Friday, 27 November 2015

Ilish Begun (Hilsa and eggplants cooked in Mustard)

There are times when every efficient household in every bustling city goes through unimaginable stress. Mine is going through one right now. It is at these times when we stop and realise life is too short to be running all the time. Mornings are too beautiful to be missed. And dinners are too important to be skipped. It’s just the dinner where everyone in the house sits and dines together. Though my mind tells me that it should be a bowl of fresh out of garden salad that I need to dig in, but the heart guides you to a more elaborate carbohydrate filled and rich dinner that brings everyone together on the table. Couple it with a mismanaged household and all the running stress; and, this dish is born. 

I have been working from home since long. And suddenly today when I have to be out of the house each day, every day at the same time, somehow nothing seems to work in my favour. Everyone has expectations too high, and I have tolerance too low; which makes life really miserable for many. Yes my laundry basket is full and overflowing at times and a kitchen which is never clean by my standard. Absence of a proper housekeeper is evident from every corner of my home.  


While I sort through my troubles, I figured it is time for indulging in a dish that has given meaning to a life of a Bong more than once. My freezer has been ignored in these trying times, to the effect that it’s been more than 15 days since these last few pieces of fish were jailed inside. It’s a delicacy for us, on palette as well as on the wallet. I couldn't risk it on the untrained hands of my help to cook it properly. I for sure didn't have time, bouncing from one task to another. Finally, yesterday something dawned on me and i found these few fishes lurking in the dark corners of my freezer. I decided it is time now to come out of the induced slumber of inertia, and make something delicious, yet easy and comforting for my family to savour. My Ilish Begun is easy, sharp and gets the palette interested in the right level at the right time!

Ingredients

Ilish/ Hilsa/ Indian Shad- 6 steak pieces (
2 tbsp whole Yellow mustard seeds
1.5 tsp whole Black mustard seeds
1 dry red chilly whole, cut into 2 pieces
½ tsp of nigella seeds
½ tsp or less of ginger paste (just a pinch)
5 tbsp of mustard oil
2 long brinjals (small size) cut into 1 inch pieces
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste
Turmeric powder to taste
8 green chillies slit

Method



Smear the fish well with salt and turmeric to marinade, and keep it aside.

Marinade the eggplant pieces in salt, sugar and turmeric and keep it slanted on the kitchen counter for 20 minutes. 

Make a paste of both types of mustard with a pinch of salt and 2 green chillies. Once ground to the desired consistency, keep it aside. 

Now in a pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil with red chilli, and wait till it heats up while the chilly turns dark brown. Tip in the marinated eggplants and fry till it turns golden brown. Take it off the flame and keep it aside. 

In the same pan, heat 2 more tbsp of oil to smoking. Lightly fry the fish pieces and keep it aside. 

Now in the pan add the last bit of oil and crackle the nigella seeds. Tip in the mustard paste, and fry for 30 seconds. Add salt and turmeric to taste, followed with a half cup of water. 

Once the paste starts bubbling add in the eggplants and give everything a good toss. Add another half cup water, and let it come to a steady simmer. 

Tip in the fish pieces and adjust the water the way you wish it to remain. Let everything simmer on low heat, partially covered for 2 - 3 minutes. 

Taste for seasoning, and switch off the gas once you are certain of it. An additional drizzle of cold pressed Mustard oil will bring up the flavour and taste many folds. Serve it hot with steamed rice. 


P.S.- I had left over pieces which included the head and the tail of the fish as well. These cuts are extremely delicious and I am quite against of throwing these away. Respect your food and keep the wastages to minimum. Cheers!!

Monday, 9 November 2015

Garden Update!!

Choddo Shak

Today is Choti Diwali. And tomorrow is Diwali. I want to go green and want everyone of you who are reading, to think about it too. Today we create a dish with 14 different leafy veggies and eat it after lighting 14 diyas around the house. Its an age old custom marking the onset of festivities in Bengal. Diwali is special, but lets just keep the noise and smoke levels down. Festive time should never be marked with enjoyment over smoke and noise. HAPPY DIWALI!!  

I wasn’t a gardener before I shifted here in Gurgaon. In pretty much the same rent, I could now afford a big balcony. The drab red tiles with white walls didn’t really look that interesting. So I started touring the nearby nurseries. Another good thing about Gurgaon is that they have plenty of nurseries everywhere you go. I went to a couple, found my favourite amongst it, and kept revisiting. I love to haggle with the guy, does 20 bucks really matter to anyone anymore. I grinningly give him that 20 and take a couple of seedlings as a gift from him. For him, those seedlings may actually never find a pot if someone doesn’t buy it already. And with the advent of the idea of organic gardening, I guess many of us shy away from picking these seedlings in a bulk. For me, the start doesn’t really matter. Its ok even if it’s inorganic because really a seedling doesn’t need much of nutrition from outside to survive. The growth inside our balconies are more important and that decides organic or inorganic for me.

