Friday, January 30, 2015

Milk Roasted Chicken

Milk Roasted Chicken 

At times there happens to be that one recipe which you had your doubts on and then after you create it , it turns out to be one of the best dishes ever. Such is the case with what I would like to call 'The Milk Roasted Chicken'

This recipe is extra special for a number of reasons and to start with the chef who shared it on his website is one of the first chefs I almost fell in love with as a wide eyed high school student. That was a good 8 years ago but his charm remains. Yes its the charming Jamie Oliver. You see before I swore by Larousse Gastronomique and raved about Raymond Blanc's recipes I was an out and out Jamie Oliver Fan not that I still am not. I love some of his stellar recipes.

My first roast turned out fabulous thanks to the guidance of this one celebrity chef. His method of making gravy got me hooked and booked forever. Its one of those stellar recipes. I had almost overlooked this dish and to be fair wasn't too impressed with it when I saw it on his website. Later I came across an article on The Kitchn where the writes raves about how this is the best roast ever and I was yet to buy into the idea.

Then this one lazy afternoon this January I re-read the article on The Kitchn and somehow it seemed intriguing. I casually mentioned it to my good friend and fellow blogger Poorna who assured me of its mind blowing results. Well the assurance from a friend whose taste I respect was reason enough to try it and thank the Lord that I decided to give it a shot because it truly is one of the best roasts ever. Juicy, moist succulent with a lovely crispy skin and this amazing milky gravy with a lemony taste. In fact this was the most succulent and moist roasted chicken I have ever had and I would definitely recommend it to one and all.

The only change I made was using Fresh Parsley instead of sage since we do not easily find sage in most fo the markets of Kolkata.

Before we start I must make it clear that a chicken without its skin wouldn't work for a proper roast. Chicken meat is extremely delicate and without the skin you end up with dry chewy chicken no matter how much you bast the chicken.

Serves 4 to 5

1.5 kilogram chicken with the skin on of course
Zest of 2 lemon
500ml whole milk
3 to 4 tbsp olive oil (You might need a bit of extra oil)
A good handful of fresh Parsley
Salt as per taste
Freshly ground pepper (black) about 2 tsp
10 cloves of garlic with the skin left on

Clean the chicken and take out the giblets and liver and wash and pat dry and then massage it well with salt and freshly ground pepper and leave it for 1/2 an hour and then massage with olive oil and leave it for another 1/2 an hour.

Preheat the oven to 190C . Take a wide bottomed pan which snugly fits the chicken and heat olive oil and sear the chicken till well browned on both sides and decant the pan and take the extra oil out. Place the chicken breast side down and add the milk and then the zest of lemon, garlic and parsley. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes. Bast the chicken with the milk it is roasting in every 20 minutes or so. After an hour of baking take out the chicken and carefully turn it on its back so that you get the crisp skin.

Take out the chicken and wrap it well with aluminium foil and a tea towel and rest it for a good 15 minutes to 20 minutes and carve the chicken. It is extremely important to rest the chicken so that you get moist soft chicken.

Enjoy it with roasted baby potatoes or wilted greens or mashed potatoes and the lip smacking gravy of course.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Pan Roasted Chicken Legs

Pan Roasted Chicken Legs 

Inspired by Urmi's Roasted Chicken drumsticks 

This week Kolkata Food Blogger's star is the quiet beauty, Urmi. I have met Urmi only once during Kolkata Food Bloggers' Bake Sale and the image I had of her before meeting her fitted her perfectly. A sweet gentle gracious person.

She was the first Kolkata Food Blogger to have guest starred in a cookery show which you may find on her blog and is ever so the humble person. Do check out her blog Ume's Kitchen

I particularly liked her Roasted Chicken Drumsticks and loved the story of how her mother would pan roast it and then use the traditional method of cooking the chicken on coal fire to give it the smoky affair. What I personally love about such family recipes is that yesterday's customs become today's and tomorrow's heritage. So instead of following Urmi's method of grilling or baking the chicken I pan roasted it. I do not own a traditional coal fire and had to sadly exclude it from my preparation.

I followed her recipe with a few tiny alterations and the result was juicy succulent delicious pan roasted chicken with Indian flavours. I used dark portions of chicken (thigh + leg without the skin) instead of the drumsticks alone.

As for the time for marination I used to think that the greater the number of hours the better the marination. Then someone told me that over marinatino can actually harm the flavour of fish. I immediately looked up the topic online and found this useful article : A Marinade Timing and realized that due to over marination my fish does actually turn mushy when over marinated.

