Thursday, 8 September 2011

Crispy Mushroom and Aubergine Pancakes

I have posted savoury pancakes earlier, which was a vegetable version too.
Making these are easy. 
And a good way to get some vegetables in our diet.
But I do make non vegetarian versions too.
Sometimes I add eggs to the batter. 
At other times cooked minced meat ... either chicken or fish.
But that is when I am making them for a brunch or dinner. 
If I am making these for breakfast, I stick to vegetables.

I had a few small sized brinjals/ aubergines languishing in the fridge.
And some mushrooms too.
Threw in some cabbage with onions and green chillies. 
You can add any vegetables of your choice ... green peas, cauliflower, carrots, etc. are some good options.

I usually do not like any powdered masalas in my vegetable pancakes. But this time wanted some flavour in them.
So threw in some Italian mixed spices.
The result was beautiful! 

Need :

Maida / APF - around 1 cup
Water - just enough to make a thick batter
Thinly sliced mushrooms
Chopped cababge
Thinly sliced brinjals
Sliced onions
Chopped green chillies
Red chilli flakes
Italian spice mix (mine had a mix of thyme, oregano and basil)
Salt to taste
Cooking oil to fry

 How to :

Mix all the vegetables and spices together.
Add maida and water to made a thick batter.
Adjust salt.

 Heat a tawa or a griddle.
Smear it with a little cooking oil.
Pour in a ladleful of the batter and spread it evenly.

 Fry well on one side and then flip it over.
Cook on low heat till both sides are evenly browned.

Serve immediately ... while they're still crispy. 

The spices added a wonderful flavour to what might have been just another plain pancake.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Kalo Jeere bata ar Lau diye Ilisher Matha / Hilsa cooked with Bottle gourd

( Vegetarians can enjoy this dish too. Just ignore the adding of the fish part in the recipe and serve with chopped fresh coriander leaves.)

I had started food blogging with no particular aim ... not even of keeping my recipes for myself. And with time got hooked to it. The more friends I made, the more people visited my blog, the more I got mails ... the more the addiction.

But I cannot overlook the fact that my blogging has been marred with breaks and has me thinking if it is jinxed for me. I am not superstitious ...
 still cannot make out why the moment I do a few posts, I have to take a break ...
that are turning longer by the time ...
with health related issues.

I am not ready to turn superstitious just yet ... but do wonder if having a havan done for Kichu Khon or chanting of a few mantras would let me do my favourite thing in peace ..
... i.e. cook and share it with you all.

And since I have not yet found the answer,
I am thinking of at least hanging a string of nimbu mirchi from my nose when
I sit down to make a post.  :-)

Am slowly getting back my kitchen to myself.
And was waiting for a taste of this year's Ilish/Hilsa.
Since I have been traveling a lot in the recent past, I did not get the chance of having ilish
even once this season.
So when my fishwala called, I rushed and bought a good 1.5 kg 'Kalkatta ka Ilish'.
Ilsih from Calcutta means Ganga's Ilsih ...
which is said to be tastier than the other varieties.

The fish was good.
Not too small ... too small sized Ilish has too many bones ... thin as threads ... and very difficult to deal with.
Not too big ... too big and with too much roe fish does not taste as good.

And after relishing the plain Ilish Bhaja, Patla Jhol, Ambol, and Chanchra,
I still had a few pieces and part head left.
Wanted something different, so called out to my FB friends for a recipe.

Sudeshna suggested making it with Lau / Lauki / the Bottle gourd
after coming to know of the few vegetables I had in my fridge.
Thanks Sudeshna for the quick suggestion!

 I'd been watching a lot of cookery shows the past few months and all the Bengali channels had Ilish as the main ingredient ever since the monsoons started.
And I kept track of all the recipes.
Since the Ilish is such a flavourful fish, too many masalas are not needed.
Just a variation in the tempering and you will get a wonderful dish!

So here is a new dish that I made with the Ilisher matha.
It was so good I did not need anything else to go with my plate of steaming hot rice!
I believe this will make a wonderful dish on the side if you are planning
a traditional Bengali meal or feast.

Here's is how I made it.

Need :  One Ilish / Hilsa head - medium sized
( marinate with some salt and turmeric powder ... no need to keep for longer than 10 mins )
Mustard oil - around 6 tbsp
Kalo Jeere / Kalaunji - around 4 tbsp
Kalo Morich / Black Pepper - 1 tbsp
Lau / Lauki - 1 medium sized
Grated Ginger - 1 tbsp
Green Chillies - 3
Haldi / Turmeric powder - a pinch ( not more )
Salt - to taste
Sugar - to taste - 1 small pinch

How to :

Peel and chop the Lau into small sized pieces.
Grind the Kalo Jeere and the Black Pepper seperately in the mixer ... without water.
( I just ran the Kalaunji twice  but made a finer powder of the black pepper ).

Heat the mustard oil in a kadahi / wok.
Fry the fish head well on all sides ... cover after letting in  and when turning ... splutters real bad.
Do not over fry or brown it too much.
Remove and lightly break it into pieces ... usually pressing it down with a strong ladle helps it to break into proper sized pieces. 

Heat a little more oil in a fresh kadahi
( usually the same oil is used but if the oil gets burnt or there is too much turmeric when frying the head, it affects the taste ).

Break the green chillies into half and add them to the oil.
Next, add the chopped lau and toss well.
Now add the grated ginger, a little turmeric, sugar and salt.
Cover and cook till the lau is almost done.
Remove cover and add the ground Kalo jeere / Kalaunji.
Cover again and cook for 5 mins. This helps in the flavours to seep in.
Now remove cover and add the fish head and replace cover.
Do check if there is enough moisture or add a little water if needed.
Cook for 10 more minutes.
Remove the cover, sprinkle the ground black pepper and give a good stir.
Replace cover and remove from heat.

Serve with hot steamed rice and a dal on the side.

This dish turned out to be one of my best experiments so far!
It is so different that I'd encourage vegetarians to try making the Lauki this way once.


Other Ilish Recipes on Kichu Khon