Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Vegetable Chop

Ending the year with a very popular snack, vegetable chop. So 2014 is ending within less than 24 hours, its already time for me to look back and forward simultaneously. 2014 was a bit busy on work front, so I took a lil break from this space, but I am trying my best to have my regular presence here, as I love it so much.

My lil munchkin is growing up! She claims herself as a "big girl" and I keep saying, please do not grow this fast, my dear. Please Slow down!

I made many new friends this year, and also rekindled friendship with friends whom I have not met for last 15 years, probably.

So, now to this snack. Its a sort of vegetable croquette and this is the perfect time to make it for a afternoon snack with tea or coffee. Or just for it.

Ingredients: (Makes 10 chops)

Beetroot - 2 medium
Carrot - 1 large or 2 medium
Potato - 1 medium or 2 small
Green Peas - Fistful
Cauliflower - 1/2 cup florets (I did not have any this time)
Green Chilli-1, chop it fine
Breadcrumbs- 1 cup (I made mine, but you can use store bought)
Egg - 1 large
Oil- 1 tablespoon to saute the veggies, and 1/2 cup to fry them

Spice Blend
Cardamom - 3-4
Cinnamon - 1/2 inch stick
Fennel seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Red Chilli - 1 or according to the taste
Dry roast all the spices in medium heat, take care that it does not burn. Blend them to fine powder.

Cut all the vegetables in small pieces and boil them till tender but not too mushy. Boil them for 10 minutes, turn off the heat and keep them in hot water for another 5 minutes. Drain them well.

While the vegetables are boiling, you can dry roast the spices and blend it. If you are using homemade bread crumbs, you can make it now. Here is what I did. I toasted 2/3 breads (day or two old), tore them and blended them with a pinch of salt.

Here is how it looks. Seriously, you can feel the difference in the taste. If you want you can add any dry herbs of your choice to the crumbs and mix well.

Once the vegetables have cooled down, smash it with a spoon. Heat oil in the pan, add the smashed veggies, and saute it for a while, 4-5 minutes. Add salt and the roasted and blended spice mix to it, add chopped chilies, and saute it for a minute or two more.

Arrange your breadcrumbs and a beaten egg in two different bowls. Make croquettes of any shape, dip in egg and then coat evenly in the breadcrumbs. Dip in the egg mix again and coat once more with the bread crumbs.

Put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Heat 1/2 cup oil in a deep pan and fry the croquettes until golden. Take care not to heat up the oil too much, that will burn these beauties.

They taste so good! Have them with tea or serve them with chopped onions and a splash of mustard or any sauce of your choice.


Wishing all my friends and who stops by this space a very happy and prosperous year 2015. Stay happy and blessed.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

No Bake Peanut Butter Cookie

Hey friends! I hope you are done with your holiday shopping, baking, buying gifts, wrapping gifts and thousand and one activities that this season demands. I know, I know, its too much of work loaded in few days. And then you remember that you have not done the cookies for Santa! No worries, this year I will make these no bake cookies for the jolly ol man to snack. They are super easy, sugar free and yes they are no bake. These are perfect for that tiny 3 o'clock hunger, or post workout snack. 

And did I tell that they are less than 5 ingredients? You cannot go wrong with these.


Peanut - 1/4 cup, roasted
Peanut butter - 1/4 cup, (I used creamy one)
Dates - 10-12, pitted
Sea salt - A pinch

I roasted the peanuts on dry pan and skinned them, mostly.

Pulse the peanuts in your food processor,  2-3 minutes, till they are smooth but chunky. 

Add the dates to it and pulse for a minute or two. You might need to scrap of the sides. It can be too sticky, so you can add a tablespoon or two of warm water.

Add the peanut butter and give a pulse. Mix all well and pulse once more.

Word of caution, do not put all three together and pulse. It gets very difficult and sticky. yes, I did that first time and learned my lesson.

Take a tablespoon of this mix, roll in a ball in between palms and press it flat in form of cookie. Keep in refrigerator for 1-2 h to harden a bit.

This usually makes about 10-12 cookies of the size shown, but I may have ate almost half of it.

 Its delicious!

