Chilli Chicken

Ingredients

  • 500 gm boneless chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Oil for frying
  • 2 tbsp oil for stir frying
  • 12 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1” ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies, cut length wise
  • 2 cups onions, cut into squares and layers separated
  • 1 cup green bell pepper, cut into squares
  • 1/4 cup spring onion whites and greens separated
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 cup water

For the Chicken Marinade –

  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp chilli sauce (I used Sambal Oelek)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder

For the Stirfry Sauce –

  1. 1 tbsp soy sauce
  2. 1 tbsp red chilli sauce
  3. 1 tsp vinegar
  4. 1 tsp sugar
  5. Salt and pepper to taste

Method –

  1. Marinate the chicken with all the marinade ingredients in a large bowl and set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. Heat oil for frying
  3. Once the oil is hot, add chicken pieces and fry for 4-5 minutes
  4. Fry till golden brown, making sure not to overcook.
  5. Remove the chicken onto absorbent paper and set aside
  6. Mix all the stir fry sauces in a bowl.
  7. Make a slurry with the cornflour and water
  8. In a wok, heat oil for the Stirfry on high heat.
  9. Add ginger, garlic and green chillies
  10. Sauté for a minute
  11. Add onions and green bell pepper
  12. Sauté for 2 minutes.
  13. Add the white part of the spring onions and sauté for another minute
  14. Add the mixed sauces
  15. Then, add the cornflour slurry
  16. Mix and cook till the sauce thickens.
  17. Add the chicken and toss for a minute till the sauce coats the chicken evenly and a semi thick gravy remains
  18. Serve immediately.

Khasta Kachori

Ingredients

For The Dough –

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup ghee
  • 1/2 tsp carom seeds
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Ingredients for Stuffing

  • 4 tbsp besan
  • 1/2 cup moong dal
  • Salt as per taste
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 1 tbsp amchur powder
  • 1.5 tsp powdered sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp kasoori methi
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 3 tbsp refined oil
  • A pinch of asafoetida powder
  • 7-8 black peppercorns, ground coarsely

Method –

  1. Soak the moong dal in water for 2 hours.
  2. Drain the water and set aside.
  3. Add all purpose flour, ghee, crushed carom seeds and salt in a bowl.
  4. Mix well
  5. Add about 1/2 cup or more water to make a semi tight dough
  6. Cover and set aside for 15-20 minutes
  7. Put the drained dal into a mixer and just run the mixer for 3 seconds.
  8. Heat oil in a pan
  9. Add cumin seeds, coriander seeds and fennel seeds.
  10. Stir for some time, lower the heat and add besan.
  11. Stir fry on low flame till it changed colour
  12. Add salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder and sauté for about 1-2 minutes
  13. Add grated ginger and sauté for 1 minute
  14. Add black pepper powder
  15. Add the moong dal and ensure there is no moisture left in the dal.
  16. Add amchur powder and mix well
  17. Cook on low flame for 3-4 minutes.
  18. Add sugar and mix well
  19. The stuffing should be absolutely dry. Switch off the flame and set aside.
  20. Make balls from the stuffing
  21. Knead the dough and cut the dough into balls
  22. Take one ball of dough
  23. Using fingers, make it slightly flat and make it slightly thin in the sides.
  24. Put the stuffing in the middle and bring the sides to the top and pinch and close the ball of dough.
  25. If there is any extra dough, tear it off
  26. Now, flatten the stuffed ball of dough.
  27. Make the remaining kachoris the same way
  28. Heat oil for deep frying in a deep pan
  29. The oil should be moderately hot
  30. Fry the kachoris in medium heat till brown
  31. Remove on an absorbent paper
  32. Serve with sweet chutney.

Tita Kerala Khar (Assamese Bitter Gourd Khar)

Ingredients

4 bitter gourds, cut into small pieces and seeds discarded
3 tbsp masoor dal, washed and soaked in water
1 tsp panch phoran
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp ginger juice
2 slit green chillies
1/2 tsp cooking soda
Salt to taste
1 tbsp mustard oil

Method –

Heat oil in a pan
Add the panch phoran
When it splutters, add ginger and garlic
After 15 seconds, add the bitter gourd and stir fry for 2 minutes
Add the drained dal and saute till it changes colour
Add the soda mixed with 2 tbsp of water
Saute for a minute
Add 2 cups of water and let it come to a boil
Add salt
Cover with a lid and cook on low heat
Once the dal and vegetables are soft, add ginger juice and green chillies
After 2 minutes, remove from heat and serve with rice

Kanch Kolar Torkari (Raw Banana Curry)

Ingredients

  • 2 raw bananas
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 dry red chilli
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 green chillies
  • 2 tbsp mustard oil
  • Salt and sugar to taste

