Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Bengali Fish Curry

Neither am I from Bengal nor do I have any connection to Bengal, but still sharing a Bengali Fish curry recipe; and no, this is not an online recipe I tried. This is a recipe I got from a dear friend Writu who is a fun loving and cheerful Bengali girl and her name means season (ऋतु). I have never met anyone with a name beginning from letter 'W' and so when I heard her name for the first time, I believed her name spells as Ritu. There was a big confusion around her name and I once messed up things for her because of how her name was spelled and I thought it was something else; and then in a guilty attempt of getting things right for her, we became close friends. Today we have drifted apart as friends but I still remember the time I had this simple yet subtle taste of fish curry with rice at her place, and she wrote the basic recipe her mom and she follows for the fish curry.

This blog did not exist at that time and the memories of the recipe and the fish curry also faded as the friendship drifted apart. But last year, when I visited my parents in India, I was going through my old things in the wardrobe and there I found in an old diary a dusty page stuck in the diary with this amazing recipe and on the top was written her name "Writu". All the old memories came back of the awesome time we had, and I decided to try the recipe in my kitchen. I can't say for sure if this is an authentic recipe or is this how it is made in all or many Bengali households, but that's what she told me and said this is a very basic recipe.

To our friendship! Writu!


Fish: 400 gm (I used salmon fillets)
Mustard oil: 4 tsp.
Panch phoran (5-spice mix):

  • Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp.
  • Mustard seeds: 1/4 tsp.
  • Fennel seeds: 1/4 tsp.
  • Black cumin seeds: 1/4 tsp.
  • Fenugreek seeds. 1/4 tsp.

Dried red chilli: 1
Onion (finely chopped): 2
Ginger-garlic paste: 4 tsp. (I used grated ginger and garlic)
Tomato (chopped): 2
Green chili (chopped): 1
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder: 1 tsp.
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp.
Tamarind extract: 1 tsp.
Coriander leaves to garnish

  1. Wash and clean the fish fillets and marinate them with salt, 1/2 tsp. red chilli powder, turmeric, 1 tsp. mustard oil and tamarind for 20 minutes. 
  2. Heat the remaining mustard oil and fry the fish from both sides, flipping alternatively so that it cooks nicely from both sides. 
  3. Drain and remove, keep aside. 
  4. Heat the same oil and add the panch phoran or the five spice mix (cumin, mustard, fennel, black cumin and fenugreek). 
  5. When they crackle, add the dried red chilli and add ginger-garlic after few seconds. Let cook until the raw smell goes away. 
  6. Add the onions and fry until they are transparent and beginning to get brown; but don't let them brown. 
  7. Add the tomato and green chilli and sprinkle little salt. Cover and let cook for 5-7 minutes until the tomatoes are soft and mushy. 
  8. Remove cover, add the red chilli powder and mix well. Add a cup of water and cover again for 15 minutes on medium flame. 
  9. Remove cover. The entire curry will be done and the tomatoes and the masala is nicely absorbed together. Let cook uncovered for 5 more minutes.
  10. Turn off the flame and add fried fish pieces. Cover and leave for 10 minutes so that the fish absorbs the curry's flavor in the steam. 
  11. Remove cover and garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with rice. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Three decades: Summed up !!

Ah yes! Guess who's turning 30 tomorrow,the 16th? Yeah, pretty much me !!

Do I feel 30 came too soon? Yes, totally. I'm realizing it pretty very much in the last few hours of my 20s and my life will forever be changed, now that I'm entering my 30s.

But are the 30s something to be scared of? Something to freak out? Not to me.
Almost all my batch-mates are (or have already) turning 30 this year and I'm not very sure why almost everyone I know is freaking out at the thought of turning 30, and they want me too. But the thing is, I refuse to freak out and hate my entering in the 30s. I feel like I'm ready to accept this change and to feel and be my age. I feel this isn't just getting old, it's getting new, it's getting much more from life....

Last birthday I got a card from a close friend which said "Forever 29" ! and it got me thinking: why do my friends feel I must feel anxious at the thought of turning 30? Why forever 29?
I, for one would be 30 rather than 29 today. Not because I love getting old, but because I love understanding life, I love living life which I was not doing so well until the last year.
I would never want to go back a year in my life, because from 29 to 30, I have become a changed person in many different ways.

