Welcome to "rannaghar"....one & all!!

I love eating, cooking and entertaining and my lounge is for all the foodies of this world.
I'm putting up recipes which I do at home mainly for my family and friends and thay have all loved it. These recipes are completely my versions - a fusion of both eastern & european influences to suit varied palates & tastes.
I try to follow my own instincts and cook dishes which have my personal touch and is not a carbon copy of someone else's....(except baking where i'm weak & need help)

So, I hope all of you out there will like whatever I have on offer.

Watch this space for more

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Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Aloo Dum (bengali style)

Loochi, aloo-dum, begun bhaja & mishit is a traditional bengali breakfast and is generally had on Sundays and on special occasions like festivals and birthdays. This is my Ma’s recipe and its simply awesome!! can be enjoyed with rice, chapattis/parathas, loochis/pooris.

Ingredients:

Potatoes - 12-14 small & round ones.
I generally use the 1 kg packet of ‘raclette’ potatoes.

For Tempering:

4/5 Green cardamoms, lightly crushed
1” pc Cinnamon stick, whole or lightly crushed
2/3 cloves, whole
2 Bay leaves (tej pata)
¼ tsp Asafoetida (hing)

For the Masala:

Paste of 1 onion
1 ½ tsp Ginger/Garlic paste
1tsp Tomato puree
1tsp Turmeric powder
½ tsp Garam Masala powder
1 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch powder
1 tsp Sugar
Salt to taste
1 tbsp lemon juice (optional)
2 Green chillies, whole
3/4 Red button onions, whole & peeled
Oil

For garnishing:

Coriander leaves, fresh and chopped
2 Green chilies, whole with the stem (dati)
Lime wedges

Method:

- Bring water to a boil with little salt and parboil the potatoes. Peel the potatoes and keep them whole.

- Heat oil and sauté the potatoes adding a pinch of turmeric powder, cayenne pepper & salt. Saute the potatoes till they are light golden. Keep aside.

- In the same oil, add the bay leaves, green cardamoms, cinnamon stick, cloves and asafoetida and sauté for a few minutes.

- Add the onion paste and fry until oil separates. Now add the ginger/garlic paste and fry until oil separates.

- Add the tomato puree and sauté till nicely blended with the onion-garlic-ginger paste.

- Add the turmeric powder, cayenne pepper, kashmiri mirch, garam masala powder, salt, sugar and lemon juice and blend the spices and onion-ginger-garlic paste well and cover and let it simmer on low heat until the masala-mix is cooked (takes about 10 min).

- Now add the potatoes, red button onions and the 2 green chilies and mix everything well with the masala. Cover and let it simmer on low/medium heat for another 10 min.

- Add a little water and give it another good stir and pressure cook until it gives way to a moist gravy and the potatoes are cooked.
The gravy should not be too liquidy or too thick. It should be of the consistency where the gravy and the masala will nicely coat the potatoes.

- When done, garnish with fresh coriander leaves, green chilies and lime wedges.

Note:
If you do not want to use onions, for tempering use a few cardamoms (elaichi) and a small stick of cinnamon (dalchini) along with the other spices mentioned here.

Also for larger potatoes or 1kg small potatoes - you need to increase the spices, 1 ½ tbsp of tomato puree, 1 tsp sugar, use 3/4 medium sized onions, for onion paste.

1 tsp Ghee (optional but it lends a good flavor).

Monday, March 24, 2008

Chilli Paneer (indian cottage cheese)



500 gms Paneer - cut into 1-inch cubes
1 medium-sized Onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp Ginger, finely chopped
1 tbsp Garlic, finely chopped
2-3 green Chillies, finely chopped
1 Capsicum, diced
2 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp Corn starch mixed with 3 tbsp water
Salt, to taste
1/2 tsp crushed black pepper
2 tbsp green onion, chopped
2 tbsp cooking oil
water, as needed

Fry paneer pieces till brown on all sides and set aside to soak in a bowl of warm water.

Heat oil and saute chopped green chillies, ginger and garlic till fragrant. Add chopped onions and fry till lightly browned. Add paneer pieces, capsicum, salt, pepper, and soya sauce and cook for a minute. Add a splash of water and allow to come to a boil.

Add corn starch mixture and stir till sauce thickens adding more water if necessary. Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes to allow paneer to soak in all the favours and garnish with chopped green onions.

Illish Maach Bhape



As you all know (I address all indians) Illish maach bhape is unique only to Bengal and is my favourite of all fish preparations. I guess its nothing new since most bongs are fond of this dish and I'm no exception.
My Mom's illish maach bhape is somthing to die for but unfortunately I'm not that good. I'm not to blame entirely, though. I don't have the right utensils to prepare the sorse paste, the main ingredient in this dish and so I just grind the mustard seeds in a coffee grinder and then make a paste of it with water with other spices (turmeric, salt & chilli powder) added in. And its still pretty good and yummmmy....
I follow the usual recipe that most bengalees follow but the only difference - I cook it in a microwave which takes about 20 minutes and then ready to serve with steaming hot rice....

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Steamed Broccoli Indian Style

This is a great dish - very light and can be had as a salad also by itself. If you want you can add shrimps/chicken/mutton/lamb/beef to it and add it in your rice/pasta/spaghetti and it tastes equally good. I was a bit apprehensive the first time I tried it out but it tasted great.

Ingredients:

1 or 2 Broccoli (fresh)

Black onion seeds (Kaalo jeerey or Kalonji)

2 Green chillies - slit in the middle

2 to 3 tbsp. Olive or Sunflower oil

1 tsp. Salt or to taste

1 tsp. Sugar or to taste

Method:

Divide broccoli into florets and wash well and drain the water.

