Bengalis(Indians native to Eastern part of India) are known for their sweetness in allover India. I am a Bengali and yes I can vouch for this. We can be sweet in many ways, first of all we love sweets, secondly we speak the sweetest language of the earth, Bangla (I am not saying, all non-speaking bengalis say this) and we are the sweetest host if we have a planned or even a sudden guest visit. Bengalis offer their level best, even more to their capabilities to their guests. Outside Bengal, bengali cuisine is always summed up either by Aloo posto(potatoes cooked with poppy seeds or Misti Doi which literally means the sweet yogurt. And I am proud of that. Definitely, this chilled sweetened yogurt is just divine. The red hue from the caramelization of sugar makes it more attractive and irresistible. It is the most beloved sweet/dessert of bengal and no other regional cuisine of India has this sort of sweet yogurt in their cuisine. Yes, bengalis has experimented enough with this humble yogurt in many ways, during mango season Aam Doi or mango yogurt, chocolate yogurt and so on.
   The biggest festival of Bengalis, Durga Puja is just around the corner, in just 3 weeks. The preperation of this festival is going on in its full form everywhere in my state now. From making the idols, shopping for new clothes, building the pandals for the pujas in every nook and corner of the city, lighting up the roads, there is a festive atmosphere all around. As a blogger, while checking my recipe list, I found that I havn't posted the most beloved sweet of Bengal, Misti Doi yet in my blog. At the same time, my foodie group, Kolkata Food Bloggers has also announced an event, "Festive Desserts" for this week where we have to post a festive dessert and I took this opportunity to post my Misti Doi recipe for the event.

 
      The traditional way of making this dessert is a bit time-consuming. As I said before, the beautiful pinkish-red color of misti doi which we get by caramelizing the full-fat milk with sugar. Full-fat milk is first thickened and cooled. Then the milk is set to ferment overnight in an earthen pot along with some fresh non-sweetened yogurt added to it which works as culture for fermenting. Earthen pots are traditionally used to set this yogurt as it brings the right temperature for fermentation.
       While growing up in the Bengal, I never tried to make this at home, as we could get it anytime we wanted from nearby sweet-shop. But during my living outside India, I had to make this at home whenever we had cravings for this. But there is always a short-cut method of every recipe for busy people and there is a baked version of Misti Doi also available which brings out the perfect color, taste and texture of this superbly delicious dessert. So whenever my family demanded some misti doi I opted for this recipe and it never disappointed me and I served chilled perfectly sweetened misti doi to my family. Today I'm sharing this easy-pesey baked version of making Misti Doi with you all too. Try it at home and let me know the result. 

You Need :
Non-fat/Low-fat Normal Yoghurt : 1 litre
Evaporated milk : 1 tin (14 oz./~200 ml.)
Condensed milk : 1 tin (14 oz./~200 ml.)

Method :
  • In a bowl, mix everything and give a good stir. Then in an oven-safe bowl, pour the mixture. Condensed milk is added here for the sweetness. You can use the whole tin of condensed milk or add as much according to your taste, how much sweet you want. I usually use 3/4 of 1 tin. By using condensed milk, you will also get the light reddish color, what bengali Misti Doi has.
  • If you don't get evaporated milk, then just thicken some milk to half of its original quantity, similar to the quantity mentioned in the ingredients list and add in there.
  • Pre-heat oven in 170 degree C/ 340 degreeF. Cover the bowl with an aluminium foil and put the bowl inside oven in lower level of your oven. I like to make it in low heat for longer time, it sets very good. It will take about 1 and 1/2 hour or so. When yogurt is set well, remove from oven.
  • Take out and let it cool in room temperature. Then refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving. It well set some more after chilling.
  • Your Misti-Doi is ready. 



As I mentioned before, this is a post specially for Kolkata food Bloggers' 
https://www.facebook.com/kolkatafoodbloggers/ongoing Event, "Festive Dessert", the theme is the brainchild of my fellow group member and blogger, Sarani Tarafder who blogs from "Back to Basics.." and she is our featured blogger of the week. Visit her blog for very innovative and healthy recipes and also visit our Facebook page for more such Festive Dessert.

 



    The newest and the most happening culinary destination of Kolkata has nestled down in the heart of the city, in Mani Square mall, along the Eastern Bypass by the name of Chapter 2. Two brothers, Mr. Shiladitya Chaudhury and Mr. Debaditya Chaudhury, are behind this newest and happening restaurant who has also opened Oudh 1590, a fine dining restaurant with two outlets one in Salt Lake and one in Deshapriya Park.
   Chapter 2, is made on the theme of old time Park Street night club culture with Anglo-Indian food and live music shows. A side-stage full of musical instruments, life size Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe, also a life size drum on the wall depicts the night club atmosphere in a very artistic way. Another attraction of this place is a classic red color Cadillac which brings a feel of old times to this place. Every little decoration of this place showcases the great sense of taste of the owners and their love for cars, bikes and music. Chapter 2 is a 70-cover restaurant with a Private Dining Area for hosting 20 pax. Apart from the food, the major attraction of Chapter 2 is the retro live music that is being performed every evening by some of the oldest bands of Kolkata.



