Rogan Josh Review and Giveaway

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Rogan josh is one of the most popular recipes of the Kashmiri cuisine, though its origin is from the Persian kitchen. It is mainly made with lamb or mutton, but nowadays even chicken or vegetarian versions are also available in the restaurants. This recipe is characterized by its brilliant red color. The Kashmiri red chili powder is mainly used to get this red color, but in traditional version of the recipe dried flowers or roots of Alkanet is also used and even saffron strands.

Saffron Road Food had sent me some of their simmer sauces to try out, and a rogan josh simmer sauce was one of them. The recipe was written in details, and was very easy to make. I made it with boneless chicken and put in some veggies – carrots, potatoes and bell pepper in it too. To make this rogan josh all I had to do was to fry the washed boneless chicken pieces in oil till they were soft, put in the thinly sliced vegetables and toss for 2-3 minutes. Then just added the simmer sauce and let it cook for 4-5 minutes more and that it restaurant style rogan josh was ready in less than 15 minutes.

Rogan Josh on plate

Most simmer sauces from other companies, which I have tried contains their own signature smell, probably because of a particular ingredient in them, but the simmer sauces from Saffron Road Food was perfect and the finished product tasted just like it should taste if you had made it from scratch. They also have simmer sauces for Mororccan Tagine, Tikka Masala and Lemongrass Basil and they were equally good. These simmer sauces are perfect for bachelors, who have no idea where to start from in the kitchen and also for families for a busy week night or a lazy weekend.

I am very glad to announce that Saffron Road Food has agreed to sponsor this month’s giveaway. All the 4 simmer sauces can be yours. Just follow the rules below and two lucky winners will receive 4 different simmer sauces from Saffron Road Food.

Giveaway Logo

Rules for the giveaway:

1. Eligible to all legal residents of USA. 
2. Visit the Saffron Road Food website and leave a comment here saying which product you loved most. 
3. Like Saffron Road Food and Cook Like a Bong Facebook pages if you have not already liked it. 
 

I will use a random number generator to choose two winners from those who have commented in this post.

Here’s my take on rogan josh.

Rogan Josh

Indian, Side, Chicken curry, Rohan josh, Kashmiri style rogan josh
Cooks in    Serves 6
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs lamb or mutton
  • 1/4 cup whole milk yogurt
  • 2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • 6-8 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 mace
  • 1 medium size onion, made to paste
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 5 tablespoon canola oil
  • Salt to taste
Directions
  • Mix the lamb or mutton with yogurt, ginger garlic paste, onion paste, red chili powder, and salt. Mix well, put in a ziplock pouch and keep in the refrigerator for atleast 2 hours and not more than 8 hours.
  • Heat oil in a thick bottom wok, add the garlic cloves,whole spices and the marinaded lamb or mutton. Fry till the spices change to a darker color and the marinade dries out. Keep stirring so that it doesn\'t stick to the bottom
  • Reduce the flame to medium, pour in 2 cups of warm water and simmer for 45minutes, or transfer to a pressure cooker and wait till two whistles.
  • Wait till you attain the deserve consistency of the gravy, add more water if required. Sprinkle the garam masala and serve hot with basmati rice or naan.

Rogan Josh with kadai

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Basanti Pulao – Yellow Rice Pilaf

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Spring is the time of colors. As the dry winter blows off, the dried out trees start to come back to life. The once bare branches start bearing tiny light green leaves, and some burst in blooms. Back in India, spring was almost similar to the advent of summer. As the winter faded off, the temperature rises abruptly, the blankets and warm woolen clothes are replaced by the pastel colored cotton dresses. While here in the US, spring has its own place. As, the snow melts, the squirrels come out of their hiding, and the trees burst with blooms of all colors.

Indian cuisine as opposed to the food from the Western world lack in the vibrancy of colors. Its probably because most of the dishes are curry based, and the blend of different ground spices turn everything to almost the same colors. Though, this is my opinion. What do you feel? So, I was thinking of some dish which brings our the vibrant colors of spring, and this basanti pulao came to mind.

Basanti, literally means a shade of yellow, it is the color of spring. The basanti pulao is slightly sweet in taste because of the use of sugar in it and so it goes well with very hot and spicy curries. Choose from chicken kasha or mutton kasha or a vegetarian alu dum as a side, and you’ll love this pulao.

