Monday, 23 September 2019

Recipe 94: Posto Shorshe Dim

Shorshe: Mustard
Posto: Poppy seeds
Narkel: Coconut
Dim: Egg

You must have heard of egg curry and egg masala. But a Bengali knows how to jazz up an ordinary egg curry and make it similar to Shorshe Illish (Fish in Mustard Gravy).
Here I am sharing a rendition of Shorshe Dim that has posto and narkel. I have also tweaked the recipe by adding onion and tomatoes for a thick gravy. Earlier I replaced tomatoes with 1/2 cup plain yogurt and it turned out equally good.

Try once this way, and you will be licking your fingers!

Ingredients for 4 Servings:

  1. 2 medium size onions
  2. 2 medium size tomatoes
  3. 5-6 garlic cloves
  4. 2-3 green chillies slit
  5. 3 tbsp. desiccated coconut (you can also use fresh scraped coconut)
  6. 1 tbsp. shorshe-posto powder/paste (click to buy Foodie Shorshe Posto)
  7. 2 tsp. haldi
  8. 2 tsp. red chilly powder
  9. 2 tsp. dhania powder
  10. 1 tsp. sugar
  11. 4 hard boiled eggs
  12. 1 small bunch fresh coriander leaves/dhania patta
  13. salt to taste
  14. mustard oil for cooking


In a small bowl dissolve shorshe-posto powder/paste in 1/2 cup water with 1 tsp. salt.
Keep aside.
Deshell the eggs and smear salt, haldi and red chilly powder.
Heat some oil in a kadhai and fry the eggs for 1-2 minutes.

Take it out and set aside for later use.
Meanwhile, in a mixer-grinder make a smooth paste of onions, tomatoes and garlics.
In the same kadhai, heat more oil.
Add the prepared paste.
Cook till mixture dries out.
Add salt, sugar, haldi, red chilly powder and dhania powder.
Sprinkle some water.
Now add the coconut.
Cook till coconut is well fried and gives out a toasty aroma.
Continue to stir on low heat till the masala begins to form a ball and leaves the sides of the kadhai.
Add the shorshe-posto paste.
Stir continuously and cook till oil separates.
Now add the fried eggs.
Add water for gravy.
Add green chillies.
Cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes.
Sprinkle dhania patta.
Serve hot with steam rice.

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Recipe 93: Semolina Pound Cake

When I do not know what new cake I shall bake, I go back to the basics and make a classic pound cake.

From a regular cake, pound cake is denser and richer.
I add little yogurt and this additional dairy makes cake very moist.

I also reduced the amount of flour and instead add semolina and this does two things: A) semolina has a tendency to swell and soak up liquids. So, when added to the cake batter, during baking, your cake will definitely double in size. B) after baking the texture of cake changes. It is not smooth but rather grainy and bouncy.

If you want to go the traditional way, then omit semolina completely and add a total of 1.5 cups of flour. Also, no need to add 1/2 cup milk if not adding semolina.


  1. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  2. 1 cup castor sugar
  3. 1/2 cup semolina
  4. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  5. 1/2 cup plain sour yogurt
  6. 1/2 cup milk
  7. 2 tsp. almond essence (click to buy Ossoro Almond Essence)
  8. 1 tsp. vanilla essence (click to buy Ossoro French Vanilla)
  9. 1 tsp. baking powder
  10. 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  11. 1/8 tsp. salt
  12. 2 eggs


Preheat oven at 150 degrees Celsius.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, yogurt, vegetable oil, vanilla and almond essence.
Meanwhile, sieve together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
Now gradually mix the flour mixture and milk into the wet ingredients.
Grease and flour a cake loaf tin (20/11cm).
Pour all the cake batter into the cake tin and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 30-45 minutes.
Let the cake be inside the oven for additional 15 minutes after switching off the oven.
Take it out and cool it completely in the cake tin itself and then unmold.
Cut thick slices and serve as it is or with whipped cream, custard or coffee.

