Chittagong Chicken

Fan us on Facebook . You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email

My connection to Chittagong and that of Bangladesh is that my grandparents lived half their lives in the land. Both my parents were born and brought up in Kolkata and so we never had the chance to visit our city of origin.

Chittagong chicken

Growing up, I have heard my father speaking to his sibling is Chatgaiyya bhasa (Chittagong language), but I still can’t figure out what they say :). The language may be as hard as learning Mandarin to me, but I have heard storied from my grandfather about the beautiful beaches and the picturesque countryside and I wish to visit it someday. As, for now I am happy with the rich and spicy dish this port city of Bangladesh has to offer – the morichut and of course the shutki maach.

While looking for a new chicken recipe last week, I came across this Chittagong chicken recipe. Though while growing up I have had quite a few different type of Chittagong recipes, but never had the chance to have this chicken dish – probably because of the fact that chicken was a no-no till the time my grandfather was around.

Ground Spice

The recipe asked for marinading the chicken in roasted ground cilantro seeds and dry red chilies. While roasting the two spices, I was so overjoyed with the flavor that loomed my kitchen, that I just couldn’t wait to taste the chicken. I deviated a little from the original recipe – added a few potatoes and kept the gravy a little runny – because that’s how my man likes his Sunday chicken.

Ingredients

  • 2lbs medium size chicken pieces
  • 2 large potatoes, cut into half
  • ½ of an onion, slivered finely
  • ½ onion made to a paste
  • 6 dry red chilies
  • 2 tablespoon whole cilantro seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 2 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/4  tablespoon cashew paste
  • 4 tablespoon mustard oil
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Salt to taste
  • Warm water

 

Directions

  • Dry roast 4 red chilies and the whole cilantro seeds; grind them in a spice grinder.
  • Put the chicken in a large glass bowl, add half of the roasted spices, and 1 tablespoon garlic paste massage the chicken with it. Add half the turmeric, little salt and about 1 tablespoon of mustard oil. Cover with a plastic wrap and marinate for at least an hour or keep it in the bottom rack of the fridge overnight.
  • If you have kept the chicken in the fridge, take it out well before you start cooking so that it comes down to room temperature.
  • Heat oil in the wok. Add a pinch of turmeric and salt to the potatoes and fry in the oil till they turn slightly brown in a few places. Take out and keep aside.
  • In the left over oil add the slivered onions and the 2 red chiles and fry till they turn light brown. Add the chicken, onion paste, turmeric, chili powder, garlic paste and stir well to mix all the spices well. Season with salt.
  • Let the chicken cook over high flame, till the spices turn darker in color. Keep stirring so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Pour about 2 cups of warm water to the chicken, and add the fried potatoes. Cook covered till the chicken is cooked and potatoes are soft. Add the cashew paste and cook for a minute.
  • Sprinkle the extra dry ground spices and garam masala. Serve with roti or rice.

Sunday chicken curry from Chittagong

Hot Tips – Don’t worry about the heat from the chilies, it is much reduced by the cashew paste and also by using the Kashmiri red chili powder, the color turns good and the heat is also less.

  If you like this post, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too.You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email, or Subscribe in a reader

Bhendi Diye Chingri

Fan us on Facebook . You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email

Now, this is a tricky question. Do you think Bengalis are all about fish? Whenever I meet someone who is not a Bong, he/she always ask me this question – do you eat vegetables or is it just fish? Growing up in a family with my widowed grand mom, I have seen lots of vegetables being made at home, vegetables curries without even the hint of onion or garlic – and believe it or not those tasted heavenly.

Its probably because Bengal being such a fertile land and with loads of rivers the balance between vegetables and fish is always there. Whereas in the Western parts of India though the majority of population is vegetarian they mostly stick to different types of lentils for their daily home made recipes.What is your opinion of this?

Chingri Bhendir Tarkari

Coming to vegetables in Bengal, especially in summer, its like a fair. The different types of veggies that you get in the market is beyond imagination, and of these patol or pointed gourd and bhendi or okra are two of my favorites.

My grandmother had her way into the kitchen. Her way of balancing whole spices and ground ones had its own unique style. She used to make this dry curry with okra, pumpkin and potatoes with just a little nigella – and it was tasted out of the world. I made this the same way with just a little twist – I added a few shrimps to it.

