Thursday, November 1, 2007

Food Facts: Did You Know?

* Eggplant Caviar is made of baked eggplant, garlic, onions, tomatoes and olive oil.

* It takes 12 minutes to hard boil a large egg

* Vinegar helps the egg white from spreading, when preparing poached eggs

* Margarine was first produced in France in the late 19th century

* You can quickly peel off the skin of beets, when they are cooked. You can do this by rubbing the beet skins under cold running water.

* Plastic food packaging is a potent health hazard

* Onion is named after a Latin word meaning large pearl!

* Rice is the staple diet of half of the world's population

* Ice cream is actually a Chinese food and has its origin in ancient China

* In France, people eat approximately 500,000,000 snails per year!

* Carrots can actually help you see in the dark!

* There are about 100,000 bacteria in one litre of drinking water!

* Cream is lighter than milk

* Temperature can affect your appetite

* Chopsuey was created by Chinese immigrants in California

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween: How To Cook Barbecued Aromatic Chicken

barbecued chickenTomorrow is that much anticipated day! Halloween, the night of ghosts, haunted houses, trick or treats and costume parties is here at last. Halloween is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31st. There are Halloween parties held in several homes across Ireland, the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom.

Here's a special Halloween recipe that's perfect for this spine chilling night!

Aromatic Barbecued Chicken

You will need: 1 broiler chicken with its skin removed, 1 cup yogurt, 1/4 tsp ground cloves, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1 tsp ginger, 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 cup low-fat buttermilk, 1 tsp cinnamon(for aroma), small pieces of lime.

Directions: Take a mixing bowl and mix buttermilk, yogurt, garlic and spices together. Now add the chicken pieces in it and layer with this paste. Marinate for at least 9 to 24 hours in refrigerator. Now grill it for about half an hour on each side, basting it at every 10 minutes interval.

Check out here for some cool Halloween cards!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Top Ten Tips To Become A Good Cook

chefEver wondered what makes a good cook? If you ask me, I think it is somewhat an innate sense of spices and cooking ingredients, that makes a good cook. However, if you are passionate about cooking and love to prepare something on your own, then you can definitely become a good cook. If you love cooking, innovation can come naturally! There are many culinary institutes which teaches you the ABCs of cooking. You can even specialize on baking, ice creams, continental, or oriental dishes. Some of the best chefs in the world, do not have formal culinary education.

Here are the top 10 tips for becoming a good cook:

# Be creative and think what can you prepare with a particular vegetable, spice, fish, or meat. In the initial stages of cooking, a lot of errors and mess ups are common. Don't be scared. Cooking in an art and one can master this art by trial and error. So, don't get disheartened if you have messed up a recipe.

# The more you cook, the more you'll become familiar with different ingredients and come up with some extraordinary dish. Invite your friends and take their opinion, however inedible your recipes are. In this way, you'll know where you are missing out.

# If you travel a lot, try learning some of the exotic local recipes and taste some of the best recipes of that place. In this way, you will come to know a lot of facts about food and flavors. Sampling local food will definitely raise your standard of taste. Try to understand the aroma of the different food that you eat.

# Read good cookbooks. A nicely written cookbook can make you a good cook in no time at all. Start with selecting easy to prepare recipes and then try out the harder ones. Once you are confident in experimenting with different recipes, you can cook with natural ease. There are cookbooks on every kinds of cuisines imaginable.

# Have a well stocked kitchen, if you want to become a confident cook. Keep all necessary ingredients handy, so that you find what you need. For example, keep sugar, white flour, wheat flour, beans, rice, canned soups, dried pastas, cereals and spices in one shelf. Keep the freezer stocked with vegetables and frozen meats. In short, have a pantry that is well organized and easy to access.

# Buy the correct cookware. It need not be costly and the finest. A basic pans and pots set will suffice. A proper cookware set helps you in cleaning quickly and uniform heating. Also, install a good utensil rack in your kitchen so that your pots and pans fit in properly. This way, it will free up the cabinet space. You will also need a good set of knives for cutting and chopping. A good cutting board and cooking gloves(if you do a lot of baking and grilling) are also necessary for any kitchen.proper cookware

# Have fun when you cook. Don a chef's hat and wear an apron. This will give you confidence and help you prepare meals in a fun-filled way. Jokes apart, wearing a chef's hat and apron will save your hair and clothes from oil and heat.

# Take cooking classes from a well-known culinary institute and also watch a lot of television programmes on cooking. Write down the recipes and try to make them at home.

# Be aware of the newer trends of cooking. Know about the different spices and herbs and think how you can use them in your daily cooking. Pay attention to details.

