Monday, January 29, 2007

Ma-in-laws Ginger Chicken


This is not the real Ginger Chicken, in fact this is not even my Ma-in-laws Ginger Chicken. My Ma-in-law makes a very unique and tasty Chilli Chicken. Every state in India worth their salt has their unique version of Chili Chicken, there is Varanasi Chilli Chicken, The Kolkata Style Chilli Chicken, the Madrasi Chilli Chicken and then there is my Ma-in-laws Chilli Chicken.

Last year when she was here with us, she made this for us and everyone was pretty much bowled over by it. Her version did not have any garlic, yeah no garlic, I remember. However I had a gut feeling that she used a lot of ginger in it. So when I saw JFI Ginger for this month I thought I would make it as my entry. So deciding to make it for friends and for JFI I called her bright and early on Saturday Morning to get the recipe

So I said " Could you give me the recipe for the Chilli Chicken you make ?"
She said " You need chicken, soy sauce, corn flour, blah blah …"
I said "Yeah, that's fine but what about the Ginger…"

My voice drowned somewhere in mid-Atlantic, leaking from those fiber optic cables

She said "Marinate the chicken in vinegar, soy sauce, blah, blah…"
I said "But how much Ginger do I use ?"
She gingerly side stepped my question and went on "Heat oil, fry the chicken pieces, blah, blah..."
I was now desperate "But wait I really need to know about the Ginger, that is what is important, for all I care the chicken can take a backseat"

And she said " There's no Ginger…"
I said "Whaaaaaaaaat NO GINGER, and you tell that now, What am I to do…"

All these numerous events had taken their toll, I knew I was cracking up. She the poor soul had no clue what was happening, so preferred to talk to her grand daughter about un-gingerly issues rather than giving me a recipe of a chili chicken sans ginger
I was desperate, and my Ma said "What's the big deal, put a lot of Ginger instead, if it's not Chilli Chicken , it's going to be Ginger Chicken"

So that's what I did, and it turned out great. It had a gingery flavor and could well be Bengali Ginger Chicken. I was pretty flustered by this time to take exact measures, so measures are approximate (which it is in most of my cooking anyway)


Ginger Chicken

What You Need

Chicken ~ I used 2lb of boneless, skinless Perdue Chicken Tenderloins cut in small pieces
Soy Sauce
Ginger ~ 3" fresh ginger grated
Green Chillies ~ 5/6 finely chopped
Onion ~ 4 tbsp of onion paste

Corn Flour ~ 2-3 tsp
Vinegar ~ 1 tbsp
Tomato Ketchup ~ I used about 1-2 tbsp of Maggi Hot & Sweet Tomato Ketchup


How I Did It

Cut the Chicken in small pieces
Marinate the chicken in Vinegar, Soy Sauce, Salt and 1/3 of the grated ginger for an hour
Sprinkle corn flour on the chicken and mix
Heat Oil in Kadhai/Frying Pan
Lightly Fry the chicken Pieces till they are brown. Remove and drain on paper towel
Grind the Onion to paste. I already had Onion Paste so I used 4 tbsp of it
To the oil add the onion paste
Fry till the onion is nicely browned
Add the rest of the ginger, the green chillies and sauté a little
Add 1 tsp of soy sauce. If you think you need more go ahead and do it.
Add 1 tbsp of Hot & Sweet Maggi Tomato ketchup
Add salt
Add the fried chicken pieces
Saute till the masla coats the chicken nicely
Cook on low till the chicken is done. Avoid adding water, I just sprinkled a little


Mine was on the dry side. You can have a little gravy if you want. Serve it with Fried Rice or just by itself. Sending this for JFI Ginger to Rosie of WTRT Jim ? Heard she is moving, so hope she gets this in her Inbox.

Trivia: Tangra is a district in north-west Kolkata known for it's famous Chinatown. Food from Tangra is a distinct variety of traditional Chinese food adapted to Indian ingredients and the Bengali palate.

MySpice -- Ginger

Ginger, a important part of my everyday cooking and hence life. Though referred to as a root it is actually a rhizome i.e. it is actually an underground stem of the plant Zingiber officinale. It Originated in China and went over to be cultivated widely in India and Southeast Asia.

Though in the Western World Ginger is most often used used for food that is sweet like ginger cookies etc. for me Ginger is a spice I use with most of my vegetarian and non-vegetarian cooking, even the quintessential curry has ginger as an important ingredient. In her everyday bengali cooking something that my Ma uses most is Jeere-Dhone-Ada bata. And this is a paste that a grinder does not do justice to, it needs loving human hands. The kitchen help who comes in every morning to do the dishes and help my mother knows this and makes wet paste of the three spices Jeera or Cumin, Dhone or Corriander Seeds and Ada or Ginger in the Shil Nora, a stone grinder which has to be seen to be understood. My Ma uses it fresh or at the most for the next day in most of her gravies. And the taste of such food, ahhhhhhh..., there are some things that the heart says better than my keypad...

