Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Nandini's Fish Curry with Lime Leaves -- Lebu Pata diye Maacher Jhol

I often hear people say that you don't make good friends after your childhood. That the best friends you make are the one you had since school or college. I understand the logic in there, that the friends you made in the age of innocence, unencumbered with worldly burdens or egos, are the true ones.

However, I have been extremely lucky to have found some good friends in all phases of my life. I found a very good friend when I was working in Mumbai and I am always indebted to her for sharing her love for reading with me. We would go second-book shopping outside Churchgate on Saturdays and she was the one who gave me a copy of "My Family and other Animals", thus introducing me to the magical writings of Gerald Durell.

N, is the aunt who dresses up my daughter for her Bharatnatyam performance as I am clueless
When I came to the US, and was desperately seeking a Bengali fiend, I found Nandini at K-Mart. Nope, she was not on sale. How I met her and what led to our friendship, is a saga on its own and I have even written about it in my book. If you are very interested, you can look it up in there. Slowly, I made more friends but had I not met N that day and braved myself to express my desperate need for friendship with a stranger like her, my life in US would probably be very different. Probably mundane and glitter free.
From her undying love for Shahrukh Khan to her obsessing about exercise, she keeps me informed about a wide range of things from Bollywood to weight-loss trainings, from the best sushi place in town to lebu-paata diye maacher jhol. Honestly, she is like the sister I never had !

Friday, April 07, 2017

Mourala Maacher Charchari -- from my Mother

I often say that I am not my Mother. The truth is, I can never become my Mother. It is hard. Believe me!

Everytime we have a phone call, this is how the conversation goes

If (Morning)
"Cha er saathe biskut kheyechis? Khali pete cha khas na. Shob jaigay bolche kintu brekfast ta heavy korte" (Did you have tea with your biscuit? Don't go empty stomach in the morning. It is important to have breakfast.)

Me - Huun

"Aaj lunch e bachcha der ki dili? Abar Pasta?" (What did you pack for the girls' lunch? Pasta gain?)

If (Night)
"Dinner e ki kheli?" (What did you have for dinner?)

bhaat, dal, chicken er jhol

"Abar toder sei brown rice ? Sada bhaat koris ni? Ektu gobindibhog chaal er bhaat korte paris to meye gulor jonyo. Ar sobji?" (Again that tasteless brown rice ? Why can't you make some gobindobhog? And no vegetable dish?)

After the food part is dealt with and she has finally resigned her granddaughters fate in the hands of their worthless mother, do we go into other discussions.

I cannot say for sure what will happen in 20 years but I don't know if like my Ma, I will be so single-mindedly concerned about my daughters' meal habits. Or maybe I will. Many of my friend's say, their conversation with their Mothers go more or less the same way, so I shall never know until I am at that stage.

My Ma -- The Super Bong Mom 

Monday, April 03, 2017

Baked Doi Salmon -- in oven

We are a very sporty family. Not. For a while, when the girls were small, I had them fooled with tall tales about me being a star marathon runner and their dad being a champion wrestler. Well, they did not buy that!!! The truth is sports is not our forte except for Little Sis who really enjoys being the athletic one in the family. Both my kids, defy the whole science of genetics and have interests in areas we the parents have no clue about. Well, the husband-man has loads of theoretical knowledge on all sports including gymnastics😉, but it is LS who actually does the practical stuff.

Today Little Sis had her first gymnastics meet. She was very very excited about it. Since we had no clue about what a "meet" was, we were excited too. This meet was in another town almost 45 minutes away and it was a local meet with other USAG level 2 and 3 teams competing too. All the little kids looked so darn cute in their leotards and did their routines in so perfect sync that right there I formed a very good opinion about "meets". This kind of meeting is what I like. Not boring at all.

After almost a whole day of the meet thingy, LS does not look tired at all, and is going around proudly strutting all her medals. On the other hand, doing nothing and sitting around the whole day, I am terribly tired. Thankfully I have devised an easy 3-step recipe for making Doi Salmon which was what we had for dinner.

Doi Salmon, Salmon in Yogurt Sauce, Baked Salmon in Yogurt Sauce

This Doi Salmon (Salmon in Yogurt Sauce) needs very little active time, that is the time you have to be present in the kitchen and at the stove instead of sleeping on the counter. The cooking time is all in the oven. This makes this a really easy and delicious dish, that leaves you with a lot of time to take a bubble bath and yet have homemade dinner.

Also it needs only 1tbsp of Oil and is really delicious. Did I mention that it is so so good and is exactly like how Doi Maach should taste?

