Bhoger Bhuni Khichudi

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Subho Mahalaya.

Mahalaya marks the beginning of Devi paksha and the end of pitri paksha, and for all of us like me, Mahalaya begins the countdown to Durga Puja – just a week to go. Durga puja is a grand festival and for the last quite few years I have missed being in Kolkata during this time of the year. I miss home during Durga puja more because the puja is held at my home, a 150 years old pujo. And for those of you who are not aware of Durga pujo culture in Bengal, dura pujo is generally held in the neighborhoods and not in family homes, there are very few families in Bengal who actually have the puja at home.

bhoger-khichudi
Durga puja is the celebration of food. The streets of Kolkata get filled with vendors selling Kolkata favorite phuchka and egg rolls, though I’m missing the streetfood pretty badly, I am more missing mom’s homemade bhoger khichuri. On Ashtami this khichudi is served to the goddess as an offering (prasad). The bhuni or bhuna khichudi is more of a pulao than a khichudi, though the main ingredients are rice and split yellow lentil, but its cooked in a way so that it’s not runny like a rainy day khichuri and can be fluffed easily with a fork when done.
I hope you enjoy this year’s pujo and share your experience with us. If you want more authentic Bengali recipes please download the ebook

Bhoger Khichuri
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup sona moong dal
  2. 1 cup gobindobhog rice
  3. 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  4. 3 - 4 dry red chilies
  5. 2-3 large bay leaves
  6. 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  7. 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  8. ½ teaspoon chili powder
  9. 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  10. 3 - 4 tablespoon ghee
  11. ¼ cup coconut, cut into tiny pieces
  12. ¼ cup raisin, soaked in water
  13. Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. In a heavy bottom pan dry roast the moong dal till it starts to turn light brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. While roasting keep on stirring it, or else the bottom will get burnt
  2. Wash the roasted dal and soak for about 30 minutes. Wash the rice
  3. In the thick bottom pan, heat the ghee. Add the coconut pieces and fry till they turn light brown. With a slotted spoon take the coconut out and keep aside.
  4. Temper the remaining ghee with the red chilies, bay leaves and cumin seeds. As the seeds start to splutter add the soaked moong dal along with the washed rice. Mix in all the ground spices and ginger paste, season with salt. Toss and turn for a couple of minutes till the spices are mixed well and the raw smell of ginger goes away. Pour in about 4 cups of lukewarm water, cover and cook till it done.
Notes
  1. Sona moong is the yellow lentil that is smaller than the general variety of mong dal. It is more flavorful.
  2. If you dont find gobindobhog rice, you can substitute with kalajeera rice or any other short grained rice
Cook like a Bong http://bengalicuisine.net/
bhoger-khichri

 

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Murgir Keemar Niramish Jhal – Ground Chicken Curry

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I understand you all are wondering about the title of this post. Chicken being the most popular source of meat, how come ground chicken curry be called a vegetarian (niramish) dish, it is like an oxymoron. It is nothing to do with the ground meat in this recipe, but the spices that goes into it. In Bengal, onion and garlic are considered a non-vegetarian item, probably something to do with the rise in body heat after eating onion and garlic. So, whenever a curry lacks these two ingredients we loving call that recipe niramish.

I love everything about chicken, be it mildly spiced chicken curry for a Sunday afternoon or a chicken tikka kebab for a Friday night with friends. Over the years, while spending time in the kitchen I have realized one thing – you can never go wrong with chicken. Ground chicken meat is a very versatile to have in the kitchen, boil it add some mayonnaise and put it in between two breads, and you’ll have a lovely chicken sandwich to gorge on. Add the keema to chickpea curry and mangsho diye ghugni (curried chickpeas with ground meat)is ready. In this recipe you can also top it up with boiled eggs, hard boil the eggs, sprinkle with turmeric and salt and lightly fry in little oil to get a golden brown color on all sides of the egg white.

