Food Diaries| Bong Connection: Nolen Gur Rice Kheer & traditional delicacies in Kolkata #Indiancuisine #fooddiary

“Food is not rational. Food is culture, habit, craving and identity.”
Jonathan Safran Foer

Nolen Gur Rice KheerNolen Gur Rice Kheer meant yet another trip down memory lane! Our trip to Kolkata some time ago was delicious. For a non fish lover, I was a little iffy. I needn’t have been. There is so much, and so much more Bong food has to offer, that Kolkata grows on you. There is good food everywhere. Since it’s relatively inexpensive, it’s quite easy to over eat as well! From Ballygunge Place to Bengali sweets galore, to the best streetfood {puchkas forever}, to nostalgic ancient Jewish bakeries {Nahoum & Sons}, and then to good old Flurry’s, the city has it all and more!

Kolkata, IndiaBengalis and food go hand in hand. They are a passionate community. Tight knit, artistic, energetic…and food obsessed. You just need to begin talking about Bengali delicacies in Kolkata on any social media channel, and the response is absolutely amazing!  Bongs from across the globe will come and join with gusto, large heartedly share ever little Bong food detail, discuss recipes, the origins, how they make it at home … and if you are lucky, even invite you over for a meal!Kolkata, India Just recently the husband was in Kolkata and I mentioned Nolen Gur to him. The ‘foodie habit of asking for ingredients are specific‘  now runs quite deep, and I can take the credit for some good training. Each time Mr PAB goes anywhere I just have to mutter a few edibles that would be nice to have. Literally a million phone calls later, I know he’s coming back with his bags full of things to cook!

Nolen Gur Rice Kheer 3Winter is THE season for Nolen Gur as it is available for a very short window through the cold weather. A number of Bengali Sweets in Kolkata during this season find Nolen Gur featured within –  nolengurer shandesh, korapaaker sandesh, kanchagollas, gurer rosogolla, nolen gurer payesh. So I was really excited to receive my stash of Patali Gur {the solidified version of Nolen Gur}. Nolen Gur Rice Kheer I had my research done before hand, and the simple yet flavourful Nolen Gur Rice Kheer was being stirred the next morning. The flavours were subtle, teasing the palette very gently yet so characteristic of this jaggery! They shined through!

Nolen Gur Rice Kheer Authentic Bengali cuisine in Kolkata is easy to find, and posts a formidable list! This list is infinite, both sweet and savoury. I asked a very sweet Bong friend to list her favourites. Here we go in no particular order … Chingri malaikari {prawn curry with coconut}, Ilish bhapa {hilsa fish}, Shukto {mixed veg}, Doi maach {fish curry in yogurt}, Mishti doi {sweet curd}, Nolengurer shandesh {sandesh made with jaggery}, Aloo posto {potato with poppy seed}, Paatishapta.

Kolkata, IndiaSo you know what to order next time you visit Kolkata. Do make sure you drive around the city too. Iconic yellow ambassadors, Victoria Memorial, the flower market which begins at dawn. The colonial architecture is jaw dropping. Roads and roads of ancient classic European style buildings, roads well planned … yet sadly all but forgotten. It’s almost like you are in Europe until you wake up to the traffic and cacophony around you. If only the buildings were well maintained, if only!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

 

Soup | Quick Tomato Coconut Soup … #comfortfood #healthy #PhilipsSoupMaker

“But since soup mainly involves tossing everything in a pot and waiting, it’s one of my better dishes.”
Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games

Quick tomato coconut soup 800Quick Tomato Coconut Soup really QUICK! This is one of my fastest soups to make, and it became insanely quicker and fuss free thanks to the Philips SoupMaker. I am not an all and out fussy soup maker. Give me a quick way home, and yes I’d love me a quick soup. This soup recipe was a happy accident while developing recipes for Saffola Fit Foodie. It became an even happier one once I got the SoupMaker which is a dream machine. Have made this soups several times over in this gadget. And happily enough, I just throw everything in and 22 minutes later piping soup is served.

Quick tomato coconut soup Fuss free yes. Fat free? Yes that too. With no added fat to the recipe, this tomato soup is earthy thanks to the robust flavours the humble winter turnip lends it. The silkiness comes with coconut milk. Coconut anything is now my friend ever since I used it in a coconut rice pudding, coconut flecked Butterscotch Blondies…and what not.

Wholewheat & Oat Butterscotch BlondiesHere in this soup, coconut milk balances the tart edginess of tomatoes, balancing this simple yet flavourful soup in perfect harmony. Ask me which my favourite soup is, and chances are that this is the one. With the ease of the SoupMaker, you never know which experiment might uncrown it though. It takes the work out of soup making. With summer approaching, the SoupMaker is all set to churn up smoothies and compotes. It does that too!!

