FASHION

FASHION
FASHION

BEAUTY

BEAUTY
BEAUTY

FOOD

FOOD
FOOD
copyright: journospeak. Powered by Blogger.

CHICKEN REZALA : KOLKATA'S ROYAL CHICKEN STEW


Durga Puja is knocking on the door. As a popular Bengali musician, recently pointed out, that "Pet Puja chhara ki ar Durga Puja hoy." Roughly translated, can you celebrate Puja without a gastronomical high. Bengalis are foodies by nature and hence we just need a reason to dig in. We are all set to celebrate Durga Puja this weekend in KC and many other parts of North America. And needless to say, we shall be indulging in a weekend long food fest.

But it also means, that I am away from Kolkata, for another Durga Puja. I am away from enjoying Pandal Hopping with my brother. Another year of not digging into CHICKEN REZALA with my parents at our favorite Mughlai Restaurants.

Rezala , is a rich stew, which is known for its royal roots originating in Kolkata. Legend has it that when Wajed Ali Shah was exiled to Kolkata, his royal chefs, created this aromatic stew. Rezala is popular with both Chicken and Mutton. I am a beef eater, and quite a few Kolkattan restaurants, do serve beef, but I don't think I have seen a Beef Rezala on the menu.

What makes Rezala different ? Its a white stew, flavored with Kewra and rose water, and slow cooks to perfection. Its a labor of love, and worth every minute spent in prep. Its marinated in yogurt, onion-ginger-garlic paste and its a white gravy. It can be compared to a Koram, with the addition of ground almonds, in the gravy. Years earlier I had done a post on Mutton Rezala. Its one of the most tried Recipe Posts on my Blog. If you want to read about it, then Click Here.  

Rezala is an experience which reminds you of Kolkata and its huge Mughlai food history. I cant remember a family trip to a Mughlai restaurant in Kolkata, where one of us didn't order a Rezala. But its something, which also hasn't had a pan Indian presence. Its proudly Kolkattan and we like it that way. There are various styles of biriyani available across India ,but there's just one Rezala, and its from the royal kitchens of Kolkata.

If you are foodie, and you love your protiens, give this a try. I will take the Thank Yous in advance. My picky eater toddler daughter, who generally isnt much of a fan of Indian food, loves her Butter Chicken with an extra shot of cream, but loves her Chicken Rezala, , without anything to add. That's where the success of an entree lies, when it can appeal to everyone, across the board.

CHICKEN REZALA :

Ingredients:
Chicken : 1 whole chicken. Skinless. Cut into medium sized pieces. If yo are sing boneless chicken, use chicken thighs.
Onion : 1/2 large - Paste
Ginger :  1 1/2 inches - Paste
Garlic : Half a garlic - Paste
Kewra Essence/Flavoring (available at all Indian grocery stores) : 1 tsp
Rose Water : 1/2 tsp
Dried Red Chilies : 3 to 4
Whole Peppercorns : 2 tsp
Almond Paste /Almond Powder : 3 to 4 tbsp
Ghee/canola Oil
Yogurt : 1 cup
Green Cardamom : 4 to 5
Bay leaves : 3 to 4
Salt : to taste

Procedure :
Marinate the chicken in yogurt, ginger-garlic-onion paste, black pepper powder overnight.

Soak the raw almonds in water for a couple of hours at least.


Before you start cooking, remove the skin of the almonds, by just rubbing them with your fingers. Grind to a fine paste.

In a non stick deep pan , or a dutch oven, heat some Ghee/canola oil on medium heat.

Add in the aromatics- dried red chilies, bay leaves, and green cardamom.

When they crackle, then your oil temperature is just right to introduce the meat.

With a pair of tongs, add in the chicken pieces, to the oil. Let them caramelize lightly on all sides.

Then introduce the rest of the marinate. Season with salt. Cook covered till the chicken is half cooked.

Add in the almond paste , Kewra essence/flavouring, Rose Water, and mix well.

Cover and cook till the chicken is cooked through.