The chicken keema curry is one of our favorite weeknight dinners. It is a no fuss meal, gets ready in matter of minutes, and tastes heavenly. If you want to get a richer and spicier gravy you can replace the cumin seeds with chopped onions, fry the onions before you add the keema and add a tablespoon of garlic paste along with the ginger paste used in this recipe.

chicken keema jhal

The only tricky part of this recipe is frying the ground meat. If you leave it as it is while it fries, you’ll get a big lump of meat, so keep on stirring while the meat gets cooked in the oil. Once they are cooked they won’t clump together.

Ground Chicken Bengali Curry
Serves 4
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 1lb ground chicken
  2. 1 large potato
  3. 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  4. 2-3 bay leaves
  5. 1 teaspoon turmeric powder + little extra
  6. 1 teaspoon chili powder
  7. 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder, or smoked paprika
  8. 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  9. 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  10. 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  11. 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
  12. 1 tablespoon ghee
  13. Salt to taste
  14. 2-3 tablespoon oil
Instructions
  1. Peel the potato and cut it into inch size squares, like you would do for aloo posto. Sprinkle some turmeric powder and a pinch of salt. Heat oil in a wok and fry the potatoes till the sides starts to turn a slightly brown in color, about 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon take the pieces out of the wok, place on a kitchen towel to get rid of the excess oil and reserve for later
  2. In the same oil add the bay leaves and cumin seeds. As the seeds start to splutter in about 30 seconds gently put in the keema. Stir well and keep on stirring till the keema is almost fried and there are no large clumps.
  3. In a small bowl pour about ¼ cup of water and add the ginger paste and mix all the ground spices other than garam masala, give it a good stir with a small spoon to mix everything together and pour it over the keema. Stir to mix the paste evenly. Fry the spice mixed ground meat for about 2 minutes while stirring in between. Add the half fried potatoes and pour in about 2 cups of water, if you want to have a dry gravy pour half cup less. Season with salt.
  4. Cover and cook till the potatoes are fully cooked, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the garam masala and ghee. Serve hot with naan or roti
Notes
  1. This recipe tastes equally good with when served with sandwich bread
Cook like a Bong http://bengalicuisine.net/
keema-curry

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Restaurant Style Matar Paneer

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Matar paneer is the perfect combination of soft paneer and rich and creamy gravy – it is a classic North Indian recipe.Probably that’s why it finds its way in all Indian restaurant menu all over the world. It goes well with soft buttery naan and even with warm rice. Mutter paneer is definitely something we should try if you want to eat vegetarian food at any Indian restaurant, the recipe is so common that most of the restaurants does a pretty good job preparing it, and this I’m saying from personal experience.


matar-paneerSo, when I thought of making something from the big slab of paneer lying in my fridge for quite sometime now, the restaurant style mutter paneer came to mind. It is a simple recipe, pretty straight forward, even my husband, an occasional cook found the recipe pretty easy to follow. Most restaurants don’t fry the paneer cubes, but being a Bengali I like my paneer fried, it feels much softer if you fry the paneer and let it soak in water for sometime. If you don’t like fried paneer just omit that step.

 

Restaurant Style Matar Paneer
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb paneer
  2. ¼ cup frozen or fresh peas
  3. 2 cup finely chopped onion
  4. 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  5. 8 - 10 garlic cloves, smashed
  6. 2 one inch ginger root, coarsely chopped
  7. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  8. 1 tablespoon kasuri methi
  9. 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  10. 1 teaspoon chili powder
  11. 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  12. 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  13. 4 tablespoon butter
  14. 1 large cinnamon bark
  15. 2-3 green cardamom
  16. 1 - 2 black cardamom
  17. 3 - 4 cloves
  18. 1 - 2 bay leaves
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 tablespoon of butter till it’s completely melted, add in the whole spices and bay leaves, as they start spluttering add the chopped onions, ginger and garlic, fry till the onion is almost done about 7 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and cook further till the fat starts separating
  2. Transfer to a bowl and wait till cooled. In a food processor, grind the onion mix to a smooth paste, pour in little water at a time if it gets too thick
  3. Cut the paneer block into 1 centimeter cubes. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan, and lightly fry the paneer cubes till the sides start turning light brown. Transfer to a big bowl and pour in warm water to keep the paneer moist.
  4. Add the rest of the butter to the pan, throw in the cumin seeds, as they start spluttering pour the onion mix paste. Add in all the ground spices, kasuri methi and season with salt. Toss to mix the spices completely with the onion paste. Cook for another 4 to 5 minutes. Add in the peas and the paneer. Pour about ½ cup of water if the gravy gets too thick.
  5. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve with naan or jeera rice
Notes
  1. As the gravy starts to boil, it will start spluttering everywhere, be very careful and use a cover if required
  2. If using fresh peas, then add the peas along with the ground spices.
  3. To make the gravy creamier you can pour about ¼ cup of heavy cream just before turning off the flame.
Cook like a Bong http://bengalicuisine.net/

