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Saturday, 20 February 2010


It was not long ago(only 4 days) when I came to know about Pancake Day! 16th  of February was this year’s  Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day. It’s called a Pancake Day or a Pancake Tuesday as everybody in the country is supposed to eat pancakes on this day. It’s the last day before the beginning of Lent, which is the period of sacrifices or abstinence for the Christians. So they are allowed to binge on the forbidden ingredients like eggs, butter, flour and milk before starting to give up things during Lent.

According to ‘'Wikipedia’’, ‘'The word shrove is the past tense of the English verb shrive, which means to obtain absolution for one's sins by way of confession and doing penance.’’

So when my friend told me all about a Pancake Day I couldn’t resist the temptation of making pancakes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. One doesn’t really need an excuse to eat pancakes, right? But if there IS an excuse, why not use it to the fullest? So my Pancake Day menu was like this :

Breakfast – Normal Pancakes with Golden Syrup
Lunch  - The same (my husband was already sick of pancakes and didn’t want anymore of it so me and my daughter binged on the batter)
Dinner – Masala Dosa with Sambar and Coconut Chutney

I try to use home made batters for my pancakes though the store bought ones make life simpler. But since it WAS Pancake Day, I didn’t want to cheat and threw myself at the job early in the morning(I know some of you might be sniggering at how I’m making it sound like a huge task…but believe me, making pancakes early in the morning with a screaming toddler…it IS a huge task)! She’s the culprit behind my infrequent blogging as well!

Classic Breakfast Pancakes -

What U need for the batter :

6oz Plain/All Purpose Flour
2 Medium Eggs
8oz of milk
3oz of water
Spray oil or little butter to grease the pan
A pinch of salt
1 tbsp of sugar(optional)

Get ur apron and get ready :

Make a mixture of milk and water and keep seperately. Mix the flour, salt and sugar(if using) in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs and whisk well. Gradually start adding the milk and water mixture, little at a time. Keep whisking till you get the desired consistency and texture(should be runny and smooth). 

Get the pan hot spray some oil or rub butter wih a spoon. Lower down the flame and add about 2 tbsp of pancake mixture. Flip and fry the other side. It’s only take a few seconds. Stack the pancakes one over another on a plate on a pot of hot water to keep them warm. Serve folded or stacked up with a topping of your choice. I normally serve it with a fruit compote or golden syrup.

For dinner I made Rava Masala Dosa with Sambar and Coconut chutney. Now I must mention here that I still remember in my early childhood days I wasn’t a big fan of Dosas. But the big attractiog for me was the hot and tasty coconut chutney that accompanied the Dosas. That tiny bowl of chutney used to be a treat, more preciously so because they won’t let us have second helping at the restaurant. Only God knows where they found those wickedly tiny bowls which measure even less than a bird-lunch-portion!

Rava Masala Dosa with Sambar and Coconut chutney – I took the recipe from Asha of Foodie’s Hope(with some changes of my own)

What U need for the Dosa :

1/2 cup fine Sooji/Rava/Semolina
1 cup White Horse Dosa batter mix
A pinch of salt
2 cups Water

Get ur apron and get ready :

Mix all the ingredients using a whisk and keep it aside for half an hour. I normally keep it overnight if I’m using normal Rice and Urad Dal batter. Heat the pan on high till it’s very hot. Lower the flame and add a ladleful of batter spreading it from outside to inside(it might be a bit difficult to spread rava batters at first but it should be alright after a few attempts J) Spray with oil on the sides and flip and cook the other side for a few seconds. Flip again, fill in with the potato bhaji and fold. Serve with Sambar and Coconut chutney.

