Sunday, October 30, 2011

Surprise your guests with delicious Fish ball curry (Machher Kofta)

Koftas are essentially meatballs with lot of interesting Indian spices. There have been several innovations on the ingredients, shapes, texture etc. on the making of koftas. The most exciting of these possibly is the intrusion of vegetables which replaced the minced meat. A vast population of India eat vegetables and the meat is happily replaced by various seasonal vegetables to make delectable koftas. This is certainly a smart culinary move since that managed to include the whole veggie populace in no time.

Koftas are delicious. This is particularly so in India. You may have seen Malai Kofta on the menu at your local restaurant served in rich creamy gravy. In other regions Koftas are served steamed, poached and grilled on skewers.

Last week, when my mother bought bhetki fish, I literally snapped at her. Oh no, not again! The fish, mostly over hyped, doesn't seem to have any taste of its own. My mother knows this and to calm me off came up with this recipe. Later, in the evening, I was awed by the delicacy. I thanked her and she gave me a signature look that only we, three sisters, would understand. To others it is undefined and to us it is our mom.

For the preparation, she par boiled the fish and took out the bones and separated the skin. Added flavorings such as onions cubes, parsley twigs, garlic paste, pepper powder and the boneless fish are mixed with lentil flour for tightening the mix. You can mix with soaked bread, rice powder, egg whites or any other binding agent also.

She then deep fried the fish balls in refined oil to make perfect golden brown snackie fish balls. For the gravy,  in a wok she heated white oil and sprinkled whole garam masala, bay leaves, onion ginger and garlic paste. She added red chili powder, salt and turmeric powder and continued to stir in slow heat till the oil starts to leave the wok. She then added the fish balls/ koftas, added little warm water and cooked till the gravy thickens to a nice spicy red gravy.

She served the fish kofta with gravy with steamed basmati rice and lots of love.


The fried fish balls can also be served on mini skewers and served as snacks and appetizers. Koftas can also be an exciting addition to alfresco dining and the perfect finger food complemented with yogurt dip.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Make this Diwali more special with home made besan ka ladoo

Ladoo. One word speaks enormously of its implications on Indian food and culture. A small rounded ball loaded with goodies (read calories) is conspicuously significant in our lives. No Diwali is complete without ladoos. It is of special significance and is considered auspicious. Though ladoo is of various types- the motichoor ha laddo, sounth ka ladoo, aate ka ladoo, til ki ladoo, dal ka ladoo, nariel ka laddo, the most loved and relishing of them is the ‘ Besan Ka Ladoo’. Here is the easy to make recipe and this Diwali you must try your hands at it.

Heat ghee in a non-stick pan or thick bottomed wok. Add the gram flour and fry it on a low flame stirring continuously till it turns golden brown.Once it is browned, let it cool. Add powdered cardamom and sugar. Add chopped almonds and raisins and more goodies to suit your taste buds. Shape into ladoos and serve.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sugary Coconut laddus (narkel naru, nariel ka ladu) - A must for festivals in Bengal

The festive fervor never dies here in Bengal and so does the food. The pujas has just passed. The remains of pandal structures almost cleared by the infamous KMC, the festive newness still lingering and will soon usher in the Kali puja with eye catching lights and crackers. It is around the same time, in fact the same day that we will celebrate Diwali - the festival of lights as well. The fervor of Durga puja never dies. it merges with another festival to yet another festival. The festive circle continues and before realizing it's puja time again.

The puja time is beautiful with all its customs, rituals and magnanimity. Food, perhaps, is one of the factors that makes it more alluring. Bengalis are known for their way with the food, and today I will share an age old Bengali custom festival food. It's called 'nadu', 'naru' in our part of the country. It's actually coconut laddus where variant proportion of grated coconut, sugar, jaggery are being mixed to give a lovely texture and taste.

Some use only sugar, which makes it white and some jaggery, which makes it dark brown and some mix both to attain a different texture.

First you have to grate the coconuts finely. Mix it with sugar/ jaggery and stir is continuously in a thick bottomed wok on slow flame. Keep stirring till you attain a sticky texture. Remove from flame and quickly make round circles by moving portions of the mixture between your palms.

Making 'narus' are not as simple as it sounds. You have to be careful to shape off the coconut mixture while the thing is still hot. Be careful not to burn your hands. The nicely shaped 'narus' look beautiful and they taste really good. Go ahead and try it out and keep me updated.

