Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mutton ChaaNp - Our Eid Special

There are some dishes that will linger in your taste buds long after you have eaten them. One such dish for me is the Mutton Chaa(n)p that they make in Shiraz and Aminia here in Kolkata. The flavours are subtle,the lush gravy that coats the lamb ribs with that taste of kewra and meetha attar that you mop up with fluffy tandoori rotis ,makes you crave for for. This Eid I had decided that I would try to recreate this dish in my kitchen.  I was not sure if the flavours would turn out right as I was following a very easy recipe. The key was to marinate the lamb for as long as possible for it to soak up the flavours from the garam masala, kewra and rose water. My local meat man was very sweet to first show me a sample of how he makes the 'chaaNps' before I could decide if I want it or not.He asked me if it was going to be Eid special and gave me that big grin when I said yes!
So there I set out to make my first ever Mutton ChaaNp (Lamb ribs in a silky nutty gravy with fat oozing out from all sides) - chaap pronounced with that little nasal twang! Kindly excuse the not so great pictures here as I was a task for me to set the night time mode right on my camera and that dish waiting to be devoured was making it worse.

BTW I was having this little chat with one of my uncles who is a great cook himself and rustles up amazing dishes in his kitchen. He told me that a Chaap recipe would have poppy seeds and cashewnut paste in it but somehow I had made up my kind that I wont use any and just let the yogurt, onion paste and the kewra essence do up its magic. And I am happy to say that it turned out exactly the way I had imagined the flavours to be. So now you note the recipe, you will be surprised how easy it can be.


Mutton ribs/chaanp - 500 gms - approx. 6-8 pieces

Yoghurt - 200 gms

Onion - 1 large - made into a fine paste

Ginger paste - 1 tbsp.

Garlic paste - 1 tbsp.

Mace and nutmeg paste - 1 tbsp.

Garam masala powder - 1 tbsp. ( cardamom,cloves and cinnamon grounded into a paste)

Red chilli powder - 1 tsp

Salt - to taste

Lemon juice - 2 tbsp

Kewra essence - 1 heaped tbsp

Rose water - 1 tsp

Ghee - 4 tbsp


Wash , clean and dry the mutton chaanps/ribs. Marinate with some salt and lemon juice and keep aside for half an hour.

By this time the mutton will release the excess water, drain that and keep aside.

In a big bowl, mix together the yoghurt,onion paste,ginger-garlic paste,red chilli powder, mace-nutmeg paste,garam masala powder, kewra and rose essence and some salt. Give it a good whisk.

Now add the mutton pieces into this marinade and let it marinate for atleast 6-7 hrs or even better if left over night.

In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the ghee. Dunk in the mutton pieces with just the marinade coating it into the pan. Cover and let it simmer for 25 to 30 mins. By now the mutton would have cooked tender and soft and slightlt coated with the yoghurt gravy.

Remove and keep aside. Now add the remaining marinade into the same pan, add a little ghee if reqd and let the gravy simmer till done. Oil oozing out from the sides of the pan.

Pour the gravy on top the mutton pieces.Garnish with some onion rings.Serve it with home made tandoori rotis and some green salad.

Recipe for Tandoori Rotis :


Wheat flour/atta - 2 cups

Baking soda - 1 tsp

Baking powder - 1 tsp

Salt  - 1 tsp

Yoghurt/curd/Dahi - one cup

Milk - enough to bind the dough.


Mix together all the ingredients into a soft dough. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and keep aside for 2 hrs.

Make small balls of the dough and roll in out into thick rotis.

Heat a heavy bottomed flat pan/tawa. Put the rolled dough in it and cover with a lid. Keep the flame on high. In 2-3 mins remove the cover you will find bubbles being formed on top of the rotis. Now dunk the roti into direct flame..same way you make your regular rotis till done. Slather with ghee and serve with the mutton chaanps. Heaven I tell u!!

  • I used only ghee but you can use half ghee half refined oil.
  • Make sure the mutton is marinated for longest possible time as it brings out the best flavours then.
  • You could also marinate the mutton with some raw papaya paste as that works as a meat tenderiser. I didn't and still the mutton cooked beautifully.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Calzones - For those days when you really want to be happy!

After eons today I baked bread! It is so therapeutic cant express in words. And when the fresh aroma of bread fills your home you will be so happy. I made Calzones. Stuffed with a spicy cheesy filling. I used my basic buns recipe and it turned out great. Made a filling of whatever I could lay my hands on - some home made paneer, some grated cheddar and mozzarella tossed in some ready to use pizza sauce..voila! It turned out a winner at my very first attempt.


For the bread dough:

Plain flour - 2 cups + a little for dusting

Warm milk - 1 cup

Fast action dried yeast/Instant yeast - 2 tsp

Salt - 1 tsp

Sugar - 1 tsp

Olive oil - 2 tbsp.


In a bowl put the flour,yeast and the sugar. Make a well and add the warm milk - as much required to make a soft pliable dough. Add the salt and the olive oil and knead well on a lightly dusted surface for atleast 10 mins.

