Sandesh Pudding

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Subho Bijaya to all of you. The travelling, spending time with family and flying back to the US had its own toll. 4 days after we came back from our India trip and we are still unpacking things, the worst part being I just can’t remember where I kept what. So, posting a nice recipe for the special occasion was almost impossible for me.

Ishita Saha of IshitaUnblogged came to my rescue.  Ishita is just one year into the blogging world and she has marked her path in the cooking world. Ishita was very kind to be our guest blogger and share the wonderful fusion recipe of Sandesh Pudding with us. Read more to learn about Ishita, her love for cooking, her blogging world and her recipe in her own words.

My Blog just turned one! Not a very long journey but it has definitely been a momentous one – from making some good bloggers friends down the way, getting featured in BBC Good Food Magazine, making my favourite Rasgulla for a Ramadan special episode in the local TV channel to having loads of love from a lot of foodies the world over – the blogging journey of this Bong blogger has been quite fulfilling. And throughout the journey there has been a lot of introspection – how can I transcend myself from being a regional blogger to being an international one? Well, I haven’t. Everybody still knows me as the Bong Blogger and the biggest hit that my posts have had are when I have written aboutPhuchka or traditional Bangla Khabar!

But long before my blogging journey began my association with Cook Like a Bong started just like any other Bengali who’s starting their lives outside the comfort zones of their parents’ home… either because of work or because of marriage. Most Bengali girls (most) grow up with not much knowledge of cooking and the Porashuno or studying becoming the sole objective. ‘Jao to porashuno koro giye, rannaghor-e aar shomoy noshto korte obe na/Go and study, don’t have to waste time in the kitchen’ being the constant reminders from quintessentially Bong parents. So what do these cooking-illiterate people do once they have to set up their own homes and make their own meals? They make sites like Sudeshna’s their sole reference point!

Funnily when I made the Rasgullas for the local TV channel, I was almost mugging up the Rasgulla Recipe from where else? But, Cook Like a Bong! The least I can do for all the meals that I have cooked successfully following these recipes apart from saying A BIG THANK YOU is to give back one recipe to Sudeshna!

But what kind of recipe shall I contribute to? Drinks, Curries, Chutneys, Sweets – everything seems to be here anyway. Before the summer hit us, Sudeshna suggested that I could perhaps do a cool summer drink. But whatever I thought of seems to have been here. Summer turned into Monsoons and now the Autumns too seem to be turning into Winter. Bengalis are still greeting each other Subho Bijoya – probably the exchange of festive greetings can continue till Kali Pujo and Diwali. This is also the time to visit family & friends with a box of sweets. Hence my virtual treat of a fusion Bengali Sweet – the Shondesh Pudding to all those who aspire to Cook Like A Bong!

Shondesh is perhaps one of the most popular and unique of Bengali Sweets made with channa/paneer/Indian cottage cheese. Most Bengali sweet shops outside Bengal have managed to dole out a wide variety of Bengali Sweets, but Shondesh! What could be the probable reason, I’m not too sure. It’s probably the simplicity of the recipe of Shondesh – mixing pure sweetened Channa with other aromatic garnishing – that makes it difficult to replicate!

Again, Caramel Pudding though originally transported from the European shores has entered the Indian kitchens in many parts of India and has become popular among the ParsisMangaloreans and Anglo-Indians. There are many regional variations of the Caramel Pudding in many parts of the world (read here).

Pudding for me has many memories associated with it. Every-time my brother and I, we wanted something fancy, our Mum would stir up a Caramel Pudding in a jiffy. And we would be so thrilled and happy with our special treat. Unfortunately, my girls don’t enjoy the simple Caramel Pudding so much as we did in our childhood. Neither do they like the dry taste of Shondesh. But when I conjure the two of them together in this so called Shondesh Pudding with hundreds-and-thousands sprinkled on top, I see the same thrill and excitement in their eyes as we had in ours – many decades back.

This is perhaps the very essence of cooking – everything comes in a full circle. recipes are passed on from one generation to another and modified and modernized in the way, incorporating the trendy bits and skimming the non-trendy ones… so pudding from one continent gets fused with Shondesh from another continent and becomes a Bengali fusion dessert – Shondesh Pudding for the new generation of Bongs!

