Calcutta Style Chow Mien

I grew up in Calcutta and I love its street food. Whether it is phuchka or jhal muri or chinese or egg roll or mughalai or a typical indian ghugni, each and every food is to die for. I never had enough and especially during Durga Puja these delicacies seemed much tastier. It must be the blessings of Goddess Durga 🙂
We Indians love Chinese food so much that we reinvented Chinese food according to our own Indian taste. And trust me Indian Chinese tastes so good. And this Calcutta style Chow Mien is one of them.
I always make Chow Mien at home but somehow the street taste is always missing. Maybe because I make it hygienic and healthy 🙂
chowmien (Small)
The recipe follows:
The measurements are approximate. You can adjust the ingredients according to your taste.

Ingredients:
2 cups boiled string noodles
1 cup mixed vegetables(shredded cabbage, julienne carrots, thinly sliced bell peppers, green beans cut in 2 inches long)
1 medium sliced onion
1-1 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp crushed garlic
2 Tblsp sesame oil
2-3 Tblsp soy sauce
1 Tblsp tomato ketchup
2 tsp hot red chili sauce (increase or decrease according to the taste)I use Maggie hot chili sauce
2-3 tsp vinegar ( I used rice vinegar)
Salt and crushed black pepper to taste

Method:
This recipe will be cooked on high heat.
Put the gas on high heat. Place the wok and add oil.
When the oil is hot add onion and sauté. Do not let the onion burn. When the onion becomes loose add garlic and after few seconds add all the vegetables. Sauté for 3-4 mins. Stir occasionally. When the vegetables look tender add cooked noodles.
Add salt, red chili flakes, black pepper, soy sauce, chili sauce, ketchup. Mix well and let it cook for 2-3 mins. Adjust the spices. Add vinegar and mix everything properly. Turn off the gas and sprinkle some chopped green onion. Drizzle some sesame oil ( it’s totally optional).
Serve hot.
*You can add scramble eggs too.

Home Made Bagels

When I came to US I first got the taste of bagels. No shame to admit that bagel was totally new to me. I just loved it and literally eating everyday. And with the veggie cream cheese…Yum. I was eating so frequently until I learnt that one bagel has 67gms of carbohydrates and with cream cheese. Wow…too many calories. OMG!!! is it like four slices of bread in one go? This is too much, I need to stop. But the taste wouldn’t leave me. With many trial and error now I make wonderful, tasty and healthy bagels in my own kitchen. And the approval stamp came from my kids.They just love them.

Home Made Bagels
My recipe is as follows…

Ingredients:
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup bread flour
1 Tblsp molasses/sugar( i use molasses)
1 Tblsp oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 cup water ( 80-85 degree F)

For boiling bagels:
6 cups water
2 Tblsp molasses/sugar
1 tsp baking soda

For sprinkles:
2-3 Tblsp mixed seeds( caraway, sesame, dill, black poppy)

Method:
I use stand mixer to knead. It saves lots of time.
In a separate beaker mix yeast, sugar/ molasses and lukewarm water.Let it stand for 10 mins to ferment.
Mix all the dry ingredients in a stand mixer bowl. After 10 mins pour the fermented water into the bowl and knead for 3-4 mins. Make sure every bit of the flour has been incorporated. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and place it in a warm place for it to rise. After two hrs the dough will be double in amount. Pour the dough on floured surface. Start kneading it by turning into a ball from the edges. Do not put pressure. Just gently form into a ball. Divide the dough into 6-8 balls equally. Shape the balls and cover them with damp kitchen towel for another 20 mins for the second rise.
At the same time preheat the oven at 500 deg F for 25 mins. Place the baking sheet/ stone in the middle rack.
When you have about 10 mins left for the preheat, boil a pot of water for boiling bagels
When the water starts boiling turn the gas to medium heat. Add sugar and baking soda.
Punch 2 cm diameter holes in the middle of the bagels with your index finger stretching outwards. Drop bagels one at a time and cook one side for 1 minute and then flip the bagel and cook the other side for 30 secs. Repeat the same with the other bagels. Place all the cooked bagel on the floured parchment paper or towel. Sprinkle the seeds on the bagels.
When the oven is ready transfer the bagels to the baking stone or sheet with the help of the pizza peeler or wide mouth spatula. After 5 mins turn down the oven temperature to 480 degrees. Bake bagels for 20-25 mins till they are light golden brown.
Cool them for 15-20 mins before slicing. Serve with cream cheese/butter/jam.