I use a couple of plant food which are a mix of organic and inorganic. A packet of bought vermi compost, followed by online deliveries of bone meal, sea weed extract and Epsom salt. I use neem oil mixed with vim as a pesticide. Between my days, whenever I can find an hour, I sneak into my container garden to mend to my plants. This is my exercise for the day as well as a reason to smile! Unfortunately, I don’t have the luxury of a local gardener. But I like it that way. I find more peace in the fact that I got them to grow this big and tall and the fruits are really the fruits of my labour. This post is a quick update of a few that is growing in my little container garden!

It all started with 2 humble pots and seeds. One had tomato seedlings transplanted, other had chillies. 

The pumpkin seeds were sown from a store bought ripe pumpkin, and then the seedlings were transplanted in these huge containers. I had to find the sunniest spot for these crawlers, away from all other plants. My family has devoured these lovely yellow blossoms, as the pumpkin flower is edible and tastes great when fried in a rice - gram flour coating. I am yet to receive a flower with a little pumpkin on the end. These are called female flowers, which gives birth to a pumpkin. I haven't got any yet. Hoping I do get one or two such flowers soon. 




This above picture was taken way back. I had just transplanted my seedlings in these shiny pots. The local nursery gave me seed packets at 20 - 40 INR. I sowed a variety of it in seedling trays, and then carefully transplanted each seedling in new pots with garden soil. The red elongated planters are my bean plants. This picture would have been taken about a week before my first beans sprouted.

 
The first little beans sprouted like so and led onto a bean explosion in my garden. 

I absolutely love growing this crop. It has kept a constant supply of beans since more than a month now for my kitchen. I don't particularly think this is the season for beans, but yet I am able to harvest beans every week, enough to feed our small family of 3 once a week.  


The banana has sprouted many leaves now for making a good dish Paturi/Patrani style. The little seedlings of brinjals have formed majestic looking fruits now. I have about 10 little brinjals growing right away. The spinach, red amaranth, basil and kaffir lime leaves are continuously cooked with. The radishes from the above picture have been pulled out and eaten satisfactorily, and another batch of seeds were sown and mended to as well. 
Harvested 5 of these! :) 

But the most curious case of my garden remains this tomato plant. A windy night saw it break down into 2 separate pieces. The murdourous scene is still etched in my mind. The stalk and the root got separated, and so I took the stalk, plucked off the bottom leaves and put it an inch deep, back in the soil. The fine hair on the stalk gave birth to new roots and that exact plant came upto life again. My first tomato from the garden came from that plant itself.  

 
This post was written for encouraging more people to go the greener way. This is not only a very inexpensive hobby, but is one of the most fulfilling ones as well. Today I chronicled a small patch of my garden, talking about just a few of the plants I grow. I have a full list of various different kinds of chillies and lemon plants which I will talk about sometime later. I have even tossed in a few potato cut outs to see if I can ever get some potatoes out of a pot, some soil and 1/4th of a cut seed potato. 

This weekend, I will transplant carrots and beetroot seedlings to its own pots for the winter crops to come to life. These few months of gardening has really helped me understand life better. The new growth will always fill us with happiness all around. 


THE GARDEN FRESH SALAD!

Cheers!!

Friday, 16 October 2015

Friendship & #DurgaPuja2015

If you don’t already follow me on social media, then you are definitely missing a lot of dope and gyan and fun stuff that’s happening up there. Do you know I have teamed up with 2 other extremely talented bloggers to create this amazing project which will make everyone’s Durga Puja Special? Oh wait, maybe u did know because about 10 days ago I posted something about it out here. So today is more about this event that we are planning and trying to execute out here to make all of yours week special. This time we come with large hearted sponsors who are happy to be part of this amazing project.


Now to the biggest question, what is #DurgaPuja2015??

Well it’s a fun thing where 3 friends are attempting to make more friends in the real and virtual world. A little about our friendship first. I met this sweeter than the roshogulla couple on a day visit to Kolkata, where I had gone to study the street food scene in the office para of Park street. We never knew each other before, but we met through blogging, especially since I had been to Sonar Tori about the same time as he did and he decided to write a review post about it which was so apt and to the point that I fell in love with it. Finally I met a guy with proper grammar and I wasn’t ready to let him go without befriending him. His better half has a magic hand where she whips up amazing stuff and every time I read her creations I go- ‘wat the hell, why didn’t I think of it before.’ Look at this bloody recipe of capsicum butter. What was I thinking of never having made it ever ever before. So madam, hats and knee caps off to you, really awesome recipe and Sir, really awesome pictures.

