Sunday, August 21, 2016

How to Make Luchi 101


Inspired by Sawan Dutta's Maachher Jhol videos, the girls were inspired to sing a Luchi song. They also roped in Didun(my Ma) and interviewed her on the luchi making process. It was a fun morning, very amateur, but fun. Years later when they look back on this, they will either cherish it or die of embarrassment. Already they have warned me , not to divulge, who in the family sang the song as it could jeopardize their future singing career !!!

Please do listen and hope it will inspire you to roll and fry more luchis. The recipe is added at the end of the video. For more details on what exactly is luchi and the recipe in details please follow this recipe "Phulko Luchi and Aloor Dom"

video



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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Big Sis's Double Chocolate Vanilla Cake


I had grand plans about the blog this summer. "I will post at least two recipes a week," I promised myself. Well, the summer is close to its end and I have done nothing. I feel exactly the way I felt when I was a fifth grader and only the week before the end of summer vacation I would realize that I had not done a single page of my Hindi handwriting homework!!! That last week would be gruesome when I had to find the shortest paragraphs and then write them down in jumbo handwriting to fill the pages as fast as possible. Thankfully, I don't have to do that for my blog.

So, there has been so many things that kept me busy this summer, that it flew by in a blink. Top it with the Presidential conventions and then the Olympics, it is hard to find time to do anything else.

We have been caught up in Olympics frenzy for the last two weeks. I am sure it is the same with you. Courtesy the daughters I am now well acquainted with the Fantastic five in the US women's gymnastic team. Little Sis is a very enthusiastic gymnast and so every gymnastic event is being duly followed. That one of them(Laurie Hernandez) lives only fifteen minutes away and another(Dipa Karmakar) is from my motherland has only added to our excitement.

It is amazing how many of the athletes have overcome both nature and nurture to achieve what they have. It is humbling to realize that it is neither genetics nor upbringing that can create legends.
It is also very reassuring to tell BigSis that she cannot blindly blame me if she is not growing any taller. Genes definitely has a role to play when it comes to traits but hey come on I am the Mother, I can defy science.

That it is definitely not genetics is clear from Big Sis's love for baking. While I always shy away from it, she appears to enjoy in its presence, reading through recipes, working on them on her own, conjoining two different recipes to make a new cake, using the hand mixer which scares me to death. Of course she is most smitten by rich, chocolate cakes and jumps into things like making "Ganache" with a panache, words which I don't even pronounce right.



For couple of years, she is the one who always bakes her sister's birthday cake. This year it was no different and she excelled herself. The cake was amazingly soft and delicious. It was really perfect. The best thing I like about her baking is that she cleans the kitchen after herself. All mess is taken care of as of the last bake. Things might change in the future but we will keep our fingers tightly crossed.

When I asked her to share her recent cake recipe on the blog, she very diligently wrote it down in varying fonts and colors. She also referred to the original recipes with links where necessary. I did not change a thing and am posting she shared with me.


Double Chocolate Vanilla Cake

A rich, creamy chocolate mousse sandwiched between two flaky layers of vanilla cake, coated with a luscious chocolate ganache.

Statistics

Total time ~ 1 ½ - 2 hours
Cook ~ 45 minutes
Prep ~ 1 hour
Yield ~ 2 round 9-inch cakes

Ingredients
The Cake

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup heavy cream

The Mousse

  • 2 packages of store bought mousse
  • 2 cups of heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk

The Ganache

  • 8 ounces (2 baking bars) chopped semisweet chocolate
  • ½ cup heavy cream

Directions

For The Cake

To see the recipe this is based off of, click here
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F
  2. Grease 2 round 9-inch cake pans with baking spray
  3. Whisk 3 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, and a ½ teaspoon salt in a bowl until thoroughly combined
  4. Beat 2 sticks of butter and 1 ½ cups sugar in a large bowl with a mixer on a medium high speed, until the mixture is light and fluffy, which will take a total of around 3 minutes
  5. Reduce the speed of the mixer and beat in the eggs slowly
  6. Beat in the vanilla at the same speed and scrape down the bowl as needed
**Note: The batter may look separated or as if it has curdled at this point of the recipe**
  1. Mix ½ cup water with ¾ cup heavy cream in a bowl or liquid measuring cup
  2. Beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture, alternating with the cream mixture until the batter comes to a relatively smooth texture
  3. Divide the batter in two pans and bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes
  4. Remove the cakes from the oven when they are lightly golden
  5. Allow to sit on a cooling rack for around 10 to 15 minutes before continuing

