ANGLO-INDIAN CUISINE EVENT AT COCHRANE PLACE KURSEONG

I’ve just got back from the most amazing Food Event at the launch of the Gourmet Week at Cochrane Place Kurseong in the Darjeeling Hills. Conceived and curated by Dr Ashish Chopra who is India’s top Culinary Historian, Author, Gourmand, T V Host, Flavour Analyst and Travel Writer. The launch of the Cochrane Place Gourmet Club, was a Week long festival celebrating the love of food. (Feb 14th to 19th). Thank you Ashish for making this happen. You are Santa Claus
Cochrane Place Kurseong is the restored stately British Colonial home of late Percy Cochrane the District Magistrate of Kurseong. Perched on a ridge surrounded by lush tea gardens the building is set in stone, log and cast iron splendour offering panoramic views of the Himalayas, it was the perfect setting for a week of scrumptious Food.
I’m just repeating the words of Dr Ashish Chopra “Its all happening at COCHRANE PLACE,KURSEONG in the midst of Tea country this month .. Bridget White Kumar weaves her magic with Anglo Indian cuisine, Sohini Basu, Cordon Bleu Pastry chef does magic with her cup cakes, Susmit Bose, the legendary Urban folk musician enthralls us with his golden voice, Ramaa Shanker cooks up some soul food of tasty Vegetarian Dishes, Kaveri Ponnapa Kambiranda, the celebrity author, Anthropologist and Gourmand teaches us how to make a Coorg special and one of my favourites Pandi curry, Avijit Dutt, the grand theatre man and actor shares his travel and culinary experience, Yours truly Ashish Chopra musters up dishes from my forthcoming book Tribal cuisines of India and introduces the black bird kadaknath. GROVER ZAMPA joins in the fun and gets us to taste their wines and pair them with respective cuisines”
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“On day One, our lunch began beautifully with a group of British Heritage Railway enthusiasts dawning upon Cochrane Place to savour a specially created Anglo Indian Railway menu served during the days of the Raj… With Bridget White Kumar cooking and Dhiraj Arora in assistance taking over the kitchen and mustering up a splendid meal consisting of Railway Chicken Curry, Egg Vindaloo, Railway Vegetable Cutlets, Vegetable Jal Frezi,Country Captain Beans, Mulligatawny Soup with a twist and the most awesome Pineapple upside down cake baked by Sohini Basu along with a Beetroot Carrot Halwa”

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In like manner t he Menus were specially crafted each day to revisit the days of Colonial Raj Cuisine. A 2nd World War Army Camp Menu was specially created to honour 2 Army Generals of the Area who were the special guests at dinner such as the Army Camp Soup, Col Standhursts Lamb Curry, Bengal Lancers Mince Cutlets, etc. Other Colonial Anglo-Indian Dishes such as Pork Vindaloo. Dak Bungalow Mutton Curry, Grandma’s Country Captain, Inspection Bungalow Vegetable Stew, Chillie Pork Fry, Stuffed Aubergines, Brown Sahib Soup, Okra and Potato Pepper fry, Vegetable Jal Frazie Shepherd’s Pie, Vegetarian Cottage Pie, A variety of baked dishes, etc, etc, were on the menu and thoroughly enjoyed by the guests. The Chicken and Lamb Roasts were marinated in a Grover Red Wine Marinade and the Stews and soups were given a liberal dash of Grover White Wines. To round off all the Hot Food, we stuffed ourselves with decadent Desserts prepared by Sohini Basu and her two talented assistants from Mrs, Magpies Kolkotta Apart from the Gourmet Dinners, the Chefs and Kitchen staff of Cochrane Place dished up some delicious local dishes, Bengali Food and Chinese Dishes. They excelled in feeding us sumptuous Breakfasts, Snacks and Short Eats besides the endless cups of hot tea in different flavours to offset the cold weather. We were well and truly stuffed !!!!!collage dishes 3

SIMPLE SPONGE CAKE WITH BUTTER ICING

250 grams refined flour or Maida
300 grams powdered sugar
250 grams butter
4 eggs beaten well
½ cup milk
1teaspoon baking powder
1teaspoon vanilla essence

Sift the flour and baking powder together. Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the beaten eggs and vanilla essence and mix well. Fold in the flour a little at a time. Add milk if the mixture is too thick. Pour into a greased and floured cake tin and bake for 40 to 45 minutes till the cake is done.

