Bhapa Doi – Baked Sweet Yogurt

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There are a lot of things a miss about Kolkata, and mishti doi comes quite on the top of the list. The creamy delicacy served in earthern pots is a food connoisseur’s dream. To set a perfect bowl of that yummy yogurt is a task to master. And, even though you master it, it’s really a time consuming job.

If you are really missing mishti doi or don’t have time to set a whole big bowl of it for your next party, the bhapa doi is your answer. The bhapa doi looks and tastes exactly like the store bought mishti doi, yet it’s not very time consuming and sets perfectly. The only con about this recipe is you need to have a oven. I never tried it making it in a pressure cooker, like baking cake in pressure cooker, but I’m sure that can also be done.

Baked Sweet Yogurt

I have added brown sugar to make it extra sweet, if you want you can also omit it. Also, once the doi is all set, just before serving you can pack the top with a thin layer of sugar and caramelize it with a blowtorch and make it into a bhapa doi brule. If you don’t have a blowtorch handy, you can place the bowl/ramekins in a large roasting pan, pack it with ice. Then place the bhapa doi topped with sugar in a broiler for about 2 minutes, or till the sugar melts.

Bhapa Doi
Serves 10
A Bengali delicacy that you can serve at your next party with a fuss
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
25 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs plain Greek yogurt
  2. 1 can evaporated milk
  3. 1 can condensed milk
  4. ½ cup brown sugar
  5. Handful of almonds for garnish, optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 300F.
  2. Mix everything other than the almonds in a large bowl, use a hand held mixer if you have, once mixed it will have a consistency of this pancake batter. Pour the mixture in a large oven proof bowl or in separate ramekins.
  3. Place the bowl(s) in the oven for 25 mins. Depending on the oven you can keep the doi for a little longer or a little less; before taking out make sure the doi is set and not wobbly. Take them out and let the doi cool down. keep it in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, better overnight.
  4. Serve chilled garnished with chopped almonds
Notes
  1. I have added brown sugar to make it extra sweet, if you want you can also omit it. Also, once the doi is all set, just before serving you can pack the top with a thin layer of sugar and caramelize it with a blowtorch and make it into a bhapa doi brule. If you don’t have a blowtorch handy, you can place the bowl/ramekins in a large roasting pan, pack it with ice. Then place the bhapa doi topped with sugar in a broiler for about 2 minutes, or till the sugar melts
Cook like a Bong http://bengalicuisine.net/

Bhapa Doi

Doi Begun – Eggplants in Spiced Yogurt

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Almost every state in India has their own style of making doi begun or dahi baingan. So, this is one recipe where you can do loads and loads of combination, and I assure use you’ll not get wrong.

Eggplants

I like to use the baby eggplants, as the whole eggplants or brinjal, as I used to call while growing up (read before entering USA) gives a good texture to the curry. You can also use the larger eggplants, and cut them into two to three inch size pieces. Using asafoetida is an optional step in this recipe, I like the flavor of it and it goes with the whole yogurt and eggplant mix, so I use it. Also, if you want to enhance the flavor of this dish you can temper with curry leaves and sprinkle dry roasted and then powdered fennel seeds. So the possibilities are unending. But, one thing’s for sure, this recipe is a must have for a hot and dry summer lunch. You can also serve this as a side dish with biryani.

Doi begun

 

Doi Begun - Eggplants in Spiced Yogurt
Serves 4
A must have for summer lunch
Print
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 lb baby eggplants
  2. 2 cup Greek yogurt
  3. 1 tablespoon canola oil
  4. 1 teaspoon chili powder
  5. 1 teaspoon dry ginger powder
  6. ½ teaspoon sugar
  7. ¼ teaspoon asafoetida (optional)
  8. 2 teaspoons mustard oil (optional)
  9. 3-4 green chili
  10. Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Wash and cut the baby eggplants into fours, keeping the stalk intact. Take a pan which has a lid, pour the canola oil and place the eggplants, so that all of them touch the base of the pan, cover with the lid and fry on low heat for about 5 minutes, turning the eggplants once or twice in between
  2. While the eggplants are getting fried, in a mixing bowl beat the yogurt with 2 tablespoon of water. Add the chili powder, dry ginger powder and sugar. And beat again.
  3. Once the eggplants are fried, the skin will turn a darker shade of purple; don’t wait till they turn black; take the eggplants out and place on a kitchen towel to absorb the extra oil.
  4. In the same oil add the asafoetida if using, if not then go straight to the next step. As the asafoetida starts to splatter, about 10 seconds, transfer the eggplants back to the pan.
  5. Pour the spiced yogurt, and add in the green chilies. Stir and cook covered for about 2 to 3 minutes, or till the eggplants are cooked. You can add a little water if the gravy starts sticking to the pan.
  6. Transfer to a serving bowl and pour the mustard oil, if using. Garnish with cilantro and serve immediately with rice or chapati
Notes
  1. If you add the eggplants while the oil is still not hot, the eggplants will absorb less oil.
Cook like a Bong http://bengalicuisine.net/

Dahi Baingan nnn

Quick And Easy Khichdi

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Being lazy and hungry is a tough call. You want to eat something wholesome, yet you are too lazy to cook a full course meal. Khichudi is the answer to such situations. A full bowl of khichudi is a life saver during such times.

This quick and easy khichudi recipe is kid friendly and you can adjust the spices according to your whim. Pour extra water if you want the khichdi to be runny.

Winter Khichudi

  Continue reading

Chittagong Chicken

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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.