The next in line is another sweet couple who I have never met but I know are really hard working. Meet Shyamli of the foodieshut fame who actually came up with this idea of collaboration. Her hubby Biswa is the guy behind the camera and all technical stuff on her channel. My memory of Shyamali dates quite many years back when I saw a video of hers where she made a simple home staple in all our bong kitchens- lau chenchki. I swear the moment I saw her speak this sentence that it keeps our body cool in the heat, I instantly got reminded of umpteen no of time I heard it from my mom and kakimas- telling me to eat this lau/lauki/bottle gourd to keep shorir thanda.

That’s my connect with these guys. And that’s the connect I seek from every one of you who are reading me today. Let me come a bit closer to your life in this fashion. Let us become friends in this virtual life. And to do that we have put across a series of amazing contests and questions that I want you to answer. And what will be better, you can actually answer and win as well.

We are backed by 3 amazing e-Commerce start-ups that you need to check out this festive season.

1.       We have our sweetness partner who is delivering Kolkata mishti everywhere in India. Its sweethandi.com if you seek to send someone special, something damn special and bong. Look at the amazing packaging these guys do. And I for one have used and reused the ice packs more than the mishti I ate.

2.       What is adda without some good tea. And what is tea without some long leaf green tea. Green tribe has 3 flavours of amazing tea that you don’t want to miss at all. They source every little leaf from Assam tea estates which are certified organic. Head over to Greenngood.com to check them out.

3.       And finally lets get nice cutting chai on board too. I mean ok we health buffs like green tea, but that morning chai with milk and ginger, who can forgo that? Head over to Assam 1860 to get some of that.
So, 5 friends, continents and states apart with different flairs of amazing things to come. Are you not excited already? Follow me on twitter, Instagram and facebook to get all the dope on #DurgaPuja2015.

Monday, 5 October 2015

#DurgaPuja2015

Ya devi sarbabhuteshshu,
SAKTI rupena sanksthita
Namasteshwai Namasteshwai Namasteshwai
Namo Namaha

Very very soon, the radio is gonna go abuzz with these heavy words from an even heavier throat. That time of the year is here. The new clothes smell so good, so fresh and so pretty. We as a community are gearing up to welcome Ma Durga to come visit us for 5 days. Festivities would start. There will be songs and dances. There will be drama enactments. There will be a lot of nice things to eat. There will not be calorie consciousness. There will be 5 days of no flame in every bong household. This is pujo as we know. This is the pujo that we yearn for all year round.


A typical day during the pujo starts with Uposh/vrat/fast. We get up, bathe, don new day wear and off to the pandal to offer our prayers with utmost sincerity. Then comes pushpanjali. After the general prayer of wellbeing, we offer our deity fragrant flower and three leaves of wood apple tree, in hope that she blesses and accepts our prayers. Sheesh, even in prayers we offer bribes. But it’s a bribe that gives the nature a push to make it more beautiful. These plucked flowers and leaves, ensure that the tree produces more fragrance and more colour around us.

After pujo, the breakfast commences. Every pandal would host a couple of street food stalls from where, depending on the taste and temperament, we choose our breakfast. For me, my heart just desires a good plate of fresh puffy Radhaballabi with alur torkari (deep fried lentil stuffed flat breads with potato curry) or korai shutir kachori with alur torkari (deep fried green pea stuffed flat breads with potato curry). These fresh treats are really something of indulgence, but this is festive time, and it calls for indulgence. I did forget to mention that before breakfast, a simple proshad of fresh cut fruits which were offered to the deity, is passed around as well.

Pujo without mishti is pretty much unfathomable. And a mid-morning snack has to be a delectable plate of soft rasogulla or deep fried and dunked in sweet syrup kind khoja! Yes I know, oil is directly proportional to pujo, and you really can’t differentiate the 2 for these 5 days. If you fear about your arteries, it is now that you should start intense work out and eat salad between all the planning.

The lunch is just the bhog. That divine intervention in making that simple khichri just takes the dish to a new level of taste. Also its fun and frolic, you stand in a line with your friends, talking and chatting, while flaunting your beautiful day wear saree; that in itself is enough to notch up the taste parameters of a khichri which is made in bulk and served to everyone who comes in.