Sandesh Pudding

Dessert, Indian, Pudding, Bengali dessert, Sandesh
Cooks in    Serves 8-10
  • Ingredients for Pudding
  • Milk, full cream - 1lt
  • Eggs - 5
  • Sugar - 1 cup
  • Channa/Paneer, crumbled - 300gm
  • Vanilla Essence - 1 tsp
  • Cardamom, crushed into powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Cinnamon, crushed into powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Ingredients for Caramel Sauce
  • Sugar - 1/4 Cup
  • Heat 1/4 cup of sugar with 1 tsp of water in a pan to melt it. Pour the caramelized sugar into a flat round mold and let it cool. Mix the Eggs, Sugar in a bowl and blend it till the sugar dissolves. Add the milk, cardamom powder, cinnamon powder and vanilla essence to the mixture and blend it further till the mixture is smooth
  • Add half the crumbled channa/ paneer into the mixture and stir it in softly so that the paneer crumbles don\'t turn into fine pieces
  • Pour the mixture onto the glass bowl containing the caramelized sugar
  • Pour the remaining half of the crumbled chenna/ paneer on top of the mixture so that the chenna layer can form a base once the pudding is turned upside down
  • Steam it either by baking or using a pressure cooker (it should take about 30 minutes in the latter)
  • If you are baking
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F or 180 C
  • Place the mold with the mixture in a large, deep baking pan. Pour hot water into the baking pan till it is about 1\" below the rim of the mold
  • Bake it for 45 minutes (you can test whether the pudding is done by inserting a toothpick in the center of the pudding. If it comes out clean it means that the pudding is done)
  • Serving
  • Place a plate over the mold and turn the pudding gently onto the plate. The caramel side should be up. Sprinkle the hundreds-and-thousands
  • Serve the sandesh pudding chilled as you cut them into individual pieces. Savor the caramel sauce pouring out!


Sprinkles (also called jimmies) are very small pieces of sugar strands used as a decoration on cupcakes, cookies, doughnuts, ice cream, frozen yogurt, and puddings. Hundreds-and-thousands pep up a dessert in a very novel way – it adds lot of childish spunk! These sugar-loaded pieces could be a subject by itself as you can read here.

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Guest Post- Chilled Coconut and Melon Soup with Ginger

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Its been a long since we had a guest post on our blog. This post is from a very dear friend, Soma who blogs at eCurry. She had prepared this chilled and refreshing soup from the cantaloupe grown in her own backyard. Know ore about it in her own words:

The chilled soup is perfect for entertaining, incredibly refreshing and quite simple to make.

I have a feeling that we have left the gnarling sun and the summer heat behind us. The shriveled up grass has finally started to look green and when they are bathed in the morning sun, they are prettier than ever. This time of the year is actually the most beautiful time in Texas. The struggle with the sun has come to an end. We have had a few showers. The early morning hours are just breathtakingly beautiful, filled with shadows and the pink in the sky and if we are lucky, I can see the few lavender stalks swaying in the cool pleasant breeze. I usually wait to embrace this time with open arms. It is that time of the year when I draw energy from the dawn to make myself go through the day.

The little green patch at the back yard surprised us with a few cantaloupes when I had thought we had lost all the squash and melons to the nasty bugs. Tucked in one corner, I saw this one (and a couple more after this) hanging down from the fence!

Delights of life are in little things. The home grown cantaloupes are half the size of the store bought ones; just the perfect size to serve the four of us with no leftovers. A couple of years back when we had these tiny cantaloupes, we got obsessed with these fruit filled melon bowls. Every single cantaloupe was destined to be scooped out to make Melon Fruit Bowl.

And this year we are into to chilled soups and juice.

This summer soup is really easy to make. All you would need to do is blend everything together and chill. If you have been reading my recipes, you would know I have an obsession with ginger. It finds a place in almost every recipe in my kitchen, including many desserts, and this was no different. I love the way it immediately elevates the flavors with a zing.

Although the mixture keeps in the refrigerator for a couple of days, it’s best within a couple of hours of making it. And since everything comes together so quickly, it’s never much of a hassle to prepare right before a meal, which leaves it plenty of time to cool before you’re ready to eat. It is a lovely way to clean the palate after any meal.

Chilled Coconut and Melon Soup with a hint of Ginger

Dinner, Indian, Cantaloupe recipe, Chilled soup, Summer coolers
Cooks in    Serves 4
  • 2 cup ripe juicy melon (cantaloupe/honey dew or the kind; you may use combine different kinds), chopped
  • 3/4 – 1 cup light coconut milk
  • sugar/honey/agave nectar, to taste (you will need this if melons are not sweet enough. Omit if not needed)
  • 2 tablespoon fresh (or frozen) grated coconut
  • 1.5 teaspoon fresh lime juice, or to taste
  • fresh refreshing herbs like mint/lemon thyme/any kind you like
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger juice (grate fresh ginger and squeeze out the juice) or 1.5 tablespoon chopped candied ginger (adjust amount to taste)
  • ice cubes
  • a couple of tablespoon finely chopped melons to garnish
  • Combine ice, coconut milk, chopped melons (other than those for garnish), grated coconut, sweetener, ginger juice/candied ginger, lemon juice and some of the fresh herbs and blend until smooth.
  • If needed, chill the soup.
  • When ready to serve, divide in serving bowls, and garnish with chopped melons and more herbs.
  • Enjoy the summer!

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Bhalobashar Tilmil – Soya Cake Appetizers

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Arranging for a party this weekend and searching for the best appetizer to go with your favourite drink – try these soya cake nuggets. The juicy sweet and spicy nuggets will definitely be the star of your next party.