 Serve it with warm milk for yourself or for friends and family and yes of course for this old man too.

Happy Holidays to all my friends! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Aditi's Aloor Dum or Spicy Potato Curry

What a wonder technology can do! Recently few of us friends from school grouped up in Whats app and got connected after long 10-15 years. We are separated from one another by cities, countries and even continents. But that does not stop us from sharing our minds, happiness and frustrations from each other. We are picking up from where we left 15 years back. We are getting introduced to each others kids, better halves and to our many hidden and new talents.

One such friend in the group is Aditi. She is beautiful, homemaker and mother to a gorgeous 10 year old girl. She also runs a small business of home cooked food from her home. How then can I resist to ask her to write a guest post for me? She presented a recipe for aloor dum, spicy Indian potato curry. Being cooked so often at our household, I have been planning to share for so long in my blog but somehow could not make it. Thanks to Aditi, here I have a recipe for Aloor Dum now in my space.

Here is Aditi and her experiences of cooking, 

In her own words....

I was born and brought up in a small family with my brother, parents and grandparents in Calcutta, India. My parents and my grandmother were fabulous cooks and their's specialty was vegetarian dishes that to NO ONION GARLIC. Born in a Bengali household I was brought up on a hearty dose of fish curries, shondesh and rasogolla. My cooking started when I was just 9 years old when my father had a heart surgery. As a little helper to my granny, always used to be next to her with an inquisitive eye. Later part of my life i learnt making them from my own ideas.

My life changes after my grandparents and my father’s death and my mother illness. So me and my brother end up to take care of the family and studies together. Cooking was an on and off business.

I got married but my in-laws were in a different city.With great shock I came to know that my hubby is a wonderful cook and love to experiment with food.  So I compelled to start cooking again and slowly revived all my memories and also started gaining interest. I moved to Dubai around 12 years back got my little angel  who is now 10 years is too a big time foodie. My life adventures took me to different corners of India and then to lot of places around the world. In this journey I met different people and my inner instinct force me to learn lot of their dishes. I combine all these disparate learning's to bring a variety to the table.

I believe cooking is not a chore but a form of art and off course a stress busters. It satiates all of our senses and not just of our taste buds.


Potatoes - 1 kg or 12-15 baby potatoes
    Oil - 3 to 4 tbsp (mustard oil preferably)
    Bay leaf/tej patta -1
    Whole garam Masala - 1 inch  cinnamon, 2/3 cardamom, 2/3 cloves
    Asafoetida - ¼ teaspoon 
    Garam masala powder - 1 teaspoon 
    Red chilli  -   
    Kashmiri red chili powder - 1/2 teaspoon (or according to taste)
    Cumin -      2 teaspoon
    Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
    Ginger paste -  2 Tablespoon 
    Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
    Yogurt - 2 Tablespoon
   Tomato - 1 medium, chopped
    Cilantro - 4 tablespoon, chopped fine
    Sugar and salt as per taste
    Water - 2-4 tablespoon, warm

Rinse the potatoes very well and parboil the potatoes in a steamer or pressure cooker with salt. Drain out the water and let it cool down for a while. Peel off the skin and dab turmeric powder to it.

Heat 1 and 1/2 tablespoon oil and add whole cumin seeds and asafoetida. When cumin seeds starts cracking, add the potatoes. Fry well till it becomes golden brown.

Heat remaining oil in a kadai, add dry red chilli, whole jeera, tej patta, asafoetida and whole garam masala. Let it cracks well add chopped tomatoes and sauté well.

Add ginger paste and sauté till oil started leaving.
Now add all dry masalas - red chilli powder, haldi cumin powder salt sugar and sauté well.

Add yogurt and sauté till it starts leaving oil.

Add potatoes, little green chillis, coriander leaf, garam masala powder and little water. Cover it with a lid and let it boil for 5 mins.

Remove the lid and put off the gas when it becomes semi thick gravy.

Garnish with Garam masala powder and coriander leaf.



Thanks Aditi, for the yummy recipe.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Black And White Wednesday 151

Hello, friends. Hope you all are doing great. This will be the first gallery since BWW went biweekly. As always, I am so very happy to host this gallery of lovely photos!