Ever since that day other than some tough cuts of goat meat or pork I stick to round about 2 hours for chicken legs.

This time I put the theory to test by first having a chicken after 2 hours of marination and the other one was left to marinate overnight in the refrigerator. In the end what I personally found out was that while there isn't much difference in flavour with the extra marination the one which marinated overnight cooked faster and rendered softer meat. So for chicken legs (dark portions) I would suggest the long hours of marination when not using acidic agents.

Serves 3

3 Chicken (leg + thigh)

1st phase of marination :-

Salt as per taste
Juice from 1/2 a lemon

2nd Phase of marination :-

Wet ingredients :-

6 medium sized garlic cloves (if you are using the large cloves of garlic 2 would suffice)
1/2 an inch ginger
I usually have homemade red sauce ready at hands made with ripe red chilies, garlic and vinegar and I used 1 tsp of the very hot sauce but otherwise I suggest that you stick to the recipe and use 2 to 3 green chilies which give the chicken a lovely flavour which I know from previous usage
1 tbsp sour cream or heavy cream

Dry ingredients :-

You can check our Urmi's blog for her homemade recipe for tandoori masala . I stuck to the following ingredients :-

1 green cardamom
1/4th inch cinnamon
1/2 tsp whole black pepper
3 cloves
1 blade of mace
Pinch of nutmeg
1/4th black cardamom
1/4th tsp cumin seeds
1/4th tsp coriander seeds
1 whole dried  Kashmiri chili

1.5 tbsp mustard oil / ghee

Start by first cleaning the chicken well and then pat it dry  and using a fork to prick the chicken all over so that the chicken gets well marinated. Rub it with salt and then the lemon juice and leave it aside for 15 minutes. Strain the chicken and go on to dry roast and grind the ingredients for the 2nd phase of marination and grind them to a fine powder.

Make a paste of the wet ingredients and massage the chicken with the wet marination and freshly made spice powder and leave it in the kitchen for 6 hours to 7 hours or overnight.

Heat mustard oil or ghee and seal the juice of the chicken on high heat for 1 minute on each side and then lower the flame to the lowest and cover and cook the chicken for 4 minutes to 5 minutes per side and open the cover and brown it a bit and then let it rest for 5 minutes and then serve it with some raita made with yogurt , rock salt , cumin powder and roasted brinjal.

I am sending this to :-

Monday, January 19, 2015

Easy Soft Succulent Lamb/Goat curry

Easy Soft Succulent Lamb/Goat curry 

I do not advocate that which I do not practice.

I used to be one of those stubborn people who clings on to the old ways of life which give excellent results no doubt but at times provide impractical. Quite honestly I still try and cook the old fashioned way most of the times but practical problems such as shortage of fuel in our daily lives leads to a few problems which can be sorted out.

This post is about a basic meat preparation when you are cooking lamb or goat.

We all know how wonderful meat tastes when it is braised and slow cooked for hours but at a time when preservation is the key to building a better future wasting fuel or electricity is probably not practical for most people.

Well let me begin by going back to those days when I would cook a kilogram of meat for a good 3 hours to 4 hours and in the end I would be satisfied inside out as would be my guests. Then came a time last year when my family was ready to pay extra but nowhere could gas fuel be found.

It was then that I realized that an alternative method must be present for soft succulent meat. Let me be honest here. I have for long avoided the pressure cooker when cooking meat because somehow pressure cooked meat always lacked that flavour and tenderness and then this one day I was serving dinner to a particular guest who is extremely fond of extra succulent juicy tender meat.

Well I had planned to cook it for hours but somehow we got late in procuring the meat and I was in trouble.

I was basically slow cooking it as I had done before and after 45 minutes I panicked because it was already 7:30 p.m. and I was supposed to serve dinner by 8:30 p.m. Now having slow cooked all my meat preparations before I knew that a kilogram of meat would take a good 3 hours to 4 hours to result in that juicy tenderness where the meat falls of the bones but holds its shape and is excellently flavourful. Going by my sudden instinct I put the entire contents of the vessel in a pressure cooker and put it on the lowest flame possible and allowed the steam to build up which took a good 45 minutes which made me jittery. Again going by my instincts I allowed the steam to go out on its own and when I finally opened the cooker and tested the meat it was soft and succulent but the only problem was that it needed to be drier than it was so I put it back in the vessel and slow cooked it for another 20 minutes to 30 minutes and then when I tasted it I was amazed to find that rich flavour along with soft tender juicy meat which would previously take me hours to achieve .