Photo copyright: Mimpi

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mutton Rogan Josh: Hot, spicy, irresistible kashmiri delight

Mutton Rogan Josh tastes as good as it looks. The lovely red hot spicy juice smears the tender mutton to make it the yummiest thing on earth. If you are counting on your calories then I would advise you to go through a serious lifestyle regime afterwards instead of resisting the temptation of not eating one of the world's best food.

Preparing the dish is simple too. Mix mutton with curd and little salt, and keep aside. Heat oil/ ghee in a pan and put whole garam masala, when they start to crackle, put chopped onions and fry till golden brown. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry again for two minutes. Add all the masala powder and fry till oil comes up.

Add mutton with marinade and stir fry on a high flame for 2 minutes. Now add water and salt and cook with closed lid till meat is tender and gravy is medium thick in consistency.

Add cream and saffrom dipped in milk, and stir well and cook for another 3 minutes. Garnish with chopped coriander. This best goes with basmati rice, pulao or tandoori/ rumali roti.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tomas Transtromer: Metaphysical visionary poet wins Nobel

Tomas Transtromer, the Swedish poet, sometimes oblivious and sometimes real and powerful, won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Literature for 2011. Even though well known in Sweden (and a strong contender for the prize for many years now) his works have been published in English, the poet is not on the known list for the poetry readers. Currently, I have the opportunity to read through a few of his poems. The nature transcends beautifully into the real world with a distinctive theme of isolation and togetherness. His poetry is universal and he lives poetry.

Mr. Transtromer, 80, has written more than 15 collections of poetry, many of which have been translated into English and 60 other languages.

“His poetry is both universal and particular, it’s complex but very direct at the same time. He’s worked for much of his life as a psychologist, and the work is characterized by very strong psychological insight into humanity.”

Two Cities

There is a stretch of water, a city on each sideƐ
one of them utterly dark, where enemies live.
Lamps are burning in the other.
The well-lit shore hypnotizes the dark shore.

I swim out in a trance
on the glittering dark water.
A steady note of a tuba comes in.
It's a friend's voice: "Take up your grave and walk."


The man on a walk suddenly meets the old
giant oak like an elk turned to stone with
its enormous antlers against the dark green castle wall
of the fall ocean.

Storm from the north. It's nearly time for the
rowanberries to ripen. Awake in the night he
hears the constellations far above the oak
stamping in their stalls.

The Half-Finished Heaven

Cowardice breaks off on its path.
Anguish breaks off on its path.
The vulture breaks off in its flight.

The eager light runs into the open,
even the ghosts take a drink.

And our paintings see the air,
red beasts of the ice-age studios.

Everything starts to look around.
We go out in the sun by hundreds.

Every person is a half-open door
leading to a room for everyone.

The endless field under us.
Water glitters between the trees.
The lake is a window into the earth.

(C) Tomas Transtromer

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

3 negative experiences on Facebook and the effects

More and more kids and teens are spending time on social networking sites. Facebook is no.1 on the list of priority. Facebook and other social networking sites are great to revive, maintain and extend relationships. It just takes clicks to connect to your childhood friends or tether to new found friends. As much as Facebook is known to renew relationship its also a major tool in shattering relationship. A research shows that the more time kids and teens spent on Facebook, the more likely they were to suffer from ailments like personality disorder, paranoia, anxiety and alcohol use.

According to a new study, the three most-common negative experiences are:

Ignoring or denying "friend" requests
Deleting public messages
Seeing a 'Top Friends list' on which one doesn't appear or is ranked lower than expected

All three of the major negative experiences are ones that can be found only in the world of social networking. In real life, one does not walk up to another person and ask to "friend" him or her. Experience in social interactions in the real world often doesn't translate to the virtual world. Even the word "friend" means vastly different things to different people in the social networking world.

In such scenario, ending up having a shattered relationships have far fetched implications. Children, teens and even grownups get so involved that they do not know where to draw the line. Virtual friendship is healthy as long as you know the limitations of it. Many use social networking sites as important business tool marketing their products. it's but obvious that those people befriend with a purpose on mind. Without being judgmental, we should be mature enough to understand the limitations of the social networking sites. Ending up with broken hearts is the last thing we would want, both online or offline.