CHICKEN BIRYANI

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After I left my home town I missed Biryani like any other Bengali. Whenever I had an opportunity I used to visit few restaurant ( at Bangalore) and try Kolkata style Biryani. Then my requirement of biryani ( for the time-being ) ended.

I had to try my hand at it. After trying for some time, I finally mastered the art of Kolkata style chicken Biryani and here I share my wisdom with my fellow Biryani lovers. Let’s begin!

Yield – 5-6

Preparation time – 20 mins

Cooking time – 45 mins

Ingredients

  • Basmati Rice – 2 cups (Use aged rice as it is  less starchy, hence  less sticky)
  • Vegetable Oil4 tbsp (Most of the Biryani recipes use ghee, but I like oil better, they don’t make the dish as heavy as ghee)
  • Rose water – 2 tsp
  • Keora Water – 1 tsp
  • Ghee – 2 tbsp
  • Chicken Legs – 5
  • Potatoes – 2 medium
  • Onions – 4 big
  • Garlic – 12-15 cloves
  • Ginger – 1 inch
  • Plain Curd – 150 gm
  • Red chili powder – 1 tbsp
  • A pinch of sugar
  • Warm milk – 1 cup
  • A pinch of saffron
  • Salt

For mashla (spices)

  • Cumin seeds (Saah Jeera) – 1 tbsp
  • Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Black pepper – 1 tbsp
  • White pepper – 1 tbsp
  • Black cardamom – 2
  • Green cardamom – 5-6
  • Whole nutmeg (jaifol) – 1
  • Whole maces (javetri flower) – 2
  • Cloves – 5-6
  • Cinnamon stick – 1 inch

Method

  • Wash the rice under running water and then immerse them in water for at least half an hour. This will get rid of excess starch, resulting beautiful non-sticky rice grains.
  • To prepare the rice, take 4 or 5 cups of water in a pan and bring it to a boil. Add couple of green cardamom, 1 clove and a cinnamon stick. Add a pinch of salt.
  • When the water starts to boil, add the rice and cook till it is done. Drain the extra water. Clean under running water to get rid of excess starch and salt. Take a flat plate and spread the rice.
  • Cut 4 or 5 onions and fry them with a pinch of sugar in 2 tbs of oil till they caramelize.
  • We will use half of the onions to cook the chicken and half for assembling the final dish.
  • After you peel the garlic and ginger blend them in a blender with a spoonful of water till you get a smooth paste.
  • Take 2 spoonful of warm milk (or water) and add a pinch of saffron strands and keep it aside so the milk gets the color.
  • Wash the chicken pieces and pat them dry with a kitchen towel or clean cloth. I usually use whole leg pieces for this preparation, as they taste better.

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  • Heat 2 tbs of oil in a pan and sear all the chicken pieces.
  • After the chicken pieces starts to get a golden brown color, add half of the fried onions, all the ginger-garlic paste, plain curd, 1 tbs biryani spice-mix, 1 tbs red chili powder, 2 tsp rose water (if you are using rose essence then use 1 tsp), 1 tsp Keora water and salt.

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  • Mix well and bring it to a simmer. Reduce the heat and let it cook for at least 20 mins. Check occasionally, if required add a little water. We do not want a lot of gravy.
  • When done take the chickens off the heat and keep them in a separate bowl. We will use the pan to fry the potatoes. We will use the chicken pieces and gravy separately. You can sieve the gravy to get rid of all the chunky pieces, but I am too lazy to do that.
  • Take two potatoes, cut them into four pieces each and cook them in a pressure cooker with a pinch of salt. When done keep them aside.
  • In the same pan, after finishing the chicken, fry the boiled potatoes till they start to acquire some golden color. Turn off the heat.
  • It is now time to assemble all the pieces to get our Holy-Grail.
  • Now that we have all the elements of biryani ready, we just need to assemble them.
  • Take a heavy bottom pan.In the pan put the potatoes at the bottom, top it up with 2 tbs of gravy, some fried onion and a pinch of biryani spices and  2-3 chicken legs.