The truth is even though the entire process did take a considerable amount of time which was close to 2 hours if the entire process is taken into account it saved my fuel for a good 1 to 2 hours and yielded perfectly satisfactory  result.

So here is my very basic recipe or rather pointers for meat curry when using lamb or goat

Serves 4 to 5

1 kilogram of goat meat preferably the shanks
2 to 4 tbsp ghee or mustard oil. You may use any oil which has a flavour of its own but refined oil since refined oil imparts no flavour to your meat
Salt as per taste
Spice of your choice (When I am not following a particular recipe for a kilogram of lamb or goat I usually use 1 big black cardamom, 1 inch cinnamon, 2 tsp dried ginger powder, 2 heaped tsp Kashmiri red chili powder, 4 cloves crushed lightly, 2 large bay leaves)
1 to 2 tbsp thick curd.
Pinch of turmeric

I have often marinated meat when making this juicy curry and have at other times left out the marination to boil the meat with spices both of which give the same result.

In this case I marinated the lamb with 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste and 1.5 tbsp thick curd for over 15 hours.

Heat the oil of your choice and sear the meat till browned well . First seal its juices on high eat for 2 minutes on each side and then lower heat and sear it till its browned and take out the meat and leave it aside and put the pot on low flame and add the lightly pound spices except the powdered spices on low heat ensuring the spices do not get charred.
Add the meat and water and simmer till the oil separates and mix well and simmer for another 30 minutes and put everything in a pressure cooker and cook on the lowest flame till the first whistle and switch off the gas and let the steam go out on its own. Put everything back with the powdered spices and salt and simmer for another 20 minutes to 30 minutes. Keep checking to make sure the meat doesn't over cook.


  1. The quality of meat makes quite a difference to your curry. The cuts of meat which I usually prefer are from the legs or shoulder.
  2. I have cooked the same mutton curry using a slow cooking method which you may try for your own pleasure. It usually requires the meat to be simmered for round about 3 hours to 3.5 hours depending on the quality of meat and needs  a bit of stirring from time to time else the meat might stick to the bottom of the pan. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Nature's Table at Jhaal Farezi

Nature's Table at Jhaal Farezi 

For me the term 'Organic food' takes me to a peaceful state of mind where I taste food which is as close to nature as possible.

When Jhaal Farezi invited Kolkata Food Blogger's for their 2 day event 'Nature's Table' my ears were immediately pricked or rather my eyes were glued to the invitation and so on a sunny winter's day I headed off to Jhaal Farezi located at Park Circus on Circus Avenue expecting fresh food which rejuvenates the body and mind.

I entered the place and was immediately reminded of a relaxed brunch which incidentally was what this event was all about. There was laughter and chatter and people were enjoying themselves. I was immediately greeted by the cheerful Debamita who insisted that I taste a few dishes which was on offer from Jhaal Farezi keeping in tune with the event but then the stalls seemed so fascinating that I couldn't stop myself from checking them out.

The first stall which caught my attention was one which had these fresh vegetables, bottled Preserves and cheese on offer. They are called 'Lettuce Eat' and are making an effort to deliver fresh organic pesticide free food. On offer is fresh organic vegetables from Green Tokri, 40 varieties of organic cheese from Mango Hill in Pondicherry which produces some lip smacking cheese including their very own 'La Pondicherry' which has a delightfully nutty taste and Naturellement which gives you organic preserves which taste delightful indeed at affordable prices.

A taste of their Basil pesto and sun dried tomato salsa proved that the products are indeed fresh and are bursting with flavour.

A chat with corporate chef Sumanta Chakraborti led to a few revelations which can delight just about any health conscious person or anyone who is looking for quality over quantity.

Imagine a resort which grows its own vegetables. Well that's exactly what the Ambuja Neotia group does in their Raichak outlet and what more they try and incorporate fresh organic ingredients in some of their dishes across all restaurants managed by Ambuja Neotia group and they source it from Green Tokri.

A sampling of the food left me extremely satisfied due to the crunch from the salads which is a key indication of a vegetable's freshness  . The dressings on offer were equally healthy and fresh.

The apple veloute soup was a winter's delight indeed. Warm hearty and delicious to the last drop interspersed with the mild flavour of green apples .

I was intrigued to learn that the breads on offer were mostly without all purpose flour except for the base for the pizzas and it focused on health which is a great initiative indeed.

