Saturday, October 23, 2010

Indianized Chinese street Food

I miss the Indianized Chinese I ate from the redis/carts by the Hussain Sagar Lake in Hyderabad and Marine Drive in Mumbai.Every time the craving for Indanized chinese took over me,I prepared something at home but always missed not eating out.Recently a friend recommended I try Chinese Mirch on Lexington avenue ,NY and now in Stamford CT & Chilli Chicken in Stamford CT. These places have quite satisfied the craving for the typical Indianized Chinese,with tiny green chilli's dipped in vinegar served on the side along with red hot chilli sauce.I love Schezwan fried rice at Chinese Mirch and  their fried okra's which are served in the most impressive manner. I think this is the closest I can get to the redi wala chinese back home. Highly recommend chinese Mirch to everyone who craves Indian chinese .Meanwhile for those  of you who are reading this and drooling :) here is the recipe for Chilli Chicken and veg fried rice.

Marinated chicken
Chicken Breast Fillets: 2 ,about 1 pound
Tomato Ketchup: 10 tbsp
Ginger grated: 2 tbsp
Garlic chopped very fine:1 tbsp
salt : 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder: 1/4 tsp
Garam masala : 1/4 tsp
White pepper powder: 1/4 tsp
Chilli's: 2
Green Capsicum: 1
Sesame Oil: 3 tbsp

Cut the chicken to bite size pieces . Take a big bowl and  along with the pieces of chicken add salt,garam masala,tomato ketchup,ginger& garlic,chilli powder. Mix it well and leave it to marinate for 4-5 hours.

Take a big wok/Kadai, 3 tbsp oil and when hot add the marinated chicken,and cook till chicken is done-about 5-7 minutes. The bite sizes pieces will quickly change color from pink to white on the inside and then you know the chicken is cooked. Now chop the capsicum into 1 inch pieces and the green chilli also. Add this to the chicken and cook for 2-4 minutes.You don't want the capsicum to overcook.It should stay green and crunchy. Serve it on a bed of lettuce !

P.S I am linking this post to to participate in the  Food Palette Red Event

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dahi Bhalla

I have not yet come across an Indian who does not dote on Chaat.

Dahi Bhallas,sevpuri dahipuri,samosas,bhel ,aloo tikki,chaat Papri  all are classified under the family of chaat which  is essentially a street food of India. The trend is changing with hygiene becoming the primary concern of one and all . Now people enjoy chaat in the luxury and comfort of five stars and top notch restaurants. You might still find some very authentic chaat walas still selling chaat the old traditional way from the carts and you will find them using Aquafina in place of tap water and mostly they will wear gloves.I wonder if they ever  discard the gloves after every use or continue with one pair ;)

North of India has some very popular chaat places. The one that instantly comes to my mind is," The Chaat " in Kanpur/India. It started as a very tiny place/shack but while we were there in the year 1999 it had already taken over a large space . What I distinctly remember is they would start to sell the chaat at 4 in the evening and by 8 in the night they were completely sold out. I used to love The Chaat's dahi bhallas, they would just melt in your mouth and the curd was beaten so well and had just the right amount of sweetness.Their dahi bhalla was fried with a cashew and a raisin in the centre. It is so funny,I would  quickly  take big bites to  get to the centre to check if by any chance they had failed to fry it with the cashew & the raisin,but they never did. This recipe I will share with my readers is inspired by ,"The Chaat".

Urad Dhuli Hui/ Split black Gram hulled(washed): 1 cup
Curd: 3 cups
Sugar: 3 tbsp
cashews: 10 in number
Salt: 1/4 of  a tsp
Ajwain/carom seeds: 1/4 tsp
Fruit salt/Eno : 1/4 tsp
juice of lemon: 1 tsp
Oil: to deep fry in a pan

garnish: 1/4 tsp roasted jeera powder,1/4 tsp chaat masala,2 tbsp patla sev, 3 tbsp tamarind date chutney

Soak the daal for 5 -6 hours. Grind the daal to a fine paste with very little water, about 2 tbsp. Add salt,ajwain/carom,fruit salt/eno,lemon juice and run the mixer for a couple minutes more. Transfer the contents from the mixer to a bowl.

