SursWorld

Food and some stories....

Category: Baked

Moist Banana Muffins-for Diwali

Diwali is almost here, literally knocking on the doors and I cannot contain my excitement. Since childhood this has been my favorite festival, and I look forward to it every year. The lights, sweets, everyone in their brightest attire, I love it all. So what am I serving my guests this Diwali, apart from the candied walnuts we made last time? Some warm muffins, yes moist banana muffins. Time for some new ideas, and muffins it is.

The good part, they have fruit in it, I make it with brown rice flour, (you can use whole wheat or all purpose too) and raw sugar, so it’s definitely healthier than the store bought options, and the kids just love it. It’s a great breakfast and snacking option. And believe me your guests will bless you for serving something different this festive season.

Let’s dive into the recipe.

 Moist Banana Muffins

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups brown rice flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

4 ripe bananas, mashed

¾ cup raw sugar

⅓ Cup olive oil

1 egg

½ cup chocolate chips (optional)

Method

Preheat the oven at 170 degrees C, and line your muffin tray with muffin cups or grease with butter.

Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Then mix together the wet ingredients, banana, oil, egg and the sugar. Fold the banana mixture with the dry flour mixture gently, till all is incorporated well. Add the chocolate chips.  Put the mixture in the muffin tray and bake for 15 to 20 minutes. You can check by inserting a toothpick in the middle, it should come clean, that means your muffins are done.

Moist Banana Muffins

Moist Banana Muffins

Bhetki Paturi-Fish in mustard sauce wrapped in banana leaf

For Bengali’s the world over fish and rice is the staple, and no feast is complete without a fish delicacy. So imagine to my parents horror, as a kid I used to hate fish, and lunch time was a challenge whenever fish was made. The variety of fish available to choose and eat in Kolkata would gladden the heart of any fish loving Bengali, but I would curse the abundance of produce.

It’s only now grown up and faraway from Kolkata, that I have learnt to appreciate the cuisine and especially fish and the myriad ways my mother would make fish curry. Just a change in addition of vegetables or spices and voila a new fish curry recipe with the same fish. I doubt any other culture has so many ways of making the same fish as we Bengalis do; and I miss all of it in Mumbai. Although Mumbai has a huge Diaspora of Bengalis, the lack of good fish is a problem I have faced. I miss the big 7-8 kg rohu or bhetki (Indian Basa) that is usually available in Kolkata and I find that they are far tastier than the small 1-2 kg fish that we get in Mumbai. So recently found this online vendor of fish who delivers fresh bhetki fillet right at home, so no more trips to the fish market.

I usually make fish fry or fish cutlets with the Bhetki fillets, this time wanted to try something else, so thought of making Bhetki Paturi, which is basically fish wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. One of the most well known and loved Bengali dishes, it’s an evergreen and everyone’s favourite dish. I tried making it for the first time, and was wondering why I haven’t tried it before, so simple to make and so mouth watering that it will convert any non fish loving person.

Traditionally, it is wrapped in banana leaves and steamed; I have used banana leaves and instead made them in the oven. If you don’t have access to banana leaves, aluminium foil will do just fine; I ran out of banana leaf and used foil. But it does look far more delectable wrapped in a banana leaf, as good food is as much visual as much it titillates your palate.

Bhetki Paturi

Ingredients

3 tbsps mustard seeds

1 tsp poppy seeds

7-8 green chillies

2-3 garlic cloves

Mustard oil

Turmeric

Grated fresh coconut

500 Gms bhetki fillet

salt to taste

Method

Start by cutting the fish into pieces, roughly 2.5”× 2.5”; coat the pieces with salt and turmeric and set aside. Then we need to make the mustard paste. Soak the poppy and mustard seeds in little water for about 30 minutes. Drain and make a paste in the blender along with about 4 green chillies and 2-3 garlic cloves, add about two teaspoons of water to the paste.

Once the paste is ready we add a pinch of turmeric, salt to taste and a tablespoon of mustard to it, your mustard mixture for fish is now ready.

Next we cut the banana leaves as per our fish to wrap them, it will be a good idea to warm them on low flame on the gas or put them in the oven for some time and wilt them so that they are easier to wrap, as they become softer.

Now to marinade the fish we take the leaf, smear the mustard paste on both sides generously, add grated coconut and sliced green chillies and wrap them, it will be a good idea to tie them up with a piece of string. Let the fish rest wrapped in banana leaves for about 30 to 45 minutes; you can pop them in the fridge.

Bhetki Paturi

Bhetki Paturi

Pre heat oven at 175C and then bake the fish for about 15 to 20 minutes. Unwrap the banana leaves for steaming delicious fish, always serve hot; best eaten with steamed rice.

