Bata Mach Sarse Diye- Fish in Rich Mustard Gravy

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How long do you think a Bong can be without fish? Not long. With tens of rivers crisscrossing the state and the huge Bay of Bengal in South Bongs have a special knack for fish. Fish is not only a part of the Bengali cuisine, but it’s a part of Bengali rituals, customs; a part of the Bengali life.

Fish is considered as a good omen and so in every Bengali wedding a big whole rui or rohu is sent to the bride’s house from the groom’s as a token of bonding between the two families. Offering ilish (hilsa) to goddess Saraswati has been an age old custom.

There are hundreds of different types of fish that you’ll get in the markets, and more are the varieties of the way these fishes are cooked. To broadly classify the way of cooking fish is a hard task. First, to mention is the daily cooked patla macher jhol. This is the style of cooking preferably the fresh catch, with very little spices and green chilies, garnished with cilantro. Next comes the more rich and spicier version – the jhal jhol and kaliya. Seasoned with onions, garlic and ginger, kaliya are mainly meant for the occasional treats. A slight diversion from the spicy fish preparation is fish cooked in mustard gravy. While preparing hilsa this is the most well known technique, but there are smaller fishes like bata, parshe, fyasha and pabda which taste divine is a thick mustard gravy.

Bata Maach _2

There are numerous other ways of cooking fish that are prevalent among Bongs. And, when talking about fish and its way of preparation the simple fish fry is a class apart. I remember back in my school days, Sunday was my fish fry day. My mom used to save a piece of deep fried fish for me to gorge on to while watching Alice in Wonderland on Doordarshan.

Bata (Labeo bata ) fish is one of the most common small fishes growing in ponds and rivers of Bengal, its is of the same genus as the much more famous rohu (Labeo rohita), and so its tastes quite similar. You can prepare it in a non spicy gravy with just nigella and green chilies, seasoned with turmeric, cumin and salt or make this richer version in mustard gravy.

Bata Mach Sarse Diye

Indian, Side, Bengali fish recipe, Authentic bengali recipe, Fish recipe, Fish in mustard sauce
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 8 whole Bata fish
  • 3 tablespoon mustard paste
  • 1 teaspoon nigella
  • 2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 4-5 green chilies, slit lengthwise
  • Few sprigs of coriander for garnish (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon mustard oil, extra for frying
  • Salt to taste
Directions
  • Clean the fish very carefully, coat generously with 1½ teaspoon turmeric powder and salt.
  • Heat about 3-4 tablespoon oil in a wok and fry the fishes in batches till they harden a little, dont over fry the fishes
  • In a small bowl add turmeric, chili powder and salt; mix and add the mustard paste
  • Throw away the excess oil from frying, clean the wok and heat about 1 tablespoon of oil in the wok. Add the nigella, as they start sputtering pour in the spices paste. As the spices start to dry out add about a cup of water, and the green chilies. Cook for 5-7 minutes till the gravy thickens
  • Carefully place the fried fishes in the gravy and cook for another 23 minutes, the fish will become tender
  • Take out of the heat, garnish with coriander if using and serve with warm white rice.

Bata Maach _1

How to make mustard paste?

Most of you who are away from Bengal will probably have a hard time preparing mustard paste. The traditional mustard paste in sheel nora has almost become a folk lore now. Here’s how I do it. You can get mustard seeds in Amazon or your nearby Indian grocery store. All you need to have is a coffee grinder, which you’ll get in Amazon or other big retailers for $14-20. Take about 3-4 tablespoon of mustard seeds or till the spice level and grind to fine powder. Mix this mustard powder with water, turmeric and salt and your mustard paste will be ready in less than a minute.

Hot Tips – Heat the oil to smoking hot before frying the fish, low heated oil makes the fish skin to come out. If you are still unsure, then add a little flour to the fish before frying. And, the trick to have a perfect fish fry is not disturb the fish until one side is fully done. Once the fish is fully fried on one side, it will itself leave the bottom of the wok, and you can easily turn it around.