Mustard vinaigretteThe mustard vinaigrette that topped the Baby Mustard Greens Soup is also now a firm and very versatile favourite. This quick tomato soup takes a leap to another level with a drizzle of this beautiful vinaigrette. Mustard or kasundi in the vinaigrette brings it together quite beautifully with the earthy turnip undertones. Whats not to love about flavours? This one is a hands down winner!

Philips Rice CookerSo much soup talk, and it’s time to announce the winner of the Philips Rice Cooker giveaway that Philips was sweet enough to sponsor for a reader of this blog. Congratulations Meena Kumar @ Elephants & The Coconut Trees , you are the winner of the rice cooker. I hope you enjoy it.

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

Baking |Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers & 3 Dips | Roasted Bell Pepper, Garlic & Walnut + Classic Garlicky Cream + Rocket Cashew Dip … hit the ball out of the park #tickettocheer

“What keeps me motivated is not the food itself but all the bonds and memories the food represents”
M Chiarello

Crackers & DipsWholegrain Olive Oil Crackers & 3 Dips…. for times like these when the game is up. Nothing unites the world better than sport and food. I think the two were meant to go hand in hand. Think world cup cricket, soccer, or then super bowl, and the first thing that comes to mind if food! OK, after the game of course! With the ICC  Cricket World Cup warming up nicely, it’s imperative to keep the food going!

Crackers & Dips Yesterday spent 20 minutes rolling out crackers … thin, crisp, delicious Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers. Paired them off with 3 quick dips. Dips are an out and out game favourite, and I have gone with simple ones! A Roasted Bell Pepper, Garlic & Walnut Dip {earthy, smoky, finger licking good}, a Classic Garlicky Cream Dip {tangy, creamy, GARLICKY ... an all time favourite} and a seasonal Rocket & Cashew Dip {where sharp peppery leaves meet the sweetness of cashew nuts}. Ingredients for dipsDips are really really versatile to throw together. Make them using what you have on hand. Herbs, seasonal produce, cold pressed oils, garlic, garlic greens, onion scapes, legumes, citrus fruit, nuts, cheese, spices. Get creative and follow your taste buds. You will be surprised at how much you can create with so little! To thin them down you can add coconut milk, citrus juice, single cream, sour cream, buttermilk etc.

Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers & DipsOnce ready, which is a matter of minutes usually, you can dip into them of course, or add them to your cheese platter. There’s so much more you can do. Slather sandwiches with them, toss them through a pasta, top grilled chicken or fish with dip. If you are more adventurous, them use them in a bread like the French Fougasse. I love that you can tweak the flavours as you like, and also that dips embrace local and seasonal produce whole heartedly!

Wholegrain Crackers & Dips  Why so many nibbles of late you might wonder? Well these are game days. Cricket, cricket and more cricket. From games you expect nothing and get the word, and from games you expect the world and hit rock bottom, the sports world is a funny place to be in. The cricket world cup down under has begun,and how! Talk sports and there is another huge thing in common …FOOD!

Wholegrain Olive Oil Crackers & Dips And that’s where we DIP! These are simple ones to rustle up. You could even do a  make ahead simple hummus that I just shared with oat & cheese crackers. On the side, you could go the healthy crudite way or whole grain crackers maybe. Else grab the bag of chips, nachos, pita chips…whatever. Dig right in. foodEvery major gaming event, be it the super bowl, soccer or the cricket world cup, churns up an appetite for food, yummy, good, delicious food. These dips will hit the ball out of the park … like South Africa did today! If you are deft in the kitchen, and love getting quick stuff together, then here are a few other options.Savoury Whole Wheat Hungarian KalácsThe India Pakistan thriller saw us polishing off  rustic Savoury Whole Wheat Hungarian Kalács Do a quick version with cooked chicken tossed in the rocket cashew pesto dip and cheese! Or skip the chicken and go vegetarian. Next was the India South Africa match. That saw a rerun of Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers with a quick Hummus! Delicious times indeed!  Oat & Wheat Cheese Crackers & Hummus 8If you aren’t the cooking types, but certainly the eating types, then your best option would be a quick call to Food Panda to order your favourite food. It’s an online food-ordering service that makes it easy for customers to find their favorite food conveniently from home, work or on the road and get it delivered. It is now active in 30 cities in India and has over 4000+ restaurants available and the delivery of your food is free.

ticketThe nice thing is that during the Cricket World Cup,  Food Panda is running a “One child’s mid day meals collaboration” called Ticket to Cheer. ​In rece​nt months, the company has begun to get involved in helping for civic change of India, supporting NGO’s projects etc. This particular campaign is a novel concept. They are offering a platform where people can donate, in order to give mid-meals to 1.4 million kids for a whole school year. It’s certainly worth a shout out! As we cheer on our favourite teams, give Food Panda a cheer for the good work they are doing as well!

Oh and don’t forget to participate in the Philips giveaway here. Just a day to go!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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