Durga puja has already started. As Bengal gets decked up with all the pandals and the puja shopping almost come to an end, I on the other hand, living thousands of miles away is waiting for this weekend to arrive. The Durga puja in the US is held during weekends just for the convenience of the attendees.
While I miss on my dose of the Kolkata Durga pooja fever, I’m getting ready to celebrate the US style Durga puja. I will definitely miss the phuchka, alu kabli, churmur, ghugni – oh I cant stop writing the list of road side food that I’ll be missing on this puja – but would have a new taste, a new experience of celebrating puja just over the weekend.
The street food on Kolkata adds an added charm to the whole flavor of Durga puja, but there is always the home cooked prasad. Though my family strictly becomes vegetarian during the four days of puja, mainly because of the fact we have our own durga idol at home, and she has been worshiped in the family for more than a century now. And, as Ma Durga is bid adieu, the next day, ekdashi is the day to eat fish and only fish. The entire family with brothers, sisters, cousins, their spouses, their kids – you know how the Indian family tree is – eats, sitting on the floor. Last year I was heading the frying department of the lunch, mostly because my mom felt her daughter is old enough to get married so she is old enough to cook for hundred people, or at least the dal and bhaja part. So, my task for last ekdashi was to make loitta macher vada for the entire family. It was intimidating, it was tiring, yet there was a satisfaction seeing everybody asking for more.
Stop me if I’m wrong, but in Indian cuisines, and by Indian cuisine I mean cuisines from all parts of the country, there are very few recipes which can be considered as soup. Kadhi, is one of those few dishes that can be considered as soup. You can have it warm and serve it with khichdi or cold as a soup.
Kadhi is a true Indian dish, I say this because, almost the same recipe is followed throughout India. The wiki page on kadhi says that its a Gujrati dish and is popular among people in the Northern states and also among Sindhis. But, while living in the Southern states of India I have had kadhi with the South Indian touch of tempered curry leaves.
Gujratis, as I have learnt over the years love their sweets, so even in kadhis they like to add some sugar or jaggery to give it a hint of sweetness. Sindhis like some vegetables in the kadhi, the most popular being okra. Another very common kadhi preparation is kadhi with pakora. The pakoras are made by frying a batter of chickpea and onions, and are dropped in the kadhi.
Growing up in a Bengali family, I had my share of having kadhi for lunch in the summer. My mom used to, actually she still makes sour yogurt at home, everyday all through the year. And, when there is some extra yogurt left she makes the kadhi, but with a touch of Bengali spices in it.
Appetizer, Indian, Yogurt soup, Gujrati kadhi, Kadhi, Indian recipe, Indian spicy yogurt soup, Summer recipe
1 cup sour yogurt
3 tablespoon chickpea flour
½ teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon chili powder
3 cups water
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon mustard oil
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
10-12 curry leaves
2-3 whole dry red chilies
Take the yogurt is a large bowl and gradually add the chickpea flour to it, mix well so that there are no lumps. Pour the water a cup or less at a time and continue stirring. You can also add everything together and put it in a juicer for 10 seconds to get a good mix
Add all the ground spices and season with salt. Give it a good stir
Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the mustard seeds, as they start sputtering add the curry leaves and whole red chilies. Pour the yogurt mixture and cook till it just starts to boil. Lower the flame and cook for a minute more. Serve hot or cold.
Hot Tips – Be patient while mixing the ingredients together, mix well so that there are no lumps. It depends on how thick you want your kadhi you can add or reduce the amount of water, also note that that the kadhi thickens after cooling.
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.
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.
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.
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.
My connection to Chittagong and that of Bangladesh is that my grandparents lived half their lives in the land. Both my parents were born and brought up in Kolkata and so we never had the chance to visit our city of origin.
Growing up, I have heard my father speaking to his sibling is Chatgaiyya bhasa (Chittagong language), but I still can’t figure out what they say :). The language may be as hard as learning Mandarin to me, but I have heard storied from my grandfather about the beautiful beaches and the picturesque countryside and I wish to visit it someday. As, for now I am happy with the rich and spicy dish this port city of Bangladesh has to offer – the morichut and of course the shutki maach.
While looking for a new chicken recipe last week, I came across this Chittagong chicken recipe. Though while growing up I have had quite a few different type of Chittagong recipes, but never had the chance to have this chicken dish – probably because of the fact that chicken was a no-no till the time my grandfather was around.
The recipe asked for marinading the chicken in roasted ground cilantro seeds and dry red chilies. While roasting the two spices, I was so overjoyed with the flavor that loomed my kitchen, that I just couldn’t wait to taste the chicken. I deviated a little from the original recipe – added a few potatoes and kept the gravy a little runny – because that’s how my man likes his Sunday chicken.