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  • Now add a layer of rice. Top it up with fried onion, 1 tbs of gravy, a pinch of biryani spice-mix and 1 tsp of saffron water (or milk) also 2-3 chicken legs.
  • Put another layer of rice. Top it up with fried onion, 1 tbs of gravy, a pinch of biryani spice and a tsp of saffron water (or milk). Add the last layer of rice.

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  • Top it up with fried onion, a pinch of biryani spices and 1 tsp of saffron water (or milk). Finish it with a dollop of ghee.
  • If you want you can add boiled egg also.
  • Cover the pan with a lid. Try to use a pan with a fitting cover. We want the aroma to be sealed as much as possible. Put the pan on low flame and cook it for 10 mins. Turn off the heat and let it rest for another 5 mins.
  • Your Biryani is ready to serve.
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PANNA COTTA

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Panna cotta, a molded chilled dessert popular throughout Italy, is easy to make and can be prepared in advance. It looks and tastes wonderful with ripe red fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, or sweet cherries a traditional, easy, and delicious Italian custard. I made up my own recipe. This keeps well for several days in the refrigerator.

Yield – 6

Preparation time – 5-6 mins

Inactive – 6 hours

Cooking time – 6 mins

Ingredients

  • Whole milk – 1 cup
  • Unflavored powdered gelatin – 1 tbsp
  • Whipping cream – 3 cup
  • Honey – 1/3 cup
  • Mango extract – 1/2 tesp
  • Sugar – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – 1 pinch
  • Condensed Milk – 1 cup
  • Custard sugar1/2 cup
  • Vermicelli – 2-3 tbsp

Method

  • Place the milk in a small bowl.
  • Sprinkle the gelatin over. Let stand for 3 to 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.

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  • Pour milk mixture into a heavy saucepan and stir over medium heat just until the gelatin dissolves but the milk does not boil, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the condensed milk into the milk.
  • Add the cream, honey, sugar, and salt.

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  • Stir until the sugar dissolves, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Add mango extract.
  • Remove from the heat. Pour into 6 wine glasses so that they are 1/2 full. Cool slightly. Refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours.
  • Sprigs the vermicelli at the top the panna cotta and serve.
  • Sprigs custard sugar, to dust. To serve.

MUTTON REZALA

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It’s been a long time since I cook any special Indian traditional dish. So I had planned to cook some of the traditional dish. Mutton rezala made in luscious creamy white gravy. Meat infused with deep, rich flavors of cashews cream.

Yield – 4

Preparation time – 30 mins ( 1 hour inactive )

Cooking time – 40 mins

Ingredient

 

For marinade

  • Mutton – 1 kg with bons
  • Ginger – 2 inch paste
  • Garlic – 8-10 chopped
  • Curd – 250 gm
  • Salt
  • Onion paste – 1/2 cup
  • White papper powder – 2 tbsp

For tempering oil

  • Green cardamoms – 5
  • Cloves – 5-6
  • star anise – 1
  • Bay leaves – 2
  • Cinnamon stick – 2 inch
  • Ghee (clarified butter) – 100 gm
  • Dry red chili – 2

Other

  • Cashew nuts – 100 gm
  • Poppy seed – 50 gm shocked
  • Onion chopped – 4 medium
  • Cream – 200 gm
  • Ghee (clarified butter) – 50 gm
  • Kewda jal – 2 drops
  • Mitha ittr – 2 drops
  • Salt and sugar to taste
  • White onions – 5-6 medium

Method

  • Wash and clean mutton pieces.

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  • After that mix all the ingredient ‘for marinade‘ with the mutton for minimum one hour. I left them overnight.
  • Take a Presser cooker, add ghee and add all the ingredient ‘for tempering’ and allow this to splutter.

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  • Add the mutton and fry for 3-4 mins. Then add 2 cup of warm water and presser cook for 5-6 whistles or until the mutton half done. Collect the stock, and keep it aside.
  • Extract the juice of ginger and garlic and keep aside. Then chopped the onions.
  • Then fine paste the cashew nut and poppy seed individually.
  • In a heavy bottomed pan heat the rest of the ghee, add onion and saute for 3-4 mins.

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  • Then add both cashew nut and poppy seed paste and saute for anther 3-4 mins.
  • Add salt and sugar as per taste.
  • Add the mutton with the stock, and covered until the meat is cooked.
  • Next add the cream.

