Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cocktail Series: Mojito

Summers coming time for long jars of summer coolers and long lazy afternoons.

Ingredients (Enjoy it yourself, or, call over a gang- here's the per head serving):
  • Ginger ale- 1 can
  • White rum/ Vodka- 60 ml
  • Mint- 2 sprigs
  • Lime juice
  • Salt- 1 pinch
  • Crushed ice

Crush mint, add salt and lime juice. Pour in rum and mix, top off with crushed ice and ginger ale.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cocktail Series: Passion Chi-chi

Ok, you dirty minds, it's not what you think . But just as good. ;)

Ingredients (Serves 4):

  • Vodka: 1 glass
  • Coconut milk: 1 glass
  • Passion fruit juice: 2 glass
  • Sugar: 3 tbsp


Blend all ingredients in a mixer, pour over crushed ice. Enjoy.

Liquid gold on a balmy spring afternoon. All it was missing was a small umbrella and an orchid bloom

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tuna Maacher Jhaal (Spicy Tuna Curry).

This one's a derivative of a spicy but light fish curry from childhood. Though Bengali's love their spice and their fish, the nominal daily fish curry tends to be light on the stomach. our love for green chilli's, is more to do with the weather- something about eating green chilli's for lunch makes you sweat out the heat. And that we are a 'piccante' people. ;)

 Ingredients (Serves 2):
  • Tuna Chunks- 200 gm
  • Green chilli- 5 large, cut into large sections
  • Onion- 1/2 large, chopped
  • Ginger-Garlic Paste- 2 tsp
  • Star Anise- 1
  • Cloves- 8
  • Cinnamon- 1/4 inch stick, broken
  • Pepper- 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric- 1 tsp
  • Mustard Oil- 3 tbsp
  • Salt- To taste

 Preparation (20 mins):

Heat mustard oil in a pan and fry the fish over high flame. The trick to a good Bengali fish curry is frying the fish till it turns red. Normally, if I am making a bengali type fish curry at home, I cut and mix the fish with a little salt and turmeric before hand for at least an hour. In fact often, fresh fish brought from the market is coated thisaway before being kept in the freezer for the next day's cooking. Maybe the turmeric marinates it, or maybe just an extra precaution of keeping it clean.

Once the fish is reddish, brown, separate into a bowl, and fry the onions, spices and the ginger garlic paste in the same pan on high heat. As the onions start becoming translucent, add back the fish and cook for a minute or two on high. Add in turmeric, green chilli's, stir.


Add half a cup of water, cover and simmer for 10 mins. 

Though the chilli, makes the dish spicy, but overall once you get used to the heat you will find it very light on the stomach. Perfect for a rice and fish meal on a hot summer day.If you want to tone down the heat, serve with a wedge of lemon and a sweet mango pickle on the side.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cocktail Series- The Black Russian

As cocktails go this one is pretty potent. Except for the ice, there is nothing cooling about this 'fire in your belly, stars in your head' drink. But it does make a great sun-downer to get the mood going.


  • Coffee Liqueur- 1 measure (used my homemade Kahlua)
  • Vodka-2 measures (You could tone this down, but does take the punch put)
  • Crushed Ice.


Fill a high ball halfway with ice, and layer in the Kahlua and  vodka. 

And the party starts.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Calamari a la Plancha

Typical Plancha- Very similar to the one I use at home
Typical Plancha- Very similar to the one I use at home.
Ever since my girlfriend presented me a plancha as a Christmas present, been experimenting a bit with cooking everything a la plancha.  Actually one of the healthiest ways to cook, fast too, that I have come across recently. If you don't have a 'Plancha', try doing it in a heavy non-stick flat pan. Results are fabulous.


While doing my weekend shopping I came across these fresh, heavenly cuttlefish at the local supermarket. So here I am at home with a lovely cleaned cuttlefish about 1 kg. Since tonight I am cooking for myself I guess about a 300 gm portion should be sufficient. Remaining is going to get frozen for the rest of the week. Maybe, if I can I will make a sea food soup from Egypt that my friend Gamal makes to perfection.

Ingredients (Serves 1):

  • Fresh Calamari- 300 gm, cut into strips
  • Garlic- 2 cloves, shredded
  • Olive oil- 1 tbsp
  • Salt- To taste
  • Lime- 1/2 juiced

Preparation ( Marination- 15 mins + Cooking time-10 mins):

Clean calamari strips and lightly dress with salt and a quarter of the lime juice. Set aside for 15 mins. 