What U need for the masala filling :

2 medium potatoes - diced
2 medium onions - sliced
1 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
10-12 curry leaves
1 cup water

Get ur apron and get ready :

Heat oil in a wok or a pressure cooker. I prefer pressure cooker as it cooks the potatoes really fast, thus saving time. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves and sauté for a few seconds. Add the onions and sauté for another few minutes till the onions are transparent. Add the potatoes and fry for a few minutes. Add the salt and turmeric and cook for  further 2 minutes. Add the water and lock the lid of the cooker. Take it off the heat after a nice long whistle but keep the lid on till all the air goes out. Take off the lid and cook it on high flame for a few seconds till all the water has dried off. 

What U need for the Sambar :

1 cup mixed vegetables(your choice )
½ cup cut drumsticks
2-3 dry red chillies
8-10 curry leaves
½ tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp Sambar Masala
A pinch of asafetida
1 tbsp of tamarind paste
2 tbsp Coconut powder
½ cup chopped coriander leaves
2 tbsp sunflower/vegetable oil
Get ur apron and get ready :

Wash and cook dal with salt, turmeric and the drumsticks. Dissolve the tamarind paste and the coconut powder in ½ bowl of warm water.

Heat oil in a wok. Add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add the red chillies and the curry leaves. Add the vegetables and sauté for a few minutes till they are soft. Add the boiled dal with drumsticks, tamarind and coconut paste and the sambar masala. Bring it to boil. Garnish with coriander leaves.

….and now the best part….The Coconut Chutney – 

What U need :

1 cup shredded coconut – I use the frozen ones
2 green chillies
1 dry red chilli, soaked in water for a few hours
4-5 tbsp fried Chana Dal/Yellow Split beans
½ tsp grated ginger
½ tsp tamarind paste
1 tsp mustard seeds
8-10 curry leaves
1 tbsp sunflower/vegetable oil

Get ur apron and get ready :

Blend the coconut, chillies, chana dal, ginger and tamarind paste in a blender. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Add the curry leaves once the seeds start to splutter. Add the coconut mixture and a little water. Enjoy with crispy dosas and hot sambars.


Trivia : Pancake Day is also known as ''Mardi Gras'' which means Fat(Grease) Tuesday!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Refreshing Iced Coffee

The long hot summer days are coming up in some parts of the world...though we are not in one of those lucky places! So I thought of posting this very easy peasy recipe for making the yummiest Iced Coffee(though i think all cold coffees are quite the same!) Also sending this to PJ's ''No Cook Event''. Thanks for hosting PJ..looking forward to see some really easy dishes there :).

Iced Coffee:

Blend together 2 pints of semi-skimmed milk(or skimmed milk to make it low fat), 4tbsp of sugar(or according to taste), 2tbsp of coffee(or more if u want it strong)  and a handful of ice cubes with a hand blender/normal blender until sugar dissolves and it's nice and foamy. Serve immediately in a tall glass on a bed of crushed ice and sprinkle some Chocolate powder on top. Enjoy :).

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Happy Valentine's Day everyone


I've always been fascinated by different kinds of cakes. And I really envy them who succeed in making that perfect  rich and moist cake everytime, and those too, who make that perfect icing which always has that perfect ratio of all the ingredients. Well, I am not one of those God-like super human beings! Almost all my cakes get ruined one way or the other. Either they get a bit charred, or a bit bitter than usual, or the whole thing collapses while i struggle to get them out of the baking tin! And my fate doesn't get any better with the icings either...


My daughter loves cakes, as would any child of her age. So I decided to  make a simple Vanilla Sponge Cake with cream icing for her a a special Valentine's Day treat. It gave me a chance to open my new butterfly cake/jelly mould too which i bought from the poundshop a few weeks ago. Ater an hour of undiverted dedication i finally achieved what a normal(not one of those God-like super humans) person could call a ''Good Cake''! I tried my hand on this cream icing for the first time too, inspired by my friend and a great cook Shobhna. So here's a glimse of the end product after an hour of complete self torture(ignoring toddler tantrums, stress of using a jelly mould instead of a normal tin and above all THE superhuman like perfect icing!)...


