Guest Post: Oler Kofta Curry

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While you may heard of having chicken kofta or mutton kofta or may be the raw banana kofta, kofta prepared with yam (ol in Bengali) is quite an unique preparation. When Suchismita posted this recipe in Cook Like a Bong Facebook page, I just couldn’t help myself but request her to use it as a guest post here.

Koftas originated from Middle East, it being a variation of the more known meatballs in the Western countries. As the preparation touched the Indian shores, each state started turning this meat preparation into a different. The Bengalis were at pace and you can find a varied version of koftas ranging from potatoes to paneers and from mutton to beef.

Ingredients:

For kofta:

  • 200gms yam or ol
  • ¼ cup gram flour
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger,
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic,
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green chilli or red chilli powder,
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon whole garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon sugar,
  • Salt to taste

For curry:

  • 1 large potato, cut into 1” squares
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste,
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder,
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar,
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ghee,
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder

Preparation:

For kofta:

  • Boil the yam in water, mash the boiled yam
  • Add the chopped onion, chopped ginger, chopped garlic, chopped green chilli ba icche hole red chilli powder, sugar, and salt and mix well
  • Roast the cumin and garam masala, and grind to a fine powder
  • Sprinkle the roasted spices to the mashed yam, add the gram flour
  • Make a dough
  • Make small balls of this dough
  • Heat oil in a wok and deep fry the yam balls, take out and drain out the excess oil using a kitchen paper

For curry:

  • Half fry the potatoes and keep aside
  • Throw in the bay leaves and cumin seeds in the same oil, as the seeds start sputtering add the onion, and sauté
  • As the onions turn brown, put in the ginger garlic paste, chopped tomatoes, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, sugar. Fry till the oil separates
  • Add the potatoes
  • Pour in about 2 cups of warm water
  • Season with salt, cook covered
  • As the potatoes get cooked, add the koftas and cook for some more time
  • Sprinkle the garam masala and pour in the ghee
  • Take out of the flame, and serve hot

I’m a little confused with the actual English for ol/wol. If you know please share.

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What to have for Holi

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Its already Holi time and nothing much to say. Here are some authentic Bengali recipes that you can try out for this doljatra.

Breakfast:

Lunch:

Desserts and Chatni:

To search for more recipe click to All Recipes.

Wish you all a very Happy Holi!!! Play safe and don’t forget to share your Holi pics and memories with us.

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Posto Paneer Kofta

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Spring is here and so are the thousand colors of nature. Every nook and corner of the street is filled with red, yellow, orange blossoms. Though with the heat rising in Kolkata, there’s not much feel good feeling about this time of the year but still there is a grand festival coming up in just a few days from now. Yes you have guessed it right, its HOLI time. Holi, the National Festival of India is celebrated throughout the states of the sub-continent and West Bengal too is not far behind. The main attraction of holi, or doljatra (as we Bengalis like to say) is the Boshonto Utsav or Spring Festival in Shantiniketan. Thousands gather at the Viswa Bharati grounds on the day from all over the world.

Thinking of colors, the first thing that comes to mind is red, green, blue and yellow.  Remember those days in school, the houses had these names and everybody used to fight with the other houses – Yellow, yellow dirty fellow or the first love letter you wrote – roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet and so are you. Do you have any other such poems or phrases, you used to throw, then share it with us!

Paneer balls prepared in poppy and sesame gravy

Thinking about a colourful preparation I scratched my head but nothing authentically Bengali came to mind. So, thought of mix matching the Western with the Eastern. And, there it is the result – paneer kofta in thick poppy paste with slices of red and yellow bell pepper to spice and color it up.

Ingredients:

For the kofta:

  • 400gms of paneer or cottage cheese, mashed finely
  • 4 teaspoon gram flour or besan
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon sugar, preferably brown sugar
  • Sunflower oil for frying
  • Salt to taste

For the gravy:

  • 4 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame, ground to a fine paste with the poppy
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 red and yellow bell pepper diced coarsely
  • 2 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • Few black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon clarified butter or ghee (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • Mix all the ingredients required for kofta excepting the oil and make a soft dough
  • Prepare small balls each having a rough diameter of 3cm
  • Heat oil in a wok and deep fry these balls in batches, keep aside
  • Heat a wok with 2 tablespoons of fresh oil, throw in the cumin seeds, as they start sputtering add the bell pepper and toss for a minute or two
  • Add the turmeric powder and season with salt and black pepper
  • Pour in the poppy and sesame paste and cook till the oil separates
  • Cover the gravy with 2 cups of water and stir well, cook covered for 10-12mins, check the seasoning
  • Put in the fried koftas as the gravy starts boiling, cook for 2-3min more and take out of flame
  • Serve hot with chapattis or rice

Hot Tips – Koftas tend to dry up the gravy, so if you are a gravy person try putting in more water or else, take out the koftas after cooking and serve the gravy and koftas separately.