Some people suffer from indigestion after having mustard, the best way to avoid that is avoid the black mustard.

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.

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Curried Potatoes and Capsicum

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Winter is almost over, and so are the winter vegetables. Even though you get all vegetables all year through but to have one during its original time of harvest means a lot to me. Capsicum is one of them. I love capsicum. The subtle taste of chili in capsicum and of course its smell drives me crazy.

alu capsicum 1

Potato with capsicum is a very North Indian dish. But, it feels great to have this rich and spicy curry in a cold winter evening. You can pair it with chapatis or parathas, or just have it with warm white rice and dal.

Alu Capsicum Tarkari

Indian, Side, Winter recipe, Capsicum curry, Potato curry, North indian side dish, Vegetarian recipe
Cooks in    Serves 2
Ingredients
  • 1 large potato
  • 1 capsicum
  • ½ of medium size onion
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • Salt to taste
Directions
  • Chop the potato and capsicum to one inch size pieces.
  • Heat oil in a wok, add the cumin seeds, as the seeds start sputtering throw onions and fry till they turn translucent, 1-2mins.
  • Add the potatoes and toss to coat the oil
  • Add the turmeric and chili powder, season with salt. Fry for 1-2 minutes till the spices turn a shade darker
  • Pour in water and cook covered till the potatoes are half done. Add the capsicum now and cook till the vegetables are cooked.

alu capsicum 2

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.

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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.

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Gurer Payesh – Rice Pudding with Jaggery

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Bengalis are fond of fish as they are of sweet. There are more sweet shops in Bengal than there are grocery stores. Bengali rasogollas and sandesh has become a pride and heritage for all Bengalis. But, these are what we get in the sweet shops and are generally not prepared at home.

Payesh or rice pudding is one of the most common desserts that you’ll see getting prepared in every Bengali household. It is one of the most authentic Bengali desserts. Payesh is offered as bhog during pujas, and also as a sweet treat for every birthday. Payesh has a special place in the menu to bid farewell to your loved ones. A Bengali occasion without payesh is yet to be heard of.

Gurer Payesh_1

Rice or vermicelli is the two main options for making payesh. The short grained scented gobindobhog chal is ideal for preparing payesh, the scent from the rice adds a special flavor to the whole preparation. The vermicelli or simayer payesh is a quick and easier version. Though sugar is used as the main sweetener, during winter the just-in-market jaggery, nalen gur adds a wintery treat to payesh.

Gitadini Items

Gitadini sent me a 2 quart saucepan to review. The saucepan has built-in strainer and is ideal for making tea, especially for people like e who keep on loosing the tea strainer. The built-in strainer allows you to pour tea into the cups directly without a tea strainer. But, I wanted to use the strainer for something better and preparing payesh in it was the best option I could think of. The handle is sturdy and has an extra padding for better comfort and insulation. While, making payesh you should be extra careful as the rice tends to get stuck to the bottom of the pan, but this saucepan worked wonders. And, the best part is it’s easy to clean and is dishwasher safe. I’m planning to  prepare soups in it too and I think it would be great for deep frying. They were also kind enough to send me a wall canvas (picture of ganesh). The canvas is nice and light weight, ideal for gifts or just for you to give your room an Indian touch.

Gurer Payesh

Dessert, Indian, Gurer payesh, Nalen gurer payesh, Rice pudding, Molasses dessert, Jaggery recipe
Cooks in    Serves 8-10 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 quart milk
  • 1/4 cup scented rice
  • 1/4 cup jaggery
  • 3-4 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
Directions
  • Boil the milk in low flame till it reduces to half the volume. It would take about 30 mins. In the meantime mix the rice with ghee
  • Pour out a little milk in a bowl and add the jaggery. Press the jaggery with the back of a spoon, so that it dissolves in the milk
  • Add the rice to the milk, and let it boil over low flame till the rice is cooked. Pour the jaggery mixed milk into the vessel and boil for 2-3 minutes more. Garnish with the crushed cloves. Serve hot or cold

Gurer Payesh_2

Hot Tips – Mixing ghee before adding the rice to milk lets the rice stay separated.