# Be Internet friendly. If you are good with the internet, you can pick up a lot of cooking terms, ethnic and royal recipes, shopping lists and even Q&A sections, from where you get your questions answered by culinary experts.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Durga Puja Celebration

Happy Durga Puja wishesDurga puja is the biggest and most popular festival of the Bengalees. This festival generally falls on the month of October, but sometimes it is also held on mid-September or the end of September, according to the Bengali calender. Although Durga Puja originated in Bengal and celebrated among Bengalees initially, now it has spread to various parts of India. People take part in the celebrations jubilantly and offer their deepest prayers to the Goddess. Durga Puja is a big event in London and the U.S. as well. Several Indian and non-Indian immigrants living abroad get absorbed in the four day long festival and have a gala celebration.

Durga puja is the time to buy new clothes, have whole lot of fun, and get reunited with friends, family and distant relatives. People forget all worries and engage in fun activities during those four days. Durga puja is a nice log break for students and office goers, as they get to relax and enjoy for some time. The myth of Durga puja is entrenched in ancient Indian mythologies and it is interesting to know the origin of Goddess Durga and her powers. She is the universal symbol of prowess, creation, protection, and righteousness. Weapons in the hands of Durga such as a mace, sword, disc, arrow, and trident symbolizes that one weapon cannot destroy different kinds of enemies. Different weapons must be used to fight enemies depending upon the circumstances.

Send this Happy Durga Puja eCard !

Saturday, October 6, 2007


Folks, Halloween month is here at last! Although in India it is not a big event and not celebrated as in the west, people do know about this particular event. For those of you who don't know about Halloween, it is a holiday celebrated on the night of October 31st. There are traditional events on this day like trick or treating, costume parties, bonfires, tours of haunted mansions etc. Halloween is considered the night of horror, when witches and ghosts roam the face of Earth! Halloween originated from the ancient pagan festival, under the name of Samhain, among the Celts of Ireland and Great Britain.

See here, if you are searching for free Halloween e-cards to send your friends and dear ones!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

How to make Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala is one of the most popular non-veg food item that you''ll find in almost every restaurant across India. Time to make Chicken Tikka Masala is approximately 2 hours 1½ hours. It tastes great and is easy to digest. Here's an easy way to make Chicken Tikka Masala at home. Watch this video which shows you the steps.

VideoJug: How To Make Chicken Tikka Masala

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Where to Get Authentic Rolls in Kolkata

Hey Guys! I'm back after a long hiatus. Don't ask me why:) I was busy with a lot of things and also had a whole bunch of writing assignments. So here I am, and I promise to treat you all with lots of mouthwatering dishes!

I was talking in my last post about Egg Rolls, which are like a rage in Kolkata, the City of Joy! Now, Chicken Rolls, Veg rolls, Mutton Rolls and other varieties are prepared pretty much in the same way, although the filling keeps changing according to the type of roll. So here's wishing you a happy journey of tasting different types of rolls, once you visit Kolkata:) Though you will find numerous stalls preparing rolls throughout the city, I would advise you to taste rolls from Bedwin(Gariahat), Hot Kati Rolls(Park Street, Bawarchi, and Rahmania, simply because their rolls are out of this world!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Egg rolls are undoubtedly the most popular of all junk food that is available in Kolkata. Though rolls are now available in avatars such as Chicken roll, Egg chicken roll, Egg mutton roll, Double egg chicken roll, and various innovative flavors, the original egg roll still continue to rule the average Indian palate. Food lovers swear by the mouthwatering taste of a piping hot egg roll! The interesting fact is, though egg rolls are available in almost every part of India and have made their foray in the major Indian restaurants and eateries throughout the world, this popular fast food has its origin in the City of Joy!(Kolkata, formerly Calcutta). Egg rolls are wholesome food and prepared with ingredients that are easy to digest. Hence they are safe for children also. If you eat an egg roll for breakfast or lunch, you can sustain hunger for a long time. Rolls are much similar to egg or chicken wraps available in the western countries, especially the U.S.

Here's a simple way to prepare egg rolls at home:

Ingredients--1 or 2eggs(medium), white flour 1 cup, butter 1tsp(optional), cucumber 1(grated), tomato 1(diced in small pieces), onion 1(grated), 1green chili(chopped evenly), coriander(chopped), white oil(cooking oil such as sunflower/mustard), tomato sauce, chili sauce, salt to taste.