 

Sausage Rolls|British in my kitchen

I love London, and can travel to the city every year and never get tired of the place. I love the food, the weather, the people just about everything about the city, and of course the London tube, omnipresent and so convenient. Having just been to the city recently in February, the memories are still fresh. This time while I was exploring London on my own, (the husband was working) I discovered the sausage roll. When I say discovered I mean, of course they were always there, but, it kind of became my go to food in London, whenever I wanted a small bite. I fell in love with them and ate them everywhere, bought them from supermarkets, ate them in cafes, bakeries and even in the airport the last day while leaving London.

Sausage roll is essentially a British savoury pastry snack; basic composition is bits of meat in sheets of puff pastry. While eaten in other European countries, it’s as much a part of the British food scene as much as Jamie Oliver!! Now considered a part of Boxing Day celebrations they are my favourite British snack. And I plan to recreate this in my kitchen, my ode to all things British.

I had a lot of fun making them in the kitchen, and eating them was even more fun. Since I was making them for the first time, I did not attempt making puff pastry from scratch and got store bought puff pastry. I hope you have as much fun in the kitchen making these, as I had.

Here what you need to do.

Ingredients

One egg yolk

500 gm chicken mince (you can use any kind of meat you want)

One onion chopped

One egg

Mustard powder-1 tsp

Fresh chopped parsley

1 tsp garlic mince

Salt and pepper

Onion seeds

Puff pastry

Method

Beat the egg well and add the chicken mince, the onion, garlic, parsley and mustard. Mix until thoroughly combined. Add the salt and pepper; you can fry a little bit of the mixture and taste it to check the seasoning.

Unwrap the pastry dough and roll them into balls and then using a rolling pin flatten them out in the desired shape. Cut them into small squares, put a little bit of the mixture in the centre, fold pastry and then press seam to seal the edges.

Cover your baking tray with parchment paper and place them on the tray. Beat the egg yolk and use it a as an egg wash, brush all the rolls with the same. Mine looked something like this, pardon the shapes, geometry was never my forte.

Sausage Rolls

Sausage Rolls-before popping in the oven

Now traditionally the rolls are then topped with fennel seeds or sesame seeds, I have instead used onion seeds. I prefer them as they add another dimension to the dish and you will just love the smell of onion seeds toasting in your kitchen, and they taste much better too.

Bake in a preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes at about 200 degree Celsius.  I will just go and dig into my sausage rolls.

 

 

 

 

Baked John Dory

Imagine you had dinner plans and all of a sudden they get cancelled, you had dreamed of having some good food and all of a sudden you have to fend for yourself. What to do then? What if I tell you that you can get a restaurant quality meal in 30 minutes and that includes time for prep, the actual cooking will take even lesser time. So when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

So now you know my predicament that I faced the other day, I was really craving good food and did not want to slave in the kitchen for too long. So a quick scan of the fridge revealed that I had fish in the fridge. Unlike other meats fish is the quickest to thaw and also the fastest to cook, so I knew exactly what I was having for dinner.

First course of action quickly get the fish out of the fridge, and put it in some water to let it thaw quickly; I had a filet of John Dory in my freezer( you can use basa or bhetki fillet for the same). While the fish is thawing; I quickly scanned the fridge to see what vegetables I had in the fridge, I found some carrots, broccoli and zucchini. Now my secret to quick cooking, is that whenever I have time I keep some vegetables chopped in the fridge, this saves me a lot of time, so I was grateful that I didn’t have to start chopping now. All I did was just take out some garlic cloves and finely chopped them; and I was good to go for the fibre part of the meal.

Once the fish is thawed, smear both sides with salt and let the fillet be like that for some time, so that the salt is infused properly. Meanwhile get a pot of salted water on the gas burner ready, once the water is boiling put the carrot in it, after a while the broccoli and the zucchini last, all this not for more than three minutes. You will see the vegetables colour enhance, take it out before the zucchini loses its crispness. Once the vegetables are out take a frying pan put the chopped garlic with some butter and stir till the garlic is fragrant, add the veggies and stir till the vegetables are coated well in the butter. Your side for the fish is ready.

DSC01272

Now to bake the fish, you need lemon, I had a Gondhoraj in the fridge so I chopped it into small wedges. If you don’t have a Gondhoraj, you can use regular lemons, for a full size fillet probably use two lemons, and cut them into wedges. Take a baking tray and coat both sides of the fish with black pepper, pour olive oil over the fish generously, and tuck the lime wedges under the fish. The lemon will get baked and slowly release the juices infusing the fish. Add some bay leaf. Bake the fish for ten minutes in the oven at 220 degrees Celsius, or till the fish is flaky. Your restaurant quality dinner is ready!  The greatest food is all about a few ingredients done well. Easy wasn’t it, Bon appetite!

