Sunday, July 27, 2014

Posto Murgi - Chicken with Poppy seeds

While wondering what to make for lunch yet again..I remembered that my dear friend Sarani of Cocoawind had made this beautiful chicken dish with poppy seeds - a Bengali staple. Since chicken is the go to meat for easy weekday meals I decided to go ahead with the recipe. Now which Bengali will not like posto(poppy seeds)- give me simple posto'r bora(fritters) with daal-bhaat..and I am happy. Or don't forget the amazing Jhinge Posto,I can finish a big plate of rice with just this! Coming back to the recipe, again very basic ingredients are used here and you can rustle up this dish anytime in your kitchen.


Chicken - 500 gms - cut into medium sized pieces

Onion - I medium - finely chopped

Poppy seeds paste - 2 tbsp.

Cashewnut paste - 1 tbsp.

Ginger/garlic paste - 1 tsp

Whole cardamom,cloves and cinnamon-  2 of each - lightly crushed

Bay leaves - 2 nos

Turmeric powder- 1 tsp

Red chilli powder - 1 tsp

salt - to taste

Sugar - a pinch

Green chillies - 3-4 slit

Refined oil - 2 tbsp.


In a heavy bottomed pan, add the refined oil. Splutter the lightly crushed cardamom,cloves and cinnamon and the beay leaves.

Add the ginger garlic paste and the chopped onion and fry till the onions turn brown.

Now add the chicken pieces - fry till the chicken also changes colour and turn lightly brown.

Next add the turmeric powder,chili powder, salt and sugar and give it all a good mix.

Cover and let cook for 5 mins.

Now add the poppy seeds paste and the cashewnut paste. give it a good mix and then add half a cup of warm water. Cover and cook for another 5-7 mins. Once done , remove cover and check if the chicken has cooked through. If not add some more water , cover and cook for 2 mins more.

The gravy would thicken up by now, adjust gravy consistency by adding a little warm water if reqd. Garnish with green chillies and serve with rice/roti.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Chettinad Food Festival @ The Swissotel Neotia Vista, Kolkata

This was not just another food festival..This was the Chettinad Food Festival @ The Swissotel Neotia Vista, Kolkata and I found myself salivating from the moment I received an invitation from Enakshi - the vivacious marketing manager who spoils us silly with great food everytime.However I will be honest here,not that I am some connoisseur of the cuisine but of late there were a lot of discussions on the cuisine that amped up the cravings. Chef Ashwin. S has flown down from Chennai to give us Kolkatans a taste of authentic Chettinad food. The KFB Table members were invited to sample a preview lunch and what a delicious meal it was. To top it all the weather god played perfect host and on a rainy Thursday afternoon my fellow blogger Priyadarshini and I stuffed ourselves silly.
Now for the uninitiated, this cuisine finds its roots in the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu. The Chettiar community,who are a majority of this region are a very successful trading community so that kind of explains the extensive use of meat and fish in this cuisine.It is one of the spiciest and aromatic cuisine of India,famous for its use of variety of spices. Hot and pungent dishes prepared with freshly ground masalas is what makes the robust non vegetarian dishes - that's where all the focus is! The vegetarians need not despair though. Contrary to popular belief we were also served an array of lip smacking veg dishes. After a quick chat with Chef Ashwin who told me when asked that the one uncommon spice used here is the inner bark of the cinnamon tree - we were all set for our gastronomical journey of the day! All this while an assorted platter of chutneys and crisp poppadoms were calling out to me and I couldn't wait any longer!

 I immediate thought on devouring those chutneys was if this was so yumm I could only imagine what was coming my way. We began our meal with an assortment of starters  - Aachi Varuvaj ( Deep fried cauliflower florets) Paniyarams , Kozhi Varuval (Deep fried chicken with spices0, Lamb chukkha (Spicy spring lamb). For me the lamb chukkha did it! It was out of the world - soft and tender meat coated with chettinad spices, left me craving for more. 
 The main course dishes started flowing in - we started with some Kalkari Kurma (seasonal vegetables cooked in cahewnut/coconut gravy) and Sutta Kathrika Thokku ( a traditional dish made with brinjal). the brinjal lover me couldn't help but take a second helping of it. Tangy and spicy - it went very well with Kal Dosai. And then the star dish arrived - Kotthu Paratha (parathas minced along with chicken and eggs) I could go on eating it but stopped myself. There was the quintessential Chicken Chettinad , Meen Kozhambu and Yara Manga Charu ( prawns cooked with raw mango) I missed eating iddiapams however. They have it in their special chettinad menu and I will be going back again soon for that.