Heat 'plancha' till any water put on it starts to sizzle. Spread oil on the plate. Add the shredded garlic. 

Once garlic starts becoming translucent, add calamari strips. 

Keep turning over till strips start becoming golden brown. So that the calamari remains tender and cooks evenly, keep basting with lime juice and the oil as you turn over. Don't overcook else you end up with a rubbery unappetizing mess. Lightly sprinkle a little salt and drizzle with remaining lime juice. You will know that the calamari is done when it starts turning golden brown and the garlic has turned a deep-fried  brown.

Serve hot with a fresh salad as accompaniment.


  • Serve with a chilled white to  bring out the flavour.
  • If you want, you could add a sprinkling of dried parsley to tone down the strong flavour near the end of the grilling.

Summer Coolers- Tamarind Mint Cooler

As the daylight hours and the mercury keeps creeping up, it's time for summer coolers. Had gone to the supermarket for raw mango's to make aam panna, failing to find good mango's was wondering what to do. Do I just make a mint sorbet or a sour tamarind juice, and ended up with this new mix.

Back home in India, you eat a lot of fruit and drink a lot of  sour juices in summer to keep from dehydration, resist sun stroke. In that philosophy, here's a new twist to the traditional pudhina juice from India. Tamarind, mint, ginger and cumin all come together to fight the heat and as a bonus soothes any upset stomachs, aiding digestion.


  • Mint leaves- 1 handful
  • Tamarind juice- 3 tbsp
  • Roasted cumin seeds- 1 pinch 
  • Ginger- 1 pinch, shredded
  • Salt- Small pinch


Wash and separate mint from stalks. Blend with tamarind juice, ginger, cumin seeds and 3/4 of a glass of water. Chill and serve with ice.

The  minty flavour is brought out by the contrast of the tart tamarind and earthy cumin.

  • If you want it sweeter, add a drop or two of honey.
  • Oh, and one more thing. If you are looking for a detox juice after a particularly heavy meal, this goes great. The tamarind, mint and cumin is sure to ease your tummy like nobody's business.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Cocktail Series: Mint Julep

From the gentile American South comes the quaint Mint Julep.Celebrating summer, celebrating the Bengali New Year and Sri Lankan New Year, celebrating the rare day of getting home from work before sundown, Ladies and Gentlemen, here's the mint julep.

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Fresh mint leaves- A handful
  • Demerra Sugar- 2 tbsp
  • Bourbon- 90 ml (if you are confused you can d with your regular Jack Daniel's No.7)
  • Ice- Crushed, 300 ml

Muddle the sugar and mint in a Tom Collins ( tall straight glass). Pour in bourbon. Shake well, not stir. Pour over ice and serve. 

Cheers, sport.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cocktail Series: Pinacolada

Long story short, a food blog's incomplete without cocktails. So here's one of the perennial favorites- the Pina Colada to start off the journey to an approaching weekend. As with everything else on this blog, it's an adaptation of making do with what you have on hand. So while the purists may scoff, this one tastes just as good.

P.S. Also, following my resolution of putting across at least one recipe every week, I need to boost post count quickly to catch up with old backlogs.

Ingredients (Per serving):
  • Orange Pineapple Juice: 1/2 glass.
  • Coconut milk: 1/3 glass
  • Vodka: 60 ml


Pour in orange and pineapple juice (unlike me if you have separate cartons, then 1/4 glass each). Layer with vodka on top. Top off with coconut milk. Add crushed ice. Stir. Enjoy.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Cocktail Series-Homemade Kahlua

Starting off the summer cocktail series with a homemade liqueur- The Kahlua. In mood to do everything from scratch- Learn, save money, customize. But most importantly, getting liqueurs in Muscat is slightly difficult. If you want to mix your own drinks in small batches, best learn from scratch.

Kahlua is quite a versatile mixer- Baby Eskimo, Black Russian, Chocolate Covered Cherries, Creamy Punani,Dirty Apple Juice or just to add a twist to your hot chocolate or coffee on a cold evening. Turns out its really easy to make.


  • Coffee- 1/ 2 cup (I grind mine from Robusta beans directly, else you could take 2 tbsp of Nescafe Instant)
  • Sugar (preferably Demerra)- 1 cup
  • Vodka- 1/2 cup
  • Vanilla essence- 1 tsp



Blend sugar, vodka, coffee to slush. Cool. In a clean container pour the vanilla essence, and slowly pour in the mix. Shake and store in a cool dry place. 