Always test the jaggery by mixing it with little milk before adding it to the payesh. At times the jaggery clumps the milk, making the payesh a clumpy mess.

 

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.

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The gurer payesh goes to the Chandrani’s Valentines’s Treat.

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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.

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

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Kolkata Street Food Ghugni – Curried Dried Yellow Peas

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When it comes to street food, Kolkata reigns. The city of joy has hundreds of street snacks to offer. It’s not only about jhal muri, bhel puri, papri chat, or tele bhaja, you’ll find a whole lot more. And, just when you thought you have had your share of junk food for the day there is always the kulfi and the crushed ice serbet to chill with.

Talking about Kolkata street food and not mentioning phuchka will be like having pizza without cheese. Phuchka is the most well known among all street foods in Kolkata. You’ll find phuchka sellers near every bus stand and at every corner of the neighborhood streets. Phuchka in whole and its crushed coungter part, churmur is the queen of street foods in Kolkata. Check Kankana’s write-up on Kolkata’s street food and drool over the amazing photos.

Next in line are the egg roll sellers. Come evening and there are people swarmed around the big hot tawa of the egg roll maker. Another street food though not much mentioned is ghugni. Ghugni sellers are a little hard to find, but you’ll definitely find the in all fairs and near every cinema theatre. Ghugn is a rich and spicy preparation made from dried yellow peas. The hot taste of ginger garlic paste mingles with the tanginess of tamarind water to make it street food ambrosia. Ghugni is my second favorite street food of Kolkata, of course phuchka comes first. What’s your favorite street food?

Ghugni

 Serves 4
Preparation time: Overnight soaking + 45minutes 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups ghugni chola/ dried yellow peas
  • ½ cup grounded chicken
  • 1 medium size potato
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoon cumin seeds, roasted and grinded
  • 3-4 green chilies
  • 4 tablespoons tamarind water
  • 4 tablespoons mustard oil
  • Salt to taste

Directions:

  • Soak the ghugni beans overnight, cook in a pressure cooker till two whistles. Drain out the excess water and keep for later use
  • Cut the potatoes into 1” squares, wash and add a pinch of salt and turmeric.  Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a wok, and lightly fry the potatoes. Take out and drain the excess oil on a kitchen towel
  • Pour rest of the oil in the same wok. Add the onion and garlic and fry till the onions are translucent. Add the grounded chicken, all the spices and season with salt. Stir till the oil separates and the chicken turns a darker shade
  • Add the boiled ghugni beans and stir for further 2-3 minutes. Pour in about 1 ½ cup of warm water and cook till half done.
  • Add the half fried potatoes and cook till its done. Take out from the flame serve hot garnished with chopped onions, cucumber, roasted cumin powder and tamarind water.

Ghugni

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.

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This ghugni recipe goes to Blogoversary Event and Giveaway

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Announcing Holi – The Festival of Colors Event and Giveaway

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Holi is the festival of colors. It is a religious festival of the Hindus and is majorly played among the Hindu communities all over the world; it’s a day for your inner child to come out. It is observed as a national festival in India, Nepal and the neighboring countries.

The earliest mention of observing Holi can be dated back to the 7th century Sanskrit drama, Ratnavali. People gather scrap wood, and other substances to burn in a large bonfire on the evening prior to Holi celebration. Back in my school days, burir ghaur porano (the bonfire) was such a rage that me and my cousins used to start collecting wood almost a week before the day.

The festival of color as the name rightly suggests is more of a game than a ritual, unlike all other Hindu rituals and customs. It is all about playing with colors on that day, spraying colors at one another. And, of course the hour long shower to rub off all those colors.