Further Reading – Bengali Style Matar Paneer, Palak Paneer with a Twist

 

 

 

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Beginners guide to Preparing Rajbhog quickly

Cooking can be stress buster for bachelors. More so if you don’t cook so well but can lay your hands on a book with an easy but mouthwatering recipe. Well, I had Satarupa Banerjee’s The Book of Indian Sweets (affiliate link) for help.

Missed my swimming lesson yesterday and so was desperate to put the evening to good use. I received the book yesterday from Kwench, and not having cooked for a while I decided to start with what a Bong outside Bengal craves for – The Oh-so-Awesome Rosogolla.

The Giant Rasgulla

Satarupa’s book on Indian sweets starts off with the unputdownable (yeah Telegraph, I borrowed your subtitle, but I hope you would take it as flattery) Rasogolla. Since the book looked pretty handy, I thought of starting off sequentially. But then it would have been too Bong for comfort. The next one was Rajbhog and I chose it immediately. Satarupa calls it The Giant Rasogulla, with a little different texture. Followed instructions to the T and ended up with this:

Rajbhog

Rajbhog

You can search the internet for several videos, recipes and prep styles for Rajbhog so would include just the basic style (without the jazz).

What you need (Ingredients of Rajbhog)

Note: I prepared 12 giant balls (no pun intended :P) with these. So, if you want more/less, extrapolate the figures accordingly.

  • 250 gm Paneer (softer the better. If you find Chhana, or Chhena, all the better)
  • 60 gm Khowa (not many stores would give you this amount though)
  • 1 tsp flour (maida), 1tsp semolina (suji), 1 cardamom (you just need the Elach, or Elaichi, seeds)
  • 1 kg sugar (yes, you need that much Chini for the sugar syrup)
  • 750 ml water (hopefully, you have one of those 1 litre mineral water bottles at your house, it would help in the measurement)
  • Edible Yellow color (or, 1 gm saffron, or Kesar, if you have some extra dough. Mind you, not many stores would give you 1gm of this costly stuff, so be prepared to be set back by 150 odd rupees. Else, edible colors work just well. What do you think they give you in the Sweets shops anyways?)
  • 1tsp rose water (if you already have all the other stuff at home, but not this one, don’t worry too much about it)

How to make Rajbhog (preparation steps of Rajbhog)

  • Ensure that the Paneer doesn’t have too much water (yeah I know that sounds a little moronic), and knead the Paneer with your palm well until it becomes smooth.
  • Then mix 1tsp (maida) and 1tsp semolina (suji) with the kneaded Paneer and knead again
  • Make 12 smooth balls, and ensure that there isn’t any crack
    • Tip 1 (For Beginners): at the start you may not know the optimum size of each ball, so don’t worry. Once you start making a few Golas, you would get a hang of how much Paneer to put in each Gola.
    • Tip 2 (for all) : if you want the Rajbhogs to look yellow, while kneading the Paneer, mix some edible yellow color with it
Slightly kneaded paneer

Slightly kneaded paneer

Smoothly kneaded Paneer

Smoothly kneaded Paneer

Paneer balls

Paneer balls

Now, that we have Paneer Golas, we need to make some Khowa/Cardamom balls and put it inside the Paneer Golas. Lets get started.

  • Mix Khowa and Cardamom (Elaichi) seeds and divide into 12 portions (I made 12 balls).
  • Stuff one portion of the Khowa/Cardamom mix into each Paneer Gola, and roll the balls into your palm so that the Paneer covers all the Khowa
    • Tip 3 (For Beginners): if you don’t, while boiling the Golas in sugar syrup, the Khowa would drain out. It happened to 2 of my Golas.
The Khowa balls

The Khowa balls

Preparing sugar syrup

Preparing sugar syrup

Okay, now we need to prepare sugar syrup and then boil the Golas in it. Lets do it.