The fat/ghee, should have realeased from the sides. Then you know you are in the right track. I dried up my gravy a bit too much, but you could keep it in between dry and runny.

Serve with Naan for an authentic Kolkattan Mughlai culinary experience.













THE LITTLE BLACK (TSHIRT) DRESS














The Little Black dress is always a good idea and you can never have too many of them. You cannot beat their versatility. I have a fondness for Tshirt dresses, for the comfort they offer. You can literally lounge in them,  or run around a toddler, or even rush out to grab that much needed drink with your girl friends. As Summer was rolling in, I had done a post on a Graphic Tshirt Dress, so I knew a post on a basic black Tshirt dress was due on the blog. I wear it almost every week, but had not featured it as an Outfit Post.

I had a super tough time, in laying my hands on this dress. I did have a older version of this, which due to wear and tear, wasnt much of a looker. So i was on the look out for one, which was comfy, yet didnt look like a pillow. It had a rich color tone, which didnt bleed, or it didnt show up my problem areas. Tried on quite a few,and discarded quite a few. Finally found one in Old Navy. I had checked it out online, and found it in store. When I was about to pay, the cashier and me had different ideas on the price. It was priced more on the store and Old Navy, unlike every other retailer would not match their own price . I have never heard of such a thing, and I am an avid shopper. I waked out of the store, without buying it. A few days later, Old Navy had a sale, and I got the same dress, at the reduced online price, from the same store.This was one confusing shopping expedition I must add. 

While at the store I had tried on a Size Small, and a Size Extra Small, and decided on teh former. It did a better job of hiding imperfections. Sizing Up or Sizing down should always be checked out, as different styles, will fall differently on our bodies. Its a jersey dress with a flared style, and it works well on my body type. 

You can go the super casual route of styling a Tshirt dress, by pairing it with a baseball cap, throwing on a shirt and slipping into some flipflops. I wanted to style it for a casual dinner date in Fall.Booties and dresses have a soft spot with me. I know I know , the weather is almost 90F, and it doesn't feel like Fall exactly now. Monochromes were what I was looking for in this outfit. So played by the blacks and whites, just with a hint of gold(Kendra Scott Rayne Necklace). A Fall Lip(Nyx Soft Matte Lip Creme - Rome) added the final touch. 

If my liked my Contouring, and want to check out how I did it, then you can read abut it in details in this Post : MAKE UP FOREVER ARTIST FACE COLOR

So do you want to re-create a similar Outfit ? I have included some Budget options for everything I used. 
SHOP THE LOOK : 

BORU RAMEN : EATING OUT


Ramen and me are always on the same page. So I was really sad when I could not make it to the Media Preview Night, before Boru Ramen opened to the public , earlier this year. better late than never, we finally made it there. And I must add that I am surely going back.

All pictures in this post, are with my iPhone 7 Plus as I didn't have my DSLR with me that day.

The Kansas City food scene, has quite a few good Ramen places to boast of, and we are frequent diners there. So my taste buds and mind had an image to match up to, or a taste memory to live up to, when it came to Ramen. Boru Ramen is located on 75th Street, in Waldo.


It was a late lunch for us, and we were tired. We were seated without a wait, which is always a relief. I love sunshine in general, blame my tropical roots for it. Loved the glass walls, and how the sunshine streamed in and washed the dinning room in its golden glow. The decor was very modern and impressive with its linear design and clean lines. We were seated almost in the middle of the restaurant , and it gave us the opportunity to soak in the ambience as we browsed the menu.

Boru is primarily a Ramen bar as the name suggests, but its not restricted to just Japanese offerings. It boasts of rich Asian menu. Korean and Chinese influenced appetizers , shared menu space along with its signature Ramen offerings.

 Ramen originaly can have three Broth bases - the basic Pork Broth, the Miso Broth and the Shoyu Broth. Boru had all three offerings , with a twist.

