Rosogolla, the traditional Bengali recipe

Rosogolla, the sweet that defines bengali desserts, is considered a delicacy in Kolkata with numerous sweet shops adding their own version. Sweet shops sell thousands of rosogollas a day which end up in a plate of bengalis. But, even though its not accessible to you, this recipe below will help you make rosogollas yourself and show off to your friends and family. So let get to it then.

Rosogolla

  • Time: 80 mins
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  1. Milk [1 litre]
  2. Sugar [2 cups]
  3. Lemon Juice [1 Piece]
  4. Water [3 cups]

Directions

Step 1: Curdling the milk

The secret to a good Rosogolla lies in the curd cheese or Chhena (Bengali: ছানা), as we like to call it in Bengali, it is made up of. Its a basic process of coagulation adding some acidic agent to milk. I prefer to use whole milk, because of the high percentage to fat content, and heat it in medium flame until it comes to boil. An occasional stir helps the milk not to burn below. As soon as it comes to a boil keep adding lemon juice and stirring until the water completely separates from the curd cheese. Turn down the heat and strain everything on a piece of cloth.

Step 2: Strain the Curd Cheese

The piece of cloth needs to be washed with cold water so that the curd cheese cools down and the sourness of the lemon juice goes away. Then its the important part of squeezing the cloth with the curd cheese inside and hanging the cloth to dry out the chhena for at least 30 mins. While you wait, you can start of on the sugar syrup by bringing to a boil 2 cups of sugar with 3 cups of water.

Step 3: Knead and Roll Cheese-balls ready to cook

Once the straining is complete, its important to knead the cheese to a nice consistency, which might take 10-15 mins of time. Make sure not to dry it out much as it makes the end product a bit on the tougher side. Once you reach a smooth consistency, roll into little balls of cheese ready to cook.

Step 4: Cook the the Cheese-balls in sugar syrup

Add the cheese-balls into the sugar syrup and cook in medium low heat until the balls become twice the size, which implies the rosogollas are cooked through. And that is it, you can now have some delicious, spongy juicy home-made rosogolla.

And that is all it takes to make delicious rosogolla. You can add saffron to garnish and add additional flavor. I hope you enjoy this recipe and try it out for yourself.

Layered Mango Panna Cotta

Panna Cotta is a popular Italian dessert which means “cooked cream”. It is easy to make and the process involves no complications that are usually associated with making desserts. All you need to make panna cotta is a setting agent, lots of time and a whole lot of love!

Mangoes are the seasonal delights during Indian summers. So I set out to make this mango panna cotta which has  a layer of mango and a layer of panna cotta. The setting agent I have used is gelatin powder (easily available in supermarkets). This dessert sets by a combination of the gelatin and refrigeration. Do plan for it keeping this in mind. Now let’s see how to make this.

Layered Mango Panna Cotta

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Time: 5-6 hrs/overnight
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

For the mango layer

  1. 3 medium-sized mangoes
  2. 1 1/2 tbsp. of unflavoured gelatin powder
  3. sugar as required
  4. warm water

For the panna cotta

  1. 250 ml milk
  2. 250 ml cream (Amul cream works fine)
  3. sugar as required
  4. 2 tbsp. of unflavoured gelatin powder
  5. 2-3 tsp of vanilla essence
  6. a pinch of salt
  7. 4-5 moulds/glasses for setting the panna cotta

Directions

The main thing to remember is you need lots of time for this dessert. Make sure the mangoes are sweet and juicy to avoid adding too much sugar


Step 1: Prepare the mango layer

Heat a little water and when warm add the gelatin powder to it and mix with a spoon. Set aside. Extract the pulp of the mangoes with a spoon and puree in a blender. Add a little sugar if required. Add the dissolved gelatin to this mango puree.

Now this mango puree-gelatin mixture has to be poured into the moulds for setting. I have used glasses and tilted them for an interesting twist (see image below). To do this, I balanced each glass in a tea cup at an angle. Then I poured the mango mixture till it fills half of each glass.

Once the puree is equally divided into the moulds/glasses, place the assembly on a tray (flat surface) and pop them into the fridge for setting.

This mango mixture will take 2-2.5 hrs to set in the fridge.

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Step 2: Panna Cotta

Once the mango layer is set or almost set, we start making the actual panna cotta layer.

Start by heating a small amount of water and adding the gelatin powder to it when warm. Mix and set aside.

In a deep bottom pan/saucepan heat the milk. In a separate bowl pour all the cream and give it a quick whisk to remove lumps. To the milk, add this cream while stirring. Add the sugar (as per taste), the dissolved gelatin and the vanilla essence. Add a pinch of salt. Keep stirring till the mixture comes to a boil and thickens slightly. Remove from heat and keep it aside to cool down.

