Thursday, April 25, 2013

New and improvised - Stuffed Parwal in a nutty gravy

Today's post is totally an innovation for me. Traditionally Parwal(pointed gourd) or Potol as we bengalis call it is cooked in many ways. One very common way is to do it stuffed with various kind of fillings. I have eaten stuffed parwal many a times and this dish is an improvisation based on all those dishes.Normally one would cook it in an onion tomato gravy. What I have done here is stuffed the parwal with a paneer filling and then simmered it in a gravy made of nuts ( almond, cashews and magaj dana)


Parwal (pointed gourd)  - 4 medium sized

Paneer - half cup

Salt - to taste

Sugar - a pinch

Ghee - half tsp

For the gravy:

Almond paste - 2 tbsp

Cashew paste - 2 tbsp

Pumpkin seeds(magaj dana paste- 2 tbsp ( just soak all the nuts in warm water for 5 mins and grind in a mixie)

Ghee - 1 tsp

Bay leaves -2 nos

Cardamom - 2 nos

Cloves - 2 nos

Cinnamon - 1 small stick

Raisins - 1 tbsp

Turmeric - a pinch

Kashmiri red chilli powder - 1 tsp

Salt - to taste

Sugar - a pinch


For the stuffed parwal:

Lightly peel the outer skin of the parwal and blanch it in boiling salted water.

Remove and let it cool for a while.

Now the tricky bit ...using a knife scoop out the inside flesh.Make sure the parwals are intact or the filling would ooze out.

For the stuffing:

In a pan heat the ghee , add the crumbled paneer and salt and sugar.Toss till it gets a light brown colour.You could add raisins and nuts here too but i skipped that.

Now we need to stuff the parwal with this stuffing. Use your hands and its very easy.

Ok so the next step is to fry these in some oil and keep aside. In a non stick pan heat a little oil and fry the stuffed parwal till they are light brown in colour.

Now lets move on to making the gravy which is super simple! In a pan heat the ghee, splutter the cardamom , cloves, bayleaves and cinnamon. Next tip in the almond , cashew and magaz dana paste.

Fry well for 5-7 mins till it starts to leave oil on the sides. Now add the turmeric powder , red chili powder,raisins, salt and sugar.

Add a cup of warm water and let the gravy simmer for 2 mins before adding the fried stuffed parwals.

Cover and let it simmer for 10 to 15 mins. Once done ,remove from heat and serve with hot rice.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Books that Inspire - Meatball Curry

Of all the food personalities on television there"s someone I truly adore and that's Madhur Jaffrey.Her food show 'Flavors of India' would get me hooked on to the television every time..even the reruns. I recently picked up her book 'Climbing the Mango Trees' which is an enchanting  account of her childhood in India. Now as much as I loved reading the book...what truly excited me are the heirloom recipes she shares at the end of the book.Just reading those recipes would have me salivating. Nothing complicated but simple , day to day recipes that's she shares in the book. So today's post is a dish that is totally hers ( i just adjusted the proportions a bit )...and I am so glad to have tried it.


For the Koftas (meatball)

Lamb mince - 400 gms

Ginger paste - 1tsp

Garlic paste - 1tsp

Ground coriander - 1tsp

Ground cumin - 1 tsp ( roasted)

Kashmiri red chili powder - 1tsp

Salt - to taste

Egg - 1 (lightly beaten )

For the sauce:

Onion - 2 med (finely chopped)

Ginger paste - 1 tsp

Garlic paste - 1 tsp

Tomato - 2 medium pureed

Green chillies - 2 nos ( adjust acc to taste)

Ground coriander - 1tsp

Ground cumin - 1 tsp

Red chilli powder - 1tsp

Black cardamom - 1 nos

Whole cumin seeds - 1 tsp

Whole cloves - 4-5 nos

Cinnamon - a small stick

Yoghurt - 4 tbsp

Warm water - 1 cup

Salt - to taste

Sugar - a pinch ( my addition...blame the bong in me!)

Refined oil - 2-3 tbsp


For the meatballs:

Combine all the ingredients mentioned under meatballs, mix well and form into meatballs.Arrange them on a plate , cover and refrigerate for an hour.

For the sauce:

First of all blend together ginger,garlic,green chillies, ground cumin and coriander into a sauce and keep aside.

In a pan heat oil , splutter the black cardamom , cinnamon , cloves and the whole cumin seeds.

Next tip in the chopped onions and fry till golden brown in colour. Add the ginger - garlic paste and fry till the mixture gets thoroughly cooked.

Add the grated tomato and red chili powder . stir and cook on medium heat until the tomatoes are reduced to a thick dark paste and you begin to see the oil.

Turn the heat to medium and add the yoghurt , 1 tbsp at a time and blend well with the sauce.

Turn down the heat , add a cup of warm water, salt and sugar and let the gravy simmer.

