Bitter gourd and potato mash: Uchhey aloo bhatey

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There is no sugar coating here friends. Bitter it really is.

In Ayurveda bitter is the first course to be eaten. The health benefits of the bitter gourd  or bitter melon ( Momordica Charantia ),are many. Super helpful in Diabetes, the bitter gourd is a blood purifier, helps alleviate eczema, fights intertinal worms, among others.

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Spring is the time when due to change of seasons the body fights diseases, and needs help to boost immunity. it is customary to start the meal with something bitter such as this, or Neem leaves etc. I have memories of my mum trying to bribe us with a treat later if we finished the bitter course without any tantrum.

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There are a variety of ways to cook this. I have a mash with potato and some spices here for you today.

With Covid19 bringig the world to a halt, it may not be a bad idea to try to boost immunity.

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Recipe: Serves 6

Ingredients ;

Bitter gourd                                       4

Medium potatoes                             2

Mustard oil                                      2 tbsp

Green chiillies                                 2 or to taste

Salt                                                to taste

Method;

Wash the gourds and potatoes carefully. Put in the pressure cooker in high heat and wait for three whistles.If using a saucepan, cook till done.

Skin the potatoes. Mash with hand both the potatoes and gourds coarsely. Add salt, mustard oil and chilly slices ( if using ).

Serve a tablespoon with rice as a first course for lunch or dinner.

Stay safe and healthy.

 

 

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Sauteed Amaranth leaves: Notey shaag

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There are foods, and then there are superfoods. With a storehouse of phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibres, Amaranth leaves belong to the superfood family.

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Cooked in salads, soups, stews there are so many ways of enjoying these leaves. In Bengali cooking gentle sauteing  the Notey shaag with minimum spices is common. Served as a first course, it is enjoyed with a side of warm rice.

Here is the recipe of these humble Amaranth leaves.

How do you cook these leaves? Would love to hear from you. Leave a comment for me below. Thank you.

Recipe: Serves 4

Ingredients

Amaranth leaves                           500 gms

Mustard oil                                  3 tbsps

Nigella seeds                             1 tsp

Dried red chillies                          2

Fresh green chiliies                      2

Garlic pods (Sliced)                      3

Salt                                            to taste

Method ;

Wash the leaves thoroughly and chop them fine. Take the mustard oil in a deep bottomed pan on high heat. Add the nigella seeds, dried red chillies, saute for a few seconds and then add the green chillies and slices of garlic. saute again for a few seconds, making sure not to burn the garlic slices.Throw the leaves in, cover and cook for about 7 to 8 minutes till done. Sprinkle salt, give it a nice mix.

Enjoy with hot rice and a side of mustard sauce aka kasundi.

Ricotta cheese shondesh golap jol diye: Rose flavoured ricotta cheese shondesh

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Did we ever think that we would be in the midst of these unsettling times? Honestly who would ever have thought that the world would come to this? Travel ban, social distancing, restaurants closed, emergency services only! Well to top it all up I lost four years worth of my  food blog posts, my creations, part of me is gone. Gone forever. I definitely take the blame for it, if trusting someone one hundred percent is wrong.

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S T R E S S E D. To say the least. Try reversing the  word “Stressed”. See what we got? Desserts. Isn’t that a sign? I am taking this seriously and drowning myself in dessert making. Indian sweets in particular, where my weakness lies.

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Here is another variation of the “Shondesh” or cheese fudge from my last post. Very similar except uses sugar instead of jaggery. I have added a delicate flavour too. Rose water. Delicate is the key word here. Adding more than needed ruins the flavour though.

Recipe; made 26 pcs using 1 Tbsp measure each

Ingredients;

Ricotta cheese                             2 cup

Ghee                                          4 Tbsps

Sugar                                         1 cup

Milk powder                                1 cup

Rose water                                  1/2 tsp

Rose petals                                  1 tbsp

Pistachio slivers                           1 tbsp

Method;

Take the ghee in a flat bottomed non stick pan on low medium flame. Wait for it to melt then add the cheese, give it a nice mix. Add the sugar, milk powder and keep stirring making sure it does not catch the bottom of the pan, until the water evaporates and the mixture comes together, leaving the side of the pan, about 45 minutes. Add the rose syrup. Put the gas off.

