Free eBook on Bengali Festive Recipes – Saradiya Rannabati

Sharodotsav

What does the word Sharadiya ( or Saradiya) mean to you?

Surely, you would identify with the several connotations of the word beyond its literal meaning (that which comes in the Autumn). Hymns by Birendra Kishore Bhadra on All India Radio, the great homecoming (Bongs flock from all parts of the country/elsewhere to their hometown), the annual shopping frenzy (what are you wearing on Saptami? On Nabami evening?), Sharod publications (Patrika, Bartaman, Anandalok take your pick), the three eyed Ma Durga with her Pangopal, the Kash ful dancing to the tunes of the fluttering breeze, the hair raising yet rhythmic beat of the traditional Dhak, the exquisite Pandals and the teeming millions, the egg-roll stalls (and your diet regime goes for a toss!), Akalbodhan, Khain, Bisarjan

Ladies and Gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to the Carnival of the Year!

Free eBook

This Festive Season, Cook Like a Bong brings to you a collection of 26 traditional and trendy Bengali recipes in a free eBook, titled Saradiya Rannabati 2010. Do what you like, go anywhere you want, eat whatever you can lay your hands on. This Durga Puja, Eat Pray Live. 🙂

Eat Pray Live
Eat Pray Live

What’s on the Menu?

A collection of authentic Bengali recipes including fries, side dishes, main course and sweets and desserts from the BengaliCuisine kitchen and also from five different contributors. Unfold the secrets of the famous Kolkata phuchka. Know how to cook the brilliant looking Basanti pulao. Don’t miss the Chingri Bhapa, Doi Post Ilish or the mouthwatering Misti Doi. End the fare with Anarosher Chutney or Aamer Morobba.

Salivating already? Without wait, pounce on the delicacies. Please enter your name and email id in the box below to subscribe to our blog and we will give you the eBook for free.



Many Thanks to…

Thanks to all our readers, whose repeat visits to the website keep its traffic stats healthy. Kudos to the 2500+ strong community at Cook like a Bong’s Facebook Page – your discussions help everyone appreciate the myriad variations of Bangali Ranna. Special thanks to Jeet Saikia for designing the cover page of this e-book and to all our eBook recipe contributors.

Aamer Dal – Bengali Mango Dal Recipe

 

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ও শিব কবে হবে কাল, নিম দিয়ে ছেচকি আম দিয়ে ডাল

Kolkata has started observing the heat waves for this year. The temperature is going way above the 30°C. To beat the heat and keep the body cool having something bitter or sour is best. By definition though summer is a little away but the markets are flooded with raw mangoes. These sour tasting mangoes are a wonderful ingredient for varieties of Bengali recipes. Starting from the simple dal to chatni and even achar green mangoes are a favorite.

Enlightment

Enlightenment

The green mango dal is a must have in most Bengali families during the summer time. Green mango has some very good health benefits too. The raw mango contains more Vitamin C than the half-ripe or ripe mangoes. It also contains a good amount of Vitamin B1 and B2. To know more about the health benefits of raw mangoes have a look at this article “Eating Mango is Really Beneficial for Health”.

So, Beat the Heat with Raw Mango Daal (Bengali Mango Daal, aamer dal, mango dhal):

Preparation time: 10min

Cooking time: 15min
Serves 4

Aamer Dal - Bengali Mango Daal

Aamer Dal - Bengali Mango Daal

Ingredients:

  • Red Lentil (Masur dal): ½ cup
  • Split Husked Mung Bean (Mung/Moog dal): ½ cup
  • Raw Mango (Kancha aam): 1
  • Turmeric powder (Halud guro): ½ teaspoon
  • Mustard seeds (Sarse dana): 1 tablespoon
  • Mustard oil (Sarser tel): 2 tablespoon
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • Mix the two lentils together and boil with 2 cups of water and salt
  • As the lentils get half cooked add the mango pieces and cook till the lentils are fully cooked
  • Add the turmeric powder and with a wired balloon whisk stir the cooked lentils once or twice
  • Heat the oil in a wok, throw in the mustard seeds and dried chilies
  • As the mustard seeds starts popping pour in the lentils and cook for a minute or two
  • Serve hot with rice for lunch

Further Reading: Chholar Daal, Dal Shukno, Masur Dal – Musurir Daal, Roadside Tadka

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Blogger Interview Series Part 4 – Sharmila

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After an wonderful response to the Top 7 Bengali Food Blogs post, we decided on interviewing the authors of these very popular blogs. This post is the fourth in Blogger Interview Series. If you have missed the first three interviews, click on the following links:

  1. Jayashree Mandal of Spice and Curry
  2. Bong Mom of Bong Mom’s CookBook
  3. Indrani of Appayan

About Sharmila

Sharmila started her blog, Kichukhon in December 2006, though she started blogging regularly since 2008. Her blog is an ode to her father, who as she says in her own words “loves good food”. In her blog, Sharmila writes about recipes without sticking to any particular type of cuisine, but also blogs about traditional Bengali food. Here’s an insight of the maker of the wonderful Bengali food blog, Kichukhon.

What inspires you to write a food blog?

Initially it was all those wonderful food blogs on the web.

Later I started to get requests for particular recipes or guidance regarding a recipe, from sincere readers.
That inspires me to keep going.

Who had been your inspiration for cooking?

Actually nobody.
Cooking, for me, was a necessity after I got married. It is only after a lot of disasters that I can say I enjoy cooking today. 🙂

Who was and is your greatest support(s) for this blog?

This blog is entirely my effort … with a lot of trials and errors. Of course am grateful to a few blogger friends who encouraged me during my early days of blogging.

