Monday, March 18, 2013

Another first - Pan grilled Pork Chops

I am not a pork eater but the husband is a big time lover so there are things you do for your loved ones and I always seem to be cooking for them. I don't find it too great that he orders in from the other day when I saw good quality frozen pork chops being sold at the neighbourhood  super market..grabbed a box or two. Since I had never eaten the meat or cooked it for that matter was a bit unsure as to how I should cook it. Thanks to the Internet I scoured for recipes and finally decided to do  an easy pan grilled version with an Asian spice rub. I cant even tell you how easy it was to make them and full points I got for making such a tasty dish. Its a perfect weeknight dinner option...non pork lovers can do it with a chicken breast or just throw in some sausages...turns out just as great. I served it on a bed on creamy mashed potatoes : )

Ingredients :

Pork chops - 1 no ( cleaned and dried)

Soy sauce - 2 tbsp

Brown sugar - 1 tsp

Garlic - 2 cloves ( crushed)

Ginger - 1 tsp (crushed)

Roasted cumin powder - 1 tsp

Red chili paste - 2 tsp ( adjust acc to ur choice)

Olive oil - 1 tsp

For the mash:

Boiled potatoes - 3 large (mashed into a smooth paste)

Butter - 1 tbsp

Milk - 1/2 cup

Salt - to taste

Crushed pepper - to taste


Make a marinade for the chops by mixing together the soy sauce,brown sugar,garlic, ginger,cumin and red chilli paste and some olive oil. I avoided seasoning with salt as pork chops are quite salty in itself ( did a bit of research) also the soy would be salty.

Cover the pork chops with this mixture, cover and let it rest for at least 2 hrs.Overnight would work best.

In the mean time , make the potato mash.

Heat the butter in a thick bottomed pan, add the mashed potatoes and the milk. Give it a good stir, season with salt and pepper.

Now for the chops. Heat a grilling pan till smoking point.

Tip in the pork chops along with the marinade and let it cook for 5- 6 mins on each side.

Once done, turn of the neat and let the chops rest in the pan for another 5 mins.
Serve hot on a bed of creamy mashed potatoes. Even pan grilled veggies would go well.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Ode to No. 169 - Penne Baked in Tomato cheese sauce

You all must be wondering what is this 169...well its the dish number of one of our favourite pasta "Penne baked with Mozzarella cheese" in our most favourite cafe in Delhi - The Big Chill . We have such great memories of that place...all special occasions and even not so special ones were spent there. Basically we would go there all weekends..even on weeknights. What an amazing spread they have..just love that place man!! Even now our visits to the capital is NEVER done without a visit to Big Chill. Be it their grilled dishes...pizzas ...the desserts...home made ice creams *sigh* I can only feel super J about people staying in Delhi. Here I have not attempted to recreate my favourite dish as its an impossible task but just something similar to comfort my craving taste buds!

The only cooking part here is making the tomato cheese is just a breeze through.

Ingredients :

Penne pasta - 1 cup ( boiled and drained)

Mushrooms - 1/2 cup chopped

Sweet corn kernels - 1/2 cup

Butter - for sauteing the mushroom and corn

For the Sauce :

Tomatoes - 6 large ( roughly chopped) Pls choose the ripe red ones

Garlic - 1 tbsp chopped

Onion - 1 medium chopped

Fresh cream - 1/2 cup

Olive oil - 1 tbsp

Mixed herbs ( oregano, thyme , basil) - 2 tbsp ( i used the dried variety easily available in the supermarkets)

Chilli flakes - 1 tbsp

Grated cheddar cheese - 1/2 cup

Crushed pepper - 2 tsp

Salt - to taste

Sugar - a pinch


First start with making the sauce. You could also make it a night before..tastes just as yum.

In a non stick pan, heat the olive oil. Add the chopped onions and garlic and saute till the onions get a translucent color.

Next tip in all chopped tomatoes , mixed herbs, salt, pepper and sugar. Mix well, cover and let it simmer for 15- 20 mins.

Let the tomatoes get all mushy, remove from heat and let it cool.

Once the mixture cools down, grind it into a smooth sauce.

Put the  sauce back into the pan , let it simmer for 2 mins. Turn off the heat and mix in the grated cheese and cream.

Your sauce is its just putting everything together.

In another pan saute the mushroom and corn in a little bit of butter.

Next put in the boiled pasta, sauteed mushrooms and corn in a baking dish and pour the tomato cheese sauce over it.

Mix everything together, Check for could add some more herbs or chilli flakes as per your taste.

Bake in a preheated oven for 15 mins at 180 deg C.

