Thursday, May 31, 2007

Kashmiri Enchor for JFI


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.. Enchor= Unripe Jackfruit in Bengali

So the name intrigues you, you think what does this Bong Girl have to do with Kashmir that too Kashmiri Jackfruit !!! To be truthful even I am clueless. I am a simple Bong girl who has spent about a quarter of her life in the Gangetic Plains. What do I know about the beautiful valley lying between the ranges of the Great Himalayas. More so what do I know about Kashmir and its Jackfruit ?

I know about the Dal Lake and had always dreamt of being on a shikara. I have read about Kashmir in my school geography books and know that it is the “Paradise on earth”. I know about the Pashmina and would love to own a pure Pashmina Shawl.
But that’s it, I had always wanted but somehow a trip to Kashmir never materialized. And my geography is not that fantastic that I would know about Jackfruits growing in Kashmir. Neither do I have any kashmiri friends who would invite me over and treat me to their way of making Jackfruit.

But Bee wanted a Jackfruit recipe different from the one I already have in my Blog. Now thats(Enchor er Dalna/Enchor Chingri or Jackfruit with Shrimp) the only Jackfruit recipe I really know. So I scratched my head and thought. After thinking hard, very hard I thought I would make the other Bengali Jackfruit delicacy called “Enchorer Chop”. Now that is really tasty but I didn’t have enough time because a friend was moving house and I had offered to cook a dinner for them. Making a recipe serve two Food Events is not really nice, (though I have done it several times) I agree but at least I can make the food I cook serve several purpose I thought. So I wanted to make something that could be served as a dish for dinner and also be sent to JFI Jackfruit





Flipping through my recipe book, the Bengali one which finds mention in my blog from time to time, I found this wonderful recipe called “Kashmiri Enchor” or "Kashmiri Jackfruit" I am not really sure if there is anything remotely “Kashmiri” to this but since the name sounded good I stuck to it. With some of my innovations thrown in this was one great tasting Jackfruit Dish. So heres Kashmiri Enchor for JFI Jackfruit hosted by Jugalbandi and created by Mahanadi

* If this is indeed a Kashmiri prep -- pat on my back
* If there is a different prep for Kashmiri Jackfruit -- my apologies



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Kashmiri Enchor/Jackfruit



What You Need

Green Jackfruit ~ I used two cans of Chaokoh Green Jackfruit. Each can is about 570 gm

For marinade


Onion Paste ~ 3 tbsp
Yogurt ~ 3 tbsp
Garlic paste ~ 1 tsp
Ginger Paste ~ 2 tsp
Sugar ~ 1 tsp heaped
Turmeric Powder ~ 1/4 tsp

The Gravy

For tempering

Shah Jeera/Black Cumin ~ 1 tsp loosely packed (not heaped). You can also use the regular White Jeera/Cumin
Bay Leaves ~ 2-3

For gravy

Onion Paste ~ 2 tbsp
Red Chilli Powder ~ 1 tsp or more. Since I like it hot I added more
Kitchen King masala ~ 1 tsp heaped . Kitchen King Masala is a spice blend used to enhance the flavor of Indian Dishes. Can be used instead of Garam masala in some occasions
Sugar ~ 2 tsp
Salt ~ according to taste
Oil ~ for cooking
Ghee ~ 1tsp (optional)