Chingri Diye Bhendi

Indian, Side, Prawns, Bengali shrimp recipe, Bangla ranna, Bengali cuisine, Bengali vegetables
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup okra, split lenthwise
  • 1 cup cued pumpkin
  • 1 cup cubed potatoes
  • 8-10 medium size shrimps
  • 1 teaspoon nigella
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoon mustard oil
Directions
  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet and lightly fry the shrimps tll they turn pinkish in color and starts to curl, take out and place them in a kitchen towel to drain out the excess oil
  • Heat the rest of the oil in a wok, mix a pinch of salt and turmeric to the split okra and lightly fry them. Take out and keep aside
  • In the same oil add the nigella, and saute till they start sputtering. Add the pumpkin and potatoes and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour about 3 tablespoons of water in a small bowl and mix the turmeric powder, chili powder and salt – mix to make a runny paste. Pour the paste to the wok and mix to coat the vegetables
  • Stir till the spices start to dry, make sure it doesn\'t stick to the bottom of the wok. Pour in about 1 ½ cup of water and cook covered till the vegetables are almost cooked
  • Add the okra and shrimps, cook for 2-3 minutes more. Serve hot with warm white rice or roti.

Chingri Bhendi

Hot Tips – Okra being a very slimy vegetables, its always better to wash and then cut the okra. If you do it the other way, the okra will be slimier making the gravy very gooey. Also, that’s the reason I fry the okra first and then put it in the curry.

  If you like this post, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too.You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email, or Subscribe in a reader

Narkel Diye Pepe – Raw Papaya with Grated Coconut Curry

Fan us on Facebook . You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email

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

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

Narkel pepe

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

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

Narkel Diye Pepe

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

Narkel diye pepe

If you like this post, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too.You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email, or Subscribe in a reader

Kancha Muger Dal – Raw Yellow Lentil Soup

Fan us on Facebook . You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email

When it comes to vegetarian recipes, Bengalis have countless options to serve. Even though we are branded as the fish loving and fish eating class, there is not a single household who does not have a purely vegetarian dish to serve for each meal, and dal is one of the most important.

 Masoormoongchola, urad and the numbers are unending, even the style you cook the same dal is different. When you need to serve it to guests, of course the plain and simple everyday dal takes a extravagant form like the macher matha diye moong dal. But, for the everyday chores the light yet flavourful dal is the choice.

As the rains pour down and wash the streets the search for something spicier than the ordinary masoor dal comes to play. And, what better than to have fried ilish with warm white rice and moog dal.

  

Kancha Moog Dal

Indian, Side, Moog dal, Authentic bengali recipe, Yellow lentil soup, Bengali dal recipe
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup moog dal/yellow lentil
  • 2 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2-3 red chilies, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon edible soda (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • Salt to taste
Directions
  • Wash the lentils and drain out the excess water
  • Warm the water in a sauce pan and pour in the dal, cook till the dal is well cooked. Add more water if the dal tends to dry out.
  • In a skillet heat the mustard oil and add the red chilies. Saute till they turn a little darker in shade, take out and keep aside for garnishing
  • In the same oil throw in the cumin seeds and bay leaves, as they start sputtering add to the cooked dal
  • Add all the spices to the dal and season with salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes more. Serve garnished with the fried red chilies.

Hot Tips – when cooking any type of dal its better to add the salt when the dal is properly cooked, salt slows down the cooking process. If you are in a hurry, you can add the edible soda to cook the dal quickly.
Moog dal  can also be roasted  before boiling, it gives an added flavor and texture to the dal, but roasted moog dal is harder to digest than the non-roasted version.

 If you like this post, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too.You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email, or Subscribe in a reader

Alu Chokha – Bengali Mashed Potato

Fan us on Facebook . You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email

How to describe a true Bangali? Everyone would have a different perspective. The knack towards art and culture. Glorifying the Bong heroes. The fight over East Bengal and Mohun Bagan. The love for Uttam Kumar. Whatever they say, nobody can deny the fact that we Bengalis are fond of food, be that the street food from Dalhousie Square, the puchka of Vivekananda park, the mach bhaat (fish and rice) in a lazy afternoon or the rasogolla and the misti doi (sweet yogurt) from K.C. Das.
Warm white rice with a generous dollop of butter and mashed potatoes with a omelette or rather a mumlet (that’s what we call omelet) as breakfast before going to school is the staple diet for every growing Bong child.