Directions: Beat the egg separately in a small container and add salt to it. Keep aside. Now make a soft dough with the flour, adding some butter and salt to it. Heat a medium sized flat pizza pan in low flame and heat 2tsp of cooking oil. Make a paratha(flat bread) with the dough you have prepared(in the same way you prepare Naan bread or Roti), frying lightly with cooking oil. Now pour the egg which you have beaten previously, on top of this paratha. Fry both sides in low flame until crisp and golden brown. The egg will stick on one side of the paratha like an omelette. Take a flat tray or plate and wrap this paratha with chopped coriander, grated cucumber, grated onion, diced tomato, and chopped green chili. Add tomato and chili sauce.

Wrap the egg roll finally with a baking wax paper. In Kolkata rolls are even wrapped in newspapers:) But the taste is always the same!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fast Food: Anyone?

Hey guys! here's a small quiz for you all....what makes Kolkata everyone's favorite city? In my opinion, it is the mouthwatering array of street food or fast food, available here. Very few cities in India have such a wide range of fast food and amazing flavors.

Whether it's visitors coming from other states or tourists from foreign countries, Kolkata has something to offer to everybody! And if you are too concerned about the hygiene factor, then....well...:) you have to give them a pass. But if you are a foodie like me, then you must try these yummy dishes, and forget about hygiene at least for a while:)

But not all fast food stalls or street food corners in the city are alike. Some are quite clean and take special care to serve food in the best way possible. You just cannot resist the lingering aroma of the roll corners(I'll discuss about this authentic delicacy of Kolkata in my forthcoming posts), or the chowmeins, fish fries, cutlets, chops, biriyanis, momos, jhalmuris(puffed rice with condiments) or the most favorite phuchkas! The prices vary accordingly, but you'll find fast food stalls throughout the length and breadth of the city. The tastes of these junk delicacies are almost heavenly! So, the nest time you visit Kolkata, make sure to dig into a yummy roll or phuchkas, and tell me how you liked it:) I'm sure you'll come back to the city just to savour these specialties!

Monday, August 6, 2007

How To Make Naan Bread

Naan bread is a common name in any Indian household. Normally it is eaten with any curry, veg or non-veg. Naan is mostly common in Northern India, though this delicious bread has now become every food lover's favorite. Typically, a naan is a round shaped bread made of white flour. Nowadays, it is even served with various toppings as well.
I found this video that I thought of sharing with you. It teaches the entire process of making Naan bread in a simple way. Now you can prepare this yummy bread at home!

VideoJug: How To Make Naan Bread

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Hey guys! Sorry for not being able to post of late; I was away on a tour, and had a great time! Here's another fantastic recipe that's made of Hilsa fish, which I spoke of in my last post. Prepare it in your home and let everybody thank you for this mouthwatering recipe!! It is a wholesome dish prepared mainly with rice and fish. So you can consider it for your lunch or dinner.

Hilsa Fish Pulao

You will need: Hilsa fish-600grams, Rice(like basmati or any nice smelling varieties for making pulao), Mustard oil, Green chilies(slit in the middle)7-8, Black Pepper-1 and a half tsp, Turmeric powder or paste 1 tsp, Sugar 1/2 tsp, Salt to taste, Whole mustard(without grounded)15 grams.

Directions: First, wash the fish properly and chop it into even pieces. Smear the fish with mustard powder/paste and salt. See that the pieces are coated properly with mustard. Keep it for half and hour. Rinse rice in water properly and soak it for half and hour. Now drain the water from rice. Prepare rice in boiling water; when ready, drain water totally, to make it dry. Keep aside.
In a separate hollow pan, heat mustard oil and add whole mustard seeds and slit green chilies. Add half of the hilsa fish pieces now. Stir for some time. Do not deep fry. Sprinkle mustard powder and salt to taste. Keep the flame low. Now pour half of the prepared rice on top of this. Place some more fish pieces on top and cover it with remaining rice, like a double layer. Put a lid on top. Cook it on low flame for some time. Check if the fish is ready to eat. Serve hot!

Know more about Hilsa fish.....

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Ilish Maach Bhape/Sorshe Ilish

Hilsa Fish remains an eternal favorite among food lovers. Fish rules the platter of any Indian household, and scores much higher than chicken and mutton.Varied recipes of fish continue to rule the hearts of quintessential Bengali gourmets. Bhetki, Koi, Rui or Catfish, Prawn, Lobsters, and Hilsa remain the perennial favorites among the numerous varieties of fish. Hilsa or 'Ilish' as it is commonly known as, is one of the most liked variety of fish, and there are plenty of dishes available with this fish. Hilsa is not just a fish, but a symbol of Bengali culture. Hilsa is found plentiful in the rivers-Padma, Meghna, Yamuna and Ganges, however, most of this sweet-tasting fish is caught from the sea. Most of the Hilsa dishes are cooked in mustard oil.

