Thursday, October 19, 2017

Moong Dal Dahi Vada and Happy Diwali

Wish you all Shubh Deepawali. Happy Diwali. 
May festival of light bring loads of happiness and peace to you and to yours..........

Each Diwali morning when I get up, it always makes me nostalgic, reminding me of our childhood, and festivals without its share of memories are incomplete. We all have shares of those unlimited dose of banters which we keep recalling from time to time, reminding us of good old times. 
I would often see my mother busy preparing different varieties of sweets and savoury for festivals and Deepawali was one such festival. The day before’’ Choti Deepawali’’, Ma would soak up all diyas in water for couple of hours. 
And then would dry up later in air outside over old news paper, a habit which now has been passed on to me unconsciously .This and many other similar activities would add up to the momentum towards the Deepawali evening. Every Deepawali evening, when we light up diyas, we also pray that it eradicates all the darkness in ones heart as well. 

Diyas glowing in dark gives me hope and sense of calmness.

We were fond of eating dahi vadas and Ma would make big batches of these during that time.
 Although she would make it with Urid dal mostly.

This mong dal vadas , I started making recently , they are light as compared to urid dal vadas.
I have used washed yellow lentil or dhuli mong dal for these vadas.And who doesn’t like chat. I have used store-bought mint chutney and tamarind chutney though , now to recipe…

Moong Dal Dahi Vada

Recipe requirements
For mong dal vadas
  • Moong dal – 2 cups  
  • 1 inch fresh ginger roots
  •  2-3 green chillies
  • Salt as per taste

For assembling and seasoning
  • 3-4  large cups of yogurt

And following as per taste
  • Cumin powder
  • Red pepper powder
  • Chat masala
  • Salt as per taste
  • Tamarind chutney
  • Tomato ketchup
  • Mint chutney
  • Cooking oil for frying vadas
  • Coriander leaves
  • Papadi namkins (3-4)

  • Soak mong dal in water for about 6-7 hrs or better soak them overnight. Next day make paste of the yellow lentils with ginger and green chillies and salt as per your taste with very little water , just to rotate the blades of grinder. Take out the paste in a clean bowl and mix the batter very well for about 3-4 mints. You can add chopped ginger and green chillies pieces as well if you don’t like in the other way.
  • Now put a fry pan with oil to cooking flame. Drop the batter with the help of spoon into the hot oil. Deep fry the lentil balls very well.
  • Take out these fried lentil balls and dip them in warm water for about 5-6 mints.
  • Take about 2 cups of yogurt and add bit of water and make it thin in consistency (more like buttermilk ) depending about the yogurt required for soaking all the lentil vadas.I made roughly 15-16 moong dal vadas.
  • Take out the lentil vadas and now put them in yogurt. The yogurt should be little thin in constinency.Keep the lentil vadas in yogurt for about 3-4 hrs at least.
  • Meanwhile dry roast cumin seeds and make powder in grinder for fresh aromatic masala. Or use ready-made cumin powder.
  • At the time of serving, rest of the yogurt should be evenly mixed with a spoon.Add bit of water , but not much.
  • Put vadas in a serving bowl/platter. Add in stirred yogurt. Now add in tamarind chutney, mint chutney and tomato ketchup (Each to owns taste)
  • Sprinkle cumin powder, red pepper powder, chat masala and salt.
  • Add in chopped coriander leaves. I also made papadi. Add crushed papadi as well, it adds up to the crunchiness of these sweet-sour-spicy starters.
  • These are absolutely lip-smacking, and I don’t need to add anything more.

Wish you all a very Happy Diwali 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Biscoff

Past couple of days were busy with Durga Puja celebrations at our end. And I find each year it’s the same old story. We prepare ourselves for Puja celebrations and even before we realize it’s almost gone, leaving behind some new memories to look back. Now that the euphoria has subsided and melancholy has set in firmly, we have to keep reminding ourselves ‘’ Ashche bochor abaar hobe’’. This kept echoing in our mind.
Wish you all a very happy Dussehra and Shobo Bijoya.