2lbs medium size chicken pieces
2 large potatoes, cut into half
½ of an onion, slivered finely
½ onion made to a paste
6 dry red chilies
2 tablespoon whole cilantro seeds
1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
2 tablespoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 tablespoon cashew paste
4 tablespoon mustard oil
1 teaspoon garam masala
Salt to taste
Dry roast 4 red chilies and the whole cilantro seeds; grind them in a spice grinder.
Put the chicken in a large glass bowl, add half of the roasted spices, and 1 tablespoon garlic paste massage the chicken with it. Add half the turmeric, little salt and about 1 tablespoon of mustard oil. Cover with a plastic wrap and marinate for at least an hour or keep it in the bottom rack of the fridge overnight.
If you have kept the chicken in the fridge, take it out well before you start cooking so that it comes down to room temperature.
Heat oil in the wok. Add a pinch of turmeric and salt to the potatoes and fry in the oil till they turn slightly brown in a few places. Take out and keep aside.
In the left over oil add the slivered onions and the 2 red chiles and fry till they turn light brown. Add the chicken, onion paste, turmeric, chili powder, garlic paste and stir well to mix all the spices well. Season with salt.
Let the chicken cook over high flame, till the spices turn darker in color. Keep stirring so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Pour about 2 cups of warm water to the chicken, and add the fried potatoes. Cook covered till the chicken is cooked and potatoes are soft. Add the cashew paste and cook for a minute.
Sprinkle the extra dry ground spices and garam masala. Serve with roti or rice.
Hot Tips – Don’t worry about the heat from the chilies, it is much reduced by the cashew paste and also by using the Kashmiri red chili powder, the color turns good and the heat is also less.
The grandfather clock on the old living room wall just stopped striking 11. Its a lazy Sunday morning and you’ve just finished your Sunday breakfast with luchi, cholar dal and sandesh. Already the dining room is filled with the smell of kasha mangsho from the kitchen. Now, this feels like a dream. The special meals of Sunday will always be missed, now that I’m thousands of miles away from home.
Pathar mangsho (goat meat) can easily be classified as a comfort food as well as an exotic Bengali dish. Some would say, why such a rich and spicy food be called comfort food. The answer is in the meal, garam garam bhaat (warm white rice) with pathar mangsho (mutton curry) and a slice of gandoraj lebu (lime)– do you want anything else from this world?
Kolkata is always related to the wonderful rasogolla and sandesh it has produced for more than a century now. But, Kolkata is also famous for its goat meat curry. The mutton curry from Shyambazar’s Golbari is one of the best, or probably the best mutton preparation you can ever have. The rich and spicy dark mutton curry can easily be the highlight of your week.
Previously I had quite a disappointing result prearing mutton. Either it turned out chewy, and the second time I was engrossed in my TV series, and the mutton got burnt to the point where I had to use a knife to scrap out the pieces from the vessel. So, this time anxious and determined I set to prepare mutton. I marinated the mutton overnight and slow cooked it for almost a couple of hours. The results was just awesome!
Mix all the ingredients except the turmeric, oil and salt of the marinade in a large glass bowl. Add the washed mutton pieces, and using your hand, coat the marinade evenly over the mutton. Add the turmeric and salt and give it another round of mixing. Pour the oil. Cover the bowl with a kiln film and marinate for at least 4 hours or you can also keep it overnight. Place it in the lower rack of your refrigerator
Take out the mutton about an hour before yous start cooking, and bring it to normal temperature.
Heat oil in a large wok. Coat the potatoes with a pinch of turmeric and salt and fry in that oil till the potatoes start to brown in places. Take the potatoes out and reserve for later.
Put in the slivered onions in the same oil and saute till they start wilting. Add the sugar and fry till the onions are caramelized. Now, add the marinated mutton and stir to coat with the oil and onions. Add all the spices and grated papaya and give it a good stir.
Increase the flame to high, and start reducing the marinade, stirring frequently. Make sure that the marinade doesn\'t stick to the bottom of the wok. The marinade will start to change color to a darker shade and so will the mutton.
Once the marinade is almost dry and dark, pour in 2 cups of warm water and cover the wok with a lid. At this point, you can also transfer the mutton in a pressure cooker, and cook in it.
If you are not using a pressure cooker, lower the flame to low and slow cook for almost 1 to 11/2 hour. Check in between.
Depending upon the mutton, the cooking time varies. Pour warm water as and when required. Once, the mutton is half cooked, add the potatoes and cook till the potatoes are done.