After lunch, it’s time to head home. The evening needs to be prepared for. The new night wear saree comes out. Home facials are done. Make up is selected. And off we go again in the finest of our glory. Everyone in the pandal would look party ready. It’s a beautiful place to be. The programmes start. The stalls light up. Friends catch up to a dinner of fish fry or Frankie’s with loads of cold drinks flowing about.

This is my fondest memory of pujo. All my life we have done this. And for the further years, we will continue to do this. Pujo is a celebration. A festival where we celebrate each of the five days. And today, we would love to tell you about it. A group of 4 bloggers have come together to make u feel at home in the festivities. 2 are coming straight from the heart of all merry festivities in Kolkata. I am trying to explore pujo in a new city- Gurgaon. And another blogger is coming all the way from Australia. We have planned many wonderful things for the coming days. So keep checking and keep clicking!! Cheers!! :) 


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Left Over Wow - Layered Methi Biryani!!

A young mom’s biggest tension in life is to get rid of the huge amounts of leftover she gets left with. My child however so I wish, refuses to eat many things that are staple to his growth. But I ain’t one of those moms who is going to quietly make those left overs my own dinner. I spice and spruce it up and make it a bigger than life thing for the full family to enjoy. This post is an idea which pretty much stemmed out of this very emotion.

So I harvest these young fenugreek leaves, about which I wrote in my earlier post- 

Growing Your Greens- Fenugreek!!


My son is extremely happy to have parathas made with fenugreek the first day. The next day too he devoured these bitter microgreens with ease and I was beyond happy. So I sowed the seeds again and this time when I harvested, I decided to try a rice dish instead. I was in a mood to prepare a wow dish, but had a big bowl of left over rice in the fridge with some hard boiled eggs which was very rudely denied by my little guy the previous night. So to serve him something healthy yet fenugreek-y, I took some carrots and ripe pumpkin to make a curry where the spice used was just these fresh microgreens from my balcony. Then I transformed the curry into a layered biryani adding in some hidden flavours. If you are positively curious about the dish now, then you should definitely read on to the next page to get possibly the most amazing yet so very simple- Layered Methi and Subz Biryani. 




Ingredients for making the Fenugreek and Veggie Curry

2 medium carrots cut in ½ inch pieces
150 gms pumpkin cut in big ½ inch pieces
Harvested fenugreek microgreens. I didn’t really weigh or measure it, but it would be approximately 3 big handfuls.
2 tbsp of mustard oil      
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 bay leaf
1 dry red chilly
Salt to taste
A pinch of Turmeric
Sugar to taste
To be ground-
2 to 3 fat cloves of garlic
2 small onions or a big one
3 green chiliies
Handful of cilantro leaves

For layering-

Cooked Rice (stale or not, nothing for guessing what i must have used!)
A boiled egg sliced
A couple of spoonful of mango and chilly pickle with mustard oil (I used a homemade mango and chilly pickle. I had followed Alpana Habib’s method of pickling. She is a famous celebrity chef from Bangladesh, whose food is quintessentially Bengali. But for this recipe, any other hot and sour and sweet pickle would work as well. I love to use the oil mixed with juice of the pickle so it is a good idea if you are buying a pickle, buy the one which is preserved in mustard oil)
A dash of milk
Sliced onion fried- barista (optional)

Chopped cilantro


Cheers!!



Note-

I didn’t use fried onions because it’s extremely tedious to cut fry and drain it, just for a weekday lunch to be carried to the office. But if I was to serve it in a party, I would do these extra steps willingly.

To make it completely vegetarian, just omit the egg part and you are good to go.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Growing Your Greens- Fenugreek!!

How many of you guys out there reading me right now have a green something close to u! Nope, tat green cup or a fridge magnet doesn’t count. I mean real living green leaves around you, especially if you have a balcony to spare. When I look out while I write this, I see this view and I feel lucky to have made this green patch in my home today. I have a bigger terrace which has vegetable seedlings growing and another little balcony which has herbs growing. I manage the gardens alone, with whatever help I get from anyone. Nursery visits are satisfying but sowing seeds from a real veggie is still much more filling than that. Mixing manure with soil, feeling the stringy roots forming and marvelling at the growth these little guys go through. Sigh… Container gardening is really a wonderful thing that has changed the way urban living goes! Today, just a bit of these little guys in nooks and corners of your house are gonna brighten your day up, and if you plant edible stuff, then the harvest will brighten your dish up as well.



