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
Print
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

 

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
Print
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

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
Print
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

Bhapa Doi – Baked Sweet Yogurt

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There are a lot of things a miss about Kolkata, and mishti doi comes quite on the top of the list. The creamy delicacy served in earthern pots is a food connoisseur’s dream. To set a perfect bowl of that yummy yogurt is a task to master. And, even though you master it, it’s really a time consuming job.

If you are really missing mishti doi or don’t have time to set a whole big bowl of it for your next party, the bhapa doi is your answer. The bhapa doi looks and tastes exactly like the store bought mishti doi, yet it’s not very time consuming and sets perfectly. The only con about this recipe is you need to have a oven. I never tried it making it in a pressure cooker, like baking cake in pressure cooker, but I’m sure that can also be done.

Baked Sweet Yogurt

I have added brown sugar to make it extra sweet, if you want you can also omit it. Also, once the doi is all set, just before serving you can pack the top with a thin layer of sugar and caramelize it with a blowtorch and make it into a bhapa doi brule. If you don’t have a blowtorch handy, you can place the bowl/ramekins in a large roasting pan, pack it with ice. Then place the bhapa doi topped with sugar in a broiler for about 2 minutes, or till the sugar melts.

Bhapa Doi
Serves 10
A Bengali delicacy that you can serve at your next party with a fuss
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs plain Greek yogurt
  2. 1 can evaporated milk
  3. 1 can condensed milk
  4. ½ cup brown sugar
  5. Handful of almonds for garnish, optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 300F.
  2. Mix everything other than the almonds in a large bowl, use a hand held mixer if you have, once mixed it will have a consistency of this pancake batter. Pour the mixture in a large oven proof bowl or in separate ramekins.
  3. Place the bowl(s) in the oven for 25 mins. Depending on the oven you can keep the doi for a little longer or a little less; before taking out make sure the doi is set and not wobbly. Take them out and let the doi cool down. keep it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, better overnight.
  4. Serve chilled garnished with chopped almonds
Notes
  1. I have added brown sugar to make it extra sweet, if you want you can also omit it. Also, once the doi is all set, just before serving you can pack the top with a thin layer of sugar and caramelize it with a blowtorch and make it into a bhapa doi brule. If you don’t have a blowtorch handy, you can place the bowl/ramekins in a large roasting pan, pack it with ice. Then place the bhapa doi topped with sugar in a broiler for about 2 minutes, or till the sugar melts
Cook like a Bong http://bengalicuisine.net/

Bhapa Doi

Cilantro Lime Rice

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Rice is a Bengali staple. Call it our weak spot, but no Bengali can stay without rice for long, and i’m not talking about brown rice or wild rice, I’m talking about the fluffed up white warm rice. It’s probably the abundance of rice fields in Bengal that made the Bengali cuisine so biased towards rice. Bhaat diye dal (lentils served with rice) or bhaat diye maach (curried fish served with rice), is a Bengali’s comfort food.

Basmati, or the long grain scented rice is the more like the biye barir chal (served only at big occasions – wedding parties). But, living in the US, I have become fond of eating it in a daily basis. And, one of my favorite restaurants, Chipotle serves the awesome burrito bowl on a bed of cilantro lime basmati rice. I am so fond of this flavored rice, I thought I should share the recipe with you all.

I am a big proponent of cooking rice the traditional way – on the stove top. I have tried cooking it in microwave, rice cooker and also in the pressure cooker, but I find the rice cooked on a stove top turns out the best. Also, a big advantage of cooking it on the stove top is that the extra starch come out along with the extra water when you drain it out on the colander, making it more healthy than the microwave or the pressure cooker methods.