At 29, I expected a lot from life. I have become less irritable and short tempered in the past year.
I have understood my food choices better (read: started eating salads for lunch). I have finally gotten out of the procrastination zone to keep my body fit because I have realized that's the only place I have to live in forever (and have been consistently walking and exercising). I have become more patient, have learnt to let things go and it's okay not to know all the answers all the time.

I would rather be 30 today than the fat, cranky 16 year old school girl who sulked at the thought of exercising and was super choosy for food; who used to hate everything about herself: from her name to her weight and her parents.
I would rather be 30 today than the 18 year old, confused about her career choices and weather the direction is right or wrong; one who was shy and scared to wear a jeans in collage and to talk to strangers; who wanted to be hidden from the world and wore baggy clothes and covered her face and head with a scarf most of the times in public.
I would rather be 30 today than the 20 year, still confused collage girl with zero friends and an introvert girl who was being made fun of every single day and who was mortified at the thought of being around or looking in the eye of boys in her class, let alone striking a conversation or even responding to one.
I would rather be 30 today than the 22 year old myself, who was uncertain about love and relationships, the future ahead in my career and making bad choices in life; one who constantly felt pressured by the society to contemplate with the so-called standards, to look and dress a particular way, to make a career, to earn this much, to be able to cook and take care of the house, to get married, have kids...
I would rather be 30 today than the 25 year old young woman and a young professional, who was facing heartbreaks and sometimes crying herself to sleep; one who did not know who to trust and how much; one who was so uncertain about the future with so much instability in life with the young energy; one who opened herself up and regretted later every single time; one who chased after people who ignored her all the time, one who did not know how to identify true friends in the overwhelming crowd of so-called friends; one who was not getting proper sleep; one who was failing to establish trust and ended up trusting strangers more than her parents.
I would rather be 30 today than the newly-married 27 year old who constantly had understanding issues with husband and thought everyday that her relationship was a failure; who did not understand her husband and always felt misunderstood by the husband; who did not have an idea about valuing her home, parents, food and everything else; who was having a hard time understanding the difference between dreams and reality.
I would rather be 30 than the 29 year old myself, who was struggling with the new language of the new country, who was looked down upon in a totally different world and all she wanted was to be able to be a part of the people and the society of the country, who was uncaring about her health, who was yet to experience a lot of realities of the world, and so much more...

These three decades have made me what I am today.
In these three decades I have:

  • lost weight
  • cared for my fitness
  • become less cranky
  • not choosy for food
  • loved my name
  • loved and valued my parents more than ever
  • acquired a huge amount of patience
  • cultivated virtues of life I never before knew
  • on track with my career
  • have made money
  • not shy of any living being in this world
  • baggy clothes? never.
  • have talked and been and wonderful friends with so many of the opposite sex
  • got the ability to choose the right and wrong
  • know whom to trust, when and how much
  • created and running a food website (Oh.My.God. !!!!)
  • have few friends, but real ones.
  • never cry myself to sleep.
  • have a stable love (married) life.
  • don't give a damn about what the society thinks or says.
  • stable life.
  • better food choices.
  • getting my eight hour sleep.
  • getting better understanding between me and my husband.
  • cooking and experimenting with new and innovative dishes.
  • valued my home and parents.
  • stopped judging. 
  • can integrate well in this new country.
  • more confidence.
I would rather have all this and be a proud 30 year old than go back to the so-called "sweet 16", 20 years old myself, or 25 or 29, for the matter of fact !! So, bring on the 30s... !! 

I never had a bucket list to do before I turned 30 or something, but I did have a fair collection of quotes and words I intended to adopt in my life and here's the ones I have successfully been able to adopt and finally believing them firmly..