  • In 750 ml water, put ½ kg sugar and boil it. When the sugar seems dissolved, pour another ½ kg sugar and continue with the heat. A while later (say 5-7 minutes), you have Sugar syrup with you.
  • Put your Golas one by one into the heated sugar syrup and continue with the boil. You’ll see that the Golas increase in size (I mean they will get puffed).
  • Continue for another 7-8 minutes and you might see some crack appearing on the Rajbhog’s surface. Remove them from fire.
  • Add (rather sprinkle) 1tsp rose water
  • You’ll have let the Golas soak in sugar syrup for a few hours (say 3-4 hours) before you can have them.

Tada, your Rajbhog is ready.

Expert Eater Challenge

Try having one Rajbhog in one mouthful J. If you can, send us a photo, we’ll publish it here.

Eating Rasogolla

Eating Rasogolla

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Hyderabadi Biryani

One photo and there were almost thirty comments and nearly the same number of likes. Bong or non-Bong, Biryani is a serious hit. While writing this post I was wondering what to write as the anecdote, and thanks to the very enthusiastic participation in the CLB Facebook page, I now have some interesting Biryani stories to share.

Indrasis went on a (the first?) date to Arsalan’s with just 150 bucks in his pockets. He calls himself “Biryanistic person”, and now we know why. Mala has Biryani thrice a week and no prizes for guessing, she lives in Hyderabad. Lucky you, Mala. Sohini’s first night in a new city transformed from being troublesome (no furniture in the new house) to aromatic (she had Hyderabadi Biryani with her love and the company of  good friends). As she rightly said, a ‘priceless‘ moment indeed.

Biryani sure does wonders

While searching for the root to this very popular food, I came across a rediff link, which says there are about 26 different types of Biryani prepared all over India – the Iranian, Hyderabadi, Calcutta Biryani are just a few to the almost unending list of biryani variations. Tracing the root of biryani, it is said that this meat and rice platter originated in Persia and came to India through the trade routes. The word is derived from the Farsi word “beryā(n)” meaning fried or roasted. Depending on the availability of spices the variations in biryani began throughout India.


Hyderabadi biryani, the most popular type in entire India originated in the kitchens of nawabs of Hyderabad. This single type can again be sub-grouped into believe it or not 49 types depending on the type of meat used. This special type is mostly accompanied with mirch ka salaan and raita (stay tuned for the recipes tomorrow).

My obsession towards biryani started with Meghna Foods, a very small restaurant (about 3 years back and now has expanded to 3 centers in the city) in Koramangala, Bangalore. To be very truthful I was never a biryani person until I tasted the Hyderabadi biryani at Meghna Foods. Back to Kolkata, I have no access to my new grown obsession, and so had to search for a substitute. Knorr Hyderabadi Biryani was the closest I could reach here in Kolkata.

Ingredients for Hyderabadi Biryani:

  • 1 packet Knorr Hyderabadi Biryani mix
  • 350gms chicken
  • 1½ cup long basmati rice
  • 2 medium sized onion, finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoon clarified butter (ghee)
  • 2 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 10 each of cloves, cardamom
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 handful of curry and mint leaves

Preparation steps for Hyderabadi Biryani:

  • Pour half the ghee in a large handi and put in the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon sticks
  • Toss for half a minute, then add the rice and mix well with the ghee
  • Pour in little over 3 cups of water, and the lemon juice
  • Let the rice cook till half done
  • Heat a wok on the other gas burner pour in the oil, fry the onions till golden brown, take out half the onions and keep aside
  • Add the chicken to the sautéed onions
  • Mix the Knorr Hyderabadi Biryani mix to 1 cup of water and pour it over the chicken, mix well, add another cup of water
  • Check the rice and chicken both. Pour in more water if required
  • As the rice gets half done, take out half of the rice from the handi and keep aside
  • Spread some curry and mint leaves over the rice
  • Put in the half done chicken and the gravy, now cover it with the rest of the rice
  • Spread some more curry and mint leaves over the rice
  • Cover the handi with a lid and seal it with kneaded flour
  • Simmer for about 30mins
  • While serving garnish with the fried onions and pour a dash of biryani atar

Hot Tips- I have prepared it by my own way, if you wish you can just follow the methods mentioned at the back of sachet. The use of onions, and the fresh leaves and also the biryani atar brought a zesty taste to the dish.  You can also prepare the biryani in an oven. Preheat the oven to 150°C. After assembling the rice and meat put it in a tightly covered vessel and cook for an hour.