Cilantro Lime Rice

 

Cilantro Lime Rice
Serves 4
Chipotle Mexican Grill style flavored basmati rice with cilantro and lime
Print
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. 2 cups uncooked Basmati rice
  2. ½ cup chopped cilantro leaves
  3. 2 tablespoon lime juice
  4. 6 cups water
Cooking rice on stove top
  1. Pour the water on a deep vessel, and let it start simmering. In the meantime wash the rice. Add the rice to the now simmering water. Cook till the rice is fully done, 15 to 18 minutes. You can take out a single grain of rice with a spoon and press with your fingers to check if it’s done.
  2. Place a colander, big enough to hold the rice, on the kitchen sink. Pour the cooked rice along with the water into the colander, drain out the water and fluff the rice with a fork.
Cooking rice in microwave
  1. Wash the rice and transfer to a microwave safe bowl. Add 4 cups of water. Set the microwave to high and cook for 15 to 18 min. fluff with a fork
Cooking rice in rice cooker
  1. Wash the rice and place it in the cooker pot. Add about 3 cups of water and set the machine to regular white rice. Once, it’s done, fluff it with a fork.
  2. Choose any of the methods to prepare rice. Mix the chopped cilantro along with the lemon juice to the rice, and give it a good stir. Serve warm with your choice of sides.
Notes
  1. If you are using the stove top method, do not worry about the amount of water as long as the rice is fully covered with water and you can add extra if it seems too dry before the rice is fully cooked.
Cook like a Bong http://bengalicuisine.net/
Basmati rice flavored with cilantro and lime

 

Couscous Khichudi – Savory Couscous Porridge

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As the mercury starts dropping, it’s time to have some warm comforting food. When it comes to planning a comforting one pot meal, khichudi is always the answer. Be it a rainy day or a cold winter night, the Indian style savory porridge is my go to meal. Rice and lentils is the main ingredients to make khichudi, but as the husband man starts getting calorie conscious and at the same time starts craving for some Bengali dinner, substituting rice with couscous was my only choice.

I prefer the couscous over the Israeli pearl couscous, which is much larger in size and tastes better in salads. The couscous khichudi tastes almost similar to dahliya khichudi. I made with with a mix of two different dals – moong (yellow split lentil) and masoor (red lentil) along with couscous and a mix of different seasonal vegetables – green beans, baby carrots, and cauliflower. You can serve this khichudi as it is with a dollop of butter and some lime juice or you can jazz it up with a side of some potato fries.

Couscous Khichudi

Ingredients:

¼ cup masoor dal

⅓ cup moong dal

½ cup original plain couscous

1 cup vegetable mix

1 teaspoon whole cumin

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon cumin powder

½ teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon ginger paste

½ teaspoon chili powder

2 tablespoon ghee/ oil

½ teaspoon garam masala

Salt to taste

 

Directions:

Take a deep bottom pan and dry roast the moong dal, till some of the dal starts browning; about 4 minutes. Cool it down and wash thoroughly. Wash the masoor dal also.

Boil 2 cup of water in the same pan and add the dal. Cook till the dal is half done. Add the vegetables. Add all the spices except the garam masala. Cook till the vegetables are almost done, and then add the couscous. Pour more water if you see the khichudi is getting too thick.

In a frying pan pour in the ghee and as it starts to melt add the whole cumin, the cumin will start to sputter, transfer it to the cooked khichudi. Cook for about a minute, then take it out of the flame and sprinkle the garam masala.

Serve immediately

Khichudi with couscous

Chef’s Tips – Khichudi tends to dry out quickly. So keep it runny when you take it out of the flame.

If you are using cauliflower, its better to fry the cauliflower till the florets start turning slightly brown on the sides. This helps to get rid of the cauliflower smell.

Chole Masala Spice Mix

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Chole or Kabuli chola or Garbanzo beans is a big hit in all Indian homes. Though, its originally a North Indian recipe, but chole bhature is a big hit in my family. The fluffy fried breads, bhature accompanied with spicy garbanzo beans is a big hit all the time.

Whole spices

To make kabuli chola along with the regular blend of ginger garlic paste, coriander and chili powder a spice mix is used. This spice mix is sold by almost all popular Indian spice brands from Everest to MDH, its called chole masala. But, I’m a little apprehensive of using the packaged spice mixes, mainly for two reasons. First, they don’t have the freshness that you get from homemade spice powders and secondly, they come in large packages and for a family of two most of the times the spice mix expires before I can finish the whole package. So, the simple solution to my problem to make my own batch of chole masala spice mix.

chole masala

Definitely, it takes some time and work to make it, but the flavor and aroma of freshly ground spices is worth all the trouble. It takes more than 15 spices to make this masala, so even a tablespoon of each spice will yield quite a good amount of the masala. I grind the spices in a coffee/spice grinder and takes me 2 to 3 batches to grind the whole amount.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon caraway seeds/ shah jeera 