New bww logo big

 So, relax, put your feet up and enjoy the gallery!  

English Tea and Bengali adda at Mrs. Magpie from Balaka of Wanderful
(Balaka is my childhood school friend).

Easy French Bread Loaf from Lynne of Cafe Lynnulu.
(I love breads and this seems tempting enough for me to try soon).

Sicilian Cannoli  from Cinzia of Cindystar.
(Cinzia, seriously, I am drooling right now! This is my one of most "frequent buy" from Little Italy). 

Grapes Before The Harvest from Rosa of Rosa's Yummy Yums.
(I always love all of Rosa's beautiful clicks, so no exception for this).


Treats for Goddess Lakshmi from your's truly of Pocketfull Of Spices.

I hope you enjoy this nice medley of black and white images. The next edition of BWW will be up on December 3 and will be hosted by Aparna of Stories from the Mahe Coast. See you all there.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Potoler Dolma aka Stuffed Potol

This is a very traditional bengali dish and is liked by all. Potol or pointed gourd is widely cultivated in eastern India and is common vegetable during the summer months particularly in West Bengal. It is very rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. During summer when other veggies are not so abundant, potol used to be cooked almost every week at my house, so often that you start to hate it. Unless, special times when my Maa used to make this stuffed version. 

This preparation requires a bit of patience and tad amount of time, both of which are being missed in my kitchen. I just made half a dozen of them and was wondering how my mother used to do at least thrice the number every time she made. In this dish, potols are cut at one end, and scraped of the inside fillings. Then they are stuffed with any fillings of choice, be it simple daal, paneer or even ground meat. My Maa always used to make the vegetarian version and never used meat. This is the first time I made it and did it in same way as my Mom used to do, but next time I will try the ground meat version.


Potol - 6 large, washed and kept aside
Chhana dal - 2 tablespoon, soaked for at least 15 minutes
Grated Coconut - 2 tablespoon
Tomatoes - 1medium, diced
Red Onion - 1 large, finely chopped
Red Chilli - 1, more if you like it hot
Green chilli - 1
Ginger paste - 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric - 1/4 teaspoon
Vegetable Oil - 2-3 tablespoon ( I used mustard oil)
Sugar and Salt - To taste

Wash the potols and gently peel the skin in alternative rows (see the picture below).

Cut one side (about 1/4 th inch from the tip) and carefully scoop out the flesh and seeds from inside. Make sure you do not pierce the sides. I used the back of a small teaspoon to do it. Do not throw them away, keep them aside to use later. In the meantime, boil the chana dal till they are just soft.

Rub salt and turmeric on the pools and gently poke all over with a fork. Shallow fry them for 3-4 minutes in 1 tablespoon of oil. Keep them aside.

Now add grated coconut and fry them for a minute or two. Add the boiled chana dal and the flesh and seeds that you have scooped out from the potols. Add salt, half teaspoon of cumin powder, pinch of turmeric ands sauté them till they are well done, about 4-5 minutes. You can also use grated paneer instead of dal or ground meat which has been cooked well. 

The stuffing looks like this. Wait few minutes to cool it down. Now carefully stuff the potols with this    till you fill up each of them.

Add remaining oil to the pan, add a red chilli, and add onions to it. Saute them till they start to get golden, Add the tomatoes and mix with it for couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and cool the mixture. Put it in blender and give it a pulse or two. Return it  to the pan and add ginger paste, cumin powder, salt, sugar and sauté for few more minutes. Add the stuffed potols and if you want add few tablespoons of warm water. Simmer for few minutes with the lid closed.

Add half teaspoon of ghee at the end, give a mix and turn the heat off. Leave it for few mites with lid covered.

Your yummy potoler dolma is ready to eat.

Serve with steaming white rice and enjoy!