For some time now, friends in the real and virtual worlds have been marvelling on my social media posts of my little container garden. There have been many requests for tips and tricks to get a green belt going in every house. It’s an inexpensive hobby that I discovered after moving to Gurgaon. And my balconies are turning green faster than I thought, and firmer than I ever imagined. The most satisfying beginner crop that I grow here is methi or fenugreek. And today I am going to pen down the way to plant it in the easiest fashion possible, which worked for me. I have harvested and replanted fenugreek quite many times, and each time I did that, it felt wonderful to eat wat I grew with my own hard work. It was fresh, pungent and so so tasty. I made this layered box for my husband to carry to his office. He was blown over when he opened the box and the aroma of these methi leaves travelled out. Growing your own veggies does guarantee a freshness which cannot be had anywhere else.

This is a unique recipe on my site today. In fact who would have thought I would be giving off recipes to planting seeds in this little corner that I call mine. I didn’t for sure, but if you liked it then do send out a shout to me on any of the mediums. I will then concentrate on making more such posts and giving you more inexpensive tips to get a green belt going in your house.

Now to planting these little guys. A fistful of your methi/fenugreek seeds can be thrown overnight in a bowl of water to soak. In the morning, all you do is take a few disposable salad bowls and with sharp knife or a part of scissors, drill some holes for proper drainage. Fill tat up with some soil mixed with manure and sprinkle the soaked seeds evenly on its surface. Sprinkle some more soil on top to barely cover the seeds. Water the seeds well and pat it down gently but firmly for a good soil to seed contact. Keep it in a draft free dark place and keep sprinkling some water daily for the first leaves to pop i.e. germination. Once there transfer it to a balcony and water it every day to get a good harvest of young Kasuri Methi leaves in 10 to 15 days’ time. When you are ready to harvest, take a bunch and snip off the roots. If you are eating it fresh like I do, then let the stocks remain. If you intend to dry it and make the spice ‘Kasuri Methi’ with it, then pluck the leaves only.


Now I can’t leave you without a proper recipe to go with this post. So keep looking out here, as my next post is going to blow your minds off. I would be making this delectable bowl that I call- METHI BIRYANI. And the best part is, I just used the left over rice to make it. So it is a recipe that you don’t want to miss really. And it’s perfect in fact better as a tiffin/lunch box than served right then and there. So coming really soon is my smart use of left over rice and hard boiled eggs in the making of Methi Biryani!  



Cheers!!

Saturday, 12 September 2015

#WIN15 Voting!


It started as a passion, leading on to becoming a profession and now to get this encouraging news has led me on to my belief- THAT I AM MADE FOR FOOD ONLY.. 
A good day spent for me has elements of food in it only. And as if cooking wasn't enough, that now my passion lies in gardening and tending plants which can bear fruits for me to harvest. From onions to potatoes, they have all been seeded and shaag/leafy veggies that have been harvested too.. 

So today when my blog- ZOUQH got nominated for #win15 by BlogAdda.com, I couldn't be more humbled by the thought that so many must have wanted me to stand with such stalwarts of food blogging industry, many of whom have always been an inspiration to me. I surely am quite happy to considered as to 10 indian food bloggers of today, and I sit prettily on top in alphabetic order! So, PLS PLS VOTE FOR ME; as i deserve to be on top non alphabetically as well. :) :D 

Like, comment and tweet to register your vote properly!! :) Cheers!!

Monday, 24 August 2015

Turning 30 With Kochur Loti (Colocasia Stems)

Is age just a number? Or does it signify something… For sure I am getting older! This year I would be celebrating my big 3 with a child who is a big 2. I don’t know if it’s the number, but I surely think it’s a bigger issue here. I chose to settle in matrimony at an early age, and as a result, my life took a fast turn into a calm sunset. Lots of my friends are still living off tinned, packaged food, while I make gourmet domesticated stuff that I grow in my garden. Flirting with fenugreek and spinach is all I do to perk up a boring week evening. And nothing can lift my mood up and beyond than a simple glass of chilled iced scotch coupled with jazz in my ears. Really, I am still in my 20-ies. But these are the things I work hard for, the good luxuries of life.