How I Did It

Since the jackfruit is canned in brine, it becomes a bit salty. So the night before you cook, open the can, drain the liquid, wash the jackfruit several times in fresh water and soak them in fresh water overnight
Cut the jackfruit pieces in cubes
Make a marinade with the ingredients listed under “For Marinade” and marinate the jackfruit for an hour.
Heat Oil in a Kadhai/Frying Pan
Temper with 2 – 3 Bay leaves and 1 tsp (loosely packed) of Shah Jeera/Black Cumin. You can also use the regular White Jeera/Cumin
Add about 2 tbsp of Onion Paste
Fry till the onion turns pinkish brown and you see the oil separate from the onion paste.
Lower the heat and Add the jackfruit along with the marinade
Sauté till the masala cooks. In Bengali we use the term “Kashano” which means you have to stir till the masala coats nicely and masala is cooked
Add the Red Chilli Powder, the 1 tsp of Kitchen King Masala and Salt and saute again
Do not add water but sprinkle a little as needed and cook till done. Stir intermittently. Tip:If you at all need to add water to make the jackfruit cook, remeber to dry off most of the water.
After the jackfruit is cooked add 2 tsp of sugar if you want and mix and cook for a couple more minutes. Since I am not very tuned to sourness in food and the canned jackfruit has a bit of sourness I added this step. If you don't want do not add sugar.
The canned jackfruit being tender will cook quickly. If you are using the fresh ones you should steam or pressure cook the jackfruit before.

The dish had very little gravy but was moist and was excellent with Rice or Chapati.For my friends I served this with Dal, Egg Curry and White Rice. They loved it and so did we. The best part is it did not take much of my time, fast and tasty.

Update on 22nd June, 2007: Yesterday I added a little ghee to this dish and it enhanced the taste. I also realized that a certain hotness of chillies makes it taste better, specially with the canned jackfruit. So if you wish add a little ghee at the end and don't scrimp on the chilli.







Also check the other Green Jackfruit with Shrimp recipe in my Blog -- Enchor Chingri ba Enchor er Dalna




Trivia: Jackfruit plays an important role in Indian agriculture and was cultivated in India 3000 to 6000 years ago.One of the earliest descriptions of the jackfruit is to be found in the 16th century memoirs of the Mughal Emperor Babar, who was not much enamored of it and said "The jackfruit is unbelievably ugly and bad tasting". Well we don't think so, do we.(Source:wiki)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Chicken Fry

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Monday, my daughters pre-school had a Mothers Day tea bang at 9 in the morning. Maybe they thought Moms needed a break and should indulge in leisurely tea at 9 in the morning instead of slogging at work. So I gave work a miss and went for the tea, who would miss a hot cuppa that too with cute 3 year olds.

I went with a vision of meeting the other Moms, of bonding with them, of meeting with them over cups of coffee at the corner café. Somewhere at the back of my mind I had a picture of the Moms outside the gates of the nursery school near my home in India. Snacking on Jhal Muri and Phuchka(Gol Gappa) they would be busy discussing animatedly everything from the Universe to in-laws while the kids slogged inside. Though Jhal Muri would be sorely missed I thought something of a similar bonding would transpire here too.

I also wanted to make my daughters social life more happening at this new school by arranging some play dates with her class mates as suggested by some of my Mommy Blogger friends.

Armed with a cheery feeling and great ideas I went.
But things didn't turn out exactly the way I dreamed...

There were super Moms with their hair in place, their lipstick the right color and not something random dug out of the purse, the kind who would arrange play dates with a panache and probably had all such events already entered in their Blackberry. I was awed by their mere presence and dare not extend any thoughts of bonding with them ever.

And then there were Moms like me with their hairs not only out of place but sticking at all wrong directions. But they unlike me were totally wrapped up in their own offspring and while I surreptitiously prodded other kids to check play date materials, they were very contented with their own. They smiled at me benevolently with a hint of suspicion, holding on tightly to their children.

Then there was someone whom I kinda knew and could coerce her into setting up a play date even if the café meeting wouldn’t transpire, but S had no liking for that perfectly well behaved sweet child of hers.

Finally however I met the mother of the little girl towards whom S had taken a fancy too. She was a nice Asian lady but alas knew very little English. Neither of us understood what the other said but I still managed to wrench her phone number from her. Hope when I call her up she will not hang up on me and maybe even agree to sharing a cup of tea.

