Friday, December 15, 2017
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
|Mixed Berries Jam|
|Frozen Berries (48 Oz./3 Lb.)|
Blueberries, raspberries and blackberries are what were listed on the package and all of them are rich in pectin so I decided to make jam. It turned out to be the easiest ever to make with the simple addition of some sugar to the package of berries.
|No Additional Pectin Needed|
Amazing how good just 2 ingredients can taste! It took about an hour to cook this jam and the test is simple to make sure it's reached jam consistency - a dollop of the berries on a little plate placed in the refrigerator to cool stays in place without running when it's tilted. It needs minimal baby/jam sitting, but must be stirred frequently to prevent scorching.
|15 Oz. of Jam|
Since it will be consumed in a short time, it was transferred to a clean salsa jar and refrigerated after it came to room temperature. Perfect on toast or English muffins, I've also had it on waffles, pancakes and as a condiment for Honeybaked ham.
Saturday, November 25, 2017
Wednesday, November 08, 2017
|Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes|
The grand-boys were delighted with these ice cream cone cupcakes which were inspired by an idea on the Betty Crocker website. A chocolate cake mix was used to fill each cone halfway. Most children like to show off their creativity, and allowing them to frost and decorate their own ice cream cupcake makes it fun for everyone.
|Baked Cones in a Muffin Pan|
It's important to find flat-bottomed medium sized ice cream cones. A muffin pan makes a great baking pan and foil was used to fill the gaps in the muffin cups to keep the cones straight while baking. The fear of the cones burning was completely misplaced. It was so amazing that they didn't even deepen in colour.
|The Cones Filled in Nicely|
One option is to top the cone with ice cream. Serving ice cream in this way is mess-free and holes poked in the cake allowed the ice cream to seep all the way through to the bottom, so it's good to the last crumb. Another option is to pipe icing on each cupcake. In that case I would pour more batter into the cones because icing would stay more firmly in place.
Tuesday, November 07, 2017
|Maacher Muro Diye Bhaja Mooger Dal|
I have blogged about a few of these ways - Fish Head Pilaf, Squash with Fish Head and Bottle Gourd with Fish Heads. Toasted mung bean lentils serves as a creamy base for fish heads. The whole head is pan-fried to a golden brown crisp before immersing in the lentils to finish cooking.
Served with a steaming bowl of Basmati rice, I need nothing more than some peace and quiet so I can focus on removing the bones before enjoying this dish.
Monday, November 06, 2017
During a phone call to my sister-in-law about a month ago, she suggested I try this pilaf for lunch. Admittedly, it didn't sound very appealing because porridge is porridge and nothing like pilaf. It was a good thing I decided to try it anyway.
|McCann's Steel-Cut Oatmeal|
Thursday, November 02, 2017
|Maacher Deem Bhaja|
In my recent blogs, I've mentioned Hubby's ex-colleague & fisherman who has been supplying us with fresh fish. His last batch included an enormous amount of fish roe which to a Bengali is as precious as gold. In its fried form fried roe is served as a starter but the fried nuggets are also cooked in mustard gravy or any fish gravy. They have to be pan-fried first in any case, so here is how fish roe is prepared, using just five simple ingredients.
The process is quite simple. The fish needs to be poached, flaked and deboned. Russet or baking potatoes have to be boiled for 20 minutes, peeled and mashed. Aromatics made up of onions, garlic, ginger, green chilies, mint and cilantro need to be minced and stir-fried before adding the fish and further stir-frying, seasoned with salt and a pinch of pepper. This needs to be cooled to room temperature before combining with mashed potatoes and formed into patties.
The easiest way to pan-fry these is to dredge the patties in flour before frying or for a crispy coating, they can be dipped in beaten eggs and panko crumbs. Decorate the serving platter with sliced onions, tomatoes and wedges of lime, pile the patties on and serve with sweet chili sauce, ketchup, tamarind or mint chutney.
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
|Egg-Topped Glass Noodles Soup|
|Egg Adds More Protein|
|Fast & Easy Prep|
The ingredients for the soup were previously chopped and left over, making it really easy to dump into some chicken broth. The glass noodles simply need to be soaked in boiling broth and cut with scissors into smaller lengths directly in the saucepan. I used triple-washed baby spinach, kale and other greens that came prepped from the store. To add some more flavour, the egg was beaten with a touch of chicken bouillon powder before topping the soup.