1 tablespoon white sesame seeds

1 tablespoon coriander seeds

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon dry ginger powder

1 teaspoon peppercorn

1 teaspoon black salt

1 tablespoon dry mango powder/ aamchur

1 nutmeg

3 – 5 dry red chilies

3 – 5 2” cinnamon stick

10 green cardamom

5 black cardamom

8 – 10 cloves

2 bay leaves

 

Directions:

Dry roast the cumin, caraway, coriander, peppercorn, cinnamon, bay leaves, black cardamom, green cardamom and chillies until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer on a bowl to cool

Dry roast the sesame seeds using a lid on the pan, as the sesame seeds splatter. Transfer to the same bowl and wait till it’s cool.

Place in a spice or coffee grinder and grind till it’s transformed into a fine powder. Transfer to the bowl and mix with the already powdered spices. Grate the nutmeg into the bowl

Sieve once to get rid of the larger bits and store in an airtight jar or use immediately.

Ground spice for chole

Chef’s tips – For ease of grinding in the grinder, once all the whole spices are dry roasted you can put them in a zip lock and use a rolling pin to crush the spices and then transfer to the grinder to make into a powder.

Chicken Tikka Kebab

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Chicken tikka is the quintessential appetizer in of all Indian restaurants all over the globe. Whether it’s a restaurant in Bangalore or in Belgium, chicken tikka will always be there in the menu. I have had my fair share of chicken tikka kebabs in restaurants all over the place. Most of them I found were either too dry or too bland. So, I tried experimenting on the best way to cook this oh-so-important appetizer.

After a lot of tries with various store bought dry tikka masala, and failing almost every time, I took the matter pretty seriously. So, this time I made the masala paste from scratch. And, just to give it that oomph I added some Sriracha and carom seeds to it. Yes, you heard it right, I added the very Chinese sauce to this very Indian recipe, but the result was just fabulous. The heat of the Sriracha mixed with the carom seeds gave it a much better taste.

Kebab is a very Middle Eastern dish, but like all other Middle Eastern recipes, kebabs also got included in the Indian menu as a part of Mughlai cuisine. Kebabs are generally cooked in open fires, in a charcoal grill. The charcoal gives it a smoky taste, and probably enhances the flavor (I have tried chicken tikka kebabs in stovetop, oven and charcoal grill; but the last one turned out to be the best).

And, here’s another recipe to add to the what to cook for Rakhi series

Chicken Tikka Kebab from scratch

Ingredients:
2 lbs chicken thighs

2 tablespoon grated green papaya

2 tablespoon tomato paste

¼ cup onion paste

2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste

½ cup greek yogurt

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon paprika powder

1 teaspoon garam masala

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoon mustard oil

1 tablespoon sriracha

1 tablespoon carom seeds

Salt to taste

 

Directions:

Clean the chicken thighs, and trim off the extra fat. Cut into 2 inch size pieces, and keep aside

In a nonstick frying pan, heat the oil, add the onion paste and fry till the onion starts changing color, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the green papaya, ginger garlic paste, and tomato paste. Fry till the oil starts to come out of the paste, about 3 minutes.

Add all the dry powder and season with salt. This paste you can make ahead, and store in the fridge for upto 3 days.

In a large glass bowl add the cooked masala paste, yogurt sriracha and carom seeds and mix everything together evenly. Now add the chicken pieces to this paste and gently toss so that the chicken pieces gets covered fully in the masala. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge for marinating for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight

When you are ready to cook, take out the chicken and bring to normal temperature about an hour before.

You can cook the kebab in stovetop, oven or charcoal grill –

For stovetop cooking –

Heat a shallow pan and lightly grease with oil or cooking spray, lay down the chicken pieces on the pan, make sure all the pieces touch the bottom of the pan, if you have more chicken, then fry in batches. Cook each side for about 2 minutes or till the chicken is cooked through.

