May 29, 2012

Orange and Banana Muffin

Orange and Banana Muffin

It was a couple of weeks ago, I asked on Ahaar's Facebook page ideas for a weekend breakfast. I got a variety of suggestions, from poha, to crepes, to cupcakes.

I started with cupcakes idea but settled on muffins for breakfast because Lil A is not very fond of icing.

I got the recipe from here and then tweaked it for my needs. I added almonds and colorful cheerios instead of oats and walnuts. I also reduced the amount to 1/2, eyeballing it for most parts. The muffins came out quite well. When I was baking, the sweet and fresh smell of the oranges  permeated through the kitchen. And when they were ready to eat, the orange smell combined with the softness from the banana made it a treat.

Lil A had one for his snack as soon as I took the muffins out from the oven and that tells me it was a success!

Serving: - 6-8 muffins

Orange and Banana Muffin

(recipe courtesy from here)

1/2 cup orange juice
1 tbspoon grated orange zest
2 tbspoon vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 1 banana)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup colorful cheerios (roughly chopped in blender)
1 cup whole wheat flour
handful almonds roughly chopped
2 tspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Pre-heat oven to 370 deg F.

Combine eggs and sugar in a bowl till fluffy. Then add the orange juice and zest. Now add the vegetable oil, bananas and honey and stir till everything mixes well.

In a separate bowl, combine brown sugar, ground cheerios, flour, baking powder, salt and nuts. Add the solids to the liquid ingredients slowly till it all mixes well together.

Spray muffin cups with non-stick spray and fill 3/4 full.

Orange and Banana Muffin

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown and the toothpick comes out clean.

May 17, 2012

Bengali Chicken Stew

Bengali Chicken Stew

Last year when we were in Kolkata for a wedding, there was all kinds of delicious, spicy and elaborate menu planned for the days, Ilish Macher Jhal, kosha mangsho, mishti doi etc. Of course, the meal plan was executed by the cook hired for the few days.

And then there was a special meal plan for my uncle who wasn't too well. And one of the things they cooked for him was this chicken stew. It was so delicious that Aswin soon took to eating this chicken stew with him. I asked the chef, one of my cousin's most trusted cook, how to make it and have been doing it since I came back home.

Every time I make it, there is a different medley of vegetables depending on what is available, the spices vary a little bit here and there, but the taste of chicken cooked with vegetables just gives this curry the unique flavor.

We've had this Murgir stew with nan, roti, and rice and it goes well with all. And if you add an Indian style salad (in this case onions and cucumber), the taste multiplies.

Bengali Chicken Stew

2 lbs chicken
2 medium carrot - cut in cubes
2 potato - cut in cubes
1 zucchini - cut in cubes
1 onion - chopped thinly

2 tspoon ginger - freshly grated
2 tspoon garlic - grated
1 medium tomato - chopped
2 bay leaves 
2-3 green cardamoms
1 stick cinnamon
2-3 cloves
5-6 black pepper whole
2 green chillies
1 tspoon cumin seeds
1 tspoon turmeric powder
2/3 tspoon coriander powder
2/3 tspoon cumin seed powder
1/2 tspon garam masala powder
2-3 tbspoon yogurt
handful fresh cilantro - chopped
1 1/2 - 2 cups water
salt to taste
4-5 tbspoon oil

Marinate the chicken with yogurt, garam masala, 1/2 tspoon turmeric powder and salt and set it aside. Marinate it for at least a couple of hours.

In a deep saucepan, add the oil and temper it with cumin seeds and green chillies. Immediately after, add the bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper and cloves. Saute for a minute till you can smell the aroma. Add in the ginger and garlic and let it cook for a couple of minutes.

Then add in the onions and let it saute for 3-4 minutes till the edges start to turn brown. Now add in the vegetables, tomato and the coriander and cumin seed powder along with the rest of the turmeric powder.

Cover and let it cook for 4-5 minutes till the vegetables release the water. Now add in the chicken and cook for another 4-5 minute till you know how much water is released by the vegetables and chicken.

Then add the salt, water and cover and cook on low heat for another 10-15 minutes till it all combines well.

Bengali Chicken Stew

Sprinkle fresh cilantro and serve warm.

More Info:
Bong Mom's Cook has a similar recipe for her kids.
And you can also try my Kerala chicken stew.

May 10, 2012

Aloo Potol diye Chingri Macher Jhol (Bengali Shrimp Curry)

Bengali shrimp curry

Aswin is allergic to shrimps and that means that I stopped getting shrimp home for cooking about 3 years ago. I used to before we found out. The last time I bought shrimp was when I was pregnant with Lil A. I went through a phase of craving for shrimp and sharshe bata chingri mach. I would get shrimp, cook it, eat it all in one go. :)

Now that my parents are visiting, I have started getting shrimp again. We still try to finish it all in one session and be careful about spoons etc. It is more fun eating it together rather than consuming it all by myself.

My father recently made a old favorite that we grew up eating. Aloo Potol diye Chingri Macher Jhol or Shrimp curry with Potato and Pointed gourd curry. I saw some fresh parwal/potol in the Indian store and got some immediately.

The curry reminds me of my childhood when we would spend summer vacation at my grandparents and would spend most of the time with cousins playing and chatting. Outside in the morning and inside for the afternoon. No worries, no homework and no early nights to think about, just play, eat and sleep.

My father who made the jhol also talks about the making in this short podcast.

Bengali shrimp curry

12- 14 Raw and deveined shrimp 
4 medium Aloo/Potato - cut in small cubes
5 medium Patal/Parwal/ Pointed gourd - cut it into 2 - 3 pieces
1 Tomato -pureed
2 Green chillies
1 tspoon grated ginger
2 Dry red chillies
1 tspoon coriander powder
1 tspoon cumin seed powder
1/4 tspoon asafoetida   
1/4 tspoon turmeric powder
1/4 tspoon garam masala powder
1/2 tspoon ghee
3/4 tspoon kalo jeere
5-6 tbspoon oil
salt to taste
21/2 cups water
Rub the shrimp with salt and turmeric powder and keep it aside for 10-15 min. Then shallow fry the shrimp in 2-3 tbspoon oil till it starts to turn orange. Shallow fry the potatoes next for 3-4 minutes and then the potol/parval. 

Put the rest of the oil in a sauce pan and temper it with the kalo jeera, red and green chillies.  Then add the pureed tomato and saute for a minute. Add the coriander and cumin seed powder next. Then add the asafoetida and turmeric powder and let it cook together till the oil separates. Now add ginger and cook for another minute.

Add 21/2 cups of water and salt and close the lid. When the gravy/jhol starts to boil, add shrimp, potato,and patal/parwal. Cook for 8-10 minutes till potato is cooked.

Add ghee and garam masala. Check the gravy thickness and take it off the heat.

Bengali shrimp curry

Serve hot with rice.


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