For The Mousse

  1. Beat two packets of store bought mousse with 2 cups of heavy cream on a low setting until the product thickens
  2. When thick enough, add in a cup of milk
  3. Beat on the high setting for 3 to 5 minutes until the product looks rich and creamy
*Tip: This mousse is great as a dessert on its own, especially when piped into small glasses*

For The Ganache

To see the recipe this is based off of, click here
  1. Cook the 8 oz of chopped semisweet chocolate and ½ cup of heavy cream in a double boiler
*If you don’t have a double boiler, you can place a glass bowl on top of a pan of boiling water.**
  1. Stir occasionally until smooth and warm, usually around 5 to 8 minutes

The Assembly

  1. Take the cakes out of their pans and place them on the cooling racks - if needed, trim the tops so the cakes are all level
  2. Spread a generous amount of the mousse on top of one cake layer ~ I used almost all the mousse I had made but it is up to how much of the chocolatey taste you want (the leftover mousse can be stored in the fridge for a while)
  3. Gently place the second layer of cake on top of the layer of mousse
  4. Drizzle the chocolate ganache over the cake
  5. Then, spread the ganache all around and on top of the cake with a spatula
  6. Lastly, you can top of the cake with a few sprinkles but it is just as good without
  7. Cut yourself a big slice and enjoy!


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Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Chingrir Bora -- Shrimp Fritters




It was a hot, hot day today. Temperature soared to the 90s. There was not a speck of rain anywhere.

It was also the day of Ratha Yatra. The day in the month of Ashada, when the monsoons have arrived in the plains of Odissa and Bengal, and the day on which the deities of Lord Jagannatha, Balaram and Subhadra are taken to their aunt's house in a regal chariot.

My girls don't know much about Ratha Yatra. I must have told them sometime but they don't remember. I don't try either. It doesn't make sense any more.

I would rather they take to heart from Tagore's poem which was as apt in the times that he wrote it as it is now.

"Ratha Yatra Lokaranyo Maha Dumdham (The Ratha Yatra prgresses amidst throngs of people with much jubilation)
Bhaktera Lutaye Pothe Korichhe Pronam (The devotees bow down and pay their respect)

Poth bhabe ami dev ( As people bow down on the street while the Ratha is pulled, the road thinks he is the Supreme God) ,
Rath bhabe ami ,( The chariot pulled on Ratha Yatra thinks he is the Supreme God)
Murti bhabe ami dev ( The wooden idol on the chariot preens and thinks he is the Supreme God),
Haansen Ontorjami ( The Supreme Power merely smiles at this ignorance)"
-- Rabindranath Tagore


There was one aspect of Rath that I don't want to miss though. Papor Bhaja and Telebhaja, fried in the hot oil, celebrating Nature and the rains.

Though there was no rain and it was really too hot for frying, I did make some chingrir bora today. Ideally this bora or fritters is made with the very very tiny shrimp called "ghusho chingri". You can mash those with hand or make a paste on the shil-nora. I would never get that so settled for the medium sized shrimp which I chopped and then put in the mixie to make a paste.




Soak 1/2 cup of red Masoor Dal in water for half an hour.

Wash and clean 10-12 medium sized shrimp. If you have the smaller ones use a few more. In my case , I only had to defrost the shrimp.

Chop the shrimp in small pieces.

In the blender add
the soaked lentils
the chopped shrimp
3-4 green chili
sprinkle of water
and make a smooth paste.

Add salt to taste to this paste.

Add
2-3 tbsp of chopped onion
2 green chillies finely chopped
Chopped dhonepata/coriander leaves
1/2 tsp of Nigella seeds

Beat the lentil paste with a fork till everything is well mixed up.





Heat Mustard oil in a Kadhai or Frying Pan

Once the oil is hot, take a tsp of oil from the kadhai and add it to the batter. Give it a good mix.

Once the oil is ready which you will know by putting in a small drop of the batter and seeing it bubble and rise to top, add small scoops of batter in the hot oil. Keep the heat at high and in a minute you will see the batter turning solid. Gently flip and let the other side cook. Reduce the heat to a medium-high(between med and high). In another minute turn it around again. The outside will be a golden brown by now. It will take approx. 3 minutes in all once the oil is well heated.

Remove the "chingri bora" with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.

Serve as a snack with tea or have it with rice and dal.

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