Saturday, October 21, 2017
|Chingri Maacher Malai Curry|
Purchase the largest raw shrimp that is available. I was lucky enough to find peeled & deveined shrimp that tasted divine. My indication of success is when children like what I cook and had fun watching the littlest kids clamoring for 'fish!' last night at a Diwali potluck.
|First Cooking of Shrimp|
To keep the shrimp soft and succulent, I introduced them to the sauce at the start, removed them and reintroduced them at the end of the cooking process.
Knowing there were going to be children at this get-together, I kept away from the stronger spices and kept the sauce simple.
Friday, October 20, 2017
|Scrambled Tofu & Eggs Akuri|
|Chicken Bouillon Powder|
No salt was added because the bouillon powder was salty enough.
These scrambled eggs taste great with buttered toast or hot chapatis or even steamed long-grain rice. I can imagine them stuffed inside egg parathas or bread pakoras...the possibilities are endless!
Sunday, October 15, 2017
|Burmese Fish Ball Sipyan|
Fish balls remind me of the time a group of co-workers and I went to lunch at a Chinese restaurant and I ordered fish ball and watercress soup. A Chinese lady and I were the only ones who had ever heard of fish balls, so it was the source of much amusement and glee for our meat-and-potatoes comrades.
Fish balls can be made at home, but are readily available in Asian markets here in North America. When made from scratch, all the tastes that make them uniquely Burmese can be added to the fish mixture so that the flavors permeate from the inside out. Using generic fish balls from the market requires that they be simmered long and slow and, for this, the sipyan method works best. 'Sipyan' translates to 'oil returns' which requires a simmering process on medium-low heat that evaporates the liquid until all the oil rises to the surface.
Saturday, September 30, 2017
Friday, September 29, 2017
|KyaukKyaw with Sliced Peaches|
Agar Agar is a popular dessert ingredient in South East Asian countries where it is used as a substitute for gelatin. Agar agar, a seaweed extract, is a good vegan substitute for gelatin which is derived from animal products. Agar agar comes in several different forms - flakes, strands and powdered. The powdered form of agar agar is much more potent than the flakes or strands. It takes 1 tablespoon of flakes or strands to thicken 1 cup of water, whereas 1 teaspoon of the powder is sufficient to thicken 1 cup of water.
Serve on its own or with canned fruit cocktail or peaches.
Serve on its own or with canned fruit cocktail or peaches.
Sunday, September 24, 2017
Another friend invited me over for lunch and filled up a whole bag with plum tomatoes that looked like mini-roma tomatoes. Yet another friend grew regular-size roma tomatoes, so all this bounty resulted in a delicious chutney.
Mum made this chutney on festive occasions which is where the recipe is derived. I used a quarter pound of date jaggery (khejur-er gur in Bengali) which gave the chutney a depth of flavour that is almost impossible to achieve with plain sugar. The jaggery combined with very thin slivers of ginger, diced tomatoes and raisins were all that were needed to make this chutney.
It was easy to make and basically cooked on medium-low heat with little intervention. Served as an accompaniment to any Indian meal, this chutney gives a festive air to a gathering of friends to celebrate the fall season.
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
|Stir-Fried Spinach, Eggplant & Shrimp|
Monday, September 18, 2017
|Sujir Payesh with Dried Apricots|
The semolina is first toasted in a skillet with butter until golden brown and fragrant. Meanwhile, milk is scalded with raisins & sugar in another pan and the two are combined to produce a smooth and creamy pudding. Just to be different, I decided to use coconut milk instead of regular milk and replaced the raisins with minced, dried apricots.