So what if my knees turn into jelly at the thought of even getting on a beam, leave alone doing a handstand on it, I can find a easy way to make Doi Maach. That counts.

For the sceptics and the puritans, here is my traditional version of making  Salmon Doi Maach

And then BigSis found a neat app for me to edit videos and so helped me make this video which will give you a good idea of how easy this dish really is.


Doi Salmon in Oven


You need 1lb of salmon filet cut up in 5-6 rectangular pieces. This might work with other fish too but I like doi maach with salmon filets best so that is what I used.

You also need onion paste. Now I usually saute onion and make a paste and keep in the refrigerator for a week. It can be used in a lot of quick dishes during the week.
For this particular recipe, and the measures given, you need 2 tbsp Onion Paste.

How I Did It

Step 1

Soak 2 tbsp of cashew or slivered almonds(no skin) in water for 5-8 minutes

In a mixie add
the cashew/almond
and make a smooth paste with a splash of water

Now to the same mixer jar add
1/2 Cup of yogurt
2 Green chili finely chopped
2 tbsp Onion Paste
1 tbsp grated Ginger
1 tbsp Olive Oil

Make a smooth thick marinade

Step 2

In a baking dish put the salmon pieces.

pinch of Turmeric Powder
little Red Chili Powder
1/4th tsp of Garam Masala

Toss with the spices. Now add the yogurt marinade you made and let it sit in the marinade for 10 minutes.

Step 3

Add 2 green cardamom (crushed by just one thwack in a mortar pestle) and 2 cloves. This brings out the whole garam masala flavor of Doi Maach

Bake in the oven at 275F for 25 mins. After that switch off the oven, cover the baking dish with a foil and let it sit in the oven for 5 more minutes.

You Doi Salmon is ready. Take it out and enjoy with some rice or just by itself.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Bengali Shingara -- not a samosa

There are samosas,the unique conical shaped Indian pies(in lack of a better word) made with pastry dough and stuffed with spiced potatoes, peas or mince meat and fried in hot oil, and then there are shingaras, the Bengali version of the same. Now don't you go and offend a Bengali, by saying that a shingara is same as samosa but only smaller. Never say that!

Bengalis are very possessive about their shingara, a popular snack served with steaming cups of tea, be it Darjeeling tea served in fancy china or sweetened bha(n)rer cha served in earthenware cups. While many upscale Bengali mashimas will look down upon aloor chop or telebhaja from the street, they will not blink a eye when offered these small triangle shaped delights from the neighborhood Kalika Mishtanno Bhandar, stuffed with potatoes-cauliflowers-sweet pea(the aloo phulkopir shingara being the favorite) in winter or potatoes and peanuts at other times of the year.

Growing up in Bihar, I was more familiar with the larger samosas from the stores, which I of course loved. The Bangali Shingara was something that was home made. Come winter, my Mother would be up in arms, steaming potatoes and cauliflowers, making conical structures from dough, like magic and frying up hot, hot shingaras. They were delicious and you could have as many of them. They were home made after all.

Potato-peas filling for shingara

Later, when we moved to this small town in Bengal, the shingara war was won by the local sweet-maker, Shotu, who fried batches of perfect shingara and made heavenly cream-chops in his shack like store known famously as "Shotu'r Dokan"!

Shotu'r shingara showed up at snack time, in our house, almost two or three times a week. Every afternoon around 5 in the evening,a huge black kadhai filled with oil would be put on the coal stove, at his store; mounds and mounds of alabaster white dough made of maida would be rolled into circular discs on glistening wooden boards; they were then stuffed and sealed in the blink of an eye; and suspended in the hot oil where they would be fried to flaky golden brown perfection.

My mother still made shingaras on some Sundays. Unlike me, she is one who fries stuff just because she wants to and not needs to. I mean, if I got perfect shingaras hot off the oil from a store, 2 miles away, I would have never made them at home.

Heck, I don't make them even when I don't get it at any store in my driving radius. We make do with samosas from the Indian stores, but I don't really like their stuffing. We love the Chicken samosas from Trader Joe's but there covering leaves a lot to desire. Sometimes for parties, we get the frozen samosas from the Indian stores, Swad or some such brand. They are ok. But honestly, none of them is a shingara.
There is my favorite Bengali caterer who does make great shingaras, with fried peanuts et al but he makes them only when there is a large order and that does not happen very often.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

KaanchaLonka Dhonepata Baked Fish

The weather has been amazingly warm for February in the last few days. Being from a warm country, I am not very fond of snowy winters, but such high temperatures scare me. With the new administration, there is little thought being given to global warming though it stares us in the face and even my 8 year old understands the impact it can have. If the EPA is not allowed to do the job it should, it is ultimately we, the humans who lose out in the long run.

