Naan Therapy

Or should it be 'paratha' therapy …

Squash blossom pesto

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In Bengal, these blossoms are made into a paste, typically with mortar and pestle, with freshly grated coconut, green chillies, and mustard paste and eaten with hot white rice.

I made a pesto of lightly stir fried blossoms and goat cheese. Unfortunately, the flavor of the blossoms were overwhelmed by that of the goat cheese. Not what I would call a successful deployment of blossoms even though the pesto itself tasted great. Back to the drawing board.

Written by Som

July 11, 2015 at 6:51 pm

Posted in Recipe

Idli Dosa at Madurai Idli Kadai

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Paper dosa – crispy, tangy with fresh chutney accompaniments.

Tiny place, long queues and fresh food. Probably the nicest idli in Bay Area.

Written by Som

May 25, 2015 at 2:43 pm

Posted in Recipe

Be happy, bee happy

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A shrub that can grow as tall as a tree. Full of pink flowers during early spring and attracts bees.

Written by Som

May 25, 2015 at 2:27 pm

Posted in Recipe

Wild rose – pretty to look at, smells heavenly and great to eat.

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Wild rose in my yard. Pick a handful of roses with strongest flavor to make about 2 cups of petals. Clean petals by swishing in cold water. Wacth out for small insects. Add to one cup of water, one cup of sugar, jelling agent and juice of one lemon. Cook for about 20 minutes and chill.

Rose jam with cheese. Also nice with yogurt. The rose petals are chewy in the jelly.

Written by Som

May 25, 2015 at 1:46 pm

Posted in Dessert

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Bacha fish curry, part I

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Freshwater catfish, about 10-12 cm in size like a small trout, soft fleshed, with flavor that of fish eggs.

  • Scientific Name: Eutropiichthys vacha
  • Common Name: Batchwa vacha
  • Bangla Name: Bacha
  • More fish info here, declining population since it is a tasty little fish

To clean, remove gills and guts and trim the fins. Rinse.

To cook, marinate 2 cleaned fish with 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and 1/4 tsp salt for up to 1/2 hr at room temperature or overnight in fridge. Bring 2 tbsp mustard oil to smoking point in a wok, add fish and lightly fry for a few minutes on each side. Add 1/2 tsp onion seeds, 1 thai chili and add 1 cup hot water. Add 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and salt to taste and cook for 5 more minutes. Add 1 tbs chopped coriander leaves and 1/2 tsp lime juice. Serve hot with plain rice.

For a very similar recipe with photos, check this blog out.


Written by Som

November 21, 2014 at 11:52 pm

Posted in Recipe

Coconut filled rice crepes, a Bengali delicacy

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Pati Shaptar Pithe/Pitha or coconut filled rice crepes. Pati means a mat, and shapta means simple in Bengali.

Grate raw coconut (or get frozen unsweetened grated coconut and thaw), about two cups, add sugar to taste and stir fry until golden brown. If you wish, you can add a tablespoon of raisins and a tablespoon of toasted and chopped cashew nuts or slivered almonds.

Pitha comes in various shapes. These are the simplest. To prepare the crepe batter, to a cup of rice flour, add a pinch of salt, and a tablespoon of sugar. Add milk, 2% or full fat preferably, until the batter consistency is like crepe. Heat up a non-stick pan. If needed, you can wipe it down with a buttered cloth/brush. Follow cooking temperature regimen for a crepe.

Pour about 1/4 cup of batter and roll it around on the hot pan to form a thin crepe.

As the crepe cooks, it starts to lift off the edges.

Add two tablespoons of filling. Optionally, form the filling in the palm of your hand in shape of a small spheroid.

Roll in form of a fat cigar.

Keep aside while you prepare the rest. These can be eaten warm or at room temperature. To take them to the next level (i.e. not simple), you can bake them in condensed milk as well but they do become heavy. Drizzling some condensed milk on top while not traditional can be an excellent substitute.

During this trip to India, I am seeing some new sweets in Bengal including baked rasogolla (boiled cheese balls dunked in sugar syrup) , Kolkata’s famous sweet and chana pora (literal translation for roasted cheese), a dish very similar to cheese cake.

Written by Som

November 21, 2014 at 6:16 am

Homemade pomegranate seeds

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Dried pomegranate seeds are excellent in salads or in soups or savory pancakes where the crunch from the seed or the sourness can be pleasing. The seeds can also be crushed and added to dishes to lend sourness.

On the right, in the picture above, are store bought seeds. They are sour but don’t have a whole lot of taste. The one on the left of the picture are dried at home in a food dryer per recommendation. It took what seemed like forever but the result is gorgeous. The seeds retain the lovely pomegranate color and are intensely flavorful. The seeds are crunchier as well and perhaps not as sour as the store bought variety.

I think I am going to additionally try my seeds as toppings on ice cream and homemade bars.

Written by Som

October 22, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Posted in Food, Fruit

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