Once it is cooled, pour it into the moulds/glasses to fill them till the brim. Put the mould/glass assembly back into the fridge to set for another 2-3 hours.

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Step 3: Garnish and serve

Once both the mango and panna cotta layer are firmly set, its time to serve. If you are using moulds, you can unmould the panna cotta onto a plate or you can serve directly in the glasses.

Chop some mango into little cubes. Top the layered panna cotta with the mango cubes and a drizzle of honey (optional).

Your panna cotta is ready!!

This is an easy to make set and frozen dessert with minimal ingredients. It tastes creamy and delicious with a hint of the fruit used.

Some Tips

  1. If the cream appears to be too thick (Amul cream for e.g.), mix two spoons of the heated milk to loosen it before adding to the pan
  2. You can set this in the fridge overnight if planning for the next day
  3. Garnish with berries or pomegranates for the pop of colour
  4. If you are serving on a plate, unmould the panna cotta by dipping the mould in warm water for a few seconds. The panna cotta should have a silky surface and a slight wobble!

 

Chicken Tikka Skewers

Are you scouring the internet for the perfect pre dinner snack recipe? These chicken tikka skewers are going to be your friend. So simple, so easy and so yummy!

Ideally you require an oven/grill to make these. This recipe however is the simple one with no fancy ingredients or equipment. All you need are everyday kitchen ingredients and a stove top tawa and the skewers ofcourse! You can also replace the chicken with paneer or plain veggies for vegetarian varieties. Read on to make these beauties tonight.

Easy Chicken Tikka Skewers

  • Time: Marination 30 mins - 2 hrs, Cooking 30-40 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  1. Chicken breast boneless  [300gm]
  2. Onion [1], Capsicum [1], Tomato [1]
  3. Refined oil
  4. Curd – 1 cup
  5. Lemon Juice – 1/2 lemon
  6. Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbsp
  7. Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  8. Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
  9. Kashmiri red chilli powder – 1 tsp (for colour)
  10. Black pepper powder – 1 tsp (preferably freshly ground)
  11. Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
  12. Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  13.  Salt to taste
  14. Pinch of kasuri methi (optional)
  15. 6-10 bamboo skewers

Directions

The first step in this recipe is to soak the bamboo skewers in water. This is done so that they dont get burnt while cooking. Set aside the bamboo skewers to soak in water in a long neck bottle or a tray for 15-20 mins. Now let’s get on with the chicken tikka.

Step 1: Prep and marinate

Cut the chicken breasts into bite-size roughly cube shaped pieces. Dice the onion and capsicum into quarters or eighths to match the size of the chicken pieces. Cut the tomato, take out the seeds and slice into quarters.

Combine in a wide bowl, ingredients #4 to #13 for making the marinade. Mix together curd, lemon juice, ginger garlic paste and all spice powders in the bowl. Add a few drops of oil. Whisk the mix (or mix it thoroughly with your hand) to ensure no lumps. Alternatively you can mix the ingredients in a blender jar.

The final marinade should be a reddish orange colour and free of lumps. Add kashmiri chilli powder/turmeric powder to adjust the colour.  Taste the marinade to check salt and adjust accordingly.Some of us like it more spicier while some may like the marinade to be tangier. Adjust the marinade according to your taste.

Once the marinade is ready , dip the chicken pieces and diced vegetables in the marinade so that they are completely covered by the marinade mixture. Cover the bowl with a lid or foil and place it in the fridge for 30 mins to 2 hrs. Note that the longer it marinates the tastier it will be.

If you are in a hurry, leave it for 30 to 45 mins in the fridge while you fix drinks for your friends!

Step 2: Cooking the tikka

Take the marinade bowl out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature. Line up your bamboo skewers on the chopping board or a tray.  Depending on the length of your skewers,  thread 3 -4 chicken pieces with alternate vegetables in each skewer. Leave about 1.5 inch free at both ends of the skewer. This is for holding the skewers while turning them.

Heat a tawa (non-stick is preferrable) and add about a tbsp of oil. Spread the oil evenly on the tawa. Place 4-5 skewers on the tawa, depending on the size of your tawa and let the outer edges of the chicken and veggies char till they get a nice charry colour and smell.

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Turn them regularly to cook all the sides evenly. Add drops of oil as required. Once you get the char, reduce the heat, and cover it with a lid/kadhai. Cook till the chicken is tender and all the sides are charred to your satisfaction. Your chicken tikka skewers are ready!

Serve the chicken tikka skewers with freshly cut onion rings and lemon wedges. 

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This is a simple yet delicious recipe for a party starter or evening snacks. You can use this on the pre-dinner menu and try out the vegetarian options with paneer. Add a twist by introducing mushrooms/pineapples in your skewers. Serve with a pudina dip, spicy mayonnaise or a simple salad.

