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Saturday, July 12, 2008

my favorite Calcutta eateries

I am guilty as charged for not blogging for the past few months.

I have been devouring a lot of places and in most cases haven't clicked the pics. I have been craving for momo today and if i get to be really lucky, I might just get some.

The food industry is in complete boom here (am still in India), while new shopping malls pop up here and there, fast food centers are crawling everywhere. KFC, McDonalds, Subway, Baskin and robbins has people lining up like crazy. While the menu is simililar, it has been localized by excluding beef and stocking up on veg and chicken recipes.

I have been visiting more of authentic places , one of my favorites being Hakka ( city center, Calcutta), it's Indian chinese served at its best in a great ambience and yet is reasonably priced.

Another is Sanjha Chulha, a typical "dhaba" style restaurant, with no frills- the food couldnt be better (on E.M. bypass, Calcutta).

Hanida Dhaba, is a place you have to go. I have been there thrice and had it to-go. The mounf of the food is mind boggling, one plate is enough for 3-4 people to share.

Really need to try something else today anmd as lazy as i feel right now, i just might change my mind for some lip smacking Calcutta specials.

So, hold on I just might step out today.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Let's face it, a 16 hour work schedule can tone down your cooking inspiration.

I haven't been cooking a lot lately, except when i really need to eat something and nothings available in my refrigerator except raw vegies. Yesterday was different, very different- while i relaxed in my apartment i had the time to go through the cooking blogs once again.

The pancake recipe was more than inspiration, decided to go grocery shopping. Luckily, in Calcutta, India (where I am) you get everything. So, i did some really good shopping from mayonnaise, sandwich breads, almonds, mocha coffee, chicken, eggs, pizza base, cheddar, mushrooms, cheeseballs, chinese sauce all in good spirit to finish it off with a large pizza, coke, garlic bread with cheese dip and some good friends.

I have my refrigerator loaded with left over pizza, so the pancake has to wait. To top it off, we ended up in a quiet beautiful spot in "Princep Ghat". It's a perfect view with River Ganges flowing and the two prominent Calcutta bridges, boats can be seen now and then which includes a grand floating restaurant all lit up for the night.

I fell in love with Calcutta for the first time and it couldn't have been better. It's one of the places which can soothe you, comfort you, bring back the real you. It is a far cry from the sophistication of shopping malls and the pizza places, the restaurants and hustle of the city. The place has the power to bring back the poetic instincts, the sensibility and the affinity for life.

I am glad I found my own spot in Calcutta, like I have with most cities....something that makes you feel at home.

So, new recipes are on their way and I promise to carry my camera next time I happen to stop by "Princep Ghat".

(pictures: Google images)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

flavors from India

Hi everyone, this posting is really special because I am India and while i taste some local recipes, so can you.

The first one is
"LITTI" (click on "LITTI" for the recipe) a traditional Bihari recipe (from the state of Bihar), I have always enjoyed having them, however i have to admit i have never made them. It is one of those winter recipes that will warm your heart. It is usually served with the eggplant curry (baigan ka bharta) or potao curry.

The second one is a green pea stuffed "puris". It's a common weekend affair in my home and they taste wonderful. If you cannot afford the time to make it, please make sure to try some where ever available. The process is really simple-
  • knead flour with some oil and water
  • once done, keep it aside. make small balls of flour and keep them
  • on the other hand; mash the boiled peas and sautee it with some garlic and onion.
  • stuff the peas into the flour balls and then using a pinroll, turn it into a small round shaped "puri".
  • heat up a pan (preferably deep pan) and pour some oil
  • once heated, slowly drop the rolled flat "puri" one at a time.
  • give each side 2 mints and once it turns light brown, they are ready
  • serve with sauce, pickle or any side dish you like.

While you enjoy the flavors of India, more are yet to come as i enjoy the local affair!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

lemon rice with spicy pork curry

A perfect meal for the snowy evenings is comfort food mixed up with great flavor. One of my favorites is the fast fix to the busy lifestyle. As much as I love veggies, I love meat with lots of flavor and a zing to it.

Here is one my winter meals- lemon rice with pork curry.

What you need-
Left over rice/rice
Mustard seed- ¼ teaspoon
Red dry chilli-1/2
Turmeric- a pinch
Pork- in small pieces
Ginger and garlic paste-1 spoon
Salt and pepper
Soya sauce
Red bell pepper

Here’s is what you do-
Heat up a pan with 1 table spoon of oil
Throw in the mustard seed and one dry red chili
Let is fry and add the pinch of turmeric to it and stir
Add the rice, stir till all is mixed up
Squeeze in half a lemon or according to taste

Make sure there are chopped in small pieces
In a bowl, add one table spoon of ginger and garlic paste, pinch of turmeric, black pepper, soya sauce and salt.
Mix it well and marinate the pork in it for a minimum of half an hour.
Chop in some green bell pepper and onions and add to the pan with oil
One browned, add the pork to it and keep on stirring
When its seems all done, add water to it and cover the pan
Let it boil for half an hour
Open the lid and dry off the water as you keep on stirring it.

Serve it steaming hot and enjoy with an episode of Grey’s Anatomy !

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy Holidays you all!

I know I am late. I have been cooking but haven't managed to write a lot for the blog.