Ginger in my everyday cuppa is another love relationship I have with Ginger. Ginger Tea or Adrak Chai boosts me early morning and refreshes me after a hard day's work.

How I Do This

Heat water and milk in the ratio of 2 : 1 in a kettle
When it comes to a boil, add freshly grated ginger
Let it come to rolling boil
I like a strong tea, so I add a teaspoon and a little of Brook Bond Red Label tea (this is CTC or crush,tear & curl tea)to it. This tea tastes good flavored with ginger.
Let it soak for a couple of minutes
Add sugar if you want
Strain with a strainer and enjoy it hot

Ginger has several medicinal effects too, so raise your cup to Ginger today...

My Ginger for JFI post will follow soon, hope I will be able to post by tonight

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Baishali's Spicy Egg Bake

The husband-man is a good cook, ummmm... actually a pretty good cook. In fact when we got married he was the better cook of the two. Over the years, fueled by all that competition I honed up my skills and became a decent cook, he on the other hand for lack of competition and reduced kitchen time offered to him, remained at the same level. So though he could have become the Master Chef if he had worked his way up all these years, he is just a very good cook and a very decent helper around the kitchen now. He does get a chance to show his culinary brilliance for Saturday Breakfasts and when we have friends over for dinner. He whips up just one dish, which my friends "oooh" and "aaahhh" over while I sweat and prepare the rest six which they take for granted, that's what friends are for anyway.

I have nothing to complain though because he understands the difference between sauté and fry and cooks up nice meals when given a chance. Whoever said "Bong" guys can't cook, is mostly wrong. It's just that some guys cook and some don't, nothing to do with bengali and non-bengali. But it's a common refrain among bong women that bong men are too pampered and don't know their way around the Kitchen. My Dad is clueless when it comes to cooking and my Ma used to say that "Ghoti" men (i.e bengali folks who are originally from West Bengal) are incompetent cooks while "Bangal" men (i.e. bengali folks whose ancestors trace back to East Bengal) are good at cooking. The husband-man being the quintessential "bangal" has lived up to the name :)

So this Spicy Egg Bake is his recipe which he learned from one of our friends, Baishali. Every time this dish is prepared, he does it, not once have I prepared this, even if friends call up asking for this recipe I put him on line. It's time I thought we put it on paper and you girls (and guys) can go "wow". It’s easy, great to eat and perfect to serve for dinner when you have friends and family over.

Update: Edited to add photos from Dec, 2017. The husband-man no longer makes this. The onus is now on me. But it is  a simple recipe to follow. Updated with some changes and lots of photos.


What You Need

Eggs ~ We used 12 eggs. Brown or white doesn't matter though I like brown eggs better

For masala
Onion ~ 1 medium
Cilantro or Corriander Leaves ~ 1/2 a bunch . Choose a fresh green aromatic bunch
Green Chillies ~ 8-10
Ginger ~ 1/2"

For Sauce
Heavy Cream ~ 1/2 pint . This dish is always prepared at our home when guests are over for dinner so always heavy cream has been used. Try to use a lighter cream if you prefer, can't gurantee the taste though
Tomato paste ~ 1/2 of a 6oz can of Hunt's tomato paste


How I Did It
Make green masla for stuffing
Finely chop 1/2 onion, 5 green chillies and the 1/2 bunch of corriander .

Make a thick paste of coriander and green chili in a blender with very little splashes of water. You can add a little olive oil to help make the paste.

Prepare the Eggs

Boil and shell eggs

Cut in halves length wise

Take out the egg yolks

Mix the egg yolks with the
green masala(coriander + green chili paste)
finely chopped onion,
and salt.
Mix nicely with your fingers or masher, whatever you are comfortable with, so that it is an uniform paste.

Put back the masala in each egg half in place of the yolk as shown in the above picture. You don't have to over stuff it, some of the masala should remain for latter use

For sauce
Finely chop 1/2 onion, 4 green chillies and the 1/2" of ginger in chopper or blender
Heat Oil in Kadhai/Frying Pan
Add the above onion-chilli-ginger paste and fry till golden. Add the remainder of the yolk & masala mixture (remember the one used for stuffing the eggs).
Add the tomato paste and cook till the oil separates and there is no more raw smell. Add a little sugar.
Add the heavy cream and mix thoroughly. At this point sauce will be pinkish in colour
Bring it to a boil
Add salt and let it simmer at medium heat until the mixture reduces to consistency of a thick sauce

To Bake

Take a baking dish.