We went snow tubing this past weekend. It was sunny and warm and the snow had turned to slush in parts. No one even needed a gloves or a cap.  The kids had a whole lot of fun but in a couple of decades we might have to do this whole snow world in a controlled environment indoors.

Now to this Green Chili Coriander Fish baked in the oven which is  much loved in our home. Big Sis is happiest when dinner is this particular fish dish and rice. It is also so easy to make that I don't have to do any prep work if the ingredients are at hand.

Surprisingly, this fish was inspired by a Lemon-Coriander Fish not from any Michelin starred restaurant but my Etihaad flight last year. I have not seen anyone else take their in-flight dinner so seriously, that too an in-flight dinner devoured in company of absolute strangers in a tight economy seat. But I had honestly liked the fish they had served with couscous.

It had uplifted my spirits even even when I was missing all the tyangra jhal charchari and golda chingri that I was leaving behind. As much as I like my golda chingri kalia, I know that it is not what I will rustle up for a weeknight dinner. For that, inspiration has to come from elsewhere. In this case, it was at 40,000 ft high!

Soon after I came home,I searched up the recipe and then tweaked it enough to make it kick-ass Bengali. Few green chilies will do that for you!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Thai Red Curry with Shrimp -- comfort food

Thai food is comfort food for us. Well at least for the two adults and the teen. Little Sis does not like Thai food!

Don't ask me how this is possible but the more I see my kids, the more I want to get their DNA checked. I don't know where they carry these traits from. So anyway for a long time all that Little Sis would eat at our favorite Thai place was their jasmine rice with a little bowl of ketchup+hot sauce on the side. I was okay with it as long as there was no impediment to my pad thai. As she grew older and became an active member in voting "Where do we go out for dinner on Saturdays?", she also became a vociferous opponent of our favorite Thai place. Imagine the horror. Instead of a nice bowl of Tom Yum soup we were being subjected to mac n cheese, how so ever gourmet it may be.

Only recently she has taken an infinitesimal amount of liking for Tom Yum soup which she eats with a side of jasmine rice. As long as she does not vote out our Thai place, I really don't care.

Now, since making a Thai Red curry is something which has a huge ROI, with little work to do and a huge return on flavor, I make a Thai red curry at home often. Little Sis does not eat it but Big Sis slurps it up. It really is a pretty simple dish to make if you have these two ingredients. Thai Red Curry Paste and a Can of coconut milk. I like the Maesri brand of red curry paste and have not tried other kinds.

To make a Chicken Thai Red Curry follow this recipe

Today we will make Shrimp Thai red Curry

Shrimp Thai Red Curry

Start off with 1 lb of fresh or frozen raw shrimp. If you are buying fresh shrimp, buy the ones without the head. Clean the shrimp which means take out the black thread like thingy on the back of the shrimp and rinse in running water. Toss the shrimp in salt and keep aside

Fry 1 small onion, chopped in pieces, cool and make a paste

Heat canola or vegetable oil in a wide pan

Saute the shrimp lightly until they change their raw coloring. Take out and keep aside

To the same oil add 2 cloves of garlic minced. If you have Thai Basil leaves, add about 3-4 of them too.

Once you get a beautiful flavor, add the Onion paste and fry for a minute

Add 1 red bell pepper and 1 green bell pepper chopped in medium sized strips. Saute for 2 minutes

When the Pepper turns soft add 2-3 tbsp of the Red Curry Paste. Saute and cook with sprinkle of water for the next 2-3 minutes

If you have bamboo shoots,add 1/2 a can of bamboo shoots. Saute

Add 1 can of Coconut Milk + 1/2 Cup of water. Mix well and adjust for salt. Let the gravy come to a simmer. I usually let it simmer at low-medium heat for 6-8 minutes as I see it helps the flavors to blend well.

Add 1 tsp sugar and cook to desired consistency. By this time the gravy will have a beautiful color.

Now add the cooked shrimp and let the gravy simmer for 2 more minutes.

At the very end add the Lime Zest or Kafir Lime Leaves. Serve with rice.

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Sunday, February 05, 2017

Kashundi Egg Salad -- Indian style

First to dispel any myths, no one from my family back home will call this a Bengali egg salad. They will call this "dim seddho makha" -- boiled eggs mashed up and leave it at that. This is something that we ate almost routinely for breakfast, along with mashed potatoes, rice and a dollop of ghee.