Our guest author Chndrani Chakraborty like to call her Bhalobashar tilmil. These soya cake nuggets are easy to prepare and is ready in less than 2 minutes. Chandrani is a homemaker who stays in Poland. She uses the ready-to-cook soya cakes, KOTLETY SOJOWE. If you don’t find these in your neighbourhood grocery store you can also try using Nutrela High Protein Soya Chunks.

Soya Cake Appetizer

Appetizer, Indian, Soya bean cakes, Soya bean recipe, Soya recipe, Indian appetizer
Cooks in    Serves 4
  • Soya cakes 1 pack (12pcs)
  • 2 tablespoon Honey
  • 2 table spoon Sesame (til)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • ½ inch chopped ginger
  • 2 cups of loose clean cilantro
  • 1 green chili (4/5 optional as much hot you like)
  • 2 cups oil for frying
  • Mandarin juice syrup or Orange syrup 1 cup
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour for batter
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 2 tablespoon hot water
  • 4 sugar cube size butter (approx 1 table spoon)
  • Cook soya cakes in salt water for 10 min in high flame, when it becomes tender remove from water, squeeze Soya cakes to remove extra water by pressing with your palm, cut horizontally 1 inch length
  • In bowl take 1/2 cup all-purpose flour add water, salt and garam masala powder; make a thick batter
  • In a frying pan heat the oil & dip soya slices in batter and fry till it turns golden, take out and drain the extra oil using a kitchen towel
  • In another pan heat 1 tablespoon butter then add sesame seeds, chopped garlic and ginger; after 2min frying add cilantro, chili paste, now add honey and 2 tablespoon hot water. Stir well.
  • Add fried nugget cake slices and mix it with the spices. Finally before taking out from pan add Mandarine syrup toss a little to absorb syrup well. Take out from the pan& serve immediately garnished with chopped cilantro

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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
  • 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
  • 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.

We have changed the look of the post, let us know if you like this better than the old version.

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Aloo Achari/ Potatoes Sauteed in Pickle

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Have you ever watched that scene from Dhanni Meye, an old Black and White Bengali movie starring Jaya Bachchan, then Bhaduri. In the middle of the hot and humid afternoon, this young bride with all her zeal to steal pickles climbs up the asbestos roof and picks up her favorite mango pickle from the jar, set in the sun for sterilizing. On seeing this, her mother-in-law shouts at her, but the young girl continues eating the pickle unaware of anything going around her.

This might have been just a scene from some almost forgotten Bengali movie, but I’m sure almost everybody has tried stealing pickle from the jar. Raw mango, lemon, mixed vegetable and the count goes on for the number of pickles you can get in the market. My grandmom always liked preparing her pickle rather than buying from some grocery store. Now, when I am thousands of miles away from home my exposures to pickles are limited to “Mother’s” or the “Homemade” brands.

Pickles had always been a compliment to go along with dal and fries  or even with saag bhaja. Other than enhancing the taste, pickles are nutritionally beneficial as they contain high amounts of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid), a very good antioxidant and are also high in iron, potassium and manganese. It is also considered as a good source of dietary fibers.

Suchismita, our guest for today has sent us a tasty and tangy recipe of achari alu – alu sautéed in achar/ pickle. If you are a potato hater, then you can replace it with paneer/ cottage cheese.

Suchismita, was born and brought up in Kolkata. Now, she has shifted to USA. Her passion for food and photography has made her to take the toll and explore the various combinations of ingredients. If you are in US or UK and searching for that taste in achar, then try out the various pickles in Amazon , they are pretty good or even the nearby Indian store. Check for another guest post (oler kofta) from Suchismita.

Serves 4


  • 4 large potatoes cut to bite size pieces
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon nigella/kalonji/ kalo jeera
  • 2-3 dry chilies
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 3 tablespoons of pickle of your choice
  • 2 tablespoon vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sugar


  • Boil the potatoes till half done, peel off and keep aside
  • Heat oil in a frying pan and toss the potatoes till lightly brown. Keep aside
  • Throw in nigella, dry chilies, cumin
  • As the spices start sputtering add the chopped onion and sauté till the onions turn pinkish in color
  • Drop in the potatoes along with pickle
  • Pour in the vinegar as you can smell the aroma of the pickle and spices coming out
  • Add sugar and pour in little water to let the potatoes take in the spices
  • Cook covered till the potatoes get soft


Hot Tips – If you are replacing paneer with potatoes then cut the paneer in 1” cubes, slightly fry the pieces and drop them in salted warm water so that the paneer gets soft and the salt gets inside the paneer cubes. You can also try it with baby potatoes.


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Almond Yogurt Cupcakes with a Mango Surprise Centre

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Sohini, the new lady in the B(log)-town and the proud owner of the catering company Cassia Bark Ltd. in Cambridge, U.K. She is our guest blogger today. Sohini had prepared these wonderful cup-cakes for Father’s Day and we just thought of sharing this yummy recipe with you all.

Makes 12-14 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

  • Natural Yogurt – 150 ml
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 140g plain or self-rising flour
  • 175g unsalted butter
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Mango Jam – ½  teaspoon for each cupcake (you can replace it with any other jam of your choice)

For the Icing:

I used Betty Crocker readymade Vanilla Butter Cream Icing.