A Hindu festival without food is almost impossible. Fried snacks and sweets are all on the menu. My maternal aunt used to observe Gopal pujo (worshipping Lord Krishna), and so the chaler payesh was something to never miss.

This year even though I am miles away from playing holi with my family, I thought of enjoying with you all. So, announcing Holi – The Festival of Colors event. Blog about your favorite Holi food and share it with us.

This time your work will be awarded. The two best recipes will receive 1000 INR and 500 INR e-gift voucher from Flipkart. The prizes are sponsored by CupoNation. CupoNation is India’s largest coupon portal offering the newest deals and promotions from great brands in India. Make sure to check their website if you want to buy something online in India, they really have great deals from almost all major online traders in India.

Holi - The Festival of Colors Event Logo

Rules of Holi – The Festival of Colors event:

Bloggers –

  1. Blog about your favorite Holi food that you love to prepare during Holi, link back to this event announcement mentioning the giveaway sponsored by CupoNation  and please use the event logo
  2. Submit your links and other details in the following form

Submission form [vfb id=1]

or send in a mail with the following details to bengalicuisine[at]gmail[dot]com

             i.Name
           ii.Blog Name
           iii. Blog URL
           iv. Recipe Name
           v.Recipe URL
           vi. Photo of the prepared recipe
  1. Last date of submitting your entries is March 10, 2013 12 midnight PST. I’ll be posting the event round-up along with the names of the winners before Holi, March 27, 2013.
  2. If you want to send any archived entries please update it with a link to this event announcement post.
  3. There is no limit to the number of recipes you send. So, send as many as you want and increase your chances to win the awards.

 

Non-Bloggers –

  1. Please send in your recipes to bengalicuisine[at]gmail[dot]com along with the photo of the prepared dish
  2. I’ll post these recipes in our blog, Cook Like a Bong as guest posts with due credit to you and add these links to the round.

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Book Review – Cooking on the Run by Boria Mazumdar

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What do you do if you’re in a hurry but still you’ve got to eat? The answer is easy for someone who has been cooking “for a while”. If you are one such person, more often than not, you use your years of work experience in the kitchen and very quickly figure something out.

But, the situation drastically changes when your culinary skills fluctuate between Chhede de ma Kende bachi (Clueless in Kitchen) to Omlette maker (comfortable preparing different egg dishes). You would likely to lean towards the likes of milk-cereal, bread butter toast or banana milk shake for breakfast, or the likes of Maggi, canned foods and some Ready to Eat packs for any other time of the day (of course, you can always order a home delivery from the neighbourhood Pizza delivery, order a take-out online, but those are out-of-scope for this discussion here). Boria Majumdar’s new cookbook, titled Cooking on the Run, can be a godsend at such times, it is very helpful in such a scenario. Wait a minute. Doesn’t Boria Majumdar write and speak about Cricket, and other forms of sports?

Well, yes. And I, for one, was pleasantly surprised when I got his message that his first cookbook is out and if I would like to review it. Of course I would, I thought.  A few days later, Boria sent me the pdf and the printed version of his book too. Thanks Boria.

Going through the book was a like a breeze of fresh air but I was faced with a dilemma – how do I review a cookbook that, even Boria says, is designed for Indian Men? Kalyan and I got together and figured the way out.

We figured we’d review the book from two perspectives – I’ll don the food blogger hat and review the book, while Kalyan will review it from “Indian Man’s” perspective. Fair enough? So, here we go.

Cooking on the Run by Boria Mazumdar

Boria very modestly writes in his book that it “does not have a grandiose purpose” and is “simply the average Indian man’s survival mechanism in times of need”. The book is much more than that though. It is one of those cookbooks which are as much a treat to read for its anecdotes and surrounding story as much as it is for the recipes themselves. I’m very sure pro-cooks would love to read it and keep it in their bookshelves.

