Baked Mishti Doi Tart


Mishti Doi is probablyone of the first few desserts I tasted as a toddler. The sweet caramel taste in the yoghurt remains locked in my taste buds…until my next visit to Kolkata…which is very close. I am absolutely excited about this trip to Kolkata and Shantiniketan. It will be so good to revisit childhood and check out the favourite nooks and corners of those sweet days…my home, school, my mates, my favourite jhalmuri wala, puchka wala, Golpark, Gariahat market, lush green maidan, those taana rikshaws, visiting my dance class and my favourite teacher…Ms. Sachdev! I was absolutely pleased last Frida when I got the news that our flight tickets were booked!! I felt blessed by Kaviguru Robindronath Thakur for the fact that the tickets were booked on Pochishe Boishakh, his birth anniversary! What more could I ask for!! I feel absolutely blessed!!Ravindranath Tagore

Recently, Sayantani posted her nolen gurer doi and I was hooked on to it like anything! I had made this baked mishti doi with the palm jaggery at home for a week. Next I made it with some berries!! Frankly, there is not dessert as easy as this if you have the 3 ingredients, flavour to add and a good oven!! Check out my mishti doi pictures followed by the amazing tart I made this week…

Mishti Doi with palm jaggery

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Kairiche Panhe(Raw mango drink)


Things have been pretty busy at work. I know my family would like me to either be at home or try something else. However, I stick to this job cause I get loads in return. What I get in return is emotions, this is where I witness true happiness,  reach a deeper understanding about life and feel love in a different aspect..free from any judgements…unconditional… I receive all that money cant buy. At least this is the world that I can make more beautiful. Yes this is where I get busy through out my term time.  For those who have just come to my space, let me clarify if you are trying to guess what my workplace is, I work in a special needs school and this has changed my life forever. It has given me a different perspective to look at life altogether. I am dead tired at times but I do not forget to thank God every night for my varied and active role which, although can be challenging at times, is rewarding in the fact that I am having a positive impact on people’s lives. Cooking works as a therapy then to refresh me. I may act crazy when I get time that is in my breaks…spend my time cooking and posting apart from painting, dancing or even catching up things I love doing. I like to sit with my men and chat at length.  So this first weekend when I got into my kitchen with an aim to churn loads for the family, I spent making all kinds of stuff I was waiting for time…Nupur from Nupur’s UK rasoi has asked me at least n number of times to cook vatli dal for her and post. She has stopped asking for it now. I have done it finally last day. I hope she gets to see it. The next she wanted was a traditional marathi thali….can I do it this holiday? not sure …but will give it a try:) But first here is a way to have refreshing, digestive cooler ..panha

panha

Now for the quick way to get the digestive drink we can make out of raw mango. You may add or refrain from adding the spices,  I have used here as per your choice. You may even cover the mangoes with foil and cook in the oven at 180 degrees till done. Here I used 2 raw mangoes which made about 8-10 medium glasses of  panha.  Traditionally panha is made by boiling kairi(raw mangoes). Kamalabai ,in Ruchira suggests either boiling or grating the raw mango. However, I wanted to roast them on the gas flame as I had seen some of my Bong friends posting in their blog.  Check out Sayantani’s aam pora shorbot.  So here you are, you will need:

2 mangoes

sugar/ jaggery

salt

black salt

saffron

freshly roasted and crushed cumins

dry ginger powder

crushed cardamom seeds

Water to get the consistency of this cooler you wish to have.

pannah

 

Wash the mangoes. Prick the mangoes as you would do to the brinjal while roasting. I would advice you to cover gas sides with foil or roast it on a papad roaster like I have done to avoid juices spoiling your workplace .Roast the mangoes till they feel soft and done.