What was the first dish that you prepared and when?

I really don’t remember, maybe some chicken preparation. Back home, during Sundays, I would sometimes try my hand at making a dish with chicken.

CLB Note: Her blog has 10+ chicken recipes. Check them out. And if you need more, here’re our bengali chicken recipes.

What are the 3 food blogs that you would recommend our readers to read?

1. http://aht.seriouseats.com/
2. http://sutapa.com/
3. http://www.marthastewart.com/

How many cook books do you have?

None.

What’s your favorite cookbook?

I don’t read cookbooks.

What would you eat for your last supper?

Steaming hot dal, plain rice and aloo bhaaja with a little ghee and lemon. 🙂

Which other food blogs do you read regularly?

There are some very good food blogs out there … naming all of them is going to be difficult.

Your fondest food memory?

That would be of the food cooked in open air improvised chulhas when we used to go for ‘choruibhati’s or picnics.
The khichuri (rice and lentils cooked together)  or mangsho (mutton or chicken curry) cooked that way used to be so flavourful.

Your most trusty kitchen companion?

My pair of kitchen scissors.

What made you to call your blog “Kichu Khon”?

“Kichu Khon” in Bengali means “A Few Moments”.

Like my blog description says, since I was logging about the few moments I spend in my kitchen, I decided on the name “Kichu Khon”.

Name three dishes (along with their links) from your blog that you like preparing often.

The Coffee Cake
Chingri Malai Rice :
Jhaal Muri / Masala Muri

Which cookbook can you not do without and which chef is your hero/heroine?

I do not follow any cook books. But I like Kylie Kwong‘s recipes, very similar to my way of cooking – quick, flavourful yet simple.

Well, thank you Sharmila, for taking out time to share your personal side for our readers. We wish you good luck with your food blogging experience. Cheers!

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Gits KaraiSutir Kachori Mix – Product Review

Let’s face it, people who like cooking usually don’t prefer Ready to Eat packs. I, being a food blogger and all (J) normally try and avoid packaged foods. I like preparing the food I serve from scratch.  But a cook never really grows unless you try out all that’s there to try – ready to cook/eat including.

I tried Gits Karaisutir Kachori mix a couple of weeks back and was pleasantly surprised that I kind of liked it. This post is a product review of the same.

Karaisutir Kachuri

Karaisutir Kachuri

Why Ready to Eat Mix?

First Things First. Why take resort to ready to cook mixes, when there is an absolute pleasure of preparing ingredients from scratch? The answer is simple – either you can spend half a day in the kitchen for just preparing the fillings for karaishutir kochuri or you can do the same thing in just 20 minutes.

Gits Karaisutir Kachuri

The packet says you can get up to 30 kachoris from it, but if you put a generous amount of the filling in the dough, you can make around 20. The end product was excellent.

Gits Karaisutir Kachuri

Gits Karaisutir Kachuri

How to prepare it

While talking about karaishutir kachori, there’s always the problem of rolling the dough into a perfect circle, which is quite a tough job. So, if you find it tough to make the perfect circle, then I think you should own a chapatti/paratha maker to make the kachoris.

I prepared the mix in almost the same way as instructed in the packet.

Emptied the packet in a medium sized bowl, and poured luke-warm water over it little by little. If you pour a whole cup of water, the mix tends to form lumps, which is quite hard to get rid of.

Karaisutir Kachuri Bhaja

Karaisutir Kachuri Bhaja

Mixed it well and kept it for 20 min covered with cling film. Heated 1 teaspoon of oil in a wok and just stirred the mixture for 2-3mins, and took out of flame.

Make the dough as is made while preparing luchi (poori), and divide into 20 small balls. Take one ball dip into little oil and roll a little, put about ¾ tablespoons of just made filling and cover the filling with the dough. Roll again to make 5 inch diameter size circle. Do the same for the rest.

We had the kachori with alu dum, it tasted awesome, even my neighbor liked it.

Downsides

The mix has some amount of asafetida (hing), so if you are averse to the strong sulfurous smell of that, it’s better to avoid the mix.

Karaisutir Kachuri Pur Bhaja

Karaisutir Kachuri Pur Bhaja

How can you get Gits Karaisutir Kachori mix

Gits products can be obtained from supermarkets and grocery stories from 35 different countries including India. The products are also available online and can be bought through Amazon.

Disclosure: This isn’t a paid review, but the ready to eat packs were received from Gits free of cost. I’ve tried to maintain neutrality while evaluating the product. Please let me know if you feel otherwise.

About Gits

Gits started as small company way back in 1963 and have evolved into a household name in the ready to cook and ready to mix Indian food product segment. Their offerings include snacks, desserts, papads, savouries, meals and desserts.

If you like the post, chances are you would like the Gits product too. Try it out.

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Strawberry Sandesh

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“Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.”
-Ernestine Ulmer

Strawberry Sandesh

Strawberry Sandesh

Remember bite that you had craved for at the middle of the night at a place miles away from home? Well, for me its mom’s varied curries, phuchkas and padar dokaner mishti (পাড়ার দোকানের মিষ্টি – sweets from the local sweetshop). If you are from Kolkata, or have any other Bengali affiliation, probably you crave for the same.

If you live outside Bengal, you may find it tough to find any bengali sweet in your neighbourhood. Let alone different types of Sandesh. [You may find Phuchka though. Even if not, home made Phuchka is easy to prepare].