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Tuesday, 10 September 2019

Recipe 92: Gluten-Free Hazelnut and Chocolate Brownie

This brownie has a rich taste of hazelnut and chocolate with an almost fudge like texture. It is perfect for those following a gluten-free food habit. The texture is dense and after chilling in the fridge, it gets even more dense. The best thing is that the flavour is not overly sweet and has a delicate bitterness of the dark chocolate.
Follow my recipe for the rich and mouth-watering brownie you have ever tasted:

Ingredients for 12 servings

  1. 100 gms chocolate slab (70 % dark) broken to pieces and melted
  2. 3 eggs
  3. 2 cups hazelnuts (click to buy Dryfruit Hazelnuts)
  4. 1/3 cup sugar
  5. 1/4 cup flavourless vegetable oil
  6. 1/4 cup full fat milk
  7. 1 tbsp. hazelnut extract/essence (click to buy Ossoro Hazelnut Essence)
  8. 1 tsp. vanilla essence (click to buy Ossoro French Vanilla)
  9. 1/4 tsp. salt


Preheat oven to 160 degree Celsius.
Prepare a baking pan by greasing the sides and lining the bottom with a baking paper.
Toast the hazelnuts lightly in a pan.
Cool them and then roll and rub them with a kitchen cloth. This will get rid of the skins easily.
Grind the hazelnuts to a fine powder texture in a grinder or food processor.
Beat the eggs till they are fluffy and almost double in volume.
In a large mixing bowl, pour the melted chocolate and whisk it with oil.
Fold in the beaten eggs and milk.
Slowly add the hazelnut powder and salt.
Fold carefully with a spatula.
Lastly, add the hazelnut and vanilla extract.
Pour this batter into your baking pan.
Cover the sides with aluminium foil and place it in a deep baking tray.
Fill the tray with hot water. This will ensure thorough baking and keep your brownie moist.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Let it cool on a wire rack and garnish the top with some chopped hazelnuts.
Store it in the fridge for about a week and enjoy!

Sohini Nandi
Hello from the Land of Santa Claus!
Professionally I am a Conservation Architect. That means I spend most of my time snooping around dilapidated and haunted buildings. I love the smell of old damp lime washed walls. Sorry to put you off with all the unpleasant details.
Now for the fun facts. I have been living in this extremely cold socialist country (its Finland, for the people who are still guessing!) for a few years. But I was in London doing my second post-graduation (University College London) and working on a few projects for the last 1.5 years.
Being a culture enthusiast, I have travelled far and wide in Europe learning culture and trying the unique local cuisines. Yes, I am a foodie too!
In SpicesnSecrets I will be sharing some of my experiences for similar lost souls in an alien country.
Cheers to life!

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Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Recipe 91: Soya Makhni

Soya is a one of the staples in a vegetarian household after paneer and vegetables.

So, to think of innovative ideas using the same ingredient becomes a must.

I have a recipe that is a lot like the Paneer Butter Masala or Kadhai Paneer. Delicious and creamy, this dish with soya is nothing like you have very tried.

A little cumbersome because of the steps involved, but once you try its easy and you will always make it this way.

There are quite a few ways in which you can enjoy this recipe. For example, you can opt out the capsicum. You can reduce the gravy for a more stir fried style wit masala. Or add more water for a thin gravy. Either way, the dish does turns out well.

I made today's dish using 50-50 quantity of both soya granules and chunks. You can go for just granules or just chunks. Either way, it wont affect the taste of the final dish. The only advantage with soya granules is that the gravy is much thicker because granules suck up the gravy juices and spread out evenly in the dish.