BUTTER ICING
Beat 200 grams butter and 500 grams icing sugar together until creamy. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla essence and 2 drops pink or green food colour. Using a spatula, cover the cake with the butter icing. Then with a wet fork make soft peaks across the surface of the icing. Decorate as desired

EGGLESS TEA CAKE

200 grams flour / maida
200 grams butter
1 tin condensed milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon soda bicarbonate / baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Sieve flour, baking powder and soda bicarbonate together and keep aside. Mix butter and condensed milk together. Add vanilla essence. Slowly add the flour. Beat lightly till well mixed. Pour into a greased baking tin and bake in a moderate oven for about 25 minutes.

CHILLIE FISH NUGGETS

500 grams fleshy fish fillets
2 teaspoons cumin powder
2 teaspoons chillie powder
1 teaspoon pepper powder
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon coriander powder
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons vinegar
¼ teaspoon orange food colour (Optional)
oil for frying

Wash the fish and marinate it with all the above ingredients. Heat oil in a pan till smoky and fry the fish tikkas till golden brown on both sides. Squeeze lemon juice on the Tikkas when done. Drain and serve hot with mint chutney and onion rings.

SAVOURY MINCE PAN ROLLS / PANTERASS

Ingredients for the Pan Rolls
2 cups flour
3 eggs beaten
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
A pinch salt

Ingredients for the Mince
500 grams topside mince
1 onion chopped finely
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon chopped ginger
2 medium size potatoes peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons chillie powder
1 teaspoon garam masala powder or all spice powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 egg lightly beaten
Oil for deep frying
1 cup dry bread crumbs

On low heat, cook the mince along with the chopped onion, garlic, giner, potatoes, chillie powder, garam masala / all spice powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and salt with half cup of water till the potatoes are soft and the mince is cooked. Cool and keep aside.

Mix the flour, 3 eggs, milk, butter and salt with a little water to make a think batter. Make thin pancakes / crepes on a flat pan cooking them on one side only.

Place each pan cake / crepe on a plate, add a tablespoon of mince mix on one end and roll up tucking in the sides as you would a spring roll. Follow the same procedure till all the mince and pancakes / crepes are exhausted.

Heat oil in a pan. Dip each pan roll in beaten egg then roll in bread crumbs. Shallow fry until golden and drain on a kitchen towel.

Serve with tomato or chillie sauce
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RAGI PANCAKES

Ragi or Finger Millet is an annual plant (Eleusine coracana) in the grass family. It is native to the Old World tropics especially Ethiopia. It was introduced in India about 4000 years ago and is an important cereal in India and Africa. It is rich in proteins, calcium, iron, minerals, carbohydrates, and dietary fibre. The Ragi or Finger millet grain is ground to a fine flour and can be used in the preparation of various dishes such as porridge, pan cakes or dosas, rotis / chapattis/ cakes, dumplings or idlis, etc. In Nepal and many parts of Africa, the grain is made into a fermented drink like beer. Ragi has cooling effect on the body. So it should be eaten in moderation in winter, or if you are eating it for the first time. Here are some delightful old recipes using Ragi which are extremely easy to prepare.

SWEET RAGI CAKE /ROTI

1 Cup ragi flour
3 tablespoons jaggery (dissolved in a cup of water)
1 cup fresh grated coconut or desiccated coconut
4 or 5 cardamoms pounded
A pinch of salt.
Oil for frying

Strain the jaggery water into another cup. Mix the ragi flour, coconut, cardamoms, salt and jaggery water together to form a soft dough. Heat a flat pan and smear some oil on it. Take small portions of the prepared dough and flatten on a plastic sheet or the back of a plate to form a small chapatti or roti. Drizzle oil around the roti / cake and cover with a plate or lid. Cook on a low flame till cooked. Serve hot.

SAVOURY RAGI PANCAKES OR DOSAS

1 cup Ragi flour
3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
1 onion finely chopped
2 teaspoon chopped curry leaves
3 green chillies chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

Mix all the ingredients together with a sufficient water to form a slightly thick batter. Heat a flat nonstick pan and add a teaspoon of oil on it, then wipe it with a piece of cloth. When the pan is sufficiently hot pour a ladle ful of the batter in the middle then spread to form a dosa or pancake. Cook on low heat till done. Serve with any curry, chutney or pickle.

ANGLO-INDIAN MINCE PASTE SANDWICHES

8 slices bread
4 tablespoons butter
200 grams minced meat
1 tomato chopped
1 onion chopped
1 green chillie chopped
1 teaspoon pepper powder
½ teaspoon chillie powder
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
Salt to taste
1 teaspoon chopped mint

In a pan add the mince, garlic, onions, green chillie, pepper powder, chillie powder and salt with a little water and cook till the mince is dry. Remove from heat and cool for some time. When cold blend in a mixer till smooth. Spread butter on one side of all the slices of bread. Divide the filling into four parts and place on four slices of bread. Cover with the remaining slices.
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