"You ate all that in the morning before going to school?", my daughters often ask, their voice incredulous, their eyes weary looking at their mother who was ok eating all of rice, potatoes, eggs and ghee in the wee hours of the morning!

I look back with surprise too. How on earth did I manage to scarf down all of that before rushing off to the school bus stop at 8 in the morning! But then I loved eggs. I still do. The husband-man shares a similar love of eggs. If we ever have to share a boiled egg between us, it is a moment of heightened tension, cutting the egg with finite precision, so that no one gets away with a bigger share of the delicious egg yolk. The girls, unfortunately do not share our love for eggs. I would have never ever imagined that my own progeny would refuse to eat an cooked egg yolk, but if I look at the positive side, it only leaves more for me.

I am not a big fan of the egg salad that is very popular in the western world. However I cannot deny that it is an extremely easy dish to make for picnics or even parties when served right. You can serve them as a crostini on a piece of french baguette or on crackers and bam you have a quick and easy appetizer ready!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Sanhita's Nonta Bhapa Pithe or steamed rice flour dumplings

When the world around us is in a tumultuous state, among the few things that bring sanity, is food that has ties with our roots. Those ties might be frayed and not often remembered but it is there, a gentle reminder of who we are and how our journey has been. How in this global world, we have all immigrated, far from our roots, whether it is within the country or outside. There is comfort in knowing recipes that are old and yet have stood the test of time and movement. Knowing that this was the food prepared and consumed by my kin, in a different era, different world, in times of different beliefs, gives us strength in its perpetual persona.

Pithe,is reminiscent of the times when paddy was harvested in the months of December-January and the new crop was celebrated by making dishes that used rice, date palm jaggery(khejur gur also collected in the winter months) and coconut. Poush Parbon or Nabanno was a celebration of the new crop of rice, which was the mainstay for the then agrarian society. We have moved many years forward from those times where rice is now GMO and harvested multiple times and grated coconut can be found in the frozen aisles of grocery stores. Yet, we still take the effort to celebrate poush-parbon, in our home to honor those simpler times when we revered soil and its bounty, instead of taking it for granted like we do now.

Usually during Poush Sankranti, I hover between my fail safe recipes of paati-sapta and gokul pithe. I have never tried to make pithe with rice flour which is quintessential part of poush parbon for Bengalis. My Ma makes puli pithe which are rice flour dumplings shaped like a small rugby ball and stuffed with nice things like kheer or coconut. These "pulis" are then steamed and dunked in a milk based paayesh. I have never been fond of them or tried to make them. There was a nonta pithe or bhaja pithe that my Ma used to make with sweet pea stuffing. Those I loved butI have never worked with rice flour so didn't try making those either.

That doesn't mean, I miss those though. I know an amazing bunch of folks who are all very talented when it comes to cooking. One of our friends Sanhita, is an expert when it comes to whipping up traditional Bengali delicacies. Every year during Sankranti, she takes it upon herself to make all kinds of pithes and pulis, and then invites all of us over to her home for a pithe party. Didn't I say, I had amazing friends?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Spicy Green Beans in the Oven

Today Big Sis was talking about a friend of hers who is apparently very rich by hearsay.

Little Sis listened to the discussion for a minute and then declared "I will never be rich. Being rich is a waste of time!"

Astounded by this bite of information I asked, "Why is it a waste of time?"

Little Sis: "Well to become rich, you have to work hard and that will get you lots of money. Working hard is a total waste of time!"

I was left standing, my mouth agape, while Little Sis confident in her knowledge went off to bed.

But I am totally with her on the "working hard is a waste of time" funda. No wonder I don't like chopping vegetables. Any dish that calls for elaborate chopping of vegetables, is subtly skipped for better days, when I have ample time for an interesting movie to give me company while chopping. There can be nothing more boring than chopping vegetables while doing nothing else.

This Spicy Green Beans in the oven is the perfect recipe that lets me skip chopping, well a large part of chopping. You will have to use the knife but barely. For me, a bag of fresh trimmed beans from Costco does the trick. If you are buying from anywhere else, you will have to trim the ends but that's about it.

Spicy Green Beans in the Oven

Take a bunch of tender green beans. If you can get hold of trimmed beans you are in for immense good luck and fortune. If not, well then, you will have to trim the beans by sniping the head and tail.
Also "Tender" is the keyword here, but isn't that true for all vegetables.

