Thursday, November 20, 2014

Black And White Wednesday 151

Hello, friends. Hope you all are doing great. This will be the first gallery since BWW went biweekly. As always, I am so very happy to host this gallery of lovely photos!



New bww logo big

 So, relax, put your feet up and enjoy the gallery!  


                                   
English Tea and Bengali adda at Mrs. Magpie from Balaka of Wanderful
(Balaka is my childhood school friend).





Easy French Bread Loaf from Lynne of Cafe Lynnulu.
(I love breads and this seems tempting enough for me to try soon).





Sicilian Cannoli  from Cinzia of Cindystar.
(Cinzia, seriously, I am drooling right now! This is my one of most "frequent buy" from Little Italy). 




Grapes Before The Harvest from Rosa of Rosa's Yummy Yums.
(I always love all of Rosa's beautiful clicks, so no exception for this).


and



Treats for Goddess Lakshmi from your's truly of Pocketfull Of Spices.


I hope you enjoy this nice medley of black and white images. The next edition of BWW will be up on December 3 and will be hosted by Aparna of Stories from the Mahe Coast. See you all there.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Potoler Dolma aka Stuffed Potol

This is a very traditional bengali dish and is liked by all. Potol or pointed gourd is widely cultivated in eastern India and is common vegetable during the summer months particularly in West Bengal. It is very rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. During summer when other veggies are not so abundant, potol used to be cooked almost every week at my house, so often that you start to hate it. Unless, special times when my Maa used to make this stuffed version. 

This preparation requires a bit of patience and tad amount of time, both of which are being missed in my kitchen. I just made half a dozen of them and was wondering how my mother used to do at least thrice the number every time she made. In this dish, pools are cut at one ned, and scraped of the inside fillings. Then they are stuffed with any fillings of choice, be it simple daal, paneer or even ground meat. My Maa always used to make the vegetarian version and never used meat. This is the first time I made it and did it in same way as my Mom used to do, but next time I will try the ground meat version.

Ingredients

Potol - 6 large, washed and kept aside
Chhana dal - 2 tablespoon, soaked for at least 15 minutes
Grated Coconut - 2 tablespoon
Tomatoes - 1medium, diced
Red Onion - 1 large, finely chopped
Red Chilli - 1, more if you like it hot
Green chilli - 1
Ginger paste - 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric - 1/4 teaspoon
Vegetable Oil - 2-3 tablespoon ( I used mustard oil)
Sugar and Salt - To taste

Wash the potols and gently peel the skin in alternative rows (see the picture below).


Cut one side (about 1/4 th inch from the tip) and carefully scoop out the flesh and seeds from inside. Make sure you do not pierce the sides. I used the back of a small teaspoon to do it. Do not throw them away, keep them aside to use later. In the meantime, boil the chana dal till they are just soft.



Rub salt and turmeric on the pools and gently poke all over with a fork. Shallow fry them for 3-4 minutes in 1 tablespoon of oil. Keep them aside.




Now add grated coconut and fry them for a minute or two. Add the boiled chana dal and the flesh and seeds that you have scooped out from the potols. Add salt, half teaspoon of cumin powder, pinch of turmeric ands sauté them till they are well done, about 4-5 minutes. You can also use grated paneer instead of dal or ground meat which has been cooked well. 



The stuffing looks like this. Wait few minutes to cool it down. Now carefully stuff the potols with this    till you fill up each of them.




Add remaining oil to the pan, add a red chilli, and add onions to it. Saute them till they start to get golden, Add the tomatoes and mix with it for couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and cool the mixture. Put it in blender and give it a pulse or two. Return it  to the pan and add finger paste, cumin powder, salt, sugar and sauté for few more minutes. Add the stuffed potols and if yo want add few tablespoons of warm water. Simmer for few mites with the lid closed.


Add half teaspoon of ghee at the end, give a mix and turn the heat off. Leave it for few mites with lid covered.



Your yummy potoler dolma is ready to eat.




Serve with steaming white rice and enjoy!

This is my entry for the ABC World Culinary Adventure. Cinzia is hosting India for a fortnight and you will find many wonderful Indian recipes on her page.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Black and White Wednesday # 151

At the beginning of the fall, or autumn as we commonly call it in this part of the world, we welcome our very own Goddess Durga. Yes, she is goddess but she is welcomed as one own's daughter and she comes to her father's house to spend some days. Every bengalis look forward to these few days that Durga spends with us along with her four kids. When she leaves for her husband's home in Himalayas, her daughter Lakshmi stays back to be pampered a little more. Few days after Durga puja, every bengali household worships Lakshmi in their own way on the following full moon night.

After many many years I have spend this day at Kolkata, and was filled with nostalgia. My Maa and Mom-in-law celebrates it every year, and although in much lesser extent, makes all the special treats that Goddess Lakshmi loves. Thanks to them my lil one and me once again basked in the tradition and enjoyed the treats.


