May 16, 2018

Enchorer Kalia

Enchorer Kalia

Summers in India meant mangoes and jackfruits. Growing up, we would visit my thankuma's bari (paternal grandmom) every summer and it was a feast of the summer fruits - jamrul, aam, kathal to name a few.

There are mango trees in the yard and a huge jackfruit tree in the front which would be laden with giant jack fruits. We would eat aam (mangoes) and kathal or enchor as it is called in bengali almost with every meal. 

The ripe jackfruit has a sweet smell and is eaten as a fruit. The unripe one (enchor) is sticky and is generally cooked as a vegetable. 

It has been a while since I had some. So when I found some frozen one in the Indian store, I picked it up. I cooked it very much like a fish or a chicken kalia with onions and ginger garlic. I didn't add any potatoes or shrimp although both of them are popular choices and go very well with enchor or jackfruit. 

Here is how I cooked it:

1 pack frozen jackfruit
1 medium onion - chopped thinly
2- garlic cloves - grated
1"  ginger - grated
1 big tomato - grated
2-3 bay leaves
2-3 cardamoms
1 stick of cinnamon
2 cloves
1 tbspoon yogurt
1 tspoon cumin powder
1 tspoon coriander powder
1/2 tspoon chilli powder 
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
1/2 tspoon garam masala powder
1/2 tspoon cumin seeds
1 tspoon raisins

1 tspoon ghee
2 tbspoon oil
salt to taste

Thaw the jackfruits and toss them in salt, 1/2 of turmeric powder and 1/2 of the red chill powder and set them aside. 

Heat half of the oil in a thick bottomed pan and lightly fry the jackfruit pieces.

Enchorer Kalia
Heat the rest of the oil and temper it with bay leaves,  cumin seeds and the whole cardamoms, cinnamon and cloves.

Enchorer Kalia

Then add the grated garlic and onions and saute for 5-6 minutes. 
Enchorer Kalia

Add the grated tomato, ginger and the rest of the masala. Saute for another couple of minutes till is all come together nicely. 
Enchorer Kalia

Add in the enchor pieces, raisins and the yogurt along with a cup and a half of water and let it cook for 8-10 minutes on medium low flame and close lid till the curry starts to thicken and the jack fruit is cooked. 

Enchorer Kalia

Add in the garam masala powder and the ghee and take it off the heat. 

Let it sit for a few minutes. Serve hot with rice.


April 18, 2018

Bok choy chicken stir fry

Bok choy chicken

Flu visited our home this year! After reading all the news reports on how bad the outcomes for flu cases were I was super nervous when Tiny M tested positive for flu.

I armed myself with a big pot of chicken noodle soup, kichudi and saar bhath along with fever medicine, and nebulizer. After a week of tension and high fever, thankfully we are all on the other side and bouncing back.

The taste buds are craving some spices now, so I made this quick stir-fry with the chicken leftover from the chicken noodle soup. The cooked chicken reduced the cooking time.

The bok choy and the chilli-garlic sambal paste picked up from Asian store and came in handy for the stir fry. I really liked the combination, so the next day I added some red peppers and celery and made another batch. That tasted even better.

I recently saw another chicken recipe that I am craving to make now - miso chicken. Has anybody tried it? 

It's quick to make and is a great side dish with either rice or chapati.

1 lbs of cooked chicken
4-6 bunches of bok choy, cleaned and cut
1 small onion - cut thinly
3-4 cloves of garlic - chopped thinly
1/2 tspoon - chilli garlic paste
1 tbspoon soy sauce
1/2 tspoon rice wine vinegar
1/4 tspoon honey or brown sugar
fresh ground black pepper
salt to taste
1 1/2 tbspoon oil

Heat the oil in a thick pan and add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Next add the onions and saute for another 4-5 minutes.

Then add the chicken, the chilli garlic sambal paste, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar.

Bok choy chicken
Close lid and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the bokchoy, salt, pepper and honey and cook on medium heat for another 6-7 minutes, checking if the bok choy is done or cooking for another 2-3 minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water if needed.

Serve warm. I sprinkled some chopped cilantro, but you could serve without it.

March 23, 2018

Butternut squash chicken

Pumpkin chicken

This recipe comes from the depth of winter, on a Friday. It was too cold and snowy outside, and I was getting ready to make dinner.

