October 20, 2016

Rose sandesh for the puja season

Nolen gurer sandesh

It is a little late, but I hope you had a wonderful pujo season. Shubho Bijoya! My parents were here for the pujo, so we had a wonderful time, spent time at the local pujo organized nearby. Did Shandi pujo, heard to artist from Kolkata and ate delicious food.

For pujo I made this rose sandesh. The taste and the smell of rose comes from rose water that I added to the chana or paneer when I was making it. Other than that, there's no other rose flavoring. But you will feel it at the first bite.

My kids have not been too fond of sandesh before, but this time they loved it. Must be the loving hand of the grandparents.

Here is the recipe.

September 26, 2016

Aloo -Begun Diye Chingri Macher Jhol (Shrimp Curry With Potato And Eggplant)

Shrimp Curry With Potato And Eggplant

We were visiting friends for dinner, when one of them turned to me and said, "you know you should have a special place in the blog for all your father's recipe." All my friends know it. My father is a terrific cook. He picked it up a few years ago when he retired and has not looked back.

Vegetables, dals, chicken he can and does cook everything, but I think fish is his specialty. You can look at the the earlier recipes I've posted from his last visits - aloo potol diye chingri macher jhol, or pyanj tomato diye salmoner patla jhol.

This time, when my parents came I asked him what recipe he had in mind for chingri mach this time. He said he was going to make it with eggplants.

The Ann Arbor Farmer's Market has had a bumper of eggplants. Every week, for one dollar, I get a big, fresh eggplant that we then use for bharta, beguni or in macher jhol among other recipes.

So coming back to a special place. I hesitated as his and my mother's influence is in a lot of my cooking. It's little things I have picked up over the years. It may not be his recipe, but it may have some thing that I may have learned from him.
Plus, I have learned my lesson with Aswin's corner. It's not just a corner, it's us. So instead of a place, I let it permeate the overall blog as it already does.

September 18, 2016

Making modaks and a food blogger comes to the rescue

Making modaks with the help of a blogger

This year Ganesh Chathurthi coincided with long weekend in the US. We planned on making a big feast for Ganesha which included idlis, payesam and modaks.

While the first two were easy to make (have experience doing it) the third was a little tricky. Modaks are sweet, steamed dumplings that are made especially for this festival.

Making modaks with the help of a bloggerThe few times I made modals was with my MIL. This time she was not here. So Aswin called her and she gave him the recipe for the filling. For the modak rice outer covers, he looked up a website (vegrecipesofindia) for making the rice flour dough.

When I started making the dough, I was at a loss. The recipe proportions were vague and the steps were not clear. And I ended with this gooey mess.

Time was running out. That's when I remembered Saee Khandekar, another food blogger from my early days of blogging. She is an expert Maharashtrian cook (check out My Jhola ) so I quickly looked up to see if she had a modak recipe.

She did! I did a mental hallelujah and set about making a second batch of rice dough.

With her specific instructions like this, you know you cannot go wrong.
At the slightest hint of rebellion, stir in the rice flour. Don’t worry about the dryness yet. Remove pan from heat and stir continuously. Cover and place back on heat for a minute or two, until the mixture doesn’t smell powdery.
So thank you Saee, the proportions and the descriptions helped.

We had fun making the modaks for neivedyam (offerings to Ganesha) and then eating it. The modaks were nowhere as beautiful as hers, but it was fun sharing this activity with the little ones. We will surely be making modaks again.

August 11, 2016

Olympic ring pancakes

Olympic ring pancakes

Over the weekend, Lil A and Tiny M woke up all excited ready to watch Olympics. It was the theme of the summer camp they had been attending and were really into it. I had watched the opening ceremony the previous night and was feeling it too.

To get us all into the spirit, I decided to make some Olympic ring pancakes, at kids request. It meant a big batch of pancake batter and food color. It was such a hit. Usually there is a lot of talking, music requests etc. There was nothing. They were quiet, on their chairs, just eating. Lil A chose blue and green and Tiny M had the red and yellow pancakes. We had some too, with a nice cup of hot tea.

Try it with your kids, and have a fun morning.

July 16, 2016

Flavors of India

Traveling in India means food-  lots and of different kinds. When I am with my parents and relatives I experience the Bengali flavors - Ilish mach, kosher mangsho, potoler dolma, post, payesh etc.

When I am meeting Aswin's family I relish the Tanjore marathi flavors or pitla, tokku and kadhi.

The biggest thing that has changed is eating outside. There are many more avenues that offer different kinds of cuisines, many more varieties of Indian food as part of a buffet (it was once available only at five-star restaurants) for lunch and for dinner. I had a chance to experience it in Delhi and in Bangalore. The food for delicious and scrumptious and I saw long lines waiting outside, it was clearly popular.

I was able to also go out for different cuisines this time in India - eat a fish taco at Arbor (Bangalore), a eggplant pizza at Toit (Bangalore) and Asian fusion at Momagato (Delhi). It was great combination of flavors and done perfectly.

It was fun and here are some of my favorite pictures through the trip.

Bengali niramish (vegetarian) plate - rice, dal, alu posto, potoler jhol. Not in the picture saag, doi and aam (mango).

Another Bengali plate: aloo karela sheddo, dhudul er tarkari, aloo bhindi posto, kalai er dal, Rui macher jhol (fish curry) and bhaat (rice). Not in the picture aamer tak (mango chutney) and yogurt.

Akki Roti with bhaji and chutney

Ambe bhaat made by Aswin's grandmother (recipe coming up in the next post)

A small dessert selection from Sattvam in Bangalore

June 16, 2016

Playdate #7 and making pizza from scratch

Making pizza from scratch

Making pizza from scratch? I couldn't imagine doing it, even a couple of years ago. But it was the most fun I have had in a while. Even the kids made their own pizzas and gobbled it all down, while the adults waited for theirs in the kitchen.

The playdate was overdue, so when Nicole suggested a pizza party I heartily agreed. We selected New York Times Roberta's pizza dough recipe and we each made a batch of dough. The recipe called for making the dough overnight and letting it rise in the fridge.

Neither of us had time to make it the day before, so we put the dough together in the morning and let it rise through the day outside. It was soft and perfect for all the pizzas we made - mozzarella, BBQ chicken, spinach and egg and veggie overload.

Since then, we both have made a couple of batches of the dough again on popular demand.

The mix of 00 flour and all purpose flour threw me off. But Nicole was gracious to drop it off. I wouldn't have found it.

June 11, 2016

Trying out Blue Apron - A review

I have been reading about the new trend of meal delivery service pre-portioned with all the ingredients and was curious to try one out. So when a friend gave us a coupon to try Blue Apron, we heartily agreed. And here is what I thought of it.

Before I begin, this is NOT a paid review.

We signed up for two meals for four priced at around $69.99.

A Primer:

Blue Apron, is a nation wide food delivery service that sends pre-portioned meals with recipe cards and all the ingredients. They post their menu in advance so you can choose your meals.

We ordered:
  • Oven roasted chicken and mixed mushrooms
  • Catfish piccata with linguine and spinach



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