For the Cupcakes:

  • Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases and heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.
  • In a jug, mix the yogurt, eggs and vanilla extract. Put the dry ingredients, plus a pinch of salt and mix well.
  • Add the yogurt mix and melted butter, and quickly fold in with a spatula or metal spoon – you don’t have to whisk just fold everything nicely together until mixed well. Spoon and fill 2/3 of the cases. Add ½ a teaspoon of Mango Jam in each one in the center and fill the rest of the case with the cake batter again.  Bake for 18-20 mins or until golden, risen and springy to the touch. Insert a skewer. The cakes are done if it comes out clean.
  • Cool for a few mins, and then lift the cakes onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Now scoop the icing into a piping bag and use your favorite nozzle to decorate. Or you can just spoon a little bit of icing on each cake and spread it out evenly with the spoon. Sprinkle with a few chocolate chips. You can also decorate with some cupcake toppers.

Hot Tips – Sohini had used the readymade icing, you can also prepare your own, just follow these simple steps:


  • 140g butter, softened
  • 280g Icing Sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract


  • Beat the butter in a large bowl with a hand held electric whisk until soft. Add half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
  • Add the remaining icing sugar and one tablespoon of the milk and beat the mixture until creamy and smooth.
  • Beat in the milk, if necessary, to loosen the mixture. Stir in the food coloring until well combined. Add a few drops of the food color of your choice. I used Blue as I made these for Father’s Day.

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Dhaka Style Doi Bhaat/ Curd Rice

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My grandparents hail from Chittagong (my paternal granddad) and Barishal (my maternal granddad). They both have shifted to Kolkata during partition. But, both the families could never give off the style of cooking, that’s the Bangal style of cooking food. My mom, who learnt how to cook from her mom, has passed on her culinary skills (at least a portion) to me. So, whenever I cook, whatever I cook – the influence of Bangladesh is always there – be it the Chittagong special begun marichut or the lau khosha chhechki from Barishal or even the Mexican style fried rice, which I couldn’t keep out without the Bengali twist.

Even though Bangladesh seems to be very small country in the world map, the cuisine is diverse. Every state you visit in Bangladesh has a different style of cooking. A simple potato curry will taste different when you travel from Dhaka to Kumilla.

So, when Chandrima Guha posted a photo of Dhaka style doi bhaat, I just couldn’t help myself but request her to have it as a guest post in Cook Like a Bong. Dhaka cuisine is special for the non-vegetarian dishes from chicken to fish and from beef to lamb – cooked in rich spicy gravy. Chandrima says, she has learnt cooking from her mom, grand mom, mom-in-law & aunt-in-law. Of the many hundreds of popular non-vegetarian dishes so popular, this not so popular yet century old simple vegetarian dish from Dhaka is sure to steal the show. The Dhaka style Doi Bhaat, Chandrima learnt from her granny. This no spicy pulao is much different from the South Indian curd rice. This vegan rice is cooked with kalonji (nigella/ kalo jeera) with the flavoring agent as gondhoraj lebu.

Though the smell of gondhoraj can’t be replaced, as Anjan Chatterjee, author of Mainland China Cook Book and the owner of Specialty Group of restaurants mentions in “Scent of Lime’, searching for the root of gondhoraj, but for those of you who have days to go before you reach the shores of Bengal, you can use Khafir lime or Thai lime in place of gondhoraj lebu.


  • 500 gram Gobindobhog atop chaal
  • 3 big Gondhoraj lebu,
  • 10 Gondhoraj lebu leaves(optional)
  • 4 green chilies
  • 2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon yoghurt
  • 2 tablespoon refined oil or ghee
  • Finely chopped coriander leaves
  • ½  teaspoon nigella
  • Salt to taste


  • Cook rice, spread on a flat utensil & cool it.
  • Mix yoghurt, sugar, salt, 2 chilies, Gondhoraj lebu juice, Gondhoraj lebu pieces (squeezed pieces) and gondhoraj lebu leaves (if available) with rice.
  • Keep aside for at least an hour.
  • Take out gondhoraj lebu pieces & leaves from rice just before cooking.
  • Heat oil or ghee in a wok or non-stick pan.
  • Add nigella & 2 green chilies.
  • Mix the rice & fry for 10 minutes on medium flame.
  • Sprinkle 1 teaspoon ghee(if cooked in oil) & coriander leaves.
  • Take out from flame & serve hot.

Hot Tips – Both lime and yogurt is very good for keeping yourself cool during the summer heat.

Don’t forget to participate in the Father’s Day event happening at Cook Like a Bong. The last date of submission of all your entries is 15th June, 2011. You can send as many entries as you want . Send in your dad’s favorite recipes, your stories about your father, and any gift ideas for the day, or just send a photo of yours with your father – we’ll publish here on Father’s Day.

And, for the Father’s loving child there will be a surprise gift announced for the best entry. So, send your entries quickly and enroll yourself to get a great gift from Cook Like a Bong.