Its been 4 days and I haven't called and I am sure by next week I will loose the number scrawled on a piece of paper and thereby my daughter will loose an aranged social meet up and instead play with my neighbours daughter. If my daughter ends up an aniti-social like her Dad when grown up you know who gets the blame.




Tired at the end of the day with so much self inflicted pressure, I wanted to cook something that didn’t need my undivided attention and would spice up my life too. So I made Chicken Fry frameworked from Sumitha’s Kerala Chicken Fry recipe. Check her blog Kitchen Wonders for the original Recipe.I had tried this last week too with some of my twists thrown in. I also baked the chicken first and then fried them. It was very very tasty considering the little time you need to devote to it. The main thing which gives this Chicken fry a distinct flavor is Kari Patta, with its heady aroma. So heres Sumitha’s Chicken Fry a la Sandeepa Ishtyle

I am sending this for this weeks WHB Kalyn's brainchild, hosted this week by Rinku at CookingInWestChester, the herb in question is of course Curry leaves or Kari Patta. Highly aromatic the curry leaves are very popular for seasoning in Indian Cooking. While Bay leaves are more popular for seasoning in North and East Indian Cooking, Curry Leaves is the preferred darling in South Indian Cuisine. However the two leaves are very different and do not substitute one with the other. These leaves have several medicinal properties and are good for digestive disorders, eye disorders etc. as described here . But I have always used curry leaves for flavoring never really ate them, don't now why.


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Chicken Fry



What You Need

Skinless Chicken Drumsticks ~ 4-5

For Marinade
Plain Yogurt ~ 2/3 cup
Ginger Paste ~ 2 tsp heaped
Garlic Paste ~ 1 tsp heaped
Chicken Curry Powder ~ 2 tsp . This adds an oomph to the dish. I used Shan Brand. You can use Garam Masala instead
Corriander powder/Dhania Powder ~ 1 tsp
Salt
Red Chilli Powder ~ 1/2 tsp or according to your spice level

For Frying
Onion Paste ~ 1 tbsp
Curry Leaves/Kari Patta ~ 6-7
Green Chillies ~ 6 chopped. I like it spicy hot, adjust the green chillies according to your spice level

Oil

How I Did It

I used Skinless Chicken Drumsticks. After cleaning them I made some slits on them
Mix together Yogurt, Ginger paste, Garlic paste, Corriander Powder, Chicken Curry Powder, Chilli Powder, Salt. Marinade the chicken pieces in this for at least 40-45 minutes. Use this time to play with your kid or soak in a bubble bath if you have the luxury to do so. No you might not chuck your kid out of the window for that bath
Remove the drumsticks from the marinade, place them on a lightly greased baking tray and bake the chicken drumsticks at 350F for 30 mins. They will be slightly browned at the end of this. During this 30 mins pack next days lunch or curl on the couch with your newly acquired book.You can entice the hubby to pack lunch and the kid by telling him you are TECHNICALLY cooking now.
Heat Oil in a Frying Pan. Since the chicken has been baked now you don't need much oil so use little of it. Also I used Olive oil while for the authentic Kerala version you should use Coconut Oil as suggested by Sumitha
Add the Onion paste, 6-7 curry leaves and 6 chopped green chillies.
When the onion has turned a nice pinkish brown add the chicken drumsticks
Add about 1 – 2tbsp of the marinade and fry them. I covered and fried till they were browned and done. You can add a little more of the remaining marinade along the way but the result should be dry so remember to fry till dry. Mine were not uniformly browned like Sumitha's but they were a nice color and tasted awesome.
Serve with wedges of lime and slices of red onions






Trivia: Curry Leaves tree is a small tree, growing 4-6 m tall, with a trunk up to 40 cm diameter. The leaves are pinnate, with 11-21 leaflets, each leaflet 2-4 cm long and 1-2 cm broad. The flowers are small white, and fragrant. The small black, shiny berries are edible, but their seeds are poisonous.(Source: Wiki)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Piyajkolir Tarkari