Get ready and dig into some sinfully yummy pasta. *Heaven*

[Note] Now here's something you can do which I didn't  today but normally do is sprinkle some grated Parmesan or mozzarella on top  and then bake it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

This one for the mutton lovers -Kosha Mangsho

Mutton curry for sunday lunch has been a ritual in our family for a long time now. Its is not something one could eat often thus reserved to special days or lazy sunday afternoons as is the case with us. But a good mutton curry always depended on the kind of meat one would buy.Many sunday mornings I have accompanied dad to the local butcher and try and learn the ways to buy good mutton. The tradition has kind of continued in my household too and almost every sunday afternoon we end up gorging on some yummy mutton curry. The most favourite recipe in ours ( as is in most Bengali households) is the Kosha Mangsho or dry sauteed mutton cooked with an array of spices. Everybody must have their own twist to it and so do I! Sharing with you my version of the Kosha Mangsho.

Ingredients :

Mutton pieces  - 500 gms ( If you have a local butcher then insist on the thigh /raan portion )

Potato - 3 medium cut into halves ( this is THE MOST important ingredient if you ask me ! )

Onion  - 2 med finely sliced

Ginger paste - 1 tbsp

Garlic paste - 1 tbsp

Turmeric - 1 tsp

Coriander powder  - 1 tbsp

Cumin powder - 1 tbsp

Chilli powder - 2 tsp ( adjust acc to taste )

Kashmiri chilli powder - 2 tsp

Curd - 2 tbsp

Salt - tp taste

Sugar - 1 tsp

Garam masala powder - 2 tsp ( this is simply crushed green cardamom,cinnamon and cloves

Bay leaves - 2 nos

Mustard oil - 4 tbsp

Fried onion slices - 2 tbsp


Clean and wash the mutton pieces.

In a heavy pan ( or the pressure cooker ) add the oil . Once the oil heats up, add the halved potatoes and fry till golden brown. Remove from oil and keep aside.

Next in the same oil add the bay leaves.Tip in the sliced onions , ginger and garlic paste and fry till the onion turns transluscent.

Now add the mutton pieces and fry on high heat for few mins till the mutton pieces turn opaque in colour.

Next add in all the dry spices  - turmeric, coriander, chilli, cumin, salt and sugar.Keep stirring so that the masalas dont burn. You could add a bit of warm water at this point so that the spices dont stick to the bottom of the pan.

It is very important to bhuno ( roast ) the masalas well along with the mutton add warm water a few times. This is what we call " koshano" in bengali. You got to do this atleat thrice to get that fab taste!

Once the mutton is cooked well with the spices and the sides start to release the oil , add the curd and the fried onion slices. Add just a little water , tip in the fried potatoes and let the curry simmer for 10 mins.

Check if the mutton is soft by now and the water has dried up. If done , sprinkle the garam masala powder and remove from heat.

Serve hot with rice .

For Special days- Dark Chocolate Cake

So my little boy is now a big boy! Well yes a big boy In just 5 years because now he will be going to a big school. As soon as he turned 3 there started peer pressure on me as to which school..this one or that one. ..which one would be the best ? Tough admission procedures? Will he get trough? All this pretty much made up the conversation I would have with other moms.  I who considers myself myself a " cool cat " also started having sleepless nights.Time as you know flies and very soon the day came when it was time for him to move on . We had already decided upon a school for him after much debate and discussions and now we had to go through the admission process...which believe me is quite " tough".  We were a bunch of elated parents when our child got through.
The other day it was my lill boys last day in his playschool so we decided that he should have a small farewell party with his classmate.. I decided to bake a cake for the little ones and this is what I did. Since they were are chocoholics it was best that I made them a dark chocolate with chocolate ganache loaded with choco strands! And this is what the outcome was!

Ingredients :

For the Dark Choc Cake

Sugar - 2 cups

Flour - 2 cups

Cocoa powder - 3/4 th cup

Baking powder - 1 tsp

Baking soda - 1 tsp

Salt - a pinch

Eggs - 2 nos ( at room temperature)

Milk - 1 cup

Vegetable oil - 1/2 cup ( I used sunflower oil )

Vanilla essence - 2 tsp

Boiling water - 1 cup


Preheat oven to 200 deg C

Grease and flour 2 cake tins of equal size.

In a large bowl sift together all the dry ingredients.

 Add eggs, milk,oil,vanilla and beat on medium speed for a couple of mins.

Stir in the boiling water gently. You need a liquidy cake mix so that the cake turns out soft and moist.

