Thursday, April 29, 2010

Peas Paratha

I found it interesting that although we consider green peas as vegetable but botanically it's actually a fruit. Arguably, the most popular English dish is 'Fish and Chips' which is basically one whole fillet of fish, battered and deep fried, served with deep fried potato wedges or chips. Sometimes this dish comes with steamed or boiled mushy peas. Either way, it tastes great because the sweetness of the mushy peas balances the saltiness of the fried fish and potatoes. 

In India we get to see peas only during the winter, when they are in season. The Indian peas are not as sweet as the European/American ones. I guess, that's why I don't get the exact taste that I used to get back home with peas based Indian dishes. 

I made some peas parathas (in Bengali we call it motorshuti-er-kachori) with the English garden peas. There was a distinct hint of sweetness to the parathas which I never got while I had the same dish in India. Both the versions do taste very nice, so no matter which peas you use, you will have an an easy and delicious dinner with this recipe. 


For the filling:

100gm Peas (fresh or frozen) 
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tbsp oil / ghee

For the dough:

250 gm of flour
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp salt

Some extra flour for rolling the parathas
Oil for frying the parathas


Mash the peas  and keep it separate, don't worry if its not a silky smooth mash (well I didn't!!). In a pan heat the oil for the filling, then add all the spices listed, fry for few seconds then add the mashed peas. Mix it well and cook till the mixture becomes dry. stir continuously so that it doesn't get burned or stuck at the bottom. Once done, take it off the heat and let it cool. 

Now for the dough, mix the dry ingredients first i.e. flour and salt, then add the oil and mix well again. Now add sufficient water to make a soft dough. Divide the dough in small balls and keep it separately. Now roll the small dough balls a little and place a spoon full of peas mixture in the centre. Seal the mixture by closing the rolled dough from all sides. Cover the balls in dry flour. Repeat the same procedure for all the balls. 

Take each stuffed ball and roll them out. Heat a frying pan, cook the parathas for 1-2 minutes on each side and cook till you see the brown spots forming on each side, then brush some oil on both side, cook for another 1 minute and remove from heat. Serve hot with pickle and Greek or plain yoghurt. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cheddar Cookies

It's amazing how small things in your day to day life can take you back to your childhood within no time. Last weekend I was trying to make some chedder cheese cookies and while cutting the cookies with the cookie cutter some memories from my childhood flashed in my mind. 

Every child loves their mom's cooking, I wasn't any different. During Christmas and New Year, my mom used to bake cakes for us and for the rest of the huge extended family we have. She is famous for her baking and cooking in the family. Those days I would know that she has baked a cake as I enter through the main gate of our house as the air will be filled with the inviting sweet smell coming from my mom's kitchen. I would run through the doors, somehow get rid of my shoes (didn't bother about the socks!!), throw my bag somewhere in the house and run straight into the kitchen, "Mummy CAKE!!". 

These cookies I made are not at all sweet. These are savoury cookies, so didn't fill the air with sweet smell while getting cooked in the oven, instead with a salty baking smell which you will normally get if you smell a freshly baked loaf bread. These cookies are very easy to make and can be severed  just like that or like scones with clotted cream and jam, goes well with tea and coffee. 


200 gm of self raising flour
100 gm of cheddar cheese (shredded) 
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
6 tbsp of oil
water to make the dough
pinch of chilli powder (optional) (That's me being typical Bengali)
pinch of salt


Mix all the dry ingredients together then add the oil and mix well. Once that is done add water to make the dough. 

Roll the dough with a rolling pin, to a centimetre thick (roughly) and use a cookie cutter to cut the cookies out of it. Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and brush or spray some oil on it. Now place the cookies on the tray and brush them with some oil.

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees and bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Let them rest on a wiring rack to cool down then put them in a jar and store it in a cool place.  

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Day Spent In The Racecourse

Last week I had a chance to spend an entire day in a racecourse - nicely dressed up, pamper myself to the posh, gorgeous looking delicious food, watch the races with great company, bet on the horses, get exited, enjoy and at the same time relax and have lots of fun. At the end of the day I realized how poor betting I had done as I lost most of the money that I bet, believe it or not in one race my horse actually came last, but I enjoyed it a lot. I left the race course with a very warm, relaxing and a genuinely happy feeling. 

It is not something I would like to do very often but definitely once in a while this sort of break is essential to take you away from your work and routine life, all your worries, stress, problems and all sorts of nasty thing that ties you so hard that you almost forget that you are also allowed to have little fun in life!  A bit of pampering, bit of indulgence, bit of decadence that's all you need to charge you up and ready to face the battle again .

So my pampering day started by getting up after 9 am in the morning (on a week day!!), got ready, went to office and waited for the coach to arrive. This was a corporate event so most people chose to take the coach as all of us can enjoy the ride together (official version). Actually it's the reason below, 

We arrived at the racecourse by 11.30 am and been escorted to our private dinner hall! We were welcomed with drinks. While we were seated a person from the racecourse staff explained to us how the betting works and how we can participate and enjoy the race. We were given booklets to guide ourselves towards betting (loosing money actually!!) Then we were served with the delicious four course meal. Here goes the menu.