So, here are the simple steps to prepare an exotic variety – Strawberry Sandesh. If you can’t wait to know how to prepare Strawberry Sandesh, you may skip a couple of paragraphs ahead. Or else, read on for its History

History of Sandesh

Bengali cuisine was revolutionized in the 19th century. And the four sweet shops of Kolkata (কলকাতা ) , the then Calcutta) played a major role. These shops were named after their founders – Bhim Nag, K.C Das, Dwarika Ghosh and Ganguram and with these started the history of Sandesh (সন্দেশ).

Of these 4 pioneers, Bhim Nag patronized Sandesh (also referred as sandes, shandesh, sondes). Even after a century, Bhim Nag’s Sandesh is still a don’t-miss-when-you-are-in-Kolkata.

Most popular variety of Sandesh includes kara paker sandesh (কড়া পাকের সন্দেশ ), nalen gurer sandesh (নলেন  গুড়ের সন্দেশ), naram chanar sandesh (নরম ছানার সন্দেশ). Several companies even claim to do R&D in this field, but fresh chana (curd cheese) sandesh still remains a popular name.

The Request

In Cook Like a Bong Facebook page, Anshika requested for the flavored sandes recipe. I took the chance and bought some fresh strawberries from the market and prepared the strawberry sandes. It was an instant hit (it kicked ass!) among all who devoured the sweet.

Makes 10 sandesh

Preparation time: 30min + 1 hour

Cooking time: 20min

Strawberry

Strawberry

Ingredients:

  • Full cream milk (Dudh – দুধ): 1 litre
  • Strawberry (স্ট্রবেরি): 150gm
  • Sugar (Chini – চিনি): 3 tablespoon
  • Lemon Juice (Pati lebur ras – পাতি লেবুর রস): 2 tablespoon
  • Water (Jal – জল): 4 tablespoon
Channa

Chhana

Preparation:

  • Boil the milk, as it starts to increase in volume pour in the lemon juice and gently stir with a ladle
  • Chop the strawberries (don’t forget to put in some pieces in your mouth J) and put those in a pan with the sugar and water
  • Cook over low flame with stirring at times so that the puree doesn’t get stick to the bottom of the pan
  • Take out of pan when it turns sticky, keep aside to cool
  • Pour the chana (curd cheese, chhana, chhena) over a thin cloth so that the whey drains out, keep it hanged for 10-15min
  • Take the chana out of the cloth on a big plate, the texture will be a little spongy
  • Press the chana only with your palm and continue till your palm feel oil
Chhana Strawberry mix

Chhana mix

  • Fold in the strawberry puree with the chana
  • Transfer the strawberry mixed chana to the wet cloth and refrigerate for an hour
  • Take the chana out of the fridge and make shapes of your wish, garnish with sliced strawberries
Strawberry Sandesh

Strawberry Sandesh

Hot Tips – Alternately, you can also put the chopped strawberries in a blender and heat the puree with only sugar for 4-5 min or till it thickens. This Sandesh is made with fresh chana, so consume it within 24 hours of preparation.

You can also use calcium lactate to curdle the milk, but I don’t like the smell of it so I prefer using lemon juice.

Further Reading – Kara Paker SandeshCream FudgeCarrot Sandesh

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Chicken Keema Curry

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Festive spirit is raging high among Bongs with Durga Puja just round corner (only 11 days). There is so much to talk about – Puja Barshiki, history of Durga Puja, Durga Puja in Kolkata, memories of school/college days, Mahalaya hymns, my experience at last year’s Puja at Bangalore and of course the Puja wardrobe, Puja recipes – that I became overwhelmed with to write and what to leave out.

So, here’s the deal.

Starting today, I’ll write a post a day till Puja starts. And in these posts, I hope to cover ‘Pujor Amej’ (Festive Flavour) in terms of food, history and a bong’s insight. There would be occasional touches of fashion trends too.

And some updates on Durga Puja Food Festival too. Hurry folks, the deadline for getting a chance for an entry in the eBook and a prize is 22nd September. Click here for more information.

Puja is almost at the door steps and am counting on the days, just 11 days to go. The first essence of the puja you get in Kolkata is the sale of the Puja Barshikis. At this time of the year the fat magazines is a well known scene at the news paper stalls. I had not yet bought my share of Puja Shankha this time, but just brought back home this month’s edition of Anadamela. The trigger was the painting of a Durga idol on the cover page of the edition; it said “Pouranik Galpe Debi Durga” (Mention of the Goddess Durga in mythology). I’ll let you all the stories in the corresponding posts, so be patient.

Durga Puja

There had been several stories about the inception of this autumn festival, which became the most important festivals among Bengalis, and for that matter Hindus. My most fond memories of Durga Puja are the dawn of Mahalaya. Mahalaya is said to be the day of the inception of the goddess. This day also marks the last week on countdown for the pujas, and so it is so special. With the cracking of dawn starts the radio program for Mahalaya. When I was a kid that was the only source, these days every Bengali channel shows their version of Mahalaya, but still listening to the hymns sung by Virendra Kishore Bhadra in a half-awake state is my favorite.

What I thought of posting today has nothing to deal with Mahalaya or Durga Puja, but with less than a fortnight to go before the festival starts and as I have missed the last year of Durga Puja celebration in Kolkata, I am looking forward for this year. When it’s autumn, the air, the blue sky with the fluffy wet white clouds, the bamboo structures getting ready for the puja, the crowd at the shops – everything just compelling me to talk about the goddess and the way these four days is spent.

In my previous posts I had written about a lot of chicken preparations, but this time I just shifted a little and prepared with minced chicken. Those of you, who are fond of mutton or lamb, can also prepare it with minced meat.