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  • Cook until dry. Simmer for a while. Remove from fire add kewra jal, mitha ittr.
  • You have to chop the onions in thin slices for making crisp fried brown onions or ‘beresta‘. Heat oil and wait till it is steaming hot then deep fry the onion till it is fully brown.
  • Then drop ghee.Serve hot garnished with fried onion.
  • Roomali roti or Paratha is a goog accompaniment for this dish.

MOCHAR GHONTO

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The banana plant is omnipresent in Bengali culture. We eat the flower (mocha) and the pith of the stem (thor). We even cook and eat the green banana peel! We cook food wrapped in banana leaf to impart a special flavor. We use the large flat leaves of the banana plant as disposable plates.

start+peeling

“Mochar Ghonto” is a uniquely Bengali preparation of the banana flower.

This signature dish is delicately spiced, has a subtle sweetness and a hint of coconut that compliments the flavor of the banana flower.

Yield – 4-5

Preparation time – 30 mins

Cooking time – 25 mins

Ingredients

  • Banana Flower – 1

mocha

  • Potato – 1 medium size
  • Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
  • Bay leaves – 2
  • Cumin and Ginger paste – 1 tsp each
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Garam Masala paste(cardamom, cinnamon, clove) – 1 tsp
  • Grated coconut – ¼ cup
  • Mustard oil – 3 tbsp
  • Salt and sugar to taste
  • Ghee – 1 tbsp
  • Bengal Gram (Chola) boiled – 1 cup

 

Method

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Once the florets (mocha) have been cleaned, chop them into small size. Boil this and the bengal gram with little salt till almost cooked. Remove water and keep florets aside.

Heat oil in a pan, add the cumin seeds and bay leaves, and once the seeds start to splutter, add the boiled mocha.

Add turmeric powder and salt, cover the pan with a lid, and allow it to cook for 10 minutes on a low flame.

In another pan heat some oil and fry the diced potatoes. Set it aside.

Add the mocha and gently cook it by tossing and turning it several times.

Add ginger, cumin, and chili paste and mix them well. Also add a spoon of sugar to taste.

Add the fried potatoes and bengal gram, cook till all the ingredients are soft and the water has dried out.

Add the grated coconut now and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

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Finally, add the garam masala mix and ghee.

Set it on a bowl and garnish with some more grated coconut on the top and a spoonful of ghee (clarified butter). This dish goes very well with rice.

Note

  • This is the basic recipe but an interesting twist, puts on the addition of “daler bora” or lentil fritters. Since the mocha shrinks during cooking, adding daler bora to this dish does increase its volume and tastes good too.
  • When peeling the mocha, apply some cooking oil/mustard oil to your hands to prevent the sticky juices of the mocha from staining your hands.

MASALA UTTAPAM

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Uttapam is a very famous South Indian dish and is made from fermented batter of urad dal and rice. It is a standard dish served in almost all South Indian restaurants across India and the world. Just like a pizza, a lot of combinations of vegetables can be added as a topping to make your favorite Uttapam. It uses the same batter as the dosa, however Uttapam is thick, more like a pancake and not as crisp as a dosa. Masala Uttapam is a great breakfast option, however, you can also choose to have it any time of the day including the main meals. It is best to have Uttapam with some nice coconut or tomato chutney or sambhar. I am sure your kids would love the nice taste of Uttapam and so will the whole family. So why not choose this as your next family breakfast option? Use this simple to follow recipe to make delicious Masala Uttapam.

Yield – 4

Preparation time – 20 mins

Cooking time – 15 mins

Ingredients

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  • Dosa batter – 3 cup
  • Onion – 1 chopped
  • Green chili – 1 fine chopped
  • Carrot – 1/2 greeted
  • Green, red, yellow bell-pepper – 1 cup chopped
  • Tomato – 1 small chopped
  • Processed cheese – 1/2 greeted
  • Salt and black pepper as per taste
  • Olive oil – 2 tbsp
  • Chaat masala – 1/2 tsp

Method

  • Heat a non stick pan and brash the oil.
  • When the pan is hot, pour a ladle full of batter on it and spread to make a small circle.
  • Sprinkle some onions, tomatoes, all three bell-pepper, carrot, green chili and cheese on top.

