Dui Kumror Tarkari – Pumpkin and Ash Gourd in Mustard Sauce

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Do you think you can live on burgers and sandwiches for the rest of your life? The answer is definitely a “no”. The food that with grew eating is what gives comfort to the soul – the comfort food. It might be as dull and non-spicy as the masoor dal and aloo seddho, but it has it own place in the heart and not to mention the stomach.

Bengali food is much different from the cuisines in the other parts of the Indian subcontinent. Not only do we use paste and powdered spices, but the addition of sautéed whole spices before adding the main ingredients is what makes the recipes very unique. Most non-Bongs have an impression that Bengali food is all about fish, but its not. Check the vegetarian section of our blog, and you’ll know am right. And, that too those are just a droplet from the ocean on authentic Bengali vegetarian recipes.

Dui Kumro Tarkari

Pumpkin with its hard shell and soft inside is one of the commonly used vegetables in Bengal. It’s inexpensive and filling. Boiled and mashed pumpkin with a hint of mustard oil, green chilies and salt can give a good competition to the western mashed potato. The ash gourd on the other hand is not a regular in the Bong kitchen, but a tutti frutti cake with its candied version is always welcome.

Dui kumro or two gourds is a typical Bengali recipe prepared with pupkin and ash gourd (winter melon/ white gourd). It is easy to prepare and gets ready in minutes.

Dui Kumror Tarkari

Indian, Side, Bengali recipe, Pumpkin recipe, Ash gourd recipe, Bengali vegetarian recipe
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup chopped pumpkin
  • 1 cup chopped ash gourd
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 2 tablespoon mustard paste
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 3-4 green chili
  • 2 teaspoon mustard oil
  • Salt to taste
Directions
  • • Heat oil in a wok, throw in the mustard seeds. As they start sputtering add the vegetables and give it a toss
  • • Add all the paste and powdered spices and mix well with the vegetables. Season with salt and throw in the green chilies. Pour about ½ cup of lukewarm water and cover till done.
  • • Serve hot with white rice

Dui Kumro Tarkari_2

Hot Tips – To prepare this recipe quickly the trick is to chop both the gourds in the same way. First make a half inch slice and then chop each slice laterally into half inch pieces.

How to make mustard paste in dry grinder?

For this recipe add about 3 teaspoon of mustard seeds (equal portions of yellow and black mustard or just black mustard, your choice). Grind in a coffee grinder till the texture turns powdery. transfer to a bowl and add water. You can add chopped green chili, salt and turmeric in the same paste and give it a spin in a wet grinder.

Don’t forget to send in your entries to Holi event and Giveaway and get a chance to win vouchers from Flipkart sponsored by CupoNation.

Holi - The Festival of Colors Event Logo

Sending it over to Foodabulous Fest Event organised by Preeti’s Kitchen Life.

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Kolkata Street Food Ghugni – Curried Dried Yellow Peas

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When it comes to street food, Kolkata reigns. The city of joy has hundreds of street snacks to offer. It’s not only about jhal muri, bhel puri, papri chat, or tele bhaja, you’ll find a whole lot more. And, just when you thought you have had your share of junk food for the day there is always the kulfi and the crushed ice serbet to chill with.

Talking about Kolkata street food and not mentioning phuchka will be like having pizza without cheese. Phuchka is the most well known among all street foods in Kolkata. You’ll find phuchka sellers near every bus stand and at every corner of the neighborhood streets. Phuchka in whole and its crushed coungter part, churmur is the queen of street foods in Kolkata. Check Kankana’s write-up on Kolkata’s street food and drool over the amazing photos.

Next in line are the egg roll sellers. Come evening and there are people swarmed around the big hot tawa of the egg roll maker. Another street food though not much mentioned is ghugni. Ghugni sellers are a little hard to find, but you’ll definitely find the in all fairs and near every cinema theatre. Ghugn is a rich and spicy preparation made from dried yellow peas. The hot taste of ginger garlic paste mingles with the tanginess of tamarind water to make it street food ambrosia. Ghugni is my second favorite street food of Kolkata, of course phuchka comes first. What’s your favorite street food?