Preparation time: 10min
Cooking time: 15 – 20min

Ingredients:

  • Minced chicken (Murgir keema): 300gm
  • Potatoes (Aalu): 2 medium sizes, cut into quarters
  • Sour curd (Tauk Doi): 2 tablespoons
  • Onion paste (Peyaj bata): 2 tablespoons
  • Ginger-garlic paste (Aada-rasun bata): 1 tablespoon
  • Turmeric powder (Halud guro):  ½ teaspoon
  • Chili powder (Sukhno lanka guro): 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard oil (Sarser tel): 4 tablespoon

Preparation:

  • Clean the keema  in a colander and keep for sometime for the water to drain out
  • Heat half the oil in a wok and half fry the potatoes and keep aside
  • Pour in the rest of the oil and let it heat
  • Add in the onion and ginger-garlic paste and sauté
  • Add the half-fried potatoes, sour curd, turmeric powder, chili powder and salt ; and stir till the color changes a shade darker and it becomes dry
  • Put in the keema and stir again
  • Pour in water and let the keema cook till tender
  • Take out of flame and serve with warm rice

Chicken Keema Curry

Further reading: Kheema Recipe, Keema in Naan

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Top 7 Bengali Food Blogs

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The most popular website for Bengali recipes is Bengali Recipes on the Web by Sutapa Ray. Started in 1999, the website pre dates all bong recipes sites, and thus, pre dates even the concept of blogging. The list below is a compilation of the most vibrant blogs on Bengali food. These blogs are usually frequently updated and most of them host recipe pictures as well, with the exception of Bangali Meye. We’ve kept Cook like a Bong out of the scope here, for obvious reasons.

The Magnificient sevenImage Courtesy: Flickr

Bookmark these wonderful blogs. Or better still, subscribe them in your reader. Or even better, email us at bengalicuisine AT gmail.com to get the OPML file for the list. It’ll sure make your life easier. Enjoy!

Bengali-Meye-in-US

Bengali-Meye-in-US

A Bengali Girl in US – Blogging since March 2007 under the name Bangali Meye. Content quality of the blog is excellent but you would find images of the delicacies only in the earlier posts. In fact, in her very first post, she declares – this blog will probably not have that many pictures, ki kori, kabo, ranna korbo, na chobi tulbo. Posts regularly (but unfortunately, not as frequently as her fans would like her to) on authentic Bengali recipes. Samples – Mouri Phoron Diye Beet Shager Chorchori, Alu Kopir Dalna, Tomato Kejurer Chatney, Ranga Alur Pantua etc. Very few sites match up to this one in talking about authentic Bengali dishes.

Spice and Curry

Spice and Curry

Spice and Curry – Jayashree Mandal started the blog in Oct 2006 with the first post on Alu Posto ar Amer Ambal. However, the posts became frequent and regular only from Nov 2007. With a pagerank of 4, the blog is fairly popular – whopping 87000+ pageviews since Dec 2008. Samples – Mochar Ghonto, Pomphreter Kalia, Pui Shager Cohorchori. The blog has a good blogroll list too. Also, most of the recent images have copyright notice. Good move to thwart rampant plagiarism on the web. Located in Kolkata, Jayashree also has a personal blog.

Bong Mom's CookBook

Bong Mom's CookBook

Bong Mom’s Cookbook – Sandeepa started the blog in Oct 2006 and it became a fairly popular Bengali recipe blog (with a pagerank of 4, what else you can ask for). The site recently shifted to own domain name. The blog has almost 200 traditional and non traditional Bengali recipes. Samples – Posto Murgi, Pui Chingdi, Beet Gajor Chechki.  Like every blog, this one too has seen a couple of lull periods (twice, to be precise). It has a great blogroll too. Sandeepa is available for freelance writing and can be reached at sandeepa.blog@gmail.com (courtesy: her about page).

Kichu Khon

Kichu Khon

Kichu Khon – Sharmila started this blogspot blog in May 2008, roughly the same time as Sudeshna’s bengalicuisine. A thumbnail sized Durga welcomes you to her site, giving that quintessential bong- at-home feel. The blog hosts more than 150 recipes (mostly authentic Bengali, but several non Bengali as well) and is fairly popular (pagerank 3). Samples – Lao Khosa Bhaja, Ilish Macher Patla Jhol, Arisa Pitha. She has dedicated the blog to her dearest Bapi who loves good food. Sharmila also blogs on her travels.

Appayan

Appyayan

Appyayan – Indrani started the blog in Apr 2008, and till date, it has around 100 posts in several categories. Indrani is based out of Singapore and calls herself a – busy full-time mom of a 10 year old girl and a set of twin boys (2 years old). The blog predominantly features Bengali recipes, and sometimes, other regional Indian and western recipes too. Samples – Patishapta Pitha, Badhakopir Tak Dom, Narkel Shorshe Patol. Incidentally, the blog started at same time as bengalicuisine and has the same number of recipes as of this date. Call it coincidence, huh. She also maintains a recipe index of the blog.

Cook a Doodle Do

Cook a Doodle Do

Cook a Doodle do – Started Feb 2009 by Sharmishtha, the blog features around 50 bengali recipes till date. The site has gained popularity very quickly (pagerank 3 in just 4 odd months). Samples – Pabda Macher Patla Jhol, Boiragi Dal, Palong Shak sheddho. Check out her beautiful poem when she started the blog. Well, you wouldn’t find too many food blogs’ about with poem! Sharmishtha also has a personal blog, check it out.

