Rogan Josh for Your Valentine

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Though not an Indian custom, Valentine’s Day has become a very integral part of the Indian custom. TV commercials, newspaper ads 14th of February has turned into another day of celebration and festivities. Gifting red roses and chocolate have become the new custom. Only on 14th Feb 189 million stems of red roses are sold in US in comparison to 1.2 billion throughout the year.

It’s just not only among the teens; the festivities have even sipped into the minds of the older generation. Just as an example, my mom deliberately took off her nose pin this morning to show my father that she urgently requires a new nose pin. So, whats your Valentine’s Day gift this year. Share it with us.

When there are festivities, food cannot be far off. So, here at Cook Like Bong, we are celebrating this V-Day with an authentic Kashmiri style Rogan Josh shared by Debjani, our guest author. The name of the dish comes from rogan or roghan meaning color and josh meaning passion – what better way than to have this dish filled with colour and passion on the day of love.

Rogan Josh is generally made of lamb, but mutton rogan josh is a very popular dish throughout India. It was brought to Kashmir by the Mughals, and outside Kashmir it’s generally prepared in its commercial form.

The authentic Kashmiri rogan josh gets its colour from two things – the Kashmiri red chilli which is mild, yet gives a great colour to the food, and the dried Muawal flower, which grows locally in Kashmir or the Ratanjot, a root hat infuses the color .

Mutton Rogan Josh

Indian, Side, Authentic kashmiri cuisine, Kashmiri mutton rogan josh, Roghan josh, Rogan josh
Cooks in    Serves 2-3
Ingredients
  • Mutton,cut into 1½ inch pieces 500 grams
  • Mustard Oil 4 tablespoons
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon Asafoetida/Hing
  • 2 one-inch sticks Cinnamon/ Cassia Bark
  • 6-8 Cloves
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2 medium red onion
  • 4-6 inch piece Root ginger
  • 8 Garlic cloves
  • 5-6 Black peppercorns
  • 4 Black cardamoms
  • Kashmiri red chilli powder 1 tablespoon ( soak 3 Kashmiri chilies and make a paste along with the fennel seeds)
  • 2 teaspoons fennel powder
  • 1 tablespoon Dry ginger powder
  • 1 tablespoon Coriander powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup whisked Yogurt
Directions
  • Make a paste of onion, garlic and ginger.
  • Heat oil in a thick-bottomed pan.
  • Add asafoetida, cinnamon, cloves, black peppercorns and black cardamoms.
  • Sauté till fragrant.
  • Add the onion and ginger-garlic paste. Stir fry.
  • Add lamb pieces and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly till lamb pieces turn a nice reddish brown color.
  • This may take twelve to fifteen minutes. Make sure to stir constantly and scrape all the sediments from the bottom of the pan, so that the meat doesn\'t get stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  • Sprinkle a little water and continue cooking for twelve to fifteen minutes more on low heat.
  • Add Kashmiri red chilli powder, fennel powder, dry ginger powder, coriander powder and salt.
  • Add whipped yogurt and two cups of water.
  • Cook, covered, till lamb is tender, stirring occasionally.
  • Slow cook the lamb, checking for the doneness from time to time.
  • Garnish with cilantro.
  • Serve hot.

Hot Tips – Ideally its served with warm white rice, but you can also serve it with paratha or chapati.As this is a slow cooing preparation, its better not to use a pressure cooker to tenderize the meat. While adding the spices, you can first add the Kashmiri chili and fennel paste, stir it for sometime and then add the other spices.

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Setting Up Your Bengali Kitchen

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Setting up a new house and for that matter a kitchen when you are a newlywed and staying away from your hometown is a pretty tricky job. All those gifts received during the ceremony – the dinner sets, OTGs, induction cookers, crockery are either too fragile or too bulky to be carried along to the new habitat (city). So, this is my recent status – setting up a new kitchen. And, there comes the idea of a new post to help those who are in my state or is going to set up a kitchen soon. Here’s the first of the three post collection of how to set up a Bengali kitchen from scratch.

Saying this, I have a feeling of déjà vu. Some years back when I shifted to Bangalore for my post grad, I started eating at the nearby restaurants. But, eating outside for days together in a city, where even the basic ingredients are so different from your own has its toll on your health, taste buds and of course the pocket. So, I started cooking at my PG. Now, I have an experience on setting up kitchen for bachelor as well as for a family of two.

So, here is how to set up your Kitchen so that you can .