One gentleman who loved to have this with heated tortillas for breakfast once told me that the semolina, sugar and butter should be used in a 1:1 ratio and the milk to semolina ratio should be 2:1. I admit this tastes heavenly, but not so good for diabetics or people with high cholestrerol levels, so I toned it down significantly. A hint of cardamom powder gives this pudding a decadent touch.
|Toasted Mung Bean Lentils|
Tuesday, September 12, 2017
To make perfect hard-boiled eggs, bring the eggs to a rolling boil over medium heat, cover the saucepan and simmer for ten minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the eggs in the saucepan for another ten minutes. Drain the eggs and rinse under cold water then fill the saucepan with cold water and leave the eggs to cool down completely. They'll be easy to peel with no blemishes at all. Slit the eggs vertically four or five times to make sure the gravy penetrates to the core. Lightly fry the eggs until golden brown before releasing them into the gravy.
Tuesday, August 29, 2017
|Lau'er Muro Ghonto|
Today he dropped by with six big heads. So I'm all set for the next month. Can't believe I don't have to go to the Asian store and pay for my next fish head. These heads are so fresh which I could tell by the bright red color of the gills. It took me a fair amount of time to clean the heads, discarding the mouth, fins and gills.
Fish head or muro in Bengali is prepared with a number of different vegetables, such as spinach, potatoes, eggplant, cabbage and even in pilaf with cauliflower. Bottle gourd (chayote squash is a good substitute) also pairs well with them, so I spent this afternoon making Lau'er Muro Ghonto. Regardless of how big the squash is, it amounts to practically nothing once it's cooked and releases its juices, so use 2 bottle gourds or 5 chayote squash, if necessary.
|Salmon Maacher Jhaal|
When I was living in California, my aunt and I met a family from Burma and Mr. Fenton also loved to fish. His favorite fishing spot was Puddingstone Reservoir and he would return home with loads of blue gill which he would drop off at my place to clean. Blue gill tastes a lot like climbing perch (Bengalis call it koi maach). The taste of fresh caught fish just can't be beat.
Here in Michigan, Hubby has re-connected with a friend from work who has been fishing since he was a young boy. He goes fishing in the St. Clair river and showed me a picture of the salmon he caught a couple of days before. His question was whether we'd like some fresh salmon or smoked, so I asked for a little of both. The smoked salmon was outstanding and I marvelled at how well he had cleaned the fish. There was not a scale in sight and believe me, they were miniscule.
So the fresh piece of salmon brings me right back to this blog. I cut the fillet into cubes and cooked it the way Bengalis love their fish - in mustard gravy. Salmon reminds me of Ilish (or Hilsa) and they both have similar spawning habits. Both species of fish live in the sea or ocean, but make their way back to the river in which they were born and swim against the current to spawn. Just like Ilish, Salmon is an oily fish and is full of flavor.
Sunday, August 27, 2017
|Asian Vermicelli Chicken Salad|
|Chopped Fresh Ingredients &|
Combine any variety of fresh, salad ingredients along with a protein, whip up an Asian dressing and it's ready to eat in less than 15 minutes. On the cutting mat clockwise from top left are rotisserie chicken, green onions, romaine lettuce, glass noodles with shredded lime leaves sprinkled on top, English seedless cucumbers, beefsteak tomatoes, sliced onions and wedges of lime. Before serving, the salad is garnished with crunchy ramen noodles (omit for gluten-free diets) and sliced almonds.
Thursday, August 24, 2017
Soaking dried chickpeas overnight can be substituted with a can of already cooked chickpeas or garbanzo beans in the Western hemisphere. I find that russet potatoes are a good addition. Remember that Bengalis love their potatoes and we add them to any and everything!
Thursday, August 17, 2017
|Fluff with a fork to reveal the |
pretty orange hue of the saffron
|Served with Shrimp Curry|
|Choto Alu'r Dum|
We had this biryani with Shrimp Curry and Alu Dum, but it tastes great accompanied by a salad or raita.
Friday, August 11, 2017
|Marmlade Using Just Two Ingredients|
So, during one of our marathon calls between Rene and me, these memories surfaced and we reminisced about the steps Mum went through to make marmalade. We would have to peel all the oranges, remove the skin around each segment and collect just the pulp. The peels were set aside to make the rinds in the jam and the orange pulp with sugar was cooked on the stovetop until they reached jam consistency. The result was a clear jelly-like marmarlade with strips of rind floating in suspension.
|Fast & Easy Marmalade|
|A No-Fail Method|