Minty Mint Chutney

We Indians love all kinds of chutneys. Chutneys can be made with different herbs (like coriander or mint) or vegetables. It is an integral part of our meal. Back in India my grandmother and my mother used to grind herbs and vegetables on a flat stone mortar with a rolling pestle. And with all the spices added in the paste.Yum..an impeccable taste it used to be. The taste still lingers. 🙂 Chutneys are so versatile, you can use them in any cuisine. Use it boldly and freely on salads, subs, marination, tortillas, sandwiches even on pizza and quesadilla, etc. My husband LOVES to eat it on pizza.

There are many ways to make Mint Chutney.You can also mix some coriander leaves. Some recipe also calls for yogurt, but the shelf  life is not good. But when serving it, you can add some yogurt. Yogurt makes chutney creamy and shiny. In my recipe I have added some roasted Bengal gram lentils (from Indian store) but it can easily be replace by roasted peanuts.

Roasted Bengal gram lentils

Mint Chutney

Ingedients:
1 1/2 cup Mint leaves
2 Tblsp Roasted Bengal gram lentils OR Roasted peanuts
2-3 Small green chili(more or less)
1 tsp Sugar
1 inch Ginger
1 Tblsp lemon juice or more for more tanginess
2 tsp sunflower oil
1/4 cup cold water( more if needed to grind)
salt to taste

Method:

Mix all the ingredients and grind together to a fine paste. If needed adjust the seasoning with lemon, salt, or sugar.

I have used a mortar and pestle to grind it. It gives a coarse texture which I love a lot personally. It is great as a spread on sandwiches.

Roasted Bengal gram lentils

Roasted Bengal gram lentils

Mint Chutney

You can also grind it in a blender for a smooth texture. Both taste good.
Store it in an air tight glass jar or in a ceramic jar in a refrigerator. Do not store it in any metal or plastic containers or else the chutney will spoil. It will stay good for a week . And if stored in a freezer it will stay good for a month.

Delectable Alcoholic-free Jelly Shots

One day my daughter came from school and announced, “Mom, starting today I won’t be eating jello anymore because it comes from animals.” I respected her decision. But soon, days passed by I forgot all about it! One day, I thought of surprising her with her favorite jello pudding. But, when I served it, she reminded me that she can’t have it. How forgetful I’d been! I was feeling so guilty- but like all other Super Moms I thought of a quick fix. I searched my pantry and I found pectin. I had oranges too and I knew that pectin acts as a food thickener. Can I make a jello out of it? Absolutely! The end result was different but very tasty. It was not jiggly like jello but more like jelly in consistency. But hey, who cares? It was outstandingly tasty and this simple dessert brought a million dollar smile on my baby’s face. She hugged me so tight. The little things really do matter in our life.

Here is my recipe:

shot jello

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup Fresh Orange juice
1 Tblsp Lemon juice
1 tsp chia seeds
1/4 cup sugar ( add more for more sweet)
1 Tblsp Ball Low sugar pectin

Method:
Soak chia seeds in 1/2 cup water for 30 mins. Drain chia seeds after 30 mins.
Mix orange juice, chia seeds lemon juice and pectin and boil for 2 mins. Add sugar and boil to a rolling boil for another two minutes.
Pour into shot glasses. Refrigerate until it’s firm. Serve with whipped cream.
It sets faster than jello.

*Vegans can serve with whipped coconut cream.

Aside

Easy Cinnamon Raisin Bread

I love baking breads and its smell all over my home. It is so satisfying when I feed my hungry kids fresh bread when they come from school. Cinnamon raisin is one of their favorite. I am sharing a very easy and hassle free recipe. It tastes equally yummy, soft and moist.

raisin bread toast
raisin bread

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bread flour
2 Tblsp oil
1 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 Tblsp molasses/sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon powder( add a tsp more for extra flavor)
1 tsp white vinegar
1 1/4 cup lukewarm water(80-95 degree F)

Method:
If you have a Bread machine, follow the machine instructions and bake accordingly. The recipe makes one medium size bread.