By now I was stuffed up my nose! For dessert we were served Elaneer Payasam ( made with coconut milk) and Sakkari Pongal  ( Rice and jaggery). We were joined in by Mr. Marco Saxer, GM of Swissotel Kolkata Neotia Vista and Aashish ( the restarurant manager) who ensured we are looked after very well. We were also given a little packet of special chettinad masala as a parting gift that I will be using very soon. It was a gastronomical experience that I shall remember for a long long time. The festival is on till the 30th of July - so people RUSH!

The delectable fare is available only at Durbari, level 2, Swissotel from 1900 hrs to 2300 hrs ( Tue to Sunday) and 1230 hrs to1530 hrs (Friday to Sunday).

You can place reservations through email to,or by phone at +91 33 66266666


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Fifa Fever with some Mini Lamb Pops

Well..what can I tell you about the FiFa World Cup fever that you don't already know! Probably this, that my husband is a football fanatic..a die hard Argentina fan..and says he will stop watching footie if his favourite team doesn't win! My 6 year old sings  his dads much so that the father-son duo has bullied the travelling brother/uncle to get them jerseys which they plan to wear on the finals nite and cheer for their team. The energy at home on match nights is unbelievable and me who is a football novice cannot help but cheer alongwith and get tensed and bite my nails and give in to all the drama! When KFB announced their latest event Game Night left me wondering what should I make? Then a brilliant idea struck me! Keeping with my philosophy of easy recipes - I decided to give the usual lamb/mutton/keema koftas a make over.These Mini Lamb Pops - turned out to be a perfect party/game night snack with not much of prep required.


Mutton/lamb mince - 500 gms

Onion - 1 medium - roughly chopped

Garlic  - 4-5 large pods - crushed

Black pepper powder - 1 tbsp.

Cheddar cheese - 2 cubes - grated. - parmesan would taste great too.

Salt - to taste

Worcestershire sauce - 2 tbsp.

Parsley - 1 tbsp. - I used the dried ones.

Egg - 1 large - lightly beaten

Refined oil - 2 tbsp. - for frying the pops

Green olives - a hand ful for garnish


In a blender jar put the lamb mince, onion,garlic,parsley, salt,pepper powder and Worcestershire sauce and pulse the mixture into a smooth paste.

Transfer the mixture into a bowl, add the egg and the grated cheese and give it a good mix. Cover with a cling wrap and refrigerate for 15 mins.

In a non stick pan, heat the oil, shape the lamb mix into small balls and shallow fry till golden brown in colour.

Drain on a tissue and stick them up in toothpick along with some green olives. Serve with coriander-mint chutney.

For the chutney/dipping sauce - blend together a handful of chopped coriander and mint leaves, few green chillies( as per your taste), few pods of garlic, 2 tbsp. yogurt/curd and salt to taste.

  • Instead of shallow frying you could also bake the pops in the oven. Line a baking tray with foil, arrange the mince balls, brush with a little oil and bake at 180c for 20 mins.
  • Black olives or jalapenos can also be used.
  • It also tastes good when served with some mayonnaise.
Till then..Happy Cooking and as they say - May the best team win!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Potato Salami Salad - Creamy Deliciousness

I for one don't like spending too much time in the in I like recipes that can be made in a jiffy and people think that you had to slog out to make that. Most of my recipes are hassle free but tasty nonetheless. And I think that is what we all want in todays time- where people hardly have any time to do a lot of things. This Potato Salami Salad is something that I whipped up last weekend when friends came over for drinks and dinner. I served it cold and as a starter and the husband was all praises. So I made it again today to serve with the grilled chicken that I would be making for dinner tonite.  Very few basic ingredients is what you will need. Infact most of it I am sure you have at home. Can be served cold or even warm if you wish to. Just a word of caution here..this is not really a salad salad..if your looking for that healthy quotient but sinful indulgences should be allowed once in a while!


Potatoes - 2 medium - par boiled and roughly cut into cubes

Chicken Salami - 6-7 slices - roughly chopped - you could even use ham or sausages

Mayonnaise - 4 tbsps. - I used low fat!

Fresh cream - 4 tbsps. - I used Amul low fat cream!

Cheese spread - 2 tbsp.

Mustard sauce - 1 tsp

Chilli flakes - a pinch

Salt - to taste

Pepper powder - to taste

Spring onions - a few sprigs - finely chopped - use only the green part


In a bowl mix together the mayo, cream, cheese spread and mustard sauce.

Arrange the chopped potatoes and salami in a bowl , pour the cream mayo mixture. Give it a good mix. Add the salt,pepper,chilli flakes - mix well. Garnish with chopped spring onion..serve cold.


  • Don't over boil the potatoes or else the salad turns mushy.
  • Boil the potatoes in salt water - gives a better taste
  • Keep a check on the salt added as mayo and cheese spread already has salt added.
Happy Cooking!


