Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Flavours of Rajasthan - Aloo Mangodi Sabzi

Today I am talking about Rajasthan. When we think of Rajasthan we think of its colours , its vibrancy and its spicy awesome food. I have had the privilege of visiting Jaipur a couple of times and it is a food lovers paradise. If you love  spunk in your food you will love their cuisine. Think of all the tummy chaats,papdis,kachauris,parathas, and the famous bikaneri bhujiya. I love dunking some tomato ketchup in my bowl of bhujia - try it sometimes its heavenly! Traditionally its mostly vegetarian cuisine with dishes like gatte ki sabzi,dal-baati-churma,ker-sangri ki sabzi and all that but there's a certain section of Rajasthanis who love their meat. I mean we all know of the legendary 'Laal Maans' - mutton cooked in a fiery red chili gravy.It also has a version made with curd 'Safed Maans'.But today's recipe doesn't involve any meat...I have decided to share a very everyday dish of their cuisine , something that we all can rustle up in our kitchens, with ingredients easily available. Aloo Mangodi Sabzi simply put is a  side dish made with moong dal fritters.


Potatoes - 2 medium (parboiled and cut into cubes)

Moong Dal ( split green gram) - 1 cup (soaked in water for 1 hour)

Saunf(fennel seeds) - 1 tsp

Amchur powder(dry mango powder) - 2 tbsp

Crushed pepper corns - 1 tsp

Red chilli powder - 1tsp + 1 tsp

Besan(chick pea flour) - 4 tbsp

Dried red chillies - 8-10 nos ( adjust according to your taste)

Hing(asafoetida) - a pinch

Oil - 1 tbsp + some for frying the mangodis

Jeera seeds(cumin) - 1 tsp

Ginger paste - 1 tsp

Coriander powder - 1tsp

Turmeric powder - 1 tsp 


Our first task is to prepare the mangodis - moong dal fritters. For that strain the moong dal and transfer into a mixer jar. Add saunf,crushed pepper,1 tsp red chilli powder and salt and grind it into a paste.
Transfer the mix into a bowl , add the besan and mix well.
Add some refined oil in a nonstick pan. Once the oil heats up , drop little dumplings of the moong dal batter into the hot oil. Make little fritters in batches and drain into a kitchen towel.
Keep the mangodis aside. Now lets prepare the base of the dish.
In a pan heat 1 tbsp oil and splutter the red chillies,hing,jeera seeds
and fry a little. Add the potatoes and cook for 6-8 mins.
Next add the ginger paste and saute for another 2 mins.Lower the heat and add coriander powder,turmeric,amchur,1 tsp red chilli powder and salt. Mix well. If required add a few tbsps of water and cook the masala well.
Lastly add the mangodis and serve hot with dal and rice.

Variations:For the health conscious instead of frying the fritters one could make it in the oven too. Just line a baking tin with some parchment paper , line the moong dal batter in little roundels and bake in the oven till light brown in colour.

This recipe has been featured on Arvind's Kitchen on 94.3 Radio One #Kolkatas only 100% Retro Station.
Tune into Arvind's Kitchen every Wednesdays and Fridays between 3 -4 pm to listen to members of Kolkata Food Bloggers share their food stories!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Awesomeness in a jiffy- Chocolate Banana Cake

I am on a baking roll these days. Trying to so something new everyday. I had not intended to blog about this recipe but it would be gross injustice not to share such an awesome recipe with everyone. Its quick and easy and super-super tasty. Don't wanna brag about it but seriously it's one of the tastiest cake I've baked in a long long time. Again simple ingredients and the result is mind blowing. That's why I guess they say its the best when you keep it simple. We have all baked a banana cake/bread in some point i  time of our lives.What else would you do with those over ripe mushy bananas. Add a twist and make a Chocolate Banana Cake this time around.


Plain flour - 1 cup

Cocoa powder - half cup

Egg - 1 lightly beaten

Ripe banana - 1 nos

Sugar - 3/4 cup

Melted butter - 1/3 cup

Vanilla essence - 1 tsp

Baking soda - 1 tsp


In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients and keep aside.

In another bowl, mix together the mashed ripe banana and the melted butter.
Add the egg and sugar and whisk well till pale in colour.
Add in the vanilla essence.
Next add the flour mixture and fold it well into the wet mix.

Preheat oven to 180 deg C. Pour the mixture into a greased loaf tin and bake for 50 mins.