Roasted mangoes

 

When done, peel the skin off. Free the cooked pulp off the seed and mash with a potato masher. Blend the pulp with a cup of water. Mix in the sugar or jaggery if you are using.  Add in more water to adjust the consistency.  Strain and pour it in a jug. To this add the spices of your choice from the ones mentioned above.  Traditionally, we  just add sugar/jaggery, salt and crushed cardamom. However, I can vouch on the crushed cumin…it gives a dynamic taste to this cooler!! Try it!!

Panha

Vatli dal for Chaitra


To mark the beginning of the New Year’s Day this Chaitra month( according to the lunar calender), our household decked up early in the morning…well before going out to work!!  R loves all the religious aspects of Hindu festivals. I do as much is possible from my side well in terms of food :) Together we are providing P our young lad all the opportunities to experience our traditions and culture far away from our homeland.  This season has an abundance of raw mangoes. Hence a lot of use was made of these green, tart mangoes in cooking. This year we had a traditional meal of vatli dal, shrikhand, polya, paalkachi patal bhaji, lonche, chutney and rice with dal.

Gudhi

Our Gudhi this year!

 

During this month, Gauri (wife of Shiva) is worshipped by all the ladies in the family.  The preps in the kitchen is typically identified by vatli dal mixed with grated tart raw mangoes and panha, a sweet drink prepared with cooked mangoes again.  The ladies exchanged haldi kunku and served these preparation as a symbol of love and affection.  Ah! such a beautiful ambience it created…all the chuckles and giggles of ladies as they gathered in different households every evening to mark this auspicious month. To me what mattered was eating the vatli dal as I went with aai to her friend’s place or when we had the crowd to visit us!!  The taste of the tart mangoes in the savoury lentils followed by the cooling drink of panha to quench our thirsts in the scorching heat then….friends I am missing home as I write this post. Don’t miss the Panah picture as you scroll down!

panha

Here is how one could make the kairichi dal or vatli dal following Ruchira:

You will need…

1 cup of chana dal soaked for couple of hours and drained

1/4 cup of grated raw mango

oil, mustard, curry leaves, hing for phodni(tempering)

turmeric 1 tsp

couple of green chillies chopped( or as you desire)

couple of red chillies( or as you desire)

shredded fresh coconut(I used dessicated coconut)

salt and sugar as per taste(sugar is to enhance the sour taste of mango)

chopped coriander to garnish

Method:

Grind the soaked and drained chana dal roughly and keep aside.  My mixer grinder is broken hence, I had a tough time grinding the dal in my puran yantra.

DSC_1329

In a thick bottom pan, prepare a tempering with oil, mustard, hing and curry leaves. Add in a teaspoon of turmeric. To this add in the roughly ground dal. Stir and cover. Cook this dal for 4-5 mins. Add in the salt and sugar. Stir again. Cover and cook. To this add in the grated mango, shredded coconut and mix.  The dal should be cooked until it’s raw taste is no longer there. Turn the gas off. Transfer the dal to a bowl, garnish with coriander and serve hot or cold.

Vatli Dal

Vatli dal

If you wish to have panha to serve along with this, it is coming up next.  Keep watching the next post!!

I am sending this recipe to my lovely friends Aishwarya Kokatey at Marathi Culture and festivals and Archana at India New Bulletin.

 

 

 

 

Sweet something for Gudhi Padwa


Traditionally, Shrikhand is made using a chakka.  Chakka is made by hanging curd/yoghurt in a muslin cloth overnight. As a child, I remember aai making Shrikhand with chakka(tied it on a tap with paraat underneath) The whey which drained off the chakka was later used to make the dough for chapatti.  During our stay in Kolkata, when she had no puran yantra to mix the chakka and sugar uniformly, aai would use pithachi chalni with fine mesh. It was fun, sitting down on the floor to help aai…she would hand over a fulpatra(vessel for drinking water) or a vaati(a small bowl) to sieve the chakka and sugar mix. Aai transferred the chakka in small quantities onto the sieve whilst she prepared the chapatis. Finally, aai would mix in a couple of tablespoons of milk infused with saffron and stir in cardamom crushed on her polpaat(circular board for rolling chapatis’). Finally came the chopped nuts (almonds,pistachios etc) into the mix to garnish.The hard work paid off when we got the most creamiest of shrikhand for our meals.