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Little S knows all about Mothers Day. By "about" I don’t mean the history or the Hall Mark-ing of it but she knows there is a day like this when you are supposed to give your Mom cards etc. before you throw the usual tantrum. When she was 16 months, it was my first Mother's Day as a Mom and D took her to get me a card and Mom’s Day gift. I got a funny card with a mirror and a dangly sparkly kind of bracelet in some abstract color which is not something I take to wearing. When I asked D why he got that thing, he said because S pointed it out!!! So last year I took it upon myself to get me something sensible crediting the money spent and joy of gift giving to D of course. The most precious thing though was the card little S made in school for Mother’s day.

Since S is a 3 year old now with much more sense and I am a lover of good gifts, I was dreaming that maybe she will point out to the dazzling ruby and diamond bracelet or the Coach handbag at Macy’s when D takes her to buy the Mom’s Day gift instead of pointing to some arbitrary stuff .

So yesterday I told S with a lot of enthu – “You know Mothers Day is this month”
She said – “Oh when is it?” (In Bengali she said “Kobe re?” with the right inflection)
So I showed her the calendar and the day and asked her – “What do you want to do on the day?”
She flung her small soft arms around me and said “I want to hug you” !!!
Holding her tightly the commercialized Mom in me said “ What else ?”
She said “ It will be your holiday so you won’t have work and I want to sit in your lap all day”

I was ashamed, yeah downright ashamed. While I was thinking of gifts all this tiny creature wanted was to love me and be with me. Amidst all the days work its true that I don't always get time to be just with her. So even when I am physically around and it may seem I am spending time with her, I am multitasking and feeding her while chopping veggies or sneaking a peek at the blogs while talking to her. I don't really just sit with her for long. Even if I do for a little while I am prone to say " Chal chal anek kaj ache" (Let's get going I have lots to do). Soon she will grow up and this is not what she will want from me. So as long as she asks for it maybe I should set aside my chores and just sit and enjoy and smell the freshness of her innocence. (Ok it may not work out as beautiful as it sounds because this 3 year old is an active imp and before long you may see me panting and gasping for air, a far cry from "smelling innocence" but at least I should make an effort)

I was never a fan of Valentines Day, but I liked Mothers Day since even being far I would send my Mother small gifts which I thought showed my love for her and it also meant “one more occasion” to get some loot for myself. But maybe even all my Mom wanted was just to be with me (or maybe she preferred the gifts which were more useful than the adult me , I never asked)

So between my Mother and my little daughter was I the one caught in the Hall Mark warp, totally discounting the actual essence of the day and concentrating on the screaming Mothers Day Sale banners instead.

To change my attitude this year I asked D to not get me a gift for Mother's Day, instead if the weather is good we will pack a lunch and have a "picnic" somewhere and enjoy the day as it comes
(D if you are reading this, you can give me gift on all other occasions, do not take this to your benefit. I am thinking of the child here remember !!!)

Happy Mother's Day to my Ma who has always been a good friend, has helped me through all my growing years including my studies, stood by me when I wanted to take up job in another city, stood by me in most of my life's decisions and done for me a lot more that I can ever imagine doing for her. I really feel bad that being far I am not really able to do for her as I should have as a grown up daughter in their day to day life. But she doesn't complain and neither expects anything from me. Hope to be a similar mother for S to be happy in her happiness and not expect much....