Among all other hilsa delicacies, Ilish Maach Bhape or Sorshe Ilish remains my priority:)
Here is a simple and easy way to prepare this recipe at home:

Hilsa fish-(chop it into pieces for better results)
Mustard Paste
Mustard Oil
Turmeric Powder
Green Chilli
Salt to taste

Preparation: First, wash the fish pieces properly and mix a paste of mustard paste, salt, mustard oil and turmeric with it. Then keep the fish pieces in an air-tight container for some time. Pour some mustard oil on top of those pieces and sprinkle 4/5 green chillies. Then take 2/3 cups of water in a hollow fry pan or container and place the air-tight container in it. Keep the flame low and place something on top of this container, so that the lid doesn't fall off. Bring it to boil for around 10-12 mins and remove it from flame. Your delicious smoked hilsa is now ready to eat! Serve it with smoking hot rice or nan bread.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

How To Prepare Spicy Chick Peas

Hello guys!Here is a delicious Indian recipe that is quite popular among food lovers. You can team it with breads, chappatis(made of wheat flour), Naan Breads(white flour bread which are typically flat)or with plain rice. Watch this video carefully which will provide you with necessary details.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Indian Cuisine

Indian cuisine has a rich history behind and has flourished over the years, under the influence of rulers that India had in the past. Since India is a land of rich cultural diversity, Indian food is equally diversified, with different spices, ingredients, herbs and seasonings, which are again region specific. The hospitality in an Indian household is well known. Indians feel happy if they can serve food to guests or people who are hungry!

The golden heritage of Indian cooking dates back to the times of famous kings, or ' rajahs', who were great patrons of art, music and architecture, as well as connoisseurs of exotic delicacies. Under the patronage of the rajahs of India, the art of food was elevated to a high level of advancement and professionalism. The royal chefs understood the finer points of food, the art of presentation and created exquisite preparations. Over the years, those royal recipes have retained their popularity in common Indian household, alongside ethnic Indian dishes.

Indian cuisine is becoming vastly popular throughout the world because of its exotic flavors, colors and healthy preparations. Indian food is rich in fresh veggies, fruits, seasonal food items, which are garnished with fresh herbs, spices, vegetable oils and other natural seasonings. Of course, there are many dishes which use spices sparingly, like some preparations of fresh prawns and fishes. You will find Indian food in all possible flavors--salty, sweet, sour, bitter, pungent and the like. You will find people in India who are vegans, hence a wide assortment of vegetarian dishes occupy a major portion of Indian cuisine. Our cuisine has been influenced by the Aryans settlers, the Arab and Chinese traders and conquerors such as the Persians, Mongolians, Turks, the British and the Portuguese.

Today, you will find Indian cuisine being vastly popular in Europe, America, and the Asian countries. Thanks to the various Indian restaurants abroad and its expert chefs, Indian culinary art has touched the skies today! Acclaimed politicians, world leaders, diplomats and celebrities like Bill Clinton, Prince Charles, Tony Blair, Ricky Martin, and others are big time admirers of Indian curries, kebabs and chicken tikkas.

The best part of Indian food is its easy preparation and health benefits. There are meals that are rich in carbohydrate or protein, or high on fibre. The benefits of different spices and herbs like turmeric, cumin seeds and ginger, is well known today. Yoghurt is an essential ingredient of Indian delicacies, which make many dishes easy to digest. Many dishes can be cooked in a pressure cooker or electric pan, which saves time. The whole wheat dough for chappatis and rotis can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator. Full menus can easily be prepared in half an hour.

People residing in Southern part of India prefer food which are sour in taste, while those in the Northern part have a liking for spicy dishes. However, spices are used skilfully, because not all dishes are meant to be smoking hot! Spices are used in a way which adds aroma and color to the dish. Cooks in India have mastered the art of using spices and seasonings, keeping the health benefits in mind. Butter or ghee(clarified butter) is a favorite for frying and seasoning, but mustard oils, sunflower oils, sesame oils, and coconut oils are also widely popular.

Very few Indian dishes will be complete without condiments. You will find an array of various mouthwatering fresh herbal chutneys, dried fruit chutneys and hot pickles which complement an Indian meal. Popular fresh chutneys are cilantro, mint, amla, coconut chutneys and popular pickles include lime, mango, and eggplant. Indian pickles are preserved in oil as opposed to vinegar.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Welcome to the World of Spices and Curries

Hello everybody! a warm welcome to my world, which is the delectable world of spices and curries! In this blog, I will be teasing your tastebuds with mouthwatering Indian curries, spicy lunch and dinner recipes, tempting breakfast ideas, exotic Indian special recipes and yummy snacks! Already hungry? Well, being such a gourmet myself, I'll take you around for a virtual tour of yummy Indian dishes, that will leave you craving for more:)