For roasting in the oven-

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C), line a cookie sheet with foil and lightly grease with cooking spray. Thread the chicken pieces in skewers, 6 pieces if you are using the long skewers and 2 pieces each if using the smaller ones. Place the skewers on the cookie sheet and baste with melted butter or oil. Grill for 20 minutes, turning and basting once in between

Turn on the broiler and broil for about 3 minutes or till the edges start to char

For grilling on charcoal grill-

Thread the chicken pieces in skewers, and grill on an open grill basting with oil on each side. Grill each side for about 5-7 minutes or till the chicken is cooked through

Serve immediately with freshly cut onion rings and raita

Chef’s Tips – If you are using skewers for grilling the kebabs, then soak in water the skewers for at least 2 hours before using, else the skewers will catch fire and burn before the chicken is cooked through

Chicken Tikka Kebab

Balti Chicken

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The word “balti” always remind me of the Bengali word for bucket, why a chicken recipe will be associated with such a word was quite appealing to me. My first guess was that the dish was served in little copper coated buckets in the restaurant, but that reasoning seemed a little too far fetched. So, I did a little search and of course Wikipedia came in handy.

Apparently, the phrase “Balti Chicken” came from the origin of this recipe. Here again there is much argument about where the origin of this recipe was. Some say that this recipe originated from Baltistan, Northern region of Pakistan  and hence the name. The other theory says that the chicken dish was first prepared by the Balti restaurants in Birmingham in UK.

Anyways as Shakespeare had said, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”, there is no point in fighting over a name of a chicken recipe. But, it’s definitely worth trying. The recipe calls for a lot of tomatoes, and the chicken is cooked in the tomato juice making this chicken dish a sweet and sour preparation. This chicken side dish is the new item for the rakhi series. 

Balti Chicken with naan

 

Ingredients:

1 ½ lb chicken, skinned and cut into medium size pieces

1 onion, thinly sliced

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

3 cups chopped tomato

4-6 garlic cloves, sliced

2 green chilies, chopped

6 tablespoon canola oil

3-4 sprigs of cilatro, chopped

Salt to taste

 

Directions:

In a heavy bottom pan, heat oil, add the onion and cook until translucent. In the meantime in a small bowl add all the ground spices and make a paste with about 2 tablespoons of water. Stir in the spice mix with the fried onions, and cook until oil starts separating, about 3 to 4 minutes

Add the chicken pieces and mix with the fried spices and onions. Put in the tomatoes and season with salt. Cook covered for about 15 minutes. Give it a stir once or twice in between so that the chicken doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan

Add the garlic and green chili and cook covered till the chicken is fully cooked. Pour little water if it gets too dry.

Garnish with the chopped cilantro. Serve hot with naan or rice

Balti chicken

 

Chef’s Tips: I used about two cornish hen in this recipe. If you want to make it a boneless preparation, you can use chicken thigh; breast pieces tend to get very chewy.

Doi Begun – Eggplants in Spiced Yogurt

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Almost every state in India has their own style of making doi begun or dahi baingan. So, this is one recipe where you can do loads and loads of combination, and I assure use you’ll not get wrong.

Eggplants

I like to use the baby eggplants, as the whole eggplants or brinjal, as I used to call while growing up (read before entering USA) gives a good texture to the curry. You can also use the larger eggplants, and cut them into two to three inch size pieces. Using asafoetida is an optional step in this recipe, I like the flavor of it and it goes with the whole yogurt and eggplant mix, so I use it. Also, if you want to enhance the flavor of this dish you can temper with curry leaves and sprinkle dry roasted and then powdered fennel seeds. So the possibilities are unending. But, one thing’s for sure, this recipe is a must have for a hot and dry summer lunch. You can also serve this as a side dish with biryani.

Doi begun

 