Put 2 tbsp of sauce at the bottom

Put the eggs the yolk side up in a layer. A single layer is preferable. You can do 2 layers if required

Pour the sauce over the eggs in the baking dish, making sure that sauce coats all the eggs well. The sauce would be thick so they wouldn't be dunked in the sauce but uniformly coated with it

Heat Oven to 350F and bake for half an hour or till the top surface of the eggs are carmelized to a nice brown colour

Enjoy the eggs by themselves or with Pulao or Roti. You can be creative about the stuffing and change or experiment with other ingredients too.

Why Corriander Is Good For You

Though Coriander is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean area, and in southwest Europe, both the leaves and seeds of this plant are widely used in Indian cuisine
Coriander has been used as a folk medicine for the relief of anxiety and insomnia in Iranian folk medicine. Experiments in mice support its use as an anxiolytic.
Coriander essential oil showed a delay in E. Coli growth, suggesting possible agricultural anti-bacterial applications.
Coriander seeds have also been used to prepare a traditional diuretic in India . The diuretic is prepared by boiling equal amounts of coriander seeds and cumin seeds. The extract is then cooled and consumed as a diuretic . Source is from wiki
I am sending this dish over this weeks WHB started by lovely Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen and this week hosted by Ed of Tomato
Trivia: There is a website I Hate Cilantro which has more than 1200 members all of whom say No to Cilantro

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Saraswati Pujo or Vasant Panchami


Jaya Jaya Devi
Chara Chara Share
Kucho Jogo Shobhito
Mukta Hare
Beena Ranjita
Pustaka Haste
Bhagwati Bharati
Devi Namastute

Saraswati Pujo, the worship of Goddess Saraswati -- the Goddess of Learning in Hindu Mythology, is a special occasion in Bengal. Every year on the day of Vasanta Panchami the Goddess is worshipped in numerous Bengali homes and also in schools, colleges and social communities. The festival is celebrated every year on the fifth day of the shukla paksha (waxing phase of the moon) of the Magha (around January/February) month of the Indian calendar, on the day called 'Vasant Panchami'
This day is so highly esteemed in Bengal that all centers of learning in Bengal are closed on this day. Students offer their books for worship and are not allowed to do any reading or writing on this day.The predominant colour of this day is yellow or basanti, as a sign of Spring which arrives soon after in India. You can learn more about this festival here.

Though this Puja is associated with a religion or mythology, this is more important because this is an humble way to pay our respect for knowledge and learning

We had a small Saraswati Puja today at home as in the above picture. Seeking blessings from the Learning Goddess for all of us, to give us wisdom, knowledge and a desire to learn and to share our learning.

For a complete Saraswati Pujo menu of Bhog er Khichuri, Labra and Chaatni go to this post and see the recipes.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Banana Pancake For Breakfast

Three of my dear blogger friends have started two very interesting and new events this year. Everyone is already aware of Monthly Blog Patrolling and I am sure Coffee is busy going through her entries right now.

Maheshwari of Beyond The Usual started AFAM aka A Fruit A Month. An event started to encourage eating more fruits and making tasty healthy dishes using the fruit of the month. A healthy event and by the end of it we will be more aware of fruits than we would have ever imagined.

TRS of The Spice Who Loved Me had a brilliant idea to involve kids in the kitchen and come up with kid friendly recipes where kids play a role other than eating. Kids curious creatues that they are, are more than ready to help in the kitchen, this burst of interest wanes as they grow and so let's make the best of the situation in hand. Her event Little Friends In The Kitchen will make the kids interested in food blogging too in no time I am sure

To have something for both of these events We made a simple, kid friendly breakfast Saturday morning which had Fruit of January Banana and where my Daughter was more than eager to pitch in. Simple delicious Banana Pancake

I am not going to put up the recipe here. I followed mostly Jaya's Banana Pancake Recipe. We used Bisquik Pancake Mix, omitted the eggs, added One mashed Banana, pinch of nutmeg, and the Pancake Batter was mixed by none other than my lil' daughter S.

Considering she is only three she is pretty helpful in the kitchen and otherwise. Weeekends she helps her Dad unload the dishwasher and is too happy to pound masala for me in the Mortar. Compared to all that, whisking the batter seemed to be a piece of cake for her :) And when all of us gave her credits for the Pancake you should have seen the glow of pride on her face. She says "Thanks Mashis for letting me be in the blog"

I loved seeing all of you guys putting up your kitchen pics. So I decided to share what I see From My Kitchen Window, the blue sky and lots of light on a Sunny Day.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Dil Mangta -- Pasta