Happy Mothers Day to myself and to all Moms out there
(This post shared with Desi Momz Club)



Piyajkoli Or Scallion/Green Onion/Spring Onion is used to make this very simple typically Bengali dish. Tempered with Kalo Jeera/kalonji, a very common spice used for tempering in Bengali cooking, and Green Chillies this is one of the quick dry dishes you would make on a week day to go with chapati at dinner or packed with roti for next days lunch.Me the Rice lover, loves it with White Rice too. The shrimps add a festive touch to this and since I love shrimps I almost always add shrimps to this dish.
This goes to Nupur for "A - Z of Indian Vegetables" for this week's P -- Piyajkoli'r Tarkari a dry dish made with Scallion, Potatoes and Shrimp


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What You Need

Scallion or Green Onion (known as piyajkoli in Bengali) ~ 4 bunches chopped small (as shown in pic)
Potatoes ~ 3 medium sized peeled and cubed as shown in pic
Green Chillies ~ 4-5 slit

Shrimp ~ ½ cup. I used frozen medium shrimp. You can use fresh smaller shrimps or even salad shrimps
Kalo Jeera/Kalonji/ Nigella Seeds ~ 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder ~ ½ tsp
Red Chilli Powder ~ 1/2 tsp or according to tatse. I do not add this usually

Oil
Salt

How I Did It
Defrost shrimp if frozen else wash and clean. Sprinkle little turmeric powder and salt on the shrimp and leave it aside for 15-20 minutes
Wash and chop the scallions and potatoes
Heat Oil in a Kadhai/Frying Pan
Lightly fry the shrimp till they are golden. Remove them and keep aside
In the same oil sauté the potato cubes till they acquire a hint of golden. Remove and keep aside
In the same oil (liitle more oil needs to be added by this point) add kalo jeera/kalonji and green chillies for tempering
Add the chopped scallion and sauté
Lightly fry till the scallion wilts.
Add the lightly sauted potatoes and mix well
Add ¼ tsp of turmeric powder, salt and sprinkle a little water if necessary. Add Red Chilli Powder if you wish
Cover and cook till done. Don't cover and let it burn, since there is very little water you need to stir this often.Don't worry doesn't take long
Add the fried shrimps and mix well. Cook for a couple of minutes and you are done

This will be a dry dish and enjoy with Chapati or White Rice as a part of your everyday meal

Note: As one of my readers mentioned, instead of frying the potatoes as a separete step you can add the potatoes after tempering the oil with Kalonji and Green Chillies. Saute the potatoes and add the chopped scallions and cover and cook as the next steps indicate.

Remember to wash your bunch of scallions well when you bring them in fresh and for storing and chopping information check here






Trivia:The words scallion and shallot are related and can be traced back to the Greek askolonion as described by the Greek writer Theophrastus

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Mango Pudding

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With the parents gone, the 3 year old demanding total attention and all my time and the allergy season in place I am at the verge of having no time left at all. On top of this I hear GBP Summer humming at my right ear. And while I sneeze and look tearfully at the world I shove seeds in the soil with one hand the other grappling the 3 year old who wants to prod the same seed to check for life.

So though I am cooking to sustain myself and the family, I don’t get time to put it down on paper or the screen. With bleary eyes and a heavy head I don’t even know if I am typing right and have left it on Word to correct me. Fortunately these recipes were written down about a month back so I am not typing them out wrong, so stay put and don't even think of hopping on to the next lively space and not listen to my melancholy allergy induced thoughts.

I am just posting the recipes as two different posts as it helps in indexing. Don’t fret, I won’t mind if you don’t comment on both. But if you want you can do so. So while in one you tell me “how sorry you feel for me” in the next you can say “That’s a yummy looking dish”. See I even give you suggestions to make life easy for you, I am such a nice human bean with a warm compassionate heart…Achooo !!! I am blessed .

Mango Pudding is the easiest dessert that you can whip up when you have 20 guests over for dinner and you have already cooked 5 dishes and 2 appetizers. At the point when you have no energy and cursing your own social life and promising to yourself to stick to just 2 hand picked friends, Mango Pudding is the sweetest, quickest, easiest thing that can happen to you.


