Category Archives: Food

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.

Steaks, the staple of the United States

I had been away from blogging for some time now, as my work has taken me to the other side of the world in the United States and quite naturally getting used to a new culture takes time. But, one thing I have been dying to try here is steak. This is perhaps the best American food can get, but coming from India, I have had my share of steaks but what you get here is a totally different ball game.

It all starts from breeding the cattle and feeding, rearing it and in the end getting a good marbling on the meat; which in layman’s terms means the distribution of fat in the meat. Also, coming here you get familiarized with different cuts of meat from cheap cuts like brisket to moderate ones like Sir Loin and Tender Loin going up to the prime cuts of the Rib Eye and Fillet Mignon. Also, there is a concept of dry ageing the meat which means the meat is left to age as bacteria slowly breaks down the muscle fibres which in turn results in a more funkier flavor. The prices of meat also vary based on the cuts and the tags given by USDA with the highest being the USDA prime. Even though the Fillet is considered to be the most expensive cut of meat, the Prime Rib is perhaps the most flavorful one that is out there.

The varieties are endless and a visit to a steakhouse really enhances the experience. Never have I ever tasted red meat so juicy and tender that they simply melt in the mouth. And I myself gave it a shot using the pan searing approach and was really pleased with the results.

Not bad for my first attempt! I hope to master the art soon and then will definitely share the way I make steaks. But until then I will savor these memories of perhaps the best meats out there and whatever else life has to offer.

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.

Hyderabadi Haleem, a stew to die for …

As the whole Islam world celebrate the holy month of Ramadan (Ramzan) by observing month-long daylight fasting and breaking it with the evening prayers and Iftar, the Hyderabadis go one step further with consuming Haleem which is quintessential to the city.

Haleem is basically a stew made up of crushed wheat, barley, lentils (or daal) with meat and spices slow cooked for over 8 hours so that is all melts into a thick paste. It is usually served with ghee and fried onions. This stew easy easily digested and has high calories which provides instant energy, which is required after daylong fasting.

What was introduced into the region by the Nizams, slowly it has evolved into a delicacy which is enjoyed by people of all faiths during the month of Ramadan. Pista House are even known for exporting to USA and UAE.

Though primarily meant for Iftar, with the growing popularity all the big restaurants of Hyderabad make it a competition where they have countless volunteers to sell Haleem. There are awards given out and business booms like anything. Though usually served are chicken and mutton variants in most spaces.

Among the other variants I tried, Beef and Mashad Haleems are my most favorite ones. Though you have to go around the city to find them.

A value for money tasty stew that is slowly making a name for itself worldwide. This should be in one person’s bucket list if he or she visits the City of Nizams during the tie of Ramadan.

Mandi Blues

One of the best things I like about India is the diversity of the food that is served on your plate with the change in geography. Nowadays though, no matter where you are in the country you do have the option to have any type of cuisine available with the tag of “Indian Food”, no matter in which city you are in. But, during my tenure in Hyderabad, I came across something beautiful, delicious and unique which I had never come across which made this feel even more special. It is called Mandi, an Arabic word derived from the word nada meaning dew, reflecting upon the moist dew like texture of the meat.

Mandi is a type of biriyani served in a big plate of rice, topped with big chunks of perfectly cooked meats that are juicy and tender at the same time. The rice itself is very much flavorful with the garnishing of fried onions and dry fruits only adding to the taste. Usually it is served with three different salans (or curries) to enhance the dish and it does not disappoint. One plate is enough to fill three hungry souls, and the custom is to eat of the same plate. It is an amazing experience and something which I feel increases the bond between the individuals.

I did a little research and found that that it is quite common in the Malabar region of Kerala and of course, the Barkas region of Hyderabad. Though Mandi outlets have slowly started popping up in the newer part of Hyderabad. Yum Yum Tree  and Al Zaara Matbaq al Mandi  are couple of my favorite places in Greater Hyderabad when it comes to having Mandi. Ofcourse, there is Barkas in the old city where you will get countless places to have this beautiful dish.

I am sure with its gaining popularity in Hyderabad, soon new Mandi joints will start opening up in the rest of the country. So until that happens, next time you decide to visit the City of the Nizams and you have never had a Mandi, I suggest you gather all your friends and head out to a Mandi joint and left satisfied with a delicious dinner.