Posto Bhaja – Fried Poppy Paste

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Every day when you see the sun setting over the Hudson there seems to be a part of your heart which sails away to those sunsets over Princep Ghat. While still I’m starting to groove to the American way of life, every cell within me drags me to those dusty roads of Kolkata.

While the chicken teriyaki tastes good, and the brownies softer than ever, I still miss the alu posto and the soft warm rasogollas. Talking about posto, the only thing over which the Ghotis and Bangals never fight or do they?

The ways in which poppy is used in Bengali recipes is just uncountable. Bongs can kill for their soul alu posto. The soft bite sized potatoes cooked in gravy of poppy paste –  will surely tickle all your taste buds. Posto goes with alost all vegetables, another very popular posto preparation is the posto begun. Chicken is also cooked in thick gravy of poppy and cashew nut.

When it comes to poppy the way you can cook it is innumerable. But, posto also is a killer when its all by itself. The posto vada or the posto bati is a common first course for almost all Bengali household. An easier version of the posto vada is the posto bhaja. It gets prepared in minutes and you can enjoy it with just war white rice.

Posto Bhaja

Indian, Side, Authentic bengali recipe, Posto bhaja, Poppy paste fry
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup poppy seeds
  • 3-4 green chilies, chopped coarsely
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped coarsely
  • 1/4 size small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • Salt to taste
Directions
  • Dry grind the poppy seeds to fine powder in a coffee grinder. Soak with salt and turmeric in 3 tablespoons warm water
  • Heat oil in a skillet. Saute the onion and garlic. Add the poppy paste and green chili.
  • Fry till the paste is little dried and the color changes to a darker shade
  • Serve hot with warm white rice as a first course

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Kancha Muger Dal – Raw Yellow Lentil Soup

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When it comes to vegetarian recipes, Bengalis have countless options to serve. Even though we are branded as the fish loving and fish eating class, there is not a single household who does not have a purely vegetarian dish to serve for each meal, and dal is one of the most important.

 Masoormoongchola, urad and the numbers are unending, even the style you cook the same dal is different. When you need to serve it to guests, of course the plain and simple everyday dal takes a extravagant form like the macher matha diye moong dal. But, for the everyday chores the light yet flavourful dal is the choice.

As the rains pour down and wash the streets the search for something spicier than the ordinary masoor dal comes to play. And, what better than to have fried ilish with warm white rice and moog dal.

  

Kancha Moog Dal

Indian, Side, Moog dal, Authentic bengali recipe, Yellow lentil soup, Bengali dal recipe
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup moog dal/yellow lentil
  • 2 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2-3 red chilies, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon edible soda (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • Salt to taste
Directions
  • Wash the lentils and drain out the excess water
  • Warm the water in a sauce pan and pour in the dal, cook till the dal is well cooked. Add more water if the dal tends to dry out.
  • In a skillet heat the mustard oil and add the red chilies. Saute till they turn a little darker in shade, take out and keep aside for garnishing
  • In the same oil throw in the cumin seeds and bay leaves, as they start sputtering add to the cooked dal
  • Add all the spices to the dal and season with salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes more. Serve garnished with the fried red chilies.

Hot Tips – when cooking any type of dal its better to add the salt when the dal is properly cooked, salt slows down the cooking process. If you are in a hurry, you can add the edible soda to cook the dal quickly.
Moog dal  can also be roasted  before boiling, it gives an added flavor and texture to the dal, but roasted moog dal is harder to digest than the non-roasted version.

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Mini Apple Pie

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How will you define friendship? The first friend with whom you went to kindergarten; crying all the way because it was the first day without parents around. The school friends, who made you those naughty deeds, and of course that includes eating phuchka after school. The college friends with whom you bunked your first classes to get a mug of beer. And, then came the one friend with whom you are sharing your life.

Friends come and go, but some stay for a lifetime. So, Happy Friendship Day to all those friends who have touched my life in one way or the other.

On this very special day, here’s a little dessert to cheer up. Though a very popular dish in America; apple pie was probably brought to this country by the English colonists. It is a sweet tart filled mainly with apples, but sometimes with spices like ground cinnamon, and dried fruits like raisins and figs. This recipe is so old that in the traditional English pie recipes there was no sugar used. It was probably because sugar was an expensive item at that time.

The pie generally has a pastry bottom crust with a covered top or sometimes a pastry lattice woven top crust. The pastry lattice top is more common in USA, but the Swedish apple pie resembles more like an apple crumble with the apples lined on a baking tray and covered with the pastry crust.

Mini Apple Pie

Dessert, English, Apple pie, English dessert, Mini pie
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • For the crust:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 3 tablespoon ice cold water
  • For the filling:
  • 2 green apples peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ¼ cup raisins (optional)
Directions
  • Mix the flour and the sugar until the mixture has a sandy texture. Add the butter cubes and mix well till it resembles bread crumbs. The butter pieces shouldn’t be more than the size of peas.
  • Pour in the ice cold water and knead it to make a dough. Cover with a cling film and let it rest in the refrigerator for at least an hour, you can keep it upto 24 hours. Do not freeze.
  • Take out the dough, make 8 small balls. In a floured board roll out 4 of these balls into quarter inch thick circles and place it on the tart pans. Press the sides so that the dough sticks to the side of the pan.
  • Mix the fillings together and distribute it among the tart pans. Preheat the oven to 425F
  • Roll out each of the other 4 balls one by one, and cut thin strips. Carefully Place the strips on top of the fillings like a lattice.
  • Place the tart pans in the oven and bake for 15-20mins till the top crust changes color to golden brown. Lower the oven temperature to 375F and bake for about 10mins more or until the filling starts bubbling.
  • Serve warm with vanilla ice-cream and whipped cream.

These mini apple pies goes to the Taste of the Tropics: Cinnamon event hosted by Chef Mirelle’s Global kitchen.

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