Recipe-Baked John Dory (serves two)

Ingredients

One full size John Dory Fillet

One Lime or two lemons

Bay Leaf

Salt & Pepper

Olive Oil

Method

  1. Salt fish on both sides generously and leave for some time.
  2. Taking a baking tray and put the fish on it after seasoning with black pepper, pour lots of olive oil
  3. Tuck lime wedges all around the fish and out some bay leaves on top.
  4. Bake for ten minutes at 220 Celsius or till the fish is flaky. Serve hot

 

Comforting Mac & Cheese

My food stories cannot be complete without talking about comfort food. One of my all time favourite is Mac & cheese. This is one dish I have been making since I was a child. I remember whenever my parents had to go out for parties and on asking what I would like to eat I would volunteer to make my own dinner, and this is what I would make. As I would sit on the dining table grating cheese, my two helpers, Danny & Ceaser(our pet dogs) would dance around me begging for cheese; I could make them do anything just for a piece of cheese. It was just not cooking dinner; it was a great adventure for all three of us. As today as I share this recipe it’s just not to relive those childhood memories but also to remember my partner in crimes Danny & Ceaser; whom I miss so much till date.

The beauty of this dish is that at the risk of repeating myself; a child can make. I don’t know from where I learned to make it, must have read it somewhere, but I make it without starting a roux. And over the years I have added and tried so many variants of it that I can’t remember. It’s truly a versatile dish, and can be the building block for your favourite dinner.

This is a version that I do when I want to add some veggies and some spice.

Ingredients (serves 3 people)

Macaroni (200 gms)

One onion

Jalapeno

One red bell pepper

Green chillies

Mustard powder(1 teaspoon)

Frozen sweet corn

Garlic (2-3 big cloves)

Cheese (any hard cheese will do)-100 gms

Salt & pepper

Cream-2-3 tbsps

250 ml milk

One egg

Olive oil

Butter

Method:

Start by boiling the pasta in water as per package instructions. Ideally cook to al dente as it will be baked further, so you don’t want it overcooked at all. Meanwhile chop the vegetables, the onion, garlic, jalapeno, green chillies and the red pepper all need to chopped finely. I have used pickled jalapenos in the recipe.

Next grate the cheese and leave a little aside for later. (You can add or modify cheese as per your taste) Mix together the milk, butter, egg, mustard powder and the cheese. You would wonder mustard and pasta, why? But this mustard makes all the difference, a heaped teaspoon is highly recommended. Grab a frying pan and heat some olive oil, add the garlic and the chopped vegetables, cook them slightly but you don’t want them mushy, the crunch should remain. Add the frozen corn, and last mix in the cream and take off the burner.

Now mix in everything; the pasta, the milk and egg mixture and the cooked vegetables; season with salt and pepper. Pour everything in an oven proof dish, sprinkle the set aside cheese and bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the oven at 175 degree Celsius.

This dish on its own is enough for many a memorable dinners.

Mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese

 

 

 

The complete beginners guide to carrot cupcakes

Well it’s high time the blog had a dessert recipe and we will begin with the easy carrot cupcakes. Many a TV shows like masterchef or top chef, the cooks hate to make dessert and would rather run than make dessert. What is it about desserts that scares the most hardened chefs run in the opposite direction, forget about rank amateurs. Well for starters in today’s world of instant gratification and instant sharing, it has to look pretty, No longer does a jalebi can be just the wiggly shapeless thing that it used to be, or a gulab jamun can be just a gulab jamun; for all you know they may be served with raspberry coulis or some chocolate foam. But you get my drift; the need to complicate simple things is endless.

I am a simple home cook, who only endeavors to make food tasty and healthy, and if its comes out looking camera friendly that’s a bonus for my blog. So in ode to home cooking and cooking simple and delicious food is this next recipe. My mother makes great food, and like any other mother of her generation she learned on the job, that is before marriage she never even had probably boiled an egg. One of the earliest food memories that I have is during our summer vacations she would cook and play ludo or snakes and ladders with us. We would peel garlic or pop peas out their shells to help her out in the kitchen. It’s a different matter that a lot of the peas went into our stomachs.

Now when we talk desserts chocolate is forever and ever green, and who can resist a chocolate cake! But there is more to cakes than just chocolate and  I have fond memories of the carrot cake my mother used to bake when we were young.

So as the seasons are changing and soon the juicy carrots are going to disappear from the local markets its time to whip up some carrot cake. Carrots are one the most versatile vegetable and can do justice do both savoury and sweet dishes alike.The best part is that this is probably one of the easiest and simplest cake recipes that you will come across, hardly any work. But the results are finger licking, trust me you will thank me for the recipe.

Carrot cupcake
Ingredients for Carrot cupcakes

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup olive oil or any vegetable oil

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups grated carrot

Some roughly chopped walnuts

Method

Start by blending 2 cups sugar, 1 cup oil and the four eggs together.

Then add all the dry ingredients together, the flour, baking soda and powder, the salt and the cinnamon powder.

Mix the dry and the wet ingredients and then add the carrots and last the walnuts.

Butter your baking tray and bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 175 degree Celsius. You can make a full size cake or about 15 to 18 standard cupcakes with this batter. Cake will obviously take a longer baking time.

Happy Baking!

 

 

 

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