Cooking in Calcutta

Cooking in Calcutta

Cooking in Calcutta – Angshuman Das started this blog during Durga Puja of 2005 (October) and writes on Bengali food for all ye readers, from Paris to Patna, from Tampa to Timbuktu. The blog posts have been infrequent at times, but have continued to amuse readers. The blog mainly features Bengali food, but occasionally, non Bengali Indian food as well. Angshuman was the only Bengali food blogger to be featured in the Telegraph’s story on Indian Food Bloggers. And if you haven’t noticed it yet, Angshuman is the ONLY male blogger featured in this list!

Hope you like the list. If you know any other wonderful Bengali recipe website, please comment here. We @ BengaliCuisine will include the links in the page for Bengali Food Blog Index

Coming soon:

  1. Interview series of the above mentioned bloggers
  2. Rising stars in the Bengali Food Blogging space

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Chanchra

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Bengali cuisine has evolved since its birth. There were many invasions from foreigners like the Muslims, the British. Different styles and recipes got incorporated into the Bengali culinary chart. But, there are still some that have not evolved much and Chanchra (or Chancharika, that’s what the other name for this dish is as mentioned in “Bangalir Khawadawa” by Shankar) being listed at the top of this list. I can tell this because I have seen my grand mother cook the same way my mom or even I cook the dish. My granny used to say that she learnt this recipe from her mother, so you see there has been almost four generations where chanchra has remained what it was, and I don’t think it’s going to change any soon.

Chechra

So, what is chanchra? When I thought of writing about this recipe, I was thinking how to spell it in English. Anyways I decided on this spelling. Chanchra (or may be Chenchra). This authentic Bengali recipe can be very lucidly described as a curry made of one or different types of herbs put together along with vegetables (mainly potatoes and pumpkin) and fish head. I am not sure how this curry came into existence, but it was most probably due to the habit of Bengalis not to leave out any part of anything that is edible. Mostly people don’t prefer to have a full fish head during meal, so the fish head is fried and broken into smaller pieces and mixed with other vegetables to prepare succulent and yummy preparation to serve mainly during lunch time. This typical Bengali recipe is  an all time favorite among Bengalis and those individuals who like having Bengali food.

Chanchra is an inevitable side dish for any feast. If you visit a marriage ceremony at lunch (Bengali marriages are held at evening, the day time is only for people close to the family), you just can’t get away without tasting this recipe. Chanchra with warm rice is a delicacy. It is prepared mainly with climbing spinach or pui saag in Bengali, along with potatoes, aubergine and pumpkin to increase the volume of the prepared item. There is a vegetarian version of this which though not widely cooked but exists. Different types of lentils are used along with the vegetables and herb (the detailed recipe will post later). The use of the climbing spinach (also called Malabar spinach or Malabar nightshade) and the fish head gives the distinct smell and taste of this particular dish. Though this dish is a little tricky to prepare, and doesn’t look much appealing too, but the taste of it is what counts.

Other names of this herb is Pui shakh or Puin shaak in Bengali, Poi saag in Hindi, Pasalai keerai in Tamil, Bachhala kura in Telugu, Balasale soppu in Kannada.

Preparation time: 20mins

Cooking time: 30mins

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • Malabar spinach (Pui shakh): 2 feet long stem with leaves
  • Pumpkin (Kumro): 100gms, cut into medium size dices
  • Potato (Alu): 2, cut into medium size dices
  • Fish head (Macher Matha): 1
  • Panch Phoron: 1 teaspoon
  • Onion (Peyaj): 1 medium size, cut thinly
  • Garlic paste (Rasun bata): 1 teaspoon
  • Chili powder (Sukhno Lankar guro): 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder (Halud guro): ½ teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds (Jeera): 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard Oil (Sarser tel): 6 tablespoon
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • Chop off the leaves from the Malabar spinach stem, chop the leaves into halves, and cut the stems into 2 inch long sizes and slit longitudinally
  • Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a wok and fry the fish head, smash it into pieces, keep aside
  • Heat the rest of the oil and pour in the panch phoron and onions, sauté till the onions become light brown.
  • Add the vegetables and garlic paste, chili powder and cumin, toss for 5 mins
  • Add half-cup of water and cook until the vegetables are half cooked
  • Put in the leaves and stems of the Malabar spinach and cook till the leaves are soft
  • Add the fried fish head and cook for 5 more mins, and take out of flame

Chechra (1)

Hot Tips – Keep the leaves and stems under running water for sometimes, to get rid of any dust particles and fertilizers sprayed to the plants.

Further Readings – Malabar Spinach, Pui with poppy

Sending this recipe to Indrani of Appyayan for hosting the first event on her blog, Spotlight: Fish. Along with this I am also sending Bhapa Chingri and Macher Dimer Vada to the same event.

Fish-logo

Also sending this recipe to A Food Lover’s Journey hosting this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, originally created by Kalyn and it is now in the care of Haalo.

WHB3

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Bhapa Chingri

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Doc: You shouldn’t eat Fish, it’ll cause you acidity.

Bong Patient: No problem S(a)ir, I’ll take an antacid afterwards

–          A joke on a typical Bong’s love for fish

Well, you can’t keep off a Bengali from fish for too long, can you? After the series on Breakfast with Egg, it time to go back to Fish. Chingri Bhaape is on the platter today.

Grinding of the spices to a paste just before preparing the dish is a typical of the Bengali recipes. We prefer the freshly prepared spices more than the preserved dry spice powder. Even while preparing Chingri Bhaape, I used a paste of mustard seeds (aka shorshe, sorshe, sarshe).

Chingri Bhape with steamed rice

Chingri Bhape with steamed rice

Chingri Bhaape is an authentic Bangali recipe, and had been prepared in every household since ages. It is enjoyed best with warm white rice. The pungent taste of mustard paste makes the sarshe chingri bhaapa even more appealing. Hilsa is also used similarly to prepare ilish bhapa.