Enjoy the awesomeness.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Sweet Nothings Part Deux - Vanilla Tarts with Chocolate Raspberry Ganache

Exactly a year ago I had started writing this blog.Then, what I didn't know is this will become  so dear to me. This blog 'My Food My Life' has kind of become my identity. I am constantly craving to do more, to do something better.When I first started posting I didn't even have a camera to click food pics but now that is another sphere I am getting to learn. Making a dish from scratch , styling , photographing - everything is so exhilarating. And I am loving every bit of bit. I have made friends...I have come to know people...learn from them...teach them a few things..and its only getting better. 
Today's recipe is again my foray into  'not-so-confident' domain...baking...dessert...pastry making. But no harm in trying ( except of course the waste of ingredients!) What the heck,the least I can do is try. So the other day I was out again on one of my loitering trips to the supermarket. Lost in my thoughts, not an iota of idea on what I have to buy ,gazing through racks and racks of things - jams, sauces , pastas, lentils , rice , spices. It was then I chanced upon a tin of raspberries..and immediately I started thinking of the various desserts I could  make!!!! Without any further deliberation I just picked it up. On reaching home I started looking up for recipes and the best seemed to make a raspberry tart - oh- so-delicious.  All my high hopes were shattered once I opened the tin - what came out was a mound of squished raspberries in a very tangy syrup.So there my dreams of making a raspberry tart flew out of the window. But thou isn't one to give up so easily. I thought of making something easier and using up the raspberries nevertheless. So here's presenting the very delicious Vanilla Tarts with Chocolate Raspberry Ganache


For the pastry:

Plain Flour - 200 gms

Butter - 80 gms at room temperature

Castor sugar - 50 gms ( you can use powdered sugar too)

Egg - 1 no lightly whisked

Vanilla extract - 1 tsp

Since I used Amul butter no need for extra salt

Other ingredients:

Vanilla custard - 2 cups ( made according to the instructions given on the pack)

Dark chocolate - 100 gms

Cream - 100 gms ( I used Amul cream)

Raspberry - 2-3 tbsp ( can substitute with any jam of your choice)


First we have to make the pastry. That is in fact the only cooking part rest is just assembling!

In a bowl cream the butter and sugar till pale in colour. Add the egg and whisk well.
Now gradually add the flour and bind into a soft dough. If the dough feels sticky you can add a little more flour. Cover the dough with a cling film and refrigerate for 30 mins.

After 30 mins , roll the dough on a lightly floured surface to cover the pastry tins.I used small tins .You could use small muffin cups too. 

Once the pastry/tart tins are covered with the rolled pastry dough just make small pricks all over so as to prevent the tarts from rising while we bake.Refrigerate the ready tart tins for another 10 mins.
Next preheat the oven to 180 deg C and bake the tarts for 15-20 mins. Till they turn light brown in colour.

Once the tart shells cool down , fill in with the prepared custard and chill in the fridge for 30 mins.

Now we have to prepare the ganache. Melt the chocolate on a double boiler or the microwave . Mix in the cream and raspberries and mix everything gently into a smooth sauce.

Fill a piping bag with the ganache and chill it for 30 mins. Take the custard filled tarts and make a design of your choice with the ganache. Top with a cherry or raspberryry and serve.

Variations - If you get fresh raspberries or strawberries you could avoid the chocolate ganache and top the custard with some of the fruits.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

My Favourite Recipe - Dhakai Kacchi Biryani

Today's post is going to be a long one. Primarily two reasons for that..one - I can't tell you enough about my love for this biryani and two - this is a long recipe. It took me a while to actually get down to sharing this very authentic,traditional mutton biryani recipe with you (should have done it long back) because once you have tasted this one you will keep going back for the same.
There are very fond memories attached to this dish.Maa cooks this so very well..can say this is one of her signature dishes...no one can make it like her ( yes I am biased when it comes to her cooking) On all special occasions (and not so special ones) my request to her would always be to make this Kacchi Biryani. Be it on my birthday or even the day I was coming back from the hostel she knew that this is what I would want to eat.And she would make it for me.It is indeed one of the most easy and authentic dhakai biryani recipe that you can find. I confidently say authentic coz this was taught to her by one of our Bangladeshi neighbour "Laskar aunty as I would fondly call her" long long ago. In fact Laskar aunty had even given her a cookbook from Dhaka which is a prized possession of Maa's . It is a bengali cook book and has the most extensive - exhaustive list of recipes - from cakes to puddings to pulaos to roast to biryanis to jams to pickles - it has it all. One day I hope Maa will give me that book!
Year before last I  visited my family who were posted in Dhaka and I had a lot of biryani there - even the famous Fakruddin biryani and  realised that the recipe passed down to us by our neighbour was as real as it could get and that made me so happy.
Okay now so coming back to the Biryani - this is an easy recipe no doubt but one has to prep up a bit and that is what is important here. I will be noting down a step by step recipe of it below  and I sincerely hope that you all will like it as much as I do.

