Thursday, 25 June 2015

Paranthe wali Gali at Swissotel, Kolkata

Swissotel Kolkata at their Durbari Indian Restaurant innovated with yet another novel idea " Paranthe Wali Gali" where they take you through a gastronomical journey reminiscent of Old Delhi. Paranthe, for many homes in India, is  comfort food. It is so versatile that the combinations and articulation of them can be endless. The Durbari at Swissotel has gone a step further to bring the intricate techniques on the platter that truly represents the very comfort food of India in a way that becomes a celebration to enjoy.


The malabari paratha is a Kerala specialty of layered refined flour bread served with vegetable stew. With a subtle hint of the coconut fragrance, it was loved by all and was counted as the favourite. 

The Chicken tikka cheese parantha stands by its name with whole wheat flour bread filled with spicy chopped chicken tikka and cheese. 

The Warqi paratha mesmerized everyone with its softness yet crispy and flaky texture. This is a speciality of the city of Nawabs, Lucknow, and is considered as one of the difficult parathas to make in terms of the technicalities that is involved with it. It truly won hearts of many.

Soya paratha came in as a healthy choice with whole wheat flour bread filled with spicy soya bean. 

The Mughlai paratha is a Kolkata speciality of bread cooked with egg and was a meal in itself with its hearty filling.

The menu boasts of more ranges of parathas like the Gosht keema paratha, mixed veg paratha, palak paratha, paneer paratha, ajwain aloo paratha etc. All parathas are served with aloo bhaji, pickle, curd and laccha onion.

The parathas were surprisingly very less oily, soft and with amazing flavours. All of us at Kolkata Food Bloggers had a terrific time in enjoying the combination of the dramatic monsoon and the indulgence of warm parathas. 

The paratha mania is on at Swissotel till the 28th  June, 2015 at Durbari.

Happy Paratha-ing 

Vishal & Amrita

Tarte Tatin

Vacations in Allahabad are the best time to bake for me. I get all the time and luxury to dig out recipes that have been piling in my note books and try them out. 
Daring Bakers challenge for the month of March was suggested by a very dear member Korena who in the past has suggested some beautiful cakes. Tarte tatin as she describes is a classic French dessert which is a distant cousin of sorts to the famous Apple pie. Tarte Tatin is basically an upside down pastry where apples are first caramelized in sugar in a saucepan, covered with a rough puff pastry and then baked. Usually the same oven proof saucepan is used for both the times i.e. caramelizing and baking. 
Like almost all French pastries, this one has an interesting story too which says that tart gets its name after the Tatin sisters who used to run a hotel and who accidentally forgot to put the bottom crust of an apple pie. The guests loved it so much that it became the hotel's signature dish.
I, as usual, reduced the quantity for my experiment and came out with 2 mini pies. Try and use a firm apple for this recipe, preferably the green Granny Smith variety. 

Recipe adapted from : Korena in the kitchen

Ingredients : serves 2

Rough Puff Pastry 

  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 30 gms cold butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp powdered sugar
  • cold water for kneading
Combine flour, salt and sugar in a bowl.
Cut butter in small cubes and add to the flour.
Rub butter with flour till all is mixed.
Visible bits of butter is fine.
Add water little by little and knead to a dough.
Lightly flour your work surface and roll the dough into a rough rectangle.
Fold bottom third up into the middle and fold the top third down, like folding a letter. This is one fold.
Turn the dough a quarter so that open edge faces you and roll again to a rough rectangle.
Fold again. This is second fold.
Repeat 3 more times making it 5 folds in total.
After the last fold, roll dough into a square and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.

Filling : 
  • 1 apple (I used a green apple)
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice 
  • 20 gms butter
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
Peel apple, remove core and cut in slices. 
Place apple slices in a bowl and add lemon juice and 2 tbsp sugar. 
Mix well and set aside for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 190 degree Celsius. 

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar. 
Stir until sugar melts and becomes pale smooth caramel.
Remove from heat.
Add the apple slices to the caramel taking care to discard the juice that come out from apples. 
Cook for few minutes till the apple slices get covered in the caramel.
Place the apple slices in a 3" round tart shell.

Roll out the pastry into a rough circle 4" round and lay it over the filling, tucking in the edges at the sides of the tart shell. 
Bake for 20-25 minutes or till the pastry is golden brown.

Serve with a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream and with a drizzle of some caramel sauce.

