Monday, October 28, 2013

Witch Fingers and Happy Halloween

Trick or treat?  Halloween was unheard of when I was growing up. I came to know in details about it during my stay in US. I do not know why, I loved it (maybe the candy part allured me). I loved to visit the pumpkin patches and carved the pumpkins. We did it even after lil A was born, although last two years she did not get it all, I guess. I talked to her about Halloween yesterday, and she liked the part to go out for trick or treat. Mamma's gal! I was a bit busy last two weeks and did not have time to look out for a pumpkin to carve. Also, it is a bit hard to found, at least I did not found any, so we skipped pumpkin carving this year. Instead to wish you Halloween we have witch fingers to send a chill down your spine!

Lil A was initially a little uncomfortable looking at the fingers and keep saying, "bhoy! bhalo na" aka, I am scared, not good. But I insisted that she try it and she liked it. Licked all the blood, oops, jam from the finger. But, I failed to convince my mom to try it!

This is again very easy recipe, can be gathered in few minutes and takes less than half hour to bake. This recipe makes only about 10 fingers, so increase the amount accordingly for a large batch.


All purpose flour - 3/4 cup
Softened butter - 3 tablespoon
Powdered sugar - 3 tablespoon
Egg - 1
Vanilla - 1 teaspoon

Beat all the stuffs except flour.

Add the wet mix to the flour and mix well. Refrigerate the mix covered for 30 minutes.Meanwhile blanch the almonds for the nails.Soak the almonds in hot water over and for 2 minutes.

I microwaved the water on high for 3 minutes and soaked almonds in it for 2 minutes. Wash under cold water and remove the skin. Note: Do not keep in hot water for long, this will break the nuts.

Preheat oven at 180C/325F.

Take a teaspoon of the batter and roll it into shape of a finger.


Create the knuckles with a fork to make it real.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or till they are pale golden.

To make it more scary and gross, add blood, err jam or red food coloring (of course, I did not have red food color) around the nail bed and on the knuckles.

Scary I know, but you will love it.

Happy Halloween, my friends. How did you celebrate?

I have modified one of the above image for Black and White Wednesday # 103, a photography event started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook, hosted this week by Lynne of Cafe Lynnylu. For event details, visit Cindystar blog.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Carrot Strips-Color Me Orange

I was making baked carrot strips the other day and loved its orange color.

I am sending this to The Colour Me Photography Challenge Series, "Colour me Orange" for October, a photography event hosted by Priya of The Humpty Dumpty Kitchen.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Marinara Sauce - My Version

Well, let me say before hand. I am not even sure if it qualifies as marinara sauce. One of my colleague gave me this recipe, its pretty easy and we like it. So this one became my marinara sauce. I used to make it too often, pre lil A days. Yes, its been long time I made it. I forgot all about it and last week when  I was craving pasta, I remembered! So, here you go.


Canola oil - 1 tablespoon (Ideally olive oil, I did not have it; see, I told you, my version)
Garlic - 2 cloves (minced)
Carrots - 1 cup, diced
Tomatoes - 4 medium, chopped
Fennel seeds - Pinch
Pepper Flakes - Pinch (Remember to wash your hands)
Sugar - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - To taste

Heat oil and add the garlic cloves.  I was supposed to add 1 medium chopped onions here, but I totally forgot! You can add the onions here. But, it tasted good even without the onions.

Add the carrots and cook for 5-6 minutes till tender.

Add the tomatoes and fennel seeds. Add salt and sugar.

Cook covered for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and mushy.

At this stage, you can puree it for smoother version. I am lazy, I did not do it.

You can also freeze it for later use. I mainly use it in my pasta. It really adds a punch to the pasta dish.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Okra aka Dha(n)rosh Curry

Okay, I confess. Okra is one of the vegetables that I hate.  Since time I remember I never was a fan of this slimy slim green vegetable. So, why do I blog about okra curry? Because, it has to be life's irony that the husband man loves okra, in any form. Since it is impossible to cook separate meals for 2 adults and one lil person that resides in our home, sometimes in spite of all the hatred I have to eat okra. Okra fry was okay with me but how many times in your life you can have the same thing!

This recipe I came to know from one of my neighbor. Aunty M too loves okra and often makes different dishes of it. Out of 2/3 recipes she suggested, this one was simplest and it turned out really well. I actually liked it and took a second help. Thank you Aunty M.


Okra - 15-18 pieces
Oninons - 2 medium, finely sliced
Red Chilli - 1
Ginger paste - 1/2 teaspoon
Yogurt - 2 tablespoon
Cumin seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Nigella seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste.

Wash the okras well and pat dry. This way you can have less slimy ones. Cut it into small pieces.

Heat  1 tablespoon oil and add red chilli, cumin seeds and nigella seeds. As soon as they cracks, add onions.

Saute the onions till they are soft and bit transluscent. Add the okra pieces, ginger paste, cumin powder and turmeric. Mix well.

Whisk the curd with little water. When the okra becomes little soft, lower down the heat and add the yogurt mix to it. Cook till okra gets well done. If you like you can settle with more gravy instead of dry-ish way that I did.

Enjoy with rice or roti.

Cook okra with lid open, this way you can avoid the slimyness and keep it relatively dry.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cabbage Speckled with Spices - Black and White Wednesday 101

This image is from the post cabbage curry. 

