Saturday, January 29, 2011

Son in law Eggs

This is one of my husband's signature dishes. Indeed he has prepared it for my mother (how appropriate!) multiple times! He prepared it as part of my birthday dinner.


4 boiled eggs
4 shallots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
4 green chilli, slivered
oil to fry
salad leaves
coriander leaves, chopped
4 Tablespoon jaggery
4 Tablespoon fish sauce
4 Tablespoon tamarind juice
4 Tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon salt


Fry the boiled eggs to a light brown and drain. For the sauce, put the water in a pan. Mix in the tamarind paste. Bring it to simmer. Add sugar, salt and fish sauce. Taste and add sugar and tamarind if necessary. In the leftover oil, fry until golden, the shallots, garlic and green chilli. Arrange the salad leaves, quarter the eggs on to it. Sprinkle the fried onion, garlic and green chilli. Pour the sauce over, sprinkle the coriander and serve warm.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Orange etc.

There's marmalade in the air. One of my neighbours made it a couple of weeks back. Felicity Claoke has recently featured her perfect version at WoM, so is it any wonder that I got tempted too?
The small oranges featured here are rare to come by. About one and half inch intense orange globes, I always fall for them and get a bagful. They are seedless so generally I use them in Chicken with orange, a dish where I can add the pieces with the minimum fuss. They also have very thin peel so instead of going through the procedure of extracting the zest from the peel, I can use it directly to make my home-made orange liquer. My marmalade is not thick. I am not even sure I can call it a marmalade since the whole orange except its peel is kept as it. Perhaps I should call them poached oranges! In a glass bottle, with all the orange globes on top of each other it looks enchanting. I have used the whole ranges in a dessert which follows below. The syrup is fantastic on plain old fashioned Victoria sponge cake. I am sure it would go very well with other types too, say Walnut coffee cake!


9 small oranges
1 lemon, juiced
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 cup Muscat wine (any white wine should do)


Preheat the oven to 150 degree centigrade. In a oven proof bowl place the oranges. Top with water so as to submerge them. Cover the container making sure all the oranges are submerged. Roast for 1 and half hours. Fish out the oranges and cool them. Strain the orangish liquid and boil it with the shredded peel. Julienne the peel from 4 oranges, once the oranges have cooled, into 1 mm thick shred. Boil for about 15 minutes before adding the sugar. Takes about another half hour for it to be sticky. Add the wine, lemon juice and reduce it to two-third the volume. It should become moderately sticky again. Cool completely. In the meantime remove the white stringy bits, taking care to keep the oranges intact. Arrange the oranges in a sterile glass bottle. Pour the syrup on it. Make sure all the peel goes in too. If the oranges are not yet submerged, top it with some wine.
I used some of the poached oranges the next day in dumplings.

They were both sweet and savoury, the dough being made for the Rajasthani Batis that I had for dinner that day. But the tartness of the oranges were the right foil for the rich dough. Bati is the standard dough bread in Rajasthan and much of Gujarat. Filled Batis are all the rage in fancy places though the homely version is almost never stuffed. These are a sweet version. I am including the measures as I made them.

Orange stuffed Bati


2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup semolina
1 teaspoon salt
1 and half teaspoon baking powder
5 tablespoon ghee
4 tablespoon curd
6 tablespoon water
12 poached oranges


Preheat oven to 180 degree centigrade. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk the curd and water. Make an indentation in the dry mixture and add the ghee. Add part of the curd and start bringing together the dry ingredients. Add curd as you go. The mixture should not be dry. Kneed for about 8 minutes, until a elastic, smooth dough is formed. Rest the dough for an hour. Make lemon sized balls from it. You will get about 12 balls.
Roll out the dough balls into a flat circle about half centimetre thick. Drain the poached oranges from the syrup and place it at the centre of the flattened dough. Bring the sides together and seal it. Roll it between two palms to get a perfectly round ball. Scallop one side of the ball with a spoon to make a design. Place on oiled plate and into the oven. Bake for about half an hour or until they are brown. Allow them to cool to room temperature before serving. The caramelised sugar could otherwise burn you!

Bengalee Fish Fry

Fried fish in any guise appeals to Bengalees. Indeed without the Maach bhaja, the maacher jhol cannot be attempted and there would be glaring gaps in the PaNch bhaja that precedes any seriously formal meal. This time I will be documenting the non-traditional, but beloved Fish Fry. Breaded fried fish fillet was an addition that came with the Raj but it has stayed firmly in the Bengalee culinary repertoire as aparticular favourite at wedding banquets. One reason is that it does take longer to prepare than the generally marinated fish steaks that are made into fried fish. There's also the fact that Bhetki which is generally used as the base for preparing the boneless, thin fish filet is an expensive fish. It remains therefore a treat. These were prepared by my mother-in-law who is a dab hand at all Bengalee dishes. Quite a few steps can be prepared ahead, so the final frying can be done in a flourish allowing for serving it hot.


550 gm Bhetki, made into 12 filets of half centimetre thickness
1 teaspoon salt
1 lemon
1 small onion
1 clove garlic
1 green chili, deseeded
1/2 inch ginger

2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoon white flour

1 and half cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups bread crumbs or ground lede biscuit

2 cups white oil for deep frying


I find it best to ask the fishmonger to fillet my fish. They must not be thicker than half centimtre. A good sushi knife ought to help in doing it at home. Mine are generally thicker than the requisite half centrimtre though :(. The fish was procured and thoroughly rubbed with salt and lemon juice before freezing and later thawing before use. If using freshly bought fish, proceed immediately with marinating in the ginger-onion-garlic-chilli which is made into a paste. Half an hour at room temperature is sufficient for the marination. In the meantime tip on a flat plate 1 cup, some salt and pepper and mix up thoroughly. Make the batter in a blender (or whisk) with the eggs, salt, baking powder and white flour. Drain the filets from the marinade and coat them thoroughly with the flour. Set all the filets aside one by one andd start heating up the oil in a kadai. Spread the bread crumbs or ground lede biscuit onto another plate. Lede biscuit is the preferred crumb of the old fashioned. I myself use stale bread crumbs accumulated over a period. Dip the coated filet in the egg batter, coat it immediately with the crumbs and gently put into the oil which should be very hot by now. The flame is lowered and each side is cooked to brown perfection for about 3 minutes. The thickness of the filet is thus rather important. Avoid browning too much. The crispiness and softness has an optimum value.Drain and keep hot.
Though ketchup goes well, I think the quintessential Bengalee way is to have it with kasundi.