  1. What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.
  2. May we have the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” ~ Alan Watts
  3. Be good, but don't waste time proving it.
  4. This too shall pass.
  5. People may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.
  6. Smile.
  7. Never judge.
  8. Forgive. 
  9. Do not compare your life to others, you have no idea what their journey is all about.
  10. It's alright not to know all the answers; stop thinking so hard.
  11. Worry is like a rocking chair; it keeps you occupied but takes you nowhere.
  12. You have to be odd to be number 1.
  13. There is no path to happiness; happiness is the path.
  14. You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and still there is going to be someone who doesn't like peaches. It's okay.
  15. The ship is always safe at the shore, but that's not what it was made for. Sail. 
  16. Life goes on. 
  17. Let go. 
  18. Everything happens for a reason, that's always good. Might be difficult to believe in difficult times, but yes it is. 
  19. Hard times make you stronger. 
And did I say growth is a continual process and of course age is just a number!
There are a lot, lot and lot many more things I need to do, learn, grow and believe but trust me it's not that easy.. That's the reason I don't have a bucket list but here's a few I need to incorporate in my life as soon as possible and that's why I hope I must get them by my next birthday !!
  1. Say no without explaining yourself.  
  2. It's just a bad day, not a bad life. 
  3. Over-thinking ruins you, twists things around and makes everything worse than  it is. 
  4. No expectations = no disappointments. 
  5. Enjoy your own life without comparisons with others. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer is one of the most common recipe in Punjabi households and it's also served in parties and to our guests. I just love the cottage cheese cubes dunked in a this green curry with the rich, awesome taste without the use of any heavy ingredients like cashews, milk, yogurt, cream etc. This is the perfect recipe of my dad who is an amazing cook and prepares the brightest of green curry in palak paneer.

Other paneer recipes from the blog:

Achaari Paneer Masala
Paneer Lababdar
Paneer Makhani


Spinach leaves: 3 cups
Cottage cheese: 1 cup
Cooking oil: 2 tsp.
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp.
Onion (diced): 1 big
Ginger (chopped): 1 inch
Garlic (chopped): 4 cloves
Green chilli (choped): 1
Tomato (chopped): 1 big
Salt to taste
Red chili powder: 1 tsp.
Garam masala: 1/2 tsp.

  1. Blanch the spinach and grind to a puree and keep aside. Blanching process: boil water in a pot and add the washed and cleaned spinach leaves and after a minute, remove the leaves and add to the ice cold water. Drain the water and grind. 
  2. Grind the onion and garlic to a smooth paste and keep aside. Similarly, grind the ginger, green chili and the tomato to a smooth paste and keep aside. 
  3. Heat the oil on medium flame and crackle the cumin seeds. Add the onion paste and begin to fry. Keep stirring and frying until the onion paste starts getting brown and cooked. 
  4. Add the second paste: paste of ginger, green chilli and tomato. Mix well and add salt and red chili and fry. Keep stirring regularly so the masala does not stick to the base. 
  5. When the masala starts turning little darker in shade and starts to leave oil at the sides, then the masala is done. 
  6. Add the garam masala and give a stir. Add the cubed cottage cheese at this stage and mix everything well. Add little water to the curry if required. Cover and let cook for 5 minutes. 
  7. Remove cover and cook for another 2-3 minutes. 
  8. Add the spinach puree and mix well. Turn off the flame. DO NOT COVER. Never cover it even when reheating, it will lose its beautiful green color in the steam. 
  9. Serve hot with chappati, laccha paratha or even Jeera rice. Enjoy !!

Loved this recipe? Please do leave your comment/feedback in the comments section and don't forget to connect with me on my Facebook Page

Friday, November 13, 2015

How to freeze spinach

Spinach is my favorite leafy green vegetable. I love to have these greens whenever possible as spinach is very healthy: it's an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B1 and B2, magnesium, iron, calcium and is a very good source of dietary fiber.

But fresh spinach is not always available. Or sometimes there is too much of spinach which cannot all be used up quickly, so instead of letting it go bad looking for ideas to use it all up, I feel it's a better way to blanch and freeze and use whenever required.

How to freeze spinach:
  1. Wash and clean the spinach leaves and blanch them. Blanching process: add to the boiling water and when it begins to wilt, remove and add to ice-cold water. Spinach is one of those vegetables which is recommend boiling to free up acids and allow them to leach into the boiling water; this brings out a sweeter taste from the spinach. Discard the boiling water after cooking; do not drink it or use it for stock because of its acid content. 
  2. Grind to a smooth puree without adding any water. 
  3. Fill in ice trays and freeze for 24 hours. 
  4. Remove the ice trays from the freezer. 
  5. Store the spinach cubes in ziplock bag and date the bag so you remember to use it up quickly. 
  6. You can use this frozen spinach cubes in many healthy ways: add the cubes to soups, add to boiled dal to get a different and wonderful flavor, sambhar, add to curries (curries for koftas, egg curries, chicken curries), palak paneer, even add to dough to make spinach parathas, add to dosa or idli batter etc.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Zucchini Tawa Fry

I have always cooked zucchini in two ways: either in the form of subzi or koftas. This is a really innovative and amazing recipe for zucchini (or can be prepared with bottle gourd) and even those who hate this vegetable will love this recipe to the core.