Anyhow, this cheesecake recipe, I had made earlier, not during those 4-5 days of Nabaratri.We have started liking biscoff biscuits a lot , with a nice caramel flavour these biscuits are very addictive. So its black tea with biscoff , chocolate shakes with biscoff and so on for us now. I thought to make the crust with these biscuits for our next cheesecake recipe and it really came out so nice and delicious loaded with lots of calories, of course. I needed to at least make peanut butter cheesecake once, so the taste of peanut butter can linger on and gets registered in our mind. And this turned out such a nice combination- peanut butter cheesecake with biscoff- absolutely delicious. My folks liked it, hope yours too. From my kitchen to yours. Peanut butter cheesecake with biscoff.

Now to the recipe

Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Biscoff
Recipe requirements
For the crust
  • 2 and half cups of Biscoff biscuit crumbs
  • 4-5 tbs of butter

For the filling
  • 400 Gms of cream cheese
  • 100 gms of peanut butter
  • ½ cup of whipped cream
  • 6-7 tbs of caster sugar

About 2-3 tbs of Chocolate powder for sprinkling on top

For the crust/base
  • Make crumbs of Biscoff biscuit either running through in grinder or pressing with rolling pin. In a big mixing bowl, add these crumbs and butter and mix well.
  • Now take 9 inch round baking pan or any other vessel you will be using to make/set cheesecake.
  • Rub about a tsp of butter evenly on baking pan and add all the biscuit crumbs, pressing gently to even out the surface.
  • Put in to bake for 5 mints at 175 Deg C. Take out and let it cool a bit.

For the peanut butter cheesecake frosting/ filling 
  • Now in a separate and clean mixing bowl, add in cream cheese, sugar and peanut butter.
  • Mix in whipping cream well or till a soft peak is formed separately.
  • Keep on folding cream cheese and peanut butter. You can use mixer as well.
  • Now add the whipped cream to the above and gently fold it.
  • After the base is cooled, add the cream cheese + peanut butter + whipped cream mixture over the baked crust. Even out the surface with a clean knife.
  • Leave the peanut butter cheese cake to cool and set in fridge for about 7-8 hrs or overnight.
  • Take out and cut slices and enjoy delicious peanut butter cheesecake.

Wish you all a very happy Dussehra and Shobho Bijoya ...

শুভ বিজয়ার প্রীতি  ও শুভেচ্ছা। .

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Kalakand sweet recipe and Sharodiya Shubecha

Festivals without sweets are incomplete .Navaratri has already started and with this the festive season. I have blogged about Kalakand sweet recipe way back .This recipe is version 2.0 with a very minor change. Festivals bring oodles of nostalgic memories with it and most of them leave you overwhelmed like splashing waves. Now, I really don’t want to mention all those memories, it’s there somewhere treasured and always will be. I have written many times about those wonderful memories in past, well those of you who are regular here, know that.

Now moving on to the recipe

Kalakand recipe Version 2.0
Recipe requirements
  • 2 litres of whole milk
  • 3-4 small lemons
  • 1 and half cup of sugar
  • 2 tsp of cardamom powder
  • Almonds for garnishing

  • Kalakand is little time consuming sweet preparation as one needs to make Khoya first and then paneer.
  • Put two vessels with milk each containing about a litre of milk on gas. Let the milk come to boil. Lower the flame and add in lemon juice, freshly squeezed to one vessel. Let the milk curdle. Strain out paneer from whey.
  • Now put the other vessel with milk on low flame.Add in cardamom powder now. Let it simmer for about 30-35 mints or till it reduces to quarter of its volume. Keep an eye on the milk, keep stirring in between.
  • Now keep on stirring the milk and as soon as it starts thickening a bit, add in sugar. Keep on stirring the milk and let the sugar dissolves properly.
  • Now crumble paneer well with clean hands and add this crumbled paneer to the above thickened milk. Keep on stirring with a spatula so that it doesn’t stick to the base.
  • When you start noticing that the mixture can collect well stop cooking further. It will be little semi-dry and the mixture will collect well leaving the vessel sides easily.
  • Grease a plate with some oil. Now take out the mixture on to the plate and spread the khoya+Paneer mixture into the plate evenly.
  • Garnish with some almonds .Let it cool and refrigerate to firm up a little bit.
  • Serve and enjoy delicious Kalakand.

Some more Puja Recipes I have blooged about in past

Durga Puja recipes....

শারদীয়া শুভেচ্ছা ও প্ৰীতি সবাইকে 

We went to Durga Puja venue here in KL and liked the homely atmosphere. Sharing pic of Durga Puja which is celebrating its 90th year here in Kuala Lumpur. Sharodiya Shubecha sobaike...

