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Friday, July 15, 2016

Kasundi / Kashundi Maachh

Fish cooked in Kashundi (A Mustard based sauce unique to Bengal)

Quick, Easy & Delicious. Thats what Kashundi/Kasundi Maachh (Bhetki/Basa or for that matter any soft fish) is.

Bhetki / Basa fillets - 500-750gm
Ginger-Garlic paste (I use homemade) - 1.5 tbspn
Chili flakes / chili powder - depends on heat tolerance
Crushed Black pepper

Procedure :
1. Bhetki/Basa fillets marinated in ginger, garlic paste, salt, pepper, chilli flakes/chilli powder and generous helping of Kashundi/Kasundi for 1/2 - 1 hr.

2. Drizzle 2-3 tbsp of Mustard Oil to the marinated fish. (This may be eliminated or just a minimum quantity of oil may be used). Mix well and place them evenly in a flat bottomed microwaveable glass container

Slit some green chilies and place them on the 'bed' of fish. 

Microwave on Power 80 for 8-10minutes.

Keep it within the oven for 2-3 minutes. 
Garnish with freshly chopped Coriander leaves.  

Tastes delicious with steamed rice.

Cooking couldnt be faster or easier!!

Friday, September 25, 2015


...To satiate sugar craving of two little girls....

To put an end to constant whining of two little girls on a weekday evening, when, with Maths exam looming large the following morning, made the option of going to a cake shop/bakery non-feasible, a quick fix solution was to bake these cup cakes.....

All purpose flour (Maida) - 1 3/4 mug (black & white)
Sugar - 3/4 mug (same mug as above)
Eggs -3
White Oil - 3/4 cup of same mug
Baking powder - 1 tbsp
Coffee powder - 1.5 tbsp (may be more/less as per preference)
milk - 1/4 cup
vanilla essence - a few drops
dry fruits - anything ...cashew/raisin/walnut/almonds....I didnt use any due to non-availability
Chocolate sauce for topping

Procedure :

1. Beat the eggs along with the sugar.
2. Mix Maida and baking powder and if using cocoa powder, mix it along.
3. Mix the Whipped egg+sugar and oil in a mixing bowl.
4. Add the maida-baking powder mix to the wet mixture and fold it in.
5. Mix well to get rid of any lumps, if formed.
6. Add vanilla essence, coffee powder and mix.
7. Preheat a greased cup cake / muffin tray at approx 170 deg C
8. Pour the batter in the moulds upto 3/4 level.
9. Decorate the top of each mould (filled with batter) with chocolate sauce/dry fruits/any other sauce as per taste
10. Bake at 170 deg C for 15 minutes.

Delicious cupcakes / muffins are ready!!!

The girls gobbled down the hot cupcakes fresh off the oven...their giggles and joyous look of almost divine pleasure were enough to erase any memory of the nagging and whining of the previous hour.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Grilled masala coated Whole Bhetki with Mashed Potato and Vegetables

A recipe I'd used a number of times and it was super simple and the end result was super delicious. The Source : Preeoccupied's Masala Salmon.

However instead of Salmon, I had used Bhetki / Basa in the past. This time I had a whole Bhetki fish, deboned, sans the head and tail. Used it as a whole instead of making small sized fillets from it. 

For the Fish:
Deboned Bhetki - approx 1 kg
onion - 1
plain curd - 3/4 cup 
fresh coriander - 3/4 cup 
lemon juice -2 tablespoon 
green chilies-3-4 
ginger - 2 teaspoon (grated)
garlic - 5-6 cloves (minced)
vegetable oil
Salt-to taste

For the mashed potatoes
Potatoes - 4 medium 
Freshly ground black pepper
Chili flakes
Garlic cloves

For the sauted vegetables:
I used mushrooms, babycorn, peas
Freshly ground black pepper

Procedure :
Fish :
1. Finely chop the onion and deep fry them till they turn red and crispy. Remove the onions from the oil and let it cool. Keep the oil aside.
2. In a blender, add the ginger, garlic, curd, green chilies, coriander, lemon juice, the fried onions, very little of the oil (from the onions) and salt. This blend is the marinade for your fish.
3. Apply a thick layer of this marinade on both sides of the fish. For basting, drizzle the remaining oil you used to fry the onions. 
4. Keep the fish marinated for about 1/2 hour.
5. Place the whole marinated fish on the baking tray and Grill it at around 170-180 deg C about 7-8 minutes on each side. 