Doi Begun - Eggplants in Spiced Yogurt
Serves 4
A must have for summer lunch
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb baby eggplants
  2. 2 cup Greek yogurt
  3. 1 tablespoon canola oil
  4. 1 teaspoon chili powder
  5. 1 teaspoon dry ginger powder
  6. ½ teaspoon sugar
  7. ¼ teaspoon asafoetida (optional)
  8. 2 teaspoons mustard oil (optional)
  9. 3-4 green chili
  10. Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Wash and cut the baby eggplants into fours, keeping the stalk intact. Take a pan which has a lid, pour the canola oil and place the eggplants, so that all of them touch the base of the pan, cover with the lid and fry on low heat for about 5 minutes, turning the eggplants once or twice in between
  2. While the eggplants are getting fried, in a mixing bowl beat the yogurt with 2 tablespoon of water. Add the chili powder, dry ginger powder and sugar. And beat again.
  3. Once the eggplants are fried, the skin will turn a darker shade of purple; don’t wait till they turn black; take the eggplants out and place on a kitchen towel to absorb the extra oil.
  4. In the same oil add the asafoetida if using, if not then go straight to the next step. As the asafoetida starts to splatter, about 10 seconds, transfer the eggplants back to the pan.
  5. Pour the spiced yogurt, and add in the green chilies. Stir and cook covered for about 2 to 3 minutes, or till the eggplants are cooked. You can add a little water if the gravy starts sticking to the pan.
  6. Transfer to a serving bowl and pour the mustard oil, if using. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately with rice or chapati
Notes
  1. If you add the eggplants while the oil is still not hot, the eggplants will absorb less oil.
Cook like a Bong http://bengalicuisine.net/

Dahi Baingan nnn

Chicken Korma

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Korma or Qorma is a very old method of cooking meat. It was first used by the Turkish and was brought in to India by the Mughals. The Turkish word kuvurma means braising, the meat is at first cooked in high heat and then simmered in tight pot for a long time to get cooked in its own juices and marinade.

 

Chicken Korma spices

The chicken korma was cooked by Kalyan the other day, and it turned out superbly awesome, and so I had to put it up on the blog. After his stint on mastering the art of making rajbhog, Kalyan has become keen on entering the kitchen more often, much to my relief :). This recipe was inspired by a book “Complete Indian”, which we bought from Salvation Army though he made some changes while he was cooking.
Though the recipe is straight forward, korma takes a long time to cook, and so you have to have that patience to cook. But, trust me the end result is definitely worth all the time you spend in the kitchen. As Rakhi is just a few weeks away, here’s the first dish of many more dishes to celebrate this special with your sibling. Stay tuned to learn many more awesome recipes to make for Rakhi.
Chicken Korma

Chicken Korma
Serves 4
Print
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
9 hr
Cook Time
55 min
Total Time
9 hr
Ingredients
  1. 3lb chicken
  2. 1 large onion, sliced
  3. 4-5 tablespoon of ghee or canola oil
  4. 3 cloves of garlic
  5. ¼ cup Greek yogurt
  6. 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  7. 2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  8. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  9. 1 teaspoon Kashmiri chili powder
  10. 1 teaspoon chili powder
  11. 5 cloves
  12. 5 black cardamom pods
  13. 1 2” cinnamon stick
  14. 1 ½ tablespoon desiccated fresh coconut
  15. 10-12 almonds
  16. 2-3 twigs of cilantro
  17. Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut the chicken into 3-4” size pieces. Crush one clove of garlic, beat the yogurt and turmeric together with the garlic. Mix the yogurt with the chicken and put it in a ziploc bag. Marinade for at least 4 hours in the refrigerator, better overnight
  2. Before you are ready to cook, take out the chicken from the fridge and bring it down to normal temperature.
  3. Toast the almonds in a cast iron pan and then chop the nuts. Keep aside
  4. In a heavy bottom pan heat the ghee, add in the onion and fry till they are translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add all the whole and ground spices, and salt and fry for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly
  5. Add in the marinated chicken to the pan, put in the desiccated coconut and mix well with the fried spices. Cover the pan with a tight lid and simmer for about 45 minutes or till the chicken is soft and cooked. Keep watch, if the chicken gets too dry or starts sticking to the pan, then add a little water
  6. Transfer the chicken to a serving bowl and garnish with the toasted nuts and cilantro. Serve immediately with naan or rice.
Notes
  1. If you are using oil to cook, then before taking out of the pan, you can pour a teaspoon of ghee to the chicken to give it the additional flavor and smell.
  2. Kalyan used 3 1lb cornish hen to make this dish. The hens were skinned and cut into 3 to 4 inch size pieces. You can also use chicken thighs to make it boneless recipe or use a whole chicken.
Cook like a Bong http://bengalicuisine.net/

Murgh Korma

 

Malai Kulfi – Indian Spiced Ice Cream

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The Texas summer is in full swing now. The highest temperature for an average day is now above 100F, that would be almost 38C; yes the high school mathematics is of much help these days. Texas summers are hot and dry, and for me there is no chance of going out in the afternoon. Though I have seen many people love the sun and go for running especially during midday.