Take a frying pan and heat the oil,make golf sized balls with a cashew in the centre and fry them till golden brown. remove from the pan and put them in a big bowl with warm water. let them sit in the water till they are soft to the touch. Remove from water and press between the palms to remove excess water. Arrange them on a plate.

Take  the curd and beat till smooth and creamy.Add sugar and mix well. Pour this on the dahi Bhalla's. Then garnish the dahi bhalla's with chaat masala,roasted cumin powder and patla sev and top it with tamarind date chutney. Refrigerate for some time. Enjoy with family & friends.They are sure to be a hit.Mine just fly away from the table just seconds after I put them on the table :)

Bhalla's frying in the pan
remove from water & press them
Add curd and garnish


Bhalla's in soaking in the water

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Kwality in Cannaught Place Delhi , is by far the most popular place for, the best Chola Bhatura's ever. Your trip to Delhi,India , is incomplete if Kwality is not featured on your list of ,things to do . Kwality's chola's are a bench mark, having said that,I know I will sound  immodest if I were to say that some friends of ours  tasted the chola's I made and commented that the chola's reminded  them of Kwality's chola:) I was so thrilled that I almost gave up all the other recipes of chola's I use to try  until then ,and stuck to this particular one ,and trust me this also happens to be the easiest of all . No chopping onions and no watery eyes:)

garbanzo Beans: 1can 439 gms (drained and washed)
Gram daal/chana daal : 1 cup , soaked for 2-3 hours
Tea bags of black tea: 2
Whole garam masala: 2 cloves,5-7 peppercorns,1 black cardamom (tied in a muslin cloth)
mango Powder/Amchur: 1tbsp
Garam Masala Powder : 1tsp
salt: 1 tsp
ginger: Thin strips of ginger about 15- 20
Oil: 2-3 tbsp

Ginger,garam masala,Mango Powder
Take a pressure cooker and boil the garbanzo beans along with the chana daal with 3/4th glass of water and throw in the garam masala tied in the muslin cloth. Also add 2 tea bags of black tea & salt. Let it pressure cook for 5-7 minutes and turn off the flame.
Take a big kadai/pan, and roast the garam masala and mango powder till it changes color to look the color of dark chocolate. Now add oil and the thin strips of ginger.

Open the pressure cooker's lid ,Discard the tea bag and muslin cloth with the garam masala. Check the chana daal it should easily mash with the spoon. Now vigorously run the spoon through this till all the chana daal has mashed and there is no trace of runny water. The chola's should stay intact. The key to adding the chana daal is to make the base for chola's thick. Now add this to the oil with garam masala& mango powder. Mix well and serve with onions and garnish with tomato and cilantro. You can eat this with puri's,bhatura's or Nan or plain roti/Phulka. Enjoy the Kwality chola's in the comfort of your home:)!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Macher Chops/Tuna Chops

Fish Chops/Macher Chops

Ingredients For Macher Chops:
Tuna Canned: 2 cans of 7 OZ each of Chunk Light Tuna
Onions: 1 medium sized chopped very fine
Garlic & Ginger : 1 tbsp each
Green chili: 2 chopped very fine
Grated Nutmeg: A pinch
salt : 1 tsp
Garam Masala: 8-10 peppercorns,3-4 cloves, green cardamoms 2-4,Cinnamon Stick 1 inch. Roast all these and pound them or grind in a coffee grinder.
Egg: 1 small sized egg
Bread crumbs: 1 small bowl 


Take the tuna out of the can and discard the water and take the fish in a mixing bowl.
Add all the above ingredients and mix them well with a spoon or use hands.
Make golf sized balls and flatten them a little between your palms and coat them with bread crumbs.

You have two options:

Healthy : You can shallow fry these on a griddle.
Deep frying: You can deep fry them .

Note: I have tried both and I prefer the shallow fried ones.they taste equally good,so I avoid the deep frying. I serve them with green chutney or tamarind date chutney.