Give them a rinse and pat dry.

Chop half an onion and two cloves of garlic in thick slices

Put beans, onion and garlic in a wide mouthed bowl

Toss them all together with
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red Chili powder/Paprika
1/2 tsp of Cajun Spice powder(or any other spice. Aamchur and Bhaja Moshla can do the trick too)
salt to taste
2 tbsp Olive Oil

Let them sit in the marinade for 15-20 mins.

Now put them in a single layer in a baking tray and bake at 400F. Halfway through(after 15 mins) drizzle a tsp of olive oil and give them a stir.

Bake until the beans are brown and crinkled. We like them crispy so we bake for 30 mins.

While serving add a new dimension by adding either
slivered almonds
or feta cheese
or chaat masala and lime juice

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Saturday, January 14, 2017

Pyarakia or Gujiya -- sweet and savory

I had no intentions of making anything for Sankranti. As I always say, I don't want to eat any more sweet in January and the only things  I can make for Poush Parbon are sweet -- Paati Sapta and Gokul Pithe. I am not confident to make the puli pithe, seddho pithe or any other kind of pithe. Then last night I was talking to my Mom and I was ho-humming over whether I should make Koraishutir Kochuri today. The girls love Koraishutir kochuri and making the pea stuffing is not a difficult task with frozen shelled peas. Then my Mom suggested that I make Pyarakia.

Pyarakia is basically half-moon shaped dumplings made with flour and stuffed with a coconut-khoya filling or a kheer filling. The dumplings are deep fried and dunked in sugar syrup. I loved the ones with a kheer stuffing as a kid. My mother would make them pretty often and I would refer to them as the "binuni wala mishti"-- the sweet with the braided edge.I don't know if everyone calls it Pyarakia as I have often seen this thing going also by the name of gujiya.

Combining kochuri and the pyarakia, I decided to make savory Pyarakias with sweet pea filling. I also made some with a coconut-khoya stuffing but unlike my Mom, I did not dunk them in sugar syrup.

The girls loved the ones with the pea filling better and so did I.

Make the coconut-khoya filling

Take 1 cup 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 1/2 Cup khoya to make it a little soft

Put the Kadhai/Frying pan with coconut mix in it on the stove and stir at medium heat.
Add 1/2 tsp of ground cardamom

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

Make the sweet pea filling

Defrost 1 cup of frozen sweet peas. I usually prefer the Microwave for such purpose.

Put in a blender
the peas
1 tbsp of peeled and chopped ginger
1 green chili(optional)
very little water, a tsp to start with
Make a fine paste

Heat Vegetable Oil in a frying Pan

Add 1/4 tsp of Cumin seeds + a pinch of Hing/Asafoetida. I will insist on this as it lends an awesome fragrance. 

Add the pea paste that you just made. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp of Dry Roasted Cumin + Red Chilli Powder(Bhaja Moshla). Add salt to taste. If your peas are not sweet enough add a little sugar. If you like it hot add some Red Chili Powder. Improvise.

Now keep stirring till the water from the pea mix totally evaporates and the mixture becomes dry, thicker and congeals. This takes a good 20-25 minutes or more. Basically it should come to a stage where you can make a small ball for the stuffing.

Make the Dough

In a bowl take 1 Cup of Maida/AP Flour. Add a pinch of salt.

To it add 2 tbsp of vegetable oil or ghee. Mix with the tip of your fingers to get a crumbly texture.

Add warm water gradually to make a stiff dough. The dough will not be as soft as the one you make for luchi/poori/kochuri.

Wrap the dough with a cling wrap or damp cloth and keep aside for 15-20 minutes

These are the two stuffing I made -- sweet coconut-khoya and savory sweet pea

Take a small gooseberry sized ball of the dough and roll it out in a circle. Take a small ball of the stuffing and put it in the centre of the circle.

This one has the sweet coconut filling

This one has the savory sweet pea filling

Fold the circle to make a half-moon shape. Press and seal the edges with the tip of your finger. Make sure the edges are sealed properly, else the stuffing will come out while frying.

You are ideally supposed the braid/pleat the edges as you can see in the photo below. I was not good at that and so with the back of a fork made the empanada style markings to seal the edges

The husband-man could braid the edges. Yeahhh!!!!

Heat enough oil in a deep bottomed kadhai  for deep frying. Ignore the black edges. This is our deep-frying kadhai and this is how it is supposed to look.