Pour into the prepared tins and bake for 40 mins or till a toothpick when inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool on a wire rack.

For the chocolate ganache

Dark chocolate - few bars ( you could easily use dairy milk bars)

Fresh cream - 200 ml ( i used Amul cream)

Chocolate strands - for decoration

Silver balls - for decoration

Method :

Melt the chocolate bars in the microwave.

Then add the cream and mix well till you get a shiny smooth chocolate sauce.

The next step is just to slather the cakes with the ganache sauce.Decorate with chocolate strands, silver balls or whatever your heart desires.In my case I was under strict supervision of my little boy and he was the one helping me with the decoration.

As i finish writing this son has happily settled in his new school and started a brand new chapter of his life! Here's to baking many more cakes for lots of special days of his growing up years.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Joy from my kitchen garden - Gobhi masala

I can't even describe the feeling when I successfully grow vegetables in my kitchen garden. This year has been special. We have had the pleasure of devouring fresh veggies from my garden. We grew some lovely chillies , coriander leaves , cabbage ,and  some gorgeous baby cauliflowers. O yes also some green tomatoes! 

I had to do something special with these and I remembered how my Maa used to make this lovely dish where she would slightly sauté the whole baby cauliflowers and dunk them in a rich masala gravy topped with cashews and raisins. One could also bake the dish on an oven but I decided to do it the traditional way.


Baby cauliflower - 2 nos ( or if you are using the big ones it's advisable you cut them into florets )

Onion paste- 4 tbsp

Ginger paste- 1 tsp

Garlic paste- 1 tsp

Tomato - 1 medium diced

Chilli powder - 1 tsp

Turmeric powder - 1 tsp

Coriander powder - 1 tsp

Cumin powder - 1 tsp

Salt - to taste

Sugar - 1 tsp  ( Bengalis can never cook without sugar ! )

Yoghurt - 1 tbsp

Refined oil - 2 tbsp

Garam masala - 1 tsp ( just grind few cardamom, cinnamon and cloves )

Green chillies - for garnish

Cashews and raisins - slightly fried for garnishing


Blanch the cauliflower in salted water for 5 mins.

In a non stick pan add 1 tsp oil and lightly sauté the cauliflower in it. Keep aside.

In the same pan add the remaining oil. Add the onion paste, ginger garlic paste and fry till golden brown.

Add the tomatoes. Next tip in all the dry powder ingredients that is chilli, turmeric, coriander and cumin. Also add the salt and sugar.

Mix everything well , if required add some water so that the masalas don't burn.

Fry the masala mix well till the oil begins to separate. Add the yoghurt and mix well. Add  water as required to make a thick gravy.
Add the sauteed cauliflower and the cashews and raisins into the gravy, cover the pan and let it simmer till the gravy dries up a bit.

Add the garam masala powder, garnish with green chillies and remove from heat.

Chicken Rezala - Super Easy Recipe

Now there are thousand of recipes to make the Rezala and it is mostly made with mutton. But since chicken is the preferable choice of meat I decided to make the chicken version. Well now Kolkata is famous for its Chaaps and Rezala. Lots of heritage eating places like Shiraaz , Aminia , Arasalan who does a fabulous job of the Rezala. I have had the rezala at all these places but the home made version is something so delicious.Basically it is a stew dish , slow cooked and the use of minimal ingredients. Here I have used boneless leg of the chicken but you could use with bones ( actually it would be best to do it with mutton ). The star of this dish I would say is the Kewra essence that is added at the end which makes it so very fragrant and beautiful.

Ingredients :

Chicken boneless - 400 gms ( you could easily use curry cut or mutton , but pls avoid boneless breast pieces )

Curd - 1 cup

Whole spices 
Dry red chillies - 3-4 nos
Cardamom - 3-4 nos
Cinnamon - few sticks
Cloves - a few

Cashew paste - 2 tbsp ( soak the cashews in some hot water before making a paste)

Fried onion paste - 2 tbsp

Salt- to taste

Sugar - 1 tsp

Kewra essence  1 tsp

Ghee - 2 tbsp


Take the cleaned chicken and marinate with the curd,salt,sugar and keep aside for half hour.

In a non stick deep pan add the ghee. Once heated add the whole spices. Once they splutter add the chicken along with the curd marinade.

Cover and let it cook for 10 mins.

By the now the curd would have become a bit watery. Remove the cover and let it cook for another 10 mins. The gravy with be a bit thick by now.

Add the cashew paste , fried onion paste and mix well.Cook for a while or till the chicken is cooked.

Add the Kewra essence and remove from heat. Serve hot with rice.