Fish Fingers made easy

Fish Fingers, the perfect snack for the evening in the City of Joy; be it just normal cravings, if you are having tea and looking for munchies alongside or if you are drinking with your buddies and need a side dish, Fish fingers are always the first thing on the mind. More commonly known as fish sticks in the US and Canada,  these are crispy on the out side and soft and tender on the inside. Here is my take on making Kolkata style fish fingers.

Kolkata Style Fish Fingers

  • Time: 30 mins
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  1. Fish Fillet (Sea-Bass/Basa/Cod) [400 gm]
  2. Lemon Juice
  3. Flour
  4. Breadcrumbs
  5. Eggs
  6. Salt
  7. Pepper
  8. Ginger Garlic Paste

Directions

The key for preparing good fish fingers is to have really good fish. Make sure you are using organic fresh fillet and not frozen ones.

Step 1: Chop and marinate

Cut your fillet into long strips using a knife. Add salt. pepper lemon juice and ginger garlic paste to your fish and massage it well. After that let it rest in the fridge for 15-20 mins. You can also add as much spices as you want depending on your taste buds at this stage.

Step 2: Coat the fish in batter

Once your fish is marinated, you have to coat it. For this step, whisk 2 eggs first and put it on a plate. Ideally you should have 3 plates in sequence. First one with flour, next the eggs and last the breadcrumbs. Take the fillet fingers one at a time, first roll on the flour, then the eggs and finally the bread crumbs. For extra crust, you can again dip it in the eggs followed by the breadcrumbs. Make sure you season the breadcrumbs with salt as that’s the top layer of the dish. Do this for all the fingers and get it ready to fry.

Step 3: Fry and serve

Heat a wok with 300 ml of oil and heat it until it comes to a boil. Then reduce the gas to a medium low and add your battered fish fingers. Fry them until they are golden brown. These fish cook very fast so it hardly takes a minute or so to fry. Once golden brown, take them out on a paper towel to drain the excess oil. And that’s it. You fish fingers are ready.

This is so easy to do and tastes amazing every time. So next time you are having a party, make this and be amazed on the great response you get. You can serve this with kechup, mayo and fries. This is a party recipe for success.

Sausage Mushroom Marinade Recipe

I honestly feel at times sausages and mushrooms are a match made in heaven. They compliment each so well and go in so many dishes. I have my own personal recipe for this combo which I often love to use it in salads, sandwiches or even instant noodles. Sometimes, I have it just like that to be honest. It is delicious and you can make a batch and refrigerate to build more flavor.

So lets get right to it.

Sausage Mushroom Marinade

  • Time: 20mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  1. Sausages [4 pieces]
  2. Chestnut or Button Mushrooms [6 pieces]
  3. Onion [1 Piece]
  4. Garlic [2 cloves]
  5. Salt [to taste]
  6. Olive Oil [1 tbsp]
  7. Sugar [1 tspn]
  8. Dark Soya Sauce [1 tspn]
  9. Vinegar [1 tspn]

Directions

Step 1: Roughly chop the ingredients

Start off by roughly chopping you onions, garlic, mushrooms  and sausages. This is a very quick recipe and make sure you are ready with all the chopped ingredients.

Step 2: Stir fry the vegetables

Heat your pan to high and add olive oil and garlic to it. As soon as the garlic has colour add the onions and fry them on a medium high heat. Season it with salt and wait for onions to caramelize to release the extra sweetness. If you want you can add a pinch of sugar at this stage for extra sweetness. Add your mushrooms and increase the heat. There should be sizzling as water comes out of the mushrooms. Stir for about a couple of minutes until they are reduced to a moderate size.

Step 3: Add Sausages and finish

Once the water is almost dried up, add the sausages. sprinkle some salt and pepper and start to toss. After a minute add dark soya sauce and vinegar from the side of the pan. Keep tossing for about a minute and then your dish is ready.

This dish is super delicious and if can be had while its hot but it tastes amazing when its cold. Its something like an anti-paste that you can have or add it to a salad or sandwich. Do give it a try and I am sure you will love this.

#Recipe #sausage #mushroom #antipaste #hungermanagement

Fish Head Lentils Recipe (Maacher Matha diye Dal Recipe)

We Bengalis are known for our inherent talent for devouring fish. While like the rest of the world, not only do we enjoy the fish by only its flesh, but we dont throw away the head, rather we make a delicious dal out of it. Well to be frank, the head of the fish is full of nutrients mainly proteins, vitamin D and its very good for your eyesight. Enough of the science talk, lets get right to it to make this delicious recipe.

To make this dish, you will need the following.