When the oil is hot, gently put a dumpling in the oil. Fry each side for about 30 secs by which time it will be a nice brown. Flip and fry the other side.. Take it out with a slotted spoon and put on a plate lined with kitchen towel to drain the excess oil

The girls loved the ones with the spicy pea filling

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Oats Upma -- when you are trying to eat healthy

After eating the totally delicious pound cake for a month, I realized I needed to stop! I mean really, really stop and do something. Of course as a fallout of all the cake eating, there was a question of the weighing scale in my bathroom groaning and complaining. I couldn't let a weighing scale ruin my life could I ? So I actually moved it in the closet and shut the door on it.

But then Big Sis declared a restriction on my eating pound cakes, saying I should only eat one slice a week. It was a difficult rule to stick to, which meant I didn't stick to it, and all slices of pound cakes in my pantry were finally finished. This is when I realized I should really stop and go back to my healthy lunches routine.

I am good with my healthy lunches usually but I have realized if I fall through the crack, the crack morphs into an abyss and I have a harder time getting back up. It had to be something simple and yet tasty to haul me back on track. So I was back at making my Oat Upma. I like my oatmeal with mangoes and yogurt but this spicy oat upma is different. It doesn't make you feel all martyr like and holy and sacrificial because you are eating oatmeal while the world besides you is chomping on a philly cheesesteak. You feel proud about it actually and it only takes minutes to make.

Now in our home, we make this with steel cut oats as that is the only kind of oatmeal we buy(unless we are making oatmeal cookies which needs rolled oats but I will not talk of cookies any more). Also the husband-man usually make the oat pulao  but my method is little different from his !!! This time I bought a quick cooking steel cut oats which cut down the time to make this dish by 1/3rd, so if you find this particular kind in your store, do get it. And no, Bob's Red Mill did not sponsor me or even cares how I make my oats.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Happy New Year with Deepshikha's Pound Cake

There are pound cakes and then there are pound cakes. Well, if I am absolutely honest, all pound cakes are amazing. I love their no-nonsense fluffy taste. But I am not sure if they are all as easy to make as Deepshikha's Pound cake.

It all started when our friend Deepshikha brought over individual cake loafs for us back in November. She has this charming habit of carrying home made goodies every time she visits. And when I say visits, I mean the long 10 hour drives from Ohio. I still remember her oatmeal raisin cookies way back in 2004, when I had no clue that such stuff could be made at home.

This time it was pound cakes. These quaint little loaves of pound cakes were so good that I had to stave off our other friends from finishing them. Actually, I will tell you a little secret. I hid one of the loaves that she gave me and did not take it out even when the other friends we had visiting were asking for more!Yes,I am evil like that.

And guess what the best part was ? These cakes needed only oil, no butter. If you know my baking disasters, you would know my woes about creaming butter and sugar. So any baking recipe that does not warrant that step is very very close to my heart. Also,Deepshikha had baked hers with Olive Oil and it tasted as good.

Here is the recipe she shared with me. I used regular Vegetable Oil. Also I used zest of half an Orange as I love citrus flavor in my cakes. They were so so good. The beauty of the recipe is that it doubles and triples very nicely. So to make 3 loaves of these cakes, just multiple every ingredient amount by 3.
Next time, I will make 6 of these and hide them from the family too.

Easy Pound Cake with Oil and Orange flavor

What You Need

AP Flour -- 1 Cup
Sugar -- 1 Cup

Oil -- 1/2 Cup
Eggs (at room temperature) -- 3

Baking Powder -- 1/2 tsp
Salt -- 1/2 tsp
Vanilla 1/2 tsp

Orange zest -- 1 tsp (optional)

How I Did It

Prep the wet mixture

In a bowl, beat the eggs. For about 3 minutes.

Next add the sugar to the eggs and beat again for 4-5 minutes at medium speed.

Now goes in the oil. Beat again at medium for 3 minutes.

Add the vanilla extract

Dry Mixture

In a separate bowl sift the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the orange zest to the flour and lightly rub it in with your fingers.


Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture, mixing briefly at a very low speed, until everything is combined.


Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Grease a 9"x5" loaf pan generously with oil and pour the cake batter in it

Bake at 350F for 45 minutes to an hour. Do the toothpick test. Take a clean toothpick. Insert it in the center of the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done. If it has batter stuck to it, you need to give few more minutes.
Note: If you see the top of the cake is browning fast but the inside is not cooked, loosely cover the surface of the cake with an aluminum foil and continue baking. Towards the end of the bake time, remove the cover and finish the baking.

When cake is done, take out from the oven and let it cool. Be patient.


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