Boria grew up in a Bengali household and from a very early age he started getting fond of the finished products from his mother’s kitchen. But, not until did he was in Oxford that he actually set foot in a kitchen to cook. The book reveals not only recipes that he tried over the years to amuse his friends from college and work; but it’s a journey through his life in the kitchen and beyond.

Going through the book, one chapter particularly caught my attention – Tangra, Kolkata’s very own China town. Boria, while discussing his favourite Chinese restaurants over the world, paints a realistic picture of the place. Sitting in my apartment in Texas, I felt nostalgic. I couldn’t but smile and recollect my days as an undergrad and the frequent visit to Chinatown with my friends.

The entry to Tangra is marked by the stench of city’s waste lands (Dhapar maath) and scores of tanneries in the neighbourhood. It was the almost unrecognisable right turn from Gobindo Khatik road that leads to the potholed road of Kolkata’s china town. Notwithstanding this, we used to frequent the area (like thousands of others) in search of the best and authentic Chinese food that the city had to offer. Our favourite was the Big Boss restaurant. We stopped by the place every month, and without fail. The dim lights, the aroma from the kitchen, the bustling customers – all made it special.

The book includes details of various parts of the world where Boria spent time and I’m sure if you happen to be familiar with any of those areas, you would become nostalgic too. The book includes details of Samosas of Flora on Flinders Street, Melbourne or the take out Dosas from Udipi Palace in Chicago or the late night cart sellers in the Oxford campus.

Boria’s experience in these areas are an interesting travel read. And when combined with the recipes, makes it an useful book to keep on your bookshelf. However, since first and foremost, it is a cookbook, let’s talk about the outputs from the kitchen.

The recipes are for everyone to cook and try. The ingredients are not some formidable expensive items from a gourmet store, but simple things that you can get from your next door grocer. So, the author gets it right there.

The cooking directions are detailed and I believe even a first time cook shouldn’t face any problems whatsoever. The recipes are large in number, and belong to various cuisines across the world. However, if you’re looking for a list of recipes you can prepare from a particular book, this book is not where you should be searching for.

The author is Bengali by birth and even though you’ll find recipes from across the world, there’re plenty of instances when you would find a touch of his Bengali in this chronicle. Personally, I loved that Bong touch, and since over two-thirds of this blog’s readers are Bengalis, it is safe to assume that you would like it too. But such Bong references (Jhal Muri, Aloo Posto, Kasha Mangsho among others) might be an overdose if your tastes are different. [here’s my own version of Kasha Mangsho, Aloo Posto]

Another feature, or rather the lack of it, that struck the food blogger in me, was that the book doesn’t have any pictures. When I first started cooking and searching for cookbooks, I always used to pick those that had more pictures, everything else being equal. The pictures give a first time cook a better grasp to understand the recipes and also tell the newbie how the end product will look like. It also is a welcome break from the pages of text. He creates an array of stories twining these recipes, which makes this book worth a read.

 

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Deviled Egg

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Winter is the time of evening snacks; nothing better than having a hot cup of tea with your favorite snack to munch on. We had a party to celebrate the New Year and it got me thinking what can be the quick and easy way to satisfy so many people. I thought of making the baked chicken keema chops, but the thought of making so many made me loose the idea. I came up with an easier solution – deviled egg.

Deviled Egg recipe

The Bengali style deviled egg is the fried and spicier version of what the westerners call deviled egg.  This recipe gets ready in just a few minutes and is very easy to make. Even if you are trying to throw a party from your dorm room deviled egg is one of the best ways to entertain your guests.

