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

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

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

 

Kashmiri Dum Aloo

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Even though diabetes is spreading like a plague in India and especially in the Eastern part, we Bengalis are yet to leave the habit of using potatoes. Be that macher jhol-e aloo (potatoes in fish curry) or a simple aloo chokha (mashed potatoes with onion and pepper) potatoes are everywhere. Even though half my family have to take either insulin shots or pills, I couldn’t leave out potatoes from my diet. Potatoes are an integral part of Bengali cuisine.

A Sunday breakfast is never complete without a dose of luchi (fried Indian bread) and aloor dum. And, when it comes to talking about potatoes in Bengali recipes leaving out the oh-so-soft potatoes in mangsher jhol (goat curry) will be like blasphemy. Potatoes are everywhere in Bangali ranna, we like them in almost all our dishes and the aloo posto is a signature dish of Bengal.

Kashmiri Aloo Dum

While other Indian communities do not use potatoes so much, I came across this recipe in a very old cooking magazine long time back. I have searched for Kashmiri recipes for alu dum, but they were all very different. I main reason why I chose to use this old recipe was because they used poppy paste – one of my favorite spices in the kitchen. People from Kashmir are voracious meat eaters and owe them for inventing the famous rogan josh. There are also vegetarian recipes available in Kashmiri cuisine and this aloo dum is one of my favorites.

Kashmiri Dum Aloo

Indian, Side, Potato, Kashmiri cuisine, Kashmiri alu dum, Aloo dum, Kashmir recipe
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb baby potatoes
  • 1 medium onion made to paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1/4 cup poppy seed paste
  • 3 tablespoon cashew paste
  • 4 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Handful of soaked raisins (optional)
Directions
  • Wash the potatoes and boil with peeling the skin for 7 to 10 minutes or till they are almost cooked.
  • Drain the water and let them come to a temperature where you can touch. Peel the potatoes. Sprinle a pinch of turmeric and salt
  • Heat half the oil in a thick bottom vessel and lightly fry the potatoes till there are a few blisters on them.
  • Take out, and keep over a kitchen towel to drain the excess oil
  • Pour in the extra oil and heat. Add the onion paste and fry till the onion is fragrant and oil starts separating. Add all the powdered spices, ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute. Add the potatoes and toss well to coat the spices. Season with salt.
  • Cook while stirring in between till the spices change to a darker color. Pour water and cook till the potatoes are almost done.
  • Add the poppy and cashew paste and cook for 4 to 5 minutes more. Sprinkle the ground garam masala and the raisins if using. Serve hot with chapati or white rice.

Aloo dum

Hot Tips – You can also use large potatoes instead of the baby ones. Cut them in quarters and follow the same instructions. I have used ordinary chili powder to have a more spicier taste, but you can also use Kashmiri red chili powder. The Kashmiri chili powder gives an extra color to the recipe and unlike other peppers it is less hot.

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Chili Paneer

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Chinese recipes from China and that from India has a stark difference. Chinese dishes sold in Chinese restaurants in India are more Indian than Chinese, a blazing example of that is probably the gobi manchurian. A friend of mine who recently shifted from Bangalore to Shanghai went to this Chinese restaurant in Sanghai and even before he could take a look at the menu, he asked for the gobi manchurian, ok he said cauliflower manchurian. The waiter was kind of amazed and starttled. The closest thing he has heard to gobi manchurian is Manchurian people who come from Northern China, Manchuri. Even wikipedia expalains manchurian as a recipe from Indian cuisine and not Chinese..lol.

While in school, fried rice and chili chicken has been one of my favorite going-out-with-friends food. I love the spicy tangy taste of chili chicken. As I grew, the gravy from the chilli chicken vanished and the fried rice was replaced by alcohol. The dried chilli chicken is a wonderful side to go with any kind of alcohol – beer, vodka, whisky – you name it.