I hate summers, the heat, the sun, almost everything about it. But, the only two things I love during this time of the year is of course the worry free binging on ice cream and the abundance of berries. I love ice cream, as long as there is no chocolate involved; yes you heard it right, I don’t like chocolate ice cream.Indian ice cream, kulfi

When we talk about ice cream, one thing I miss after coming to the US is the tall dark mustached kulfi-wala who used to come to our neighborhood during the summer afternoon with his big red cloth covered handi on the back of his cycle. Kulfi, the indigenous Indian ice cream is generally made with non-homogenized milk, boiled to a thick consistency, the creamy fat on top of the milk is called malai, and that where malai kulfi name came from.

Apparently, kulfi was first made in the kitchen of Mughal emperor, Akbar. The ice was brought from the Himalayas to freeze this ice cream. While malai kulfi is the most commonly prepared kulfi, you can also use mango puree to mix with the kulfi mixture to prepare mango kulfi.

Kulfi

 

Malai Kulfi - Indian Spiced Ice Cream
Serves 4
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
6 hr 15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
6 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1-1/2 cups half and half, room temperature
  2. ¼ cup condensed milk
  3. ¼ cup milk powder
  4. ½ cup blanched and peeled almond
  5. ⅛ cup shelled and chopped pistachios
  6. 10-12 whole almonds, crushed
  7. ¼ teaspoon saffron
  8. ½ teaspoon green cardamom powder
Instructions
  1. In a blender blend the blanched almonds to a thick paste.
  2. In a heavy bottom pan, preferably non-stick one add the milk powder, slowly pour the condensed milk while stirring the mixture, make sure the milk powder doesn’t form any lump. Once the condensed milk and milk powder is mixed, it will become a thick gooey paste, pour the half and half, and keep on stirring
  3. Now keep the pan over low flame and bring it to simmering bowl, stirring often. Take out about one-fourth cup of the boiling mixture and immerse the saffron in it. Once the saffron is dissolved and color turn yellowish, pour it back in the pan. Give it a stir.
  4. Take out of flame and fold in the almond paste and cardamom powder. Let the pan to cool down completely. Mix the chopped pistachios and almonds.
  5. Pour the mixture in kulfi or popsicle molds, and freeze for at least 6 hours.
Notes
  1. The best way to take out the kulfis without breaking them in halves is to pour hot water over the mold for a few seconds and then inverting the molds on a plate. The kulfi will come out smoothly.
  2. To give the kulfi a mughlai flavor, you can use a drop of rose water and keyra water.
  3. If you don’t have kulfi molds at home, use paper or plastic disposable cups.
Cook like a Bong http://bengalicuisine.net/

 

malai kulfi

 

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp Scampi

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When there is a baby at home, it’s really hard to cook. You chop the onions, and there he is under the table, you heat the oil and about to add the onions in the skillet and there he is eating a magazine page. The last 6 months have taught me a lot of things, but above all it has taught me to multitask.

These days I try searching for food, which is wholesome and is easy to cook. When it comes to cooking time, nothing can beat shrimps. You can cook shrimps in less than 5 minutes, you don’t believe it, try it. Whether its the Bengali favorite chingrir malaikari or Italian style shrimp scampi, shrimp is the easiest and quickest meal you can prepare. You can prepare scampi and serve it as an appetizer, or you can also serve it with rice or pasta.

I am not a big fan of pasta, but I love angel’s hair pasta, the thin and smooth texture of the cooked pasta steals my heart every time.

Angel Hair Pasta

 

 