Classic Victorian Spongecake with Cream Icing

What U need :
For the Cake : 
Self-raising flour  - 200gm
Golden caster suga/Granulated normal sugar - 200gm
Softened unsalted butter - 200gm
Baking powder - 1tsp
Eggs - 2-3 medium
Vanilla flavouring - a few drops

For the Icing :
Whipping cream - 200ml
Icing Sugar - as per taste
Vanilla Flavour - a few drops

Get your apron and get ready : 

Heat the oven to 200C/fan 160C/gas 4. Butter and base line a big cake tin or you can use fun shapes like I did. Beat the butter and eggs together in a large bowl until stiff. Gently fold in the flour and beat until smooth. Bake for 20-25 minutes until they are well risen and spring back when lightly pressed(best way to check is to insert a scewer). Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a rack/plate and peel away the paper. Cool completely. 

I normally follow the next few steps from Betty Crocker's Howdini website - This website has excellent tips for baking and icing! 

1. Put the cake in the freezer straight away after it has cooled down a bit. Keep it in the freezer for 10 mins which helps it to set really well. Making it a bit firm in the freezer allows you to cut it horizontally if you want to sandwich it. It also helps you to do the next step which is essential for good levelled icing.

2. Using a bread knife gently slice off the top risen part of the cake so that there is no awkward bulges on the cake. As I've mentioned earlier, this helps in an even nice icing.

3. In the mean time prepare the icing. Take the cream in a bowl with the few drops of vanilla extract and start whipping it with an electric hand mixer. Quickly add the icing sugar and keep whipping till it's stiff and peaks rise. (Add the sugar as per your taste).

4. Now you can start icing either facing it down with the sliced off portion at the bottom or the same on the top. I did it faced down.

5. Place 3 strips of grease proof paper under the sides of the cake so that the icing looks neat and doesn't spread on the plate. 

6. Start icing with a spatula. Cover the whole cake with the icing and decorate with coloured icing tubes(you can make them at home by adding different food colours to the left over icing. Decorate with beads/jelly beans/ smarties etc. 


The steps might look scary but I assure you it's not as scary as you think. And it doesn't take much time too, as I've said earlier it took me about an hour to to the whole thing. And believe me if I can bake and decorate a decent cake, ANYBODY can. :)

Friday, 12 February 2010

Pui Patar Boda (Malabar Spinach Fritters)

While Mummy and Daddy were here I decided to make the most out of it. So we went for family picnics, went for couple nights and movies leaving my 2 year old with them(bless them!) and most important of all, learnt a few more bengali recipes from my mom-in-law. While Daddy taught me to be out and about with my little camera shotting swans, berries and lillies, Mummy taught me a few bengali recipes like shukto, murighonto and labra. 

Me and my daughter loved spending time with them as never got a chance like this before as we relocated very much immediately after my marriage. My mom-in-law is an amazing cook, no wonder my husband is so fussy about his food. So it was my aim to learn atleast a few of his favourite FEW bengali foods(yeah he's not very much into bong food)...nobody believes it when we say he doesn't eat rui/ilish mach or roshogolla! He didn't eat murighonto, even after all my effort(I achieved some level of perfection at the third attempt)! So as I said earlier, one of the few bengali dises he loves is Mummy's Pui Patar Bora and to my surprise, it was quite easy to make. 


What U need:

Pui Shaak/Malabar Spinach - 1 bundle(I use the washed frozen kind)
Rice - 1 cup, soaked in a bowl of wated overnight, drained and gound to a fine paste(add only a few tsp of water..the paste should be think)
Salt to taste
Chilli powder to taste
Oil to fry

Get your apron and get ready:

Shred the Spinach leaves. Wash and drain them. Pour the rice paste in a big bowl. Now take little bit of leaves at a time and start mixing well with the paste with your hands(almost like kneading a dough..only a bit runny). Prepare the batter with all the leaves and slowly add salt and cilli powder and knead well. Take a wok and heat oil in it. Add the batter in small cookie shapes, flattening them with your fingers and deep fry them till they're brown in colour. Soak the excess oil on absorbent paper and serve with plain hot rice and ghee.