Chili Paneer

Now, with the growing number of vegetarian friends in my circle, I had to but replace the chicken from chili chicken with paneer. Paneer though loosely translated in English as cottage cheese, is not exactly cottage cheese. The cottage cheese you get in the supermarkets in US is more gooey and comes lumps. While the paneer is harder and more plain in texture. So, the only way to get paneer in US is to go to an Indian store. The non-melting farmer’s cheese or the German quark are a close relative to the Indian paneer.

Chili Paneer

Chinese, Side, Chili paneer, Chilli paneer, Paneer recipe, Indi chinese recipe
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 200gms paneer
  • ½ of a bell pepper, cut to inch size squares
  • 1 medium onion, cut to inch size squares
  • 3- 4 green pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons corn flour
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dark soya sauce
  • 2 tablespoon tomato sauce
Directions
  • Cut the paneer in inch size square.
  • Beat the egg in a large bowl, add 2 tablespoon of cornflour, 1 tablespoon soya sauce and marinate the paneer in this marinade for at least ½ hour, maximum to 2 hours
  • Heat the oil in a wok, an fry the paneer till the outside is brown in color. Take out and place on a kitchen towel to drain out the excess oil.
  • Discard most of the oil from the wok, keeping just a little to fry the vegetables. Add the onions to the oil, fry till they turn translucent
  • Add the bell pepper and fry for 2-3 minutes, or till they start to wilt
  • Pour in the soya sauce, vinegar and tomato sauce and stir till the gravy thickens. Pour in a little water and cook till the bell peppers are almost done.
  • Now, add the fried paneer and cook for a minute.
  • Garnish with the chopped chilies.

 Chili Paneer Indo Chinese recipe

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Narkel Diye Pepe – Raw Papaya with Grated Coconut Curry

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When you hear about papaya, the first thing comes to mind are the yellow bell shaped fruits with hundreds of dark black seeds. The ripe papaya seasoned with some red chili powder and salt is one of the most consumed roadside snacks of Bengal during the summer time. As for me, I walk a few feet away from wherever there is the yellow papaya, I am averse to the smell of ripe papaya.

Though I almost hate ripe papayas, but I’m in love with the raw green ones. The raw papaya has high amount of the papain enzyme. It is good for the skin as well as the heart. But, its most important benefit is it helps as a digestive enzyme. And, probably because of this the dida (grandmother from mom’s side) also used to put a few slices of papaya when she prepared mutton curry, to tenderize the meat.

Narkel pepe

The raw papaya is also used in other types of curries with potatoes, onions and garlic. But, my mom prepares it in a very different way. The grated papaya is mixed with grated coconut – this gives it a divine taste.

The winners for last month’s Saffron Road Food giveaway is Shailaja and Leo Martis.

Narkel Diye Pepe

Indian, Side, Authentic bengali recipe, Papaya recipe, Coconut recipe, Bengali papaya recipe, Bangla ranna
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1 small papaya washed and grated
  • 1 medium size potato, cut into one-inch cubes
  • ½ cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • 2 tablespoon mustard oil
  • Salt to taste
Directions
  • Take the grated papaya in a deep bottom vessel and cover it with water, boil till the papaya becomes tender
  • Add a pinch of salt and turmeric powder to the potatoes, shallow fry them till they are half done. Keep aside
  • Pour in about 1 tablespoon of oil in the same wok, and throw in the cumin seeds, as they start sputtering add the potatoes, boiled papaya and all the spices. Season with salt. Cook for 3-5 minutes till the spices are well mixed. Now, add the grated coconut and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add little water if the curry turns to dry. Cook covered till the potatoes are cooked. Sprinkle the garam masala and ghee, mix well. Serve with roti or rice.

Narkel diye pepe

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Dal Palang – Red Lentil with Spinach

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Ever since I can remember I always used to have my meals while watching TV, and to tell you the truth even now I watch TV during lunch and dinner at home. Call it a good or a bad habit, watching TV while having food has grown into more than a habit, it has now almost become an addiction. The only difference that I have felt is the channels have changed during this time period. During my childhood it was Tom and Jerry show and then I graduated to watching comedy series. Right now, my meal time is scheduled for drama, crime thrillers.