    On an invitation from Chapter 2, I went there with my co-group member Urmi Ghosh to represent Kolkata Food Bloggers on the occasion of their launching of LUNCH BUFFET. Their 21 course lunch buffet will be available from Monday to Friday, every week. Renowned actor, Mr Soham Chakraborty was also present to launch the menu. The elaborate menu consists of Chapter2's speciality Continental cuisine and also Kolkata's favorite Chinese Cuisine.


   The owner Mr. Shiladitya Chaudhury stated, " We have noticed that there is a dearth of continental items in the buffets that are served in standalone restaurants of the city. Thus, keeping in mind the peoples love for gourmet continental cuisine we are introducing this one of a kind 21 course buffet and have even kept the price very economical."
  Co-owner Mr. Debaditya Chaudhury stated," Though continental cuisine is the speciality of Chapter 2, we have recently introduced Kolkata's quintessential favorite Chinese cuisine in our a-la-carte menu. Hence, we decided to include some of our signature Chinese preparations in the menu."


      The buffet menu comprises of 2 soups, 4 salads, 3 starters, 4 main dishes, 3 staples including rice and noodles, 2 types of breads and 3 desserts. Some of the items which will be part of lunch buffets are Chicken Talumein Soup, Chicken lemon coriander soup, Cream of tomato soup, cream of Mushroom Soup, Kimchi salad, Cold Chicken Salad, Egg Potato salad, Daikon Salad, Chicken Ceasar Salad, Drums of heaven, Kung pao Chicken, Chilli Shrimp, Pan Fried chilli fish, Fish pepper salt, Nachos tomato salsa, Corn mushroom toast, Chicken stroganoff, Chicken Tetrazzini, Chicken in red bell pepper, Prawn in sweet chilli sauce, Garlic prawn, Grilled fish lemon butter, Vegetable Cannelloni, Chilli tofu, vegetable lasagne, Babycorn Florentine, Egg chicken fried rice, Vegetable Hakka noodles, Burnt garlic fried rice, Spaghetti tomato sauce, buttered rice, Darsaan, Brownie, fruit custard and last but not the least, Ice Cream. 

These are the few things we were served and got to taste :: 

MAIN COURSE : : 




DESSERTS ::


      The buffet is priced at Rs. 399 plus taxes per person. The good thing about this buffet is that the menu is not fixed and will be changed everyday to add a wide variety to the food lover's palate. Another plus point, a glass of Four Seasons wine will be given complimentary to each adult with the buffet. 
Buffet Timing :: 12-3.30 pm (from Monday-Friday)
      The food :: The food we tasted were all very delicious and some of them were really very appetizing, like, Prawn on the toast, veg cannelloni, Pan fried Chilli fish, Kung Pao chicken and even the salads were quite delectable.

My recommendation :: 
If you love to devour Continental and Chinese Cuisine along with some music then don't think twice. The price is also very economical, as for such a lavish spread, the price is quite less comparing other such fine-dining restaurants. 



    In Bengali cooking dictionary, "Korma" means any curry, cooked with mostly non-veg., meat or chicken or egg, in a mild yogurt based gravy with ghee instead of oil. Korma has its urdu origin, influenced from Bangladeshi cuisine, is not so much exploited in Bengali cuisine. Though many non-veg dishes like Chicken or Mutton Korma, Dimer Korma(egg korma) are few which are beloved among bengalis. 

    Originally, in korma recipe a large amount of nuts, poppy seeds are used along with yogurt to make a rich gravy. But this recipe I am sharing today, got from a recipe page(Senskitchen), is not so rich and spicy but extremely flavourful and delicious. It is good for everyday cooking which really goes well with plain warm rice or even with pulao.