Collect the mixture on a plate. Wait for it to cool a bit, such that it can be handled. Divide into about 18 pieces, about a table spoon measure for a portion. Grease both the palms, press the portion into a flat shondesh or if you have wooden molds, press the portion into a greased mold that has been sprinkled with rose petals and pistachio slivers. Gently remove them from the mold.

Stay calm and eat Shondesh!

Ricotta Cheese Patali gur Shondesh : Ricotta cheese jaggery milk fudge

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Shondesh is a Bengali dessert. The relationship of shondesh to Bengali life is an emotional. one.

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Be it the welcoming a new baby in the family, celebrating a relationship, new job, success in school or just because, these beauties are indispensable.

Traditioanlly milk is curdled, the whey is separated, the milk solids are collected. A sweetner, flavoring agent, garnish and some handcarved wooden molds is all that is needed..

In today’s busy life we are always look for easier, faster, and hassle free way to come up with these favourite desserts.

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Ricotta cheese has been substituted for home made Cheese, bringing the preparation time down. the sweetening agent is a special jaggery available only during winter months.

Give the recipe a try and surprise your friends.

Recipe; made 9 pieces

Ingredients;

Ricotta cheese                                    1 cup

Ghee                                                  2 Tbsp

Patali gur                                             1/2 cup

Milk powder                                         1/2 cup

Method;

Take the ghee in a flat non stick pan on a medium flame. When the ghee melts, add the cheese, mix nicely. Add the gur ( jaggery ), let it melt, then add the milk powder. Make sure it mixes properly and there are no lumps. Keep stirring until the water evaporates and the mixture comes together, about 15 minutes.

Put the gas off. Let the mixture cool a bit. When it is alright to handle, divide it into 9 portion. Grease the mold, press each portion into the mold and carefully take it out.

There you have it!

 

Atte ke malpua: wholewheat flour pancakes, two ways.

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There was a knock on the door. , Renu with her neatly tied plait of hair was standing with a plate in her hand. ‘Here are some sweets for Holi for you”, she smiled, showing her very white set of teeth. ‘Aww, Thank you, you didn’t have to you know.” We didn’t mean the last part though, in fact we used to wait in anticipation for this time.IMG_0981

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As soon as we close the door behind her, we siblings attack the plate. Under the lace cover were the coveted ‘Malpuas”. Every year for holi our neighbour Sinha aunty made Malpuas., without fail. This was a speciality of rural Bihar, the place where we spent our childhood. Gifting sweets to friends and families on festive occasions was a tradition that was followed with great enthusiasm. The weather changing to warmer days and spring flowers already blooming, it was such a beautiful time.

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Malpuas are Indian pancakes, comes in a variety of different forms, made of all purpose flour or a healthier version using whole wheat flour, sugar or jaggery, crispy or moist dunked in sugar syrup. The recipe I have here today is both, for the crispy version and soaked in syrup ones..

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Fast forward a couple decades, snow showers in forecast with temperatures twenty below celsius. No, that is not going to dampen our spirit. The Malpuas are ready. We are going to throw colours on our friends and usher spring, be it just for fun.

Wish you all a very happy Holi.

Recipe; Made 10 small ones.

Ingredients;

Whole wheat flour                                     1 cup

Sugar                                                        1/2 cup

Fennel seeds                                             1/2 tsp

Cardamom powder                                     1/4 tsp

Orange food colour                                       couple drops

Ghee                                                           1 Tbsp

Pistachio slivers                                            for garnish

For sugar syrup to soak;

Sugar                                                           1 cup

Water                                                            1 cup

Method;

Take the sugar in a bowl, pour hot water. wait for the sugar to dissolve and the mixture to cool.

Add the flour little by little, mix thoroughly to avoid any lumps. Add the ghee, cover and let it rest for about three hours.

Add the cardamom powder, fennel seeds, orange colour, add a couple more spoons of water if needed. The consistency should be that of any pancake batter.

Take a non stick pan with canola oil on medium heat. Take a tablespoon of batter and carefully pour on the oil. I had put a couple or even three at a time. Wait for a few minutes and flip them over. A light brown colour is what we are looking for

Drain the oil and collect on kitchen towel. Garnish with pistachio slivers.These are ready to be enjoyed as is.