Basanti Pulao

Basanti Pulao

Dinner, Indian, Basanti pulao, Spring recipes, Rice pilaf, Yellow pilaf, Sweet pilaf, Bengali pulao recipe
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 2 cups long grain basmati rice
  • 1 tablespoon saffron strands
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 2 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoon ginger paste
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6-7 small cardamom
  • 6-7 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped cashews and raisins
  • 4-5 cups warm water
Directions
  • Wash the rice, and drain out excess water. Mix ginger paste, cumin powder, salt to the rice and coat it evenly. Leave out on kitchen towel for 30 minutes to soak out the excess water.
  • In the meantime soak the saffron strands in the warm milk
  • Bring 4 cups of water to boil, add the spice coated rice and saffron milk. Cook till the rice is done
  • Add little water at a time to the rice, if it dries out before getting fully cooked, don\'t put too much water, the rice will turn soggy then.

Hot Tips – To bring out the yellow color you can used edible food color (sunset yellow), but use in very small amount.  You can also mix about 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder to 1 cup of rice and marinate for 30 minutes to get the color.

Basanti Pulao

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Litti Chokha for Holi

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As my folks are getting ready for Holi tomorrow back in India, I’m all with memories of Holi, listening to Holi songs from Hindi movies on Youtube. During my college days, Holi started a day early for me. Playing Holi after college in the college grounds, and then walking back home (we were banned to board any bus/taxi after all those colors in our clothes). And, then there was the D-day – playing with colors started right after breakfast and continued almost till late evening. There was gulal and of course the “badure rang”, which stayed on the skin for at least the next 7 days.

Litti Chokha

After I shifted to the United States, Holi has been constricted to just a couple of hours on a weekend before or after the actual Holi date. Here, its just the colored powders. This time we went to celebrate Holi at UT Austin organized by HSA. It was a great few hours spent, with an awesome DJ playing all Hindi songs (it was an welcome break from the English songs playing DJs in the pubs). The air was filled with colors, and it felt great playing with thousands of people, of whom I only new a few.

Holi

(Some of the Holi photos are taken from Gagan Singh’s Holi album. Thanks, Gagan)

Festivals and food go hand in hand. Holi is the time for some awesome snacks and sweets. As the Holi in Bihar is an epic event, I thought of preparing some Bihari snacks for Holi. Litti is a very common Bihari recipe. It is made with sattu, and is very similar to the Rajasthai bati of dal-bati churma.

Litti Chokha

Snack, Indian, Litti chokha, Bihari cuisine, Holi recipe
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • For the cover -
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • For the filling -
  • ½ cup sattu
  • 1 tablespoon carom seeds
  • 1 teaspoon aamchur powder
  • 1 teaspoon nigella
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 2-3 green chilies, coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 sprigs coriander, coarsely chopped
  • Salt to taste
Directions
  • Mix the flour and salt together and pour about half cup of warm water to make a dough, add extras water if needed. Make 10-12 one inch size balls from the dough. Keep aside
  • Mix all the ingredients together for the filling, add about 2 tablespoon water and mix together to form a crumbly sand like texture. Add extra water if needed
  • Roll out each flour flour, put in about 1 tablespoon of the filling and then wrap the filling with the dough. Roll the dough under your palm to form the balls. Repeat till all the dough balls are filled with the sattu filling.
  • Preheat the oven to 450F. Place the sattu filled balls on a oven safe tray and cover it with aluminum foil. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or till the balls harden and have a charred look.
  • Serve hot with a dollop of ghee

Litti tastes best with alu chokha and baingan bharta.

Hot Tips – Do not pour excess water to the filling, else it will become like a paste and wont taste good. Altenatively, the litti can be roasted in a barbecue grill or on a stove top using a tawa.

Litti Chokha

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Holi – The Festival of Colors Event RoundUp

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Holi is one of largest and probably the most exhilarating festivals in India. Though a Hindu religious festival, Holi is played by almost all communities and it is the festival of colors. It is to celebrate the arrival of spring and also for the good harvest. People throw colored powder and water at each other, the entire country gets immersed in colors of joy.

It is the festival of colors. This year, Holi will be celebrated on March 27, 2013. So, to be a part of this colorful festival we ta Cook Like a Bong hosted Holi – The Festival of Colors event. The event was sponsored by CupoNation, and two lucky winners will get Flipkart gift vouchers worth 1000 and 500 INR.

