Monday, September 29, 2014

Rosogolla



Rosogolla or Rasgulla is a Traditional Bengali Sweet Dish and no occasion is complete without this sweet treat. Rosogollas are basically dumplings made with Cottage cheese commonly known as chaana or chenaa, cooked in light sugar syrup.
This Classic Bengali Mishti so common in Kolkata  and all over West Bengal that you need not put any effort to get them, they are easily available in your Parar Mishti Dokan, (Neighbourhood Sweet Shop) and we had never considered making them. Even when I moved to Mumbai years ago I used to crave for my lil mishti treat and did find them at Sweet Bengal, hence there was no need to make them.

It was during this last summer break in Kolkata that my son developed a special liking for Rossogolla...he calls them "Nani's sweet white ball".While coming back Mom did get some of the fresh ones packed for us along with some canned "K C Das  Rossogollas", which we enjoyed along with our friends.
Once these got over I got some canned ones from the supermarket but he didn't really relish them, that's when I had to think of making these at home. Now what do I do....we had never seen these been made at home, though they were the most common sweet we grew up eating. Called up mom....asked her how do I  make them, thanks to her recipe I managed to make it.
The best thing was it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would have been, here is the simple recipe for the lovely Bengali Mishti.....on the Auspicious occasion of "Durga Pujo"



Ingredients

Milk - 1 liter
Lemon Juice /vinegar - 1 tablespoon
Sugar - 1 cup
Water - 3 cups

Method

Boil milk in a heavy bottom pot, reduce the flame add the lemon juice or vinegar diluted with a tablespoon of water.



The milk will start cuddling in a minute or so,use a fine muslin cloth or fine mesh to strain the ready chenaa or cottage cheese. Once done wash the chenaa properly as we donot want the taste of lemon or vinegar in our rossogolla.



Squeeze out any extra water, and place the chenna on a plate and let itcool down to a working tempreture so that you dont burn your hand. Mash throughly with your palm, this helps in breaking down the cuddled milk granules and can form a dough on its own.




Divide the chenna into 20 - 22  equal parts and roll them in between your palms to form round balls approx. 2 cms in diameter.


In a large pot make sugar syrup by adding all the sugar and water, Once the sugar has dissolved and the syrup starts boiling add the chenaa ball. Cover and cook for 15- 20 minutes, remember the rosogollas will almost swell up to double its size when its ready .To check if the rossogolla is ready just press one of them and if it springs back to its original size then its ready.



Let the rosogollas cool before you serve them.



"Wishing you all a Very Happy Durga Pujo"

 Notes

Diluting the lemon juice or vinegar with water helps us in making soft Chenaa with less granules. Soft  Chenaa results in softer granules.
For preparing the syrup, always use a heavy bottom large vessel because the rosogollas will swell up to double there size once they are ready, if you are making in a small vessel then make it in batches as I have done.
While making the syrup ensure that it doesn't get thick, in case the syrup starts getting thick while cooking the rossogollas then add around 2-3 tablespoons of water at a time to dilute the syrup.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Parwal Aur Aloo ki Sabzi

"Parwal Aur Aloo ki Sabzi"

Parwal Aur Aloo ki Sabzi, is a a simple everyday dish, commonly prepared in Calcutta and Odisha.

Parwal is also known as Potol in Bengali and Odisha, as Pointed Gourd in English, its mainly cultivated in Eastern and Northern parts of the Indian Subcontinent, hence a common green vegetable to these regions. Parwal, has many health benefits which makes it nutritious. It is rich in Vitamin A, B1, B2, and C, calcium to name a few. It has minimal calories in it and helps lower cholesterol, its easy to digest and is recommended for people suffering from stomach ailments.



Though a common vegetable from Northern and Eastern India but differs in preparation. In Northern India it usually prepared as a dry side dish or sometimes a thin gravy too, in Calcutta and Odisha it is prepared in a thick gravy also known as Dalna in which the parwal and potatoes are deep fried and cooked in a spicy curry. Parwal is commonly used in Calcutta to prepare the famous Parwal ke Methai.
The recipe which I am sharing is my mom's recipe, its a simple and quick dish prepared in the pressure cooker hence comes very handy as a busy weekday vegetarian dinner option. Parwal aur Aloo cooked is  in Mustard oil along with Paanch phoran...which gives the dish a distinctive Bengali taste.Serve it along with chapati or paratha or make it special by serving along with Luchi.



Ingredients

Parwal / Potol /Pointed Gourd - 5-6 medium size
Potato - 2 medium
Onion - 1 medium
Tomato - 1 medium
Ginger - 1 inch piece
Onion paste - 1 tablespoon
Coriander powder - 1 tablespoon
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Paanch phoran - 1 teaspoon
Whole dry red chilli - 2
Sugar - 1/4th teaspoon
Salt to taste
Mustard oil - 2 tablespoon

Method

Wash and trim both ends of the parwal, scrape the waxy skin and slit it lengthwise into two. Parwal usually has a white center along with tender seeds but at time they are a bit yellowish and have hard seeds. If the seeds are hard then discard the seeds and the yellow portion and slice them diagonally into approximately 1 cm thick.