Alternatively a thin sugar syrup can be made  by boiling a cup of water and sugar and the pancakes can be dipped in it for a few minutes.Take your pick.

 

Paneer Gochujang Pockets

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IMG_0792Gochujang sauce to me is what Garam masala to Korean home cooks. At least that is what I tend to believe. Indian curries can be quite hot , but when I saw the name of this chiili sauce I must say I could not take it lightly. “Pain is good Gochujang hot sauce”. You see what I mean?

Food bloggers of Canada is running a series of recipe call outs with “unusual ingredients”. This week it is with this fiery Korean sauce.

I tamed this painful sauce with sour and sweet. There is no hard and fast measurements to do that. It is entirely on what your taste buds desire or are ready to handle. I used honey, lemon juice and tomato ketchup until It was no more ‘painful’.

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Recipe; Serves 2

Ingredients;

Paneer cut in small cubes                                           1/2 cup

Tamed gochujang sauce ( see above )                        1/3 cup

Carrot slivers                                                               1/3 cup

Tomato pieces                                                             1/4 cup

Microgreens                                                                1/4 cup

Butter                                                                          1 Tbsp

Byblos Bakery Pita                                                       6

Method;

Seat the pita pockets on a flat pan on medium heat. Brush them with butter. Turn them once, let them heat through both sides. Turn the gas off.

Slather the Gochujand cauce on one side of the pita pockets, arrange the carrot slivers, paneer pieces, tomato slices, microgreens on them. Squeeze the lemon slice on it one more time.

There, you have it. It can serve very well as a “fill your own pita pocket’ if you want your guests to get hands on in your party. These are bite size, which causes less waste, I find.

Notes;

Paneer is Indian cheese available in Walmart, Suoer Store or Indian grocery store.

The Gochujang sauce was available in Amazon.

Pomegranate molasses Shrikhand (Flavoured yoghurt)

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I did not grow up eating Shrikhand, neither did I have any idea of what Pomegranate molasses actually was.

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The world of Instagram has changed everything. With a little enthusiasm and persuasion any novice cook like me can delve in the realm of “World” food effortlessly.

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When the Food bloggers of Canada was looking for recipes with an ‘unusual’ ingredient, like Pomegranate molasses, I knew I wanted to use it slightly differently.

Shrikhand is a very popular dessert in the western part of India. It has been flavoured in a variety of way for example with mango, strawberries or even saffron. I took the liberty of trying a new flavour. Pomegranate molasses! It worked like a charm.

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With Valentine’s day round the corner, surprise your love with this unique and tasty treat.

 

Recipe: Serves 2 big portions or 4 small portions.

Ingredients;

Pomegranate molasses;.

Pomegrante juice .       1 bottle . ( 473 ml )

Sugar .                        3 tbsps

Lemon juice                1/2 tsp

Shrikhand;

Greek yoghurt                               3 Cups

Icing sugar                                    3 tbsp

Pomegrante molasses                    3 Tbsp plus some to garnish

Pistacihio slivers                             1 tbsp

Pomegrante arils                              1 tbsp

Cardamom powder                          1/2 tsp

Mint leaves                                       to garnish

Method;

Pomegranate molasses;

In a saucepan mix the pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice. Simmer this on a low medium flame for about 45 minutes, stirring time to time to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The fluid thickens, a spoon dipped in it should have the  a layer sticking at the back of it.

Switch the gas off. Let it cool down. Store it in a clean glass jar.

Molasses flavoured Shrikhand;

Place the colander on a bowl. Lay the cheese cloth on the colander and place the yoghurt on it. Gather the cloth all around the yoghurt and let the water drain out for about couple of hours. Collect the thick yoghurt in a bowl.

Mix the sugar, cardamom powder and 3 tsp of pomegranate molasses to this yoghurt slab. Whisk evenly.

Divide this in serving bowls and chill in a refrigerator for a couple of hours. Garnish with a few slivers of pistachio, pomegranate arils, few spoonfuls of pomegranate molasses and a sprig of mint leaf.

Bon apetite.