Ghugni

 Serves 4
Preparation time: Overnight soaking + 45minutes 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups ghugni chola/ dried yellow peas
  • ½ cup grounded chicken
  • 1 medium size potato
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoon cumin seeds, roasted and grinded
  • 3-4 green chilies
  • 4 tablespoons tamarind water
  • 4 tablespoons mustard oil
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  • Soak the ghugni beans overnight, cook in a pressure cooker till two whistles. Drain out the excess water and keep for later use
  • Cut the potatoes into 1” squares, wash and add a pinch of salt and turmeric.  Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok, and lightly fry the potatoes. Take out and drain the excess oil on a kitchen towel
  • Pour rest of the oil in the same wok. Add the onion and garlic and fry till the onions are translucent. Add the grounded chicken, all the spices and season with salt. Stir till the oil separates and the chicken turns a darker shade
  • Add the boiled ghugni beans and stir for further 2-3 minutes. Pour in about 1 ½ cup of warm water and cook till half done.
  • Add the half fried potatoes and cook till its done. Take out from the flame serve hot garnished with chopped onions, cucumber, roasted cumin powder and tamarind water.

Ghugni

Don’t forget to send in your entries to Holi event and Giveaway and get a chance to win vouchers from Flipkart sponsored by CupoNation.

Holi - The Festival of Colors Event Logo

This ghugni recipe goes to Blogoversary Event and Giveaway

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Announcing Holi – The Festival of Colors Event and Giveaway

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Holi is the festival of colors. It is a religious festival of the Hindus and is majorly played among the Hindu communities all over the world; it’s a day for your inner child to come out. It is observed as a national festival in India, Nepal and the neighboring countries.

The earliest mention of observing Holi can be dated back to the 7th century Sanskrit drama, Ratnavali. People gather scrap wood, and other substances to burn in a large bonfire on the evening prior to Holi celebration. Back in my school days, burir ghaur porano (the bonfire) was such a rage that me and my cousins used to start collecting wood almost a week before the day.

The festival of color as the name rightly suggests is more of a game than a ritual, unlike all other Hindu rituals and customs. It is all about playing with colors on that day, spraying colors at one another. And, of course the hour long shower to rub off all those colors.

A Hindu festival without food is almost impossible. Fried snacks and sweets are all on the menu. My maternal aunt used to observe Gopal pujo (worshipping Lord Krishna), and so the chaler payesh was something to never miss.

This year even though I am miles away from playing holi with my family, I thought of enjoying with you all. So, announcing Holi – The Festival of Colors event. Blog about your favorite Holi food and share it with us.

This time your work will be awarded. The two best recipes will receive 1000 INR and 500 INR e-gift voucher from Flipkart. The prizes are sponsored by CupoNation. CupoNation is India’s largest coupon portal offering the newest deals and promotions from great brands in India. Make sure to check their website if you want to buy something online in India, they really have great deals from almost all major online traders in India.

Holi - The Festival of Colors Event Logo

Rules of Holi – The Festival of Colors event:

Bloggers –

  1. Blog about your favorite Holi food that you love to prepare during Holi, link back to this event announcement mentioning the giveaway sponsored by CupoNation  and please use the event logo
  2. Submit your links and other details in the following form

Submission form [vfb id=1]

or send in a mail with the following details to bengalicuisine[at]gmail[dot]com

             i.Name
           ii.Blog Name
           iii. Blog URL
           iv. Recipe Name
           v.Recipe URL
           vi. Photo of the prepared recipe
  1. Last date of submitting your entries is March 10, 2013 12 midnight PST. I’ll be posting the event round-up along with the names of the winners before Holi, March 27, 2013.
  2. If you want to send any archived entries please update it with a link to this event announcement post.
  3. There is no limit to the number of recipes you send. So, send as many as you want and increase your chances to win the awards.

 

Non-Bloggers –

  1. Please send in your recipes to bengalicuisine[at]gmail[dot]com along with the photo of the prepared dish
  2. I’ll post these recipes in our blog, Cook Like a Bong as guest posts with due credit to you and add these links to the round.

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Book Review – Cooking on the Run by Boria Mazumdar

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What do you do if you’re in a hurry but still you’ve got to eat? The answer is easy for someone who has been cooking “for a while”. If you are one such person, more often than not, you use your years of work experience in the kitchen and very quickly figure something out.

But, the situation drastically changes when your culinary skills fluctuate between Chhede de ma Kende bachi (Clueless in Kitchen) to Omlette maker (comfortable preparing different egg dishes). You would likely to lean towards the likes of milk-cereal, bread butter toast or banana milk shake for breakfast, or the likes of Maggi, canned foods and some Ready to Eat packs for any other time of the day (of course, you can always order a home delivery from the neighbourhood Pizza delivery, order a take-out online, but those are out-of-scope for this discussion here). Boria Majumdar’s new cookbook, titled Cooking on the Run, can be a godsend at such times, it is very helpful in such a scenario. Wait a minute. Doesn’t Boria Majumdar write and speak about Cricket, and other forms of sports?