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 5 – 8mins

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • Tiger Prawns (Chingri Maach): ½ kg, cleaned and deveined
  • Mustard seed (Sarse): 5 tablespoons, ground with 1 tablespoon water to make a paste
  • Turmeric powder (Halud guro): ½ teaspoon
  • Mustard oil (Sarser tel): 3 tablespoon
  • Green chili (Kacha Lanka):  5 – 6
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • In a heat proof bowl, that has a lid (better to use a steel tiffin box) put all the ingredients together  and mix well
  • Close the lid and put it in a double boiler (bain marie) to cook for 5 minutes, check if the prawns have become tender, else cook for sometime more till the prawns are tender
  • Take it out and serve with warm rice

Hot Tips – Cut the back of the prawn with a knife and take out the dorsal vein completely. It is the main cause of food poisoning due to prawns.

Alternative cooking – Along with the above ingredients mentioned you can also put in two tablespoons of freshly desiccated coconut. You can also cook it in a pressure cooker. Lace the steel box inside a pressure cooker and fill it with one-inch of water and wait till the first whistle.

Bhapa Chingri

Bhapa Chingri

Double boiler-If you don’t own a double boiler, here’s a workaround. Just place the box in a deep pan and fill the pan with water upto a little below the lid of the box.

Further Readings-Shorshe Chingri Bhapa, Chingrir Malaikari

Sending this recipe to Indrani of Appyayan for hosting the first event on her blog, Spotlight: Fish.

Fish-logo

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Egg Roll

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“A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked” – Bernard Meltzer

The final recipe for the “Breakfast with eggs” series is Egg roll. I’ve posted six different easy to cook and quick egg recipes for the morning meal. Previous posts in the series:

  1. Mughlai Paratha
  2. French Toast
  3. Scrambled Eggs
  4. Banana Pancake
  5. Boiled Egg Sandwich

But I just couldn’t finish the series without a little flavor from the street food of Calcutta (Kolkata). Though many different Asian countries claim for the origin of this dish and among them southern China has the most number of votes, but this particular preparation very well known to everybody who hails from Kolkata or even those who had a visit to the city is typically from the make shift stalls on Kolkata foot paths.

Egg roll

Egg rol

There was one such stall near my dance school called Iceberg (quite contradictory for a joint that sold everything hot), and every month it was a ritual for our gang of friends to have an egg roll from there. I still remember it cost just seven rupees then, but still that was quite expensive for a school-going girl like me. At home, outside food was a taboo and so I always had to cook some stories to have those egg rolls. But alas, eventually mom found out my secret and instead of scolding me I was offered with two egg rolls the next day at tiffin, of course prepared by my mom in her kitchen. School days have passed a long time ago, but I still can’t forget the taste of those road side egg rolls, though my mom’s were quite similar but not that good. My father suggested that the dirt from the road made it taste better.

The egg roll in Kolkata is similar to Frankie of Mumbai and resembles the kathi rolls prepared in many roadside stalls throughout India. Egg roll in Kolkata was probably first introduced by Nizam’s, a very popular restaurant in Kolkata serving Mughlai dishes. Another famous joint serving egg roll in Kolkata is Haji Saheb in Behala (Hazi Saheb for some), it’s my personal request, don’t miss it if you ever visit this place.

Preparation time: 10mins

Cooking time: 8mins

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat flour (Maida): 1 cup
  • Eggs (Dim): 2
  • Onion (Peyaj): 1 medium, chopped finely
  • Cucumber (Sasha): one-half of a medium sized, julienned
  • Green chili (Kacha lanka): 2, chopped
  • Sunflower oil (Sada tel) for frying
  • Salt to taste
  • Tomato sauce for seasoning

Preparation:

  • Knead the flour well and make two round paratha with it
  • Beat the eggs with little salt
  • Heat one tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and add one beaten egg to it, spread it so as to have almost the same diameter as the parantha
  • Carefully place the parantha over the half fried omelet and allow it to cook for two more minutes, turn around the paratha and cook the other side for one minute and take out from the frying pan
  • Place the egg covered paratha on a flat surface with the egg side up
  • Add chopped cucumber, chilies and onion at the centre of the paratha to make the filling and pour the tomato sauce over the vegetables
  • Roll the paratha and cover half of it with an aluminum foil or kitchen paper and tuck the paper well so that the roll doesn’t open up
  • Serve hot with little lemon juice over the filling

Hot tips – You can put in a filling of mashed potatoes seasoned with chili powder and salt or even a filling with chicken or mutton kebab tastes great.

What variety of Egg Roll do you prefer?

Further reading – Nizam’s Kathi Roll, When in Kolkata, Egg Paratha

Nutrition calculator – 1 egg roll

Calories 580
Total Carbohydrate 46gms
Dietary fiber 3.9gms
Protein 35gm
Total fat 28gms
Cholesterol 365mg
Sugar 2gms
Vitamin A 20%
Vitamin C 0%
Iron 10%
Calcium 8%

Sending this to NTTC#5 event hosted by Sneh of Gel’s Kitchen.

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Scrambled Eggs

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“Twenty-four-hour room service generally refers to the length of time that it takes for the club sandwich to arrive. This is indeed disheartening, particularly when you’ve ordered scrambled eggs.”

Fran Lebowitz

Looks like the series Breakfast with Egg recipes is well received by the readers. Each of Part 1 (Mughlai Paratha) and Part 2 (French Toast) has received over 50 views. Thanks for the encouragement. Continuing the series, this post will talk about Scrambled Eggs (Jhudi bhaja, or Dimer Bhujia in Bengali).