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Guest Post – Five Reasons to Learn to Cook Bengali Food

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When Benjamin, who happens to be a content curator representing mailed us that he wanted to write a guest post for us, we were much overjoyed. And, guess what he wrote about, its not another Bengali recipe but rather the basic reason for thousands of readers to visit us – the reasons to learn to cook Bengali food. Do write to us about your thoughts on why you want to Cook Like a Bong.

If you haven’t spent a lot of time taking classes at one of the many cooking schools found online, you may not have had the opportunity to experience the wonder that is Bengali cuisine. Bengali food comes from Bengal, a region in Southeast Asia, which includes parts of India and Bangladesh. This cuisine often features dishes comprised of a wide range of seafood, legumes and rice, which are complemented with a multitude of freshly prepared vegetables and zesty spices. While Bengali food may appear to be challenging to prepare, in actually it is quite easy. Better yet, the numerous fresh ingredients used in Bengali food also make most meals extremely healthy, so not only will your taste buds thank you for preparing this delicious food, but the rest of your body will as well.

Oh, my, it’s tasty!

One of the many benefits of this cuisine is that it will wake up your taste buds. Bengali cooks rely primarily on fresh seafood and the pick of the harvest in vegetables when preparing their meals. As such, Bengali cuisine tastes much fresher than canned or over-processed foods. The innovative use of spice also transforms fish, vegetable and legume dishes into a savory adventure. It’s been rumored that Bengalis are maybe the most passionate of food lovers in the Indian subcontinent, and a delicious and creative meal is a key part of this region’s culture.

Healthy is as healthy cooks…

Bengalis frequently utilize steaming and stir-fry techniques in preparing their food, which contributes to the overall healthy aspect of this cuisine. The Bengali mainstay of fish is a low-calorie, high-protein food. Fish also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which are helpful in developing eye and brain tissue and key to preventing heart disease. The lentil is another nutritional powerhouse and is generally prepared daily in the dish of dal. Lentils are a great source of low fat protein, and provide a large amount of folic acid, iron and soluble fiber. Likewise, dal eaten in combination with rice provides a complete serving of protein, important for building and repairing muscle tissue. Other common ingredients found in Bengali cooking include mango, garlic, onion, ginger and turmeric, which also have a variety of health benefits.

How much did you say lentils cost?

Bengali cuisine, as a whole, is not only a healthy, but also an inexpensive way to eat. All you need to create a delicious Bengali are a few spice staples; a bag of rice, a bag of lentils, a bottle of cooking oil and a couple of frozen fish fillets. Additionally, you might want to pick up some tomatoes or a mango or two. However, that is about all you need to create a great meal. All that taste, and all that nutrition, is available for minimum cash outlay.

If you can boil water, you can make a dal

While creating a Bengali meal may sound complicated, most recipes require little more than knowing how to chop ingredients and boil liquids. Chances are if you can boil water, you can also make rice. Some recipes also call for meats and vegetables to be stir-fried, but picking up this isn’t too tricky either. Similarly, as long as you understand the basics of steaming foods, you will be able to create many of these exotic tastes in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Faster than a flight to Calcutta!

The best part about learning to cook these meals on your own is that you can bring the striking beauty of Bengali cuisine to your own table. Imagine serving a Bengali-style meal to your family or guests, with a large serving of rice flanked by smaller bowls of dal, fish, vegetables, chutney and dessert. You might also want to offer whole green chilies, lime wedges as well as some pickles with the rice. By simply preparing and experimenting with the varying foodstuffs of other cultures, you can begin to see the world from another vantage point. That journey can be the most delicious of all.

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Guest Post – Doi Ilish

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We at Cook Like a Bong love to see that our readers are so eager to share our recipes and so every month you try to include a couple of guest posts to our blog. This guest post is shared by a very nice Bengali couple – Anindita and Shantanu.

Asked to describe their passion for food, they said – “Both of us love to eat and also share the passion of cooking. We spent some good quality time in the kitchen, experimenting and trying many different recipes. Our blog name ‘Bhalo Khabo’ says it all ‘Let’s cook something good to eat‘.


  • Ilish or Hilsa
  • ½  cup Yogurt
  • 2-3 tbsp Mustard Paste
  • ½  tsp Turmeric Powder
  • Mustard Oil  (Preferred, otherwise any other oil would even do)
  • ½  tsp Kalo Jeera (Kalonji Seeds)
  • 3-4 Green Chillies
  • Chopped Cilantro


  • Clean the hilsa pieces and pat dry them. Season them with salt and turmeric powder.
  • Now heat Mustard Oil in a wok, and slowly put the fish pieces one by one and fry them lightly
  • In a bowl mix the yogurt and the mustard paste, add the turmeric powder. Remove the fish pieces after they are fried and keep the oil aside. (We Bengali’s love this oil with plain rice.)
  • Add some fresh oil to the wok and temper with the Kalo Jeera seeds and let them splutter.
  • Turn the heat to low and add the yogurt and mustard paste and  the green chillies.
  • As the oil starts separating, add the fish, salt and a cup of water, cover and cook for sometime. Serve with hot Basmati Rice.
  • Garnish with a few drops of fresh mustard oil and chopped cilantro and enjoy the Bengali Delicacy.