I am not a big Pasta fan, at least not the Italian way, give me Desi Pasta (if there is anything like it) and I would happily lick my plate. Yeah wipe that surprise off your face, there are people like me out there. I have had Pasta at Olive Garden, their soup and salad is great but the pasta, naaaaah nothing that I could fall for, then onto Macaroni Grill, their option of “Make Your Own Pasta” sounds great and the creation that I finally make is something that will send the Italians rolling their eyes at me(thank god the waitresses are much more tolerant). Maybe because I have had Pasta at only these chain places and not at an authentic Italian Bistro, I refrain from saying “Mamma Mia” when I see Pasta

No one would believe this and there would be more rolling of eyes, but the best Pasta I have eaten to date is in a restaurant called “Casa Picola” in Bangalore, India, you should eat it to believe it.
The next best pasta happened at home when D discovered Barilla Restaurant Creations, two jars that you mix to get the resultant sauce. He tried sugo alla napoletana and the pasta was divine. But sadly the Shop Rites and Stop & Shops (local grocery stores) carry it no longer and I think it is available only in select stores or online. So that had to go to.
Even S my lil’ one loves Macaroni Cheese and Noodles but Pasta in Sauce, no way, she claims that’s Pasta gone dirty !!!

So I end up Cooking Pasta like I would do Noodles and we all love it, no please, I see that smirk on your face , but I tell you there are people like me out there.
And then I found this Pasta in Mahanadi’s blog. The great cook that she is, trust her to throw a nice Indian touch to this dish. Get the Original Recipe Here.
I liked the idea of cumin and tomato paste as the base for pasta sauce. But the similarity ends there, almost… I did not have red bell peppers and did not want to use peanuts so I omitted them and added some of my own stuff to make it a little more healthy. But I loved what happened, the bold flavor of the cumin and dry red chillis made it smell just right. I also loved the blended soy chunks I used, they added a thickness to the sauce, something that would have happened if I added sausage


Pasta in Tomato Cumin Sauce

What You Need

Whole Wheat Pasta ~ 3 cup. I used Barilla Plus Rotini
Soy Chunks ~ ½ cup . I used Nutrela Soy Chunks
Tomato ~ 1 and ½ finely chopped alternatively use Cherry Tomatoes
Tomato Juice from canned Tomatoes ~ 2 tbsp
Garlic ~ 2 cloves
Dry Red Chilli ~ 4
Cumin Seeds ~ 1 tsp
Mixed Vegetables ~ ½ cup. Other veggies should also do.

How I Did It
Soak soy chunks in water and microwave for 1 minute or more till they are soft. Let them cool
Meanwhile chop tomatoes and garlic
In blender add soy granules, tomatoes, garlic, cumin seeds, dry red chillies, 2 tbsp tomato juice and make a fine paste
Cook pasta al dente according to instructions on the box.
Rinse cooked pasta with cold water and toss with 1 tsp of Olive Oil
Heat Olive Oil in a Frying pan
Add 2 tbsp of onion paste
When the onions turn pinkish brown add the prepared paste and sauté till the sauce is cooked
Add about ½ cup of mixed vegetables. I use frozen mixed veggies which I Cooked in the microwave. You can use steamed veggies if you want.
When the veggies are cooked add the pasta.
Mix till the sauce coats the pasta well
The Rotini pasta retain the spices in their crevices and I like that. Served it with a home made strawberry-banana smoothie to offset the red chillis. Though to be truthful this was not at all hot for my spice level
For my daughter, omitted the red chillies and made the sauce

The good thing about this was that a plateful makes a hearty meal and the way I did it it was a quick mid week dinner. Thanks to Indira but you should really follow her recipe as I am sure that would be much more tastier.
This also goes to my blogger friend Coffee's Monthly Blog Patrol, see you there.
Trivia:Pasta existed for thousands of years before anybody ever thought of putting tomatoe sauce on it. Cortez, a Spanish explorer, brought tomatoes back to Europe from Mexico in 1519. Even then, nearly 200 years passed before spaghetti served with tomatoe sauce made its way into Italian kitchens.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Poush Parbon er Pati Shapta

Patishapta Narkel Kheer Pur diye | Bengali Crepe

India being a predominantly agrarian country the harvesting season is joyfully celebrated during the months of Poush-Magh and Falgun (January to February), the festival being known by different names in different regions. In Bengal the harvesting festival is known as Poush Parbon (Winter Festival), poush being the name of the month.

This festival also celebrates Makar Sankranti or Poush Sankranti — marking the sun's passage from Capricorn to Aquarius
This festival is also known as Pithey Parbon in Bengal, pithey being a sweet made with basic agrarian ingredients of the region like rice, date palm etc. .There are several varieties of Pithey known as Gokul Pithey, Ashkey Pithey, Shajer Pithey etc. Along with this, sweets like Pati Shapta, rice-flour crepes filled with khoya and coconut stuffing, Soru Chakli and many more are also made. A very nice article on this festival and the variety of sweets made can be found here
PatiShapta -- Crepes filled with a coconut kheer stuffing

Though Poush Parban is more of a rural festival, urban households in Bengal celebrate it too, the emphasis here being on the food galore rather the pithey galore.