Scrambled egg

Scrambled egg

Interestingly, scrambled egg was the alternate name for Beatles record winning song “Yesterday” from the album Help! I couldn’t figure out why Paul McCartney named the song so. Talking about origin of scrambled egg, WikiAnswer page says that it originated in Ireland, and that too because of a mere accident.

Scrambled egg, though a very easy-to-cook preparation, has different versions spread throughout the world. In India,  there are at least two styles – the Parsi style called Akoori and Anda bhurji in Punjab.

In Europe and America scrambled egg is prepared whisking milk and egg together with little salt and frying it in butter till the eggs coagulate. Though the basic ingredient, egg remains the same while the other constituents (herbs and spices) vary with geography. Parsis add cumin, mint, ginger, garlic and many other herbs to their most popular traditional dish, Akoori, while in Nigerian cuisine the scrambled egg is made with thyme, green pepper and fried in ground nut oil.

The one I prepared was a simple one with little amount of herbs and spices in it. You can prepare this sumptuous breakfast with herbed cheese spread over brown bread and the smoking scrambled egg.

Preparation time: 5mins

Cooking time: 5mins

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • Eggs (Dim): 4
  • Onion (Peyaj): 1 large, coarsely chopped
  • Tomato: 1 medium size, chopped
  • Cilantro (Dhane pata): A small bunch, coarsely chopped
  • Green chili (Kacha lanka): 2, chopped
  • Turmeric powder (Halud guro): ½ teaspoon
  • Sunflower oil (Sada tel): 1 tablespoon
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • Break the eggs in a large bowl along with the turmeric powder and salt, whisk and keep aside
  • Heat oil in a shallow pan, throw in the chopped onions and sauté for a few minutes till soft
  • Add the cilantro, tomatoes and green chilies and fry till the oil separates
  • Pour in the whisked egg and stir continuously till it dries up sufficiently
  • Take out from flame and serve hot with bread toast

Hot Tips: To make the breakfast heavy you can add minced meat, bacon, cottage cheese and/or shredded cheese, or anything you like.

Further Reading – Scrambled egg with Cavier, Anda Bhruji, Akoori Masala Dosa

Do you know of any other version of Scrambled Eggs?

Sending this Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Lynne of Cafe Lynnlu and to NTTC#5 event hosted by Sneh of Gel’s Kitchen.

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French Toast

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“An Egg today is better than a Hen tomorrow.”
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

Yesterday, we started the series Breakfast with Eggs Recipes. Today, we’ll present French Toast (Part 1 was Mughlai Paratha).

French toast is a very popular breakfast in the Western world, but with globalization, French toast has become a part of our cuisine too, albeit with some variations. A little research on the web revealed some interesting facts about the dish.

The French toast made in Europe and America contains milk along with eggs as one of the main ingredients for soaking the bread slices. They even use cinnamon, granulated sugar as addendum, and have it with Maple or any other syrup. Here’s a googly – French toast isn’t necessarily of French origin. It finds its earliest mention in a 4th century Roman cookbook – Apicius. Frying the day old stale bread solved the problem for unappetizing crunchy bread. The book, apparently, is arranged in a manner similar to modern cookbooks.

French Toast

French Toast

Preparation time: 5 mins

Cooking time: 5 mins

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • Milk bread (Pauruti): 4-6 slices
  • Eggs (Dim): 3
  • Onion (Peyaj): 1 medium size, chopped into small pieces
  • Green chili (Kacha Lanka): 2, finely chopped
  • Sunflower oil (Sada tel) for frying
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • Cut the bread slices diagonally and keep aside
  • Break the eggs into a wide, shallow plate along with chopped onion, chilies and salt, beat well with a fork
  • Place the bread slices , one at a time, letting the egg to soak in, turn the slices around to soak the other side also
  • Heat oil in a pan and fry the egg soaked slices till golden brown on both sides
  • Serve hot with tomato sauce or green chutney

Hot tip: To reduce the calorie intake, you can use brown bread instead of milk bread.

Further reading – French toast, Wiki, Cheftalk, Baked French toast

French toast on way to NTTC#5 event hosted by Sneh of Gel’s Kitchen.

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Mughlai Paratha

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“We plan, we toil, we suffer – in the hope of what?  A camel-load of idol’s eyes?  The title deeds of Radio City?  The empire of Asia?  A trip to the moon?  No, no, no, no.  Simply to wake just in time to smell coffee and bacon and eggs.”

~J.B. Priestly

The wikipedia defines an egg is a round or oval body laid by the female of any number of different species, consisting of an ovum surrounded by layers of membranes and an outer casing, which acts to nourish and protect a developing embryo and its nutrient reserves. Most edible eggs, including bird eggs and turtle eggs, consist of a protective, oval eggshell, the albumen (egg white), the vitellus (egg yolk), and various thin membranes. Every part is edible, although the eggshell is generally discarded. Nutritionally, eggs are considered a good source of protein and choline.

In an (Egg) shell

In an (Egg) shell

Well, that’s hardly why we eat Eggs though. Simply put, we eat eggs because we love ‘em. Eggs taste good, are a great source of protein (and amino acids) and most of all, are easy to cook. Traditionally, Bengalis (or for that matter, Indians) didn’t have non vegetarian breakfast. With times, food habits have changed too. Boiled eggs, bread omlette, scrambled/poached eggs are a routine these days.

Starting today, this blog will feature egg recipes for breakfast. These easy 15 (or max 20) minutes easy to cook recipes will help folks who stay alone (office goers/students) and mommies who have a hard time finding that illusive nutritional, easy-to-cook, and tasty breakfast for their kids. We’ll present dishes where egg is present but isn’t necessarily the main ingredient. We start with Mughlai Paratha today.