Ingredients for Deviled Egg

Deviled Egg

Snack, American, Deviled egg, Egg snack recipe, Eggs mimosa
Cooks in    Serves 10-12
Ingredients
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon tobasco sauce
  • ½ teaspoon red chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
Directions
  • Hard boil the eggs. Drain the excess water and drop the eggs in ice cold water. Keep for some time, peel off the shells and cut the eggs in halves.
  • Gently scoop out the egg yolks and keep in a large bowl. Break the yolks with a fork to form a crumbly texture
  • Add all the ingredients except the red chilli powder. Mix well and put in a disposable piping bag with a number 18 or 21 star nozzle. Squeeze out the yolk mix over the egg whites. Garnish with the red chilli powder and serve with your favourite drink.

Hot Tips – It takes about 12 minutes to hard boil the eggs. You can pour a little vinegar to the boiling water to keep the egg whites from running away if any of the eggs crack.

You can garnish with anything you want, chopped onion shoots is also a good nice option. If you don’t want to take the pain of piping the egg yolk mixture just take a spoonful of the mixture and place it over the egg whites.

Deviled Egg

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Chital Macher Muittha

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Happy New Year to all our readers at Cook Like a Bong. A few months back one of our readers mentioned that even though we are a blog mainly with Bengali recipes, we put up less recipes on fish, the heart and soul of Bengalis. The reason behind it is where I stay there were not much options to have fish. But, with a new store that just opened I now have access to almost all fishes that I used to get back when I was in Kolkata. So, hopefully this year I’ll have many more authentic Bengali fish recipes to share with you all.

Last weekend I went to the store to get some of the common fishes from Bengal – rohu, hilsa, tengra. But, to my surprise there were more, and the best part was a box of minced chital. Chitol or the clown knifefish is one of my favourites. These are huge fishes and with loads of bones. The spicy and oily preparation of chital belly (peti) is one of the many recipes to drool over from the Bengali kitchen. But, there is more to chital, than just its belly. Scraping of the other parts of the fish (discarding the bones) and frying those into dumplings – chital macher muithya is another very popular way of cooking this fish.

Chitol Macher Muittha

I’m not sure how the name “muittha” was derived. But, the preparation is a fishy form of the kancha kalar kofta or the Bengali style malai kofta. The ground fish is mixed with spices, made into balls and fried. These fried dumplings are then cooked in rich gravy and served with rice.

Chital Macher Muithya

Indian, Side, Authentic bengali fish recipe, Chital maach, Fish recipe, Fish dumpling
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • For the duplings:
  • 250gms ground Chital
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3-4 chopped green chilies
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying
  • For the gravy:
  • 1 medium size potato, cut into squares
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1 teaspoon ghee (optional)
  • 2-3 tablespoon mustard oil
  • Salt to taste
Directions
  • Bring the ground fish to normal temperature. Mix all the ingredients for the dumplings, and make small balls or shapes of your choice.
  • Heat the oil in a frying pan, and deep fry the dumplings. Take out and rest on a paper towel to drain excess oil.
  • Heat the mustard oil for the gravy. Mix a pinch of salt and turmeric powder with the chopped potatoes and fry lightly. Take out and store.
  • Mix all the spices expect garam masala in a small bowl with about 2 tablespoons of water
  • Throw in the whole cumin seeds to the same oil, add the potatoes, and pour in the spice paste. Stir for a little while till the spices coat the potatoes and the oil starts separating. Season with salt. Pour in about 1 cup of warm water and cook covered till the potatoes are soft.
  • Gently place the fish dumplings in the gravy. Add the ghee and garam masala. Turn of the heat. Wait for 5-10mins before serving, let the gravy get inside the dumplings

Hot Tips- While making the dumpling, if the mixture sees to be too sticky add a little more cornflour. The dumplings suck in the gravy, so its better to take the dumplings out of the gravy and keep separately. Mix them in again once you are ready to serve

Chitol Muittha

Sending this recipe to Traditional and Native Recipes hosted by Sara.

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Christmas Baking Event RoundUp

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Holidays are in the air. And, what better way to celebrate this holiday season with some wonderful baked goods from your oven for your loved ones. Put on your oven mitts and get ready for a great  collection of Christmas baking recipes.