Giveaway Gallery

How can an Indian festival go by without mentioning food. So, that here’s how I came up with the idea to host an event for food for Holi. The event theme was to prepare a dish inspired by the Holi festival and to portray the different colors in the plate. We received loads of recipes from many bloggers and non-bloggers from all over the world. You can see the entries below. Scroll down further to know who the lucky winners.

Click on each of the images to navigate to the recipe pages.

[catablog_gallery id=”3814″  template=”gallery”]

The post from non-blogger, Anu are here:

Bread Gulab Jamun

Bread Gulab Jamun Recipe
Dessert, Indian
  
Ingredients
  • *Bread-6 slices(brown part removed)
  • *milk-5 or 6 tablsp
  • *cardamom-5
  • *sugar-half cup
  • *water-1 cup
  • *almonds/cashews(optional)
  • *oil
Directions
  • >Mix bread and milk to a consistency so that u can roll balls from it...If U want U can make bread to small crumbs 1st.dough should not be soggy
  • >make small balls,fry them in oil or ghee
  • >Boil water,sugar and crushed cardamom till it become syrup(dont make it too thick,once it cools it will get more thicker)
  • >remove syrup from heat,allow to cool,then add bread balls
  • >atleast keep it for 1hr,or refrigerate,garnish with thinly sliced almonds

Choco Cup Icecream

Choco Cup Icecream Recipe
Dessert, Indian
  
Ingredients
  • Disposable glass
  • *chocolate
  • *ice cream or whipping cream
  • *nuts,biscut crumbs,fruits or wafers...
Directions
  • Melt chocolate by double boiling or in oven
  • Pour to glass and spread evenly with a brush or spoon
  • Keep in freezer for at least 1 hr and make sure it is hardened enough before you take it out
  • With a knife,carefully separate glass and chocolate,again keep in fridge
  • By this time you can prepare filling, either ice cream or whipping cream
  • Fill your cup with anything of UR choice(nuts or biscuit) and finally top it up with ice cream

And, here are the winners for the Flipkart vouchers sponsored by  CupoNation.

1. Vijaylakshmi of Virunthu unna vaanga

2. Saraniya of Sara’s tasty buds

Both of you please send me an email to bengalicuisne[at]gmail[dot]com so that I can send you the vouchers.

 Thanks to all those who shared your wonderful recipes for this event.

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Methi Parota – Fenugreek Stuffed Paratha

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Fenugreek is one of the mostly grown herbs in India. The seeds are widely used as spices in whole or grounded in different North Indian dishes. But the fresh leaves with its distinctive taste and aroma is used in meat preparations like methi chicken. Another use of these fresh leaves is to make the well known methi paratha.

Methi Parantha_2

As the plants grow in winter, methi paratha is a common breakfast or dinner option for many. I love the bitter sweet taste of the leaves. The parathas taste great with just some mango pickle and curd. This is one of the easiest ways of preparing stuffed parota, and is less completed that the actually stiffed parathas like aloo paratha or gobi paratha. All you have to do is add the leaves to the flour and roll out into parathas.

When I first started making chapatis and parathas, I never got the perfect circular rotis, but don’t worry if your paratha looks like some country map, it will taste the same :).

Methi Paratha

Dinner, Indian, Methi paratha, Stuffed indian bread, Fenugreek recipe
Cooks in    Serves 2
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup fenugreek leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 4-5 tablespoon canola oil for frying
Directions
  • Wash and pat dry the fenugreek leaves, and chop coarsely
  • Mix the leaves with the flour, add the spices and season with salt. Add warm water and knead to a dough. Divide the dough into 8 one inch size balls
  • Lightly dust a rolling board with flour and roll each dough separately to make the paratha
  • Heat a frying pan or tawa on high, gently place one paratha, as tiny bubbles start appearing on the paratha flip and roast the other side. Now add about 1 tablespoon of oil to the paratha and fry for 1-2 minutes on both sides. Repeat this process for all the parathas.
  • Serve hot with pickle and yogurt

Methi Paratha_1

Hot Tips – If you partially cook the paratha before adding the oil, it takes less oil to make the paratha. If you want the parathas to be oily, just add oil first and then directly fry the parathas in it.

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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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.

Holi - The Festival of Colors Event Logo

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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.

Holi - The Festival of Colors Event 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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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.

Holi - The Festival of Colors Event Logo

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 promo code . 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.

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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 promo code   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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