Friday, July 24, 2015

Doi ilish...

The sun hiding behind the clouds, thunderstorms, the aroma of rain drenched earth and the pitter patter of raindrops on the window...Monsoon, the relief from the scorching heat of summer is a much awaited season in India. Monsoon is extremely important to people of this subcontinent, it irrigates and sustains the crops, it nourishes the greens around us, fills up the water bodies.

To be very honest, sometimes I do not enjoy rain much. I complain about the puddles of water on the road during daily commute, I get irritated with water logged streets and overdose of rain, but monsoon has it's own charm. And being a foodie I relate everything to food, and Monsoon is no exception. The cooling rain and a lazy afternoon with some crispy pakoras and a cup of hot tea is nothing but bliss.  

The reason I can overlook all the negative sides of this season is a fish, the Hilsa, the fish no Bengali can resist. Hilsa and monsoon are synonymous to me. As mangoes are to summer, hilsa are to monsoon. The silver shiny fish is the king of all. Taste, texture, flavor nothing compares to it. So for this monsoon special event I made a very simple but traditional hilsa recipe, doi ilish,  i.e. hilsa cooked in a yogurt and mustard gravy.

The ingredients are very simple and easily available. Fresher the fish, tastier will be the dish. The recipe calls for black mustard paste. To make black mustard paste, soak the mustard seeds for at least an hour in water and grind with a pinch of salt and green chilies.

Things needed to make Doi Ilish:

  • Hilsa fish cut into steaks: 4-6
  • Yogurt: 100 gm
  • Black mustard paste: 1/4 cup
  • Green chilies: 4-5
  • Kalojire/ onion seed: 1/4 tsp
  • Turmeric powder: 1/4 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Mustard oil to cook

Steps of making Doi Ilish:

1. Beat the yogurt with a little water and keep aside.

2. Smear the fish pieces with salt and turmeric powder, let it rest for 15-20 min.

3. In a kadhai or Indian wok, heat mustard oil (3 tablespoon), when the oil is hot, fry the fish for 1 min on each side. Take out from pan and keep aside. Do not overcook,

4. In the same oil add kalojire (onion seed/kalonji), green chilies, as it splatters add the yogurt. Cook over low heat for 4-5 min. Add the mustard paste and the fish pieces, add salt. Cover and cook for 10 min.

This post will be part of the the Monsoon special event  of  Kolkata food bloggers.

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Thai basil fried rice...

thai basil fried rice recipe

I love one pot meals. A balanced dish with lean meat and carbohydrates with a simple crunchy salad perfectly suits my mid-week dinner plan. Last Wednesday I prepared fried rice, but not the usual one. It was Thai style fried rice. (Here you can check my better than take out fried rice recipe.)

When it comes to Thai food, first thing comes to our mind is the explosion of flavour from lemongrass, kaffir lime, thai basil, holy basil, and the strong sharp smell of fish sauce and of course the heat from fresh red chilies.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Sunehera chicken...

Friday evenings are usually time to relax and unwind for me and my family. The fact that you do not need to set the alarm clocks for next morning is such a relief. I guess it is the same for everyone too.

Unwinding to me is  usually either putting my feet up and getting lost in books or fiddling around in the kitchen to try to put together something special for me and my family. This Friday, it was a chicken curry with some homemade naan bread.

I didn't follow any particular recipe while making this dish, just went along with my instinct. The chicken was marinated for 9 hrs in the refrigerator. The marination I used was a basic one, just onion, garlic, ginger, yogurt mix. To bring in a nice color and flavor I added few strands of saffron.

While marinating the chicken I wasn't really sure about the gravy but wanted something creamy that can go along the naan I was planning to serve it with. My little one really liked the end result- soft and succulent chicken in a lightly sweet  creamy golden curry.

I didn't even think of posting this recipe, but the little one in my house as well as the man insisted that I must post this recipe as it tasted so good. And since this wasn't very planned, I ended up with only a single image for the final dish. Because of the beautiful creamy texture and golden color I named the dish 'Sunehera' chicken, sunehera means golden in Hindi. You can try this at home and let me know whether the name justifies the dish.

Things needed to make Sunehera Chicken:

  • Chicken: 500 gm

For marination:
  • Lime juice: 1 tbsp
  • Salt: 2 tsp
  • Black pepper powder: 1 tsp
  • Yogurt: 1/2 cup
  • Ginger paste: 1 tbsp
  • Garlic paste: 1 tbsp
  • Onion paste: 3 tbsp
  • Kashmiri red chili powder: 1 tsp
  • Saffron: few strands

For gravy:
  • Thinly sliced onion: 2 cups
  • Cinnamon stick: 1 stick
  • Green cardamom: 3-4
  • Dry red chili: 3-4
  • Coriander powder: 2 tsp
  • Red chili powder: 3 tsp
  • Green cardamom powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Cinnamon powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Almond paste: 3 tbsp
  • Poppy paste: 2 tbsp
  • Saffron (soaked in warm water): few strands
  • Salt to taste
  • Honey to taste
  • Oil and ghee to cook

Steps of making Sunehera Chicken:

1. Clean and wash the chicken pieces. I used chicken with bone, can be done with boneless chicken pieces too. Pat dry with kitchen towel. In a bowl mix all the ingredients for marination, marinate the chicken pieces for minimum 2 hrs, better if marinated overnight in the refrigerator.

2. Slice onion as thin as possible, heat oil in a kadhai (Indian wok), when the oil is hot fry the onion slices to brown. Drain excess oil and transfer in a bowl.

3. In a kadhai or pan add ghee, when hot add cinnamon stick, whole green cardamom, dry red chili, cook for 1 min. Add the fried onion. Keep a few to garnish.

4. Shake off the excess marination and add the chicken, cook over high heat for 4-5 min. As the chicken changes color, add the remaining marinade and coriander powder, red chili powder, mix well. Cover and cook over medium flame till oil separates. Add  cardamom powder, cinnamon powder, mix well. If needed add salt.

5. Add a little hot water and let it boil. Reduce the flame to low, add almond paste and poppy seed paste, mix well. Cover and cook for 10 min. Add honey, saffron soaked water, mix well. transfer into a serving bowl, garnish with fried onion and slivered almonds. Serve with some naan or roti.

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