Macher Chops with Khichdi & tomato Chutney
Tuna Mixture for Macher Chops/Fish chops

Macher Chop/Tuna Fish Chop

I was barely 8 and had already lived in 4 cities. Now the mole on the sole of my foot makes complete sense, I vividly remember lying on a jute mat in my neighbor's veranda in Kota/Rajasthan, my mom relaxing on the same mat and our neighbor auntie sitting right across from me with my feet just an arm's length from her gaze and she went for my right foot out of the blue and said," you will never stay too long in one place" and she pointed out to the mole on my foot to my mom. I wonder if it had anything do with the mole on my foot but whatever Laddah auntie said, did turn out to be true.

My dad probably changed cities because I had a mole on my foot. The funny part is my husband moved cities even more than my father did , because he has a mole on his foot too and even funnier is the fact that our daughter has a mole on her foot as well. So in a nutshell you can nickname us,"mole-on-the-foot-family" We have finally spent the longest time in this country so I guess the mole's effectiveness is wearing off :) I am looking at my mole and reminiscing about my first move after marriage.

 I was carrying and in my 7th month, we move to Haldia/West Bengal. My husband switched jobs. Our house was set up on these beautiful 4 acres along with 22 other houses of people who were working for the same company as my husband, so basically it was a small community set-up with 22 houses, a badminton court and a club house for official parties. That was all  to Haldia apart from 1 main grocery store where we could shop for some decent groceries and a thatched roof hut which sold fresh vegetables.
 A market called," Babur Bazaar" which was a narrow lane and was lined with huts/shops on both ends of the street. I ventured bravely with my local help to Babur bazaar to shop for some quaint knick knacks.

There were cycle rickshaws going to and fro (very common in west Bengal then) and the Rickshaw wala shouting in Bengali and calling out to prospective." savari's .The languid and disinterested shop owners who have just emerged from their afternoon siesta’s are basically involved in small talk  and suddenly there was  a big commotion. Someone nearby just got tramped by the cycle rickshaw's wheel, there was a array of onlookers who instantly got involved in animated arguments and the languid shop owners suddenly sprang to life. The scene had changed in a matter of seconds and then there were party slogans apparently the man who was hit turned out to be some union leader and lo and behold, the boring street with people generally frittering aimlessly now had a aim.

 I was now witnessing a maddening frenzy which was being translated to me by my help who was a local and could speak a little Hindi, the language I understood. I gestured Rita that we need to hurry back to our 4 acre cocoon. She caught hold of my hand and made her way through the crowd and got us both out.

So this was a very tiny glimpse of my first impression of Haldia. My very first move after marriage ,and my first trip to makhan Babur bazaar :)

 Yet-Haldia holds a very special place in my heart because with very little or nothing to do outside the colony,we developed some very strong bonds within the colony.There was a established Ladies club apart from the formal & informal parties we had very frequently. The club ,was a meeting venue for everyone to share and learn new skills viz: cooking,baking,crafts gardening & so on. In fact I did pick up most of my cooking & baking skills in Haldia.

 Thanks to all the ladies who were married longer than I was and were much more experienced at cooking. They shared their skills with the rest who were just starting a married life. I owe it all to them :)

I tried some of the most authentic egg rolls - each for Rupee 1 ( about 2 cents) sold on carts in makhan Babur bazaar and also tuna fish chops/Macher Chops at Bhai Bhai  a small shop which would prepare these fresh and sell them in the evenings, also for Re 1

Time & again I craved for these and then I recently met our friend’s mother who is from West Bengal and she happily fed us macher chop and also shared her recipe with me.