By Hand:
Microwave raisins in 2 Tbls of water for 30-45 secs. The raisins will be plump and soft. Drain the water.
Mix all the dry ingredient except yeast.
Pour the water in a stand mixer bowl and sprinkle yeast and keep it stand for 10- 15 mins until the yeast has dissolved. Add oil, vinegar and molasses and stir.
Add all the dry ingredients to the water and stir them to combine. It will be a soggy dough but no worries. The flour will absorb water eventually. Let stand for 20-25 minutes.
After 25 mins use the dough hook to a mixer. Add raisins and knead the dough for at least 9-10 mins. If the dough is too sticky you can add lillte bit of extra flour. When the dough is ready it will be smooth and not soggy.

Alternatively, if kneading by hand, oil your hand. Push the dough forward and then fold the sides and tuck below.Knead like this for 5 mins. The dough will be sticky so extra flour will be needed.When it is smooth and not sticking dough will be ready.
Make a ball of dough and coat with oil. Also oil the bowl and keep the dough into a bowl. Cover the bowl and rest in a warm place until the dough doubles for about 90 mins.
Sprinkle little flour on counter and knead again slowly by pushing inwards from the sides. Roll it into a loaf. Oil the baking pan. Transfer the loaf into the pan.
Rest it for 40 mins for second time. When 20 mins of resting time passed , turn on the oven for 400 degrees to preheat. Brush lightly with oil. When the oven is ready turn down the temperature to 375 degrees. Bake for 30-35 mins in the middle rack. When the loaf sounds hollow when knocked, it’s done.

Let it cool in pan for 2 mins and then remove. It must be cooled completely before slicing.

Nutritious Wheat Berries Pilaf

Washington D.C. will always remain a monumental city for me. I never get enough with each visit and always look forward to returning. Last time we traveled to D.C for my daughter’s college tours. On one of our free days, we went to see the National Gallery of Art. At the Gallery’s cafeteria, I tried a very delicious wheat berries salad. It reminded me of a similar berry dish my mother used to make, but it used to be sweet. Wheat berries are very adaptable grains and can be versatile to use in any cuisine. Wheat berries are also full of protein and fiber. They have a chewy texture and a nutty flavor. I mostly get wheat berries from Indian stores but I recently have also seen them in organic and health stores.

erinkon

 

I always pre soak the berries overnight for easy digestion but it is not necessary. 

Ingredients:

1 cup Wheat berries/Einkorn

3 1/2 cup Water

1 Tbl sp Butter/oil/Ghee

1 small chopped red onion

1 or 2 chopped small green chili

1/2 inch crushed ginger

1/4 cup chopped carrot

1/4 cup chopped red or green bell pepper

salt to taste

2 tsp lemon juice

1/4 cup cilantro( optional)

Method:

To pre soak is optional.

Boil the water. When it is full boil, add the wheat berries and salt. Reduce the flame to medium low. Cover the lid and let it cook for 30-35 mins. Stir occasionally. After 30 mins check the grains, it should press when pressed with fingers. It should be chewy. If it is hard then let it cook for another 5-10 mins. If needed, add water too. After it is cooked drain the water. In another saute pan heat butter/oil/ghee. Add chopped onion, chili and ginger, then saute for 2 mins till the onion is loose. Add chopped vegetables and saute for another 2- 4 mins. When the vegetables are little tender add the cooked berries and salt and mix properly. Just before turning off the gas add lemon juice and cilantro. If needed adjust the seasoning. You can add black pepper too. Serve.

Cooked wheat berries can be refrigerated for 5-6 days.

Artisan Bread- Boule

Whenever I pass any bakery the aromatic smell of baked good tempts me to buy them. But instead of buying, I make them. I got this wonderful book, The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. They have some wonderful simple recipes with which I have made numerous loaves. And the outcome is always as good as the bakeries (sometimes better!).Image

I am including the link. It has the master recipe which I have followed. The original recipe doesn’t have sugar but I always add a tablespoon of sweetener(honey/molasses) to my breads.

http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2010/02/09/back-to-basics-tips-and-techniques-to-create-a-great-loaf-in-5-minutes-a-day