Why do you think I am ranting about age today? Well, it stemmed out of nowhere literally, but when it did, I was completely flummoxed and out of words. It all started on a fateful evening. I decided to drop in unannounced on a friend who was a birthday girl that day. In the morning when I called to wish her, I heard her recount all amazing plans for the weekend and the birthday; and I severely felt left out as I didn’t fare in any of the plans she recounted out to me. So, after my busy day in the kitchen, I picked up my little guy from school and barged in to her apartment. There I met a girl for the very first time- Miss X. I casually told her my name and she brightened up to tell me that ‘I have heard so much about you, so good to finally meet you.’ Here was Miss X, of whose existence I had no idea at all; though she regularly featured in my friends various parties and get-togethers. But she knew me by my name and I didn’t. That got me thinking, why it is that such a good friend of mine never involved me in her plans, but talked about me to everyone she met. She is still single, has a happening life in the metro. She can go to Agra at a moment’s notice. Somehow I don’t have that luxury anymore. I have matured into a place where I plan each day in the morning, and follow it immaculately all throughout. I cook, I write, I garden, I work and then I drink my favourite and off to sleep to wake up to this very routine again. Boring is it? Don’t know! Am I too busy to notice? Don’t know again! Am I enjoying this? Well, in a very strange fashion, yes I am.
I am enjoying being in this routine. We do party, but our parties don’t have night clubs or discos anymore. And somehow, we have grown to like such a quiet elegant life. Merits are plenty too.  We eat healthy each day, and so eating out or ordering in is special and is done to make memories. We spend our days thinking about designs of new furniture or some other thing like a new dish or a new crop to grow. And my little guy, he is in the centre of it all. We have grown old. And it’s good to agree, feel and act like your mental age. After all, I conclude- Age is just a number!

Today’s recipe is nothing else. It’s an ode to mature tastes. As a child everyone hates colocasia. It’s an acquired taste, just like whiskey. A matured palette can differentiate the finer nuances of the taste. The itching fades away as our throat becomes bolder to fathom more calcium oxalate than before. Today I made this dish to be served in a potluck. I packed it in colourful dabbas, and the picture is testimony to that. But really, the dish can’t get simpler than that. Now, I created this curry with colocasia stems, but you can easily substitute it with cauliflower, following exactly the same steps as shown below.

Ingredients
500 gms Colocasia stems, washed peeled and cut in 2 inch size pcs
To be ground to a fine paste
·         2 tbsp of black mustard seeds
·         1.5 tbsp poppy seeds
·         Green chillies to taste
·         Pinch of salt
·         Very little water
P.S. I don’t strain the paste to remove the black shells of the mustard. You can if you so wish to. The old kakimas (aunties) always blamed the shorshe shells for their husband’s poor tummy. Though I feel otherwise, and blame the mustard oil instead.
2 to 3 tbsp of mustard oil (I know it’s quite less, but if you use this efficiently it will give you amazing results)
A pinch of ginger paste (to enhance the mustard flavour)
1 tsp of onion seeds/ nigella seeds
Water as per requirement
Salt, sugar and turmeric as per taste.

Method

Wash and drain the stems well and in a steaming pot, steam it in a microwave/steamer with some water. Steam on high power for 5 minutes. Let cool, strain and discard the water which would now be filled with calcium oxalate- the culprit that causes the itching. Let the stems drain out completely and come back to room temperature.

Once it’s cold to touch, smear on the mustard and poppy seed paste evenly. Mix in the ginger, salt, turmeric and a tbsp. of oil. Marinade in it for 30 minutes or so.

In a non-stick wok, heat a tbsp. of mustard oil till smoking hot. Splutter in the onion seeds and tip over the marinated stems.

Cook it on low to medium flame, stirring it occasionally till its soft and cooked through. This will take about 15 to 20 minutes. To aid it to cook faster, partially cover the wok with a lid, but make sure to toss every now and then to incorporate air. This will help in uniform cooking.

Salt it generously as it would be served dry with steamed rice. As an optional step, do balance the taste and pungency by adding some sugar and mixing it well in the dish. Just 2 big pinches of sugar would do the trick.  
Once you are happy with the texture and taste, switch off the gas and drizzle on a tbsp. or more of raw mustard oil. This is optional, but highly recommended as it takes the dish up to a new height where no one will understand wat exactly hit them. Serve piping hot with steamed rice.



Cheers!

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Depression Vs Sandwiched French Toast!!

It took me some time to write this article. In fact my editors mailed me twice saying, 'what happened, where the last instalment of my anti-depressant series is?' That was a fair enough question. I have taken way more time to pen this article down. And the reason- well it’s just that I am in seventh heaven after my ‘Depression Vs One Pot Pasta’ post. Not only was it way too colorful and fancy for warding off depression; but it was also the most liked, read and ‘made’ recipe of mine. I garnered much ado for writing the recipe, in the virtual and real world. And compliments really lifts your spirit high. So, you see; I wasn’t really sure if I would be able to write on being pressed, stressed and depressed; all at the very same time!