I love a place with a well planned kid's menu. And our daughter loves her Asian soups and noodles. The picky eater, who doesnt touch fish curry, digs into a bowl of Pho with delight. She opted for the Chicken Ramen , which was a bowl of wavy noodles, with home made chicken broth and confit chicken. It was a big portion for a 4 year old, but Mom polished off the left overs, for breakfast the next morning.


Mom and Dad started off with the Bulgogi Steamed Baos , with kimchi, gochujang sauce and scallions. We love our Korean and it was just done right. If Ramen wasnt on the agenda for lunch that afternoon, I could have goen for a second round. Pillowy soft Baos, with perfectly grilled Bulgogi and the unmistakble crunch and tang of Kimchi. What's not to love about it !


Now it was time for our Ramen to take centre stage.



I opted for The BORU, in a small size. Ramen has two serving sizes, as you might have guessed from the difference in the sizes of our bowls. The BORU has braised pork shoulder, spicy takana, 6 min egg, pork and clam broth. However, mine didnt come with the egg, as I had ordered the small bowl. That was a turn off. Letting the silky yolk spill over and blend into your Ramen broth, is an essential part of the Ramen experience. Wasnt too happy that it wasnt there. The steamed Bao was packed so much with flavor, that my expectations were high, when it came to the flavor profile. It wasn't spicy at all, although the menu description had hinted at that adjective. It was a hearty bowl, but nothing to knock it out of the ball park.



My husband had better luck with his choice. He opted for the Korean, in a large size , which had pork belly, bean sprouts, greens, kimchi , gochujang and 6 min egg. I was so jealous of that egg on his Ramen bowl, I tell you. His Ramen bowl, packed a bigger flavor punch, than mine, and overall it was a much example of a well rounded entree. Next time, I am ordering the Korean.



Doesn't his bowl look better than mine ?! The man has good taste.

We had a good lunch. Loved the ambience. And a special note goes to the Service. From the Maitre'D to our Server, I loved how good they were. Service can make or break, a great meal. And my compliments go out to the great team at Boru.

Will I be going back, after my Ramen wasn't as great , as I expected it to be? Well, why not. I want to try out all their Ramen offerings, and hopefully there will be an egg on my bowl , the next time.





SEPHORA PLAY - JULY'17 - REVIEW



Another installment of Sephora Play reviews are here. Catching up the July box on the Blog this weekend finally. As you'll know, I am still getting set into the new routine, of me going back to Grad School to get my Second Masters. So Blog posts might get delayed ever now and then. Thanks for bearing up with me, and supporting me. Your support and appreciation means a lot.

I often have the debate with myself, whether or not I should carry on my subscription of the Sephora Play box, but then I decide to carry on with it, nevertheless. The theme for the July Box was " beauty Staycation." This seemed to be a very practical theme for Moms like me, who love to bring the Spa home every now and then.

I know Gingham has been hot this Spring-Summer, and to get a pink Gingham bag was just perfect. Love me some pink always, don't I ?!

 I am a lip color junkie, and love it when they have one in the bag. Tarte Rainforest of the sea is a line which is meant specially for dry skin, as its made with kelp, to help hydrate skin. "Set Sail," by Tarte Rainforest of the Sea, is a lovely nude. It reminded me of a paler version of MAC Velvet Teddy at first glance. The lip product is smooth and doesn't drag on the lips. The color is perfect for my everyday wear. If you wanted to jump on the bandwagon of the current trendy 90s brown Lips, but didn't want to commit at first go, then this color would be a good starting ground.


Bobbi brown Eye Opening Mascara came with a lot of tall claims, but was let down for me. It was very pigmented and did build up the lashes, but it got the lashes very clumpy. Not something I would repurchase. And it wasn't also waterproof, and I usually prefer waterproof mascaras.

Speaking of Skincare, Fresh Rose Face Mask, is a gel based mask, made both with rose water and rose petals. Its hydrating and adds a glow . For people like me, who have dry skin, its an instant pick me up. I loved how aromatic it was, and my skin really felt the difference.

