Friday, December 23, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Banana Pancake (vegan but you won't notice)

I made the following banana pancakes for today, using half of the recipe for myself and my husband. I pretty much followed the recipe for the pancake but did not serve it with the cream cheese glaze!!! I also did not have soy milk and hence used 1% milk. They turned out very delicious.

Vegan Ginger Cream Cheese Glazed Banana Pancakes

makes about 12-15 pancake balls

*you can also use you own favorite pancake mix/recipe and add banana/walnuts to the batter.*

1 cup white flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
a few dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg
1-2 mashed ripe bananas (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (fold in last)

for sauté: safflower oil (use as needed to coat bottom of pan)

Fold in:
1/3 cup crushed walnuts (optional)

Ginger Cream Cheese Glaze
1 cup tofu/vegan cream cheese (softened to room temp)
2 Tbsp vegan butter, softened
1 Tbsp vegan mayo (gives a tart accent similar to sour cream)
3 Tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp ground ginger powder
light grind of orange zest (or a few drops orange extract)
optional: 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
pinch of salt
soy creamer as needed – to thin out to desired consistency/
*remember that the glaze will firm up a bit in the fridge! Reheat or bring to room temp to soften back to pourable texture

To Make:

1. Combine all the dry ingredients.
2. Fold in the wet ingredients – use a light beater if you’d like. Mix until smooth. This batter will be thicker than a normal pancake batter.
3. Fold in the optional walnuts.
4. Mix up your cream cheese glaze by simmering in a sauce pot until all the ingredients soften together. Use a blender for ultra smooth glaze. Remove from heat, pour into serving dish and place in fridge to chill.
5. For the pancakes, heat a large nonstick skillet. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan completely. Wait until oil is hot. Drop spheres of batter into pan and cook about 2 minutes on each side. Reduce heat if oil is too hot – you do not want to burn, but only crisp the outside of the pancakes.
6. Cool on paper towel. Add chilled glaze over top pancakes to serve.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Bengali Cooking (some selections from here and there)

(these notes are lifted from a discussion group)

The Bengal Cookbook: Bangla Ranna, by Minakshie Das Gupta
The Calcutta Cookbook, by Jaya Chaliha, Bunny Gupta, Meenakshi Das Gupta
Bengali Cooking: Seasons and Festivals by Chitrita Banerji, Deborah Madison

Supposedly the "Bengal Cookbook" is the best for newbies in Bengali cooking. Also provides social/religious/cultural background behind the recipes.

"Bhojon Shilpi Bangali" by Buddhadeva Bose--who himself never went into the kitchen. The cover and illustrations are by a well-known contemporary artist, Ramananda Bandyopadhyay. The book contains some "belles-letteres" (ramya-rachana); plus some excerpts dealing with food (and feasts) from BB's novels--and at the end, includes some family recipe put together by BB's daughter.

Another interesting books is "ThakurbaRir Ranna"-- (Cooking from the Tgaore Family) by Purnima Tagore. This has lots of recipe collected by Indira Devi Chaudhurani (Rabindranath's niece) who herself never cooked ("and doubtful if she ever stepped inside a kitchen"). But she collected recipes from all over India and abroad.

The Bengali Gourmet by Sutapa Ray seems like a good site.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Some new food blogs

I have exploring some new ideas in cooking and it seems that there are a multitude of personal food blogs which in some cases are better than cookbooks. Have been thinking about making some Turkish food, and some Indian snacks. Will write more about them when I actually get a chance to try these things.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Afghan food

Want to try making these Afghan dishes:

Osh Pyozee (Stuffed Onions), Bonjan Salat (Spicy Eggplant Salad), Chatni Gashneez (Coriander Chutney)

Haven't had nor cooked any nice Middle Eastern/Mediterranean/Central Asian style for a long time. Oh, I so wish to have the Kashgar style lamb pulau, Iranian kabobs, Iraqi stuffed vegetables and Afghan pulao with Kofta!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Awat's Kurdistani Rice

Fry small onion in olive oil (1-2 tbs) till brown. Add 1.25 cups water and let boil. Wash 1 cup rice (any white) with 2 tbs raisins and 2 tbs /Angel Hair or other thin spaghetti (broken into 4 inch pieces). Add to the onion water and cook till done.

