Mukti’s Kitchen is Traveling India :-)

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I am in India on a spicy trip. I mean, a spice trip 🙂

I’ll be traveling East and South India over the next few weeks, and meet a number of food activists, enthusiasts, friends and supporters. I’ll also be collecting spices and other exotic ingredients.

Plus, with a few friends and relatives, I’ll be sightseeing India. It is a fascinating country: so rich in culture and traditions. Food is a very important part of this diverse land.

I plan to be back in early February. I’m scheduling my hands-on cooking classes right now, for February onward.

Hope you sign up, and sign on. Send me an email at muktiskitchen@gmail.com .

I wish you all a Happy, Prosperous and Peaceful 2014.

With dreams to make New York a healthy and delicious Indian food hub,

Mukti

www.muktiskitchen.com 

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Thanksgiving Day Recipe: Spicy Cauliflower Curry

Thanksgiving Day Recipe: Spicy Cauliflower Curry

Today’s Recipé

Spicy Cauliflower (Stir Fried) Curry

1. Cut one cauliflower in small pieces.
2. Cut one medium size potato in cubes.
3. Chop washed cilantro and cube a tomato. (You can also have fresh peas and green chili pieces ready.)
4. On a skillet, smear a dash of oil.
5. Throw half teaspoon of Five Spice mix, and warm (do not burn).
6. Stir fry cauliflower and potato pieces.
7. Add a pinch of turmeric power, grated ginger, and salt to taste.
8. Mix gently without breaking the vegetables.
9. When the cauliflower and potato are soft and brownish, add the cilantro and cubed tomato pieces.
(Add the fresh peas and green chili if you like.)
10. Turn off oven, and let it sit, covered.

ENJOY WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY.

🙂

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Diwali Cooking Class at CUNY :-)

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Mixed vegetable korma

This Sunday, November 3, I had a very enjoyable cooking class at Macaulay Honors College at City University of New York, CUNY. It also coincided with Diwali, the Festival of Lights.

Over one hundred students participated in an international food festival organized by the prestigious honors program at the university, and they invited Mukti’s Kitchen to be a part of it. It was truly a very enjoyable event.

I showed up with my pots and pans and spices at noon, against a very difficult traffic situation because of New York Marathon happening the same day. They closed down all the bridges and tunnels to drive from Brooklyn to Manhattan. My family members carried those big bags full of utensils and ingredients on the subway train and we made it on time. Thanks, public transportation. Thank you very much.

From 12 to 8 P.M., for 100 students and teachers, I taught how to cook: Samosa, Pakora (fritters), Dal Puri (handmade bread stuffed with dal), Vegetable Korma (stir fry), Vegetable Polao (fried rice), Chana Dal with coconut, Palak Paneer (spinach with Indian cheese), tomato chutney, Malai Kofta (stuffed vegetable curry), and … Carrot Halwa.

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Decorating on Diwali

I even posted the description on my Facebook page on the same day, and it generated a lot of positive responses.

The students who helped me out all day with chopping onions and rolling dough and frying fritters and stuffing samosas were simply great. I could not have done such a big job without them.

Dal Puri (Handmade bread stuffed with lentils)

Dal Puri (Handmade bread stuffed with lentils)

Thank you so much, everybody.

Anybody interested to learn (and eat)?

Join us on our next cooking classes. Visit my website.

Sincerely,

Mukti Banerjee

Mukti’s Kitchen

Brooklyn, New York

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Macaulay Honors College, CUNY

Park Slope Food Coop and Healthy Indian Food

Mukti's Kitchen on front page of Linewaiters' Gazette :-)

Mukti’s Kitchen on front page of Linewaiters’ Gazette 🙂

In the current issue of Linewaiters’ Gazette, official publication of Park Slope Food Coop, they published a front page article on Mukti’s Kitchen and how we cook and teach healthy and delicious Indian food here in New York. We are obviously delighted.

🙂

You can read the article here following this link. Feedback and comments would be much welcome.

I’m posting a few photos here and excerpts from the article below.

Happy Students and Me :-)

Happy Students and Me 🙂

“Banerjee always stresses
the healthfulness of home-
made Indian food. She
emphasizes the superiority of
Indian food prepared at home
as opposed to eating Indian
food out. She describes the
food in a restaurant as mass-
produced and made without
love. “Cooking is so therapeu-
tic, if you cook a good meal for
yourself and loved ones, it will
give you so much pleasure,
spiritually.” “
__________

Park Slope Food Coop is a great organization based in Brooklyn, where they sell healthy and nutritious and organic, toxin-free produce at a very reasonable price. It is incredibly popular with thousands of members taking advantage of it. It is a true cooperative and a progressive food movement, where members WORK to get the great products at great prices.