However far we go, the smell of fried onions with boiled potato, the very Bengali version of the English mashed potato will drive the Bong back home.

Alu chokha, as it is so fondly called is an easy way of putting up a Bong delicacy. A disclaimer to those who are on diet, this recipe is all about taste and carbs.

Serves 2
Preparation time:  5 mins
Cooking time: 7 min

Ingredients:
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
3-4 dry red chillies, cut to small pieces
1 tablespoon mustard oil
Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • Boil the potatoes well
  • Mash those with a masher, fork or just with your fingers
  • Heat the oil  in a wok or frying pan, throw in the onions and dry red chillies and fry till the onions are caramelized
  • Add the potatoes, season with salt
  • Toss for a minute
  • Serve it with warm rice with butter or ghee

Hot Tips – You can also put a little bit of salt while boiling the potatoes, and while boiling make sure the potatoes don’t get over boiled and turns gooey.

 If you like this post, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too.You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email, or Subscribe in a reader

2011 In Retrospect

Fan us on Facebook . You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email
 

A very happy and sumptuous NEW YEAR. Well, it’s rather late in the day but as the cliché goes – better late than never. Plus, the Gregorian calendar still says January, so we are well within threshold for the wish. Let us have a quick recap of how last year went by at Cook Like a Bong.

Sholo Ana Bangali (100% pure vegetarian, oops bong)

Sudeshna travelled widely last year, but luckily enough, she had free access to her mom’s kitchen, Bengali cookbooks and Lifestyle TV channels. CLB featured authentic Bengali recipes including Kumro fuler vada (Pumpkin flower fritter), Fulkopir datar tarkari (Cauliflower stem curry), age old secret recipe of Dudh Shukto and bitter yet sweet Tetor Dal (Lentils with Bitter Gourd). Fish, at the risk of stereotyping Bengali heshel (kitchen), was present in all its glory – Sabji diye Macher Jhol (fish curry with vegetables), Tel Koi (Climbing Perch in Spicy Bengali curry), Rui Macher Vada (Rohu fritters).

Kalyan, meanwhile, celebrated India cricket team’s world cup win with Rajbhog (giant Rasogolla).If you’ve never been to a cricket game, find an Orbitz deal and go.

Mix-n-Match

Sudeshna also started experimenting more often in the kitchen – trying to merge Bengali recipes with cooking styles in other parts of the world. She used the microwave for frying ilish or even preparing paturi. She cooked Mexican rice with a Bengali tinge and then celebrated Tagore’s 150th birthday with Rabindrasangeet, urrr.. rather with Tutti Frutti Cakes. Inspired by Bangalore Bongs’ two favourite hangout places, she also tried her hand at Chicken Teriyaki and Hyderabadi Biriyani.

And, then there were the share of sweets and smoothies– starting from the not so common Patol Mishti to the South Indian famous Shahi Tukda. Sudeshna tried out baking in her small oven and the chocolate brownie cupcake turned out very yummy.

 

Writing galore

Bengali New Year started on a very note, we got invitation to write a food column for FirstPost, a Network 18 venture which has become very popular. There were number of guest posts from several bloggers as well as non-bloggers, plus an interview with Kalyan Karmakar, the man behind Finely Chopped. Click to know more about all the recipes in Cook Like a Bong.

Getting Personal

Sudeshna received her Masters degree in Biotechnology and also got a job as an Analyst. Kalyan travelled extensively in the US and started to cook full time, well sort of. And, finally, we got married November end. And that kind of would explain why we were missing in action last 3 months. Now with wedding prep, wedding and honeymoon over, we are back in business.

Expect an even more wonderful, sumptuous, finger licking food discourse this year from Cook Like a Bong. Let us all Eat Like a Bong.

 If you like this post, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too.You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email, or Subscribe in a reader

Rui Macher Vada

They say when in Rome, act like a Roman. But, that does not go much for me here in Bangalore. I can’t much act like a Bangalorean. I still crave for fish and I still didn’t fall in love with curry leaves.