My baba’s side i.e my paternal grandparents house were a bit of a radical and didn’t celebrate poush parbon with much fervor but at my Dida’s house or my Maternal grandparents house all three days of sankrati were celebrated. I vaguely remember my Dida going around the house tying fresh hay to all the door handles in the house. She would also make varieties of pithey, the first batch being Ashkey pithey. She would store the first batch of pithey in an earthenware container as an symbolic offering to gods and later immerse it in the river.

With time however this has changed, even my Ma does not go around tying hay to door knobs and does not make all the 8-10 varieties of pithey on this day. She does make Puli Payesh, pati sapta and gokul pithey though. My Ma-in-law make sthis amazing Gokul Pithey and next time I am going to learn from her. This time I made Pati Shapta, rice flour crepes filled with stuffing of coconut & khoya, which I learnt from Ma. Traditionally I should have used Khejur Gur or Date Palm Jaggery but because of my khejur gur ration I used sugar instead

Ok so heres the recipe. This is going to be a piece of cake for all my friends from Southern part of India. In fact you guys can give me inputs on how to make this better as this was my maiden effort.

What You Need

For the pur or stuffing

Grated Coconut ~ 3 cup
Khoa ~ 12 oz
Sugar ~ 1 cup. If you can use Date Palm Jaggery that would be best

For Batter for Crepe

Maida or All Purpose Flour ~ 3 cup
Sooji or Semolina ~ ½ cup
Rice Flour ~ ¼ cup.
Milk ~ 4 cups + a little more. As you make the batter, if you feel the batter is not thin enough to spread out add more. Note: the batter needs to be really thin and you may need more milk for this. Ideally the batter should spread easily on the griddle when poured
1/4 Cup of sugar

How I Did It

For the Pur or Stuffing

Take 3 cups of grated coconut. Fresh is better but I used frozen. Microwave the frozen one, to make it soft and fluffy
In the Kadai or Frying Pan mix the grated coconut with 1 cup sugar and mix with hand, pressing a little, so that The coconut will become slightly moist because of the sugar. This step is before the pan is put on the stove.
Next Microwave the khoya to make it a little soft
Put the Kadhai/Frying pan with coconut mix in it on the stove and stir.
Add the khoya and keep on stirring till the mixture turns a light brown and is sticky. At this point the mix should not dis-integrate but should look like a light brown slightly sticky granular substance. It took me almost 30 mins to do this

For the Crepe

In a big bowl add,
3 cup pf Maida/ All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup of Sooji
1/4 cup of Fine Rice Flour. If you have store bought rice flour you may need to grind it once more in your dry grinder to make it fine. 
1/4 cup of Sugar

Add 4 cups of Milk, do not add all the milk all at once, add it as you mix so you get an idea as to the consistency of the batter. You may need to add a little more of milk or water depending on the batter thickness. The batter should be a little more liquid than pancake batter. Make sure the batter has no lumps.
Cover the batter and set it aside for couple of hours to rest.

Heat a Frying Pan and smear a little oil/ghee on it. Just a brush of oil or ghee is fine.
Take a ladle full of batter (about quarter cup) and pour it on the Frying Pan and tilting the pan and moving the mixture with back of the ladle, evenly distribute the batter in a circle . You have to do this quick before the mix sets.

Once you feel the bottom side of the crepe is cooked, put the stuffing lengthwise towards one of the edge of the crepe. It is the same with savory or sweet stuffing.
Fold the crepe into a roll and lightly press it down. Give it a minute to get the brown spots, if you like it that way. Take it out on a plate and start with the next,

For serving
Drizzle the crepes with condensed milk and serve hot. Ideally my Ma use to thicken the milk, sweeten it and pour it over the crepes. I cut the method short with condensed milk

What I learnt
While using rice flour you have to be careful to make the batter a little more thinner and the crepe more thin, only then it remains soft even when cold. My batter in this case should have been more thin, a consistency that would spread easily on the griddle by tilting the griddle around

Updated on Jan 14th, 2020:

Finally, I have got hang of the Rice flour in patishapta

Make Batter

Rice Flour (from Indian stores) -- 1 Cup
Maida or AP Flour - 1/2 Cup
Sooji or Fine Rawa -- 1/4th Cup

Milk -- 2&1/2 Cups at room temperature

Sugar -- 3 Tbsp

Make a smooth batter by whisking the above ingredients, make sure there are no lumps. The batter should be thinner than pancake batter.

Make the Crepes

Take a small non-stick crepe pan. My omeltte pan serves the purpose.

Brush the pan with a few drops of oil. Raise the gas heat to high.