Thank you all for the lovely entries that you sent for the Christmas Event 2012. Here’s the round-up.

Amrita _ Eggless Whole Wheat Dinner rolls

Eggless Whole Wheat Dinner rolls from Sweet’n’Savoury by Amrita

Sharmistha_fish_cabbage

Baked Fish (Bhetki) on a bed of grated Cabbage  from CookaDoodledo by SGD
Priya_Eggless Banana Muffins

Eggless Banana Muffins from Enveetu Kitchen by Priya Srinivasan

 Apple crumble

Apple Pear Crumble from Confusion Cook by Deepali Jain
Deepika_Cake Pops

Cake Pops from My Life & Spice by Deepika

Classic Cupcake

Classic cupcakes from Ghar Ka Khana by Sheelu

Eggless Molten Lava Cake

Eggless Molten Lava Cake from Nivedhanams by Sowmya

chicken roast

Roast Chicken on a bed of vegetables, served with butter rice from

COOK-A-DOODLE-DO by SGD

banana cake

Banana Cake from COOK-A-DOODLE-DO by SGD

Priya_Chocolate Black Pepper Sable

Chocolate Black Pepper Sable from Enveetu Kitchen by Priya Srinivasan

Rasgulla Blackforest Cake

Rasgulla Blackforest Cake from Desi Fiesta by Manjula

Eggless Cappuccino Biscotti

Eggless Cappuccino Biscotti from Confusion Cook by Deepali

Brownie Tart

Brownie tart with chocolate pockets from Sweet’n’Savoury by Amrita

Elbow Pasta Tart

Elbow Pasta Tart  from Confusion Cook by Deepali

 Eggless chocolate beetroot cake

Eggless Chocolate Beetroot Cake with Chocolate Lacquer Glaze

 from Confusion Cook by Deepali

Mini Apple Pie

Mini Apple pie from Cook Like a Bong by Sudeshna and Kalyan

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Baked Chicken Keema Chop – Minced Chicken Fritters

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Winter is in. As the temperature falls, sitting in your couch with a nice warm blanket watching your favorite TV show is the best part of the evening. What makes it better is a plate of piping hot munchies and a cup of tea.

Snacks and oily food is almost synonymous. For us Bengalis “tele bhaja” (deep fried) snacks is the bottom line of a good evening chit chatting. As some say Bengalis live to eat and not eat to live. But, with the raising heart diseases cutting on the oil is a must.

I prepared these ground chicken fritters a few days back for an evening appetizer come snack. Baking them in stead of deep frying was the only way to cut on the calories. But, whoo they came out so well. The taste and texture was just like the deep fried ones, but yet you don’t have to die for guilt. It was an instant hit.

Baked Minced Meat Fritters

Snack, Indian, Baked snacks, Chicken baked fritters, Fritters
Cooks in    Serves Makes 12 fritters
Ingredients
  • 16 oz ground chicken
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 green chili, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2-3 tablespoon cornflour
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • Salt to taste
  • Cooking spray
Directions
  • Wash the ground chicken properly. Boil the washed chicken with 2-3 cups of water till well done. In a bowl add the cornflour with 4-5 tablespoon water to make a runny mixture. Preheat the oven to 400 degree Fareheit.
  • Heat about 1 tablespoon of oil in a frying pan, throw in the chopped onions, green chili and the boiled chicken. Add the spices and season with salt. Stir fry till the chicken seems to be a little dry.
  • Cool down the chicken and make around 12 balls, flatten both sides by pressing in between your palms.
  • Dip it in cornflour and then roll the balls on breadcrumbs. Repeat the process for each ball twice.
  • arranges the breadcrumb coated balls on a baking tray, spray lightly with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes turning the sides once or twice in between.
  • Serve hot with chopped onions and tomato sauce.

Hot Tips- You can fry these fritters too in stead of baking like I have made the macher vada. You can also replace the ground chicken with ground beef, mutton or turkey.