Hot Tips – Mixing turmeric and salt together with the other spices in the marinade makes the mutton harder and it becomes a chewy when cooked. Papain, the enzyme release from raw papaya help to cook the mutton and make it softer. Also, the grated papaya gives an extra thickness to the gravy. The trick to cook mutton is to cook it over low flame.
Now, this is a tricky question. Do you think Bengalis are all about fish? Whenever I meet someone who is not a Bong, he/she always ask me this question – do you eat vegetables or is it just fish? Growing up in a family with my widowed grand mom, I have seen lots of vegetables being made at home, vegetables curries without even the hint of onion or garlic – and believe it or not those tasted heavenly.
Its probably because Bengal being such a fertile land and with loads of rivers the balance between vegetables and fish is always there. Whereas in the Western parts of India though the majority of population is vegetarian they mostly stick to different types of lentils for their daily home made recipes.What is your opinion of this?
Coming to vegetables in Bengal, especially in summer, its like a fair. The different types of veggies that you get in the market is beyond imagination, and of these patol or pointed gourd and bhendi or okra are two of my favorites.
My grandmother had her way into the kitchen. Her way of balancing whole spices and ground ones had its own unique style. She used to make this dry curry with okra, pumpkin and potatoes with just a little nigella – and it was tasted out of the world. I made this the same way with just a little twist – I added a few shrimps to it.
Hot Tips – Okra being a very slimy vegetables, its always better to wash and then cut the okra. If you do it the other way, the okra will be slimier making the gravy very gooey. Also, that’s the reason I fry the okra first and then put it in the curry.
When it comes to Southeast Asian cuisine, other than the Thai curries, I always opt for the stir fries. So when Saffron Road Foods sent their newly launched simmer sauces for a review I was overjoyed to find the Korean Stir fry ready to cook product in the package. I instantly thought of cooking and reviewing this simmer sauce in my blog.
Preparing the simmer sauce took me less than 15 minutes from chopping vegetables to serving it to the dinner table. The result was an awesome combination of healthy homemade food with loads of vegetables and the taste of restaurant style meal. The ease of cooking it also made this simmer sauce a perfect for a date night or just when you are too lazy to go through through spice cupboard to prepare something for dinner.
I prepared it with some South Asian choice vegetables – baby corn, bok choy, carrots, mushroom with an Bengali addition of some cubed onions to it. The packet for Korean Stir fry had the option of beef strips for meat, I opted for chicken and it turned out perfect. You can also use other meat like lamb, or for the vegetarian option try it with tofu.
Most of the Saffron Road Foods simmer sauces have almost the same directions to prepare the food. Heat oil in a skillet, add the meat and vegetable, saute them. Add the simmer sauce and stir. Cook till the sauce starts to bubble. I feel, as these simmer sauces are used even by the novice cooks, a mention of which vegetables to use for which simmer sauce would do good. The last time I prepared Rogan Josh simmer sauce, I don’t think mushroom or baby corn would go with that.
The Saffron Road Food products are all non-GMO verified products and so a re very safe. They have some of the simmer sauces available in their online store, and you can also get all their products in almost all of the large retailers throughout US. Check their store locator to choose the store nearest to you.
As with the other simmer sauces from Safrron Road Food, I truly enjoyed making and eating the Korean Stir fry. I served it with some jasmine rice and vinegar dipped cucumber, and it felt like a to-go order from our favorite South Asian restaurant. Here’s how I made it.
Korean Stir Fry With Chicken
Side, Korean, Korean stir fry, Simmer sauce, Product review, Korean cuisine, Stir fry recipe
1 lb chicken, cut into thin strips
2 carrots, cut into inch size strips
1 baby bok choy, chopped coarsely
1/2 can baby corn, halved lengthwise
1/2 cup chopped mushroom
1/2 onion, chopped into cubes
1 packet Saffron Road Food Korean Stir Fry simmer sauce
2 tablespoon canola oil
Wash the vegetables, and drain out the excess water
Heat oil in a skillet and add the vegetables except the bok choy. Saute till the vegetables are half cooked
Now add the chicken strips and bok choy and cook till the chicken strips are well done
Pour in the contents of the pouch, mix well with the meat and vegetables and cook covered for 2-3 minutes or till the sauce starts bubbling.
If you want to keep the gravy serve instantly with jasmine rice, else cook till the gravy is dried.
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.
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.
Chinese, Side, Chili paneer, Chilli paneer, Paneer recipe, Indi chinese recipe
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 tablespoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons dark soya sauce
2 tablespoon tomato sauce
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.