Also on offer was Sienna showcasing their beautiful and bright pottery and Green Earth which showcased some lovely mats.

This event in question not only allows you to sample these delightful dishes put together by Chef Swarup Chatterjee but it makes the guests realize that organic food does actually provide a superior taste and is a wonderful start to a healthy and happy life.

I highly recommend ordering some fantastic cheese , preserves and fresh organic vegetables from Lettuce Eat. Find them here Lettuce Eat and get fresh delicious ingredients delivered to your door step at a nominal fee of Rs25

This event was held on the 10th and 11th of January 2015 and here is hoping that Kolkata gets to attend such a beautiful event in the near future.

Do read my friend and fellow blogger Pritha's experience of the same event : Jhaal Farezi's Organic Food Fest

Monday, January 12, 2015

Grilled Minty Mango Chicken

Grilled Minty Mango Chicken 

This was one of those recipes which was born thanks to three people. First Pritha from Guilt-Free made this delicious looking Mango Spice glazed Roast Chicken, then Priyadarshini gave me this jar of lip smacking Alphonso preserve which has had got all the way from Ratnagiri and then Parul suggested teaming up preserves with meat.

And so this Grilled Minty Mango chicken was born . It was juicy, succulent minty and hot with a hint of sweetness from the mangoes and was delicious indeed.

Serves 2

2 dark portions of chicken (leg + thigh without the skin not cut into any pieces)
1 tbsp Mango preserve
3/4th tbsp oil , preferably mustard oil (Now we make this spiced mango oil during the summers with raw mango and it is used all round the year. You can use mustard oil in its place or even olive oil but in that case I would suggest adding a tiny pinch of cumin powder which I did not use since my oil was spiced)
1/4th cup whole mint leaves (cups hold 250ml liquid)
1/2 tbsp whole black peppercorn
4 ripe red chilies
Salt as per taste
1 tbsp Dried Mango powder

Make 3 slits across the chicken which has been washed and patted dry.

Now rub it with salt and the dried mango powder and massage this into the slits.

Grind the mint leaves with the chilies, peppercorn and oil into a smooth paste and slowly massage the chicken with it and then add the mango preserve and massage it some more and let the chicken marinate for about 1 hour to 2 hours.

I used the convection oven and used the grill mode to grill the chicken for 17 minutes on one side and a good 10 minutes on the other checking in-between to make sure that the chicken does not burn.

The end result was succulent juicy and a mildly spiced mango chicken indeed.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Nolen Gurer Payesh (Plam date Jaggery rice pudding)

Nolen Gurer Payesh 

(Plam date Jaggery rice pudding) 

Poush Sankranti is the festival of harvest.

Now I had initially decided to learn how to make fried 'Pithe' from my grandmother but then somehow I couldn't get over the idea of smooth creamy rice pudding or payesh as we call it.

To be fair one who has not tasted 'Noel gur' (Date palm jaggery) would not understand that delightful taste which all of Bengal can't get enough of during the winter season. To be fair these days much like everything else on offer this winter's delight is available much before autumn sets in but if you ask the pros they still advice you to use it when its supposed to be used, which is during the chill of the winter season from somewhere in mid December.

Now coming back to the Festival of harvest when it comes to harvest I cannot but have fond memories of acres of rice paddy which we own in Burdwan. My family had moved to the big city more than a century ago and we are what one would call essentially city dwellers living in the heart of the metropolitan city of Calcutta but we come from a district known for its beautiful variety of rice, Burdwan.

As a child my parents would take me to our village every 15 days and it would get me far from the madding crowd. I distinctly remember the voice of that lonely bird while I sat on the roof reading Malory Towers while the entire village and the fields beyond it lay in front of my eyes. I could see them from our roof and then I would set out with my father for a walk through the paddy fields.

I was essentially a free bird in the village. In the city I was sequestered in our home but every time we visited the village I could play all around the village and I had friends from every nook and cranny of our village.

What I remember most about my village were these huge storage of rice. Everybody in the village grew rice as did my family and they still do thanks to some loyal and honest help from some good people and every woman of every household would be bent over this fire made from wood and brick and stir a huge pot to make puffed rice.

As a result I almost make an instant connection with rice when I think of harvest.

I am sharing a classic recipe for Rice pudding made with Date Palm jaggery . To me the rice pudding should neither be too thick nor too thin and should have this creamy consistency. Usually people add raisins and cashew nuts to rice pudding but when I use Palm date Jaggery I refrain from using anything else so that the taste kind of remains classic.

