Monday, November 5, 2012

Durga Puja, Shubho Bijoya et al.

Durga Puja...the biggest extravaganza and festive grandeur of the Bengalis are finally over. And I guess, we are still drooling over pre and post-puja merrymaking, sumptuous luncheons and dinners! Vijaya Dashami - marking the closure of Durga Puja and the immersion of the Goddess, comes with its own splendor and color...not to forget the huge variety of sweet dishes and homemade delicacies that we get to enjoy each year! Bengalis prepare a whole lot of mouthwatering dishes on the auspicious occasion of Durga Puja, Vijaya Dashami and Lakshmi Puja. It is the time of mingling with near and dear ones and getting drenched in festive fervor. Kojagari Lakshmi Puja is another important event for most Bengali families in India and abroad, when the Goddess of wealth is worshipped with lavish 'bhog' offerings. The festive spirit continues up to Diwali and Kali Puja, when people engage in the festival of lights and bursting crackers. Deepavali sweets have their signature taste and color. People visit their dear ones and relatives with beautifully designed boxes of sweets. Diwali is followed by Bhai Phonta or Bhai Dooj, which is celebrated with many rituals along with a grand feast arranged for the brothers. So the gala treats just go on and on...

Hope you all had a fantastic Durga Puja! Here's wishing all of you a very happy Deepavali, Kali Puja and Bhai Phonta!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Ultimate Comfort Food n Fantasy!

Most food lovers would swear by the term "comfort food" any time of the day! These foods are easy-to-eat, easy-to-digest, being rich in calories, nutrients or both. Comfort foods have a nostalgic appeal either to an individual or a specific culture. Most comfort foods are high on taste and are easily eaten, having soft consistencies.
Here's a list of my favorite comfort foods:
  • Hot Gulab Jamun with Vanilla Ice-cream
  • Crispy Fried Chicken
  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Chicken Fried Momo
  • Dark Chocolates
  • Grilled Chicken / Cheese Sandwich
  • Brownies/Chocolate Cake
  • Ice-creams, Pastries and Pudding
  • Chicken Roll
  • Chicken Pakora
  • Chicken Kebabs
  • Spaghetti
  • Pizza
  • Pani Puri
  • Alu Paratha
  • Chips and Dip
  • Khichdi
  • Biriyani
There are many more which I might have missed. Being a foodie, it becomes all the more difficult to differentiate between such mouthwatering dishes. Everyone has different idea about their favorite comfort food. Share your favorite and let me know why you love it...happy munching!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sunday Brunch, Lazy Sunday Wishlist

The reason I call it 'brunch' is because of those late lunches I have on Sundays after having a fill of luchi, aloo bhaja or aloo tarkari for breakfast...and that too around 10.30 or 11 in the morning! So's Sunday brunch for me...from breakfast to lunch :)

I generally get up late on Sundays after rolling lazily  on bed for quite sometime. After that, I relish the delicious luchi, aloo bhaja combo that Ma prepares at home. For all those who don't know...luchi-aloo bhaja or aloo tarkari is a traditional and perhaps the most popular breakfast on the Bengali platter on any given day. Most true-blue Bengalis would swear by this finger-licking treat. And yes, Bengali luchis are way softer, fluffier and tastier than pooris prepared in North and rest of India.
But hey...wait! Sundays wouldn't be over without a lavish lunch! So after those drool-worthy luchis, it's time for me to gorge on a delicious spread of authentic Bengali meal. Most Sundays it's bhat or gheebhat (fried rice), fries or machh bhaja (fried fish), dal, any kind of seasonal vegetable curry or aloo posto (another authentic Bengali dish), macher jhaal (fish curry) or any preparation of chicken, chutney or mishti doi (sweet yogurt) followed by meetha paan. On a rainy day, it's khichuri and ilish machh bhaja. Phew! Sumptuous Sundays, I must say!

It goes without a doubt that we all crave for the weekends, especially Sundays. It's a day when we let go of all our reservations, diets, rules and reservations and engage in unlimited masti - be it with friends, relatives or family. Sundays are lazy, crazy and meant for absolute fun without even an iota of glum. My idea and wishlist  of an ideal Sunday would be - mouthwatering breakfast, lunch, long hours of hang out with friends, family and loved ones, loads of music and movies, ice creams, shopping followed by a quiet candlelit dinner. Awesome...isn't it? But don't you think that 24 hours is little too short for all this? But I would be the happiest if it actually here's keeping my fingers crossed :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mango Kulfi

Summer and mango - I guess it's a deadly combo! Likewise with ice-cream. With scorching heat outside and never ending perspiration, we crave for cool treats. And kulfi is one of those yummy cold desserts that are perfect to combat the sweltering heat. Unlike ice-creams, kulfis are very simple to prepare and takes longer to melt.