Chicken curry was on the menu and what is a chicken curry that does not have some chunky potatoes that soaks up the flavor, right? As I went to the pantry I realized there were no potatoes. No Potatoes! I searched the fridge to see if I had half-potato lurking in the back. No luck.

Then I saw the half butternut squash hanging out in the fridge and I wondered if the squash could be added. It was too cold, too late to go out.

So I decided to substitute potatoes with squash and  chicken curry with the butternut squash. Guess what?  Everyone loved it. The sweetish notes of the squash with the garam masala and chicken were natural partners. In, fact we liked it so much that I have made chicken curry with potatoes and squash many times since that snowy evening.

8-9 pieces of chicken
1/2 butternut squash (acorn squash and pumpkin would also work)- chopped
11/2 tspoon garlic-ginger paste
1 medium onion - chopped
1 medium tomato - chopped
1 cinnamon stick
3-4 cardamom
2-3 cloves
2 bay leaves
1/2 tspoon cumin seeds
1/2 tspoon red chilli powder
1 tbspoon yogurt
3/4 tspoon cumin powder
3/4 tspoon turmeric powder
2 tbspoon oil
salt to taste
handful of cilantro to garnish

(serves 4-5)

Marinate the chicken with 1 tspoon garlic-ginger paste,  1/2 tspoon turmeric powder, salt and red chilli powder.

Heat oil and temper it with cumin seeds and bay leaves. Then add the cinnamon, cardamon and cloves and and let it sizzle. Then add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for 1-2 minutes.

Add the onions and saute for 5-6 minutes. Once they start turning brown, add in the tomatoes, rest of the turmeric powder and cumin powder.

Saute and let it cook on closed lid for 4-5 minutes on medium heat. Then add the marinated chicken and cook for another 5-8 minutes. Then add the butternut squash pieces, 2 cups of water and let it cook closed lid for about 20 minutes on medium heat till the chicken and butternut squash is tender.


Add in the ghee and cilantro and keep it covered.

Serve hot with hot chapati or rice. Enjoy.

March 04, 2018

Alu pyazkoli diye tilapia macher jhol (tilapia curry with potatoes and spring onions)

Tilapia curry with green onions and potato

There is something about the sunlight that tells me that spring is near even though we had a snow storm yesterday. And when Aswin got some spring onions this week, I knew some macher jhol or fish curry has to be made.

I usually have to defrost the fish and I get lazy which means fish curries have not been a frequent occurrence in this new year, but this time I did it right away.

In a few hours, the fish was being sauteed, and the fish curry was bubbling away. My father makes delicious patla macher jhol (a light soupy curry), and I took inspiration from that to make this tilapia jhol with lomba patla aalu (long, thin potato strips).

I added some panko to the tilapia right before frying which added an extra crunchiness to the fish. So if you see any spring onions in the store, pick up a bunch and make this. The tilapia can easily be substituted with cod or white fish.

January 05, 2018

Starting the year right - pasta, garbanzo beans salad

Pasta, garbanzo beans salad

The end of the year went by quickly, the fall was busy with some travel.

I was in Boston in October and right across from the hotel was Eatly. So before I had to leave, I did a quick tour of the store and picked up different kinds of pasta.

I used one of them to make a pasta salad in the new year. It says on the packet that it is a Sardinian pasta . The shape and size was perfect for the salad, the kids called it a worm pasta and Aswin called it larvae pasta.

Despite the name challenge, we all enjoyed it. Aswin and I ate the pasta salad which is really easy to put together. The kids ate a deconstructed version of the same salad - veggies, garbanzo beans and pasta separate.

How about you? Hope your New Year is starting on a good note.

1 cup small pasta - boiled
1 cup boiled garbanzo salad
1/2 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup chopped avocado
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/4 cup chopped carrots

For the dressing:

bunch or cilantro and parsley - chopped
1/4 tspoon smoked paprika powder
1/4 tspoon roasted cumin seed powder
1/4 tspoon fresh ground black pepper powder
1 tbspoon lime/lemon juice
1 tbspoon oliveoil
salt to taste

Pasta, garbanzo beans salad
The ingredients list may sound long, but it really depends on what you have at home. You can always substitute one vegetable or ingredient for another.

I made it as a warm  salad (especially with the cold weather) by freshly boiling the pasta and garbanzo beans and mixing the vegetable in the still warm mix.