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  • Press with the back of a ladle.
  • Pour oil on the sides and on top.
  • Fry till brown and crispy.
  • Flip and cook from other side as well.

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  • Sprinkle salt, black pepper and chaat masala on top.
  • Serve hot.

CRAB MALAICURRY

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My Mom cooks very well. Actually She is my inspiration. She never feels tired while cooking. Here I’m sharing Her recipe of ‘Malaicurry‘ using crab.Crab is a popular dish in coastal areas such as West Bengal, Mumbai, Goa and coastal south India. Because crab is easily available in those areas. Crab curry recipe is more or less same in those areas.

I mostly land up making Red Crab Curry. This time I decided to adapt the traditional “Bengali Prawn Malaicurry” to Crabs, which actually I learn from my Mom. It turned out to be really yummy. I pick up the huge Blue king crabs they have on sale. Hope you would enjoy it as well.

Yield – 6

Preparation Time – 20 mins

Cooking Time – 25 mins

Ingredients

  • Crab – 1 kg cleaned and cut
  • Onion – 4 large, paste
  • Tomato – 2 medium, paste
  • Green chilies – 3-4
  • Ginger – 2”
  • Red chili powder – 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Coconut milk – 1 & 1/2 cup
  • Mustered oil – 4-5 tbsp
  • Whole garam masala – 1” cinnamon stick, 6 cloves, 4 green cardamom, 2 bay leaf
  • Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
  • Salt and sugar to taste

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Method

  • Clean the crab and marinate them with salt and keep aside for 10 minutes
  • Make a paste of onion, ginger and tomato with 3 green chilies separately.
  • In a wide vessel heat oil. Now temper it with whole garam masala and bay leaf.
  • Add the ground onion paste to it and sauté on low heat till the raw smell goes away.
  • Next add the tomato and green chili paste and also one pinch of sugar.

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  • Now one by one add turmeric and chili powder to it. Sauté on low heat till you see oil gets separated from the spice mixture.

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  • Add crab pieces to it and fry them on medium heat for about two to three minutes. Make sure that all crab pieces are well coated with the spices. Season them with salt.
  • Pour half a cup of water and let it simmer on low heat for about ten minutes.
  • Add coconut milk to it and give a nice stir. Cook for another three to four minutes.
  • Finish it off by adding green chilies and a spoonful of garam masala powder.
  • Gravy will not be so much. Adjust salt according to your taste. Serve hot with plain rice.

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SPICED PUFFED RICE OR JHAL MURI OR VEL PURE

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Bhel puri is a very popular street food. There are two types of bhel – dry and wet bhel. This recipe is for the dry bhel puri where chutneys do not added. In the wet bhel pure chutney are added.

Also bhel  is eaten with papdis or crisp fried pooris. at least this is how i have them at home. but you can even have them with a spoon.

 

Recipe type – Snacks

Yield – 4

Preparation time – 20 mins

Cooking time – 4 mins

 

Ingredients

  • Puffed rice – 2 cup
  • Boiled potato – 1 large peeled and chopped
  • Steamed moong sprouts – 1/2 cup
  • Tomato – 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Onion – 1 small finely chopped
  • Cucumber – 1/2 cup finely chopped
  • Coconut – 1/2 chopped
  • Roasted Cumin powder – 1 tsp
  • Chaat masala – 1 tsp
  • Red Chili powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander leaves – 1/4 cup chopped
  • Carrot – 1/2 up chopped
  • Green chili – 1 tsp
  • Sev – 1/2 cup
  • Papdis – 5-6 broken into pieces
  • Roasted peanuts – 2 tbsp
  • Lemon juice – 1 tsp
  • Black salt as required

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Method

  • Firstly dry roast the puffed rice in a kadai or pan till they become crisp.
  • Let them cool and take them all in a large bowl.

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  • Add everything to the puffed rice except sev and coriander leaves.
  • Quickly mix everything.

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  • Now lastly mix the sev and garnish bhel puri with some coriander leaves.
  • Serve bhel puri immediately.

Notes

The salt, and spice powders in the bhel puri can be adjusted as per your liking. You can use ready made chutneys for your wet bhel pure. If you don’t have onions, then too you can make the bhel without onions.