Here is my recipe for the potatoe fritters which I love and doesnt take a lot to make-

  • boil potatoes with a pinch of salt.
  • once done, mash it well.

  • add chopped onions, peppers to the mashed potatoes.

  • mix it well, till you can take it in your hand and turn it into a ball

  • take it in the palm of your hand and press it to give a strong shape.

  • once done, beat one egg in a bowl.

  • if you dont like eggs or you are a vegetarian, you can avoid this step completely and it turns out as tasty.

  • heat the pan and add oil to it.

  • dip it in the egg bowl and straight to the pan.

  • it takes 1-2 minutes per side.

Once done, serve with any sauce you like for a perfect holiday snack!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

fastest appetizer

Have you ever been in situations when you have friends over at your place and suddenly realize that your refrigerator is empty? Of course you can order Chinese or pizza but I always like doing something on my own as a way of appreciation to show that I am glad they came over. Dinner can always be ordered if the kitchen is not well stocked enough.

Since I brown bag my lunch in trying to control the calorie intake, I always have bread at hand. Here is a recipe; you can whip up even if you have nothing at hand. It’s a good appetizer with drinks or just starters while you call up for the delivery guy.

I have always hated soggy bread and I like things crisp and clean, while trying to cook up something fast I came up with the idea and it has been a hit with all my friends for years. The gathering always ends with people taking this recipe home. So, here’s my secret-

All you need-
Bread (white preferably)
Cilantro (if you have/optional)
Salt and pepper
Chili flakes

What you have to do-
Warm up a wide skillet with oil
Take a big bowl and fill it up with water -2 cups
Take slices of bread and soak it in water (1 mint)
Chop the onions, while the bread soaks and oil warms up
Take the soaked up bread and give it a tight squeeze to get rid of the water.
Add it to the owl with chopped onions and add salt and pepper and cilantro
Mix them well together and turn them to small balls
Once the ball is done, press them a little (so its looks flat) which will help them cook sooner.
Now, fry them up till golden brown and serve with ketchup or any sauce.

They are done astonishingly fast and your guests won’t even know it’s made with bread. They taste amazing and every bit of it will be devoured.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

random pics

My trip to "Traders Joe" and the cute little pet parking lot caught my attention. the ice cream is from there too amd is worth a try. Perfect and not too sweet.

The leaning tower is from Chicago, yeah in a YMCA area.
The tom yum paste is a thai ingedient which is sweet and tangy and is perfect to make a huge pot of tom yum. something i always have in stock.
Some strawberries I bought, a dollar a box and so sweet. The best I had in a few years.
My refrigerator- a peek inside. Yes, I really cook everyday and eat loads of vegies ( I told you!).
I have finally found the perfect hang out spot- the Lutz pastry place. it has some amazing collection of pastries and cookies and you can pair it with wine, soda, beer or coffee. The best part is the ambience, light music and decorated with good taste. if I opened a cafe- it would be excatly like that, the right nook for friends and family and even small business meetings. Need I say more.

my favorite kitchen gadgets

Thats my tiny kitchen and gadgets i can't live without.

The slicer and right knives along with the red pepper grinder, a blender and my fun tea pot.
These are all valuable products and yet very affordable and worth every buck you spent. Most of them are available in regular stores and my tea pot in asian stores.
Take time to build up your kitchen because that will make you feel more at home than anything else.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Thai food in seconds

I am amazed at everyone who dedicatedly take pics after they are done with cooking and post it along with their recipe. I'm too lazy or may be very instinctive. I never plan on cooking something unless I have been craving it for a week or so.

By the time the food gets done am all in the eating mode and realise once the plate is cleaned up that i should have taken the pic. Anyways here is the Thai Green chicken curry. If you have seen my earlier post you know I had my bottle of the curry, you get it everywhere these days in international grocery stores.

to get

  • green chicken curry paste or sauce

  • chicken (boneless)

  • oil

I had drumstick chicken in my fridge, so I defrosted and cut off the chicken from the bone.

to do

  • heat a pan and add 1 table spoon of oil

  • add the chicken and just let it sear in the pan on both sides (cover the pan)

  • once done, open up the green chicken curry (bring it to room temperature)

  • remove the chicken and add the curry paste in the same pan

  • let it boil for a few minutes and add the chicken to it

Remember the drumstick that I have used for the chicken and I had stripped the meat clean from the bone. So, now I take a stock pot and add 5-6 cups of water, salt and pepper, one onion and 5 cloves of garlic and add in the bones. The product- home made chicken stock. Let it boil for an hour and strain off the liquied or easier (what i do), just throw away the bones.

the chicken rice

  • to be served with the green curry

  • take a small container and add the stock to it and let it boil

  • rinse a cup of rice (make sure you have the right amount so extra liquid does not stay behind, i eyeball my measurements)

  • let the rice boil and add a little black pepper or chopped bell peppers if you like.

  • once it is done, serve with the green chicken curry

You can add vegies to it and you can serve yourself one hearty meal even without the chicken curry or throw in some leftover meat to the rice.

(pics: courtesy google images. I promise will try to think of clicking pics and restrain myself from eating the delicious food next time)

magazine scribblings

I have been scribbling in this Chicago local magazine for a while now............ and I thought it would be nice to have the link here.

My article is on page you have to use the navigation buttons! Last week I tried green chicken curry and will place the recipe soon. Enjoy the Sunday!