I like to add the mix all the dressing ingredients separately, but you can also add them directly in the salad mix.

Mix it serve immediately.Enjoy!

December 13, 2017

Mirchi bhajji or stuffed banana peppers

Mirchi bhajji (spicy pepper fritters)

It is snowing hard, a snowstorm warning is in effect and by the time it is done, there will be more than 9 inches on the ground.

On days like this, my mind wanders to the summer, to the garden, to the fresh vegetables in the farmers market. It helps, you know. :-)

For the last couple of years I have been growing banana peppers in the garden. It was by accident really. I had picked up a bunch of pepper plants and these were part of them.

Once they started growing bigger, I was excited. The potential of mirchi bhajji was on the horizon. But I had to be patient, to let them grow. And soon, it was ready, I had a few fresh, plump banana peppers ready for mirchi bhajji.

When I was in Jaipur, my mama would bring piping hot mirchi bhajjis and we would eat it hot making the shh sound when one eats something spicy and hot.

These banana peppers are not super spicy, but don't underestimate them. They pack a punch in these bhajjis.

I made a potato stuffing, but I can imagine several different kinds of fillings. I would love to hear how you make or like your mirchi bhajjis or vadas.

Here is how I did it.

6 banana peppers
1 cup chickpea flour
About 1/2 cup water
salt to taste
pinch of red chilli powder
1 cup oil for frying

For the filling
2 small potatoes - boiled
1/2 tspoon chopped ginger
handful of chopped cilantro
pinch of turmeric powder
1/4 tspoon red chilli powder
1/4 tspoon chaat maala powder
salt to taste

The first step is to clean the peppers.

Mirchi bhajji (spicy pepper fritters)Slit them in the middle and then take out the veins and the seeds. If you want more heat, save some of the seeds to add to the potatoes.

Take the boiled potatoes and mash them with your hands. Add in the spices and mix it together.

Now take each pepper and stuff it with the potato mix. Run a hand over the peppers to take any extra away once the peppers are filled.

Mirchi bhajji (spicy pepper fritters) Make the chickpea flour batter. Add the spices to chickpea flour and then add in water, little bit at a time till you get a thick pancake batter consistency.

Heat oil in a wok, while the oil heats up, dip the peppers in the chickpea flour batter.

Once the oil is hot, fry the battered mirchis 3-4 minutes on each side till they turn deep golden.

Take them out and serve hot with chutney.

October 19, 2017

7 cup, actually 6 cup barfi this Diwali

7er 6cup barfi

Happy Diwali everyone. Lots of sweets, fun and joy on this festival of lights. 

I missed the boat when 7 cup barfi was all the rage. My introduction came this summer when a cousin brought some and it was so good! I immediately made a mental note to try it this year. And what perfect time to try it than Diwali, right?

The process is straightforward and after all the stirring it was rewarding to put this in your mouth even when it is not cooled all the way.

I made a few rounds mostly to tweak the sugar amount and to try taking coconut out with other ingredients. I ended up with almond meal and about 2 cups and 2 tbspoon of sugar.

I would have taken sugar out more but was not sure of if the barfi would set.

(makes about 10-12medium sized barfis)

1 cup besan/chickpea flour
1 cup ghee
1 cup milk
3/4 cup almond meal/ ground almonds
1/4 cup fresh shredded coconut
2 cup 2 tbspoon sugar


7 cup barfi for Diwali
Sieve the besan and make sure it is smooth.Take some ghee and coat a plate you would be using later. Set it aside.

Take 2-3 tspoon of ghee and roast the chickpea flour till the raw smell disappears.

7 cup barfi for Diwali
Take a thick bottomed pan and add the milk and sugar. Mix till it starts bubbling over. Then add the ghee, and start adding in the besan/checkpea flour, almond meal and the coconut slowly few tbspoons at a time.

It will be quite watery. Don't worry it will start to thicken soon.

7 cup barfi for Diwali
Keep stirring as soon as it started to thicken. Make sure there are no lumps or sticking at the bottom.

7 cup barfi for Diwali
Once it starts leaving the sides and comes together, take it off the heat and out it on the ghee-coated plate. Use a spatula to flatten the mixture and then let it cool. Cut it in squares or diamond shape and it's ready.

7 cup barfi for Diwali


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