used brown bread)
  • 50 gms white butter
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar(or more)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder(or less)
  • handful of pomegranate kernels 
Procedure : 
Cut bread into bite sized squares.
Chop apples in bite size too after removing the seed and with the skin on.
Take butter in a pan and as it melts add the bread. Let it get crisp from both sides which can take 4-5 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the chopped apples and the powdered sugar. 
Mix in the cinnamon powder.
Sprinkle the pomegranate kernels on top and serve with vanilla ice cream. 


Happy Roesti Relishing
Amrita

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Chocolate Salami




Raksha Bandhan or Rakhi has been a fairly simple festival in my house while I was growing. Being Sikhs, we have adapted a lot of our customs from Hinduism and therefore we celebrate a simplified version of it which means no tilak and Pooja. I remember seeing my Aunt perform the morning fast before tying the sacred thread on my Father and Uncle's wrist but as children we never had to do that. As children, I would tease my younger brother that being a girl is so lucky as you get 2 gifts in a year, one on birthday and another on Rakhi. At home, Mom would make some bread rolls for breakfast and thus our Rakhi would be over with some sweets. 
This year, Vaanya, my daughter will get to tie a Rakhi on my nephew. I see a part of my childhood in her and am looking forward to see her enjoy the day with her little brother. She is naturally too small to understand the importance of Rakhi but I am sure with time she will cherish these moments just like me. 
This year I wanted to try a rather very simple sweet. Something which does not require much work and is done in a jiffy. Therefore I decided to play with these Chocolate Salami where there is no definite recipe and you can add just about anything that you want. 
Chocolate Salami or Salame di cioccolata or Salame de chocolate is a traditional Italian and Portuguese dessert which is made from dark chocolate, broken bits of biscuits or cookies, butter, eggs and alcohol like rum or port wine.
A misleading name, Chocolate Salami is named because of its appearance where the dessert is shaped like a log and is cut in roundels while serving.
I skipped the eggs and got an intensely rich, rum laden chocolatey goodness in this dessert. For a children's version I used milk chocolate and skipped the nuts and fruits. Instead I added some cake pieces, biscuits of my daughter's choice and some almond powder. 
This dessert has endless variations. Go ahead and enjoy making and relishing it this festive season.


Ingredients : Makes around 7-8 slices of the chocolate salami
  • 200 gms dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cream(I used Amul)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3-4 pieces of Marie biscuits or any digestive biscuits
  • 1/2 cup of assorted nuts and dried fruits(I used almonds, walnuts, cashews, pista and cranberries)
  • 2-3 tbsp rum (optional, may be substituted with orange juice)
Procedure : 
Dry roast the nuts and chop them fine. Mix with the chopped cranberries and keep aside.
Roughly break the biscuits in medium sized chunks and keep aside.
Heat cream in a pan. Be careful not to burn it.
Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate to it. Mix it well so that the chocolate melts.
Now add the butter and mix. 
Throw in the nuts and biscuits and give it a stir. 
Allow this mixture to cool and thicken for around 4-5 minutes, or more if required.
Put this, now thickened mixture, onto a cling wrap and give it a log shape. Twist both the ends to secure it.
Pop it in the refrigerator for 3-4 hrs. 
In between take it out and roll it to maintain the shape.
Slice it and serve.

Note : For a children's version I used milk chocolate instead of dark one and added digestive biscuits, chocolate biscuits, cake pieces. I also added 1 tbsp of almond powder instead of the chopped nuts. And yes, the rum has been omitted there. 




Happy Raksha Bandhan
Amrita

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