mutter paneer

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Kolkata Street Aloo Dum

Have you ever tried the spicy and tangy aloo dum from phuchkawala in Kolkata? It is one of the spiciest thing you can ever eat. The heat from chilies and sour taste of the tamarind pulp mixed with the just well done baby potatoes, makes this street food one of my favorite. As I am writing this post, I am literally salivating remembering the paper plate full of fingerlicking good  baby potatoes aloo dum on my last trip to Kolkata.

phuchkawala

Potatoes have a special place in every Bengali’s heart. The comforting aloo chokha (Bengali version of mashed potatoes) or half cut potatoes in kansha mangsho (spicy mutton curry) – we like our potatoes anywhere and everywhere. But when it comes to aloo dum – it is like a Christmas in summer. The Kolkata street style aloo dum is a favorite everywhere whether it’s a side for luchi on a Sunday morning or an accompaniment with alcohol on a Friday night party. Try this recipe and you’ll know what I mean. You can also serve this aloo dum on phuchka to make alu dum phuchka, load it with loads of green chilies, cilantro and dash of tamarind pulp. I have adapted this recipe from Ishita’s Kolkata style spicy baby potatoes.

kolkata-street-aloo-dum

Kolkata Style Aloo Dum
Serves 4
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb boiled baby potatoes
  2. 2 - 3 big bay leaves
  3. 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  4. 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  5. 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  6. 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  7. 1 teaspoon chili powder
  8. 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  9. ½ teaspoon coriander powder
  10. 2 tablespoon tamarind pulp
  11. ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
  12. 1 teaspoon rock salt
  13. Freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime
  14. 1 teaspoon roasted cumin seeds, coarsely grounded
  15. 2 - 3 green chilies, coarsely chopped, optional
  16. 2 tablespoon mustard oil
  17. Salt to taste
  18. ½ teaspoon sugar, optional
Instructions
  1. Mix a pinch of turmeric powder, salt and sugar, if using with the baby potatoes. Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pan, and fry the potatoes till they start turning slightly brown about 3 minutes. Take out of the pan and keep aside
  2. In the same pan add the chopped onions and bay leaves and fry till the onion is almost done, about 5 minutes. Add in the ginger and garlic paste and fry for another 2 -3 minutes, or till the oil starts separating
  3. In the meantime, in a small bowl take about ¼ cup water and all the dry spice powder, stir to make a smooth paste. Pour in the spice paste to the fried onion mix and toss for a minute.
  4. Add the reserved baby potatoes and pour in the tamarind paste. Toss to coat. Pour about a cup of water and season with salt, if you are using rock salt then use little less salt than you would use.
  5. Cook on high for about 5 minutes or till the potatoes break once pressed
  6. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with chopped cilantro, green chilies and roasted cumin powder, sprinkle the rock salt and pour in the lime juice
Notes
  1. Boil the potatoes skin on and about a teaspoon of salt to the water. Boil till the potatoes are not fully cooked. Once you are able to touch the potatoes, peel the skin off
  2. When serving you can pour another tablespoon of tamarind pulp thinned with water, to get a tangy taste
  3. The spice level mentioned above will yield a mildly spiced aloo dum, if you want more heat add more chili powder to the aloo dum
Cook like a Bong http://bengalicuisine.net/

kolkata-street-alu-dum

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