Heat oil and add the green chillies and the onion seeds till they start to crackle.

Add the broccoli and stir for a minute and cover and steam the vegetable until just tender.

When the broccoli's tender, dry out all the water. Then add the salt and sugar; stir for a minute; cover and simmer for 5 min on low heat.

When done, serve immediately with steamed rice.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Dal Makhani



This is one of my favourites and i make it quite often at home. I prefer to cook it in the pressure cooker as it saves time and use a tablespoon of either greek yoghurt or sour cream which is more healthier.

For the mashing part, I find it easier to gently blend (roughly) it with a hand blender.

Ingredients:

1 cup whole Urad (black gram lentil)
1/3 cup Red Kidney Beans ( Rajma)
1 tbs ginger, grated
Kashmiri mirch or Cayenne pepper (acc. to taste)
1 tsp. Turmeric powder
3-4 tbs. Ghee (clarified butter) or normal Butter
1 tsp. Cumin seeds
A pinch of Hing (asofoetida powder) - optional
1 tbsp minced Ginger & Garlic
1 medium Tomato, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
1/2 cup fresh Cream.
2 tbs. chopped Coriander leaves
Salt to taste
1-2 cups water (to cook dal)

Method:

Wash and soak black gram lentils and red kidney beans overnight. Pressure cook the soaked lentils and beans with water, salt, kashmiri mirch/cayenne pepper, turmeric, and grated ginger till lentils and beans are done and soft.

Lightly mash the mixture, keep aside.

Heat oil or butter. Add cumin seeds and asofoetida powder, let it crackle. Add ginger, garlic and cook till light golden brown in color.
Add garam masala and chopped tomatoes.

Sauté till tomatoes are well mashed and oil/ghee/butter starts to separate from the masala. Add the mashed lentils and beans to this mixture and a little water (desired consistency should be thick & not loose).
Season the dal and simmer on a low flame for 15-20 minutes. Add fresh cream or yoghurt and let it simmer for 5 minutes and turn off the heat.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves (chopped), cherry tomatoes - halved, sliced onion rings and lime wedges.
Serve hot with Naan or Paratha or even with rice.

NOTE:

Use sour-cream or greek yogurt instead of full cream.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Goulash (traditional hungarian/austrian dish)


GOULASH (Wiener Saftgulasch) - this Hungarian dish (spelled Gulyas in Hungarian) found its way into Austrian cookbooks during the time of the monarchy. It is a stew, best made with beef.

You can also use lamb or mutton as a substitute for beef.

What makes the Goulash a Goulash is the red paprika sauce.

Beef goulash, properly prepared and stored in the refrigerator, keeps well. The flavors blend with cold storage. It is a perfect recipe to cook for guests a day or two before you entertain. And it is also delicious the day you cook it.
This is one of my absolute favourites..!!!!

Recipe for Goulash

1 kg Beef, Lamb or Mutton
750 gm. Onions, chopped
2-3 garlic Cloves, crushed
Half tsp Cumin seeds
5 oz or 1 tbsp sweet Paprika powder
200 ml Beef stock or stock of lamb or mutton
Red Wine Vinegar
Salt & Pepper to taste

Method

Wash and chop beef into cubes or chunks. Crush garlic.

Heat oil and fry onions until soft and golden. Add garlic, cumin seeds and paprika powder and mix everything well. Now add the beef and mix it well with the onions, garlic and the spices.

Now add the beef stock. stir again and cover and cook on low heat for 3 hrs, stirring occassionally.

When almost done, add salt, pepper and red wine vinegar and mix well.

Let it stand overnight or 2-3 day, if possible.

Next day, heat the goulash through very slowly and serve with either rice, spaghetti, pasta or just with buttered bread and wine.






Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cheesecakes


Cheesecakes are my favourites...they being not too sweet nor too sour. Strikes the right balance between the two.

Here is a recipe from http://www.marthastewart.com/
To prevent the top from cracking, be careful not to overmix the batter, and do not open the oven door while the cake is baking or cooling inside the oven.

To make the crumbs for the crust, pulse sponge biscuits in a food processor until finely ground.

Prep: 30 minutes; Total: 8 hours

Serves 12

for the crust

1 1/4 cups sponge biscuit crumbs (from 10 whole biscuits)
1/4 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

for the filling

4 packages (8 ounces each) bar cream cheese , very soft
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons pumpkin-pie spice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with rack in center. Assemble a 9-inch nonstick springform pan, with the raised side of the bottom part facing up.
Make the crust: In a medium bowl, mix cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter until moistened; press firmly into bottom of pan. Bake until golden around edges, 10 to 12 minutes.
Make the filling: With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar on low speed until smooth; mix in flour (do not overmix). Add pumpkin puree, pie spice, vanilla, and salt; mix just until smooth. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until each is incorporated before adding the next.

Place springform pan on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour filling into springform, and gently smooth top. Transfer to oven; reduce oven heat to 300 degrees. Bake 45 minutes. Turn off oven; let cheesecake stay in oven 2 hours more (without opening).

Remove from oven; cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours. Unmold before serving.

NOTE:

Am weak in baking and so Martha Stewart, Delia Smith and many others come to my rescue.

You can use stenciled powdered sugar & cinnamon stars, on the top, to dress it up for the holiday season....bole toh....apun ka christmas! yaar....ekdam jhakaas!!!