I am going to break down the recipe into different steps so that its easy for you to follow.
Firstly lets note down the ingredients required.


For the biryani masala:

Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp

Cumin seeds - 1 tbsp

Dry red chillies - 5-6 nos ( adjust according to taste)

Nutmeg ( Jaiphal) - half a piece 

Mace (Javitri) - 2 pieces

Green Cardamom - 3-4 nos

Cinnamon - 2 small sticks

Cloves - 5-6 nos

Other ingredients required:

Basmati Rice - 2 cups

Mutton - half kg ( good quality  and fresh. Can use boneless cubes too )

Brown onion slices - 4 tbsp + 1 tbsp ( for this just slice up two big onions  and fry till golden brown in refined oil or ghee) Also ensure that you keep the leftover oil or ghee.

Yogurt - 1 cup

Garlic paste - 1tbsp

Ginger paste - 1 tbsp

Potatoes - 2 medium sized ( parboiled and fried till light brown in colour)

Kewra essence (screwpine) - 1 tsp

Salt - for marinating the mutton and while boiling the rice.

Atta dough - a small ball of dough made of wheat required for sealing the handi/pan in which the biryani will be cooked.



Dry roast all the ingredients listed under 'Biryani Masala' and grind into a fine powder.
Please be careful not to burn the spices. This 'is 'the most important ingredients of the biryani.


Wash and clean the mutton. Marinate with 2 tbsp salt and keep aside for half an hour.

After half and hour wash the mutton once more and keep.

Now add the yogurt , ginger paste, garlic paste , 4 tbsp brown onion slices and the biryani masala. Mix it very well and gently too.
Cover this mixture with a cling film and let it marinate overnight.


Take 2 cups of good quality basmati rice. Wash it under running water , drain and keep aside.
In a big saucepan add water. Once the water starts to boil add 2 tbsp salt and few whole cardamom , cloves and cinnamon.
Next add the rice and let it boil till the rice is almost half done.
Strain the rice and spread it out on a flat surface.


Now is probably the easiest part and the last step' assembling' before you can devour this sinful biryani.

Take a handi or a saucepan (make sure it has a proper lid) and brush it with a little ghee.
We will make the first layer with rice and then the mutton.

First rice,then the marinated mutton and fried potatoes , then rice and then mutton again. Finally top it up with the remaining rice. Sprinkle the remaining brown onion slices and the kewra essence on top. Close the lid tightly of the handi and seal it with the dough.

Now the final task is to put this on dum or slow cooking as we say. For the mutton to be fully cooked this has to be put on heat for at least an hour. So to prevent it from burning I always put the handi on a tawa/skillet and not directly.Something like this.

Now forget about it for an hour and then when you break open that seal - simply divine!!

Serve with the usual raita or the very traditional Burhani - the Bangladeshi cousin of our Punjabi lassi!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tried and Tested - Badshahi Chicken

Don't go by the name guys! It is one hell of an easy dish to make and absolutely restaurant style. Some boneless chicken and  almonds is all you need to make this yummy tasty curry.
Of late i have been experimenting quite a bit with all kinds of cooking and this recipe is a result of that. Cooking shouldn't make u feel tired and restless rather it is something that should calm you done.As a dear friend who came over for dinner the other day told me  "Cooking is an art too".Sure it is but only when you start enjoying it and not look at it as a chore!
Okay now coming back to the recipe it is ok to use chicken on the bone if you cant find boneless chicken.And don't get stingy on the almonds bits! You could use cashews too.


Boneless chicken - 400 gms

Onions - 2 medium sized ( boiled and made into a paste)

Almond paste/cashew paste - 5 tbsp ( soak almost 3/4th cup nuts for this)

Ginger /Garlic paste - 1tsp each

Whole garam masala - 2 cardamom , 2 cloves and 2 small sticks of

Kashmiri red chilli powder - 1 tsp + 1 tsp

Salt - to taste

Sugar - a pinch 

Warm water - 1 cup

Boiled egg - 1 no ( for garnish)

Refined oil - 1 tbsp 

Ghee - 1 tsp


Clean the chicken and cut into bite sized pieces. Marinate with 1 tsp red chilli powder,ginger/garlic paste and some salt. Keep aside for 10-15 mins.

In a non stick pan add 1 tsp oil, once the oil heats up ad the marinated chicken pieces and fry till light golden in colour.Keep aside.