But today, it’s different. Today I really feel stressed. My toddler has waded off into a world full of knowledge with strangers around him. As I sit in the reception of the school, typing furiously on my keypad, my insides are churning in tension. I might look composed on top, but only I know how much I feel like a ticking time bomb inside. Every time the reception door opens, I pry to see if I can get a glimpse of my child somewhere. Needless to say, it’s the very first time I have left my child away from me, with strangers, for this long. Today, I sit here checking on his progress, giving myself the satisfaction of being close to him and be on his beck and call. Tomorrow would be a bigger tussle. Tussle more for the mom in me. And so I need something to ward this feeling off. This is the time, I feel I am ready to have my most famous breakfast all day dish- Sandwiched French Toast.

Now, in all fairness you don’t have to stuff just sweet fillings or a store bought Nutella in a jar. Obviously a homemade nut butter is preferred, which can be jazzed up with some cocoa powder and icing sugar. But this dish will taste awesome with anything really. And it’s hardly a recipe too. You can make your own spin and follow these simple steps to get a savory or sweet snack/breakfast ready in a moment’s notice. I will give you many filling options but my hubby likes the one with Nutella and that is what I make mostly. But any day I prefer a cheesy sharp French toast to this dessert like Nutella filled ones.

Ingredients
3 eggs
3 tbsp of milk
Sliced bread
Oil/butter

Filling
Savoury
Grated cheese mix with Gouda and/or cheddar mixed with parmeggiano
Finely chopped green chilies to taste
Finely chopped roasted garlic to taste
Finely chopped spring onion to taste
Sweet
A dollop of nut butter and/or jams

For the way to make it with added tips and tricks, Click Here- SmartIndianWomen.com




The Rest in the Series-

Cheers!!

Friday, 31 July 2015

Attention! Attention! Attention!!

A quick media post to inform all my readers that this humble blog was chosen to be amongst the top 6 Indian Food Blogs. And I cant stop beaming at that!! :) :D

Read for yourself....

Link To Baggout Article- http://blog.baggout.com/2015/07/31/top-15-food-and-drink-blog-post-of-last-month-june-2015/

Excerpt...

6. Zouqh
Antara roy has shared a pasta recipe which she is confident can cure depression. She has shared a vegetarian version of it while it can be converted into a non-vegetarian one also. From this we can be assured of the power of Indian food and spices. If you want to look at such a powerful preparation, you must look at this post.
ZOUQH

Monday, 20 July 2015

Weekend Trail- Bread Baking and Sartori!!!


Social experiments truly pave way to new beginnings. And since I relocated, I have been constantly testing myself in kitchen with projects that are equal parts exciting and enterprising. In my quest to quench my ever increasing appetite of testing and tasting, I conducted a small exercise this weekend which took a deliciously divine turn and led me to try my hands on bulk baking. It started as a small discussion on 2 popular forums, where we were talking about home-made, preservative free breads made with whole grains like whole-wheat and finger millet. Everyone seemed quite excited about the idea, and urged me to deliver it to their houses. And I did so. Sunday evening, I went over to each house to deliver a freshly baked bread and I was greeted with smiles and encouragements. I already received a few e-mails urging me to continue as the quality, texture and feel of the bread suited the buyer’s expectations. I too enjoyed myself in this whole exercise. The smell of fresh bread permeated through my house and both my boys were beside themselves tasting hot soft breads out of the oven. The only part I need to figure out is the delivery, as every weekend, as much as I wish, I really can’t travel around the city delivering breads. So thanks everyone for such an amazing response. I truly loved every bit of this weekend and the nice drive that it ended with. I would be most obliged to get your feedbacks so that I can come out stronger than this! Thanks a ton!! 




And my companion for this baking time was this new find- a bottled cocktail made with vodka and absinthe, named 'Sartori Absinthe Classic'. As a review to the drink, well, it was quite sweet yet had a kick to it. I felt it was a good breezer substitute, but for me it lacked the oomph of the green fairy. 

Friday, 10 July 2015

A Honey Diet to be Remembered!!

Diet/dieting is such a misleading word with a wrong interpretation. In our day to day parlance we have started using the word to talk about a restriction of food in order to loose weight. But really, the father of the English when made this word, all he intended it to mean was the usual amount of food and drink of a living being, including an animal or an insect. It was not to take a drastic makeover of such heights. Alas, he might be turning in his grave quite violently; but today all we associate while hearing this word is restriction of food. And it’s only when we add 'balanced' to the 'diet' that we mean what it was supposed to be meant!!