Mashed Potatoes :
Boil, mash potatoes.
Fry the mashed potatoes in butter and add salt, freshly ground black pepper and chili flakes, till golden brown in colour
Remove from flame
In 2-3 tbsp of butter , fry garlic cloves till golden brown.
While serving using this butter+fried garlic as the dressing for the mashed potato

Vegetables :
Saute the vegetables in butter with a sprinkling of salt & freshly ground black pepper

Serve the grilled fish with the mashed potato drizzled with butter-fried garlic and sauted vegetables

Friday, September 18, 2015

Ilish Machh Begun Diye ....Patla Shorsher Jhol

A light mustard gravy of Hilsa Fish with Brinjal

A trip to Kolkata during Ilish season always and always culminates with a Big Box of raw Ilish smeared with Oil, Salt and Turmeric, wrapped to Perfection in foil and again re-wrapped in cloth napkin, plastic to prevent the leakages. A hundred NOs and objection will fall on deaf ears of the FATHER who despite being all of eighty is determined to make a trip to the fish market to buy this delicacy for his fish loving daughter. The daughter, despite the vehement NOs and the sulk expressing her displeasure in having to carry this 'additional burden', will beam with joy as well as an exasperated smile directed at the stubborn FATHER, once she reaches her destination and opens the layered packing (perfected by who else but the MOTHER). 

Seeing the freshness of the fish, the utmost desire would be to replicate her MOTHER's perfect 'patla shorsher jhol begun diye' (a light, low on spice gravy of fish with brinjal pieces).... 

Ingredients :
Ilish - 1kg + is the ideal size (a smaller sized Ilish would be more suitable for Ilish Machh Bhaja)
One medium sized brinjal cut into semi-circular slices 
Mustard Oil
Kalo jeera
Red chili powder -depend on the heat tolerance
Kashmiri Mirch for the colour - 1/2 tsp
Mustard paste (made with a mix of yellow & black mustard seeds, green chili and salt) passed through the sieve to retain only the smooth paste.
Green chilies

Procedure :
1. The Ilish pieces and the brinjal pieces need to be smeared with turmeric and salt
2. Pan fry the fish v.v lightly
3. Lightly fry the brinjal pieces
4. In a kadhai, take a tbsp of mustard oil and heat till smoking hot.
5. Throw in kalo jeera (kalonji) and some green chilies
6. Add a paste of turmeric-red chili-kashmiri mirch into the oil and fry for a minute
7. If a thick strong mustard gravy is desired, use the mustard paste without passing through a sieve. I wanted a light gravy. So I passed the paste through a sieve (chhankni) and added water. Now pour either the thick mustard paste or the watery mustard paste into the kadhai. 
8. Cook on medium flame. Once it comes to a boil, slide in the brinjal pieces. 
After the brinjal is almost done, add the fish pieces into the kadhai and cover for a minute or till it comes to a boil. Add water as per the desired gravy consistency. Let the gravy come to a boil. Throw in a few slit green chilies. Take the kadhai off the gas.
9. Serve with steamed rice

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Simplest of Cake Recipes

The simplest of Sponge cake recipes learnt during my school days.....which so resonates the tagline of my blog..."nothing fancy or out of the way...."

Have made it countless number of times and it has never failed to bring a smile on the faces of my loved ones....

Ingredients :
eggs : 3
Maida : 2 tea cups
Oil/Butter : 1 cup
Sugar (white/castor sugar) : 1 cup
Vanilla essence : a tsp
Baking powder : 1 tbsp
Cashews/Almonds/Raisin : as per choice
Coffee powder / Chocolate powder/Cocoa : optional
Chocolate sauce for decoration : optional

Procedure :
Preheat oven to 200 deg C
Whip the eggs
Mix Maida and Baking powder and Chocolate powder/cocoa
For ease of mixing powder the sugar (optional)
Mix oil/butter, sugar and add the whipped egg
Add the maida/flour-baking powder-cocoa mix into the wet mix of butter/oil-sugar-egg.
Mix well with ladle or electric mix.
Add the vanilla essence
If adding coffee powder, add now
Also, add the dry fruits now into the cake mix

Also preheat the oil/butter smeared container in which the cake is to be baked
Pour in the batter
Bake at 180-190 deg C for 20 minutes

Unleash your creativity to decorate as you decorations are quite minimalistic ..
Sometimes I use milk powder with drops of milk to make a moist paste to "write" on the cake

Monday, August 31, 2015

Patrani Machhi...Parsi cousin of the Bengali Paturi

Fish fillet marinated in spices, wrapped in an envelop of Banana leaf and steamed or baked.

To a Bengali the spice would be predominantly Mustard paste while to a Parsi it would be a green chutney consisting of predominantly coriander leaves, pudina, coconut. 

The end result? Either a Bong Paturi or a Parsi Patrani Machchhi...both favourite, subtly flavoured fish delicacies of the respective communities.