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Mixed Berry Tea Loaf

On my last visit to the neighbourhood supermarket I got fascinated by rows of dried berries and fruits on display. I have been seeing a lot of my blogger friends settled abroad enjoying fresh berries and whipping up these amazing bakes. Staying in Kolkata I don't have such luck - fresh berries are not easily available and even if they are, not in my vicinity. There was this recipe of a tea loaf that had been lingering on my mind for a while now would be perfect to load it up with these gorgeous berries. I chose to go with some dried cranberries,cherries and also some melons and oranges.There I was all set to bake my Mixed Berry Tea Loaf.


Plain flour - 1 cup

Butter - 100 gms - at room temp - I used Amul butter

Castor Sugar - 1 cup

Eggs - 2 nos - at room temp

Vanilla essence - 1 tsp

Baking powder - 1 tsp

Dried mixed berries and fruits - 1 cup - finely chopped


Preheat oven to 165 - 170 C.

Grease and line a loaf tin.

Sieve the flour along with the baking powder and keep aside.

Roll the chopped dried fruits and berries in some flour and keep aside. This step is essential to ensure that the fruits don't sink to the bottom of the pan while baking.

In a bowl cream together the butter and sugar with a hand blender. Blend for atleast 3 to 4 mins till the mixture is light and fluffy.

At this point also add the vanilla essence. Mix well.

Add one egg at a time ,mixing well after each addition.

Fold in the flour - baking powder mix gently with a spatula. Add the chopped dried fruits and fold that in too. Keep some aside to garnish on top of the batter.

Pour the batter into the greased tin and bake at 165 -170C for 25- 30 mins or till a knife comes out clean when inserted into the cake. Pls keep a check as different ovens behave differently.

Happy Baking everyone..its not as difficult as it looks. It only requires some patience and precision!

Maasor Tenga - a light and sour fish curry - Assamese soul food

Another very quick and short post. Sharing this recipe has been long due. Maasor Tenga is a very light, flavourful sour fish curry - an integral dish of Assamese cuisine. In assam they love their fish - all kinds of fresh water fish - big - small all kinds. And they also like to keep the dishes simple - minimal use of spices so that the freshness of the fish shines through. I still have a very limited knowledge of Assamese cuisine but I am well versed with a few dishes - like this one. You will be surprised when you see the list of ingredients used. Again , this dish is made differently in different household but the basic essence of the dish remains the same - its simplicity! You may use any kind of fresh water fish - best would be to use rohu /katla or aar fish. The most popular tenga is made with tomatoes with the addition of lime juice and traditionally thekera (dried mangosteen ) is also used.

I have used aar maach ( sperata aor ) here but rohu or katla can be used easily. I also added some potatoes coz I love my potatoes in the fish curry.Infact I would not eat the fish at times but would devour the potato and the broth with rice.


Aar/Rohu/Katla fish - 6 big pieces - lightly marinated with turmeric and salt and shallowed fried in mustard oil.

Tomatoes - 3 large - cut into thin long slices

Ginger - 1 tsp - grated

Potato - 1 large - cut into long slices(optional)

Fenugreek/methi seeds - 1 tsp

Turmeric/haldi powder - 1 heaped tsp

Red chilli powder - 1tsp (Optional)- I used it as I like the curry to a but hot

Fresh coriander leaves - a handful - finely chopped

Lime juice - 2 tbsp. - can be adjusted accordingly

Green chillies - 5-6 according to taste

Warm water - 2 big cups

Mustard oil - 1 tsp

Salt - to taste


In a deep bottomed pan/kadhai  heat the mustard oil. Splutter the fenugreek/methi seeds.

Next add the sliced tomatoes and the potatoes( if using). Fry till they turn light brown and the tomoatoes turn mushy.

Add the grated ginger,turmeri/haldi,red chilli powder(if using)  and mix everything well.

Add the two cups of water ( a little more if you want more broth) cover and let it cook till the potatoes are cooked.

Lastly add the pieces of the shallow fried fish , chopped coriander leaves,green chillies and the lime juice.

Let it simmer for 2-3 mins.Remove from heat and serve hot with plain rice.

You are going to love this. This is perfect for the summers!


Lau Bori (Bottle Gourd with Lentil Dumplings) - A Bengali staple

I am going to keep this post short and sweet because I just want to share this easy beautiful recipe with all my readers. Now Lau or Lauki or Bottle gourd whatever you call it is a very simple vegetable with not much complications in its texture or taste so it adapts very well when added to another ingredients - be it moong dal ( Lau moong) , shrimps (Lau Chingri) or in this case lentil dumplings - bori as we Bengalis call it. In Assamese cuisine we would even put it in our simple sour fish curry - Masor Tenga. I love this vegetable in all its forms and try out different dishes in my kitchen every now and then. It hardly needs too many spices,just a few basic ones and your are good to go..err eat I mean.Its a perfect summer vegetable because of its high water content and cooks in its own juices. Find the Lau Bori recipe below.