This is my entry for the ABC World Culinary Adventure. Cinzia is hosting India for a fortnight and you will find many wonderful Indian recipes on her page.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Black and White Wednesday # 151

At the beginning of the fall, or autumn as we commonly call it in this part of the world, we welcome our very own Goddess Durga. Yes, she is goddess but she is welcomed as one own's daughter and she comes to her father's house to spend some days. Every bengalis look forward to these few days that Durga spends with us along with her four kids. When she leaves for her husband's home in Himalayas, her daughter Lakshmi stays back to be pampered a little more. Few days after Durga puja, every bengali household worships Lakshmi in their own way on the following full moon night.

After many many years I have spend this day at Kolkata, and was filled with nostalgia. My Maa and Mom-in-law celebrates it every year, and although in much lesser extent, makes all the special treats that Goddess Lakshmi loves. Thanks to them my lil one and me once again basked in the tradition and enjoyed the treats.

Treats for Goddess Lakshmi

And now, its time for BWW.
Hello friends, I will be your host for Black and White Wednesday this week. This will be 151 st episode!!! I simply love these black and white gallery of interesting and amazing photos. And I am honored to be your host once again.

For the newbies, here are the rules:
  • Your clicks have to be  anything of a culinary nature or show anything related to food
  • You can shoot either in b/w mode or in color, then process in b/w. You can use any effect you like but keeping the image in a monochrome/grayscale, with Sepia and Cyanotype tones allowed. No color details allowed.
  • Approximate sizes of your pictures should be portrait/500 wide & 700 long - landscape/700 wide & 500 long - or 600 square.
  • No need of a recipe, nor a story nor a location (but they are welcome if you like), simply a title for the picture is required.
  • You have to mention Black and White Wednesday in your post and link to this announcement and my blog  Pocketfull Of Spices. Use of the logo is optional.

Please send me your photographs at pocketfullofspices AT gmail DOT com with following details: 
  • Subject: BWW #151
  • Your Name that you want to be published in round up
  • Your Blog's Name
  • Title of Your Pic
  • URL of your post
  • The image(s), max 500 px wide
You have until Tuesday, November 18, to send me your images. Even if you do not have any blog, you can send me your photos for the roundup.

So, once again, take out your cameras and happy clicking my friends!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Quick and Healthy Apple Crumble

My lil A loves sweet. She becomes very happy when her snack time is perked up with something sweet. And given the high amount of sugar present in store bought cakes and candies, I try to make/bake something sweet and simple for her. This crumble is super easy to make, nothing can be easier than this! And it is healthy, so its a complete win-win.

Also, this time of the year is my favourite. The air is crisp, sun is sweeter and apples are bounty. Best time to make apple crumble.

(2 servings)

Apple - 1 skinned and chopped to bite size pieces 
Raisins - 8 - 10, brown/golden ( soaked in water for few minutes)
Lime juice - 1 tablespoon
All purpose flour - 4 tablespoon
Rolled Oats - 4 tablespoon (I used quick oats)
Sugar - 2 tablespoon (optional)
Salt - 1 pinch
Butter (softened) - 4 tablespoon
Vanilla essence - 1/4 teaspoon

Preheat oven at 200C. Coat the apple pieces with lime juice.

Grease the cake bowl with a little butter and and add the chopped apple pieces and raisins mixed with butter and 1 tablespoon sugar. Microwave for 2 minutes.

In a seperate bowl, mix flour, oats, remaining sugar, salt together. Add butter and mix it with hand. It will be crumbly. Do not knead. Add the vanilla essence and mix once more.

Add the crumbly crumble on top of the apple pieces and press it evenly on all sides. Bake it at 200C /375F for 10 - 12 minutes till the top starts to become golden brown.

Your apple and raisins crumble is ready. Yes, seriously!!!

I had great difficulty in keeping a little hand out of the way!

Enjoy it with whipped cream or a scoop of ice-cream of your choice. I served with a dollop of greek yogurt.

There goes the little finger!

Apple Crumble

 I converted one image for this week's Black and White Wednesday - a culinary event of gorgeous images. This was started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook and currently managed by Cinzia of Cindystar. She is also the host of this week, that is BWW 150. For hosting details, click here.

Next BWW will be hosted by your's truly, yeah, that's me.