Beryl's Indonesian-Chinese Dessert

Boil one cup of pre soaked akuki beans (with enough water) with a 2 inch piece of ginger (with criss cross marks on in) till almost tender. Add peeled and chopped Okinawan Sweet potatoes and cook for another 5-10 minutes (water should not try out). Now add 1 can of coconut milk and cook for a few minutes. Add a small packet of mochi balls. Cook for 7 minutes. Add a little bit of sugar and chopped jack fruit (1 can). Serve. I like it warm!!

James's Spreads

Sunflower seeds spread

Grind sunflower seeds in a food processor. Add finely chopped garlic and onion, lemon juice, honey and little bit of water and mix well. Taste and adjust the flavors.

Cashew spread

Grind cashews in a food processor. Add finely chopped garlic and onion, lemon juice, honey and little bit of water and mix well. Taste and adjust the flavors. Save in glass containers!!

Will keep in the fridge for 3 weeks or longer!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cirilʻs momʻs crepes

(Ciril is from Croatia)

Pour little less than 1 cup (200 ml) milk) in a bowl. Add 2 eggs. Then add 200 ml of lime soda and a pinch of salt. Add enough flour (unbleached white and whole wheat) to make a crepe like batter which is thick but a bit runny!! You need a blender or a hand beater and some muscles to make it little frothy and get rid of all the lumps!

Heat a pan till it is HOT but not smoky... Wipe it with a little canola oil. Make your crepes as thin as you can.

Serve with Nuttela.. That is how Ciril likes it.. How does not like any bananas or anything else like it....

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Patishapta Pitha (Bengali crepes with coconut filling)

Crêpes with Sweet Coconut Cardamom Filling (Patishapta)

By Soma Rathore,

Makes 6-8 crepes

1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoon semolina/sooji (cream of wheat)
5-6 tablespoon rice flour
1.5 tablespoon sugar
1.5 cup milk(+ more if the batter is too dense
ghee/melted butter – as much required to make the crepes

Note on rice flour: I usually soak rice for a few hours and grind it into a paste.

For Filling:
3 small green cardamom, the black seeds crushed
2.5 cups grated coconut (freshly grated or frozen)
2 tablespoons raisins or any dry fruits (optional)
1/2 cup milk or half and half
1/3 cup sugar / brown sugar (or to taste)
lightly toasted almonds, flakes or slivers, for garnish

Making the Filling:
Combine milk and sugar and simmer it for a few minutes till the sugar dissolves. Add the coconut, dry fruits (if you are using) and crushed cardamom seeds to the milk and cook at low to medium heat till the entire mix starts to thicken, almost like a lump. Do not over dry the filling. This should take no more than 8-10 minutes. It will further dry as it cools, so the consistency and the texture should be moist mass. Take care not to burn the coconut. Take it out of the pan immediately and let it cool.

If you are using a combination of coconut and khoya or thickened milk, follow the same procedure as above – add the coconut and the khoya together to the pan. Cook till it is a thick mass.

Or if you using only khoya(use the chikna khoya – the one which is soft and smooth with high moisture content), cook the khoya with sugar and cardamom and milk till it is a pasty mass.

Making the Crêpes
Combine and whisk together all ingredients for the crepes, other than the ghee.It should be lump free, smooth free flowing mix – the consistency should be like the crêpe batter: not too runny but thin enough to move around when swirled in the pan

Cover and let it rest for 20 minutes. Heat an 8-inch non-stick skillet and lightly coat/grease it with ghee. Add about 3-4 tablespoons of the crêpe batter, swirling the pan in a circular motion so that the batter spreads out in a circular shape. Cook the crêpe over low heat until the bottom is pale golden, and the sides are slightly crisp and start to curl, about a couple of minutes. Carefully slide a spatula under the crêpe and gently flip it over and cook for 1/2 a minute longer. Do not panic if the first couple do not look as good; as the pan heats and settles, the ones after are going to be alright.

Add about 1.5 tablespoon of filling on the middle of the crêpe and fold towards the middle from each side to cover the filling and so that one side overlaps the other. Set aside. Make rest of the crêpe with remaining batter and filling. Make sure to continue to grease the pan between crêpes. (I use paper towel greased with melted ghee and quickly “wipe” the pan with it).