The dough should be soft and springy to touch. Put it in a greased bowl and leave it in a warm place to rest for an hour.I usually stuff it inside my microwave. The dough will double in size by now.

In the mean while make the filling. Recipe listed below.

Take the dough out on a lightly floured surface again and knock it down gently. Put it back into the greased bowl and let it rest again for 20 mins.

For the filling:

Grated paneer - 1 cup

Grated cheddar - 1/2 cup

Grated mozzarella - 1/2 cup

Onion - 1 medium - finely chopped

Parsely leaves - a handful - finely chopped

Pizza sauce - 2 tbsp. - I used the ready made one. You could even use some tomato ketchup.

Olive oil - 1 tsp

Salt -to taste

Pepper - to taste


In a non stick pan heat the olive oil. Lightly sauté the onions. Add the grated paneer and the pizza sace and mix well. Add the chopped parsley and the grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and keep aside.

Now to make the calzones. Make little balls of the dough and roll it out flat. Like we roll out pooris/luchis but not very thin.

Take a spoonful of the filling and lay in in the centre. Fold into a half moon.

With a fork , neatly press the edges to make a design. Make sure its properly pressed or else the filling will pop out while baking. Similarly make the rest of the calzones. It makes about 8. Brush the calzone with a mix of little milk and butter.

Lay them neatly on a baking tray lined with aluminium foil. Bake in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees for 20 mins. Brush them again after 10 mins of baking with the milk -butter mixture to get that lovely colour on top.

Take them off the oven once done. Let it cool a bit before serving.

  • Make sure you knead the dough well atleast for 10 mins. This will result in softer bread.
  • You can use any filling. Chicken or mushroom or some vegetables sautéed together. Just about anything would do.
  • Don't forget to brush the calzones with the milk butter mixture while baking to get that beautiful colour.
  • Press the edges of the calzones well or else the filling oozes out.
Happy Baking my friends!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Swiss Food Festival @ Swissotel Kolkata Neotia Vista

Yet again I found myself soaking up on Swiss hospitality, this time for the mega Swiss Food Festival to commemorate the Swiss National Day celebrated on 1st August. Swiss food is new to me and obviously there is so much more it it than just chocolate and cheese! The ever smiling Mr. Saxer (GM Swissotel Kolkata) and the vivacious Enakshi was there to usher us into the celebrations. I settled in with a glass of sparkling wine all ready to unwind after a particular tiring day. There were some traditional Swiss games being played by the guests which added to the fun ambience of the evening. The lavish dinner spread  at Café Swiss was thrown open to the guests after a brief ribbon cutting ceremony by Mr. Saxer and team.

 A walk around the buffet spread, and I realised that Swiss Cuisine is so multifaceted. There was everything possible from salads to breads to cheese to meats and even an array of vegetaruian dishes! I was a little low on my appetite that night and was more interested to get a taste of the vegetarian fare. I started with some salads. Options were many - Carrot and Raisin, Swiss potato salad, Green apple and Walnut along with some Swiss cheese salad.Even their regular salad bar was well stocked up. It was possible to stuff up oneself only on the salads and be happy!


There was Roesti that I quite liked - soft potato patty loaded with cheese and Capuns - stuufed cabbage rolls served in a tomato gravy that I enjoyed with Spatzle  - a traditional Swiss pasta that resembled our desi Anda bhurji! The Surri Gummeli - potatoes served with sour cream also deserves a special mention.
Capuns and Surri Gummeli
I was eyeing the dessert bar by now so didn't eat much of the non veg fare which my friends tell me is a winner! I only helped myself to some Chicken Cordon Bleu- crumb coated balls of chicken stuffed with ham and cheese. There were also Grilled Jumbo Prawns - with chilli flakes and olive oil cooked tender and juicy. I also spotted some unsual dishes like the Alpine Rabbit Stew that my friends vouched for.  Surre Mocke - roasted meat served in a sour sauce and the Salmon in sparkling wine and cream. Also the Rippli - pork tenderloin with green beans.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

As usual,by now I was stuffed uptil my neck and couldn't move even upto the dessert bar. But the greedy me cant give up on sweets so I asked A to get a plate as well! The dessert  bar was loaded with goodies. There was Chef Abhiroop Biswas from the Barry Callebaut Institute - the chocolate conoisseurs to give us a brief of the dessert he created that evening.The Raspberry Mousse pie stood out with a cumin scented shortcrust biscuit. Swiss Museli Quark Torte, Baba Au Rum, Mini Carrot Cupcakes, Engadin Nut cake and Apple Fritters with Vanilla icecream - everything was so yummy.
Pic Courtesy - Sayantani
The thing with Swissotel hospitality is that they spoil you with choices and options and let you enjoy your meal at your own pace. It was a super fun evening spent with my fellow KFBians over some yummy food and gossip. You can read about their experiences here Sayantani , Amrita and Antara

The Swiss Food Festival is on till the 7th Aug at the Café Swiss for Dinner Buffet and priced at  INR 1600 +

Go for it if you like to explore new will not be disappointed. Trust me!