Kitchen Utensils

The saying goes “Maach-e Bhaat-e Bangali”, (fish and rice makes a Bengali). So, to start with the first thing needed to set up a Bengali kitchen is a handi and a kadai/ karahi (wok).

Hadi and Karai:

According to the wiki page of handi, it’s a round bottom Indian cooking vessel with a smaller mouth. Handi is especially used to prepare rice and also rice preparations like payesh (rice pudding) or pulao. Though, I prefer preparing rice in a handle-less saucepan.

The karai is an indispensable item in the Bengali kitchen. Whether it’s a fish curry or dal and even fried, it is used everywhere. So, if you are planning to setup a Bengali kitchen, then better have at least one handy.

Ladles and Whisks:

Khunti or the pancake turner is a must have in a Bengali kitchen. Just like the wok it is used everywhere – from preparing curries to frying veggies. Along with this a ladle for serving gravy items and a tempering ladle will set you rolling in the kitchen.

There are different types of whisks that are available in the market. The most common being the balloon whisk. Though, I still prefer the very Bong dal-er kata (a special type of whisk with fan-like blades attached to the end of a long rod), a balloon whisk for blending lentils and preparing lassi (if you are yet to buy a blender) is good enough.

Knives and Scissors:

I have seen my mom, grand mom, aunts and next door aunty using a bonti to chop vegetables and also cut and scale fish. Bonti is a carved knife, attached to a heavy wooden base. But, it’s just next to impossible to carry a bonti from your hometown, so let’s resort to knifes. When I first started cooking I had just one knife. It was the first time I used one, and the first couple of weeks I had a hard time adjusting. There are sets of 6 or 10 knives available, so if you want you can own one, or else just start with just one. Add a peeler and a grater to your list of cutting items.

Scissor always relates to cutting papers during those craft periods in school. But, to tell you the truth it is really handy in the kitchen also. I have a pair and I use it for opening packets, chopping herbs and also cutting fish fins and tails.

Dinner sets and crockery:

If you are a bachelor or just a newly-wed like me then a couple of plates, glasses and a few spoons and serving bowls and spatula will be good enough for you to start with. But, just to be on the safer side and also if you want to entertain a few guests over the weekend go ahead and buy a nice dinner set.

And the rest:

The above items are pretty much to start a small kitchen. There are some more things that you may like to buy.Many kitchen tools and appliances can be found at a discount online, using a Sears coupon code.

  • A rolling pin and a board, if you are an expert in roti making or want to learn how to prepare a perfect roti/chapatti. Or else, just buy a roti maker.
  • A griddle or tawa for preparing chapattis and even pan cakes or dosas if you want.
  • A colander, if you want to save the pain of holding the handi while straining the extra starch from cooked rice. Colander also comes handy while washing vegetables and especially useful for cleaning the leafy ones.
  • And, to make your work easier there are many electronic items that are readily available – food processor, rice cooker, toaster and how can I forget the oven-toaster-grill (OTG) or better still a convection microwave oven.

Still, not satisfied with what you have in your kitchen? Tell us what more you would like to add to the kitchen.

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Alu Chokha – Bengali Mashed Potato

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How to describe a true Bangali? Everyone would have a different perspective. The knack towards art and culture. Glorifying the Bong heroes. The fight over East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. The love for Uttam Kumar. Whatever they say, nobody can deny the fact that we Bengalis are fond of food, be that the street food from Dalhousie Square, the puchka of Vivekananda park, the mach bhaat (fish and rice) in a lazy afternoon or the rasogolla and the misti doi (sweet yogurt) from K.C. Das.
Warm white rice with a generous dollop of butter and mashed potatoes with a omelette or rather a mumlet (that’s what we call omelet) as breakfast before going to school is the staple diet for every growing Bong child.

However far we go, the smell of fried onions with boiled potato, the very Bengali version of the English mashed potato will drive the Bong back home.

Alu chokha, as it is so fondly called is an easy way of putting up a Bong delicacy. A disclaimer to those who are on diet, this recipe is all about taste and carbs.

Serves 2
Preparation time:  5 mins
Cooking time: 7 min

Ingredients:
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
3-4 dry red chillies, cut to small pieces
1 tablespoon mustard oil
Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • Boil the potatoes well
  • Mash those with a masher, fork or just with your fingers
  • Heat the oil  in a wok or frying pan, throw in the onions and dry red chillies and fry till the onions are caramelized
  • Add the potatoes, season with salt
  • Toss for a minute
  • Serve it with warm rice with butter or ghee

Hot Tips – You can also put a little bit of salt while boiling the potatoes, and while boiling make sure the potatoes don’t get over boiled and turns gooey.

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