Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I have a ...

Yummy Blog, says Annu & has given me a "Yummy Blog" award! Isn't that nice?! Thanks, Annu, for this award. It feels good to be appreciated! Thanks also to Roopa of My Kitchen Treats, who came up with this idea to recognize foodies & blogs we love.

The rules call for me to write about my favorite desserts/sweets. I am not much of a sweets person but I must say, I do love all Bengali sweets. KC Das in Bangalore was an almost-weekly jaunt for some delicious Kheerkadam, Raskadam, Anand Bhog & Mishti Doi! The other sweet I really enjoy is my mom's Besan Halwa. Oh, I must not forget Hot Fudge Sundaes at Corner House, again in BLR. The list of desserts/sweets is rather long for someone who claims not to have sweet tooth, eh? :)

Now, I have to pass this award on to 4 people. See, that's difficult coz I love so many blogs and adding more to my list everyday! But since I can't list them all, here are four that I would love to share this award with -

Shilpa of Aayi's Recipes who never ceases to amaze me with the number of yummy recipes she posts every week!

IndoSunGod for her wonderful recipes and green project!

Shn of Mishmash whose food photography aesthetics I wish I had! Her pictures & recipes are a treat!

Sailaja of Sailu's Food for the beautiful recipes, amazing photos and for hosting a wonderful tool like Taste of India

Thank you all!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Arusuvai Part II - Anardana Powder

So, Pooja sent me a lovely package of Arusuvai ingredients, which included fragrant anardana powder, along with other wonderful stuff. The anardana powder gives a slightly pungent & wonderfully tart flavor to any dish. I made two dishes, both flavorful with the addition of the anardana.

The first dish is a dry bhaji made with cabbage, carrot, potato & edamame. Did the jeera & turmeric tadka. Added cut veggies, powdered masalas (coriander powder, anardana powder, garam masala powder & red chilly powder), salt & water. Covered & cooked till done. That's it! Easy, huh? Tasty too.

And the second is a sukhi chana masala with spinach.

Did a saunf tadka this time. Sauteed onions & garlic. Added spinach & one small tomato and cooked until almost done. Add the chickpeas, chana masala powder, red chilly powder, anardana powder & salt to taste. Sprinkled a little water. Covered & cooked on low heat until dry. It tasted like the regular chana masala without the gravy. I think the addition of anardana powder gave an authentic Punjabi feel to the chana. Thanks to Pooja and the Arusuvai chain, I got to try something new and wonderful & I really appreciate that!

Now the Arusuvai chain has to be continued. I'm delighted to send my Arusuvai package to Madhu of Ruchi. If anyone in US or Canada is interested in receiving a mystery ingredient from me, please email me at ginnymeow at gmail dot com & be a part of this wonderful phenomenon!

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Narkol Bhath & Palang Saag Curry for RCI Bengal

When I was looking up recipes for RCI Bengal one evening, I had some criteria for selecting a recipe. Being that this had to be prepared when little M was present & also be ready in time for dinner, minimum prep & quick cooking were requisites. This recipe fit the bill perfectly. Here's my slightly tweaked version of the Narkol Bhath.

2 tbsp oil
1 tsp jeera
4-5 each cloves, cardamoms, black peppercorns
1-2 red chillies
1/2 tsp turmeric
4 tbsp coconut shreds
1 cup rice
salt to taste
fried cashews & raisins

Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add jeera, cloves, peppercorns and cardamoms. Fry for a minute or so. I added red chillies for extra heat, that was not in the original recipe. Add coconut shreds & turmeric and fry until slightly brown. Add rice & fry for a few seconds. Add water and salt to taste. Cover & cook. Add the fried cashews and raisins before serving.

Palang Saag Curry - now, that is my own creation. The only Bong ingredient was the panchphoran! Plus I'm calling it by it's Bangla name but I wouldn't categorize it as a true-blue Bengali curry! Here's what I did. Tempered the oil with panchphoran. Fried chopped onion in it. Added spinach and tomatoes & cooked until tender. Added turmeric, dhania-jeera powder, garam masala powder, tamarind paste, sugar and salt to taste. Added some milk and water and brought to a boil. It made a nice accompaniment for the Bhath.

This goes to my friend Sandeepa, who is hosting the Bengal edition of RCI, an event started by Lakshmi. Thank you both!

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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Arusuvai - Part I - Pav Bhaji

Pooja of the blog aptly named "My Creative Ideas" sent me this lovely parcel as part of the Arusuvai chain, which was started by Bharathy, Sri & Latha in India and our own Latha here in the US. Thank you all, ladies, for the lovely concept and the wonderful thought behind it! The parcel had a lovely Barbie doll & chocolates for little M and two mystery powders. If you've ever seen me play any of the guessing games, you will know I NEVER get anything right. Poo was kind enough to let me off the hook quickly and told me one was Pav Bhaji masala and the other was Anardana Powder. I've made pav bhaji before but this very fragrant masala brought in a whole new dimension to my bhaji! N thought it was the closest to the street-wallah pav bhaji in Mumbai and that is saying a lot! Thanks Pooja, for thinking of me and for the lovely gifts! I'll have a part II for the Anardana Powder.

Pav Bhaji

For the Bhaji:
1/2 onion chopped
2 cloves of garlic
2 medium tomatoes (chopped)
1 medium green pepper
2 medium sized potatoes
7-8 big florets of cauliflower
1 cup frozen mixed veggies (carrot,peas,corn)
1 1/2 tsp Pav Bhaji Masala
1/2 tsp turmeric
Red chilly powder & Salt to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp oil or butter

Garnish - chopped red onion, cilantro and lemon wedges

Cook potatoes, cauliflower & mixed veggies in a pressure cooker, along with a little salt. Heat oil in a pan. Fry onion, garlic & green pepper for a few minutes. Add chopped tomatoes. Cover & cook until soft. Add the cooked mixed veggies, pav bhaji masala, red chilly powder, turmeric and salt to taste. Mix well. Mash the curry to make a homogenous mixture. (A potato masher works very well but in it's absence, I tried a large whisk that did only so-so, as expected) Cover and cook on low heat for a few minutes. Finish with lemon juice.

To serve, add a dollop of salted butter on the bhaji & garnish with chopped red onions and cilantro. Serve with pav (bread) grilled with a little butter.

Happy Ugadi/Gudi Padwa to all!

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