In the same pan , splutter the whole garam masala. Next add in the boiled onion paste and fry for 5-6 mins. The onion mix will remain white in colour..we are not looking at browning the paste.After that tip in the cashew paste , 1 tsp red chilli powder , salt and sugar.
Fry this mix well for the next 5 mins and then add the warm water.

Once the gravy comes to a boil add the fried chicken pieces.

Cover and let it simmer for 7-10 mins. Garnish with sliced boiled eggs and serve hot.

I served it with some hot peas pulao and green salad.Easy and tried and tested recipe...will not fail you..I say!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Easy Breakfast Dish - Seviyan Upma

A lot of my readers tell me that the one thing they like about my recipes is that they are very easy and simple to make. Well the whole idea of this blog is to share recipes that don't require elaborate prep and cooking...recipes that are tasty to eat but equally easy to cook. So in keeping with that spirit is today's recipe - Seviyan Upma. I for one am not too fond of the traditional gooey suji upma hence end up making this version often for breakfast. The possibility to experiment with this dish is endless - I usually make it simple with peanuts and raisins.....but one could add grated veggies...coconut or even soya chunks!
There is something about south Indian dishes - especially breakfast dishes.They are so full of nutrition and taste. Dosas and idlis and utthapams are my all time favourite breakfast dishes. There are days when a hot plate of idli dipped in spicy sambar makes my day..sigh! So while I try and get my hands on some idlis (the weather today is just perfect for that) you go and try making this for yourself.


Seviyan - 1 cup ( boiled and drained)

Chopped onions - 1 small onion

Chopped green chillies - as per your taste

Peanuts - a handful

Raisins - a handful

Salt - to taste

For tempering:

Oil - 1 tsp

Mustard seeds - 1 tsp

Curry leaves - 1 sprig


In a non-stick pan add the oil. Splutter the mustard seeds and curry leaves.

Next tip in the chopped onions and green chillies.

Fry till light brown in color. Add the peanuts and raisins ( also grated veggies if using)

Fry the peanuts and raisins for 2 mins till they get a nice brown colour.

Add the boiled seviyan and mix well into the spice mix. Fry for 3-5 mins.

Garnish with curry leaves and serve.

Post script - Did I tell you guys that the first plant I had sowed in my garden when I moved to my new home was Curry leaves and after 3 years I have a big green curry leaves tree!Take a look.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

My 50th post with some Mutton Shaami Kebabs

Its been quite a blogging journey for me. What started out as an attempt to record and share recipes is now slowly turning into something a more professional and structured and it makes me so proud when people tell me how they love my recipes , how they are so easy to make and more so when they actually cook my recipes. My endeavour has been to share with my readers recipes that are very dear to me, those I have learnt from my family and those which I find easy to make. My family needless to say is my biggest inspiration and it is them who push me to do better with my life. So even after a long hard day what drives me to get into the kitchen and whip up yummies for them is this motivation. Till before this post I didn't even realise that this was going to be the 50th post of the blog!!!!!
Anyways now coming back to the post, today I am sharing with you my favourite mutton shaami kebab recipe. Have been wanting to post this recipe for long now but somehow it never happened.Ideally I should have made something sweet to celebrate my 50th post but nevertheless this recipe is as royal if not more. Very few ingredients required here but they are simply the melt-in-your mouth kinds.


Mutton mince - 500 gms

Chana dal - 1 cup ( washed and soaked in water for half an hour)

Garlic - 3-4 pods

Salt - to taste

Warm Water- 1 cup

Egg - 1 no

Oil - for shallow frying

For the spice mix:

Coriander seeds - 2 tbsp.

Cumin seeds - 2 tbsp.

Dry red chillies - 4-5 whole (depending on your spice levels)

Peppercorns - 1 tbsp.

Mace - few strands

Nutmeg - 1 whole

Elaichi - 1 tsp

Cinnamon - 1 small piece

Cloves - 1 tsp

Dry roast lightly all the above ingredients and grind into a powder. This can be stored for further use also.


In a pan add the mutton mince,chana dal , whole cloves ,salt and 5 tbsp. of the spice mix.
Add the cup of water , cover the pan and let the mixture simmer till all the water has evaporated.

Remove from heat and let the mixture cool down. Once done grind the mix into a fine paste.

Add the egg and mix well.

Make into flat pate and let it rest in the refrigerator for 15 mins.

Heat oil in a shallow pan and fry the kebabs.

Serve with parathas and  interesting dips. I served them with easy dips - mint-coriander and hung curd. Another good option is a pineapple relish.