I have got this wonderful idea of making zucchini as a tawa fry vegetable from a very talented fellow blogger Ruchi Airen and I was attracted to this recipe the first time I read the recipe. This is my style of preparing the veggie and the original recipe which inspired me to prepare this is:


Zucchini (or bottle gourd): 1 big size
Cooking oil: 6 tsp.
Cumin seeds: 1 tsp.
Asafoetida: a pinch
Onion (chopped): 1 big
Ginger-garlic (grated): 4 tsp.
Tomato (chopped): 1 big
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder: 1 tsp.
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp.
Garam masala: 1/2 tsp.
Kasoori methi: 1/2 tsp.

  1. Peel and wash the zucchini and cut the zucchini into rounds. 
  2. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan and add the rounded zucchini pieces to the oil. I added them in batches as I could not spread all the rounds at once. 
  3. Let the zucchini fry a bit and then turn them with the help of a spatula. When they are slightly browned from both sides, drain from the oil and keep aside. Repeat for all the zucchini rounds. 
  4. Heat the same oil again on medium flame and crackle the cumin seeds. Add asafoetida and the chopped onions. Mix well and let cook until the onions are transparent. 
  5. Add the ginger-garlic and fry until the raw smell goes away. 
  6. Add the chopped tomato and sprinkle salt. Cover and let cook for few minutes until the tomatoes are soft and mushy. 
  7. Remove cover and add red chilli and turmeric powder. Mix well. 
  8. Add the fried zucchini rounds and mix lightly so they don't break. 
  9. Turn off the flame. Sprinkle the garam masala and kasoori methi and cover.
  10. Remove cover after 10 minutes and mix everything well. Serve hot with chappati. 

Beetroot Dhokla: 3-minute recipe

Another addition to the instant 3-minute dhokla recipe series after the basic 3-minute microwave dhoklaDhokla in idli standRawa DhoklaInstant khatta dhokla and Poha Dhokla is this quick and easy, lovely and vibrant colored, healthy and tasty Beetroot Dhokla..

Just like all the other dhokla recipes previously shared, this lovely dhokla also gets ready in just 3 minutes in the microwave, or can be steamed in the normal stove top steamer. It takes about 10-12 minutes in the steamer and you can check by doing a toothpick test.

I have prepared this dhokla in my Idli mold in microwave, you can prepare in the regular dhokla mold or in idli mold, both in microwave and on stove top.


Beetroot: 1 big
Semolina: 1 cup (sooji)
Lemon juice: 1 tsp.
Salt to taste
Sugar: 2 tsp.
Cooking oil: 2 tsp. + little oil to grease
Eno (fruit salt): 1 tsp. (or add an equal amount of mix of baking soda and baking powder 50:50)
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp.
White sesame seeds: 1/2 tsp.
Desiccated coconut to garnish

  1. Grate the beetroot and mix in the semolina, lemon juice, salt and sugar and mix well. Keep aside for 20 minutes. 
  2. After 20 minutes, mix everything well again, do not add any water, the batter will be little watery because of the beetroot. 
  3. Add in the fruit salt and quickly mix well. 
  4. Pour the mix into greased idli molds. 
  5. Cover and steam in the microwave for 3 minutes on highest power. It can vary with power, for maximum 750 W, microwave for 3 minutes, for 700 W, 4 minutes and for 1000 W, for just 2 minutes. 
  6. Remove and do the toothpick test, if the toothpick comes out clean, then the dhokla is done. If not, microwave or steam for another minute. 
  7. Make the tempering: Heat oil and crackle the mustard seeds. Next, crackle the sesame seeds and turn off the flame.  
  8. Pour this tempering over the dhoklas and garnish with desiccated coconut. Serve with Mint-coriander chutney at tea-time or as breakfast. 

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

Kaju Katli (Without Sugar and ghee)

Kaju Katli is one of the most favorite and sought-after sweets in India. This is a royal sweet, a lovely and yummy cashew fudge perfect for festivals and also for gifting.
I have made this recipe without the use of sugar or ghee.