Mughlai Paratha, as the name suggests, should have dated back from the Mogul (Mughal) days, though we couldn’t find its history in the web. The filling can be of many things, keema (minced meat), potato etc along with other ingredients.

Preparation time: 10 mins

Cooking time: 12mins

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Refined flour (Maida): 1 cup

Eggs (Dim): 2

Grated coconut (Narkel korano): ½ cup

Onion (Peyaj): 1 medium, finely chopped

Ginger Garlic paste (Ada rasun bata): 1 tablespoon

Green chili (Kacha lanka): 2, chopped

Sunflower oil (Sada tel) to fry

Salt to taste

Mughlai Paratha Preparation

Mughlai Paratha Preparation

Preparation:

  • Sift the flour , add ½ teaspoon of salt to it, pour half-cup of water and knead into a soft dough, use more water or fry flour to make the dough non-sticky
  • Divide the dough into four equal portions and shape into balls, keep aside
  • For the filling, beat the egg in a bowl, add the crushed coconut , ginger garlic paste, chopped onion, green chilies and salt; mix well
  • Roll out each ball of dough into a 8 inch diameter paratha and place one-fourth of the filling at the centre of the paratha
  • Wrap the filling carefully from all sides to make a square
  • Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pan and place the paratha carefully in it without letting the filling come out
  • Fry well till both the sides become golden brown, use extra oil if required
  • Similarly make the other three parathas and serve hot with tomato sauce and potato curry (optional)
Mughlai Paratha Ready

Mughlai Paratha Ready

Further Reading – Peter Cherches, Wiki How, Mughlai Cuisine

Mughlai Paratha goes to  NTTC#5 event hosted by Sneh of Gel’s Kitchen.

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Dim Lalbahari

After coming back home tonight, I found there was actually no vegetables left. The only thing that I found in my kitchen was two tomatoes, some onions, garlic and of course there was my all time ready stock of eggs. Putting on my apron, I was ready to prepare something really rich and spicy, because the last few days I was only eating blunt non-spicy food and my taste buds were all expecting something to get aroused.

The cooking time was short. Cooked some rice, and served the dinner at the dining table. My little experiment with the left out morsels turned out to be delicacy. Tasty, spicy and easy to cook, the best one can ask after a whole day’s work. The current gone once again for the second time after I reached home, Enrique singing in my laptop, the candle light at the dinner table and the hot food: all added to excellent milieu of tonight’s dinner. I would just love to have it once more.

The recipe here’s for all of you.

Serves: 2

Cooking Time: 10 mins

Ingredients:

Egg (Dim): 4

Tomato: 2

Onion (Peyaj): 2

Garlic (Rasun): 4 / 6 cloves

Ginger- garlic paste (Aada-Rasun bata): 1½ teaspoons

Turmeric powder (Halud guro): 1 teaspoon

Chili powder (Shukhno Lankar guro): ½ teaspoon

Garam Masala: ½ teaspoon

Sunflower oil (Tel): 2 tablespoons

Salt to taste

The ingredients

The ingredients

Preparation:

  • Chop the onions and tomato into small pieces.
  • Beat the eggs in a bowl; just add ½ teaspoon salt with it.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a wok.
  • As the oil gets fully heated add the beaten eggs and fry to make a big omelet.
  • Set the omelet on a dish and cut it into four halves or you may cut it in your own way.
  • Add the left out oil on the wok and heat.
  • Add the onion and garlic cloves as the oil gets heated. Sauté until the onions soften.
  • Add the ginger-garlic paste.
  • Throw in the tomatoes; add all spices along with salt.
  • Pour little water if it becomes too dry.
  • As the gravy starts becoming thicker add the fried pieces of eggs and toggle them in the gravy.
  • Serve hot with rice, chapathi or roti.

Am sure you’ll enjoy cooking it and of course having it. Catch on for the other recipes. Till then happy cooking and happy eating.

Ready to serve Dim Lalbahari

Ready to serve Dim Lalbahari

Chicken Manpasand

This is a new style of chicken I cooked a few days ago. It was absolutely experimental, but it turned out to be good. So posting it in this blog.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Chicken (murgi): 1kg

Onions (peyaj): 5 medium sized ones

Tomato: 2 medium sized

Potato (aalu): 4 pieces

Mustard oil (sarser tel): 4 tablespoon

Ginger garlic paste (aada-rasun baata): 2 tea-spoons

Garlic (rasun): 4/5 cubes

Turmeric powder (haluder guro): 1 tea-spoon

Chilli powder (sukno lankar guro): 2 tea-spoons

Kasuri methi: 2 tea-spoons

Salt to taste

Preparation:

· Wash the chicken well. Take chicken, two onion cut into halves, tomatoes, 1 tea-spoon of ginger and garlic, and water to cover the chicken in a deep bowl. Boil the chicken; keep aside the boiled chicken and onions. Keep the chicken stock apart.

· In a kadai, pour the mustard oil and heat it. Add the diced potatoes and fry. Keep the potatoes aside after they become golden brown.

· Add diced onions in the oil and fry for 1 or 2 mins. Add garlic ginger paste and the garlic cubes and fry one more minute. To the fried spice add chicken and the boiled onions. Add the stock along with the turmeric and chilli powder. Cook for 7 minutes with a lid over the kadai. Add the fried potatoes.

· Check if the chicken has softened, add more stock if required.

· Add crushed kasuri methi and cook for 1 minute.

· Serve hot with rice, roti , paratha.

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