 

Gurer Narkel Naru Or Bengali Style Coconut Laddu With Date Palm Jaggery

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       Narkel Naru is a dessert from Bengal. They are ball-shaped and made from khoya/condensed milk and coconut, a traditional food during Pujas such as the Durga Puja/Lakshmi Puja, consumed throughout India. Today I’m going to share the recipe of another version of Narkel Naru, which is made with scraped coconut & date palm jaggery. This “Narus” are served specially during “Lakshmi Puja”. So this coconut laddus will be made in every Bengali houses.
“Chinir Narkel Naru” and “Gurer Narkel Naru” are two different types. And their preparation and quantities are also different. “Gurer Naru” is little difficult to make.
Here is the recipe.

Yields – 10

Cooking Level – Medium

Preparation Time – 1 Hour(s)

Cooking Time – 15 Minute(s)

Total Time – 1 Hour(s) 15 Minute(s)

Ingredients

  • Scraped Coconut – 2 Medium size, Or Frozen Scraped Coconut – 4 cups (thaw it before using).

  • Gur Or Date Palm Jaggery – 500 gm

  • Khoya – 1/3 cup

 

Method

  • Take a non-stick pan, add the scraped coconut, gur all together and mix all the ingredients using your hand.
  • Now place the pan on low heat. Give it a stir to check that it is not burning. Cook this on low flame so that you will know that it is slowly forming a mass.
  • If you want to make it sticky and love the deep brownish hue then add two to three tablespoon jaggery more. Adjust the quantity of jaggery as per your taste.
  • Keep on cooking it on low flame till all the jaggery melts and is well incorporated into the coconut. When the mixture will look like little sticky, add the khoya and mix with it.
  • Now turn off the heat when you think that it is forming small lumps.Remove the mixture immediately from the non-stick pan and spread it out on a plate.
  • Take 2 tablespoons of coconut mix and roll into a ball. The Naru has to be formed while the mix is still warm, almost hot.
  • It will harden when it cools and you will not be able to give it shape. Make the rest of the Naru and let them cool down completely. Your “Gurer Naru” is ready to serve.

 

Dosa Cupcake With Masala Tea

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Dosa, is a delicious and appetizing breakfast dish. Its popular across many countries. Dosa cupcake is new version of dosa itself. Sometime it is so boring to eat same thing day by day. Thats-why I’m inventing this “Dosa Cupcake” using the same Dosa batter. Here is the recipe.

Masala tea or masala chai is one of the favorite drinks among Indians especially during the monsoon and cold winters. It is believed that it keeps the body warm and break up the blocked sinus. A large population drink it around the year.

Yield – 3

Preparation time – 30 mins

Cooking tine – 10 mins

Total time – 40 mins

Ingredients

For Cupcake

  • Dosa batter mix (dry) – 1 cup
  • Curd – 1/2 cup
  • Water – 1cup
  • Green, yellow and red bel-pepper – 1 cup chopped
  • Tomato – 1/2 small chopped
  • Onion – 1 fine chopped
  • Green chili – 1 fine chopped
  • Processed Cheese – 1/2 cup greeted
  • Pine nut – 1/2 roughly chopped
  • Carrot – 1/2 greeted
  • Salt and Black pepper – as per taste
  • Bhujia for garnishing1/2 cup

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For Masala Tea

For making tea powder, makes 3 tsp. powder

  • Grams Green cardamoms skinned (elaichi) – 1 tsp
  • Cloves – ½ tsp
  • Cinnamon (dalchini) – 2.5 gm
  • Fennel seeds (saunf) – 1/4 tsp
  • Pepper corn powder – 1/2 tbs
  • Nutmeg grated – 1/2 tsp
  • Star flower/Star anise – 2 petals

 

For making Tea

  • Milk – 3/4 cup or 180
  • 1 cup Water – 1 cup or 240 ml
  • Masala powder (you can increase slightly for stronger tea) – 1/2 tsp
  • Tea powder – 1 tsp (adjust to suit your taste)
  • Freshly chopped or crushed ginger – 1 tsp
  • Sweetener as needed

Method

For Dosa Cupcake

  • First take a large boul and mix the dosa batter, curd and water altogether in a smooth batter. Rest it for 5 mins.
  • Grease the cupcake mold and place in a oven proof tray. Pour water into the tray.