Treats for Goddess Lakshmi


And now, its time for BWW.
Hello friends, I will be your host for Black and White Wednesday this week. This will be 151 st episode!!! I simply love these black and white gallery of interesting and amazing photos. And I am honored to be your host once again.


For the newbies, here are the rules:
  • Your clicks have to be  anything of a culinary nature or show anything related to food
  • You can shoot either in b/w mode or in color, then process in b/w. You can use any effect you like but keeping the image in a monochrome/grayscale, with Sepia and Cyanotype tones allowed. No color details allowed.
  • Approximate sizes of your pictures should be portrait/500 wide & 700 long - landscape/700 wide & 500 long - or 600 square.
  • No need of a recipe, nor a story nor a location (but they are welcome if you like), simply a title for the picture is required.
  • You have to mention Black and White Wednesday in your post and link to this announcement and my blog  Pocketfull Of Spices. Use of the logo is optional.

Please send me your photographs at pocketfullofspices AT gmail DOT com with following details: 
  • Subject: BWW #151
  • Your Name that you want to be published in round up
  • Your Blog's Name
  • Title of Your Pic
  • URL of your post
  • The image(s), max 500 px wide
You have until Tuesday, November 18, to send me your images. Even if you do not have any blog, you can send me your photos for the roundup.


So, once again, take out your cameras and happy clicking my friends!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Quick and Healthy Apple Crumble

My lil A loves sweet. She becomes very happy when her snack time is perked up with something sweet. And given the high amount of sugar present in store bought cakes and candies, I try to make/bake something sweet and simple for her. This crumble is super easy to make, nothing can be easier than this! And it is healthy, so its a complete win-win.

Also, this time of the year is my favourite. The air is crisp, sun is sweeter and apples are bounty. Best time to make apple crumble.

Ingredients
(2 servings)

Apple - 1 skinned and chopped to bite size pieces 
Raisins - 8 - 10, brown/golden ( soaked in water for few minutes)
Lime juice - 1 tablespoon
All purpose flour - 4 tablespoon
Rolled Oats - 4 tablespoon (I used quick oats)
Sugar - 2 tablespoon (optional)
Salt - 1 pinch
Butter (softened) - 4 tablespoon
Vanilla essence - 1/4 teaspoon


Preheat oven at 200C. Coat the apple pieces with lime juice.

Grease the cake bowl with a little butter and and add the chopped apple pieces and raisins mixed with butter and 1 tablespoon sugar. Microwave for 2 minutes.




In a seperate bowl, mix flour, oats, remaining sugar, salt together. Add butter and mix it with hand. It will be crumbly. Do not knead. Add the vanilla essence and mix once more.


Add the crumbly crumble on top of the apple pieces and press it evenly on all sides. Bake it at 200C /375F for 10 - 12 minutes till the top starts to become golden brown.


Your apple and raisins crumble is ready. Yes, seriously!!!




I had great difficulty in keeping a little hand out of the way!










Enjoy it with whipped cream or a scoop of ice-cream of your choice. I served with a dollop of greek yogurt.



There goes the little finger!


Apple Crumble

 I converted one image for this week's Black and White Wednesday - a culinary event of gorgeous images. This was started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook and currently managed by Cinzia of Cindystar. She is also the host of this week, that is BWW 150. For hosting details, click here.

Next BWW will be hosted by your's truly, yeah, that's me.

Enjoy!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Homemade Palak Paneer

I was that kid who ate her veggies. Well, not always without protests. But my mother somehow managed to convince me to eat my greens without camouflaging it. This dish was one of the few "exotic ways" she agreed to prepare. She learnt this from one of her non-bengali friend and back in those days always used to add homemade paneer instead of the store bought that I use.

This palak paneer is very different than that you get in various Indian restaurants across the globe. Instead of the creamy gravy that we see in the palak panner dish around, here the gravy is coarse and you can bite into the greens. Of course, you can use your blender to blend it and make it smooth. I, however, never do that. I am, in a way, like my Mom. I try my best to have a taste of varied dishes/cuisines but do not go too far that often to make it perfect. Rather,  I like to steer away from being close to "perfection". 

Ingredients

Paneer - 200 gm
Palak/Spinach - 250 gms
Methi/Fenugreek leaves - 100 gms
Onions - 2 medium, chopped lengthwise
Tomatoes - 1 medium, chopped
Ginger paste - 1 teaspoon
Garlic paste -1/2 teaspoon
Red dry chilies - 1 or more as per taste
Green chilies- 1 or more 
Sugar - 1/2 teaspoon
Oil - 1 tablespoon (I used mustard oil)

Spices
Cardamom - 4-6 pieces
Clove - 3-4 pieces
Cinnamon - 1'' stick
Fennel - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste

Clean your greens well under water. My greens were a bit wilted, they have been in the refrigerator for few days.