Take little less than 1/4th Cup of batter and pour on the center of the pan, quickly swirling the pan to spread the batter.

Now lower heat to medium and cook the crepe until edges start turning light brown. Lift the edges to see if the crepe is developing brown spots.

Put the stuffing towards the edge and wrap the crepe around it. Remove and serve hot

Get this recipe in my Book coming out soon. Check this blog for further updates. 

Saturday, January 13, 2007

KamlaLebur Kheer or Orange Kheer

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...Orange Kheer in want of a better name. Kamlalebu in Bengal, is what is Narangi, Santra or Orange in different parts of India.

Kamlalebu or Orange is a fruit which I closely associate with the mild Winters back home in India. Come winter and the markets would flood with these small round glossy skinned orange colored beauties. The Darjeeling Orange I am familiar with were grown in Orchards in the hills of Darjeeling and would come down to the plains of West Bengal around the months of November-December
By then the finals and later the half-yearly’s would be over and school would break for a reasonably long stretch of winter vacation. Every day after our mid morning bath the ritual would be to head for the terrace or chaat with oranges in one hand and a book in the other.
Sitting there soaking up the soft orange sun, peeling the oranges, popping one koa (or segment) after other , the sweet juice exploding the taste buds and being lost in the novel which had been neglected for the exams or the Anandamela ( a very popular childern's magazine in Bengali) which had arrived just that morning…that was life, warm, sweet and carefree.

My Ma like most other Bengali households would make this Kamlalebur Kheer during these months and serve it as a dessert with luchi & alurdum or by itself. It is pretty easy to make and considering the very little effort that goes into it, it’s heavenly to taste.

What you Need
Whole Milk ~ 1 litre
Sweetened Condensed Milk ~ 1 can
Sugar ~ 1/2 cup

Clementines or Oranges ~ 7 or 8 . I used clementines , you can try with other sweet oranges like mandarin oranges. You can also use canned mandarin oranges.

How I Did It

Peel the oranges and separete out the segments
Take out the transparent thin film/skin and the white thread like thingy from each of the segments and make small pieces
Heat Milk in a deep pan
Bring the milk to boil and then stir it intermittently
Add a can of condensed milk and continue the process of stirring
When the milk has reduced a little add the sugar
Keep on stirring continuously at medium heat till the milk has reduces to almost ¼ the initial volume. By this time the color of the milk would take on a creamy hue and it would have thickened. Continuous stirring is necessary else the milk may stick to the bottom and burn
The consistency is now like smooth kheer
Pour in a serving bowl and put in the refrigerator.
After 2 hours or when it has cooled down add the orange pieces and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours
Serve chilled

Note: I made this yesterday night but it tastes even better when I am having it right now in the morning, all that overnight saoking has made the milk/kheer soak up the orange flavor

Updated on April 15th, 2013: To make a quick and cheater's version of this dish, in a sauce pan add 1/2 cup milk + 1 cup condensed milk. Mix and bring to a boil. Keep stirring and let the milk thicken. will be done in like 15 mins or so. Now pour in a serving glass bowl and chill in refrigerator. Once cool add the orange segments.

Here in the US I was initially and even now baffled with the choice of Oranges offered. Product of various mutation I have a varying choice from Navel Oranges to California Oranges and the Valencia to the Mandarin orange and I still am not sure which I should pick

The closest that I have found to the small, sweet Orange popular in India, known as Kamlalebu in Bengali is a fruit called Clementine. Clementines are commonly called mikan in Japan, satsuma in the UK and Southern United States, and clementine or tangerine in Canada. Its fruit is sweet and usually seedless, about the size of a mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata), smaller than an orange. One of the distinguishing features of the clementine is the distinctive thin, leathery skin dotted with large and prominent oil glands, which is lightly attached around the fruit; enabling it to peeled very easily in comparison to other citrus fruits. They are widely available in the US from November to January-February

What I like about Clementines is that they peel very easily and easily separate into several juicy segments a feature similar to my familiar Orange in India. Since Clementine too is a hybrid but between Tangerine and pomerans, I am not sure if the Orange or Santra or kamlalebu in India was also a Clementine or some other hybrid of orange

I am sending this over for this weeks Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging to Coffe & CornBread. Hope all of you like this simple and delicious dessert

Trivia:It has been proposed that Clementine was "originally an accidental hybrid said to have been discovered by Father Clément Rodier in the garden of his orphanage in Misserghin, Algeria."

