Bengali Masoor Daal ( Red lentils)

Lentils have been eaten by humans since Neolithic times and were one of the first domesticated crops. In the Middle East, lentil seeds have been found, dating back to more than 8000 years. In Judaism, lentils are considered to be a food for mourners because of their round shape symbolizing the circle of life. The Greek playwright Aristophanes called lentil soup the “sweetest of delicacies”. Lentils have also been found in Egyptian tombs from as far back as 2400 BC. In India, the lentil is known as dal or daal. For many centuries, lentils were considered to be “the poor man’s meat.” In Catholic countries, those who couldn’t afford fish would eat lentils during Lent instead. In the 18th century, King Louis XV’s wife, Marie Leszczynska, made lentils fashionable among royalty and they were nicknamed “the queen’s lentils”.

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Veggies and Fruits with Black Rice

 

This is my idea of an ideal weekend lunch during summer. Black rice, which was also known as forbidden rice, has won the hearts of a whole lot of rice eating population because of its nutitional value. This rice is native to China. 

According to legend, black rice was thought to be so rare, delicious and nutritious, that it could only be eaten by emperors. While this rice is now being brought to the masses around the world, its nutritional content has still remained high. It provides a satisfying nutty flavor, making it a great addition to a number of different dishes. 

It usually takes a bit longer to be completely cooked than traditional white or even wild rice. Due to its high fibre content it keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time, making it a favourite for weight watchers. This recipe combines the health benefits of rice, fruits, veggies and healthy oil . I usually make it on saturdays for lunch because everyone is at home and I want to feed then something really healthy.

Serves 4

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Mutter paratha (Peas stuffed Indian Flatbread)

Mutter Paratha

The charm of winter can be seen in the local markets, with veggies and fruits in vibrant colours on the carts.

Fresh green peas, being a very versatile vegetable, are used in preparations in every state of India with not much difference in taste and masalas. My mutter paratha recipe is inspired by our very own Bengali motor shootir kochuri. Kochuri means stuffed deep fried bread.To give it a healthy twist, I made parathas instead which are made on a gridle pan with much less oil or ghee.I made the stuffing in the microwave  and this goes for both kochuri as well as paratha.
Makes 8 parathas Continue reading “Mutter paratha (Peas stuffed Indian Flatbread)”

​Kaali Daal( Whole urad daal cooked with spices)

Kaali Daal

This Indian delicacy that belongs  typically to the Northern region of India has made its way into the hearts of millions of Indians. This Daal is included in almost all menu lists ranging from restaurants to parties to get-togethers because of its  versatility to go with any type of bread and rice. I, personally feel this is a very close cousin of black beans both tastewise and from the nutrition point of view.Having learnt to make this from two of my close Punjabi friends 20 years ago, I have been making this once or even twice every month. I assure you that once you’ve mastered the art of cooking this, there will be no looking back. The gelatinous nature of this lentil makes the gravy so satiny and smooth and once cooked,stays for quite long in the fridge.

Serves 6

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​Pumpkin Stems Cooked in Mustard paste( Kumro shaager chorchori)

This vegetarian dish is very easy and fast to cook and the love of this simple yet rustic dish made me sow a few pumpkin seeds in my pot at home. In a few days, a beautiful pumpkin plant came up and believe me when I say it grows really fast. Now I can have this dish whenever I want, my kids aren’t so keen on it, though. It is a rustic dish, so we dont need any particular set of veggies.Just throw in whatever you want to cook with. Anyway, the ingredients mentioned below are what I have used in this recipe. I would advise you to cook this in an iron skillet or wok to get maximum flavour.

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Jhaal Muri(Hot and Spicy Puffed Rice)

Jhaal Muri
Jhaal Muri

I have no words to describe this ultimate evening Bengali snack.It is very light with a wide array of nutrients and is completely subject to your imagination and liking, no wonder the Queen of England loves it too. The only principle you have to strictly adhere to, is to not add anything that makes the rice puffs go soggy. Its not required that you add all the ingredients that I have added. A little here and there is okay. Continue reading “Jhaal Muri(Hot and Spicy Puffed Rice)”

Neemkee( A Savoury Snack)

Diwali is one of the most loved Indian festivals. Lights, diyas, rangolis, crackers and yummy snacks is what we look forward to. I made many sweet snacks this year but I felt like sharing this savoury one with you. Keeping the authenticity of this snack, I have used refined flour. I made this earlier by swapping whole wheat flour for maida. I even tried baking instead of deep frying. Not that they taste bad but not as good as the original one. Continue reading “Neemkee( A Savoury Snack)”

Chinese Pakora

If you are taking a stroll in the evening in Mumbai you will find vendors setting their stalls .Apart from panipuri stalls, if you find a very crowded place and only school going and college students crowding over there,follow your nose and stick to that place till your turn comes.Its Mumbai street food at its best.Though its very hot and spicy its very addictive.When my daughters were young ,they wanted to have this too.That’s when mumma bear came in.After having a few pakoras and steathily peeping into how they make I came up with my own take.

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Potato and green peas patty(Aloo Mutter tikki)

This is one of my favourite tea time snacks.The ingredients are so simple but when put together comes up with such a tasty snack.I make this a day or two earlier whenever I am expecting guests .I make quite a lot and freeze them in seperate boxes.I take them out in batches and use as and when required.

Makes 12 patties Continue reading “Potato and green peas patty(Aloo Mutter tikki)”