I truly believe what Sandip exclaims – maache bhaate Bangali (Fish and rice makes a Bengali). The smell of sautéed onions in macher jhol or sound of spluttering kalo jeera – will surely drive any fish lover crazy.

I still miss the sabji diye macher jhol. Even though I prepare it in my Bangalore home with Andhra rohu, there is no match to the fresh catch from the nearby pond in Kolkata. I miss the freshness of the local pond fishes. The fishes are mostly cold stored and comes to the market almost after 7 days after being caught. Any idea where to get fresh catch in Bangalore?

The not-so-fresh fishes do not add any taste to non-spicy curries, the only way of cooking such fishes is to make a curry with onions, garlic and ginger. I figured out, another way – fish fritters. I have fried the macher vada. If you are calorie conscious, you can also bake it after painting each fritter with little oil or fat. You can use this mix also to make patol-er korma or use it as a stuffing for sandwiches and burgers.

Ingredients:

200 gms rohu or any other fresh water fish
1 large potato, boiled and mashed
1 tablespoon rice flour
1 tablespoon semolina
1 medium size onion, chopped
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
A few sprigs of coriander leaves (optional), chopped
3-4 green chilies
Salt to taste
Oil for frying

Preparation:

• Boil the fish pieces and carefully take out the bones
• Mix with the mashed potato and all other ingredients except the oil
• Make 1” balls with both your palms
• Press the balls from either side to make a flattened shape of half-inch width
• Heat oil in a frying pan
• As the oil gets piping hot, set the fritters to fry one side at a time
• Turn over as one side becomes almost brown in color
• Take out of flame and drain the excess oil patting with a kitchen towel
• Serve hot with tomato sauce and drinks of your choice

Hot Tips – If you want to make it as a burger filling, then prepare the balls larger in size. For making a fish bhurji, fry the onions first then add all other ingredients.

Chingri Aam Kasundi

                                                                        Follow me on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook .
Visit my Flickr photostream.You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email

Monsoon has set sail in almost all parts of India, and hilsa, the monsoon queen has arrived in truck loads in the fish markets. But, this fish doesn’t come cheap, a kilogram ranges from 300 INR to 800 INR in India and almost 3-6$ for a pound in US. In spite of that hilsa makes it to the lunch plate in Bengali home.

While eating hilsa during monsoon is almost like a ritual among Bengali, another fish has its stand all through the year. Ask any Biologist, he’ll say its not a fish but a mere insect belonging to the same class as cockroaches and milipedes.  Oops, did you ever thing about that while having prawns/shrimps. I hope not.

Chingri maach (prawn fish) is one of the most loved “fishes” among all fish eaters. Fried or curried shrimps and prawns has its own place among the fish lovers. Whether, you put it in a gourd curry or steamed with mustard paste, shrimps/prawns are just unique to taste. And, when talking about chingri, how can we forget the irresistible authentic Bengali recipe – the chingrir malaikari.

Debjani Chaudhuri, our todays guest has sent a rather different recipe for preparing prawns. The tangy and tasty preparation has loads of mustard paste and raw mangoes to get that familiar yet so different taste of the prawns. Try Debjani’s achari murgh.

Ingredients:

  • 250 gms Prawns (washed and deveined).
  • 1 ½ tablespoon of yellow and black mustard seeds
  • 1 raw mango
  • 4-5 Green chilies
  • 3 tablespoon mustard oil
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder (optional)
  • A pinch of turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • A pinch sugar

 

Preparation:

  • Grind the mustard seeds with 1-2 green chilies, coconut (if adding), and a pinch of salt and little water. Keep aside.
  • Smear the prawns with little salt and turmeric and keep covered.
  • Heat the oil and add 1-2 green chilies, when splutter, add the prawns.
  • Sauté on low for a couple of minutes or till the prawns turn a little coral in color.
  • Add the raw mango and a pinch of salt.
  • Keep mixing with a very light hand till the raw smell of the mangoes is gone.
  • Add the mustard paste and turmeric.
  • Give it a good mix and cook on low heat, till it coats the prawns.
  • Add 1 cup water.
  • Mix, add sugar and salt and if required chili powder.
  • Cover and let it simmer on low till all the water evaporates and the gravy coats the prawns.
  • Turn off the gas and pour in a serving bowl before it become too thick.
  • Treat your taste buds with hot and tangy Chingri Aam Kashundi.