One series, that was very close to heart was Popeye. This sailor who eats cans of spinach was one of my favorites cartoons while growing up. I love spinach and so does Popeye, so I was able to connect to him. A few days back when I was preparing this dal palang for dinner, I was thinking this handsome guy :).

Dal Palang

 

Spinach with its greeny leaves is one of the best sources of plant nutrition. It contains loads of soluble dietary fibers and is a very good for a weight reducing diet. Red lentil also has high calcium content and dietary fibers. So, this simple preparation of dal palang or dal palak, however you want to call it is great for a healthy diet.

Dal Palang

Indian, Side, Bengali recipe, Red lentil, Bengali dal recipe, Spinach and dal
Cooks in    Serves 2
Ingredients
  • 1 cup red lentil
  • 1 cup spinach, washed and cleaned
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 3-4 red chili
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 cups of water
Directions
  • Wash the red lentils thoroughly. Pour water in a deep bottom saucepan and let it simmer. Add the red lentil to the simmering water, season with salt and wait till the dal is half cooked. Using a ladle discard the scum
  • Thow in the spinach and cook till the dal is fully cooked
  • Heat the oil in a skillet, put in the cumin seeds and red chili. As the seeds start to sputter pour it in the cooked dal. Add the spices and boil for 3-4 minutes more. Serve with warm rice or chapati.

Dal Palank

Hot Tips- If you are knew to the kitchen, the best way to know if the dal is half cooked is to press one of the lentils with your thumb and if you feel a hard core, the dal is half cooked.

You can also try the moong dal version of dal palang from ecurry.

Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win 4 different simmer sauces from Saffron Road Food. Click the image to know the rules. Just 6 days to go.

Giveaway Logo

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Kopi Bhaja – Stir Fried Cauliflower

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Most of you may not agree with me, but I love winter. The chilly dry winds, the sweaters, and blankets, and the best part of it is winter brings a lot many winter vegetables, and topping the list is cauliflower. I love cauliflowers. Even though you get cauliflowers all through the year now, but having something during its actual produce means different.

The refrigerator never ceases to have a cauliflower in it during winter. Whether its just fulkopir tarkari or a few florets in my macher jhol, I love the taste and texture of cauliflower.

Kalyan loves to prepare the Westernised version, the cauliflower augratin; I can’t really throw out the stems of cauliflower, the fulkopir datar tarkari is one of the most authentic Bengali recipes and it reminds me of my childhood.

Cauliflower curry goes with anything. Its great to have it as a side with luchi for breakfast or for lunch with rice. This stir fried cauliflowers is one of my favorite cauliflower recipes. Its quick and easy to prepare and the hint of nigella with cauliflower enhances the wintery feel.

Kopi Bhaja_2

Kopi Bhaja

Indian, Side, Cauliflower recipe, Winter recipe
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 2 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 3-4 green chilies, chopped coarsely
  • 2 tablespoon mustard oil
  • Salt to taste
Directions
  • Chop the florets coarsely into tiny pieces. Chop the potatoes to quarter inch cubes, Wash and keep aside
  • Heat oil in a wok, throw in the nigella seeds. As they start sputtering transfer the washed cauliflower florets and potatoes. Add turmeric, chili and season with salt
  • Cook covered, stirring occasionally, and little water if the florets start to stick to the bottom of the wok.
  • Serve hot with roti or rice and dal.

Kopi Bhaja_1

Hot Tips – You can add a few chopped sprigs of coriander to garnish.

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

Holi - The Festival of Colors Event Logo

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Dui Kumror Tarkari – Pumpkin and Ash Gourd in Mustard Sauce

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

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

Dui Kumro Tarkari

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

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

Dui Kumror Tarkari

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

Dui Kumro Tarkari_2

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

How to make mustard paste in dry grinder?