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  • Scoop the batter 1/2 into the mold.
  • After that put all the vegetable like green, yellow, red bell pepper, onion, tomato, green chili, carrot.
  • Then sprinkle pine nut and cheese also salt and black pepper as per needed.

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  • Next bake the cup cake about 3-4 mins (175 degrees C) and a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
  • When the cupcakes are 50% cool, frost the tops with the Bhujia and serve.

For Masala Tea

Making the tea powder

  • Add all the spices to blender jar and powder finely.
  • Store it in an airtight glass jar.

How to make masala tea using the spice powder

  • Bring one cup of water to a boil
  • Add crushed ginger, spice powder and tea powder. Boil for about 2 to 3 minutes or till the flavors are infused well.
  • Add milk and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.

 

 

  • Filter it to the serving cups. Add sugar into the tea.
  • Serve hot or warm

Notes

You can increase or decrease the quantity of spices based on your taste. You can add few tulsi (holy basil) leaves to this tea to increase immunity, though we may not benefit as much as eating the raw leaves.

Rasmalai

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Again one of the popular Bengali sweet of spongy cottage cheese balls aka rasgullas soaked in thickened & sweetened milk.

when i made rasgullas, i also made rasmalai with some of them. you can also get store brought rasgullas to make rasmalai. This recipe is not a quick one made with condensed milk, but the traditional way made with reducing milk.

I would suggest making the rasgullas a day or two before and then later make the rasmalai. dividing work this way makes it easy. if you want to make rasgullas at home, then you can check this post.

Rasmalai is usually served chilled and without any accompaniments. while serving, also serve the thickened milk with the rasmalai.

 

Recipe Type – Dessert, sweets

Cuisine – Bengali, indian

Servies – 5 to 6

Preparation time – 5m

Cooking time – 45m

INGREDIENTS

(measuring cup used, 1 cup = 250 ml)

  • 12 to 15 small rasgullas( dried ), homemade or store brought ones
  • 1 liter whole full fat cow milk, 4 cups
  • Condensed Milk – 100 ml
  • 4 to 5 tbsp sugar or add as required
  • 10 to 12 tbsp cashew nut, blanched
  • 1/3 cup rice flour
  • 10 to 12 unsalted pistachios
  • ½ cup water for blanching the almond
  • ½ tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 to 2 tsp rose water or kewra water
  • 8 to 10 saffron strands
  • A few saffron strands for garnish

METHOD

  • Boil ½ cup water. then add almonds & pistachios. cover and keep aside for 30 to 40 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, peel the almonds, pistachios and slice them. keep aside.
  • When the almonds are blanching, take 1 liter of milk in a thick bottomed pan or kadai. Bring the milk to a boil on medium flame.
  • Whilst the milk is coming to a boil, take 2 tbsp milk from the pan in a small bowl. let this milk become warm and then add crushed saffron strands. Stir and keep aside.
  • Once the milk has come to a boil, then lower the flame and simmer the milk. collect the floating cream on the sides. continue to cook this way till the milk is reduced to half.
  • Add the rice flour into the milk.
  • Keep on collecting the cream which floats on the top and move it to the sides. also keep on stirring the milk at intervals so that the milk does not get scorched at the bottom.
  • Add sugar and stir well so that the sugar dissolves.
  • Then add condensed milk and the cardamom powder.
  • Add the sliced almonds & pistachios. reserve a few almonds & pistachios for garnishing.
  • Also add the saffron dissolved milk.
  • Stir again. keep simmering the reduced milk at a low flame.
  • Meanwhile take each rasgulla and with a spatula apply pressure, so the excess sugar syrup is removed from it. you can also press the rasgulla in your palms. be gentle and don’t apply too much of pressure, as then the rasgullas will break. Do this with all the rasgullas.
  • Now place the rasgullas in the simmering milk and simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Switch off the flame and then add 1 tsp rose water or kewra water (pandanus extract)
  • Stir gently. cover and let the rasmalai come to a room temperature. then chill and serve garnished with some sliced almonds or pistachios and saffron strands.
  • Serve rasmalai.