Jamai shashthi or as you can loosely translate in English is the son-in-law day. Its a day when the son-in-law is invited to the house, and is feted and fed with Bengali delicacies.
Jamai shashthi comes in the Bengali month of jaistho, and it is a social custom to formally invite and feed the son-in-law. Like most Bengali customs, this day is mostly about the food. Growing up, my granny used to make a huge meal for my mother – it mostly included four to five types of fishes from fries to curries and there was also vegetarian options and ending with chatni, papad, rasogolla and misti doi.
Days have passed and with my granny’s passing this custom have also ended. But, with my generation, jamai shashthi is still celebrated, but differently. My uncle,who lives in the US too have invited us for jamai shashthi, but not for a huge Bengali menu, but for a weekend barbecue.
Whatever it be, a twelve course Bengali meal or a weekend bbq, jamai shashthi is all about the food you serve to your son-in-law. So, here’s a my contribution to the menu, meatballs. Meatballs are very popular American food, inspired by the American meatballs here’s my Bengali take on meatballs.
For more jamai shashthi recipe please look through the all recipe section.
Mix all ingredients of meatballs in a large bowl, it will make a sticky dough. Now with both your palms, make inch-size balls.
Cover a sheet pan with aluminum foil, and place the meatballs. Lightly spray some cooking oil over the meatballs and put it in the oven for 15-20minutes or till the meatballs start turning a little brown. Turn the meatballs half way through.
Making the curry -
Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok. Lightly sprinkle turmeric and salt to the potatoes, and toss it in the heated oil for 2-3 minutes, or till the potatoes turn a shade darker. Take out and keep aside
Throw in the onion, garlic and fry till the onions are translucent. Add the tomatoes and fry till oil starts to separate. Transfer it to a wet grinder and pulse it to make a smooth paste.
Heat the rest of the oil in another wok, throw in the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Add the onion-ginger-tomato paste, and stir.
Put in all the spices, ginger- garlic paste and season with salt. Stir for a minute and then add the potatoes. Turn the flame to low and coat the potatoes with the spices. Let the spices turn drier and darker, stirring occasionally.
Pour in about a cup of water and cook covered till the potatoes are done.
Add the oven baked meatballs in the gravy and serve warm with white rice.
Hot Tips – In place of chicken you can also used ground beef or mutton. I baked the meatballs to avoid using too much oil. You can also just deep fry the meatballs. In place of egg in the meatballs you can also coat the meatballs with a mixture of a tablespoon corn starch and ¼ cup water.
The rising heat and dry air has started taking its toll. Its almost impossible to get out in the afternoons. But, with summer comes the choice of various mangoes. Mangoes are my all time favorite fruits. Growing up in India, in the midst of the mango capital, I am very fond of this fruit. Whether its the raw green mangoes in aamer chatni or morobba, or the golden yellow ripe mangoes – I love them.
A few days back I bought a whole crate of mangoes from the farmer’s market. So, was trying to search for a simple recipe to use these mangoes. I came across the eggless no bake mango cheesecake recipe, and I just couldn’t resist but get my food processor to start making this one.
Though Sharmilee used toasted biscuits to make the base of her cheesecake, I used Graham crackers. The recipe was very simple and of course delicious.
Wash and peel the mangoes, and cut into small cubes. Put it in the juicer and make a smooth juice.
Take 1 tablespoon of water with half the gelatin and microwave high for 20 seconds to dissolve the gelatin.
Take the cream cheese and beat it with an electric beater, pour half the mango smoothie, gelatin and about ¾ cup of sugar and beat again to mix it well. Keep the rest of the mango puree in the fridge.
Add equal amounts of graham crackers to the serving glass and press with your finger to set it firmly. Pour the cream cheese mixture equally to all the glasses and chill for an hour or too.
Add rest of the sugar and dissolved gelatin to the mango puree and beat well to mix all ingredients. Pour it equally in the serving glasses over the cream cheese layer. Fridge till ready to serve. Garnish with the mint sprigs.
With Memorial Day passed by, summer has set in. The Texas sun has started taking its toll, and it has become almost impossible to go out in the afternoon. With the heat rising and the dry weather, the best thing to keep yourself cool is to have loads of fruits.
To make your daily diet of fruit a little more interesting, my mom used to make different types of juice and sorbet for us. Back from school in the heated afternoon, and there was always a chilled glass of lemonade waiting. And, if I was lucky enough there was sometimes the watermelon or orange juice ready.