Lychee Shrikhand

Now when I am in England, I am always on the verge of finding options to get the same taste and texture in our food we had in India. After trying hanging yoghurt during my first couple of attempts, I chanced upon Greek Yoghurt which became more of a child’s play to make our favourite dessert.

1 pack Greek Yoghurt

3-4 tablespoons Sour Cream (optional for those who like sour taste)

Castor or confectioners’ sugar as much one likes

Chopped nuts of your choice

Saffron strands infused in warm milk

Cardamom powder

Chocolate Shrikhand

For variation you may use gulkand( a couple of tablespoons) or mango or apricot puree(which I made with 5-6 apricots in a juice of half a lemon) or even melted chocolate.

Mix a small portion of yoghurt with sugar and mix well. Fold this with the rest of the yoghurt mix. Fold in the sour cream if you are using. To this add in the saffron infused milk and cardamom powder. Garnish with the nuts of your choice.

Jardalu/Apricot Shrikhand

In case you choose to have a variation, mix in the gulkand or fruit puree or melted chocolate(while still warm and melted or else it may harden) in the small portion of yoghurt and sugar mix. This is then folded in with the rest of the yoghurt mix before infusing the saffron, cardamom powder and the nuts for garnishing.

 

I am pleased to send my traditional recipes to India News Bulletin and Marathi Culture and Festivals

Kedgeree


Ask any Indian cook the simplest dish to churn out when running against time; or any one who is tired after a long day and waiting to crash in bed or even a novice who has been asked to cook rice. All will have one reply”khichadi”. For me khichadi or khichudi as any Bengali would refer, is the most savioured dish when the kitchen pantry is yelling out for a refill and the bear lentils and rice is what I can catch hold of in the kitchen. Even in my English kitchen! Britain is blessed with loads of rainfall throughout the year. I have paired my khichadi with papadums(papads), soup(saar) or even simple dry chutney. Once I came across a colleague mentioning about kedgeree to another convalescing. She further added it’s very light and nutritious.  Initially, I thought it was another English dish which I probably need try sometime. The interesting part was when I asked my colleague about the kedgeree recipe. To this, she first stared at me and then she started jotting down the ingredients on a scrap paper. When I checked the sheet, I knew the reason for her staring at me and was absolutely bemused at what I had experienced about a simple khichadi cooked in Indian kitchens donned an English attire to be called kedgeree. All the curry houses have this unique dish mentioned and served in their menu.

Kedgeree 2

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Sandesh: My sweet sins!


Sandesh bw

Sandesh, mishti have been my favourites since the time I sensed the sweet taste in my pallate. Ever since I visited my the mishti bhandars in the small lanes of our Kolkata pada, I have a sweet tooth. That’s my sin!! Do I care about it? Nah!! The last time I had my medical check up done in India, I kept my fingers crossed, wishing my blood sugar results to be well within the normal range! I hope I am never forced to give up eating sweets any time.  Continue reading

Sinful Khari Puff


I read a quote recently”Remember the tea kettle – it is always upto it’s neck in hot water, yet it sings” That is exactly what I have gone through for the last couple of months. It was a tough time managing my commitments and keeping the heart in high spirits. Then the laptop gave in to completely shut down my connections with the blog world! I had the other gadgets in my vicinity. However, it was no fun when the tiny screens opened up only a portion of the world.  Well, I am glad my laptop is back and can be with it to one happy blogger:) Do check out the kettle I have used as a prop in my photograph. I am lucky to know Surabhi from Surabhi ka Pitara. She has an amazing collection of handpainted products. Do visit her and don’t forget to order her Christmassy stuff!!khari puff

This morning, I got the news that my laptop is on the mend and will be handed over to me by the evening. That was a such a respite! On one hand I was desperate to blog post my khari puffs for bakethon and on the other hand I had so many other blogs to visit which I missed out for one reason or the other. Fingers crossed, this laptop does not go poorly again and I keep posting as many dishes as I churn in my kitchen.