Cashews: 1 cup
Honey: 8 tsp. (adjust according to taste)
Edible coconut oil: for greasing
Rose water: a few drops
Water: 1/2 cup
Saffron strands for decorating
Edible silver foil for decorating (optional)

  1. Add the cashews to the blender and grind to a fine (or coarse) powder. I like little cashews bits in my fudge so I ground it coarse. Keep aside.
  2. Heat the water on medium flame in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the honey. Mix well and let the honey dissolve completely. Bring the water to a boil until the quantity reduces in half. By the time grease the working surface with coconut oil. 
  3. Now add the ground cashew powder to the water and mix well. Let the whole mixture cook and come together in a lump, this would take about 7 minutes. You know it's done when you pinch out a small ball from the mix and try to roll it between your palms and it's not sticky. 
  4. Remove the whole mix to the working surface. Don't leave in the hot pan as it can overcook and the fudge will become chewy. Add in the rose water.  
  5. Let it cool a bit and begin to knead the dough. Do not over-knead as it will become dry. The grainy texture will disappear. (I made for the first time and didn't knead enough, so it's a little grainy). 
  6. Flatten a bit with the spatula and flatten it completely on the surface using a regular rolling pin. 
  7. Leave and let cool completely for few hours. 
  8. When cooled, cut into diamond shapes with the help of a sharp knife or a pizza cutter. 
  9. Carefully remove the pieces and decorate with saffron strands and/or silver foil. 
  10. Refrigerate for an hour and serve. 

Loved this post? Don't forget to join me on my Facebook Page for regular recipe updates. 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

100 Chicken Recipes

Chicken has been one of the favorite in my household ever since I have begun to experiment with various kinds of chicken recipes. I still remember the first time I made Sri Lankan Chicken Curry; that dates back to a regular Sunday afternoon; March 9, 2014. At the beginning of this journey, I never imagined I would get to a whooping 100 different kinds of recipes just with chicken as it was just a out of the ordinary experiment. 

I haven't stopped ever since and it's just today I have completed cooking my 100th chicken recipe; Peshawari chicken Curry. The journey went about with chicken curries, marinated chicken, non-marinated chicken, grilled chicken, chicken stir fries, chicken biryanis; you name it !! I haven't found the time to write all the recipes so will keep on updating this post with the recipe links which are missing. Till then, keep cooking, keep enjoying and leaving your valuable feedback which always means a lot. 

Bhuna Kadhai Chicken
Chicken Lababdar 
Chicken Lazeez
Chicken Makhani 
Chicken Salna
Chicken Tikka Biryani 
Chicken Tikka on Skewers
Coriander Chicken Biryani 
Daddy's Chicken curry (Authentic family recipe)
Fusion Chicken (Greek- Indian Chicken curry)
Hara Masala Chicken 
Jaipuri Chicken
Kala Jeera Murgh
Lahori Chicken Biryani
Murgh Hyderabadi
Olive Green Chicken
Onion Chicken
Panch Phoran Chicken Curry 
Peshawari Chicken (Pakistani chicken curry)
Spinach Chicken
Thai Red chicken curry 

If you loved this post, please do leave a comment and/or feedback and share the pictures with me if you try any of my recipes; it means a lot to me. Don't forget to join me on my Facebook page for regular recipe updates.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Coconut Coriander Chicken


Chicken: 300 gm (boneless)
Cooking oil: 3 tsp.
Ginger-garlic (crushed): 3 tsp.
White peppercorns: 1 tsp.
Sesame seeds: 1/2 tsp.
Cinnamon stick: 1 inch
Onion (sliced): 1
Salt to taste
Coriander (chopped): a handful and a little extra for garnish
Red chilli powder: 1 tsp.
Green chili (chopped): 1
Yogurt: 1/2 cup
Desiccated coconut: 4 tbsp.
Garam masala: 1 tsp.

  1. Heat oil on medium flame and add the whole spices: peppercorns, sesame seeds and cinnamon. 
  2. Add crushed ginger and garlic and fry until the raw smell goes away. 
  3. Add the onions and fry until they are transparent but not browning. Add the chicken and sprinkle a little salt to taste. 
  4. Add the chopped coriander, mix and cover. Let cook for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove cover and add red chili powder, green chili and mix well.
  6. Add the yogurt and coconut. Mix everything well and let open cook on medium flame for another 10 minutes. 
  7. Add the garam masala and turn off the flame. 
  8. Mix well, garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve. 


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