Happy rich caramel and puff pastry Indulging

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Shuktara Cakes

The boys(image taken from

An invite to attend new launch of products in French Patisserie was enough to make me jump on the opportunity and reach Park mansions where the occasion was held last Friday. Intrigued by the name and the mission, I read up on their website and was amazed at the story. 
Shuktara is a charity that provides care in a home environment to children and adults with disabilities who have been orphaned or abandoned. 
Shuktara Cakes is the brainchild of Alain Cojean, who runs a chain of restaurants in Paris called Cojean and a Foundation called Nourrir, Aimer, Donner (Eat, Love, Give). Alain was so deeply touched that he decided to give vocational training by starting a French Patisserie training centre. A team of boys were taught the intricacies of French Patisserie by Fabien Rouillard, former Head Executive Pastry Chef at Fauchon, a gourmet food company in Paris and Shuktara Cakes was officially launched on 10th March, 2013. 
Shuktara cakes serve you with the best quality of French products like Madelienes, Financiers and cakes.Their range of fresh baked cakes include Chocolate cake, Marble cake, Fruit cake, Orange  & poppyseed cake and Cinnamon & Walnut cake. 
Financiers, as Lora Chantebel, business consultant, told us uses traditional French recipe made of almond powder, flour, eggs and sugar, shaped like a ingot, and are perfect for tea time or breakfast. She also enlightened us on the history which says that a French pastry chef called Lasne invented them to delight financials without getting their hands dirty. 
Madeleines, a small cake with shell shape is created in assortment of colours by team Shuktara Cakes. 
Friday saw the launch of new flavours in Madeleines - Chocochip, Chocolate and Orange.
With their bright packaging and amazing aunthentic flavours, Shuktara Cakes are really a treat. Shuktara cakes take orders and deliver high quality products and can be contacted here :

Enjoy the glimpses of the evening that was enriched with the lovely smell of French Patisserie. 

Chocolate cake

Orange and Poppyseed cake

The attractive packaging of Madeleines

Financiers-my personal favourite and their best seller
The new flavours in Madeleines

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Mango Marvels-a workshop at Afraa Deli, Kolkata

Mango is truly the king of fruits. This gorgeous golden full-of-nectar fruit is awaited every Summer with baited breaths by most of us. I am no exception and so the mere name of Mango and a workshop with it made me jump on my feet and nag the not-such-a-mango loving husband to drive us to Afraa Deli, Salt lake on 12th of this month. The fact that I was just back from a horridly late train journey did not deter my love for the fruit.
Mango Marvels-the workshop was further special to us as it was the first of its kind in association with Kolkata Food Bloggers. A simple quiz was held on KFB page and the winners were invited to attend the workshop and get other goodies. 
We had the privilege to have Afraa Deli's Bakery and pastry chef Debopom Sinha guide us through the intricacies of some amazing and exotic desserts like Chocolate Mango Lava Cake, Red velvety Mango Mousse cake, Mango Pannacota with coconut jelly. His easy instructions and live demonstrations of minute details enriched us with recipes of some yummy mango delights. Their executive chef Dibyendu Ghosh was kind enough to sit through the entire session and help us learn from the one of its kind workshop.
The happy participants got to taste the unique Mango desserts in the end which are available at Afraa Deli's outlet for their ongoing Mango festival. Do make the most of them while the season lasts. 

Till then enjoy some glimpses of the fun we had:

Pastry chef Debopom Sinha

KFBian Urmi Ghosh

Hands on workshop

Mango Planter's Punch

Chocolate Mango Lava cake
Red Velvety Mango Mousse Cake and Mango Pannacota with Coconut jelly