Well, yes. And I, for one, was pleasantly surprised when I got his message that his first cookbook is out and if I would like to review it. Of course I would, I thought.  A few days later, Boria sent me the pdf and the printed version of his book too. Thanks Boria.

Going through the book was a like a breeze of fresh air but I was faced with a dilemma – how do I review a cookbook that, even Boria says, is designed for Indian Men? Kalyan and I got together and figured the way out.

We figured we’d review the book from two perspectives – I’ll don the food blogger hat and review the book, while Kalyan will review it from “Indian Man’s” perspective. Fair enough? So, here we go.

Cooking on the Run by Boria Mazumdar

Boria very modestly writes in his book that it “does not have a grandiose purpose” and is “simply the average Indian man’s survival mechanism in times of need”. The book is much more than that though. It is one of those cookbooks which are as much a treat to read for its anecdotes and surrounding story as much as it is for the recipes themselves. I’m very sure pro-cooks would love to read it and keep it in their bookshelves.

Boria grew up in a Bengali household and from a very early age he started getting fond of the finished products from his mother’s kitchen. But, not until did he was in Oxford that he actually set foot in a kitchen to cook. The book reveals not only recipes that he tried over the years to amuse his friends from college and work; but it’s a journey through his life in the kitchen and beyond.

Going through the book, one chapter particularly caught my attention – Tangra, Kolkata’s very own China town. Boria, while discussing his favourite Chinese restaurants over the world, paints a realistic picture of the place. Sitting in my apartment in Texas, I felt nostalgic. I couldn’t but smile and recollect my days as an undergrad and the frequent visit to Chinatown with my friends.

The entry to Tangra is marked by the stench of city’s waste lands (Dhapar maath) and scores of tanneries in the neighbourhood. It was the almost unrecognisable right turn from Gobindo Khatik road that leads to the potholed road of Kolkata’s china town. Notwithstanding this, we used to frequent the area (like thousands of others) in search of the best and authentic Chinese food that the city had to offer. Our favourite was the Big Boss restaurant. We stopped by the place every month, and without fail. The dim lights, the aroma from the kitchen, the bustling customers – all made it special.

The book includes details of various parts of the world where Boria spent time and I’m sure if you happen to be familiar with any of those areas, you would become nostalgic too. The book includes details of Samosas of Flora on Flinders Street, Melbourne or the take out Dosas from Udipi Palace in Chicago or the late night cart sellers in the Oxford campus.

Boria’s experience in these areas are an interesting travel read. And when combined with the recipes, makes it an useful book to keep on your bookshelf. However, since first and foremost, it is a cookbook, let’s talk about the outputs from the kitchen.

The recipes are for everyone to cook and try. The ingredients are not some formidable expensive items from a gourmet store, but simple things that you can get from your next door grocer. So, the author gets it right there.

The cooking directions are detailed and I believe even a first time cook shouldn’t face any problems whatsoever. The recipes are large in number, and belong to various cuisines across the world. However, if you’re looking for a list of recipes you can prepare from a particular book, this book is not where you should be searching for.

The author is Bengali by birth and even though you’ll find recipes from across the world, there’re plenty of instances when you would find a touch of his Bengali in this chronicle. Personally, I loved that Bong touch, and since over two-thirds of this blog’s readers are Bengalis, it is safe to assume that you would like it too. But such Bong references (Jhal Muri, Aloo Posto, Kasha Mangsho among others) might be an overdose if your tastes are different. [here’s my own version of Kasha Mangsho, Aloo Posto]

Another feature, or rather the lack of it, that struck the food blogger in me, was that the book doesn’t have any pictures. When I first started cooking and searching for cookbooks, I always used to pick those that had more pictures, everything else being equal. The pictures give a first time cook a better grasp to understand the recipes and also tell the newbie how the end product will look like. It also is a welcome break from the pages of text. He creates an array of stories twining these recipes, which makes this book worth a read.