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

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

Holi - The Festival of Colors Event Logo

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

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Chanar Dalna – Homemade Bengali Cottage Cheese Curry

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Paneer is a household name in almost every Bengali family now. When it comes to having vegetarian platter a paneer preparation is always there; be it an occasion or just a simple dinner. But, even a decade back paneer was not that readily available.

The next best option was to make paneer at home. The paneer that is available in the market is processed and mixed with other binding agents like flour along with curdled milk to give it a tougher texture. The one that is made at home is softer and doesn’t have flour. This is called chana. Chana is milk curdled with lactic acid, like lemon juice and squeezed thoroughly to drain out the extra water.

Chana is the basic ingredient of almost all sweets that we eat, but if you are in a mood for something savoury to make with chana, chanar dalna is a very good option. Dalna is a type of Bengali curry with a rich and thick gravy unlike the ordinary jhol which is more watery.

To make the chana, all you need to do is boil about a litre/ quarter gallon of milk, it will give about 200gms/ 7 oz of chana. Once the milk starts rising pour in about 4 tablespoons of lemon juice or about 1 tablespoon calcium lactate. The milk will start curdling – the solids will separate from water. Drain out the water using a cheese cloth. Squeeze the chana well to drain out any excess water. You can also hang it for about an hour before you start using it. If there is any extra water in the chana, the cubes will fall apart as you cook.

Chanar Dalna - Bengali Cheese Curry

Indian, Side, Cottage cheese, Chana, Chenna, Bengali curry
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • For the cubes -
  • 200 gms chana
  • 2 tablespoon chickpea powder/ besan
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon green chilli paste
  • Pinch of salt
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • For the dalna –
  • 1 medium sized potato, cut into square
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • Salt to taste
Directions
  • Knead the chana well till your palm start feeling oil, mix in all the ingredients excepting the oil and knead once again
  • Pat the chana to make a 1” thick square slab, cut into 1” cubes and let it rest for 5-10mins
  • Heat about a quarter cup of oil in a skillet and fry the cubes till lightly brown, place on a kitchen paper to drain out the excess water, reserve for later
  • Season the cubed potatoes with a pinch of salt and turmeric powder. In the same skillet add the cubed potatoes in the leftover oil and fry till they turn light brown, drain out the excess oil using a kitchen towel and reserve for later
  • Mix all the powdered spices for dalna excepting garam masala powder, pour in water to make a thick paste
  • Heat the mustard oil in a wok and put in the whole cumin seeds, as they start spluttering add the fried potatoes and pour in the spice paste mix well to coat all the potatoes. Stir till the color takes a little darker shade; turn the heat if you fear to burn the spices. Pour in about 1 ½ cup of water, season with salt
  • Cook covered for about 5-7minutes till the potatoes are well done. Put in the fried chana cubes and cook for 2-3 minutes more.
  • Add the garam masala powder and ghee, if you are using and serve hot with warm white rice or chapatti.

Hot Tips – If you want more gravy in the dalna, then pour half cup more water. The chana cubes tend to absorb the water, so if you keep it for longer period, the gravy will dry out. You can cut the chana in any way you like, if you prefer diamond shape then go for it, or roll it between your palms to make small balls.

To curdle the milk, I prefer lemon juice as calcium lactate has a funny smell, and it doesn’t taste good when using the chana in curry.

More on chanar dalna from other blogs – Preoccupied’s take on the grandmom’s secret chanar dalna. Not exactly the typical Bengali recipe, here’s another way of preparing chanar dalna from Cookerefic.

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Begun Posto – Baby Eggplant in Poppy Gravy

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Brinjals or eggplants or aubergines whatever you call it there is always a fear of the itchy tongue and a swelling lips. Quite a large population suffers from eggplant allergy. But, allergy or no allergy you just cannot deny the fact that eggplants are so tasty. Whether it’s the begun bhaja (fried aubergine) or in made in to a curry like in begun morichut, eggplants are always a hit. And, who can deny the fact a bite of beguni with a handful or mudi (puffed rice) in a rainy evening brings back many memories.   