Amader chhoto nodi chole eNke bNeke....

We've been living in this tiny village near Cambridge and on the banks of the river Cam, but only discovered it's true beauty when my dad-in-law came to stay with us for a few months. He's a nature person and made one out of me too. It snowed too much in England this year...not that we didn't like it at first...but it's getting too much for our appetite now if you ask me! But it did indeed gave us a few chances to take a glimpse of what this village looks like, all covered in snow, like a fairytale place. A place straight out of the books from childhood(when seing the photos made you wonder if that kinda place actually exists!)...or straight out of those high budget movies like Narnia!

My dad-in-law, who is also my Photography guru, used to set off early in the morning to shoot the white iced cake village and I managed to accompany him sometimes, if permitted by my fussy toddler or the household chores. Our favourite place was the river Cam (In earlier times the Cam was named the Granta, but after the name of the anglo-saxon town of Grantebrycge had been modified to Cambridge, the river was renamed to match).


The next place Daddy loved was the whole village itself. Now why wouldn't he, when he could walk through the entire length of the village in just 30 minutes! As I've mentioned earlier, it's one of those tiny little villaged with only one Tesco superstore, 3 pubs(it's England afterall!!!), one primary school and a huge country park. We have to go to the main city of Cambridge in order to buys fancy things, but we don't mind. We love english countryside and would give up a city life anyday to live here. 

Friday, 5 February 2010

Mung Dal Laddoos - simply divine

The only possible way to beat this depressing cold weather is to treat yourself with some sinfully indulging homemade food...or rather sweets. My in-laws were here for 3 months and I tried to experiment as much with food as possible, bless them, they didn't utter a word even after having my disastrous 'Murighonto'(which i made for the very first time, before u raise ur perfectly waxed eyebrows)!!! But they quite loved my Mung dal laddoos...So I decided that to be my first recipe on this blog, just to be on the safer side so that I don't scare you all away with my other weird recipes on the very first day of my blogging!

Mung Dal Laddoos:

What U need...

 Mung dal(the prewashed kind) - 2 large mugs soaked in water overnight
Ghee(Clarified butter) -  ahem...about 1 cup :(
Almond - A handful, chopped
Saffron - A few strands soaked in little warm milk
Sugar - 1 large mug (or to taste)
A seperate cup of warm milk

Get your apron and get ready...

Grind the soaked Mung dal coarsely. Heat half of the Ghee a pan and add the dal paste to it. Cook on extremely low flame till the dal becomes very light and fluffy ..add more ghee if required. After a while a nice aroma is released(it normally takes about 40-45 mins). Slowly add the sugar, a little at a time, stirring continuosly. Once the sugar melts and mixes welladd the chopped almonds and the warm milk and saffron milk. Mix well and dry it up on the heat. Take it off the flame and let it cool down. Roll into small balls and store in an airtight container. It can be also served as halwa(pudding). For that it needs to be a bit gooey and can be served hot, garnished with rose petals and saffron strands.

Welcome to FoodieJoint :)

I've been thinking of starting this blog for a long time now. But me, being one of the most laziest persons I've ever known, no wonder it took lots of self persuasion and motivation from my friend(a promise to treat me to starbucks skinny latte) to finally sit down with a strong cuppa(writing always works as a sedative for me!) and start typing. 

I was born and brought up in Kolkata, and like any other bong of kolkata, I love to cook, eat and make others eat! From the roadside Kati rolls to the Kamakazes, from the Fuchkas to Fajitas, from Mangsho bhaat to Fish 'n Chips, the journey has been amazing. I dedicate this blog to all those people I've come across in this culinary journey, who have taught me different forms of Indian cuisine as well as world food and have parted with their most treasured handed-down-by-grandmom recipes and tips...and I hope this blog will help me hand them down to many others who love spices, beans and pulses as much as I do!

Happy cooking guys :D