Once the gravy starts to simmer , add the prepared meatballs. Cover the pan and let the koftas simmer for half and hour till completely done.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The leftover story - Paneer Chops

Chops as in the Bengali "chops"( Kind of fritters with stuffing) ! Alur chop , mangshor chop , dimer chop many kinds of chops !!!! So the easiest way for me to use up a bowl of leftover panner bhurji was to make these oh -so - delicious chops . All that you would need here is some boiled potatoes , breadcrumbs and oil . I however like my stuffing to be a little bit on the sweeter side so i just add some raisins , a bit of sugar , and chopped green chili quickly tossed in a little oil to give the leftover bhurji a new touch.

Ingredients :

For the stuffing:

Leftover paneer bhurji - 1 bowl

Potatoes - 2 large - boiled and mashed

Bread - 1 slice

Salt - to taste

Black pepper powder - to taste

Breadcrumbs - to coat the fritters

Oil  - for frying


Take the boiled potatoes and the slice of bread and mash it into a fine paste with salt and pepper.

Make medium sized balls with the mashed potatoes. Take it in your palm and spread it gently.

Add a tsp of the paneer filling. Close the side and give it a slightly elongated shape.

Something like this and then roll the chops in the breadcrumbs. This would make around 7 to 8 chops.

Once you are done shaping all the chops all that needs to be done is fry them and enjoy with loads of tomato ketchup.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Traditional fares - Dhokaar Dalna ( Chana dal cakes in a veg gravy)

I just realised the other day that there are so many things I have eaten as a kid/adult..liked it ...disliked it but never really understood the hassle that the person cooking it would have taken to present something traditionally so unique. This realisation struck me when day before yesterday a popular food group on FB put up a challenge to make something unique and traditional with chana dal! And I thought to myself that "oh that's gonna be easy peasy ...Dhokaar dalna is what I will make,,,after all I have eaten it umpteen times.." But when I actually got down to making it I realised that it definitely required expertise. Only after a few frantic phone calls to Maa I had a definite picture as to how to go about making it.


For the Dhoka ( chana dal cakes)

Chana dal - 1 cup ( soaked overnight in water)

Salt - to taste

Turmeric - 1 tsp

Refined oil - 2 tbsp

For the gravy:

Since the Navratri season is on I decided to go with the vegetarian version of the gravy.

Bay leaf - 2 nos

Ginger paste - 2 tsp

Cumin paste - 2 tsp ( cumin paste or jeera bata as we bengalis refer it to is simple cumin seeds grounded into a fine paste with a little water)

Tomatoes - 1 med chopped

Turmeric - 1 tsp

Red chili powder - 1 tsp

Sugar - 1tsp

Raisins - 10-12 nos

Garam masala - 1 tsp ( just roughly grind together 2 elaichi , a small stick of cinammon and few cloves)

Ghee - 1 tbsp - for garnish

Green chillies - for garnish

Salt - to taste


For the cakes:

Grind the soaked chana dal in a grinder with very little water.

In a non stick pan add 1 tsp refined oil, add the chana dal mixture , salt and turmeric and roast till it turns into a lump.

Take it off fire, spread it into a plate and let it cool for a while.

Once the mixture has set, cut into small cubes or diamond shape whatever is easier.

In another non stick pan , add 2 tbsp oil and fry these chana dal cakes till light brown in colour.

Once done keep them aside and prepare the gravy.

For the gravy:

In a pan heat oil , add the bay leaves . Next tip in the ginger paste, cumin paste and the tomatoes. Fry for 2-3 mins till they turn light brown.

Next add in the dry spices - turmeric, red chili powder,sugar and salt.

Fry for a while and add a little water.

Let the spices fry well by adding water a couple of times.

Add the raisins  and a cup of water and let the gravy simmer for 5 mins.

Next very gently add the chana dal cakes into the gravy. Add the garam masala, ghee and the green chillies and remove from heat.

Serve hot with rice. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Simplicity is the key - Coconut Cabbage

I have soo been missing in action.There are things that bog you down and make you feel like you have lost it ..but thankfully the sun shines through.Its the simple things in life that keeps us going or else in this mad world and mad rush to achieve things that wouldn't really matter in the long run its so easy to lose ones essence.Well...well...without getting into too much of melodrama I just want to say that cooking makes me stay sane and happy.So in keeping with the essence of simplicity I decided to make a simple side dish of cabbage with coconut and no spice at all. Its super simple to make and tastes wonderful.


Cabbage  - 1 small grated

Coconut - half a coconut grated ( one could use dessicated coconut)

Chana dal - 1tsp

Dry red chili - 2 nos

Mustard seeds - 1 tsp

Salt - to taste

Oil - 1 tsp

Method :

In a pan heat the oil, splutter the mustard seeds, red chillies and chana dal.

Once they start crackling , add the grated cabbage.

Fry for a min and add the grated coconut.

Add salt and let it cook for 5 mins.

Your super tasty dish is ready. now cooking cant get easier than this.

PS - My dear friend just came back from Sikkim and this is what she got me.Love them totally.Thank you Yang!