These are your spices. You can used them in 2 ways. You can dry roast all the spices except fennel seeds for few minutes, till a nice aroma comes, cool it and grind it into powder. Or, like me, you can use them as whole that saves you a wee bit of more time. Either way, life is good.


Cut your paneer in cubes or whatever shape you like.


I like them a bit brown, so I bake them I bake them in oven at 180C for 10-12 minutes. These babies are a bit more brown than I like, I do not know what I was thinking when I set the timer for 15 minutes.



Temper your oil with red dry chilie and  the spices. Add the whole or powdered spices and saute for few minutes. Add the chopped onions, saute it till slight brown. 

Add the tomatoes along with a teaspoon of sugar. This helps to caramelize. 


Add your greens to it and saute for few minutes and leave it covered for couple of minutes more. You could have pre steamed the greens before adding, but really not required.



After the greens have softened and mixed well with the spices, you can cool them and puree the entire onion, tomatoes and greens with few tablespoon of water. Or, you can leave them as it is.


When the greens have mixed well, add the browned paneer cubes, cumin powder, turmeric and salt to it . Cover the lids and cook for few more minutes.



Enjoy your palak paneer with steaming white rice or rotis. 



For BWW, I converted one of the above images to sepia. BWW is a gallery of culinary images started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook and now looked after by Cinzia of Cindystar. This weeks special edition is being hosted by Lynne of Cafe Lynnylu

Monday, October 13, 2014

Back with Black and White Wednesday

Hi friends. Hope you all are doing well. I apologize for being absent for so long. Summer has really been busy but lots of fun. It was a tiny bit busy at work front too. Now that rush is over I hope to have a better attendance in this space of mine. And what can be a better way to be back than Black and White Wednesday, I simply love it.

I am back from my home city only last weekend after a ten days log break- a part of it was spend in celebrating homecoming of our favorite Goddess Durga. You can read here too. Going back home after ten long months means you are pampered with both delicious homemade foods and chatpata street foods too. Of course, I did not cook for these long days, and was fed by my Maa and Mom-in-law. Maybe, I will do a food-post soon.

This is a pic of what we call "patisapta". It is usually a crepe made with rice flour and semolina with coconut filing. The shredded coconut has been mixed with jaggery over low flame till it becomes sticky and brownish in color. You can also use sugar/brown sugar instead of jaggery. I simply love it so much, my mother makes it every time I visit home.


Crepe with coconut filing

And this is my this week's contribution to black and white Wednesday -  a medley of culinary images, hosted this week by Sreevalli of Ammaji Kitchen. BWW was started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook and is currently taken care by Cinzia of Cindystar Blog. For participation click here.

Hope you are having a wonderful festive season and the enjoying the nice fall weather.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Tangy Mango Chutney

I have not posted for long in this space. Although I have been cooking regularly, and my kitchen was fairly busy, but this summer has been a bit hectic too. So I took it a bit easy. The humdrum of life seems to have settled a bit, and I am back here.

Last week I have made this tangy mango chutney first time for this summer. I really do not know what took me this long. Although this year has not been very good in terms of mango yield, we have been eating the "king of fruit" almost every day. This chutney is very easy to make and goes almost with everything, rotis, toast, curry, dal, and yes just eating on its own is very much welcome. 

Ingredients

Raw mangoes, peeled - 2 medium (I tend to leave the skin on here and there to make it a bit crunchy)
Jaggery - 3/4 to 1 cup
Red chillies - 2
Turmeric - 1/2 teaspoon
Pannch Phoron - 1 teaspoon
(Paanch Phoron is a mix of five spices - fenugreek seeds, nigella seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds and black mustard or celery seeds)
Oil - 1 tablespoon (I used mustard oil)
Salt to taste

Peel the mangoes and cut in strips or small pieces. Remove the soft white stone from inside. Wash them, pat them dry and smear with turmeric.




In a pan, melt the jaggery with a little water, till it is all melted. You can do it in microwave but keep a watch on it.


In a pan, heat the oil, crack the red chillies and add to it, add the spices and wait till it pops. 


Add the mangoes, and saute it well. Add 1 tablespoon of water and cook it on low heat for five minutes or till the mangoes get soft.

Add the melted jaggery and mix it well. Add water if you like a thinner version. Cook for 3-5 minutes more or till it thickens a bit.


Store it in cleaned glass bottle. Usually it stays absolutely fine in refrigerator for 2 weeks (that is, if it lasts that long).

So so yummy, you can also pack for a friend if you like. Can also be a good host gift.



I converted this last image to black and white for my this week's contribution to Black and White Wednesday, a culinary journey through images. It was started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook, and is now managed by Cinzia of Cindystar. This week, it is hosted by Simona of Briciole.




Enjoy your summer!