Happy Navaratri everyone.Ma Durga bless us all.....Love and Peace to all .....

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Ipoh – The Untold Story

This post was long overdue. We had been to Ipoh, Perak in Malaysia way back, but I couldn’t write about it. We were intrigued with a fact that Lonely Planet rated this Malaysian old quaint city to be one of their favourite travel destinations in Asia and we really found out that indeed, it needs a proper stop-over.

Ipoh- streets 

We didn’t put Ipoh over a pedestal, when we were visiting this city. We went there with open mind. We took one of the easiest transport medium, those coach buses from Kuala Lumpur central bus stations. The journey was relaxing. The bus took its detour passing through Cameron Highland Valley and the view was very refreshing with clouds hanging over lush green mountains.

We checked into our apart-hotel, we call these apart-hotel as ‘home-stays’ over here in Malaysia. And it had all the facilities of being in a home away from home. So one can cook, watch TV and sleep aimlessly.
Ipoh- view from our home-stay 

Ipoh has so many untold stories, stories from far away unknown lands. Stories about Chinese Hakka immigrants in search of better prospects in a foreign land. Immigration is not a new age thing, it has been going on for many centuries. People have flocked to new places in search of better livelihood.
Chinese Hakka immigrants brought varied food habits with them as well. 

The food that we eat today, we just generalize them as Chinese food specially Indo-Chinese food, but we have so many variations from Chinese cuisines. Hakka cuisine is different from Cantonese style recipes. And then we have Malaysian-Chinese cuisine, which again is modified version of food from Hakka immigrants here in Ipoh. 
These people settled here, married in to local people and laid path-ways for many new innovations in food habits. The tin industry in this region slowly started showing much progress and with that came wealth for these immigrants here in Ipoh region.

Inside Han Chin Pet Soo museum

For this in-depth and many untold stories, one should visit Ipoh’s Han Chin Pet Soo museum which 
harbours Chinese Hakka tin mining history located near Kinta river. 

Ho Yan Hor and Han Chin Pet Soo museum - history of Ipoh 

And also Ho Yan Hor museum lying just beside Han Chin Pet Soo museum. Both had some history lessons for all, if one has interest in knowing history of Ipoh.

Take a walk in the old downtown of Ipoh, it will take you to the colonial era with explicit buildings and great architecture to look upon, but don’t forget to take an umbrella with you, weather here in this part is tropical, so one can find themselves all wet, if you don’t keep an umbrella.

Ipoh - street art 

There are some maps available from Ipoh tourist centre and also maps of walking trails. We took the Ipoh Art trail covering many wall paintings. The downtown Ipoh has its fair share of history and heritage. 

Ipoh- Art Murals 

Old town white coffee company in collaboration with Lithuanian artist Ernst Zacharevic has come up with 8 mural artwork on the building walls located in old town of Ipoh. We came across couple of them while strolling in downtown Ipoh.

Ipoh- Street art 

We started this walk in the late afternoon, when the weather was little pleasant. We passed through the Birch memorial clock tower which represents British colonial era in Ipoh, Malaysia.

Birch memorial Clock tower 

This memorial clock tower was constructed to commemorate James W W Birch, first British resident of Perak.

Birch Memorial clock tower 

There is a beautiful mosque at opposite side of Birch memorial clock tower. Sultan Idris Shah Mosque is the state mosque of Perak. This mosque was completed in 1968 and was officially opened in September 1978 by Sultan Idris Shah II of Perak. There is a food court also in the adjoining area.

Sultan Idris Shah Mosque- Perak state mosque

When we went there the food court was closed. I asked one of the lady who was cleaning the area and probably was running a food-joint there, informed us to come early in the morning at 7 a.m. to have delicious breakfast and also the food joints are famous for dinner. My entire conversation with her was with sign language, as she doesn’t understand English and I can’t speak proper Malaya language. Two words she knew were ‘dinner’ and’ breakfast’. So, I have to put up my fingers to point the time. This may sound rude but believe me, we both were laughing when we were doing this by sign language. A warm smile can shatter those barriers, where words can’t penetrate. These food-joints remain closed in the afternoon, just like a sleepy old town should be, where every afternoon people have an afternoon siesta. 