Monday, 15 June 2015

Kache Aam ki Kadhi and memories of my Summer holidays

Summer holidays for me as far as I can remember meant a three day long journey, the majority of which was travelling in sleeper class of Punjab Mail and the rest in the rickety-rackety state buses of Punjab to finally reach my maternal grandparents house in a small town called Kotkapura. 
It used to be such a grand affair. The suitcases very meticulously filled with clothes by my mother and simple delicious food was prepared for us to survive the journey which was always 'aloo di sabji' (potato sabzi), stuffed karela's and the quintessential Parantha's. Few pieces of the homemade 'aam da achaar'(raw mango pickle) would also make our train journey a little more yummier. And how can a Sardar gene swallow all this without some raw onion. Yes, we also carried raw onions which if my Paternal grandfather was travelling with us, would always be smashed with his fist and then torn in pieces and distributed. All this would be like a picnic on the train and an exciting event that I would look forward to while travelling. I still call it 'Train wala khaana'.
Once in Punjab, Summer holidays was all about playing non-stop with my cousins in the scorching heat. Strangely, I have no memory of feeling uneasy or feeling very hot in that heat. Perhaps we had no idea what that was and were anyways too busy enjoying ourselves running around in those wide spread open landscapes. And then there was always Lassi to cool us down. 
After a month of non stop fun, on the day of our departure, it was a ritual for me and my cousin sister to hug each other and cry as if we will never meet each other again. But we did because every single Summer vacation my mother would make sure we visited the land of our roots. 
Summers always bring back these lovely memories. Today all my cousins are living abroad and there are no more Summer vacations for us.
As a Mother, I feel it as a responsible duty now to have my daughter have the same wonderful feeling about Summer vacations.  And so I make sure that Vaanya gets to spend some amazing time with her cousins and build on beautiful memories that will stay with her forever. 
The recipe that I am sharing today is one that I make each Summer for the last 3-4 years and love it for the simplicity. It is very easy to make and is very light except the boondi added on top. I love to pair it with some boiled rice and raw mango chutney and find it an extremely yummy Summer meal. 

Ingredients : Serves 2-3
  • 1 medium sized Raw Mango
  • 1 tbsp panchphoron (equal quantity of jeera, saunf, methidana, kalaunji and sarso seeds)
  • 3-4 tbsp besan
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
  • salt to taste
  • sugar to taste
  • 2 glass water
  • a handful or two of plain boondi
Procedure : 
Boil mango with 2 glass of water in a pressure cooker for around 5 minutes.
Allow to cool and then peel off the skin of the mango.
Use your hands to squish out the pulp of the mango. 
Discard the seed inside.
Strain the mixture to remove any mango threads.
Take a bowl and mix the strained mango pulp with besan, salt, turmeric powder and red chilli powder. 
Take a tbsp of oil in a deep pan and add panchphoron to it. 
As it splutters add the mango mixture and stir continuously. 
Let it come to a rolling boil and then cook on low flame for about 5 minutes. 
Add sugar and adjust seasoning according to your taste. 
Add boondi just before serving to keep it crisp.

Relish this light and summery kadhi with boiled rice and raw mango chutney

Sending this recipe to KFB's ongoing event Mango Festival.

Happy Kadhi relishing

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Brazilian Carrot Cake

Baking is my weakness. Period. 
And when I meet people from different countries, I end up talking to them about their confectionery culture. To the western world, baking is quite their way of life unlike ours. Therefore I love to know and understand about the different techniques and ingredients that goes into their baking. 
Recently I got an opportunity to meet a Brazilian brother sister duo who had come to Kolkata to learn and experience the intricacies of Indian food. And they were here only for a week! Vishal, my husband, had the responsibility of introducing Indian food to them and also give them some quick classes. Thus started one crazy week of the most concised course on Indian food. They went back with aching stomachs and 'please no more food' on their lips and absolutely mesmerized with the variety of spices, techniques and ingredients that we use.
As soon as I found my opportunity, I questioned them about their cake culture. While they went on explaining to me in their broken English about the different varieties, this particular cake caught my fancy. A carrot cake has been on my baking list(like a hundred others) for a long time. I have always been of the opinion to bake with the red juicy variety that you get only in Winters. When I learnt from them that the bright orange variety is the ones they bake with, I knew it was my 'Voila' moment. 
Unlike the popular American version of carrot cake, the Brazilian carrot cake uses raw carrots blended and then added to the batter. I knew I had to bake this one before I add yet another bake to my list. The cake gets a beautiful orange hue with the use of those bright coloured carrots. With very simple ingredients and instructions, making this cake is a breeze and with a simple chocolate frosting dressed on top of the cake, this cake is a must try.  

The darling daughter loving the cake and happy mommy clicking away :)

Recipe adapted from : Allrecipes

Ingredients : Yields a 5" long loaf cake

  • 1 medium sized carrot
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
Chocolate Glaze :
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk
Procedure : 
Preheat oven to 180 degree Celsius.
Grease and flour a loaf baking tray or a round baking tray.
Peel and chop carrot in small chunks and place in a blender with oil. Blend it well.
Add egg and blend again. 
Pour this mixture in a bowl.
Mix in the sugar, all purpose flour, baking powder and salt. 
Pour this mixture into the prepared cake tin. 
Bake for 25-30 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. 

Mix all the ingredients under the chocolate glaze and spread on the cooled cake. Refrigerate for the icing to set well.
Slice and serve.

Happy carrot cake enjoying


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