 

Hot Tips – I personally like to keep the head for more flavors. One can omit according to wish. On un-availability of mustard paste, you can add kashundi. Add 3tsp of kashundi. I have cut it into small cubes, you can use it grated. You can add 3 tablespoon of grated coconut to balance the pungency of mustard n tart of green mango.

 If you like this post, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too.You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email, or Subscribe in a reader

 

 

 

Fulkopir Datar Tarkari – Cauliflower Stem Curry

Follow me on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook .
 Visit my Flickr photostream.You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ingredients: 

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

Preparation:

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

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

If you like this post, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too.You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email, or Subscribe in a reader

 

Sabji Diye Macher Jhol

Follow me on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook . Visit my Flickr photostream.You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email

Some years back, I had gone to Shimla with my parents and younger sister, who had just got promoted to first standard. 3 days we stayed at the Hotel Oberoi Cecil in Shimla. The gorgeous hotel with its lavish spread, I was in love with the hotel. But, from the second day onwards my kid sister started craving for ma-er macher jhol (fish curry – mom’s style). So much so that on the second day she entered the kitchen and went to the chef asking to prepare a fish curry with potatoes. And, there from the Oberoi kitchen came out, which nobody expected – a fish curry similar to what mom always cooks at home.

I later reasoned that she asked for that non spicy fish curry which was familiar. This happens to almost all of us. A Bengali staying in New York will surely know the address of the nearest Bengali restaurant.

At home, back in Kolkata, a summer lunch always consist of shukto, dal and fries, a vegetable curry and of course a non vegetarian gravy dish that might include fish, egg or meat, but preferably fish. The fish in most days is prepared with the minimum amount of spices keeping in mind the hot and humid weather of the Tropics.

The mom made fish curry is something that can’t be matched with anything on earth. Whether you visit one of the finest fine-dining or the neighborhood restaurant, I have never found any restaurant providing with the typical daily meals.

I have visited Bengali restaurants in Bangalore from Oh! Calcutta, St. Mark’s Road to Bangaliana, Koramangala just in search of that typical rui mahcer jhol (rohu curry) with lots of vegetables. But, never did I find it. So, here am back to my kitchen trying to reproduce mom’s style fish curry. Click on this link for more such authentic Bengali recipe.

sServes 4
Preparation time 10min
Cooking time 12-15 min

Ingredients:

  • 4 fillets of rohu or catla (fresh water fishes)
  • 1 six-inch ridge gourd
  • 1 medium potato
  • 4-5 florets of cauliflower
  • 2-3 pointed gourd
  • 1 teaspoon nigella/kalonji
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 bay leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Few sprigs of coriander leaves (optional)

Preparation:

  • Cut all the vegetables longitudinally, wash, mix with little turmeric powder and salt
  • Heat about 2 tablespoon of oil in a wok and toss the vegetables till lightly fried, keep aside
  • Wash the fish fillets well, and mix them with turmeric and salt. Drain out the extra water
  • Pour in another 2 tablespoon of oil in the wok and as the oil get piping hot fry the fish fillets till the fish is soft and tender
  • Add all the spices except nigella in a bowl and mix with water to make a smooth mixture
  • Take in 1 tablespoon of fresh mustard oil in the wok, throw in the nigella and bay leaves
  • As the spices start sputtering pour in the spice mixture and little water
  • Stir well till the oil separates
  • Add the vegetables and mix with the spices
  • Toss for a little while (1-2 mins) and pour in about 2 cups of water
  • As the vegetables get almost cooked add the fried fishes and  cook till the gravy sips inside the fish
  • Serve garnished with coriander with warm white rice

Hot Tips – You can use bhetki instead of rohu or catla for the same preparation. The shape of vegetables has a good percentage in deciding the taste and texture of this fish curry. So, while chopping the veggies keep in mind to slice them to almost same sizes.

I have used four different vegetables in this rohu curry, if you don’t get all of these you can just use a combination of any of the four.