The Starter

Poached salmon and prawn  tian with a cucumber , caper and lime salsa

The Main Course

Slow roasted loin pork glazed with honey and chinese five spice
Served with spring onion and new potato cake and buttered wilted greens

The Dessert

Pistachio and apricot bread and butter pudding with a Cointreau custard

The Cheese 

Mature cheddar, Somerset brie and stilton cheese served with in-house chutney and biscuits


Coffee and chocolates

No no, it doesn't end there! After demolishing this lavish meal we went for racing and betting on horses, after 2 hours of continuous loosing money, we came back to our dinner hall for some proper English afternoon tea and enjoyed the last match on large LCD screens.

Finally at 6.00 pm we headed home and called it a night!  

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Deviled Egg

The typical continental version of deviled eggs is that of a cold starter. As a child, I remember, my mom used to make deviled eggs which were covered in spicy batter, deep fried and served hot with tomato sauce. So out of curiosity, I did some research and found that deviled eggs originated in ancient Rome as cold hard boiled eggs stuffed with spicy filling. The reason it is called 'deviled' because the dish used to be heavily seasoned. However back home in India, it is done in a very different way. Its served as a hot appetizer instead of a cold starter. Well, I like it either way because for me these are two different egg dishes with the same name and honestly who cares about what it is called, when you have something mouthwatering in front of you.

I made my own version of deviled egg and it tasted great. Try it, it's very easy, takes hardly 10 minutes to prepare and you can make it in advance and keep it refrigerated until served. Enjoy!


6 hard boiled eggs 
1 tsp harissa sauce (you can get this in many supermarkets and speciality stores these days)
2 tsp mayonnaise
Few fresh coriander leaves


Halve the hard boiled eggs, take the yolk out and keep the egg white separately. Now mix together the harrisa sauce, mayonnaise and the egg yolks  well. Spoon it back to the boiled egg white halves. Garnish with the coriander leaves and keep them refrigerated for an hour or so. You can also keep them for longer if you wish and serve them as a cold starter. 

Friday, April 9, 2010


This is something I made for my colleagues in office as I know most people in my team like chocolate and its my favourite as well. I just love making dishes that involves chocolate. I was looking for some recipes and found this one in hot polka dot's page. I have adapted it and changed the ingredients a bit but it tastes great.


150 Gms of  dark chocolate (80% coca solids or more) 
150 Gms unsalted butter
2 Eggs
4 Tbsp sugar
3 Tbsp flour
1 Tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of baking powder
Handful of white chocolate chips


Break the chocolate in to pieces and place them with the butter in a Bain-marie and let it melt till it becomes a pool of chocolate. Remove from the water bath and let it cool.

In a separate bowl break the eggs add the sugar and whisk it well (I use an automatic whisk). Mix the flour and the baking powder and add it to the egg mixture. Now beat the mixture well and add the melted chocolate in to it and continue whisking. The mixture will be much thicker than cake mixture. Now add the white chocolate chips in to the mixture and mix it lightly with a spatula. Using an ice cream scoop, take some mixture and level the top of the scoop with a knife or spoon. Now drop it on a lightly greased baking paper placed on a baking tray. Leave enough space between the cookies to spread and rise. 

Preheat the oven to 200 degree C, bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes, let them cool for few minutes. Serve with tea or coffee.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lamb Kebabs and Cous-Cous

Holiday!! At last!! I am so happy that finally we are able to make it. Tomorrow we are leaving for Morocco, to spend the rest of the bank holiday weekend in Marrakesh. So my tonight's dinner is inspired by Moroccan theme, with my modification of course. Here you go! 


For the Kebabs

500 gms minced lamb
1 egg
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
2-3 green chillies (chopped)
Handful of fresh coriander leaves (chopped)

For the Cous-Cous

300 gms of cous-cous
1 can of chickpeas (drained)
2 tbsp tomato sauce
1 red onion (chopped)
1 green chillies (chopped)
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp orange zest
Handful of fresh coriander leaves (chopped)
Olive oil
Boiling water


For Kebabs, mix all the ingredients together and make small balls out of it. Leave it to rest for some time and get on with the cous-cous. Add salt to the boiling water mix well and pour it on the cous-cous  and leave it to absorb all the water. 

Meanwhile put the meat balls in to the skewers and place it under the grill for 12-15 minutes. Keep an eye on them and turn them occasionally. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the chillies and onion. When the onions are soft add the chickpeas and keep frying for another five minutes or so. Now add the couscous in to the pan and give it a good stir. Add the lemon juice, orange zest, fresh coriander and mix well. Serve hot with the kebabs. Enjoy!

I will be back online soon, after my return from Morocco. Until then, enjoy your holidays and Happy Easter.