Thursday, 30 April 2015

Chicken Korma

Chicken Korma

When you have to cook chicken everyday then it becomes a head scratching affair. What new recipes to come up with? Poor kiddo then went down with stomach flu and suffered for a week. That is when I realised though I might crib about his love for chicken, I missed making it for that one week. When he was up and about guess what he asked for? Yes! Chicken!

This chicken korma is a simple dish with minimum spices and oil. It is light on the tummy yet full of flavours. And mommy was happy cooking chicken again!!


1 chicken, cut into pieces
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
2 onions, chopped
1 cup yogurt
4-5 peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 black cardamoms
2 green cardamoms
1” cinnamon
1 tsp jeera powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste

Apply the ginger paste, garlic paste and salt on the chicken pieces and keep aside for one hour.
Heat some oil. Add the chopped onions and saute till translucent. Drain the oil and keep take out the fried onions. Once it is cool blend along with the yogurt to a fine paste.
Heat some ghee. Add the khada masala – black cardamoms, green cardamoms, peppercorns, bay leaf and cinnamon. Add the chicken pieces and fry on high flame for 5-7 minutes till the chicken is evenly browned. 
Now add the cumin powder, coriander powder and garam masala. Fry well. 
Add the onion-yogurt paste. Keep stirring as the masala gets cooked properly. Check the salt. Cover and simmer till the chicken is done.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Aam Anaras Kasundi

Aam Anaras Kasundi

Mango season is here. There are still a few weeks before the fruit ripens and the markets are inundated with Langdas, Dasheharis, Ratnagiris, Kesari etc. this is the right time to use those Kachi Kiyaris for making aam panna, murabbas and achars.

Kashundi is a mustard sauce that is a must in all Bengali households. They are best eaten with fried saag. However you can add them to a number of dishes to bring in the extra oomph. Try adding it to fish or chicken dishes and see the twist in flavour.

One important part of the Bengali cuisine is the chutney. I remember my grandmother making aam chutney, pineapple chutney, Kul/berry chutney. The best way to eat a chutney is inelegantly. Use your fingers and scoop up the chutney from the plate into your mouth. Trust me it tastes better that way. 
Now even researchers are coming up with studies that show that eating food with your hands is healthier than using cutlery.
Everyday chutney is made very simply. A tempering of Paanch Phoron, some salt and sugar and a pinch of turmeric. That’s it!! However if you want to add to the taste make this Aam Anaras Kashundi.


1 green mango, chopped
2 pineapple rings, chopped
2 tbsp kashundi
5 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp Paanch Phoron

First point to note is measurement of salt and sugar will vary according to how sweet or sour your green mango is. So you have to trust your instinct and adjust accordingly.

Secondly in my Paanch Phoron I prefer to add some extra saunf/aniseed because that gives it a beautiful aroma. 

As you know Paanch Phoron consists of Paanch or Five tempering ingredients :

Kalonji/Kala jeera/Nigella

Heat some oil and add the Paanch Phoron. Once the seeds start spluttering add the chopped green mango and anaras or pineapple. 

Saute for few seconds. Add the sugar, salt and turmeric powder. Add 1 cup of water. 
Cover and cook till the mangoes are soft. Now add the Kashundi and simmer some more. Check the balance of the sweet and salty.

In case you do not have Kashundi then you can use homemade mustard paste. Soak 2 tbsp of mustard seeds in hot water. Grind it to a smooth paste with ½ tsp salt. Since this is raw paste you have to cook it a bit. So after the Paanch Phoron starts to splutter then add the mustard paste and fry on low heat for a few minutes. Then add the chopped mango and pineapples and follow the recipe.

Murg Yakhi Pulao

Murg Yakhi Pulao

My love for food is evident in my choice of television shows too. Masterchef, Hell’s Kitchen, Cake off, Highway on my plate, Kacha Rasta, Rachel Allen Bake, and so on and so forth. Even my son knows my fondness for these shows and he puts reminders on for them.

One such show that has recently started is “Farah Ki Dawat”. When I saw the promos on television I thought “really!! Is she a cook?” This clearly was more of a advertisement gimmick than a true blue cookery show. But I didn’t realise then that each show calls for a lot of research and if a certain production house is starting a cookery show they must have collected some good recipes. The hostess might be just a face of the show but there can be a lot to learn.

In one such episode she prepared Murg yakhni Pulao. I wasn’t watching the show really. It was just one of those moments when the tv is on and you are doing ten different things. What caught my attention was the fact that she used potatoes in the dish. Now biryani/pulao and potatoes is a very Bengali preparation and my son loves those big chunks of potatoes long with the chicken.

I prepared this dish for my son one day when he was not feeling well. He wanted something light but it had to be chicken. That is when I remembered the show. I didn’t remember the exact recipe but I improvised and kept it very light. The main flavour comes from the chicken stock. This is called the yakhni. There are no strong spices and food colouring. I have just used a little garam masala. Generally the stock is made by boiling the chicken. Yet I feel that doing so makes the chicken a bit dry. What I have done is cut boneless strips from the chicken and used the bones, wings etc for the stock. Do try making the Yakhni Pulao this way.