This post is about the indulgent khari puffs which I had for years in India with my tea. These melt in mouth, butter snacks have been everyone’s favourite. Bought either in the bakeries in every street or even in the humble tea stalls at an bus station or train platforms.

I cheated by using a ready store bought puff pastry sheet. Since I was yearning for something spiced, I used some chopped red and green chillies and my favourite khobre-lasun chutney(dry coconut and garlic) and chopped curry leaves. You may use any herbs or spices of your choice.

Khari puff 4

For this you need:

A sheet of puff pastry

Finely chopped red and green chillies as many or as much you wish

Khobre-lasun chutney(optional) 2 tbsp

Chopped curry leaves 1 twig

Black pepper crushed 1 tbsp

Salt

Method:

Preheat oven at 180 degree.

Roll out the puff pastry. On to this spread all the ingredients enlisted and press lightly.

khari puff2

Cut into thin strips lengthwise and then cut to the size of a finger snack.

Twist each piece into a bow and lay on a greased baking tray.

khari puff 3

Bake at 18o degrees for 10 mins until lightly brown.

Enjoy these morish snacks with a piping hot tea.

This is my second post for Bakethon 2013. Do visit the other bloggers taking part in this event at Champa’s space.

Chocolate cake with caramalised salted peanuts and Ganache frosting


Here comes December when the weather gets crisp and chilly and now the snow is on its way for parts of the country with a cold snap taking hold!! It can be very dull and depressing as the days get very short and I spend most of our time laden with layers. This is the time when my oven is very busy as I get busy with Bakethon. This is my third year that I am particpating in Bakethon. Champa had started it . Earlier we baked for every day in December. However, this year I plan to do it twice a week. The reason being my other commitments both at work and home.

Last weekend, I baked a simple chocolate sponge, however decided to do a different frosting(kind of getting bored of buttercream and fondant icing). I loved the ganache I made for my son’s birthday in October. I thought of making it thicker by using extra thick double cream and whipping it.

To cut down the sweetness, I added in caramalised salted peanuts in caramel sauce made with extra thick cream. This coated my salted peanuts with toffee !! Loved it. This I sandwiched and topped in my sponge.

Ganache 1 Continue reading

Chocolate was in our mind for Junior’s birthday!


Last weekend we had a birthday celebration at our place. Junior Isingcakes, my son turned 15. Time just flies. I remember holding him in my arms packed in a little blanket. This tiny little bundle has grown much taller than me and next year he may demand the car keys!!! I had planned a chocolate cake for his birthday this year. If only I was not short of time. I had to a quick chocolate cake with ganache topping. Just to cut through the sweetness, I used caramelised salted peanuts. I had tasted this combination when Suchi of Kitchen Karma got this baked and frosted on her birthday and got it to our BBPC 1 session. Loved, loved the taste.

Birthday P2

To make the cake I used :

Bake a normal base cake/any flavour you like using the measures:

Plain flour 220g

Castor Sugar 220g

Butter 220g

Eggs 4

Baking powder 1.5 tsp

Cocoa powder 2 tbsp

Vanilla essence few drops

Sieve the flour with the raising agent and cocoa powder. Keep aside.

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time. Beat.

To this add the sieved flour mix spoonful at a time and fold.

To the finished mix add the essence.

Preheat oven at 180 degrees and bake the cake till done(My oven needs 40 mins to do the job)

When done, keep aside to cool for 20 mins. Normally the cake leaves the sides of the tin. If not, scrape the sides loose with a sharp knife and overturn. Let the cake cool completely. Slice the cake into two equal portions.