Ingredients:

  1. Large head of fish (Preferably Katla cut into 4 pieces)
  2. Yellow gram lentils (Moong dal) [150 gm]
  3. Ginger Garlic Paste [1 tspn]
  4. Cumin seeds (Jeera) [1 tspn]
  5. Bayleaf (Tejpatta) [2 pieces]
  6. Dried Red Peppers(Lal Mirch) [2 pieces]
  7. Garam Masala [1 tspn]
  8. Mustard Oil [3 tbsp]
  9. Turmeric Powder [1 tspn]
  10. Salt [1-2 tspn]
  11. Sugar [1 tspn]
  12. Water [300 ml]
  13. Coriander Leaves
  14. Green Chillies [2 pieces]

Hope you have noted it down, not lets get started. Follow these steps below
Step 1: Season the fish head

Add 1 tspn salt and 1 tspn turmeric powder on the fish head and apply all over the fish head and let it rest for 10 mins. The salt will take the water out and the turmeric will add colour to the fish.

Step 2: Fry the fish head

Heat your wok and add the mustard oil to it and wait till the oil starts smoking. This is very important to get it super hot, or else the fish will stick to the base and break. Once smoking, reduce the heat to medium and add your seasoned fish head. There will be a sizzling sound and might be some mini explosions as the fish is being fried, Do not be scared, as this is supposed to happen. Fry each side for 5 mins until it starts getting golden. Once golden, remove your fish head into paper towels which will absorb the excess oil.

Step 3: Prepare the Lentils

Use the leftover oil in the wok and add cumin seeds, red peppers and bayleaves to it and let them fry for 1 minute. Then add your ginger garlic paste and stir for 30 seconds. Add the moong dal into this and stir for another minute until the dal gets fried. While, doing this add some salt, some sugar and turmeric to taste and colour. After the dals are fried, add your water and bring it to a boil.

Step 4: Add the fried fish head

As soon as the water starts to boil, add the fried fish head, and cover your wok with a lid. Reduce the flame to medium and let it cook for 10-15 mins until your lentils are perfectly cooked. Once complete, the dal will be soft and you can easily press it with your fingers.
Sprinkle some garam masala powder on top and turn off the heat.

Step 5 : Garnish and serve

The dal is ready already, but to add to the taste I always garnish it. Roughly chop some coriander and green chillies. Take the daal on a serving bowl and spread the chillies and coriander on top over your daal.


And there you have it! Easy,Tasty and delicious your Fish Head Lentils or Maacher MAtha diye dal is ready to eat. Serve hot with rice and enjoy. A healthy and tasty recipe for you to try.

Indian Butter Fish Curry Recipe (Pabda Maach er jhal)

The Indian Butter Fish or Pabda as its local name goes is considered as a delicacy in Kolkata and is often served in weddings, family get-togethers and other social events. The most common way of serving this variant of fish is what I am going to tell you about. This is the Pabda jhal and here is how you make it

Pabda Maach er jhal

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 1hr
  • Difficulty: medium
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Ingredients

  1. Full Pabda fish (4 whole fish)
  2. Mustard seeds (2 tspn)
  3. Poppy Seeds (1 tspn)
  4. Cashews (5 pcs)
  5. Green Chillies(6 pcs)
  6. Onions (2 pcs)
  7. Ginger Garlic Paste (1 tspn)
  8. Turmeric Powder (1 tspn)
  9. Mustard Oil
  10. Salt

Directions

Step 1: Season the fish

The first step in any fish curry recipe is seasoning the fish. A proper bengali seasoning is add salt and turmeric powder on the fish and massage it slowly so that the entire fish is coated. Let it rest for 15 -30 mins while you can prepare the curry paste.

Step 2: Make the curry paste

The base  of this curry will be 2 pastes; one being your mustard paste and the other onion. As your fish is rests,  grind your mustard seeds, poppy seeds, cashew nuts and green chilies with a little bit of mustard oil until it forms a paste. Roughly chop you onions and grind it so that it makes a paste and keep that separate.

Step 3: Fry the fishes

Heat your wok or pan to high with mustard oil and wait until it starts to smoke. Once smoking hot, add your fishes one at a time and fry them in a low to medium heat. It is very important to fry the fish so that it does not break. 3 minutes on each side should be enough. Take them out into a paper towel.

Step 4: Prepare the curry

Use the residual oil in you pan and add the onion paste. Fry it to a medium heat so that it becomes golden. you can add salt at this stage to speed up the process as they start to caramelize. Add you mustard paste to this now and stir for a minute until it mixes with to form a thick consistency. Add a pinch of salt and turmeric powder, followed by two cups of water. Raise the heat and bring it to a boil.

Step 5: Add the fish and serve

As soon as your curry comes to a boil reduce the heat to low and add the fish back to the curry. Make sure to coat all of them in the curry and thats it. Your dish is ready. Garnish with some slit green chillies and chopped coriander.

This is a traditional bengali lunch dish. Serve hot with plain rice and enjoy. Do share the recipe if you like it.

Food for thought and Food for you