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp Scampi
Serves 2
A quick and easy lunch
Print
Ingredients
  1. For the scampi-
  2. 1lb fresh shrimps
  3. 1 tablespoon butter
  4. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  5. 2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  6. 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  7. A few sprigs of parsley
  8. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  9. ½ cup dry white wine
  10. Salt to taste
  11. For the pasta-
  12. 1 lb angel’s hair pasta
  13. 2 tablespoon Parmesan cheese (optional)
Instructions
  1. For the pasta, boil a large pot of water, when the water starts boiling add a tablespoon of salt and the pasta. Cover and let the water come to a boil. Once it starts boiling keep it on high heat for 6-8 minutes or till the pasta is soft to touch. Drain in a colander and add 1 teaspoon of olive oil so that the pasta doesn’t stick to each other
  2. In a skillet add the olive oil and butter and wait till the butter is melted. Saute the chopped garlic and let it start to sizzle.
  3. Add the chili flakes and shrimp. Season with salt.
  4. Chop the parsley leaves and add it to the shrimp, give it a good toss and then pour the wine.
  5. Let the shrimps simmer in a the wine sauce for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Divide the pasta in 4 equal parts, and top with equal portions of the scampi. Garnish with parmesan cheese
Notes
  1. You can use cilantro leaves instead of the parsley and if you don't like to add the wine then substitute it with chicken or vegetable stock/broth.
Cook like a Bong http://bengalicuisine.net/

 

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp Scampi

 

Kachumber – Spicy Indian Salad

 

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I grew up eating salad as a side with spicy Indian food. Be that dum alu or Chittagong chicken, salads were always on the side line. But coming here, and living in the US for almost 4 years now, the take on salad has almost changed, from being a side dish salad has now turned into a meal. Over the years I have started liking the abundance of greens in my salad (read loads of spinach, arugula and how can I forget iceberg lettuce), but when it comes to touching your roots a medley of cucumber, tomatoes and onion always seals the deal.

Mexican pico de gallo comes very close to this garden fresh North Indian green salad, but the vegetables are cut in a little larger size and when its Indian it has to spicier. Generally, cucumber, onions and tomatoes are the main ingredients in this salad, but tamarind is also mixed sometimes to give it a more tangy taste. And, if you want, you can also add a portion of yogurt to make dahi raita.

 

Kachumber

 

 

Kachumber
Yields 1
Print
Prep Time
7 min
Prep Time
7 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 medium cucumbers
  2. 2 tomatoes
  3. 1 medium onion
  4. 2 Thai green chili
  5. 2-3 sprigs of cilantro
  6. 1 teaspoon lime juice
  7. Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Chop the cucumber, tomatoes and onion to bite size pieces. While doing so, scoop out the seeds from the cucumber and tomatoes with a spoon
  2. Slice the green chili and coarsely chop the cilantro leaves, leave the stalks behind
  3. Mix everything together in a glass bowl, sprinkle with salt and lime juice. Mix and serve with your choice of spicy curry
Notes
  1. The quantity of ingredients depends entirely on you, it doesn't matter if you use 3 cucumbers instead of 4, if it tastes good to you, that's what counts.
Cook like a Bong http://bengalicuisine.net/

Kachumber

 

Strawberries and Cream Cheese French Roll Up Toast

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I am a big proponent of breakfast. I love to pamper myself with large lavish breakfast, so whenever I travel my first criterion to choose a hotel is they have a good breakfast bar. My choice for breakfast always include bread and eggs and when they come together there nothing stopping me. Be it the humble bread butter with a side of poached eggs or the Indian style spicy French toast – I love them all. So, when I saw this photo on Pinterest for a French toast roll up, I just had to have it.

I used cream cheese and strawberries for the filling, but to say the least, the options are unending. You can try it with cream cheese and chocolate chips, or nutella and raspberries or the American favorite peanut butter and jam.

Try out these easy to make French roll ups and comment on what you used for the filling.

French Roll Up

 

Strawberries and Cream Cheese French Roll Up Toast
Serves 2
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 large sandwich bread
  2. 2 large eggs
  3. 4-5 strawberries, hulled and cut to bite size pieces
  4. 6 tablespoon cream cheese
  5. 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  6. ½ cup refined sugar
  7. Cooking spray for frying
Instructions
  1. Take the crust out of the breads, and flatten them with a rolling pin. Beat the eggs in a spread out bowl
  2. To one side of the bread spread the cream cheese and top it with a good amount of strawberries
  3. Mix the cinnamon powder with the sugar and spread on a plate. Spray the cooking oil on a frying pan
  4. Roll the bread, and dip in the beaten eggs and place the rolled up bread on the frying pan.
  5. Fry the roll up till they are golden brown on all sides, roll on the cinnamon sugar and serve immediately
Cook like a Bong http://bengalicuisine.net/

Cream cheese and Strawberries French Roll Up

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