 

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Deviled Egg

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Winter is the time of evening snacks; nothing better than having a hot cup of tea with your favorite snack to munch on. We had a party to celebrate the New Year and it got me thinking what can be the quick and easy way to satisfy so many people. I thought of making the baked chicken keema chops, but the thought of making so many made me loose the idea. I came up with an easier solution – deviled egg.

Deviled Egg recipe

The Bengali style deviled egg is the fried and spicier version of what the westerners call deviled egg.  This recipe gets ready in just a few minutes and is very easy to make. Even if you are trying to throw a party from your dorm room deviled egg is one of the best ways to entertain your guests.

Ingredients for Deviled Egg

Deviled Egg

Snack, American, Deviled egg, Egg snack recipe, Eggs mimosa
Cooks in    Serves 10-12
Ingredients
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon tobasco sauce
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
Directions
  • Hard boil the eggs. Drain the excess water and drop the eggs in ice cold water. Keep for some time, peel off the shells and cut the eggs in halves.
  • Gently scoop out the egg yolks and keep in a large bowl. Break the yolks with a fork to form a crumbly texture
  • Add all the ingredients except the red chilli powder. Mix well and put in a disposable piping bag with a number 18 or 21 star nozzle. Squeeze out the yolk mix over the egg whites. Garnish with the red chilli powder and serve with your favourite drink.

Hot Tips – It takes about 12 minutes to hard boil the eggs. You can pour a little vinegar to the boiling water to keep the egg whites from running away if any of the eggs crack.

You can garnish with anything you want, chopped onion shoots is also a good nice option. If you don’t want to take the pain of piping the egg yolk mixture just take a spoonful of the mixture and place it over the egg whites.

Deviled Egg

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Chital Macher Muittha

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Happy New Year to all our readers at Cook Like a Bong. A few months back one of our readers mentioned that even though we are a blog mainly with Bengali recipes, we put up less recipes on fish, the heart and soul of Bengalis. The reason behind it is where I stay there were not much options to have fish. But, with a new store that just opened I now have access to almost all fishes that I used to get back when I was in Kolkata. So, hopefully this year I’ll have many more authentic Bengali fish recipes to share with you all.

Last weekend I went to the store to get some of the common fishes from Bengal – rohu, hilsa, tengra. But, to my surprise there were more, and the best part was a box of minced chital. Chitol or the clown knifefish is one of my favourites. These are huge fishes and with loads of bones. The spicy and oily preparation of chital belly (peti) is one of the many recipes to drool over from the Bengali kitchen. But, there is more to chital, than just its belly. Scraping of the other parts of the fish (discarding the bones) and frying those into dumplings – chital macher muithya is another very popular way of cooking this fish.

Chitol Macher Muittha

I’m not sure how the name “muittha” was derived. But, the preparation is a fishy form of the kancha kalar kofta or the Bengali style malai kofta. The ground fish is mixed with spices, made into balls and fried. These fried dumplings are then cooked in rich gravy and served with rice.

Chital Macher Muithya

Indian, Side, Authentic bengali fish recipe, Chital maach, Fish recipe, Fish dumpling
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • For the duplings:
  • 250gms ground Chital
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3-4 chopped green chilies
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying
  • For the gravy:
  • 1 medium size potato, cut into squares
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1 teaspoon ghee (optional)
  • 2-3 tablespoon mustard oil
  • Salt to taste
Directions
  • Bring the ground fish to normal temperature. Mix all the ingredients for the dumplings, and make small balls or shapes of your choice.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan, and deep fry the dumplings. Take out and rest on a paper towel to drain excess oil.
  • Heat the mustard oil for the gravy. Mix a pinch of salt and turmeric powder with the chopped potatoes and fry lightly. Take out and store.
  • Mix all the spices expect garam masala in a small bowl with about 2 tablespoons of water
  • Throw in the whole cumin seeds to the same oil, add the potatoes, and pour in the spice paste. Stir for a little while till the spices coat the potatoes and the oil starts separating. Season with salt. Pour in about 1 cup of warm water and cook covered till the potatoes are soft.
  • Gently place the fish dumplings in the gravy. Add the ghee and garam masala. Turn of the heat. Wait for 5-10mins before serving, let the gravy get inside the dumplings

Hot Tips- While making the dumpling, if the mixture sees to be too sticky add a little more cornflour. The dumplings suck in the gravy, so its better to take the dumplings out of the gravy and keep separately. Mix them in again once you are ready to serve

Chitol Muittha

Sending this recipe to Traditional and Native Recipes hosted by Sara.

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