Serve warm or cold. Sprinkle some nuts if you want or have it with a drizzle of cream or condensed milk. Enjoy them for breakfast/brunch, a sweet indulgent snack as its traditionally done or for dessert.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Torshi-e Badam Jan- Eggplant Relish

2 pounds long eggplants
1 pound Carrots (long)
10 fresh green chillies
2 pods of garlic (peeled)
2 fresh bunch of coriander
2 bunches of fresh mint
1/4 pound of mixed dry herbs (parsley, tarragon, basil, Gol Par -angelica)
1 large bottle of white vinegar
Salt to taste


Wash eggplants and cut into about 2 inch slice (lenghtwise) and let dry. Place in a large pot with white vinegar to cover them and cook till they are soft (around 1 hour). Allow to cool overnight.
Wash the green very well and leave overnight to dry (wrapped in a cotton towel or
kitchen cloth, inside the fridge). Next day, chop the greens in a chopper. Then chop peeled garlic with chillies and set aside. Then blend the eggplants and place in large bowl. Add some salt to the egg plants and all the dry herbs, and the chopped greens and garlic & chillies. Then add the carrots. In the end, add enough viengar to mix them well. The mixture should be like a thick paste not runny or too dry. Taste the mixture and adjust flavors according to taste, like add more salt, vinegar, dry herb etc.

Store in a cool, dry place and wait for 2 weeks before usage. When removing eggplants from the jar, use a clean, spoon. Apparently this Turshi lasts for ever!!

Inspiration from: Amir's mom and

Saturday, February 26, 2011

bisi bele bhat (rice with eggplant and dal)


Red gram dal(tur) 1/2 cup
Rice 1 1/2 cups
Brinjals 2 small
Onion 1 no
Carrot 1 no
Drumsticks 2 nos (optional)
Tamarind Size of a small lime
Dry red chillies 6 (you can reduce or increase as per your taste)
Green chillies 4 nos
Fenugreek seeds 1 tsp
Coriander seeds 1 tbsp
Mustard 2 tsp
Cashewnuts 20 gms
Fresh grated coconut 1 tbsp
Asafoetida 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves Few
Coriander leaves Few
Poppy seeds(khus khus) 1 tsp
Aniseeds(saunf) 1/2 tsp
Cloves 4 nos
Cardamoms 4 nos
Cinnamon Small piece
Ghee/butter/margarine/oil For frying
Salt To taste

1. Peel the onions and cut into big pieces.
2. Cut the vegetables into 2.5 cm pieces.
3. Wash rice and dhal. Place in one of the containers with 2 1/2 cups of water, a pinch of turmeric powder and chopped vegetables. Cook in a pressure cooker till the rice is done.
4. Heat a little oil in a frying pan. Add 3 red chillies, fenugreek, coriander seeds and grated coconut. Fry until fenugreek turns golden brown in color.
5. Powder them and keep them aside.
6. Heat some more oil and fry poppy seeds, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and aniseeds. Powder them and keep aside.
7. Soak tamarind in a little water and extract juice.
8. Heat little oil, add remaining dry red chillies, mustard, curry leaves and green chillies.
9. When the mustard crackles, add to the rice and mix well.
10. Add tamarind juice and salt to taste and mix thoroughly.
11. Heat little ghee and fry cashewnuts until golden brown in color. Add to the rice along with powdered ingredients and masala powder.
12. Mix well. Remove from fire. If you like ghee, add just before serving.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Telba (Ethiopian flaxseed beverage)

Telba (Ethiopian flaxseed beverage)


Serving 4-6
1 c Flaxseed
6 c Water
1 to 2 T Honey

Heat a cast-iron skillet over low heat. Add flaxseed and dry roast, stirring for about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Place flaxseed in a spice grinder and grind to a powder. Sieve into a bowl. Add water and stir. Let set for about 10-20 minutes to allow solids to settle out. Strain into a pitcher. Add honey and chill.

Notes: Telba Firfit: Mix telba with broken up pieces of injera bread and heat. Serve as a side dish. Telba is a mild laxative