If you like this post, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too.You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email, or Subscribe in a reader

 

Tetor Dal

Follow me on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook . Visit my Flickr photostream.
You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email

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

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

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

Serves 4

Ingredients:

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

Preparation:

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

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

If you like this post, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too.You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email, or Subscribe in a reader

Poila Baisakh Special – Kumro Fuler Vada

Follow me on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook . Visit my Flickr photostream.
You can alsoSubscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Deccan Chargers – it’s the IPL match today at Eden gardens, Kolkata, and am on way to watch it. After a long gap of 15 years, I am going to watch a match at Eden. The mishap in ‘96 World Cup semi finals compelled me to stop going to cricket grounds. But, a box ticket and the idea of sitting close to King Khan (read Shah Rukh Khan) compelled me to give it a shot.

Its Monday and probably most house holds stick to the no non-veg on Monda regimes, so thought of picking up a vegetarian recipe for today, an authentic Bengali recipe for Paila Baisakh series (check out the Tel Koi in this series) – fritters of pumpkin flower (kumro ful) is one of the most special vadas in Bengali cuisine. The flower dipped in a batter of gram flour with its crunchy yet smooth taste appeals to everyone.

Ingredients:

  • · A dozen pumpkin flowers
  • · ¼ cup tablespoon rice flour
  • · ½ cup gram flour
  • · 1 teaspoon nigella
  • · 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • · Sunflower oil for deep frying

Preparation:

  • · Take out the anther from the flowers and wash well
  • · Mix all the ingredients except the oil for frying with 2 cups of water. The batter should be runny
  • · Heat the oil in a frying pan or wok
  • · Dip each flower in the batter and deep fry separately
  • · Once done, wrap the flowers with a kitchen paper to absorb the extra oil
  • · Serve hot with rice and dal

Check for more Bengali style bara (vada) – Bombay Duck fritter, Macher Dimer Vada

If you like this post, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too. You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email, or Subscribe in a reader

 

Poila Baisakh Special – Tel Koi

Follow me on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook . Visit my Flickr photostream.
You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email

Paila Baisakh, the first day of the Bengali New Year is just a week to go. Its definitely a big day for all Bongs all over the world. It’s a day to celebrate the joy of being a Bengali – food, new clothes and of course Rabindra Sangeet. The way of celebrating may have changed over time, but you just can’t find a Bengali who doesn’t want to celebrate this day. The Chaitra sale in Gariahat market is just something indispensable. If you are in Kolkata at this time of the year, you should definitely make it a point to visit Gariahat – from big shops to the street vendors, everybody has the “SALE” tag hanging.  The essence of Poila baisakh is being a Bengali in heart. You may celebrate it in a club with friends over a peg of JohnnyWalker, but your heart still beats to the rhythm of “esho hain Baisakh esho esho”.

We at Cook Like a Bong wanted to share our joy with you all, and so we have planned to share one recipe everyday till Paila Baisakh. Starting from today, the menu starts with the Bong favourite – fish. Tel koi is an authentic Bengali recipe, and a must have with warm rice for lunch.

Ingredients:

  • 8 koi fish
  • 2 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon clarifies butter
  • 3 tablespoon mustard oil
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • Grind 1 ½ tablespoon cumin seeds, and mix with the chilli and turmeric powder
  • Strain with a chakni, and mix with water
  • Heat the oil in a wok and add the extra cumin seeds
  • Put in the koi fish and the spice mixture
  • Pour in water and cook covered till the fish is soft
  • Sprinkle the garam masala and ghee
  • Serve hot with rice

If you like this post, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too.You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email, or Subscribe in a reader

Lotiya Shutki

Follow me on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook . Visit my Flickr photostream.

The Ghoti Bangal rivalry dates back probably from the day the partition of India, or probably even before that. The competition extends cuisine to sports. The chingri bhalo na ilish bhalo (whether prawns are better than hilsa or vice versa) fight will probably never end.

For the uninitiated, here is a little background. If you know about Ghoti-Bangal bonhomie (or rather, the lack of it) already, skip the next two paras. Those who originally hailed from present Bangladesh are the Bangal brigade, while those who lived in West Bengal belong to the Ghoti section. Bengalis take the Ghoti-Bangal fight so seriously that the price of hilsa or prawns depends on the winning of East Bengal (representing Bangals) or Mohun Bagan (the Ghoti team) football clubs on the day of match. Imagine the irony being, at present several team members in both the teams are not even of Indian origin.