We were still exploring those art- work, when we were caught up in a heavy downpour. 
We took refuge in a fabulous eating joint in downtown Ipoh, where food was reasonably priced and delicious.
Ipoh- downtown 

We had a scrumptious lunch of Udon noodles and Soba noodles with cold Milo shake and watermelon juice. 

We finished our late lunch and headed towards other parts of this old city. 

Train station- Ipoh 

We came across Ipoh train station. The building reminded us of a bygone colonial era depicting Victorian style architecture. 
This railway station is fondly called as ‘’Tajmahal of Ipoh’’ by locals.

Concubine lane - Ipoh 

We passed through Concubine lane - one of the oldest lane in Ipoh where all sorts of souvenirs are on display.Some great street art displays can also be seen there.This is a very colourful and cheerful street. 

A walk through- displays in Concubine lane 

One entire day was reserved for Gua Tumpurung, as it took us time to reach there and explore. By the time we came out from Gua Tumporong, we were exhausted and sweaty. One can imagine these caves to be very dark and humid. 

Inside Gua Tempurung 

Please carry water bottles and a torch with you. Gua Tempurung is the longest limestone cave in Perak, Malaysia. These looks so beautiful inside with giant stalagmites and stalactites. There are two tours available – wet and dry tour. Wet tour requires bit more time and one needs a pair of clothes and shoes for a change. 
We took the dry tour and when we came out of the dark cave, we were thirsty and exhausted. Not that we didn’t like those gorgeous limestone rock formations, but the humidity inside the cave was unbearable. One can identify with the adventure it gives inside a dark cave and also those rock formations. I was intrigued to see the stalagmites and stalactites formations that I only read in text books while growing up.

An old city is incomplete if there is no mention of a castle. And yes Ipoh has its share as well. Kellie’s castle stands in its full glory in Ipoh. Like each castle, it has a very interesting story as well. The castle was built by a Scottish planter William Kellie Smith for his beloved wife just like our very own Taj Mahal. 
The only difference was, he was making it so that his family can live there elegantly. Tragedy struck hard, many of the skilled labourers contracted flu and were taken ill. The castle was planned to host many parties, one indoor tennis court and first elevator of its kind in Malaysia. Many at that time have never heard of these things, so leave alone the imagination it required to formulate.

Inside Kellie's castle - some displays as well

Kellie’s castle despite all of this innovative ideas was never completed. In 1926 William Kellie Smith died of pneumonia, leaving behind his incomplete legacy. This castle is now a tourist destination. The castle has nice views far across with lots of banana plantation in the adjoining areas.

After the cuisine, culture and history, it was time for some spirituality. We visited three beautiful and peaceful Buddhist temples in Ipoh, Perak.

Ling Sen Tong Taoist cave temple is located in the foothills of limestone rocks. The temple compound is very attractive with many statues and designs from Chinese folklore like Guan Yin, Monkey King and other deities. 

Guan Yin - Ling Sen Tong temple

The other adjoining temples are more peaceful and calm in case you want to pray and meditate.

Inside Ling Sen Tong temple

Kek Lok Tong cave temple is located in southern Ipoh. The cave temple leaves you with a serene effect, the moment you step inside. 

Enterance of Kek LOng Tong Cave temple

There is a Zen garden inside the temple premise which unfortunately was closed the day we visited it, due to some refurbishing work going on there. One can spend time relaxing and walking in that garden. 

Inside - Kek Lok Tong cave temple

The cave temple has many limestone rock formations and amidst that back drop there are Buddha statues and idols, where one can pray and meditate.

Inside Perak cave temple

Perak cave temple is another beautiful cave temple in Ipoh. The cave temple has a huge Buddha statue and the inside is very calm and cool. 

Perak cave temple - Buddha 

Some paintings from Chinese folklores also caught our attention. The time spent there felt like an era gone by. Perak Cave temple has some of the great limestone rock formations- stalagmites and stalactites. 

Limestone rock formations

The art work keeps you engaged for a while also. And then the magnificent view when you make your way through the stairs to the top of the temple also adds to the glory.

Prayer candles 

Our visit to this quaint city made us crave us for more. We couldn’t visit ‘Lost world of Tambun’ and also geological museum due to time crunch, may be its due for our next visit.

Ipoh sky-view

Our verdict- Ipoh is a laidback and quaint city as compared to Penang and has that old world charm.  One can spend time exploring cuisine and culture both. It deserves worth a visit for two-three days.

Ipoh streets in evening

See you all next week ..take care friends ..