Chilli Chicken

 The Chinatown in Calcutta, locally known as Tangra, was a permanent  fixture of growing up in Calcutta. First as the Chinese Treat with parents, and later on in college years as a place where you could stretch a little money a long was- great food and cheap beer.

Legend had it that the first Chinese traders arrived in the City of Joy in the late 1700's, primarily from Canton. With time the settlers assimilated into the potpourri that is Calcutta. Their food became spicier, with Indian accents and a new cuisine was born- Tangra type Chinese. I am sure any Chinese tourist were he to arrive at this place would gradually shake his head and say- "Too spicy, this is not Chinese, but its damned good."

Anyway, one of the dishes that emerged out of this marriage of Chinese ingredients and Indian spices is the Chilli Chicken, which over time has spread across. So much so, that along with the 'kati-roll', Chilli Chicken and Chicken Chowmien, has become a staple at each street corner in Calcutta.

Cooking in memory of one of those delectable meals, here's my chilli chicken version. One of the simplest and fastest dishes. Yummmm.

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • Chicken- 300 gm, cut into small pieces
  • Bell Pepper- 1 large, chopped
  • Onion- 1 large, chopped
  • Garlic- 3 cloves, shredded
  • Green chilli- 8 large, cut into long sections
  • Mushrooms- 2 large, sliced
  • Sweet Soy Sauce- 3 tbsp
  • Pepper- 1 tsp, whole
  • Salt- To Taste
  • Sunflower oil- 3 tbsp

Preparation (20 mins):

If possible, marinate chicken (Best is boneless) with a little soy sauce and salt overnight. In a large wok heat oil and fry chicken over medium temperature till chicken starts turning brown. Add onions, garlic and green chilli. Add soy sauce. Stir and cook over high for 5 mins


Throw in bell peppers and mushrooms, cover and let simmer for 5 mins. Reduce any excess water. The final dish should be dry and sticky

Serve hot with rice or stir fried egg noodles.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Chickpea- Kidney Bean Salad

Another quickie. Light but high protein lunch made with what's left (chickpeas), offer of the day (local plum tomato) and something new (Kidney beans),

Ingredients (Serves 1):

  • Chickpeas- 125 gm, soaked overnight
  • Kidney beans- 100 gm, boiled
  • Plum tomato- 3, cut into small pieces
  • Parsley- 1 small handful, chopped
  • Lemon- 1 large wedge
  • Olive oil- To dress
  • Salt- To taste


Combine all ingredients except lemon, toss and refrigerate overnight. At lunch, just squeeze over fresh lemon juice.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Spaghetti with Quick Alfredo Sauce

As recipes go, this one is one of the fastest and nicest one. Call me a fan of the old classics, but this one is one of the niftiest ones to make after a long day at work.

Ingredients (Serves 1):

  • Parmesan- Grated, 3 tsp
  • Cream- 1/4 cup
  • Butter- 1tbsp
  • Garlic- 1 clove, crushed
  • Parsley-  2 tbsp (Fresh chopped is best, but lacking so, I made do with dried)
  • Salt- To taste

 Preparation (5 mins):

Melt butter in pan. On low heat add cream. Stir in crushed garlic, cheese, parsley. Stir continously and in five mins you sauce is done.

Serve with your favourite pasta.

  • If you do not want your pasta to stick together when boiling add 1/2 tsp olive oil per serving to the water. Also, when draining, sprinkle with a little cold water, makes the pasta less gluey.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Chicken Salad with Baby Potatoes, Pearl Barley and Parsley

Seventh recipe since Thursday, third in salad series. Again cooking on instinct, with whatever's left in the fridge. Been on a roll since last week.

Ingredients (Serves 1):
  • Chicken breast- 1 medium, boiled
  • Baby potatoes- 100 gm, boiled
  • Pearl Barley- 1/2 cup, boiled
  • Parsley- 100 gm, chopped
  • Lemon juice- 2 tbsp
  • Olive oil- To dress
  • Pepper-1 tsp, coarsely ground
  • Salt- To taste

Dice chicken breast and potatoes into small slivers. Add the parsley and barley for volume. Dress with olive oil, lemon juice, pepper and salt. Toss. Refrigerate for lunch.


  • Save the chicken stock by deep freezing for use in a soup, stew or as a sauce base.