When we talk about Ghoti and Bangal, we just can’t stop without bringing into account the style they cook. I am a Bangal, and so I am generally biased towards the Eastern sideJ, ok, at least for the cooking part of it. The richness of spices among the Bangal cuisine is somehow missed in the Ghoti style, which rely on mainly the sweet taste of the curry. While frying and gravies are the main essence of the Eastern style of cooking, boiling, roasting demands the attention from the Ghoti brigade.

All said and heard, there is one particular dish which even many Bangals fear to consume, leave apart the Ghotis – it’s none other than the Shutki, the dry fish curry. This dry fish curry is mainly had by the Bangals who originally hailed from Chittagong, a coastal district of Bangladesh. Many fishes are cleaned and dried in the sun, but the most popular being the Bombay duck or loitta.

Once while browsing through one of the very popular Bengali restaurants in Bangalore, I came over a Shutki preparation, but just below it was a little phrase written in bold and italics – “Not for the weak at heart” – yes of course this very preparation is not for the faint hearted. The pungent smell of the dry fish along with the hot and spicy gravy makes this typical Bengali recipe a class of its own.

Ingredients:

  • 200 gms of Dry Bombay Duck (Shutki)
  • 1 cup potato, peeled and chopped into 1 inch square
  • 1 cup pumpkin, peeled and chopped into 1 inch square
  • ½ cup julienned onion
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 10 -12 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 4 tablespoon of mustard oil
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • Roast the dry fish for a minute or two to get rid off the sand
  • Keep the roasted fish in lukewarm water with ½ teaspoon salt for about 15min
  • Cut the fish into 2 inch long pieces, discard the head and tail
  • Heat the mustard oil in a wok
  • Sauté the julienned onions, garlic cloves till the onions turn transparent
  • Throw in the ginger-garlic paste
  • Add the potatoes, pumpkin and fish along with the powdered spices and salt
  • Cook till the vegetables soften
  • Serve hot with warm rice and enjoy this Chittagong specialty

Hot Tips – If you roast the fish for long the flesh will come out of the fish. So, just roast it for a minute or two. Don’t pour hot water to the roasted fish; it will make the pieces gooey.

Further Reading – Bombay Duck Fritters, Chanchchra

This post goes to Sujana’s first blog event “Celebrating Regional Cuisine”

If you like this post, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too.
You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email, or  Subscribe in a reader

Lau Khoshar Chhechki

Follow me on Twitter. Fan us on Facebook . Visit my Flickr photostream.
You can alsoSubscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email

When I was young I have seen my mom and grandmother cook every bit and pieces of vegetables, starting from the stems of some plants growing in the back yard to the roots of others. Not to miss the peels of few vegetables, the gourd being in the top of the list.

Chhechki, as this preparation is popularly known in Bengal is a boiled down version of stir fries. Chechki is a very authentic Bengali recipe and is made from different vegetables – from radish to beet and carrots and from stems of plantain plants to pumpkin. This chechki  that I prepared a couple of days ago was with gourd peels with a subtle concoction of spices – whole mustard and poppy to titillate your taste buds. Peels for food may sound a bit weird, but a stir fry of juliened gourd peels miraculously tastes like elixir.

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium size potato
  • Peel of 1 gourd
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 2 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 2/3 chili
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 – 3 tablespoon mustard oil or oil of choice
  • 7 – 8 bori (vodi)
  • ½ teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • Julienne the gourd peels and chop the potato in to thin 1” size pieces
  • Heat little oil in a wok and fry the boris till they turn slightly brownish, keep aside
  • Pour in rest of the oil in the wok, throw in the mustard seeds
  • Add the gourd peels and potato as the mustard seeds start spluttering
  • Add salt, turmeric powder and chili. Cook till the vegetables are half done
  • Put in the poppy seeds and cook till the veggies are fully cooked
  • Take out of flame and garnish with the fried bodis
  • Serve hot with warm rice

Hot Tips – Chhechki is mainly served with warm rice as the first side dish during lunch.

Further Reading – Chanchra, Kacha Kalar Kofta

If you like this post, please consider linking to it or sharing it with others. I’ll love to hear your comments too.
You can also Subscribe to BengaliCuisine by Email, or  Subscribe in a reader
Blog Widget by LinkWithin