This recipe has been passed down by my ant's mother and I was lucky enough to get hold of it. What is essential is the timing.

Makes about 6 servings :-

1 litre of full cream milk
3/4th tsp melted clarified butter or butter
1 handful rice which comes to about 1.5 tbsp heaped washed short grained rice
Palm date jaggery as per requirement (I needed about a little more than 1 handful of crumbled jaggery)
1 green cardamom
1 large bay leaf

Wash the rice thoroughly and then take a heavy bottomed pan and add the rice and milk and clarified butter with the bay leaf and crushed green cardamom and bring to a boil while stirring the pan constantly and then lower heat to the lowest possible temperature and let it simmer.

Stir the pot every 7 minutes so that the consistency remains smooth and the milk doesn't get stuck to the bottom of the pan.

After 30 minutes you would see the rice boiling well. keep stirring every 2 minutes and check at 50 minutes and dd the jaggery and keep stirring for another 3 minutes to 5 minutes and switch off the flame and let it cool down.

Chill and enjoy this winter delicacy

Important tips :-

  1. Never ever add the jaggery before the rice is fully cooked else the rice will remain raw 
  2. The addition of clarified butter keeps the consistency to a smooth creamy one 
  3. It is essential that you use short grained rice. 

This is part of :-

Kolkata Food Bloggers' ongoign event 'Poush Sankranti Specials'

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Pancakes (The Fluffy Version)

Pancakes (The Fluffy Version) 

Lately this tiredness encompasses me all the time. Actually the reason is because I desperately needed some rest in between a lot of Market Research work and truth be told its not that I didn't get one or 2 days in between projects to rest well but then I realized that I cook with so much enthusiasm on days when I don't have to work that the stress and tiredness is just increasing.

The month of December was super packed. Bidding farewell to Bombay was not just emotional but tiring due to the endless packing  topped with non stop projects.

No sooner had I landed in Calcutta I decided there must be celebrations and so we had a small Lunch where the lovely Pritha from Guilt Free got this fabulous Bacon and Pea Rice. For my part I made a Brioche Rustica following La Cucina's (the book)  recipe and a Fish in Wine sauce with a Caramel Fruit Cake which got satisfactory response. Then came the Bake Sale organized by Kolkata Food Bloggers and I am very happy to share with you the fabulous news that most of my products got sold out within the first few hours itself and I donated the money from my personal Sale for the Cats and Dogs of The City of Joy. I should have known that handling a Bake Sale and non stop work pressure would get too much too handle but cooking is like an addiction which I simply can't put a stop to. I did try and share recipes but I will be honest about the fact that most recipes have been left out this festive season.

Now today its a New Year. Quite frankly I am not much of a believer of a new start just because the year changes. You see its just a day where deadlines still remain, problems are still to be taken care of and your tiredness prevails but with all the hopeful messages on my Facebook Wall I guess I got a bit inspired and decided that I must start the new year with something nice.

Now Pancakes come in many shapes, sizes and forms. I have previously made these fabulous German Pancakes which were thin and slathered with chocolate and a perfect delight and so this time it was time for my old friend, the Fluffy pancakes.

To be fair I have made this kind of Fluffy Pancake after almost 2 years and I must say that having finally found a recipe which suits me perfectly I hope 2015 is just as good. I did put some techniques which I have learnt over the years to good use and the result was fluffy , airy light and tender pancakes

Recipe adapted from All recipes :-

The original recipe promises 12 pancakes but in reality it yielded about 9 pancakes which is good enough

Serves 3 to 4 people

1.5 cups of flour
1 level  tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp white granulated sugar
50gm to 60gm melted butter
1.4 cups of milk
1 large egg
Butter to lightly grease  the pan

Sift the baking powder and flour together and add the sugar. In a separate bowl whisk the egg till its pale and fluffy and add the milk bit by bit whisking it well. Now add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture bit by bit folding it in rather than whisking it and in the end add the melted butter and just fold it in gently and let the batter rest for 10 minutes to 15 minutes.

Grease a skillet and put a ladle of butter letting the bubbles form on one side before flipping it over gently and cooking it till its well set. Enjoy these airy tender and light pancakes soaked in honey or Maple syrup or even Molasses .


  1. The folding in of the flour gives you extra fluffy pancakes because you don't knock down the air bubbles.
  2. Resting the batter gives a smoother batter 
  3. You have to adjust the heat from medium to low so that the pancakes are golden with a light brown edge.