Method –

  • Chop the raw bananas and sprinkle turmeric powder
  • Chop the potatoes
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan
  • Sauté the raw bananas and potatoes till light brown
  • Remove and set aside
  • Heat the remaining oil in the same pan
  • Temper with bay leaf, dry red chilli and cumin seeds
  • Add the chopped tomato and ginger paste
  • Sauté till tomato becomes soft, sprinkle a little water so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom
  • Make a paste of turmeric, cumin, coriander and red chilli powder with 2-3 tbsp water
  • Pour this paste into the pan
  • Saute till the oil leaves the sides
  • Add the potatoes and raw bananas and mix well
  • Add 1 tsp sugar and salt to taste
  • Pour 2 cups warm water and let it come to a boil
  • Add the green chillies
  • Reduce the heat to low and cook covered for 5 minutes
  • Add the garam masala powder
  • Again, cook covered for 2 minutes and serve

Ghugni

Ingredients

  • 200 gm yellow dry peas, washed and soaked in water, overnight
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 big potato, diced in small pieces
  • 2 tbsp mustard oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp green chilli paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 3 tsp Bhaja moshla
  • Chopped coriander leaves for garnish

Method –

  1. Strain the water from the peas
  2. Boil with 3 cups of water, salt and turmeric powder for 5-6 whistles in a pressure cooker.
  3. Heat oil in a pan.
  4. Add the potatoes and sauté for 3-4 minutes till it becomes golden brown. Remove on to an absorbent paper and set aside.
  5. In the same oil, add onions.
  6. Sauté for 2 minutes.
  7. Add ginger, garlic and chilli paste.
  8. Fry till the onions turn light brown
  9. Add us the chopped tomatoes
  10. Add coriander, cumin, turmeric and red chilli powder
  11. Add a few tbsp of lukewarm water and fry till the oil separates
  12. Add the potatoes and sauté for 2 minutes
  13. Now add the peas and the water it was boiled in.
  14. Add 1 cup of warm water.
  15. Mix well. Cover and cook on low heat till the gravy thickens a bit
  16. Add the Bhaja moshla. Mix well and switch off the flame
  17. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves

Kolkata Style Chicken Biryani

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp rose water
  • 1 tsp keora water
  • 1 heaped tbsp of ghee
  • 750 gm chicken
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 5 big onions
  • 20-25 cloves of garlic
  • 1” piece of ginger
  • 150 gm plain curd
  • 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  • A pinch of sugar
  • 2 tbsp warm milk
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 4 boiled eggs
  • Salt to taste

For the Biryani Masala –

  • 1 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp white pepper
  • 2-3 black cardamoms
  • 7-8 green cardamoms
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 2 whole maces
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 1” cinnamon stick

Method –

  1. Dry roast all the whole spices on a hot tawa, till they start to release their aroma.
  2. Take them off the heat and let them cool a little following which blend them to get the powdered spice.
  3. Sieve the ground spice and store in an airtight container.
  4. To prepare the rice, take 4 or 5 cups of water in a pan and bring it to a boil.
  5. Add couple of green cardamom, 1 clove and a cinnamon stick. Add a pinch of salt.
  6. When the water starts to boil, add the rice and cook till it is done. Drain the extra water.
  7. Clean under running water to get rid of excess starch and salt. Take a flat plate and spread the rice.
  8. Slice the onions and fry them with a pinch of sugar in 2 tbsp oil till they caramelise
  9. We will use half of the onions to cook the chicken and half for assembling the final dish.
  10. Peel the garlic and ginger, blend them in a blender with a spoonful of water till you get a smooth paste.
  11. The ratio of ginger and garlic should be approximately 1:3.
  12. Take 2 spoonful of warm milk and add a pinch of saffron strands and keep it aside so the milk gets the color.
  13. Wash the chicken pieces and pat them dry with a kitchen towel or clean cloth.
  14. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan and sear all the chicken pieces.
  15. After the chicken pieces starts to get a golden brown color, add half of the fried onions, all the ginger-garlic paste, plain curd, 1 tbsp biryani spice-mix, 1 tbsp red chili powder, 2 tsp rose water (if you are using rose essence then use 1 tsp), 1 tsp Keora water and salt.
  16. Mix well and bring it to a simmer. Reduce the heat and let it cook for at least 20 mins.
  17. Check occasionally, if required add a little water. We do not want a lot of gravy.
  18. When done take the chicken off the heat and keep them in a separate bowl.
  19. Take two potatoes, cut them into four pieces each and cook them in a pressure cooker with a pinch of salt. When done keep them aside.
  20. In the same pan, after finishing the chicken, fry the boiled potatoes till they start to acquire some golden color. Turn off the heat.
  21. Now that we have all the elements of biryani ready, we just need to assemble them.
  22. Take a heavy bottomed pan.
  23. In the pan, put the potatoes, chicken at the bottom, top it up with 2 tbs of gravy, some fried onion and a pinch of biryani masala.
  24. Now add a layer of rice. Top it up with fried onion, 1 tbs of gravy, a pinch of biryani spice-mix and 1 tsp of saffron milk.
  25. Put another layer of rice. Top it up with fried onion, 1 tbs of gravy, a pinch of biryani spice and a tsp of saffron milk and boiled eggs.
  26. Drizzle the ghee on the top.
  27. Cover the pan with a lid. Try to use a pan with a tight fitting lid. Put the pan on low flame and cook it for 10 mins. Turn off the heat and let it rest for another 5 mins.