Wash and peal the potatoes, slit lengthwise into 2, slice them horizontally approximately 1 cm thick. 


Peal and finely slice the onion. Chop tomatoes and ginger, grind together to make a smooth paste.




Mix together the onion paste along with coriander powder, red chilli powder and turmeric powder and a little water to make a wet masala paste.




Heat mustard oil in a pressure cooker, add Paanch phoran and broken red chillies. Once the spices start popping add the sliced onion and fry for 2-3 minutes or until it starts to turn light brown.




Add the chopped Parwal and Aloo, mix well and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the wet masala paste and fry for 3-4 minutes.



Once the raw smell of the masala is gone add the tomato and ginger paste, salt ,sugar mix well and fry until oil starts appearing on the sides on the cooker. 






Add around 1 cup of water, bring it to a boil, close the lid of the pressure cooker, put the whistle and pressure cook until 2 - 3 whistles.




Turn off the heat and let all the steam escape before you open the pressure cooker.


Serve hot along with Luchi, paratha or just enjoy it with simple chapati.




Notes

I prefer to use mustard oil for this recipe as it gives an authentic flavor to the recipe however you could replace it with any other cooking oil.
I have slightly scraped the parwal just to remove the outer shiny coat, these days most vegetables are sprayed with a variety of chemicals and even coated with wax which is not safe. Scraping the vegetable helps us avoid consuming these harmful elements and also maintains the crispness of the parwal.
Please adjust the quantity of water as per personal preference and the consistency of gravy required.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Lal Saag Bhaja



"Lal Saag Bhaja"
Lal Saag Bhaja, or Stir fried Lal Saag, is a humble dish made with "Lal saag" which belongs to the Amaranth family. A leafy dark red vegetable also known as Thotakura in Telgu, Tambdi Bhaji in Marathi, a lot of people also refer to it as Lal math or Red Spinach. Its scientific name is Amaranthus Tricolour and  the very popular green version of it is known as Cholai in Hindi.  

Lal Saag not only tastes good but looks great too....This leafy vegetable is low in calories and a good source of Iron, vitamins and essential minerals too. 


As a child I was very fussy when it came to eating green leafy vegetables, spinach in any form was a nightmare, apart from Palak Paneer, I just couldn't resist it because of the colour and not to forget paneer, Methi....was way to bitter for me..... Lal Saag was the only leafy vegetable which I could have without making any fuss....thanks to Mom's stories which made me believe that it was a magical dish and would change the colour of rice to a bright red colour.  


However things change with time and now that I am a mum and understand the importance of green leafy vegetables, I try my best to incorporate them in some form of other in our meals. Might sound silly but I too cook up stories trying to make him eat greens like, "Spinach" starts with letter "S" and "Strength" starts with letter   "S " too, oh ! feeding him peas is also a pain so I tell him "P" is for "Power" and "Peas"starts with letter "P" for my 5 year old and as he is in Kindergarten.  

Well here is a simple yet very tasty recipe of stir fried Lal Saag cooked along with Badi (sun dried lentil dumplings).

Ingredients

Lal Saag (saag) - 2 Bunch
Badi (Sun dried Lentil dumplings) - 1/2 cup
Garlic,minced - 1 tablespoon
Green chillies, slit - 4 pcs
Salt to taste
Mustard oil - 2 tablespoon
Extra oil for frying the Badi's.

Method

Pick, clean and wash the lal saag leaves thoroughly under running water to get rid of any soil.
Once clean chop the lal saag finely.



Heat mustard oil in a kadhai or wok till it reaches the smoking point, once hot add the badi and fry until it changes colour to golden brown. Drain using a slotted spoon and keep aside to cool.



Once the badi has cooled crush it lightly, so that it breaks up into smaller pieces.


Heat around 2 tablespoons of oil in the kadhai and add the minced garlic and slit green chillies, fry for 2-3 minutes and add the chopped Lal Saag, mix well.




Add salt and mix well, the saag will immediately start to release its water, continue frying for 2-3 minutes and add the crushed badi, mix well.




Cover and cook until the badi is softened and the shaag is well done. (Leafy vegetables have high content of water, hence they can cook on there own. Since we are adding badi which will tend to absorb water from the shaak, if required add a tablespoon or two of water.)




Serve hot along with steamed rice and dal and a dollop of desi ghee :)

Notes:

Please clean the saag very well to ensure that there is no soil left.
I love to make green and leafy vegetables in Mustard oil as that's how my mom makes them, however you could use any cooking oil which you use and I'm sure it will taste great.
While adding salt please go slow, as the quantity reduces considerably.
I have used badi along with the saag but you could make it plain by eliminating the badi.