My family and I are very happy to be a part of this food and environment movement. The more we get involved with such movements worldwide, the better for us and our children.

Thank you, Park Slope Food Coop and Linewaiters’ Gazette for such an extensive coverage of Mukti’s Kitchen.

Spice Box :-)

Spice Box 🙂

Durga Puja — Four Days of Fun, Friendship, and … Food :-)

How many people outside of India heard about Durga Puja, annual, four-day celebration of a ten-arm Goddess vanquishing a demon?

Not too many, I’m sure.

Yet, it’s one of the greatest shows of art, spirituality and culture. It’s one of the most festive autumn events held under the sun. Millions of men, women and children have a great time. 

And they have great food. Fabulous food for four full days — from the seventh lunar day through the tenth.

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You eat “mutton” curry on Navami (but you do not use onions or garlic in that curry for cultural reasons), the ninth lunar calendar day. You eat sweets — including Bengal’s famous Ras Golla — on Dashami, the final, tenth day of the moon. Then, you keep eating visiting elderly’s and friends and relatives, paying them formal respect. It’s an enormous tradition. Respect has always been a big part of India’s and Bengal’s traditions. No matter how different it has become now.

I grew up in India in this tradition. Never thought about religion as a dogma. It was as much about spirituality as it was about food, friendship and fun.

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A community Durga Puja with makeshift temple.

So, what is Durga Puja?

This is what my husband Partha wrote in an online travel journal Travelogged. I quote from it.

“Four-day Hindu festival Durga Puja takes place every fall all over eastern region of India. Puja is a Sanskrit word for worship and Durga is a goddess who vanquishes the demon Asura with her ten arms. According to the Bengali Hindu traditions, Mother Goddess Durga comes down from her Himalayan abode on to the plains for those four autumn days, and brings along her children Ganesha, Lakshmi, Saraswati and Kartik, who each symbolizes a special force.”

“In West Bengal and Bangladesh, it’s really more about expressing incredible folk artistry and music rather than the religion itself. That’s the unique, secular perspective of Bengali Hinduism. Appreciative Western minds would love it,” he wrote.

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Durga Puja: where art and culture meet.

 

You wouldn’t believe how fantastic the art is. Here are some pictures. All of it for four days only, and then they all disappear, forever. Artisans working for months — day and night — to produce their wonderful art, right on time.

Only if the Western World knew!

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Mukti’s Kitchen, Featured in Edible Brooklyn

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Photo Courtesy: Edible Brooklyn

Happy to report that Edible Brooklyn, a reputable culinary and culture magazine, published an article in its Fall issue.

Here’s the link. Please visit and share. Thanks for your comments and feedback.

http://www.ediblebrooklyn.com/department/notable-edibles/muktis-cooking-classes-bring-masala-to-the-masses/

Below is a segment from their article.

Notable Edibles:
Mukti’s Cooking Classes bring Masala to the Masses

First published in the Fall 2013 edition of Edible Brooklyn

“The secret, she tells a group gathered at her Kensington home for a class on Mughlai cooking, lies in her massive masala dabba. “Masala” means spice, “dabba” means box, and Banerjee’s is the traditional tin type you can pick up in Indian and Pakistani neighborhoods like her own. Banerjee has so many spices—from asafetida to nigella—they overflow the dabba and take over her dining room table.

You leave full of fresh flavors and new knowledge: how to gently roast spices before you cook, how frying oil tells you it’s time to add the next ingredient, that red onions have a stronger flavor Indian cooks prefer.

“I’m really lucky,” Banerjee says, “that I’m carrying my master craft from my mother and grandmother to my friends.” But walking home, smelling like a masala dabba, we know we are the lucky ones.”

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I am very lucky, indeed.

🙂

Mukti’s Kitchen Relaunches Blog :-)

Dear Friends:

Happy to announce that we’re relaunching our blog. Thanks to everyone who encouraged me to do it, and also waited with great patience.

We’ll post simple secrets of Indian cooking — how to make healthy and delicious Indian dishes, spending a minimal amount of time in the kitchen.

We’ll also post fun stories around some of the dishes: how I learned to cook them, what were some of the problems and nuances to master them, and things of that sort.

I hope you visit us periodically, and share your thoughts.

Here’s a photo a plain and simple vegetarian stir fry, using squash from our Brooklyn kitchen garden. I used all possible parts of the plant: stalk (stem), leaf, flower, and of course, fruit. I used a very small amount of olive oil, and the usual five-spice mix (paanch foron). It was simply mouth watering. My family members loved it.

Try it. I’m going to post the recipe soon. Please visit our website at http://www.muktiskitchen.com .

Happy and Healthy Cooking to You All,

Mukti

Mukti’s Kitchen

Brooklyn, New York

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