Fresh Cherry Cake

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 125 gm butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup fresh pitted cherries
  • A pinch of salt

Method –

  1. Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder a few times
  2. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar thoroughly
  3. Add the vanilla essence
  4. Add the flour in batches along with the milk
  5. Mix well
  6. Add half of the cherries to the mix
  7. Pour the cake mix into a prepared pan
  8. Sprinkle the remaining cherries on top
  9. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 45 minutes

Creamy Pesto Pasta

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 350 gm spaghetti

Method –

  1. Cook the spaghetti as per package directions
  2. Meanwhile, make a white sauce by melting butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Add the flour and cook till the raw smell goes away
  4. Add the milk and whisk continuously so that no lumps are formed. Stir till the sauce is thickened.
  5. Add the pesto to the white sauce and remove from heat
  6. Drain the pasta and add it to the pan
  7. Add a little pasta water if required
  8. Toss the sauce with the pasta and serve

Labra (Mixed Vegetable Curry)

Ingredients

  • 1 large potato, cut in chunks
  • 3 pointed gourds, skin scrapped and cut in halves lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup carrot, sliced in thick, long wedges
  • 1/2 cup radish, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup drumsticks, cut into 2” long pieces
  • 1/2 cup beans, cut into 2” pieces
  • 1 cup cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1 raw plantain, cut into chunks
  • 1 medium brinjal, cut into medium cubes
  • 1 cup pumpkin, cut into medium cubes
  • 1/2 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1-2 ridge gourds, chopped into pieces
  • 1 cup roughly chopped spinach leaves
  • 2 tsp ginger paste
  • A pinch of asafoetida powder
  • 1 tsp panch phoran
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1 tbsp ghee (optional)
  • 1 tsp Bhaja moshla

Method –

  1. Wash and keep the vegetables separately.
  2. Heat the oil in a kadhai.
  3. Add the panch phoran, bay leaf and dry red chillies
  4. Once they splutter, add the asafoetida powder
  5. Immediately add the ginger paste mixed with 2 tbsp water and salt.
  6. Stir and cook till the water evaporates.
  7. Add the potato, pointed gourds, radish, carrots, drumsticks, cabbage, raw plantain and beans.
  8. Stir and add turmeric powder
  9. Cover and let it cook for 3-4 minutes
  10. Uncover and add the brinjal, pumpkin, ridge gourd, cauliflower and spinach.
  11. Mix and cover and let it cook on medium flame
  12. Stir at regular intervals till the vegetables are soft (about 8-10 minutes)
  13. Adjust the seasoning and add sugar to balance the taste.
  14. Cover and cook till the water is absorbed and the veggies are coated with the gravy.
  15. Add ghee (optional) and sprinkle Bhaja moshla and switch off the flame

Brinjal Thokku

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggplants, diced
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 4-5 dry red chillies
  • 2 tbsp peanuts
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida powder
  • 2” ball of tamarind
  • 1 tbsp jaggery
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder

For the Tempering

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2-4 dry red chillies
  • Handful of curry leaves

Method –

  1. In a large pan, heat oil.
  2. Add eggplants
  3. Let it cook and soften.
  4. Add turmeric powder and salt and mix well
  5. Switch off the flame.
  6. In a separate pan, heat 1/2 tsp oil
  7. Add coriander seeds, dry red chillies, peanuts and asafoetida powder. Roast till fragrant.
  8. Transfer this to a mixie jar and add jaggery and tamarind to it.
  9. Also add 2-3 tbsp of the eggplant mix and blend to a coarse paste.
  10. Add this mixture into the eggplants and sauté.
  11. Check the seasoning and remove into a bowl.
  12. Add oil into a pan for tempering.
  13. Add the mustard seeds and let it splutter.
  14. Add curry leaves and dry red chillies
  15. Pour this tempering over eggplants and serve.