Monday, January 08, 2007

Chicken Soup with Garbanzo Bean From Other Blogs

Jump to recipe

There was a lot of red in the season and in my blog last week. Remember the Eveready Ad , "Give me Red" and so enough Red was given and endured. Now it's time to go mellow with yellow.
With all the dinners and lunch during the weekend I wanted to have something light for today. Also with Indo talking about controlling carbs and eating healthy I thought why not and went over to Kalyn's Kitchen to get some soup. She had some wonderful low carb, healthy soups and I found the Chicken Soup with Garbanzo Beans particularly alluring. Never had this combination before and thought of giving it a try

However the hardcore desi that I am, I needed to give a desi touch to this pardesi soup to suit my palate. Remember the song from Dard Ka Rishta

Yun Neend se Wo Jo Jaan-e-Chaman Jag Uthi hai
Pardes mei Jo Yaad-e-Watan Jag Uthi Hai...

Anyway the result was very tasty though I am sure it was far from anything that Kalyn intended. So with due apologies to her here is my version of the soup . Please check Kalyn’s page for her original recipe

Chicken Garbanzo Bean Soup Desi Ishtyle

What You Need

Chicken ~ small pieces, I used 10/12 small pieces
Garbanzo Bean or ChickPea ~ 1 cup
Onion ~ 1 small diced
Baby Carrots ~ 5/6 chopped
Green Chillies ~ 2/3

For Marinade
Soy sauce ~ 1tsp
Worcestershire sauce~ 1 tsp
Garlic paste ~ ½ tsp
Ginger paste ~ ½ tsp

Garlic ~ 1 tsp of finely chopped garlic
Ginger ~ ½ tsp of crushed ginger

Key Lime or any other lime ~ I used juice of one small key lime, substitute with suitable measure of other lime juice
Lemon Zest
Parsley ~ 1/2 cups freshly chopped

Elaichi or Cardamom ~ 2 pods
Laung or Clove ~ 2
Black Pepper ~ 10/12 crushed

Olive Oil

How I Did It

I had 10/12 pieces of a Cornish hen cut up in small pieces in the freezer.Marinated them with 1tsp of Soy sauce a little of worcestershire sauce and 1/2 tsp of ginger and garlic paste for half hour or more
Heat 1 and 1/2 tbsp of Olive Oil
Add 1 tsp of finely chopped garlic and 2 Cardamom and 2 Cloves
Add the chopped onions
Sauté till they are translucent
Add Chicken pieces and sauté till they are browned
Add carrots
Add the garbanzo beans
Add crushed ginger about 1/2 tsp, chopped green chillies and add water
Add lemon zest and coarsely ground black pepper and salt to taste
Cover and cook on slow heat
When almost done add chopped parsley and a juice of one small key lime
Bring to a rolling boil and you are done.
Serve garnished with parsley

This bowl of soup made a very tasty and light but hearty meal. The weather today being pretty much wintry, a sharp change from the Spring weather of the weekend, this light and warm soup definitely warmed the cockles of our heart.

Garbanzo Beans or chickpeas are the most widely consumed legume in the world. Originating in the Middle East, they have a firm texture with a flavor somewhere between chestnuts and walnuts. Chickpeas or garbanzo beans have 361 calories per 100g, and are rich in carbohydrates, proteins, phosphorus, calcium and iron.

I am sending this to Coffee's MBP as my entry for Cooking From Other Blogs

Trivia:In ancient Rome where the chickpea was highly valued, the leader Cicero proudly claimed his name derived from cicer, the Latin term for chickpea. It is believed that one of Cicero’s ancestors was named Cicero because he had a wart on his nose that looked like a chickpea.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Blogger Beta Tip for Category

If you are not on Blogger Beta please do not waste your time by reading ahead.

If you are on Blogger Beta but using the new templates with the Widget thingy and the Layout page, forget my post and get on with your life

If you are like me, switched to Blogger Beta but still using the old template for whatever reason, read ahead if you want to.

Blogger beta has Labels a nice thing that lets you categorize your posts. But if you are using an old template there is no way you can add "Categories" on your side bar. I found a simple way to add categories to your sidebar using your labels even in the old templates and so wanted to share it with you guys. Many of you must know this already but if you are still switching to beta this might help
Do this:

Label all your posts with the labels you want. Say you have Label1, Label2, Label3
Open your template for editing.
Go to the code for sidebar
Add the following lines

Add an href="" for Label1 and so on for Label2 and Label3

This will add the categories Label1, Label2, Label3 in the sidebar

If you are using the new Layout in the Blogger Beta the Layout page does this for you. But if you are like me, who are reluctant to move their template because of all the things you need to redo, this is a simple way to use this Blogger Feature

If you have any questions please post a comment

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Tomato Khejur Cranberry Chutney & some Meme

Jump to Recipe

Tomato Date Cranberry Chutney a beautiful, sweet and tangy way to kick off the New Year and some “meme”…

Sra had tagged me for a pretty interesting meme about "What Your Blogger Friends Look Like and Why" The meme sounded interesting but I thought before I went deep into describing I should take a more deeper look into the blogs to do justice. But the deeper I looked the more confused I became. 95% of the bloggers I read were food bloggers with a purpose and they rarely shared personal tit-bits of their life like the side of the bed they slept on or whether they preferred "Neutrogena" to "Dove" in their shower, leave alone sharing their dark secrets. So though each blog had a character it was very difficult to discern the face behind it.