I love watermelon. My kid sister and I used to have the who-eats-the-slice-faster competitions. So, when I got this huge watermelon from the farmer’s market last weekend, and sis being not around I couldn’t figure out what to do with that huge fruit. I have slices, cubes, juice of the watermelon and the only thing left out was to make a sorbet. Picked up some fresh mint from my garden, threw them in and my sorbet was ready to get in the freezer.
Watermelon Mint Sorbet
Indian, Drink, Sorbet, Summer coolers, Watermelon recipe, Summer drinks, Mint recipe, Health drink
½ of a medium watermelon, cut and deseeded
½ cup sugar
10-12 fresh mint leaves
1 teaspoon lime juice
Put all the ingredients in blender and blend till everything turns to a juice
Pour it in a loaf pan and put in the freezer for at least 2 hours
Take out and break the icicles, and put it in the freezer once more for 1-2 hours
Scrape off the sorbet and serve in glasses of your choice with fresh mint leaves
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.
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.
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.
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 :).
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.
Indian, Side, Bengali recipe, Red lentil, Bengali dal recipe, Spinach and dal
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
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.
Shrimps are quick and easy to prepare and auspiciously tasty. You can cook shrimps in less than 10 minutes and your family will be just happy to have it at the dinner table.
Shrimps have their own way of making a boring curry like lau-er tarkari (bottle gourd curry) or kumro boti into something with a wonderful taste and gives a different feel to the texture. And, when it comes to talking about shrimps how can chingrir malaikari (shrimps in sweet coconut gravy) be far behind. This sweet and thick authentic Bengali recipe is a pride of the Bengali kitchen. It cooks almost instantly, but is one of the most coveted recipes.
I had always been fond of shrimps and prawns, and the bhapa chingri (steamed praws) is one of my favorite recipes. One of my favorite bloggers, Pree of Preeoccupied posted a chingri bharta recipe yesterday and I couldn’t resist but cook it. It took me less than ten minutes to prepare it but it was an instant hit for the weekend lunch. Pree had not fried the onions and used it to garnish, but I thought of frying it, so you can try either way.
Heat about a tablespoon of mustard oil in a skillet, add the shrimps and toss for 2 minutes. Take out and keep for later
Pour another tablespoon of oil in the same skillet and stir fry the onion, garlic , red and green chili. As the onions turn translucent, add the shrimps with the ground spices and season with salt. Stir for a minutes, and transfer everything in a blender jar
Use the pulse mode in the blender to coarsely grind the shrimps.
Transfer to a bowl, pour in the extra mustard oil, serve instantly with warm white rice and masurir dal.
Hot Tips – This recipe is so easy to prepare, that it makes a good side dish for week night dinners. If you don’t have a grinder or the pulse mode in your grinder, don’y worry, just chop the shrimps coarsely with a chef’s knife.
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 9 days to go.
Poila Baisakh, Bengali new year is just a day to go. You all should have many plans for this new year. We at CLB though of celebrating it in our own way. A new recipe for Poila Baisakh. It is shared by Nusrat Azimuth Suborna of Myself Nusrat. Suborna is new to blogging, but you’ll have fun browsing through her blog with loads of appetizing food photographs. And, here’s her take on chicken korma in her own words.
Legendary ‘Chicken Korma’ is a Mughlai delicacy from Hyderabad, India. But my Bangladeshi Grandma has her own version. She would care a damn about korma rules. Because her version is ruled by magic 🙂
Grandma’s almighty-creamy-pillowy-lovely-light almost all-white ‘Chicken Korma’ shall live forever as a ‘Hall of Fame’ in our family 🙂
Making ‘Chicken Korma’ is an art that requires precision and skill (which I don’t have like my Grandma) and I guess, it would take me a light year to replicate her flavorful, tasty as well as visually appealing Korma. Keeping in mind that it’s humanly impossible to give it the exact same heavenly texture, exact same mild heat, exact same intense aroma, I gave it a try for the first time.
Marinate the chicken with yogurt, salt, garlic and ginger and let it rest overnight in the refrigerator.
With the help of a blender, puree the hell out of onion and green chilies.
Next, blend the cashew, almond and poppy seeds to a fine paste.
In a deep pan, add 2 tablespoons of ghee and bring it to heat. Add green cardamoms and let it release the flavor. This should take about 2 seconds. Add onion puree to the wok/pan, add a pinch of salt and cook at a medium heat for about 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the marinated chicken and continue cooking for about 5 minutes until the chicken is partially cooked through. Add freshly cracked pepper.
Continue cooking in medium heat until the oil starts to separate.
Add milk. Cook for 10 minutes with the lid on.Check for salt and once the chicken is cooked through, switch off the heat.