Oh, I am with you. I know it’s confusing. But before you get very stressed and pressed about the word, I have got you covered. However, whatever it means, you just need to mean one thing while eating- HEALTHY EATING. It doesn’t have to be only about salads, trust me you need that elusive carbohydrates too. And sugar isn't your enemy. Your body needs everything that nature provides to you and the habits you have grown up eating with. It just means you move around those things and have a healthier option instead. Like if you love bread, and can’t live without it; restricting yourself of this treat would be much more harmful. In the absence of it, you would start craving it more and hence 1 fine day you would end up eating a whole loaf of it, rather than a slice. Similarly, if you have sweet tooth, eat something sweet twice to thrice a week. Don’t completely devoid yourself of it, rather opt for lesser sweet and more fibrous wholesome sweeteners like natural honey, jaggery, brown sugar etc.  

Today, I write for Dabur, who has recently launched a campaign called Honey Diet. And I have a few recipes that I have made with honey, replacing the sugar and gaining a more earthy flavour out of it. These three are my favourites, and all I want is for you to try this healthy recipes.

First up is my whole-wheat bread/pizza dough. This is a great alternative for white bread in your breakfast and has potential of being overly addictive.




Next in line is my Baked Apples. Another great breakfast option as well as a healthy dessert snack to satisfy the sweet craving.




And to end this lovely honey diet, try making my Whole-wheat Honey and Banana Muffins.



Hope these Recipes gave you a great idea to start with this new diet. In case you need more gyaan on healthy eating, follow the link here-http://antaras-zouqh.blogspot.in/2015/06/equality-dinner-plate.html 

For more information Dabur's Honey diet, follow the link here- http://www.daburhoney.com

Sponsored Post

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Work and food dilemmas!!

It’s not a new story... age old!! I have work to do so I can’t cook, lets order in today!! And this kind of becomes a repeated story for months on it. Yeah there is an easy Indian option to hire a cook. But that comes with its own pair of strings, not to mention the cost. And then, you don’t have strict office timings, when do you ask the cook to come in?? So the easy home-made solution to these woes- Maggi and others of its kind. It’s unhealthy, and hence you decide to put it off for the next New Year resolution to start eating healthy. If this is you and you have read till this point, you might want to continue on as I have figured out a great solution to these woes...

First of all, let’s look at the problem.
  •         Time: You never seem to have enough of it to look for pots and masalas on the kitchen counter.
  •     Energy: always tired to go in the kitchen... Really!!
  •     Now Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver both did some inspiring work on this front. But we dont get their food. We want our desi stuff!!


So here are the solutions to all these problems, in THREE words- PLANNING, MARINATING & REFRIGERATING!!

To read more, and I know you do want to as there are many tips and tricks that you cant forgo; click here- http://www.smartindianwomen.com .

I See UC Browser!!

Internet woes are the worst to overcome. A bad connection coupled with a broken un-updated browser, and you are in for the most irritated ride in the world. I live by the internet and for me, a fast healthy connection is of utmost importance. Wifi helps to some extent, but the rest is gauged by the browser I use. Till now I was content with chrome. Firefox had lost its sheen long time back, and chrome had taken its place beautifully. But since a few days now, a faster squirrel of a browser is spreading its magical tail on internet, claiming to be the fastest till now.

A tech illiterate like me was asked to review it. I mean yes, the company had its reasons. I am pretty much all day on the internet, browsing through innumerable numbers of videos and sites and blogs. I use a smart phone too, and the chrome browser doesn’t connect my phone to laptop screen. So basically I am the perfect target for UC browser to seek. And hence, I started trying it out yesterday. It’s faster than chrome no doubt. And I am in love with its feature of connecting my mobile to the laptop. It’s so hassle free and I keep reading the particular blog, in and out, switching the devices. But I have saved the best for the last. You cannot even imagine how fast it downloads, and gives me an option to check up all my downloaded history, including…. Shh… don’t quote me ever… but really including torrents. I am no cricket fan, but Yuvi claims that he has a cricket corner especially for you guys who live and eat cricket. After so many good things, I feel it’s definitely worth a try. I haven’t yet managed to find a flaw, but well I have just used it for 2 days yet. So try and let me know if u feel there are things to be changed and features to be banned. I would most definitely try to connect you or convey your comments to the right ears. I am still a tech illiterate, but the cute colourful squirrel with its walnut is killing me with acute cuteness.

For downloading the browser, follow the link here- http://www.ucweb.com/

And for the cricket lover like you, here I throw in a small surprise where Yuvi talks to you directly. Do check it out on the UC Browser.




Sponsored Post

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...