I am sending this to Black and White Wednesday 101, a culinary event started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook and managed by Cinzia. Urvashi of Budding Homemaker is hosting this week's event. For participation details, please visit here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Mistimukh, Chhana Poda and Subho Bijaya

Durga Puja just ended. Maa Durga is on her way back to her Himalayan abode after spending four days with at her parents home. We, the mortals, rejoiced her stay to its fullest. Durga Puja, celebrating homecoming of Maa Durga along with her kids, is the biggest festival of the Bengalis. It is a celebration of victory of good over evil. It ends on tenth day, where people say good bye to Durga and her children, make her promise to visit next year again, shower her with love and sweets. It is called Subho-Bijoya (Subho =  Happy/Good/Auspicious; Bijoya = Victory) aka happy ending of the festive days, where young ones take blessings from the older people, married women smear Maa Durga and one another with sindoor (vermillion) and everyone greets everyone with smile, best wishes and sweets. So join the party, ektu mistimukh hoye jak, lets have something sweet.

Goddess Durga

I am an avid fan of the festival and happiness that Durga Puja brings. I am not talking about the religious part, but the fun part. During college and university days (seems like w-a-y back), I used to do Pandal hopping atleast three out of four days, with definitely one "whole night" thrown in. Every year I used to get blisters from my new fancy shoes. When I was on the shore of Lake Erie, I celebrated Durga Puja in a new form, more like a community based. We used to worship the same Goddess year after year, friends used to take turns to cook lunch and dinner so that we can all sit and eat together for two days, have long addas till past midnights and wear the best of saris and accessories. I loved my experiences over there.

This year has really been a very low profile celebration for me. I am in a new city and although there are few pujas around, we only went to visit couple of them. I was sad with the festivities missing during these days so I did two things to brighten myself up. One, I promised myself to be in my hometown every year from next year during these four days, and two, I made couple of sweet dishes to wish Subho Bijoya to all of you.

Let her blessings light up everyone's life and make all of us happy.

Aschhe bachhor abar hobe, Maa.

I made chhana poda, fried cottage cheese to celebrate. Why chhana poda among all the sweets. Because I love it, was craving it and it is again easy to make.


Milk- 1L (around quarter of a gallon)
Lemon juice - 1 tablespoon
Semolina-1 tablespoon
Cardamoms - 3/4 crushed
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Nuts(Cashews and pistachios) - 1 tablespoon, chopped
Raisins - 10/12

Bring the milk to boil then lower the heat. Add the lemon juice to it and give it a good stir. Turn off the heat and wait for a minute. The milk will curdle. This is what is known as chhana. Transfer the entire thing into a cheese cloth and add cold water for 5 to 10 minutes to wash away the lemon juice. Otherwise a little bitter taste might remain.
Drain well, say around 15 minutes. Make sure it does not become too dry.

Add crushed cardamoms, sugar and semolina/sooji to it. Mix well with hand. You do not have to knead it hard, just keep on mixing.

Add the chopped nuts and raisins to the chhana. Once again mix well. It will be thicker than that of cake batter but will still remain moist.

Grease the baking pan with ghee and put the mixed chhana into it.Add powdered or crushed sugar on the top of the mix. This will give the dark colour as it bakes.

Preheat oven to 218C and bake it for 40 minutes.

Let it cool down completely. I would suggest to refrigerate it for 30 minutes after it cooled down to room temperature. That way, it comes out in a good slice. Otherwise it is little crumbly, but tastes very good.

We could not wait that long and did not mind the crumbly chhana poda.

Subho Bijaya, my friends!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Banana Bread

It is not the first time I am making banana breads, but this is the very first time I am happy about the end product, and I love it. My lil monster comes home super hungry from daycare. And I want to have healthy snacks in stock. Also, I myself am a great fan of plain banana bread/cake. Again, this is a very simple yet an absolute treat, well, I know, you cannot go wrong with banana bread.  


Banana - 2 medium, mashed
All purpose flour - 1 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Baking powder - 1/4 teaspoon
Eggs - 2, medium
Butter - 2 tablespoon
Vanilla - 1/2 teaspoon
Nuts (of your choice) - 2 tablespoon (optional)

Mashed the bananas well. Add the eggs to it and mix well. You do not have to beat them up, just mix well.

Add the vanilla to it. Keep aside. Pre-heat the oven at 180C.

Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder together. Add the softened butter to it.

Add the wet mix to the dry mix and mix well.

Flour the pan/tray. Pour into your bread pan. I wanted them to be in small pieces for evening snack so used this tray instead. Spread the nuts on top of it. You can mix the nuts into the batter before pouring. I forgot to do it, so spread it on top.

Bake at 180C for 50 min or until fork comes out clean. Again, I used the convection mode of my microwave and I am really impressed. I cut them in a sort of  brownies like.

It came out very good. I loved the soft inside and crispy top layer. And it tastes so yummy.

This banana bread/cake/brownies turned out so well. I am certainly making this again too soon.

The father-daughter duo started to wipe them out.

 So, I have to quickly store them up.

Baking is so relaxing and bonus, your house smells divine.

What are you doing this October?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Celebrating 100 episode of Black and White Wednesday

Sushi for me, please

This week, BWW is celebrating its 100th episode. Black and White Wednesday is a gallery of culinary events started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook, and hosted this week by Cinzia of Cindystar's blog. You can find the participation details here.

I got hooked to BWW gallery the very first time I saw it and eagerly look forward every week to see the wonderful photographs.Thank you all.