Further Reading – For the accompaniments stay tuned to Cook Like a Bong

What is your best Biryani memory? Please share here.


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Guest Post – Doi Ilish

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We at Cook Like a Bong love to see that our readers are so eager to share our recipes and so every month you try to include a couple of guest posts to our blog. This guest post is shared by a very nice Bengali couple – Anindita and Shantanu.

Asked to describe their passion for food, they said – “Both of us love to eat and also share the passion of cooking. We spent some good quality time in the kitchen, experimenting and trying many different recipes. Our blog name ‘Bhalo Khabo’ says it all ‘Let’s cook something good to eat‘.

Ingredients:

  • Ilish or Hilsa
  • ½  cup Yogurt
  • 2-3 tbsp Mustard Paste
  • ½  tsp Turmeric Powder
  • Mustard Oil  (Preferred, otherwise any other oil would even do)
  • ½  tsp Kalo Jeera (Kalonji Seeds)
  • 3-4 Green Chillies
  • Chopped Cilantro

Preparation:

  • Clean the hilsa pieces and pat dry them. Season them with salt and turmeric powder.
  • Now heat Mustard Oil in a wok, and slowly put the fish pieces one by one and fry them lightly
  • In a bowl mix the yogurt and the mustard paste, add the turmeric powder. Remove the fish pieces after they are fried and keep the oil aside. (We Bengali’s love this oil with plain rice.)
  • Add some fresh oil to the wok and temper with the Kalo Jeera seeds and let them splutter.
  • Turn the heat to low and add the yogurt and mustard paste and  the green chillies.
  • As the oil starts separating, add the fish, salt and a cup of water, cover and cook for sometime. Serve with hot Basmati Rice.
  • Garnish with a few drops of fresh mustard oil and chopped cilantro and enjoy the Bengali Delicacy.

Further Reading – Ilish Bhapa

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Dudh Shukto

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Bengalis mostly live to eat, and with the scores of spices we use to prepare food each day, it’s really important to have something soothing and less spicy to nullify the effect of all these rich food. Shukto is an answer to all these questions. This typical Bong favorite is a concoction of all seasonal vegetables.


A Bengali lunch is never complete without Shukto. Shukto can loosely be compared to the Western culture of having soup before starting the main course. Though, Shukto is totally different from soup, it’s always made with vegetables chopped in large pieces and best tastes with warm white rice. There are many variations of shukto, and it depends on the availability of the vegetables, but the most popular is dudh shukto (vegetables cooked in milk). Before saying anything more about this classical Bengali preparation I should warn you, bitter gourd is one of the must have ingredients in this preparation. Even if you hate that bitter vegetables, I’m sure if you have shukto once, you’ll definitely ask for more.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup each of potato, sweet potato, papaya, carrot, beans, string beans, green banana chopped to 1” size pieces
  • Drumsticks cut to 2” length
  • 10 – 12 Bodi
  • ½ cup of bitter gourd, cut to small round-shaped bite size pieces
  • 4 tablespoon of mustard oil
  • 1 teaspoon clarified butter (optional)
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoon panch phoron
  • 1 tablespoon wild celery
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • ½ cup milk

Preparation:

  • Heat 2 tablespoon of mustard oil and fry the bodi and bitter gourd separately, keep aside
  • Pour in rest of the oil and throw in half the spices (panch phoron, wild celery, and mustard seeds), as they start sputtering add all the vegetables except the fried bitter gourd
  • Sprinkle a little water
  • Cover and cook till all the vegetables soften. Stir once or twice in between
  • Heat a thick bottom skillet and roast rest of the spices, grind them to fine powder and mix with the milk
  • As the vegetables get cooked pour in the spice mixed milk, fried bodi, bitter gourd and pour in the ghee

Hot Tips – The trick to prepare shukto is cutting the vegetables, so while chopping the vegetables always try to keep the pieces almost the same size. Panch phoron is a concoction of fenugreek, fennel, wild celery, nigella and mustard seeds in equal proportions.

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