1 chicken ( cut boneless strips and reserve the rest)

For the yakhni

1 onion, quartered

4-5 garlic pods

1 tbsp ginger juliennes

1 bay leaf

1 javitri/mace

2 black cardamoms

2 green cardamoms

2 tbsp whole coriander seeds

2-3 cloves

10 peppercorns

1” cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg powder

1 tbsp salt

For the pulao

1 ½ cups basmati rice, washed and soaked

2 potatoes, quartered

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 onions, sliced fine

2 tomatoes, sliced fine

1 tbsp ginger paste

1 tbsp garlic paste

1 cup curd

1 tbsp garam masala powder

Salt to taste

Wash and soak the rice as you start working on the dish.

Take 4 cups of water in a pan and add the yakhni masalas and the reserved chicken pieces. Boil for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile start with the pulao. Heat some ghee. Add the cumin seeds.

 Add the ginger and garlic paste. Saute. Then add the sliced onions. Cook till the onions brown. 

Add the quartered potatoes and fry on high heat. Lower heat and add the tomatoes and cook till they become mushy. 

Add the garam masala and salt. Now add the curd. Stir for about 5 minutes. 

Add the chicken pieces. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. 

Now add the soaked rice and the yakhni stock. 

Bring to a boil, cover and simmer till all the liquid evaporates and the rice is cooked properly.







Monday, 27 April 2015

Chicken Satay

Chicken Satay

I have been carrying these satay sticks like forever but I never actually got down to using them. On our recent trip to Singapore and Malaysia we hogged on satay. 

So back home my kiddo wants to recreate the satay experience. And out came the sticks from their corner in the cupboard. 

Satays are basically marinated strips of chicken, meat, beef, tofu, paneer etc that are then skewered on sticks and grilled on charcoal.

What makes it different from our normal kababs is the marinade. There are many different recipes for satay marinade however the one thing common to all of them is the combination of soya sauce and brown sugar. It is this blend of sweet and salty that makes the satay a treat to have.

In this recipe I have used simple ingredients that are easily available in most homes to make the satay marinade.


150 gms chicken strips
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp soya sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1” ginger, minced
1 tsp red chilli flakes
1 tbsp fish sauce ( you can omit this if you don’t have it)
1 tbsp chilli garlic sauce
Salt to taste

Soak the satay skewers in water for some time so that they don’t burn while cooking.
Marinade the chicken strips in the marinade for 2-3 hours.

Thread the chicken onto the skewers.

Now you can either grill it in an oven or sear it on a pan.
Bake oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Place an aluminium foil on the baking tray and place the satays on the foil. Apply some oil on the satays. 

Bake for 15 minutes

Alternately you can cook them on the gas in a pan with a lid. Heat some oil in the pan. Place the satay sticks in the pan and cover with the lid. After sometime turn the sticks over and cook the other side. This will take about 15-20 minutes.

This is best eaten with peanut sauce. Again there are many ways to make peanut sauce. Here is my favorite recipe.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Basic Cake

Basic Cake

This is a basic cake that can be your fall back thing in dire times. It often happens in my house that my husband sprigs guests on me unexpectedly. Cooking a meal in matter of hours is not a trouble at all. However when it comes to dessert I am loathe to serve some packaged or processed stuff. I feel that even the simplest of home made desserts are better than getting something from the market. 

Somethings that can be made quickly are Tipsy pudding, mousse cakes, tarts. If nothing else a combination of cake, jelly and custard also tastes nice. However one basic thing you require is a basic cake. And when you are in a hurry the last thing you want is to bring out cups and spoons and keep measuring ingredients.

This basic cake has a very simple count of ingredients. The three main things, flour, butter and sugar, are in equal proportions and you don’t have to spend too much thought in making the batter. This is a buttery white cake which tastes great in combination with whichever dessert you are planning.


1 ½ cups flour
1 ½ cups butter
1 ½ cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.
Line and grease a 9” cake tin.
Cream together the butter and sugar till pale and frothy. Add the eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add the essence. Sift together flour and baking powder and add to the egg mixture. Pour the batter in the cake tin and bake for 30 minutes.

Mini Bundt Cakes with White Chocolate Ganache

Mini Bundt Cakes with White Chocolate Ganache

Experiments! They bring an interesting twist to life. And my experiments in the kitchen are something to write about. I make all kinds of mess all day long. And the best thing about these messes are that they lead to further experimenting.

I was making cake pops and my white chocolate covering would not turn out the way it is supposed to. So i simply ate up the cake balls and started on licking spoonful of ganache. The ganache was yummm. And why not? It had white chocolate and heavy cream!! What’s not to like!!

As I licked the spoon I surfed the web. I came across this very interesting blog The very name sounded so interesting. Anyhow I came across this recipe for Mini Bundt Cakes with White Chocolate Ganache. Loved the cake! Made the cake!