 You Need :

Chicken - 750 g, cut into medium chunks
Potato : 2-3, cut into halves/quarters
Onions - 2-3 medium (about 300 g), sliced
Ginger paste - 1tsp
Garlic paste - 1 tsp, grated
Green chillies : 2-3, sliced thinly
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric - 1 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Plain Yoghurt/Doi - 2 tbsp, heaped
Coconut - 1/2 cup, grated
Salt - To taste
Oil - 2-3 tbsp 
Fresh Coriander leaves - a bunch, finely chopped
Fresh mint leaves - a little, finely chopped(optional but recommended)

To temper :
Bay leaves : 2
Cardamom : 3, Cinnamon- 2 sticks, Cloves : 3-4

How To :
  • Marinate the chicken pieces with ginger, garlic, coriander powder, turmeric and salt for 20 minutes. Cut potatoes in medium size chunks and marinate with salt for sometime.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Fry the potato pieces in the oil and keep aside. Temper the oil with bay leaves, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Add the onions and sliced green chillies immediately after that and fry with constant stirring on medium-high heat till they are golden brown. Add marinated chicken and fry on medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
  • Mix 2 tbsp water into yogurt and add to the chicken. Cook for couple of minutes on medium heat. Then add chilli powder, grated coconut and chopped coriander leaves. Mix well and cook for 2 minutes. Add fried potatoes.
  • Add 1 cup warm water. Season with salt. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or till potatoes and chicken are done. Adjust gravy consistency as desired.
  • Serve hot with plain rice or pulao.  

Try this and let me know how you have liked it. I served it with hot plain rice and it was a heavenly, leisurely Sunday lunch.




    With the onset of monsoon, India specially in Northern part of India, get to see properly ripened Palm fruit. Because of its heavenly smell, this palm fruit is quite popular among bengalis and bengalis are famous for making sweet delicacies out of anything. This fruit is also associated with a festival which is very dear to bengalis, i.e., Janmastami, the birthday of Lord Krishna.
    This festival is celebrated throughout India in various manners. In my state, West Bengal, devotees celebrate Janmastami by fasting and staying up until midnight, the time when Krishna is believed to have born. Images of Krishna's infancy are placed in swings and cradles in temples and homes. The next day is called "Nanda Utsav" or the joyous celebration of Krishna's foster parents Nanda and Yashoda. On this day, people break their fast and offer various cooked sweets to Lord Krishna during the early hours, as he was very fond of sweets. It is said that Lord Krishna loves to eat the sweet delicacies made of palm fruit. So at every homes in Bengal, these delicacies are made and offered to Lord Krishna on his birthday and also enjoyed by all in the family.

   The most important sweet without which Janmashtami is not complete in Bengal is "Tal-er bora", where tal is Asian Palm and Bora means fritters. This Asian Palm fritters are made from fresh ripe and juicy palm fruit. I love this fruit and its aroma and obviously the delicacies made with it. Last year I posted Tal'er bora or a fried fritter made with the palm fruit pulp. This year I already made a batch of these taler bora and another sweet made with the pulp, tal kheer or thickened palm fruit pulp. I am going to post the recipe of tal kheer today.


You Need :
Palm fruit pulp : of one whole fruit
Milk : approx. 1 cup or little less than 1 cup
Sugar : 1 cup (add less or more as per your taste)
Grated Coconut : 3/4 cup



How To : 
  • Process of taking out the pulp ::
    At first, you take out the outer skin, then you can see two to three fibrous palm kernels inside it. On a hand grater, rub the kernels until all the pulp has come out. Collect it in a bowl. Follow the pics to better understand the process. For this recipe, the process is same, just add little water while grating it, so the pulp will be thin this time. 
  • Take a deep pan and heat. After removing the pulp, pour the pulp into the pan and in medium heat let it boil for 2 minutes. Then add sugar in it and mix well. Add coconut and let it boil again for 5 minutes. Don't forget to stir the whole thing continuously.
  • Now add milk slowly and mix well into the thickened pulp. Let it boil again for about 5-6 minutes or until you get your desired consistency of pulp. Check the sweetness level and add sugar if needed. 
  • Remove from fire and cool. Serve a room temperature or chilled.



  
    
   I love Zebra pattern on cake and my kids love them too. So instead of usual chocolate and white batter, I tried making the pattern with three very unusual color on one of my birthday. It was so colorful that my boys wanted to cut the cake pushing me aside. And they only cut the cake and the whole cake was gone within few hours. This is the magic of color, I think. Color always lift anyone's mood for sure.
   There is a simple two color -chocolate and white zebra cake on my blog. I followed the same pattern just added different set of colors, rasperry pink, lemon yellow and green. Together they made a mind-blowing color-effect and pattern. I'll recommend everyone to try this cake. This time I tried making it eggless. So sharing the eggless version here. Who like to add eggs, try this with egg version and follow the pattern as it is.

    
 There are many ways we make an eggless cake resulting in soft and fluffy texture. One can use condensed milk, or just adding oil (instead of butter) and yoghurt makes a soft fluffy textured cake. Another way which never goes wrong is using buttermilk in your cake batter. It always gives a soft, moist and fluffy cake/cupcakes. Here is the recipe .................