Further Reading – Ilish Bhapa

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Beverages your Bengali taste buds would savor

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Hope you all have made plans for welcoming the New Year, and not to forget a whole new decade. Our journey at Cook Like a Bong started 3 years back. We like to thank all our readers for their wonderful support through out. We hope that we’ll receive more readers and more Bong food lovers and foodies in the years to come. To end with a post for this year, here’s a guest post from Joy Paley.

Joy Paley is a science, technology, and health writer from Berkeley, California. When she’s not reading about the latest medical research, you can find her doing yoga, cooking, or working on a crafty project. She is a guest blogger for My Dog Ate My Blog and writes on online degrees for Guide to Online Schools.

Best of Bengali Beverages

The Bengal region of India offers some seriously delicious smoothies, iced, and hot drinks. These can be a great pick-me-up between meals, or an interesting and sophisticated offering at your next party. The best part? These treats are chock full of nutrients that make them both healthful and tasty.

Papaya Shakes

These are great because their ingredients are so simple: they’re usually just a blend of papaya, mint, and water, with some lemon and honey for flavor. In some places you can find them with a little spice, courtesy of black pepper powder. And, papayas are rich in antioxidants that help fight free radicals, which can cause cancer and make you age faster. Papayas are also full of potassium, fiber, and folate.

Photo Courtesy – Nithya of 4th Sense Cooking

Watermelon Juice

It’s hard to find a good version of this juice in the store, but it’s easy to prepare at home. All you need is a ripe watermelon and a juicer. Make your watermelon juice, add a little mint juice, lemon juice, sugar, and mint leaves for garnish. Wait until it’s ice cold to drink. Watermelon is high in vitamin C and vitamin A, and low in calories.


This spiced drink is probably something you haven’t tried before, unless you’re familiar with Bengali beverages. It’s made by adding cumin powder, sugar, salt, chat masala, and lemon juice to water, and chilling in the refrigerator. Cumin is a cancer-preventing antioxidant that also helps detoxify the liver.

Photo Courtesy – Sabah in Action

Hot Cocoa

The ingredients here are similar to hot cocoa you may have encountered before, but the preparation is different. Cocoa powder and salt are combined to form a paste, diluted with cold water, and boiled. Then milk and sugar are added. The result is a delicious way to stay warm. Plus, cocoa contains a wide array of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant compound that fights signs of aging in your skin and other organs.

Ginger Tea

You’ve probably got the essential ingredients to make this yummy tea already in your kitchen. It’s made by combining a crushed piece of ginger, aniseed, and tea leaves in boiling water. After boiling for a few minutes, you strain out the spices, and add sugar and milk to taste. Ginger is a great home remedy for joint and muscle pain, nausea, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Photo Courtesy – Thai Dessert

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Guest Post: Rasogolla (Rasgulla)

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Once upon a time there lived a Bengali who loved sweets. Does it seem to be starting of some fairy tale from Thakurmar Jhuli? I’m not trying to tell you any stories here, but I’m sure if you want to share your thoughts for Bengali and our love for sweets, I can very well start like this.  Sweets in Bengali diet seem to be indispensible. Be it a piece of sandesh and a spoonful of misti doi at the end of the meal or the huge platter of sweets for any social ceremonies. Bengalis can not be complete without sweets.

When we thought of conducting a poll at Cook Like a Bong FaceBook page on which is the best Sweet shop in Kolkata, we actually couldn’t come to a conclusion. With so many comments (of course thanks to all the sweet loving enthusiasts for their valuable comments), but each had a name for a different shop. Starting from Nakur, Bhim Nag and Putiram to Ganguram, Sen Mahashay, Mithai and many more.

Even though these days’ people are calorie conscious and stay away from gorging on those extra calories, but still can you just think of letting go a chance to bite on some white and mushy rasgulla (rasogolla)?

Rasgullas are soft white balls made with farmer’s cheese (chana) dipped in sugar syrup.  Khirmohon, as it was earlier called in Orissa (the actual birth place of this sweet elixir), rasgulla first appeared in the sweets shops of Kolkata during the mid of 19th century. Even though controversies prevail, Nabin Das is said to be the “Rasogolla Columbus” of Bengal who introduced this sweet to the residents of Bengal. Rasgulla was in vogue in Orissa since centuries, but it gained popularity in Bengal and has now become one of the most sought after sweets. Be it presented in a clay pot (handi) or in cans – rasogolla remains in the heart of all Bengalis and I just can’t forget that song “Ami Kolkatar rasogolla….”. If you are not satisfied with only rasogolla, then you can have a taste of a derivative of this Bengali sweet, rasomalai also called rasogolla payes.

If you are just craving to have some of these then here’s the recipe for this coveted Bengali dessert from a special guest, Sohini Biswas. Sohini is a regular contributor to the Cook Like a Bong Facebook page and we thought of publishing this Bengali sweet recipe from her kitchen.