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Chirer Pulao – Flattened Rice Pilaf

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Flattened rice or chindé is one of the most common evening snacks in Bengal. Whether its chindé bhaja (fried flattened rice) with roasted nuts or grated coconut or the chindé doi (sweet yogurt with flattened rice) – chindé has its own special place as the evening cha-er sathe ta. Chindé is so popular in Bengal that even grocery stores sale packed chindé bhaja.

Other than being such a hyped snacks dish, chindé is one of the many homemade remedies for keeping you cool during the summer months. Eating chindé doi for breakfast during the summer months is one of the many things which make a Bengali a true Bong. Probably because of its cooling effect you get to eat chindé doi on the very dawn of your wedding day. I remember y wedding day, my mom calling me at the crack of dawn and before I could understand anything she had wrapped a saree over my pj’s and t-shirt. And, there I was sitting in front of all relatives eating a bowl full of chindé doi.

The other very popular dish made with flattened rice is chirer pulao. This is almost similar to what rest of India calls poha or pohé. But, just like what happens when you say golgappa is better than Kolkata phuchka, the same thing happens here too. Ask any Bengali and he’ll surely say chirer pulao is far better than pohay. This is probably because a simple reason, the size and texture of the flattened rice that is available. Chira that we generally get in Bengal is a little smaller, softer and whiter than what the rest of India calls poha. While poha is made with roasted chillies, onions, mustard and cumin seeds and curry leaves, chirer pulao contains peas, cauliflower and the Bong favorite potatoes.

Chirer Pulao - Flattened Rice Pilaf

Snack, Indian, Authentic bengali recipe, Chirer pulao, Pilaf, Chinda recipe, Bengali poha, Poha recipe
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 3cups chira
  • 1 medium size potato, chopped to tiny pieces
  • 1 floret of cauliflower, chopped to tiny pieces
  • ¼ cup of peas, fresh or frozen
  • A handful of peanuts, roasted
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped onions
  • 2-3 green chillies, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Pinch of sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Directions
  • Heat the oil in a wok and throw in the onions, potatoes and cauliflower, stir fry till the vegetables are half cooked. Season with green chillies, salt and sugar if using.
  • Add the peas and cook till the vegetables are properly cooked. Add the chira and stir fry to mix the vegetables and chira together.
  • If you want the chira to be crispy, take it out of flame garnish with the roasted peanuts and lemon juice and serve. If you like the softer version, sprinkle some water and let cook for a minute or two and then serve.

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Announcing Christmas Event

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I studied in a convent school, so Christmas was a big thing. I remember the whole week before the school closed for winter vacation we had to give gifts to the slums nearby. The gifts included food, soaps and also our old clothes. We decorated the entire school with streamers, light bulbs and there was the big manger decorated in front of the chapel. And, at the end of all these work there was the big piece of cake waiting.
So many years have passed, but I still miss school during this time of the year. So, this year I thought of celebrating along with you guys. Here I am announcing the Christmas event 2012. The theme for this event is as you have already guessed is Christmas. You can send any recipe that you would want to share with us, preferably a baked recipe – cakes, pies, breads.

There is no limit to the number of recipes you can send  for the event. Just send the recipes along with a photo of the preparation (the photo should not be more than 100Kb).  Send in your entries to bengalicuisine[at]gmail[dot]com with the subject  “Entry for Christmas Event 2012” along with the following details:

Name of author:
Name of the recipe:
Name of the blog:
URL of the blog:
Attach the picture with the mail

You can add the logo in your post or also on your sidebar. Send in new recipes or archived recipes. If you are sending any old recipes please update the post with the link to this event announcement.

Those who don’t have a blog please send in your recipe in word document format.
You can send in your entries from today till December 15, 12 midnight PST. I will post the round-up before Christmas.

Wish you all a Merry Christmas in advance. 

Want to stay connected, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too.
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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
  • 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
Directions
  • 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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