Of course, while the Paturi is made of Bhetki or Hilsa, the Patrani Machchhi is made of Pomfret, Rawas, as far as I know.

The Bong me, this morning, wanted to try her hand at making her favourite paturi's Parsi cousin.
Internet came to my rescue and I followed this Parsi recipe from Devaki's Weave a Thousand Flavors. 
The changes I made due to availability/non-availability - For my Patrani Machchhi, I used Bhetki, freshly grated coconut, desi green chilies but it was sans pudina as I did not have the herb at home.

Ingredients : yielded approximately 24 pieces of fish
Bhetki fillet - approx 600 gms (since I had no plans of making patrani machchi, I had marinated the fish with ginger, pepper and salt)

** Dry grind spices: Jeera / cumin seeds - 1.5 tsp
Coriander seeds - 1.5 tsp ,
Fenugreek/Methi - 1/2 tsp ,
Mustard seeds - 1.5 tsp

Dry grind all the above ingredients in the coffee grinder to a fine powder. Add to the ingredients of coconut chutney (given below) to make the chutney.

Coconut Chutney: Grated coconut - 1 cup ( I used half a coconut),
Ginger - 1” piece,
peeled garlic - 3-4 cloves ,
Green chilies (depending on tolerance to heat) - 2, 
Kashmiri mirch powder - 1 tsp (not in original recipe)
fresh cilantro leaves - 1 cup (+ ¼ cup mint leaves - did not use),
sugar - 1 tsp ,
salt - 1-1/2 tsp ,
Dry roasted (instead of raw) peanuts - 1 tbs &
tamarind paste-2 tbs
**Dry ground spices from above,
1/2 cup water (more only if required)

4-6 inch wide pieces (approx square ) banana leaves , 24 nos ( I needed 3 medium sized banana leaves) to wrap fish

1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F/175-180 deg C

2. Fish – Cut the fillet into approx.2"x3" sized pieces. Rubbed with salt  and pepper (not mentioned in original recipe) 

3. Prepared the Coconut chutney by blending all the ingredients in a grinder to make a thick pesto like fine paste. The mixture should be of thick consistency.
5. Marinade: Apply the chutney all over the fish on both sides. Marinate 4-5 hours. (I had time for only 1 hour marination)


1. Wash and dry the surface of the banana leaf . Apply oil on the surface of each leaf. Cut the banana leaf into approx. 4"x6" pieces 

2. Place each fish fillet in the center of a piece of banana leaf so the fish is parallel to the seams in the leaf. Cover generously with the marinade. 

3. Fold over on both sides and then fold over the ends ad seal with one/more tooth pick

4. Place the fish parcels on a baking tray. 'Bake' for 20 minutes in the preheated oven at 170-180 deg C.

5. Remove from the oven.
Serve hot with steamed rice.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Chitol Maachher Peti'r Jhol

Light Mustard Gravy of Chitol Fish

The  Chitol is a delicacy of Bengal. While the bony 'Gaada' or dorsal part of the fish is deboned and made into Muithas / Koftas, the 'Peti' or belly portion of the fish containing less and more easily manageable bones are delightfully oily and soft.

I personally like the light gravy which brings out the rich taste of the fish rather that the more spicy 'Kalia' preparation where the taste of the fish is submerged in the deluge of onion-ginger-garlic-garam masala. But of course this is a very personal preference.....

Ingredients :

a)Chitol Maachher 'Peti' portion - approx 1 kg
b)Kalo jeera / Kalonji - 1/2 tsp
c)Holud / Haldi /Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
d)Chili powder - 1/2 to 1 tsp
e)Kashmiri Mirch powder - 1 tsp
f)Tomato chopped - 1 small (optional)
g)Dhone/Coriander seeds powder - 1 tsp
h)Sugar - a pinch
i)Salt - to taste
j)Mustard paste - 2 tbsp or more depending on how spicy you want the gravy
k)Mustard Oil - 1 tsbp
l)Green Chilies - 2-3 ..again personal preference
m) Bori / small Lentil dumplings - a handful
n)Dhonepaata / Coriander leaves

Procedure :
1. Shallow fry the fish (after smearing the pieces in a mix of turmeric-salt)

2. Heat oil in a kadai and add ingredients at sl.(b) to (i). Sprinkle some water and cook on medium to high heat till the oil separates. .....Koshano

3. Add the shallow fried fish and gently turn them around in the moshla/masala/spice mix.

4. Add a cup full of water.

5. Add 3-4 tsp of mustard paste mixed with 1/2 cup of water.Cover and bring to a boil. If boris (tiny lentil dumplings) are available, add to the boiling gravy.

6. Add slit green chilies and chopped Dhonepaata.

7.Savour with hot steamed rice.