The brinjal and poppy is a very easy Bengali recipe. I have learnt it from my mom, and probably she from her mom. And stop worrying about grinding the poppy into a fine paste. This recipe works fine with a little grainy poppy seed.

All you have to do is soak the poppy for 8 hours or overnight and grind it with the rolling pin. The grainy paste gives a texture to the curry.  

Begun Posto

Begun Posto Recipe
Indian, Side, Bengali poppy recipe, Eggplant recipe, Poppy
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 6-8 baby eggplants
  • ½ cup poppy paste
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 3-4 green chilli, slit
  • 2 tablespoon mustard oil
  • Salt to taste
Directions
  • Slit the eggplants into quarters keeping the stalk intact
  • Pour in the oil in a skillet and fry the eggplants
  • In a bowl mix all other ingredients other than the salt and green chillies to a runny paste
  • As the skin turns a darker shade of purple, pour in the paste and stir well to evenly coat the eggplants
  • Season with salt and throw in the green chillies
  • Pour in about a cup of water and cook covered till the eggplants are tender
  • Serve with warm white rice or chapati


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Fulkopir Datar Tarkari – Cauliflower Stem Curry

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Cauliflower is one of the most versatile vegetables you can get out of a Bangali rannaghor (Bengali kitchen). Whether it’s a simple phulkopir tarkari (Bengali style cauliflower curry) or a cauliflower pickle – cauliflowers are everywhere, even in fish curries.

The gorging of cauliflowers starts from Durga Puja and extends till late March. I have seen mom cooking fulkopir tarkari as a part of the Prasad offered to Durga Ma on Ashtami (the 8th day of the annual Durga Puja worship).  The simple cauliflower and potato preparation seasoned with cumin and ginger paste is just the right side dish for kichdi/ kichuri.

Now, these cauliflower preparations are done with the florets. Most of the time we throw away the stem that comes along with the fulkopi. But, a very traditional and authentic Bengali recipe is with these stems of the cauliflower, fulkopir data chauchori/ chachori.

Chachori is a unique style of preparing curries. Mostly, the vegetables are mostly cut longitudinally and cooked with a concoction of spices, especially panch phoron if it’s a vegetarian preparation. For non-vegetarian ones like morola macher chachori onions, garlic are widely used. Any idea where the word comes from? In fulkopir data chachori the stems are cut to 1” long pieces and if they are too thick then the stems are cut longitudinally.

One of my friends once told that you Bengalis just don’t leave any part of anything – you eat everything. Yeah, it’s kind of true. From peels of gourd to flowers of plantain – Bengalis like to taste everything.

Serves 2
Preparation time: 10min
Cooking time: 15min

Ingredients: 

  • Stems of one medium cauliflower
  • 1 medium size potato
  • 1 cup chopped pumpkin
  • 1 cup chopped small brinjal, cut longitudinally in quarters
  • 1 tablespoon panch phoron
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoon mustard oil

Preparation:

  •  Boil the cauliflower stems till half done, then blanch in cold water to stop further cooking
  • Heat oil in a wok, throw in the panch phoron. As the spices starts sputtering add potatoes, brinjal and pumpkin pieces.
  • Fry for sometimes, put in the spices and ginger paste and cook for 2-3mins more
  • Add the half boiled stems
  • Pour in water and cook covered till the vegetables are cooked
  • Serve hot with warm rice.

Hot Tips – Panch phoron is a mixture of 5 different spices in equal proportion – fennel, fenugreek, mustard, nigella and wild celery.

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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

Ingredients:

  • 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

 Preparation:

  • 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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Tetor Dal

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Bitter gourd or what we call karolla/karela is one of those vegetables which even veggie lovers try to avoid. A somewhat smaller in shape is the ucche which is quite hard to find in Kolkata, leave aside somewhere outside India. These two cousins with their bitter taste, avoided by almost all have a niche in Bengali cuisine. During my childhood, summer lunch always meant a bowl of alu-karolla sedho (boiled potato and bitter gourd) drenched in mustard oil or even the dudh shukto. While most of my friends hated these preparations, I was and am in love with this bitter vegetable.