For the Gollas:

2 litre of Full Fat Cow’s Milk (will make about 24 Rosogollas)
Juice of 2 limes
1 teaspoon Semolina/Sooji
1 tablespoon Plain Flour/Maida
1 teaspoon Sugar
Muslin Cloth/Fine strainer

For the Sugar Syrup:

5 cups Water
3 – 4 cups Granulated Sugar (depending on whether u have a sweet tooth or not!)
½ teaspoon Crushed Green Cardamom
2 teaspoon Rose water
1 small pinch Saffron


For the Gollas:

  • Heat the milk in a deep bottomed sauce pan and bring to boil.
  • Add the lemon juice slowly to curdle the milk.
  • Once the milk is fully curdled and the green whey has been released. Place the muslin cloth on a strainer and slowly drain the whey out.
  • Keep the paneer under cool running water for a few seconds (this will remove any smell of lime).
  • Tie the ends of the cloth and hang for an hour. In a large bowl start kneading the paneer.
  • Add the semolina and flour and knead for about 5-10 mins till the dough is soft and smooth.
  • Divide into equal sized round smooth balls (keep an eye on the size of the balls as they will get bigger-about double the original size!!). Make sure the balls are crack free.

For the Syrup and the Rosogollas:

  • Heat water and sugar in a wide mouth stock pot.
  • Add the rose water and cardamom powder after the water starts boiling and the sugar is dissolved.
  • Lower the heat and add the balls one at a time.
  • Cover the pot and cook on lowest flame for about 40-45 mins.
  • Remove lid and add the saffron strands and cook for another 5 mins.
  • Take the pan off heat and let it sit for 5 mins. Garnish with roughly chopped pistachios and serve warm.
    Can be refridgerated upto 5 days in an airtight container.

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Guest Post – Prawns with Mustard and Coconut Paste

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We are very happy to publish a mouth watering recipe from our new guest, Pamela Mazumder. Pamela had posted the chingri maach with shorshe naarkel bata recipe at the Cook Like a Bong FaceBook fanpage. We were so happy to find such a wonderful recipe that we decided on publishing this post in our site. Thanks Pamela for sharing this recipe.
We have had couple of other guest posts in our blog. If you are interested in sharing your recipes please do mail us.


  • Prawns (Chingri Maach): 8-10 large ones (shelled, cleaned properly with the head and tail intact)
  • Coconut scrapped (Narkel kora): 3-4tsp
  • Mustard seeds (Sarse dana): 5-6tbsps
  • Green chilies (Kancha lanka): 8-10
  • Turmeric powder (Halud guro): A pinch
  • Mustard oil (Sarser tel)
  • Salt to taste


  • make a paste of the coconut, mustard seeds and 5green chilies
  • Take the prawns in a bowl and add the paste to it
  • Now pour a generous amount of mustard oil and salt to taste and mix well
  • Transfer the marinated prawns into an oven proof bowl and allow it to cook in a microwave oven for 20-25 mins at 180′ Celsius
  • Serve hot garnished with slit green chilies and with steamed rice.

Hot Tips- It is very important to take out the vein from the back of the prawns, to know how to de-vein the prawns have a look at this video.

Further Reading – Bhapa chingri, Chingrir Malaikari

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Guest Post – Beguni

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Ask any Bengali what adda means, the answer will be unanimously a lazy evening, a large bowl of puffed rice and plate full of beguni. If you have never tested or tasted this pleasure, then you should do this evening. I am sure that the begunis bring out loads of more lost stories from your heart than you really intend to spill :).

When I had posted a little note on the Cook Like a Bong Facebook fanpage requesting for entries as guest posts in our blog, Arundhuti from My Saffron Kitchen was the first to reply. I was more than happy to accept this offer from such a dear friend. Arundhuti is an excellent person and you can dig into her blog to have great ideas for your next meal.

A darling ally and a plate full of begunis, what more can I wish. Here’s the quick and easy recipe of beguni straight from Arundhuti’s kitchen.

Deep fried aubergine fritters


  • Eggplants (baingan) – 1 large, cut into thin slices
  • Gram flour – 1 cup
  • Refined flour – 1/4 cup
  • Onion seeds – 1 tsp.
  • Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp.
  • Baking soda – 1/2 tsp.
  • Salt as per taste
  • Enough water to make a thick batter
  • Oil for frying


  • Mix together the gramflour, refined flour, onions seeds, red chilli powder, baking soda, salt and water.
  • Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan. Lower the heat.
  • Dip the eggplant pieces in the batter and then fry in hot oil till they are cooked and golden brown in colour.
  • Drian excess oil and serve hot.

Read more at Arundhuti’s blog.

Further readings – Lotiya Vada, Macher dimer Vada (Roe fritters)

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Guest Post: Strawberry Chutney

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With the end semester examinations knocking at the door steps, and also because I got a bit lazy I was unable to post for quite a long time now. Due to the Municipal elections in my state end of this month, my exams have been postponed and I’m back to blogging.

