Friday, April 4, 2014

Bhog er Khichiri - An auspicious dish

Bhog-er Khichuri doesn’t require any introduction to Bongs and to some non-bongs too, who have been to Durgapuja but for those who are not familiar with this, here is an quick intro for them: "Bhog" is what we offer (food) to God during the puja and then after the puja is done, its distributed among the devotees as prasad. "Khichuri" or "Khichiri"  is rice and lentils cooked together with or without veg. As lame as the description sounds the dish is actually taste out of the world especially if you wait in a queue for hours on a puja pandel just to get a ladle full of this  magical stuff! Some how the food that is cooked for the puja always tastes better than if you cook it for regular day consume! I don’t know how but ask any one who has tried both the version and I am sure they will agree with me.

I am not very religious but definitely a big foodie. I would always wait for the puja to end so that I can get my hands on the delicious prasad! Recently, one of my friend mentioned that Navratri is gong on. She asked me if we make Bhog er Khichuri now? Although I wasn't sure what is the answer to her question, I told her, "I can always make it, no matter what!" Few hours later I ended up with this hundy full of that delicious Khicuri.

Serves 4 (at least)


3/4th cup of Mung dal (dry roasted and then washed and drained )

3/4th cup of short grain white rice (I used sona masori, washed and soaked in water for 30 minutes)

10-12 florets of cauliflower (washed and drained)

2 medium size potatoes (pealed and quartered)

hand full of frozen peas

Oil (as required)

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp sugar

1-2 bay leaves

2-3 cloves

2-3 green cardamoms

1 cinnamon stick (2-3 inch long)

1 tsp whole cumin seeds

2-3 whole dried red chilli

2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp ground cumin powder

1 tsp garam masala powder (optional)

1 tsp ghee or butter per head to serve (on plate)


I begun with dry roasting the mung dal in a pan on medium heat. Keep your eyes on the pan while the dal is roasting because its very easy to burn it and then your dish is spoiled! It takes hardly 5 minutes and you will know when its done as you will get the light aroma from the dal and you will see some of the grains turning light brown in colour. Take the pan off the heat and pour the dal in a separate container.  You don’t want it to burn or over roast in any case.

Take a deep and thick bottomed pan, place it on the hob and turn the heat on! Heat some oil in it and the add the veg with little turmeric and salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes on medium to high flame but make sure it doesn’t burn. remove from the heat and keep it separate. Now in the same pan add some more oil and the whole masalas. after about 30 sec or so add the washed dry roasted mung dal and stir. Now add 2 cups of recently boiled water, rest of the turmeric, salt and ground masalas. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes on a medium flame.

Add the veg now along with the rice and stir well. Check the water level and add more if required. At this point it will look very watery because of the obvious reason but don’t worry ii will be fixed at the end. Stir well, cover and cook for next 20-30 minutes or till everything is cooked. Keep stirring as it should not burn from the bottom hence adjust the heat as well from time to time, if required. Add water as required for the cooking and the desired consistency of the khichuri but if you feel you need to reduce the water, then just leave the cover open while you cook, but do this only towards the end of cooking. Serve hot topped with a knob of butter or a teaspoon full of desi-ghee and a side of fried discs of eggplant, we call it "begun bhaja"! Ah! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Making of a great dessert – Tiramisu

Or shall I say Tiramigu?


Last few weeks of my job search has been a complete mess!  I have been looking for work for quite some time now and its not that I didn't get any but for some reason or other things are either getting delayed or cancelled. I was managing with that so far but the last week was the heights of madness! I had multiple interviews on most days of the week and some of them were really crappy! Not all of it my fault though! Some of the interviewer didn't even know what they wanted. Long story short, I got really annoyed and frustrated , decided to “leave the gun take the cannoli ” (The Godfather). Turned off my computer, no phones, emails just cooking and baking with my favourite Gu chocolate cookbook. This is  my second recipe from the book. The first one was the Chocolate Mousse Cake


Have you ever tried beating egg whites till soft peaks by hand? I did, it was therapeutic at that time. My suggestion to you is, try it but only when you are very angry and you only have those poor egg whites in front of you to beat the heck out of them. Else use the electric blender!


Ingredients: (The recipe is from the Gu chocolate cookbook, well almost!)

For the sponge/lady fingers

50 gm plain flour

2 tbsp cocoa powder

3 Egg whites

50 gm sugar

2 egg yolks, lightly beaten


For the Mascarpone mousse

250 gm Mascarpone cheese (book recipe suggests 500gm but couldn't get to the shops to get another tub so managed with this)

50 gm sugar

1 egg yolk

2 tbsp coffee liquor

250 ml whipping cream (book recipe suggests 200 ml, since I was running short on cream cheese, I tried to manage with this)


For building the Tiramisu

50 ml strong coffee for dipping (recipe suggest 100 ml but I had something else on mind!)

60 ml coffee Liquor (My idea and purely optional)

100 gm very good quality dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)

60 ml of double cream

40 ml of coffee Liquor (Again My idea!)

2tbsp cocoa powder for dusting on top

50 gm of dark chocolate bar for grating on top

hand full of dark chocolate covered espresso beans (It was my idea and completely optional!)



Started off with separating 3 eggs. All egg whites in one bowl, 2 yolks in another one and the reserve the third yolk for later use in the mousse.

For making the sponge, pre heat the oven at 170 degree C and line a 25x30 cm baking tray. Spray or brush some oil in to it. Mix the cocoa powder and the flour together and keep. Beat the egg whites till soft peaks.Add the sugar and continue to beat until it looks like shaving foam. Lightly beat the two yolks and add them to the whites. Mix well. Now Add the flour mix in to the egg-sugar mix and beat well. Pour the mixture in the baking tray evenly and bake for 8-10 minutes or until you touch the top and it bounce back. Leave it to cool down and the cut them in to roughly 3x12 cm  fingers.


Now for the mascarpone mousse put all the ingredients under that list in to a bowl and  blend till it forms soft peaks.


All cooking done now comes the building part of this divine dessert. In a shallow bowl mix the first two ingredient of the third list. Get your serving dish, I used a 20 cm square glass dish, you can also use individual serving dishes. Dip the sponge fingers (half the quantity of total) one by one in the liquid and line them in the base of the serving dish. This should be quick so that you don’t end up with soggy bottom.



Cover layer #1 with half the mascarpone mousse. That’s your layer #2 . Melt the dark chocolate bar with double cream and add the coffee liquor when melted (the next 3 items in the building list) Now, for Layer #3 you can either simply dust cocoa powder or pour the chocolate ganache I just made. Layer #4 and #5 are same as Layer #1 and #2. Once done, try to smooth the top as much as you can, cover the top(make sure it doesn’t touch the cheese top) and leave it in the fridge to set overnight.


Just before serving, dust the top with cocoa powder and grated chocolate and carefully place some dark chocolate covered espresso beans on top. Now sit back relax and enjoy every spoonful of this divine dessert!