I cannot help but recall the Kulfi wala screaming "Kulfi Ice Kulfi Ice" in summer afternoons with their kulfi carts during our childhood days. The call sent instant happy sensation in our hearts. That nostalgia still haunts me. All kids of our age would pester our parents to buy us those frozen delights.

With mangoes now flooding the markets, here's a recipe that'll be lapped up by young and old for sure...try it!


    * 2½ cups milk
    * ¼ cup milk powder
    * ½ cup condensed milk (You can use sweetened condensed milk)
    * ¼ cup sugar
    * 1 cup sweet mango pulp


Mix everything properly except the mango pulp in a hollow non-stick container. Boil this mixture and then stir gently for 10 minutes till it thickens. Let it cool completely. Now add the mango pulp in the mixture and stir well. After the mixture cools off, pour it into kulfi moulds and freeze still completely set. For unmoulding the kulfi, you can place the frozen mould under running water for few seconds and it will come out. Your mango kulfi ice-cream is now ready to eat!


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Basic Cooking Tips - 2

Some more essential tips on easy cooking...

  • To slice meat into thin strips, especially for Chinese dishes, freeze meat for sometime to slice it easily.
  • Add little milk to the water to keep cauliflower white while cooking.
  • Microwave a lemon for 15 seconds and you will get double the juice when you squeeze it.In the same way, garlic cloves can be microwaved for 15 seconds to peel off skin easily.
  • Bread will stay fresh longer if a celery rib is stored with it in the package.
  • Pakodas will turn out crispier if a little corn flour is added to the gram flour (besan) while preparing the batter. 
  • To get rid of the smell of prawns, apply salt and lemon juice to the prawns before cooking. Leave for 15-20 minutes, then wash off and proceed with the recipe. This is usually done with prawns, fish and all kinds of seafood.
  • If you forget to soak chana/rajma overnight, just soak the chana/rajma in boiling water for an hour before cooking.
  • For grinding poppy seeds, soak it in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes if you are grinding in a mixie. 
  • While boiling milk, always add a little water at the base of the vessel to avoid the milk from sticking at the bottom.  

Friday, March 30, 2012

Basic Cooking Tips - 1

Cooking is no doubt an art which needs to be experimented often to keep your culinary skills up-to-date and innovative. Here are few pointers for easy and hassle-free cooking:
  • Wash vegetables before peeling or cutting to preserve the water soluble vitamins.
  • Peel vegetables as thinly as possible to preserve the minerals and vitamins.
  • After peeling onions cut in half and soak in water for about 10 minutes before cutting to avoid crying.
  • Soak almonds in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes .The skin will peel off easily.
  • Chopping vegetables can be done in different ways using a sharp knife and a wooden chopping board. Cutting on a marble slab will blunt your knives.
  • Heat a non-stick pan and add a little more butter than usual. Now beat the egg and stir briskly (even while frying) with a fork. This way more air goes in your omelet, making it light and fluffy. Fry till done and serve hot.
  • Soak whole pulses overnight and other dals for one hour before cooking.
  • If poppy seeds are used in grinding, soak it in hot water for 10 to 15 minutes, if you are grinding it in a mixie.
  • Always use heavy bottomed vessels to make desserts, in order to avoid burning.
  • Immediately after boiling noodles put them in normal cold water to separate them each.  

Monday, February 13, 2012

Finger Licking Good!

Saint Valentines Day, commonly known throughout the world as "Valentines Day" has turned out to be a rage with people of all communities irrespective of colour, caste and creed.The "season of love" is not just about exchanging gifts and pleasantries, it is also about indulging in your favorite food and beverages.

Celebrate this Valentines Day with your loved one with heart-shaped chocolates, cookies, cakes and other confectioneries.Also,there are other mouthwatering foods to choose from, such as chocolate mousse, chocolate-dipped strawberries, pancakes, fondues, pastas and pizzas, steaks, cocktails, mocktails, salads and puddings.Just take your pick!

Here's a list of my top five Valentines Day delicacies:

Red Velvet Cake

Dark Chocolate Cake with Whipped Frosting

Strawberry Margarita

Spicy Chicken Wings

Chocolate Fondue

Enjoy and let me know what would you like to have with your loved and dear ones on this Valentines Day!