A few days back WaterBearer (as she likes to call her) sent me a mail with a wonderful yet simple recipe of strawberry chutney. As she writes in her mail, she learnt this preparation from her mother-in-law. If you are not Pepper Potts from Iron Man reading this post, I’m sure you love strawberries. You had posted another guest post from Soma, to read about that click here.

Here’s some facts about strawberries I didn’t know before I wrote this post:

  • Strawberries are very rich in Vitamin C and a cup of these red juicy berries provide more than a day’s requirement of ascorbic acid.
  • They are low in calories and so for the health conscious people indulge without that sinful brain
  • It’s very good for expecting mothers as 8 strawberries contain 20% of the folic acid required in your daily nutrition
  • Strawberries are said to reduce the risk of cancer and heart diseases

Now, am sure I would eat more strawberries than ever before. J


  • Strawberries: 6 pieces, chopped
  • White oil (Sada tel): ¼ spoon
  • Sugar (Chini): 2-3 tablespoons
  • Green chili (Kancha lanka): 1/ 2, chopped [optional]
  • Mustard seeds (Sarse dana): 10-12
  • Salt a pinch full


Heat the oil in a pan, add the mustard seed

  • Throw in the chopped strawberries. Cover the pan till the strawberries soften. Stir gently from time to time
  • Add the sugar, green chili and salt
  • Stir till it becomes a thick jelly like substance. Remove from flame.
  • Serve it on the side with rotis / parathas as a tangy chutney

As with most chutneys this one too can be stored in the refrigerator, so you can enjoy this rich and tangy preparation anytime you wish to.

If you like to send any recipes, please forward it to benaglicuisine[at]gmail[dot]com, preferably with one or more photos of the preparation. We would love to hear your suggestions and comments.

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Natun Alur Niramish Dum – Baby Potato Curry

This is a guest post by Soma Chowdhury. She is pursuing her MS from Louisiana State University. This post talks about a Bengali recipe, albeit with a twist from Soma. We thank her for the contributing here. Today being International Women’s Day, we dedicate today’s post to all our women readers.

Men, your turn will come too. 🙂

Women's Day

Women's Day

In the United States, almost everything is available throughout the year. Very few things are seasonal. I remember my Mom waiting for winter when she had a greater choice of vegetables to cook.

Back in India, winter is so colorful with lots of greens, oranges, reds and many more. The cauliflowers, cabbages, new baby potatoes, carrots, ripe-juicy oranges used to taste extra good during winter. During my childhood all these were only ones available during winter in my small town (though you can find them in the vegetable market anytime of the year now but they don’t taste as fresh as the winter time).

I cooked new baby potatoes as a winter vegetable for the monthly mingle as I love these potatoes. They taste so good, even you can eat them boiled with only salt and pepper sprinkled on them. There are many recipes on dum aloo in India; I think every household has their own recipe.

My Mom cooks several kinds too. In Bengali culture, anything cooked with onion or garlic becomes “non-veg”, so there are a lot of recipes without them and they are considered to be “complete veg” or “niramish”. It might sound a little strange, but that’s how it is.

This is my own recipe, modified from my mom’s recipes. My mother used to cook “niramish alur dom” (vegetarian potato curry) on Saturdays (as we ate veg on every Saturday) or during some religious festivals. Hope you will like the humble yet tasty recipe. The spices are approximate, you can modify them according to your taste.

What you need:

  1. 2 lbs baby potato, boiled and peeled
  2. One big, ripe tomato chopped
  3. One/two tablespoon of yogurt (depending on how sour you want it)
  4. Ginger/cumin/coriander (GCC) paste two tablespoon
  5. Red chili powder (add according to taste)
  6. Salt
  7. Green peas (half a cup)
  8. Few green chilies
  9. Oil
  10. One teaspoon turmeric
  11. One teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  12. A pinch of garam masala (optional)
  13. A handful of cilantro leaves
  14. One cup of water

Natun Alur Dom

Natun Alur Dom

How to cook Natun Alur Dom

  1. Apply salt and turmeric powder to the cooked potatoes. Heat oil in a pan and fry the potatoes until the outside is a little brownish. Don’t overcook them, they will start breaking. Remove them from the oil.
  2. In the remaining oil, add the cumin seeds and let them splutter.
  3. Add the GCC paste, turmeric and chili powder, sauté for few minutes and then add the chopped tomatoes. Sauté until the tomatoes are completely mushy and the spice paste starts coming out of the pan.
  4. Add luke-warm water and salt and boil until the tomato loses its raw taste.
  5. Let the gravy thicken and then add the potatoes. Mix the potato with the gravy. Again, do not mix them vigorously, then might break.
  6. Add the green peas, garam masala and chopped cilantro.
  7. Cover for few minutes and serve hot with puri or chapattis. It tastes better the next day as the potatoes absorb the flavor from the gravy.

Further Reading: Potato recipes at Cook Like a Bong – Chal diye Alur Dom, Alu Posto, Alu Bhindi Bhaja

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