Take for example dear Sra who was the initiator of this tag. I went through all her archives and though it seemed she is this "perky young journo (??) with very good writing skills and a penchant for cooking" , there was little in her blog that revealed anything personal except for her food. For all I know she might not be SRA but SRK , the "King Khan" writing up a food blog to satiate his eating pleasures. Please please tell me you are that.

Also there's a story to tell. Before going into food blogging I would often silently read random blogs. One of them was this PoisonPen which I would read off & on. The writer was some Vishnupriya RoyChowdhury, a bong connection which further kindled my interest. Being a personal blog it did reveal vague info about the person. After many such random readings, in the subconscious mind I had formed a picture of the person as in "the kind of person she is". After about a year and half of posts however the "creator" of the blog revealed a secret to the dismay of many ardent readers. This very very clever guy had created this blog and posted as Vishnupriya a female who was nothing but his imagination. In his own words

"Vishnupriya Roychoudhury is entirely a figment of a very colourful imagination. She was brought to electronic life by a slightly diseased mind with a tiny bit of a god complex.

She was created as a prank. In order to make the prank work better, she was fleshed out. She had a personality, a history, friends and a family. She had interests and opinions. Most importantly, she had three things:
a) an email id
b) an Orkut account
c) a blog

Read his post here

Extremely clever and frightening at the same time, don't you think ?
If an EMail Id, an Orkut account and a Blog is all it takes to create a person Nature may as well take a sabbatical
Since blogs are so powerful, I don't think I am responsible enough to take a decision on what others look like or what they are. I am happy thinking of all my blogger friends as this group of friends like the one I would have in college each making their own mark and at the same time supporting others, each of us waiting every morning to talk/chat/update the other, each full of passion to do something, each dreaming not much caring about the real life. With time maybe I will know them more.So even though this meme is extremely interesting I will just pass it on to the more astute people around me

Coffee has also tagged me with another meme. But I am not good at this either. It's very difficult for me to pick up 3 things not because there are more than 3 but because even that keeps changing from day to month to year. The Best I can do is...

Three Things I love
1. My Family including myself . My daughter says "I love Mommy, Baba, etc. etc, and myself"
2. Reading mostly good fiction.
3. At present I love cooking, taking photos and blogging

Three TV shows/Books I watched/read as a kid:
1. Enid Blytons all of them
2. Tintin but I read them even now
3. HumLog ??

Passing on the Meme to Sra, IndoSunGod and Mandira. You can pick one of the above, all or none.

Now to Tomato Khejur Chaatni or Tomato Date Chutney which is a bengali favourite. You will find it accompanying many a bengali meal. I added Cranberrys for that seasonal touch. What resulted is a sweet chutney with a little tartness of the cranberrys. This pretty looking chutney is both good to look at and eat

Tomato Date Cranberry Chutney

What You Need

Tomatoes ~ 4/5 plump red medium chopped to small pieces
Cranberry ~ fresh cranberry 1 cup
Date or Khejur ~ about 20 pittless dates cut in halves
Mustard Seeds ~ 1 tsp

Ginger ~ fresh ginger grated and then pressed to extract 1 tsp of ginger juice
Sugar ~ ½ cup or more according to your sweet level
PanchPhoron or Five Spice Mix ~ Dry roasted and ground to a powder. Use about 1tsp

How I Did It

Heat Oil in Kadai/Frying Pan
Add Mustard seeds. To prevent them from sputtering all around the kitchen close the lid
When they start sputtering add the chopped tomatoes
Sauté till the tomatoes turn into a fine pulp
Add the cranberries and stir
Add the dates and cook stirring the mixture
Add 1 tsp of ginger juice. Grate ginger and squeeze to extract the juice
Add salt a little water and cover and cook
When the tomatoes are well cooked, add ½ a cup of sugar
Add a little water and bring the mixture to a boil
Check the consistency and the sweetness. It should be thick and sweet but tangy. Add sugar if you want some more
Sprinkle about 1 tsp of roasted panchpuran powder before serving

Update: Many people add 2/3 dry red chillies while tempering to make this chutney a little spicy. I have never done it though.

Enjoy this chutney with lunch or dinner. I have had a long love relatinship with tomato chutney and am sure you would love it too.
MyKhazanaOfRecipes has started a very interesting event "Monthly Blog Patrolling". I am not going to reveal how interesting it is, so go check it out and participate.

Trivia: Memes refer to a unit of cultural information transferable from one mind to another