Lau /Lauki /Bottle gourd - 1 medium sized - finely chopped

Lentil dumplings/Bori - a handful - I used the mini masoor dal ones but any variety can be used.

Paanchphoron - 1 tsp

Ginger - 1 tsp - grated

Turmeric powder - 1 tsp

Salt - to taste

Sugar - 1 tsp

Oil - 1 tsp + ! tbsp. for frying the dumplings/bori

Green chillies - a few

Ghee - 1 tsp


In a pan add the 1 tbsp oil, once the oil heats up, add the bori and fry on medium flame till they turn golden brown in colour. Remove from pan and reserve for later use.

In tha same pan add 1 tsp oil , splutter the paanchphoron till it releases a mild aroma.

Add the finely chopped gourd/lau and the ginger. Give it a mix, cook for 2 mins.

Add the turmeric powder. Cover and let it cook on low flame for 10 mins till all the water is released and the gourd is cooked in its own juices.

Once all the water dries up , add the salt,sugar,green chillies and the dumplings/bori. Cover and let it cook for another 5 mins.

* One tip I learnt from my Maa is that..always add the salt and sugar at the end or else the gourd would take a longer time to cook and get a bland taste.

Remove from heat , pour the ghee on top and serve hot with rice. Goes well with rotis too.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My date with an ace baker - Pooja Dhingra and some Choco Squares from her book "The Big Book of Treats"

Le 15 Patisserie...Pooja Dhingra...rings a bell!?! Yes she is one of the country's top baker and is surely going places. It is not everyday that you get a chance to meet and then blog about such unique experiences. Well the thing is that I have been following her on Instagram for sometime now and have been mighty impressed with the things shes been doing - be it her take on classic desserts or some mind blowing innovations! I mean who would think of Macaron Cheese cakes!!! Yes that's Pooja Dhingra for you. It is her passion for baking that shines through. Armed with a degree from worlds best culinary school ,The LCB , Paris, shes an achiever with great entrepreneurial skills. Being listed in the Forbes Under 30 Entreprenuer list is no joke.

A chance call from a fellow blogger and I found myself being a part of the launch of her popular book "The Big Book of Treats" in Kolkata. The venue chosen was perfect- The Corner Courtyard. Beautiful property that serves up some great food. My fellow bloggers have had some amazing gastronomical experiences there. Read about it here and here.
I reached the venue and was ushered into a packed hall full with baking enthusiasts from all over the city. I took my seat along with Amrita and Sayantani and waited for Pooja to start the private class. And there she was smiling all along and I thought to myself such a pleasing personality - soft spoken,so calm and down to earth. She taught the class 3 basic recipes of cupcakes,cookies and nutella squares but what is worth mentioning are the invaluable tips she provided along with. My regular readers know that I dread baking, its a culinary zone I push myself hard into so getting these tips from the master baker herself was so enlightening.
Pic taken from Amrita Gill
She was open to questions and queries and very happily posed for pictures and signed her book. I too got my copy signed by her ( my first signed book) and posed along with her. I came back home all charged up to try recipes from her book. The folks at The Corner Courtyard made sure that the guests are well taken care of with yummies doing the rounds every now and then. We also had the privilege of tasting the goodies she baked that evening - Vanilla cupcakes with frosting , Choco chip cookies and Nutella squares.

Pic taken from Amrita Gill

Pic taken from Amrita Gill
Once I got back home I was all set to try out a recipe from her book so I chose to bake some Nutella squares but with some changes. I followed the basic squares recipe and instead of Nutella used some chocolate sauce for the topping. They turned out super and I am now getting the confidence to try out a few more recipes.

Recipe from The Big Book of Treats


Dark Chocolate - 75 gms

Butter - 125 gms

Brown Sugar - 50 gms

Flour - 100 gms

Oats - 75 gms

Hersheys chocolate syrup - 1 cup

Sprinkles - for garnish


In a microwave melt the dark chocolate and butter and leave it to cool.

Add the brown sugar and whisk till combined properly.

Fold in the flour with a spatulaand then add the oats and mix.

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease an 8 inch tin. Pour the mix.

Bake for 15 -20 mins.

Once cool, spread the chocolate syrup evenly on top, decorate with sprinkles or nuts(in the original recipe).

Before I end the post, I must share with you all some basic baking tips that I picked up for Pooja Dhingra.

  • Always add flavours while creaming the butter as it absorbs better that ways.
  • Spend atleast 3-5 mins on creaming as it helps the cake to rise.
  • Scraping down the bowl every now and then is important
  • Sifting the flour is an important step, so is dry whisking.
  • Use piping bag to fill cupcake liners evenly
  • And above all never be afraid to experiment and create your unique flavours and combinations!
Happy baking till then!