Recipe source :


2 cups grated carrots
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup raisins
2 eggs
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup oil
2 pineapple rings (tinned ones), pureed
1 ½ cups flour
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon powder

For the ganache

250 gms white chocolate, grated
1 cup heavy cream

Grease a mini bundt cake pan and dust it with four. This dusting part is important otherwise your cake will not come out easily.

Mix the grated carrots and brown sugar and keep aside for 10 minutes. 

Then add the raisins.
Beat the eggs well. Add the sugar and oil and beat. Add the pureed pineapples.
Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon powder. Add it to the batter. Fold gently. Now add the carrot mixture. Pour the batter into bundt pan.

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
While the cake is baking you can make the ganache. Put on a double boiler. Gently heat the cream and then add the grated white chocolate. Whip well till smooth.
When the cake is baked take it out and let it cool a little. Unmould the cake and drizzle ganache on top. Let the white molten chocolate flow down the sides.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Garlic Groundnuts

Garlic Groundnuts

Gujrat is the land of “Sing Dana”..peanuts the size of almonds. They were like nothing I had ever tasted. Simply roasted you can have them bowlfuls.

These Garlic Groundnuts are a bit time consuming but they are way better than the packaged ones with preservatives and overdose of salt. If you soak them then you can use any normal variety of peanuts that are available at the local grocery shop. The groundnuts will swell in size to look like Sing Dana.

The groundnuts are soaked first as this makes them puff up and when fried they have a nuttier texture. Believe me because I have tried making it both ways, soaked and directly.

Often people make garlic groundnuts by heating oil, frying groundnuts and then frying peanuts in the same oil. I avoid this method because of two reasons. Firstly simply frying in garlic flavoured oil does not bring that taste. Secondly if you fry the garlic first, keep it in the oil and add the groundnuts then by the time the groundnuts are fried the garlic turns absolutely black.

After many trials and errors I have perfected the art of making Garlic Groundnuts


2 cups groundnuts, soaked overnight

10-12 garlic pods, sliced thin

½ cup oil

Salt to taste

1 tsp pepper powder

Soak the groundnuts overnight. Peel them and keep aside.

Heat the oil mildly. Remember you don’t want it too hot or the garlic will burn. Add the garlic slices and stir on low heat. After a while the garlic will stop sticking to the pan. This will take only a minute. NO more!

 Remember the garlic at this stage should still be white. It should not even be light brown. You have to keep control of the flame. If the garlic is brown at this stage by the time the groundnuts are fried they will be black.

Add the groundnuts and stir well. Keep the flame absolutely low. Do not cover the pan. Let the groundnuts fry on low flame for about 20-30 minutes. Keep stirring after few minutes. Add salt and pepper powder.

This is a very slow process and you need to keep patience. There is a big difference between slow fried and quickly deep fried groundnuts. Believe me!




Thursday, 23 April 2015

Dhokar Dalna

Dhokar Dalna

The name sounds funny!! This is a Bengali dish and when you translate the name into Hindi it does sound funny. Dhoka literally means Betrayal in Hindi. However, rest assured, this dish will far surpass your expectations. It is a Bengal gram preparation which, if prepared properly, tastes like mutton.

This is one of my favorite childhood dishes. However as I remember my grandmother making it, I realise what a troublesome task it must have been. In the days before the use of mixers ladies had to do all the grinding on a stone slab. It required quite a lot of time and effort to grind the Bengal gram to a smooth paste. 
Nowadays it takes a few minutes. However, there is a distinct difference in taste between things ground in mixers and ground on a mortar and pestle. The latter, somehow, tastes more delicious.


For the Dhoka

2 cups Bengal gram/chana dal , soaked overnight
2” ginger, grated
½ cup oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
Salt to taste

For the Dalna/gravy

2 onions, pureed
2 small tomatoes, pureed
1 bay leaf
2 dry red chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tbsp coriander powder
2 tbsp cumin powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala
Salt to taste
A pinch of sugar
½ tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp green cardamom powder
1 tbsp ghee

Make the Dhoka first. Grind the soaked dal along with the ginger and salt. 

Heat the oil. Add the cumin seeds and then add the ground paste. Fry on high heat till the water evaporates and the mix forms a dough like consistency.
 When the dough starts leaving the sides of the pan then you can switch off the gas. 
Oil a large steel plate. Spread the dal dough on the plate and pat down with firm hands to a rough rectangle. It should be about ½ inch thick. 

Let it cool. Then cut into diamond shapes.

Heat some oil in a pan. Deep fry the dhoka. 

In the same oil add the cumin seeds, bay leaf and dry red chillies. 
Once they start spluttering add the ginger-garlic paste. Add the onion paste and saute. 
Once the onion becomes pinkish add the tomato paste. Add all the masalas and fry on low heat. 
Once the oil starts leaving the sides then add a cup of water. Bring to a boil and add the dhoka pieces. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. 
Switch off the heat and sprinkle the cinnamon and cardamom powder and add the ghee. 
Garnish with a little cream or green coriander.

Banana Walnut Choco Chip Cake

Though I bake everyday, it has been ages since I posted anything new on my blog. Last year saw lots of changes ...