Monday, October 27, 2014

Homemade Palak Paneer

I was that kid who ate her veggies. Well, not always without protests. But my mother somehow managed to convince me to eat my greens without camouflaging it. This dish was one of the few "exotic ways" she agreed to prepare. She learnt this from one of her non-bengali friend and back in those days always used to add homemade paneer instead of the store bought that I use.

This palak paneer is very different than that you get in various Indian restaurants across the globe. Instead of the creamy gravy that we see in the palak panner dish around, here the gravy is coarse and you can bite into the greens. Of course, you can use your blender to blend it and make it smooth. I, however, never do that. I am, in a way, like my Mom. I try my best to have a taste of varied dishes/cuisines but do not go too far that often to make it perfect. Rather,  I like to steer away from being close to "perfection". 


Paneer - 200 gm
Palak/Spinach - 250 gms
Methi/Fenugreek leaves - 100 gms
Onions - 2 medium, chopped lengthwise
Tomatoes - 1 medium, chopped
Ginger paste - 1 teaspoon
Garlic paste -1/2 teaspoon
Red dry chilies - 1 or more as per taste
Green chilies- 1 or more 
Sugar - 1/2 teaspoon
Oil - 1 tablespoon (I used mustard oil)

Cardamom - 4-6 pieces
Clove - 3-4 pieces
Cinnamon - 1'' stick
Fennel - 1/2 teaspoon
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste

Clean your greens well under water. My greens were a bit wilted, they have been in the refrigerator for few days.

These are your spices. You can used them in 2 ways. You can dry roast all the spices except fennel seeds for few minutes, till a nice aroma comes, cool it and grind it into powder. Or, like me, you can use them as whole that saves you a wee bit of more time. Either way, life is good.

Cut your paneer in cubes or whatever shape you like.

I like them a bit brown, so I bake them I bake them in oven at 180C for 10-12 minutes. These babies are a bit more brown than I like, I do not know what I was thinking when I set the timer for 15 minutes.

Temper your oil with red dry chilie and  the spices. Add the whole or powdered spices and saute for few minutes. Add the chopped onions, saute it till slight brown. 

Add the tomatoes along with a teaspoon of sugar. This helps to caramelize. 

Add your greens to it and saute for few minutes and leave it covered for couple of minutes more. You could have pre steamed the greens before adding, but really not required.

After the greens have softened and mixed well with the spices, you can cool them and puree the entire onion, tomatoes and greens with few tablespoon of water. Or, you can leave them as it is.

When the greens have mixed well, add the browned paneer cubes, cumin powder, turmeric and salt to it . Cover the lids and cook for few more minutes.

Enjoy your palak paneer with steaming white rice or rotis. 

For BWW, I converted one of the above images to sepia. BWW is a gallery of culinary images started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook and now looked after by Cinzia of Cindystar. This weeks special edition is being hosted by Lynne of Cafe Lynnylu

Monday, October 13, 2014

Back with Black and White Wednesday

Hi friends. Hope you all are doing well. I apologize for being absent for so long. Summer has really been busy but lots of fun. It was a tiny bit busy at work front too. Now that rush is over I hope to have a better attendance in this space of mine. And what can be a better way to be back than Black and White Wednesday, I simply love it.

I am back from my home city only last weekend after a ten days log break- a part of it was spend in celebrating homecoming of our favorite Goddess Durga. You can read here too. Going back home after ten long months means you are pampered with both delicious homemade foods and chatpata street foods too. Of course, I did not cook for these long days, and was fed by my Maa and Mom-in-law. Maybe, I will do a food-post soon.

This is a pic of what we call "patisapta". It is usually a crepe made with rice flour and semolina with coconut filing. The shredded coconut has been mixed with jaggery over low flame till it becomes sticky and brownish in color. You can also use sugar/brown sugar instead of jaggery. I simply love it so much, my mother makes it every time I visit home.

Crepe with coconut filing

And this is my this week's contribution to black and white Wednesday -  a medley of culinary images, hosted this week by Sreevalli of Ammaji Kitchen. BWW was started by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook and is currently taken care by Cinzia of Cindystar Blog. For participation click here.

Hope you are having a wonderful festive season and the enjoying the nice fall weather.