Caudalie is known for their fabulous products and I am a big fan of them. So it felt good to be able to try out another product from them. Cadualie Vine(Activ) glow Activating Anti-Wrinkle Serum was a great pick. If you know me, you know that I take my skin care and my anti ageing skin routine very seriously. This product is rich with their patented antioxidants, which fights skin damage from stress, pollution and lack of sleep. Its a fine serum, which can be used a prep for make up, or even layered under your moisturizer. I used it in my night time skin care routine.

Briogeo Rosarco milk Raparative Leave in Conditioning Spray is light weight and non greasy. I used it liberally on my hair after I stepped out of the shower, and it worked as a detangler and leave in conditioner. It didn't make my hair greasy and gave a lovely curl pattern to my natural curls.

Last but not the least, is the fragrance sample of the month. Clean Reserve Sueded Oud is a creamy and sophisticated scent which puts a new twist on traditional ,heavy fragrance with its light notes. This really put me in the mood for a stay cation.


SHOP THIS BOX : 

CHENGDU TASTE, HOUSTON : EATING OUT


For someone who has grown up in a city, with its own China Town, a love for Chinese food is inherent. In our recent trip to Texas, we made sure we indulged in this love. If you know my Husband, you know that besides being a fabulous Trip Planner(people copy his itineraries left, right and center), he is an awesome foodie. In all his trip plans, most meals are carefully planned, and include some culinary hot spot of the other. In this particular trip, we might have been influenced by the Asian route.

After our time at the beach, we got back to Houston. Chengdu Taste, in China Town , started off our Houston's food trail. Houston, as a city is known for its wide range of restaurants specializing in Sichuan cuisine, or even influenced by Sichuan cuisine. While we might have ordered "Sichuan Chicken," from our neighborhood Chinese takeout ever so often, this was our first time, eating at a restaurant which specialized in Sichuan style Chinese cuisine. Did I mention, Anthony Bourdain's Episode of Parts Unknown, in Chengdu, was quite an inspiration. We were not flying to Chengdu, in China. But when we were flying to Houston, we made sure we accommodated a slice of Chengdu.

The restaurant closes at 9:30 pm and we didn't have a reservation. Although we had heard of stories of how much people have had to wait, we were seated almost immediately. Its a family style restaurant with lovely interiors, done in bamboo.

We started off with some Jasmine Tea as we perused the Menu.

The debate was whether we ordered a Hot Pot or we ordered something else. We decided to opt for "Water Boiled Beef in Red Chili Sauce." 


And an order of  "Chengdu Fried Rice." 


If you want White rice, then you need to order it as an extra side. We did so for our daughter. However, when it came to tasting, we realised that the Fried Rice was not spicy at all. It was a basic Chinese Egg Fried rice, with some wild rice thrown in the mix. Nothing extra special.


What hit the meal straight outta the ball park was our entree - Boiled Beef in Red Chili Sauce. It was potent. If you havent eaten something spiced with Sichuan pepper Corns, then be prepared for a tingling, numbing experience . I kid you not.

Fliets of Beef soak up a Chili Pepper broth, loaded with Sichuan Pepper Corns, chopped Serrano peppers and an extra helping of Chili Oil. Its the layers of heat in this broth which start hitting you at every bite. The broth despite being spicy, is so complex in its flavor profile. You will keep taking helpings, and keep drinking water, but you will keep going.

Your taste buds, tongue all start tingling and then going numb, for the pepper corns, which have such a distinct floral taste. Its super addictive, You just can't stop digging in. The broth comes with mung bean jelly noodles. By itself, its a good portion size to serve two people. The fried Rice was extra, as we were almost full with our entree.


We were close to the restaurant's closing time, and so I feel we were in a bit of rush to be done with our dinner. I loved the food, the ambience , the service.

Chengdu Taste, originally opened in LA, with branches in Las Vegas , and Hawaii. The Houston edition, is the latest one. If you are in Houston, make sure you check it out.

Stay tuned to the Blog for lots of more culinary adventures from Hosuton.