I also made 3 cupcakes to go along with the cake. Using cupcake cases, pour in the batter in the cases. Bake at 180 degrees for about 15-20 mins or until done in your preheated oven.

For the Ganache I used:

200 ml of double cream

200 gm of chocolate bar chopped

Mix the two ingredients in a saucepan and place on heat. Let the chocolate just melt in the warm double cream. Avoid the boiling of double cream. Once the chocolate melts, switch off the gas and whisk the mix with a whisk. This adds a shine to the ganache. Let this cool for couple of hours before using.

Birthday P3

To make the caramalised salted peanuts:

I used the ready made salted peanuts half a cup

Sugar 1 cup

Water 1/3 cup

Using sugar and water make the caramel read. When making the caramel, one needs to make sure that the sugar dissolves completely. Do not stir the sugar until a part melts. Once this stage is reached, just shake the pan gently to get the rest of the sugar into the dissolved part. In about 10 minutes, the mix gets a lovely golden colour. Add in the salted peanuts and mix. Pour the mix out on a greaseproof sheet and cool.

To assemble:

Use the ganache to cover the first slice of the cake. Sprinkle in the caramalised peanuts. Place the second layer of the cake on this. Use the rest of the ganache to cover the cake top. Finish with caramalised peanuts as a topping.

For the cupcakes,spoon the ganache on the cupcakes when they are cool. Top with the caramalised peanuts.

final bbpc 2

The cake was enjoyed at the birthday and the cupcake goes as an entry for BBPC 2 as a photography entry.

Champakali a sweet way to fight the evil on Dasshehra!


My second post this week and am feeling determined about my blog. I am so happy to see people still visiting it and love all the warm wishes and comments on Facebook pages. This Dasshehra, I refrained from making shrikhand as the family have explored all sorts of shrikhand with me recently. To name a few, we had peach shrikhand, lychee shrikhand and even chocolate shrikhand. I will be posting these recipes very soon ..remember I have a pledge to post two recipies every week. I hope I follow suit. The weather has gone chilly since last week. The drop in temperature is forcing us to decide upon hot soups, masala teas and warm spices in most of our cooking.
For Dasshehra I wished to prepare definitely something traditional, yet non-dairy. I chanced upon Champakali in Ruchira which I had eaten loads in Kolkata as a kid.  Then of course I believed that it is a Bengali sweet. However, as I started exploring food, I realised it is prevalent in many other parts of India. These slit, fried puris’ coated with thick sugar syrup are absolute morish. I thought of adding my personal tweak of warm spices of cinnamon, dry ginger, nutmeg as well. Marathis’ call it Champakali. Bengalis’ call it Goja if I am not wrong.
Champakali 3

For this you will need:
1 cup of plain flour
1 tbsp of Mohan(Moin…warm oil)
1/4 tsp salt
water to knead.
Oil to fry

For the syrup: Make a thick syrup with sugar and water and keep aside.
1 cup sugar
2 cups of water

Mix all the ingredients and knead into a tight dough. Cover and keep aside for sometime. My dough rested for about 2 hours. Using a mortar and pestle, beat the dough into a smooth, pliable one.

Make small balls and roll into a regular circular puri. Using a sharp knife, make slits in the puris, making sure to keep the slits away from the edges. I tried doing a graphics for others ..I hope it is helpful.
Folding Method
Fold each puri and twist as you move to the other end of the circle. These are then twisted and joined just like buds.
Heat oil in a deep pan. Carefully release each Champakali in hot oil and fry till lightly golden brown and done. Dip each of the Champakali in sugar syrup while the syrup is still hot.

Champakali 2

Options:
You may use spices like cinnamon powder, dry ginger powder and nutmeg powder to flavour the syrup. This is what I did and it was apt for the chill which has set in England.
You may use food colour in the dough to make colourful Champakali.
For Savoury versions, you may add carrom seeds, salt and some kasuri methi. You may even replace half of plain flour with gram flour.
Champakali