Mango Pudding



What You Need

This is good for 10 people, for 20 you have to pair it with mango ice cream or mango sorbet or make more of this

Condensed Milk ~ 1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
Sweet Mango Pulp ~ twice the amount of condensed milk. From a can of Indian brand mango pulp I measured out about 28oz
Eggs ~ 3
Fresh sweet mango Pieces - if available. In absence of this I used fresh strawberries sweetened with sugar

How I Did It

In a Bowl add 1 can of Condensed Milk
Add Mango Pulp twice the amount of the condensed milk
Mix well
Add 3 eggs
Whisk well to get a smooth mix
Pour in lightly greased Oven proof baking dish. If you can bake in individual baking/serving cups its best because taking the pudding out of the tray becomes tricky at times. If anyone has a good tip on this do let me know.
Heat Oven to 350F
Bake for 30-40 minutes till its done
Refrigerate and serve chilled. Dress it up with fresh sweet mango pieces. In absence of these I used fresh strawberries




Things don't get simpler than this. Things get better if you pair this with Mango Sorbet from Haagen Dazs

There are several different ways of doing this and there are recipes sans eggs too.

Since this has Mango albeit the pulp and looks springy enough I am sending this to Meeta's Spring is in the Air.

Also sending this for AFAM-Mango created by Maheshwari of Beyond The Usual and hosted by Deepa of Recipes N More. Thanks Sig & Deepa for reminding me

I am late but I wanted to be apart of A TASTE OF YELLOW hosted by Barbara of WineandFoodies as aLIVESTRONG DAY event. This is my teen weeny bit for all of you whose courage shines through.


Trivia:Paisley cloth really comes from India, and the design which is a stylized depiction of mango is used on cloth because the mango is held to be a symbol of fertility(Source:Everything2)

Pineapple Malpua


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In sharp contrast to Mango Pudding in the next post, the Pineapple Malpua is not something I would do when I have 20 guests with 5 smallish kids in tow for dinner. Making 50 mapluas (yeah everyone will eat at least 2 and then ask for more) is not my “left hand game” or for that matter "right hand game" either(translated from “bayen haath ka khel” in hindi -- thanks anamika I got confused between left & right yesterday :)) and I would rather make my Malpuas when there are few people around giving me ample opportunity to sample the malpuas while I make them. With Ma around we managed the other day, however I would still prefer desserts like Mango Pudding, Kheer etc. when the number of guests is > 10

Pineapple Malpua is like the normal malpua but the crushed pineapple gives it a pineapply flavor. But adding the crushed pineapple or not is totally your prerogative

Pineapple Malpua


What You Need

The measure here makes about 14 malpuas

For Batter

Maida ~ 1 cup
Sooji/Semolina ~ 1/2 cup
Crushed Pineapple ~ 1/3 cup of crushed pineapple. I used from a Dole Brand can of Crushed Pineapples

Fennel Seeds ~ 1 tsp
Milk (Whole Milk is best) ~ 3/2 cup that is 1 and 1/2 cup silly

For Sugar Syrup or Chinir Ros

Sugar ~ 1 cup
Water ~ 1 cup

Bring water & sugar to boil in a pan till you get a syrup of one-thread consistency. The syrup should be similar to the one you make for say Gulab Jamuns

For Frying
Oil

How My Ma Did It

Make the batter with all the ingredients listed under "For batter" and let it sit for 3-4 hours
Make the Sugar Syrup by boiling water and sugar to a 1 string consistency
Heat Oil
Pour batter (about 1/3 cup) in the oil to make a round flat shape like a pancake but of smaller radius
Fry both sides till golden brown
Dunk in sugar syrup
Let it soak for a couple of minutes and the take it out
Serve warm



Note: Pavani asked me how much oil did I use so I am adding this note. The way I did it I deep fried the puas/malpuas, so I needed a little more oil. Though mind you all of that oil was not used.
Mystic of Chatpat Food has a recipe for Malpua which needs less oil for frying the puas. Sometimes we thicken the milk to make the batter for malpua, instead of this Mystic uses Evaporated Milk