A breakfast to die for! I’m seriously serious!

Sabzi Kachori with Green Chillies and Tamarind Chutney.

If you happen to be in Kolkata (India), wake up early morning and head to Sharma’s for a Sabzi Kachori breakfast! It is hands down, the best breakfast in the world!

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Sweet Love!

Something’s are best when unchanged. Just like Calcutta’s good old Mishti Doi.

Mishti Doi is synonymous with Bengal and the Bengali’s are renowned world over for this sweet fermented yogurt.

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Aloor Dom!

Born and brought up in Kolkata, I have an inclination towards the typical Bengali
Cuisine. When I say Bengali Food, a variety of fishes and meats might pop up in
your head. But it might strange sound to you like it does to my friends and colleagues,
I’m a vegetarian. Yes, I was born in Kolkata… Yes, I was even brought up there…
Yes, my family stays back in Kolkata… Yes, I love Bengali Food… But, I AM A
VEGETARIAN. For people who aren’t aware, Bengali cuisine offers a whole lot of
variety for vegetarians as well. You will be amazed… believe me!

One of my
favourite dishes is Luchi with Aloor Dom! Aloor Dom is a simple and a very
humble dish – baby potatoes cooked in a spicy gravy. Apart from the key being
the well-cooked baby potatoes, mustard oil is what gives the dish it’s distinct
flavour.

 

To serve about 5 people, you will need.

  • 500 gms baby potatoes (par boiled)
  • ¾ cup mustard oil for frying potatoes
  • 3 tbsp. fresh mustard oil for making gravy
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds (Jeera)
  • 1-inch cinnamon 
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 4 to 5 black pepper corns
  • 1 green cardamom (optional)
  • ½ Cup Poppy Seeds (soaked and finely ground)
  • 1 Large Onion (ground to a fine paste)
  • 2 Large Tomatoes (ground to a fine paste)
  • 2 tbsp. of Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1 tbsp. of Green Chilli Paste
  • 2 tsp of Turmeric Powder
  • 3 tsp of Red Chilli Powder
  • 2 tsp of Coriander Powder
  • 2 tsp of Garam Masala
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • Salt as required
  • 1 tsp of Sugar
  • 2 tsp of Ghee
  • Freshly Chopped Coriander for garnishing (optional)
  1. Rinse the baby potatoes well. Take 4 cups water in a pan and add the potatoes. Boil them till it’s par boiled/ half cooked.
  2. Drain and peel the potatoes. This might seem to be a tedious task but it’s worth the outcome! Watch TV or listen to music… do what you wish to. But, enjoy cooking. That’s what makes your food so delicious!
  3. Using a skewer, poke tiny holes in the potatoes all over. This is done so that when cooking on dum (where it gets the name from), the potatoes absorb the flavours of the gravy. Dum actually means cooking for a long time on slow flame.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the red chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala. Add a couple of spoons of water and mix well.
  5. In a deep bottom pan, heat some mustard oil. Add a tsp of turmeric powder and little bit of salt. Add the parboiled peeled potatoes and begin to fry them on a low to medium flame. Keep tossing in between.
  6. Once golden, remove the potatoes on a kitchen towel. Cool the potatoes and prick them with a skewer again. This time, don’t poke much… Let the potatoes be!
  7. Lower the flame, add some more mustard oil. Let the oil heat up once more and add it the khada masala (whole spices) – Cinnamon Stick, Cloves, Cardamom, Pepper Corns and lastly, the caraway seeds. Sauté till you smell the fragrance of the masala.
  8. Add the ginger garlic paste along with chilli paste. Fry for about a minute and add the onion paste. Sauté till pink.
  9. Add in the tomato puree and fry till the oil comes up. That’s how my dad taught me how to identify a cooked gravy base.
  10. Now, it’s time to pour in the poppy seed paste… Cook for another 2 minutes.
  11. Remember, we mixed in our dry spice powders in a bowl?? Add in the dry spice mix and cook for another 2 minutes. Add salt as per taste.
  12. Throw in the fried potatoes and toss well till the potatoes are well coated with the gravy.
  13. Pour in the water. Cover and cook the potatoes on low flame for at least 15-20 mins or even, 30 minutes.
  14. Add in a tsp of sugar and adjust the salt. Cook for 2-3 mins or till the water dries up, not much though. The gravy should be thick.
  15. Time for the finishing touch. Just before taking out the potatoes, add in the ghee and cover for a minute. Let the scent of the ghee seep into the potatoes.
  16. Take the spiced up babies out in a serving bowl. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot with freshly fried Luchis. You may even enjoy these with rice/roti/naan/bread… anything your heart desires.

 

The dish is rich and full of flavour but it is not a difficult recipe. So, get into your kitchen now and give it a try.

If you eat this kind of vegetarian food, I’m sure you will not regret turning into one!

Most definitely, an underrated sweet treat.

A family get together at my place and I’m all twisted in my head. When there is a party, it’s mostly about food… And since my guests were picky (wont name them), I decided to call up my sister Vandana (a brilliant cook) for her suggestion on easy homemade Indian sweet treats. She recommended Chocolate Sandesh – a light, melt in mouth sweet made of cottage cheese and chocolate.  Idea sold.. 

To let you all know, sandesh is a very popular sweet treat Kolkata is famous for and there are endless varieties available. This one is a homely yet delicious take on it.

Like always, it is my pleasure to share this recipe with all of you. It is easy and very very tasty. 

For 10 pieces of Chocolate Sandesh, you will need. 

  • 1.5 liters of Milk (use full fat and not skimmed) 
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • ½ cup Chocolate syrup (i used Hershey)
  • 1/ tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Some Crushed Chocolate Oreo (to roll the sandesh in)
  • Some Chocolate Chips for garnish
  1. Heat the milk and bring it to a boil. Patience is a virtue…so, ensure that the milk is kept on low flame.
  2. Cut the lemon into halves and squeeze the juice directly into the milk (through a strainer)
  3. The milk will start to curdle and you will see the whey separate itself from the milk solids.. this is the easiest way to make cottage cheese at home. When they whey separates completely, strain the cottage cheese through a muslin cloth. Squeeze to release all that excess water. Keep aside and let it cool for 5 mins. Cottage Cheese is also called Chhena (in India) and is used across the nation to make paneer and a variety of other delicacies. 
  4. Put the cottage cheese in a  mixer. Add sugar and blend for about 30 secs. Add some of the chocolate sauce to get the grinder going. Once blended, the cottage cheese will resemble a smooth creamy lump. Empty the mixer in a bowl and allow the chocolate mixture to set in the fridge for about an hour.
  5. Take the mixture out of the freezer and add the remaining chocolate sauce. Add in the vanilla extract and mix well. Keep the mixture in the fridge for another 15 mins. 
  6. Take the mixture out and shape them into little balls. Roll them in crushed Oreo or any chocolate biscuit of your choice. 
  7. Garnish with chocolate chips and refrigerate till you serve.

 

PS: You can even make Vanilla Sandesh – just skip the chocolate syrup and add sugar instead (while mixing in the blender). Add vanilla essence and roll into balls. Garnish with saffron strings and pistachios. 

Chocolate Sandesh is a very healthy, protein rich, delicious sweet. It is definitely not as fancy as other sweets available in the market but nothing beats a homemade delicacy.

Before i sign off – Thank you Vandana Di for sharing this wonderful recipe!