I dedicate this recipe to all my friends from Haldia.
And thanks  to my dear readers for taking this walk down the memory lane with meJ

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bhugal Chanwarh/Pulav/Rice in Caramelized Onion

I had put up a picture of Bhugal Chanwarh/Pulav along with saibhaji in my blog yesterday. It would not be fair to raise my readers hopes and not post the recipe for Bhugal Chanwarh/Pulav. BTW I have grown up eating Saibhaji with bhugal Chanwarh/pulav and a fried/dry accompaniment on the side,like deep fried okras,potato's deep fried,or cauliflower with potato . My favorite is aloo gobi with saibhaji and pulav. My mom made the best aloo gobi,saibhaji and pulav,she rarely cooks now due to health reasons:(

This is very simple and easy to make and sometimes my daughter enjoys just bhughal chanwarh/pulav with Raita or sometimes just pulav with Indian pickle and papad/poppadom


Rice basmati : 2 cups ( I use Tilda but there are many good varieties out there,just make sure the rice is aged and not new,else it has too much starch,which makes the preparation sticky)

Onion : 1 large
bay leaves: 1-2
cloves: 2
Peppercorns: 2-4
Cinnamon stick: 1 inch
salt : 1tsp
Oil/Ghee/Butter: 2 tbsp
Water : 2 glasses (600 ml) I cook in a big open vessel


Take a heavy bottomed pan and add 2 tbsp oil/ghee/butter
When hot add bay leaves,cloves,cinnamon,peppercorns and then add thinly sliced onion. Caramelize the onion and then add the rice and fry it for some time. Rice fried for some time will help in the rice not sticking together once it is done. Each grain will fall apart when served on the plate without breaking. 2-3 minutes of frying will do the job,now add the 2 glasses of water and salt. Let it cook on high flame for 2-4 minutes,when you start to see the rice through bubbles of water,reduce the flame to low and continue to cook without covering the pan. When almost all the water is absorbed by the rice and the  rice grain look 3/4th cooked cover it with a well fitting lid. now let it sit on low flame for 4-6 minutes and then turn off the flame. The pulav should be cooked.

Caramelizing Onion

frying the rice in caramelized onion

add water

At this stage cover the rice


 Enjoy the pulav :)!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Saibhaji/ Spinach cooked with Gram daal

A super healthy and  finger licking dish for sindhi's all around the world:)   This is a very traditional sindhi dish. A sindhi who has not eaten saibhaji is the most deprived Sindhi :(  Non Sindhi's I urge you to try this dish !

This dish is packed with nutrition and the goodness of garlic and tomato's. Very easy to make once you have the spinach washed and chopped. I normally buy the big 2 pound bag from Costco,clear my sink,fill it water and cut the bag open and drop all the contents into the sink. I will give it a thorough wash under running water.Then I steam it in the rice cooker in 2-3 batches and store it in separate containers for later use. So making saibhaji for me is super quick. But for those of you who do not buy this big pack I would recomend you wash it nice and chop the spinach which I do not ,as it has already been steamed by me.

spinach- 1 small bunch or a small packet weighing 250 gms
Sua/Dill : 25 gms ( fresh not the dried one)
Chana dal/gram dal: 1/2 a cup soaked for 20 minutes
potato- 1 medium sized roughly diced into 2 inch pieces
I flowerlet of Broccoli and cauliflower each,carrots - 6 baby carrots , egg plant -2 inch piece , green mango -1 small peeled and washed. You can start to slice the raw mango till you get to the Stone/seed. Slice it close if you do not want to waste any. Get rid of the stone.
Tomato: 1 large
Green Chilli's : 2
Garlic- 6 flakes
Turmeric : 1/2 tsp
salt: 1tsp
Paprika: 1/2 tsp for seasoning along with 1tbsp olive oil.
asfoetida: Just a pinch ( It is an antiflatulent )


Chop everything roughly, you can drop the cauliflower,broccoli and carrots without chopping into the pressure cooker along with everything else except for GARLIC, OIL and PAPRIKA. Add 1/2 a cup of water and pressure cook for 12-15 minutes. Chana dal takes slightly longer,it should easily mash when pressed between the finger and the thumb. Shut the flame and let it stay in the cooker till all the steam escapes on its own. Remove the lid and mash the entire contents with the back of the ladle or a potato masher till the appearance is smooth and no bits and pieces of vegetable are visible.