You Need :
All purpose flour : 1 cup
Whole Wheat Flour : 1 cup
Sugar : about 1 cup (grind to fine powder)
Baking Powder : 1 tsp.
Baking Soda : 1/2 tsp.
Salt : a pinch
Oil (any kind of vegetable oil) : 1/2 cup
Buttermilk : about 1 cup (to make it at home, mix 1 cup milk with 1 tblsp. vinegar)
OR Substitute buttermilk with 3/4 cup Yogurt(dahi)
Milk(warm) : as needed to make a smooth batter
Vanilla essence : 2 tsp.


How To :
  • Prepare your baking pan by greasing with little butter and dust it with little flour. Dust off excess flour. Pre-heat oven to 180 degree C or 375 degree F.
  • To make buttermilk at home, in a bowl mix vinegar in room temperature milk and give it a stir, keep aside for 2-3 minutes. The milk will curdle. Remember to mix it thoroughly before adding it to the batter. If you get it from stores, use the same amount about 1 cup.
  • Prepare your dry ingredients by mixing two types of flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix together very well and keep aside. This is your dry ingredients.
  • Now in another big mixing bowl, take oil and sugar, mix a little with a blender, add vanilla essence and mix again. Now pour buttermilk and flour mixture one after another starting and ending with buttermilk. Blend well with a blender till the batter looks smooth and creamy.
  • You can add warm milk as needed to make a smooth and creamy batter. 
  • Divide the batter in three equal portions, add three different food colors in three portions as per your choice, I added raspberry red, lemon Yellow and green.
  • Preparing the pattern: Grease a round baking tin with butter and dust with flour allover the pan. Now take a tblsp. full of 1st batter and pour in the center. Wait a little, then pour 2nd color on top of 1st color in the center, next pour the 3rd color on top of 2nd color. This way complete the all 3 batter and your patter will be ready. 
  • Preheat your oven to 180 degree C, then put the baking pan inside on a lower rack. Bake for 45-50 minutes or a toothpick inserted comes our clean. Tip : for a crack-free and flat-top cake, wrap a wet piece of towel on the outside of the baking pan and secure with a safety pin. This does not let the cake crack from the middle. 

ENJOY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a colorful piece of cake !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sending it to Kolkata Food Bloggers' ongoing event, "Bake Mania",
event is the brainchild of fellow KFBian Urmi who blogs at Ume's Kitchen, an awesome baker, beautiful person inside and outside.






     Today I am sharing something different other than recipes. In my weight loss journey, I have found this below information very helpful, so thought it would be helpful for my readers. So sharing with you all but inquire or do a research before you implement all these in your life. I always do so.
   Most women struggle with weight loss at some point of their life compared to men. Obesity is becoming a fast growing problem in India and Indian women are more likely to be obese than their male counterparts. There are some who follow a healthy diet, exercise regularly, do not have any other health issues but are still unable to lose weight. If you identify yourself as belonging to this category of women, then it’s time you watch your water intake. Your body requires water to burn fat and if there is an insufficient intake of water then the body metabolism is slowed down, making it impossible to lose weight. Obesity leads to reduced life expectancy and increased health problems. However, losing weight does not have to be a herculean task anymore; simply drinking water half an hour before each meal can help.
    Water regulates the body temperature, transports nutrients to cells and helps the body get rid of toxins. Apart from this, water helps you lose weight, according to the latest study made by the University of Birmingham. A group of 84 obese adults divided into 2 groups participated in a study that proved the effectiveness of water as a weight loss aid. One group was required to drink 500 ml water half an hour before breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for 12 weeks. The other group was required to avoid drinking water before each meal. All participants received advice on diet and exercise plans. Participants that drank water before each meal lost an average of 4.3 kg over a 12-week period, while the other group lost only an average of 0.8 kg. This could be because water makes you feel fuller thereby making you eat less or it may mean that water increases metabolic rate temporarily.
      Now that you realize how important water is for weight loss, your first thought would be how to chug a jug full of water down your throat. Here’s the next advice. Do not gulp a large quantity of water, instead take frequent sips throughout the day. Gulping a bottle of water in one shot is only going to dilute your digestive acids and cause a problem with digestion. Also take care not to drink iced water. Take sips of warm water or at least water that’s maintained at room temperature. Aim to drink a glass of warm water on an empty stomach as soon as you wake up in the morning. This can increase your body’s metabolic rate by at least 24% and jumpstart your weight loss journey. Apart from weight loss, adequate intake of water gives you blemish free skin. If the cells in your body are not hydrated, your skin appears dull and wrinkles are more prominent. Remember that your body can only absorb a certain amount of water each hour, the rest is eliminated. So it makes sense to drink water in sips and not gulps.
     Apart from that there are many ways to lose weight. Many supplements are available in teh market to lose weight. You can buy this supplement from leading website Healthkart, Shopclues, Amazon and more. Avail these supplement upto 40% discount by using discount coupons.



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