I was in Spencer’s yesterday, when I got hold of some fresh karolla and there I was holding a couple of bitter gourd thinking of what to prepare with it. The first thought was preparing some fried karola, but then left the idea because of the amount of oil that comes along with it. Shukto is my all-time favorite, but then raw papaya is quite hard to find in Bangalore. Do let me know if you are aware of any place where you get fresh green papaya in Bangalore.

After some thinking and peeping into my refrigerator, I thought of preparing the tetor dal (pulses with bitter gourd). Tetor dal is my mom’s specialty. I have never tasted such mouth-watering dal anywhere. And, after all no restaurant not even Oh! Calcutta or some Bengali specialty restaurant will serve tetor dal, whatsoever. So, here’s a beginner’s guide to preparing the karola, lau and jhinga diye dal (lentils with three different gourds).

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 200gms bitter gourd, cut into rings
  • 1 medium size ridge gourd/ jhinga, chopped into rings
  • ½ of a small gourd/ lau, cut to 1” size hemispherical pieces
  • 1 cup yellow lentil/ mung dal
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 green chili
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 3 tablespoon mustard oil
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • Wash the lentils and start boiling with 2 cups of water
  • As the lentils get half cooked, put in the ridge gourd and the gourd
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of mustard oil in a wok and fry the bitter gourd till half done
  • Add the fried karola to the boiling dal
  • Once the vegetables are completely cooked, add the turmeric, and cumin powder
  • Heat the extra oil in a deep bottom pan, throw in the bay leaf and cumin seeds
  • As the seeds start sputtering, pour in the dal and stir once
  • Keep over flame till the dal starts boiling
  • Take out of flame, add a dollop of ghee (optional) and serve hot with warm rice and fries.

Hot Tips – If you are an absolute hater of bitter gourd, then just give it a miss .

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Alu Potoler Tarkari

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Summers in India bring intense heat and incessant sweat, but lots of fruits and some special vegetables too. In fact, there are some vegetables that you won’t quite relate to continental or for that matter any well-known cuisine outside India. One of such special variety is Potol (Patol), Parwal in Hindi and Pointed Gourd in English.

Potol is widely used in Bengali cuisine. Some famous ones are Potol Alur Jhol (Parwal Alu Curry), Potol Korma, some fish items such as Potoler Dorma (Fish stuffed Parwal), Potol diye Macher Jhol (Parwal Fish curry) and Potol diye Singhi Macher Jhol (made infamous by Pyalaram, a character in Tenida series). In fact, there is even a well known sweet prepared with Potol, called Potol Mishti.

Or simply, Potol Bhaja with Bhaat and Dal.

Without further ado, let us have a simple Potol (pointed gourd) recipe – Alu Potoler Tarkari, or Bengali style Pointed Gourd with Potato Curry.

Ingredients for Alu Potoler Tarkari

  • 5-6 pointed gourd (Potol / Parwal)
  • 1 medium size potato
  • 1 medium size onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala

How to Prepare Alu Potoler Tarkari

  • Lightly skin the Potol, and cut laterally into two equal halves. If its too large, then cut into 3 pieces
  • Peel the potato and cut into medium square pieces
  • Heat oil in a wok, and separately fry the Potol and potatoes till lightly brown. Keep aside
  • Remove the mustard oil used for frying and pour in 1 tablespoon of oil in the same wok
  • As the oil gets heated, throw in the onions and garlic cloves. Sauté till the onions turn pinkish
  • Put in the fried vegetables, ginger-garlic paste, and all other spices except the garam masala. Season with salt
  • Toss for sometime till the spices coat the veggies
  • Pour in water and let it cook till the vegetables are tender
  • Sprinkle the garam masala and serve with warm rice and dal.

How do you like your Potol?
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