Now take a small frying pan,heat 2 tbsp oil and when the oil is hot add a pich of asfoetida and pound the garlic roughly and add to the oil.Shut the flame and  add 1/2 tsp of paprika and very quickly add this seasoning to the saibhaji before the paprika gets burnt in the hot oil and looses its red color. Enjoy it with bhugal Chanwarh/ rice

Note: I prefer a runny consistency,but it depends on personal taste ,there is no rule of thumb as such

I also cook saibhaji without the Sua/dil as my family is not very fond of Dil. Also you can cook saibhaji/spinach with out the carrots,cauliflower,broccoli,eggplant. All you need is spinach,chana dal,tomatos and preferably raw mango. Enjoy this wholesome dish : ) !!!

Serve it on the Bhugal Chanwarh and enjoy:)

Naivedya Choco Bite

My other half was away on a business trip to India:) and got back yesterday . He took off some time and met up with my family. I have been trying to reorganize my pantry since:) Yes- he did bring so much good stuff. I know we pretty much get everything  in this part of the world but again there are some very local things unique to the town/city which have this very distinct taste & flavor which can never be replicated especially when it comes to the local halwai's of India.

I have to mention this  new sweet shop to everyone who has a sweet tooth and  has had enough but is always craving for more.. ( BTW that would be me) Last night I had the fortune of sinking my teeth  into one such master piece . It is called  choco bites and each piece comes individually wrapped.The good thing is this special variety has a longer shelf  life without refrigeration. My sister tells me 3 months. She would have checked with the halwai. This is a new sweet shop in Raipur,Chattisgarh and the name you want to be looking for ,if ever in Raipur is NAIVEDYA sweets. The choco bite is probably a cousin of Sohan Papdi,but does not break and crumble when you bite into it. It has just a hint of crunchy thinly sliced roasted nuts and the texture is smooth and  it just melts in your mouth . All that you manage after drowning your self in this sweet pleasure is AA AAH ;)

keep checking for more there will Saibhaji  next on popular demand by my darlin' niece  and speaking of saibhaji there is one name that instantly pops out Dia....So my dear Ruby and Dia  this one is for you :)!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Postu Aloo/Khus Khus Aloo/Poppy Seed Potato

I am not sure where this dish originated,but I remember I was introduced to Postu Aloo at my very dear friend Malati's house in Pondicherry. Malati I love you,and I dedicate this dish to you. Malati also lived in Nepal for a couple years and she mentioned aloo postu was added to her culinary repertoire during her stay there. So if I were to give it a good guess then it would be Nepal which is India's neighbouring country and home to the highest peak in the world , Mount Everest .Which is located in the Himalayan ranges in Nepal. On the border of Tibet & China. Cheers to the all the 2,100 people worldwide who have summited Mount Everest (including the Sherpa's and the guides). On this note I share this aloo postu recipe with everyone who loves cooking in Mustard oil :) here goes....

Potato's Large 2 pound boiled and peeled and roughly diced into 2-3 inch pieces
green Chilli - 6-7 Long green desi Mirch/Green Chilly
Postu/Poppy Seed/Khus Khus: 4 Tbsp
Coriander seeds: 2 tbsp
Lime: Juice of 2 lemons squeezed.
Mustard oil: 3 tbsp
salt :1 tsp

Take a Kadai/frying pan/heavy bottomed vessel

Heat 4 tbsp of mustard oil
Roast coriander seeds and postu on a griddle till you get a nice pleasant whiff of roasted coriander.
grind these in  the coffee grinder (put this aside)
The oil is now hot,the aroma of mustard oil is going to be strong and pungent. You have to heat the oil to smoking point,keep the exhaust on:)
Make a slit in the green chilli and add to the oil. If you add the chilli without making a slit,the moisture  in the chilli's and the heated oil will result in the chilly 's exploding. So make sure you make long slits through the centre  for the moisture to escape. These two will still create a lot of sputtering and you might want to move away from the vessel or just keep a lid  handy to cover this for the first few seconds. When the sputtering has died , uncover the lid.
Now add the boiled and chopped potato's and add the postu and coriander masala,along with the salt and mix well, add the lime juice and garnish with chopped cilantro/green coriander and serve with hot roti's/naan/bread

Note: This is from my earlier recipes,but I promise to prepare it and take a picture and post it soon. So please do check back for pictures.

Boiled Potato

Chilli's In Hot Mustard Oil