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

 

Cooking | Baby Mustard Greens Indian Stir Fry … #freshproduce #NorthIndia #vegetarian #stirfry #healthy

“The easiest diet is, you know, eat vegetables, eat fresh food. Just a really sensible healthy diet like you read about all the time.”
Drew Carey

Baby mustard greens stir fry 800Baby Mustard Greens Indian Stir Fry  … quick, as spicy as you like it, simple and fuss free. Fresh produce is one of the highlights of winter in North India, and mustard greens a quintessential favourite. Someone asked me the other day if I only bake, and I almost gawked! I cook more than I bake, or maybe equal amounts. I love to cook, and love trying new stuff. I just don’t blog it often enough.

Fresh produce, Winter, North IndiaSo turning a corner near home yesterday, I chanced upon this young lad selling a cartload of farm fresh vegetables. The greens caught my glad eye and I hit the brakes. They weren’t the normal greens we see everyday. They were tiny, or rather baby, mustard greens … fresh, tender and absolutely delightful. All I could think of was ‘I wish I had my camera‘. The next best thing was of course to buy some, take it home and shoot! So I bought a bunch of stuff for a princely Rs100 {less than $2} and raced home in excitement.

Baby mustard greens stir fry North Indian winter is incomplete without a meal of sarson ka saag and makki ki roti. It’s a dish I make often through the winter, yet this year I haven’t got there for some silly reason. The upside of course that winter is longer and colder this year, so there’s plenty of promise of the dish showing up in the days to come. Since that is a more involved dish to make despite the several shortcuts I take, the Baby Mustard Greens Indian Stir Fry seemed a simpler option.

Baby mustard greens stir fry A quick consultation with Sangeeta who rules the roost for fresh produce and is a ‘food knowledge bank‘ in my eyes, and I knew what I would make. I cooked up a simple stir fry … loads of green chilies and loads of flavour, and served it up with one of my favourite non vegetarian dishes – a chicken korma. Kept the leaves whole for this since they were small and tender, yet you can always chop them up.

Baby mustard greens stir fry& Chicken kormaAlso feel free to reduce {or increase } the green chilies. they add a nice touch of heat served alongside the mild and flavourful Awadhi Chicken Korma, which incidentally is one of our family favourites. That korma, shared here and seems to get better each time we make it! It’s simple and uncomplicated too, with staple pantry ingredients.

 

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

Desserts in Glasses| Dark Chocolate Oat & Walnut Pudding {eggless} & a Cranberry Cocktail Fruit Jelly…

“I am starting to think that maybe memories are like this dessert. I eat it, and it becomes a part of me, whether I remember it later or not.”
Erica Bauermeister

Dark Chocolate Oat & Walnut Pudding Dark Chocolate Oat & Walnut Pudding {eggless} … with the festive season well underway, it’s always the more the merrier when it comes to desserts. Leave it to me, and I would pretty much try and squeeze and recreate every dessert to fit into wine glasses, or any glasses for that matter. There is something quite ethereal and fun about it. Convenient and quick too!

Desserts in glassesThis is what the year is probably going to be like. Quick recipes. Fun too. Hopefully will get a handle on the techs behind the camera. The healthy, or rather healthier twist is also going to rule. Feels like a lot more chocolate through winter, and then loads of summer fruit in the hot months. So much to look forward to.Nutcracker 1 800I am a huge believer in individually portioned desserts, preferably in glasses. It’s fun to layer in them, fun to see the visual delight they offer and fun to see kids faces light up while holding a stem glass. That I also play around with different sizes and kinds of glasses is a personal choice. I need to break the monotony of life, of setting, of serving and of course of taking photographs.

Cosmo chocolate puddingSo this is a recipe I recently did for Cosmopolitan India. The criteria was interesting … an original recipe, easy to cook, shouldn’t take longer than 20-30 minutes to put together and most importantly, it should boast ingredients with ‘beauty benefits’. Create anything you like as long as it will do the skin some good. OatsI have been working a LOT with oats of late, especially with my association with Fit Foodie. Well oats are good for the skin too, as a scrub, as a face pack, and of course ‘in a dish to eat’!! Chocolate and honey fitted right in! Just my kind of recipe, and one that went well with the theme!Dark Chocolate Oat & Walnut Pudding

So Good for You!
Oats are big on anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that battle skin probs, and they work as a natural moisturizer. Dark chocolate repairs dry skin, shields against UV rays, erases fine lines and wrinkles, adds shine to locks, and promotes hair growth!

I did another interesting dessert in a glass for a magazine I write for. It was a Cranberry Cocktail Fruit Jelly, which appeared in Abraxas NU this December. The recipe is festive, it’s fun and it’s make ahead! See…
Cranberry Tropical Fruit Jelly Page_2On another note, I was thrilled to be featured in the VOGUE India, Food & Drink Guide 2015 … doing what I like to do best! The guide showcased ‘food bloggers who are excellent photographers’. Yours truly found mention there!

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Vogue India, Food Guide 2015

Cheers to the new year. What is your favourite ‘dessert in a glass’ OR favourite way to serve dessert?

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