  1. 1 cup soya (half granules and half chunks)
  2. 1/2 cup fresh cream
  3. 2 medium size onion roughly chopped
  4. 1 large tomato roughly chopped
  5. 1 large onion diced
  6. 1 capsicum diced
  7. 1 inch ginger
  8. 4-5 garlic cloves
  9. 3-4 green chillies
  10. 3 elaichi
  11. 1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
  12. 1 tbsp. kasuri methi
  13. 4 tsp. red chilly powder
  14. 2 tsp. dhania powder
  15. 2 tsp. zeera whole
  16. 1 tsp. haldi
  17. 1 tsp. sugar
  18. 1 tsp. sauf
  19. salt to taste
  20. vegetable oil for cooking


Soak soya for 1 hour in plenty of room temperature water.
Once they bloom and double in size, squeeze out all the water and place them in a bowl.
Add ginger-garlic paste, 2 tsp. red chilly powder and salt.
Marinate soya and keep aside for later usage.
In a pan, heat some oil.
On high heat, fry the diced capsicum and onion.
Ensure that the vegetables are not soft and mushy.
After 1 minute of frying, take them out.
In the same pan, fry the marinated soya on high heat.
Stir continuous and after soya develops some brown color take it out and keep aside.
Now in the same pan, add some more oil.
Temper zeera and sauf.
Add the roughly chopped onions, tomatoes, whole ginger and garlic cloves.
Stir for a minute.
Add salt, haldi, red chilly powder, dhania powder, elaichi and sugar.
Stir well till oil begins to separate.

Switch off the heat and let the mixture cool.
In a blender jar, make a smooth puree of the onion-tomato mixture.
Heat a pan, pour the puree and let it come to a simmer.
Add 1 cup water.
Let the gravy come to a rolling boil.
Add the previously fried soya and kasuri methi.
Cover and cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes or till a thin layer of oil forms on top.
Now add cream and previously fried diced onions and capsicum.
Stir for no more than 1-2 minutes on low heat.
Serve warm with rice or paratha or naan!

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Recipe 90: Eggless Sugar Donuts

I am really close to a 100 recipes in Spices n Secrets. With just 10 more left for a century, I had to start the countdown with something sweet.

I am a lover of donuts but the unnecessary overpricing of these simple-to-make dessert, makes me cringe.

I make my donuts at home and it comes out fool-proof every time.

So, if you fancy a donut, just scroll below for a wonderful easy recipe of vanilla sugar donuts.


  1. 2 cups all-purpose flour/maida
  2. 3/4 cup warm milk
  3. 3 tbsp. sugar
  4. 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  5. 2 tsp. dry yeast (click to buy Yeast)
  6. 1/4 tsp. salt
  7. Extra vegetable oil for deep frying

For Sugar Topping:

  1. 1 cup sugar powder
  2. 3-4 drops vanilla essence (click to buy French Vanilla Flavour)


Portion out 1/2 cup warm milk and add to it 3 tbsp. sugar and yeast.
Cover and let the solution sit for 15 minutes at room temperature.
The yeast needs to activate and you will notice tiny bubbles forming on top of milk after 10-15 minutes. It may take more time if you are living in cold climate.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl add the flour, salt and vegetable oil.
Now pour in the milk-yeast solution.
Knead well.
If required pour more milk.
The dough should be soft but not too sticky and wet.
Smear oil all over the dough and cover the bowl.
Let the dough sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
The dough should double in size.
With clean hands, knock the air out from the dough and knead.
Keep the dough rested again for another 1 hour.
Now uncover the dough and take out a chunk of dough.
Roll out the dough to 1-2 inch thick disc.
With a big round cutter cut out as many donuts as possible.
You can also fry these without cutting out the center and fill them later with thick custard or cream or jam.
Else with a small round cutter, cut out the center of the donuts.
Place all the donuts, on a platter sprinkled with some flour and cover them with a cloth.
Rest them at room temperature for half an hour.
For cooking, heat enough oil for deep frying.
Meanwhile, take a medium size bowl and add sugar powder and vanilla essence.
Mix with fingers the vanilla into the sugar.
Keep the vanilla sugar ready for donuts later.
Now check whether the donuts have doubled in size.
Carefully, lift each donut and fry them in hot oil.
After it turns golden brown on both sides, quickly place them in vanilla sugar.
Shake and coat each donut in vanilla sugar.
Serve hot with coffee or tea!

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