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Sunday Mutton Curry

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The grandfather clock on the old living room wall just stopped striking 11. Its a lazy Sunday morning and you’ve just finished your Sunday breakfast with luchi, cholar dal and sandesh. Already the dining room is filled with the smell of kasha mangsho from the kitchen. Now, this feels like a dream. The special meals of Sunday will always be missed, now that I’m thousands of miles away from home.

Pathar mangsho (goat meat) can easily be classified as a comfort food as well as an exotic Bengali dish. Some would say, why such a rich and spicy food be called comfort food. The answer is in the meal, garam garam bhaat (warm white rice) with pathar mangsho (mutton curry) and a slice of gandoraj lebu (lime)– do you want anything else from this world?

Goat Curry

Kolkata is always related to the wonderful rasogolla and sandesh it has produced for more than a century now. But, Kolkata is also famous for its goat meat curry. The mutton curry from Shyambazar’s Golbari is one of the best, or probably the best mutton preparation you can ever have. The rich and spicy dark mutton curry can easily be the highlight of your week.

Previously I had quite a disappointing result prearing mutton. Either it turned out chewy, and the second time I was engrossed in my TV series, and the mutton got burnt to the point where I had to use a knife to scrap out the pieces from the vessel. So, this time anxious and determined I set to prepare mutton. I marinated the mutton overnight and slow cooked it for almost a couple of hours. The results was just awesome!

Sunday Mutton Curry

Indian, Side, Comfort food, Bengali recipe, Authentic bengali recipe, Bengali cuisine, Mutton curry, Goat meat, Bengali mutton curry, Sunday mutton curry, Bangla recipe
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 2 lb goat meat
  • For the marinade -
  • ¼ cup sour yogurt
  • 1 medium size onion, made to paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon dhaniya powder
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 2 tablespoon mustard oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • For the gravy -
  • ½ cup grated raw papaya
  • ½ medium size onion, slivered lengthwise
  • 1 big size potato cut to quarters
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon dhaniya powder
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoon mustard oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Warm water
Directions
  • Mix all the ingredients except the turmeric, oil and salt of the marinade in a large glass bowl. Add the washed mutton pieces, and using your hand, coat the marinade evenly over the mutton. Add the turmeric and salt and give it another round of mixing. Pour the oil. Cover the bowl with a kiln film and marinate for at least 4 hours or you can also keep it overnight. Place it in the lower rack of your refrigerator
  • Take out the mutton about an hour before yous start cooking, and bring it to normal temperature.
  • Heat oil in a large wok. Coat the potatoes with a pinch of turmeric and salt and fry in that oil till the potatoes start to brown in places. Take the potatoes out and reserve for later.
  • Put in the slivered onions in the same oil and saute till they start wilting. Add the sugar and fry till the onions are caramelized. Now, add the marinated mutton and stir to coat with the oil and onions. Add all the spices and grated papaya and give it a good stir.
  • Increase the flame to high, and start reducing the marinade, stirring frequently. Make sure that the marinade doesn\'t stick to the bottom of the wok. The marinade will start to change color to a darker shade and so will the mutton.
  • Once the marinade is almost dry and dark, pour in 2 cups of warm water and cover the wok with a lid. At this point, you can also transfer the mutton in a pressure cooker, and cook in it.
  • If you are not using a pressure cooker, lower the flame to low and slow cook for almost 1 to 11/2 hour. Check in between.
  • Depending upon the mutton, the cooking time varies. Pour warm water as and when required. Once, the mutton is half cooked, add the potatoes and cook till the potatoes are done.
  • Serve hot with warm white rice or luchi.

Golbarir Mangsho

Hot Tips – Mixing turmeric and salt together with the other spices in the marinade makes the mutton harder and it becomes a chewy when cooked. Papain, the enzyme release from raw papaya help to cook the mutton and make it softer. Also, the grated papaya gives an extra thickness to the gravy. The trick to cook mutton is to cook it over low flame.

Other LinksMutton Curry from eCurry, Railway mutton curry from BongMom

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Dal Palang – Red Lentil with Spinach

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Ever since I can remember I always used to have my meals while watching TV, and to tell you the truth even now I watch TV during lunch and dinner at home. Call it a good or a bad habit, watching TV while having food has grown into more than a habit, it has now almost become an addiction. The only difference that I have felt is the channels have changed during this time period. During my childhood it was Tom and Jerry show and then I graduated to watching comedy series. Right now, my meal time is scheduled for drama, crime thrillers.

One series, that was very close to heart was Popeye. This sailor who eats cans of spinach was one of my favorites cartoons while growing up. I love spinach and so does Popeye, so I was able to connect to him. A few days back when I was preparing this dal palang for dinner, I was thinking this handsome guy :).

Dal Palang

 

Spinach with its greeny leaves is one of the best sources of plant nutrition. It contains loads of soluble dietary fibers and is a very good for a weight reducing diet. Red lentil also has high calcium content and dietary fibers. So, this simple preparation of dal palang or dal palak, however you want to call it is great for a healthy diet.

Dal Palang

Indian, Side, Bengali recipe, Red lentil, Bengali dal recipe, Spinach and dal
Cooks in    Serves 2
Ingredients
  • 1 cup red lentil
  • 1 cup spinach, washed and cleaned
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • 3-4 red chili
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 cups of water
Directions
  • Wash the red lentils thoroughly. Pour water in a deep bottom saucepan and let it simmer. Add the red lentil to the simmering water, season with salt and wait till the dal is half cooked. Using a ladle discard the scum
  • Thow in the spinach and cook till the dal is fully cooked
  • Heat the oil in a skillet, put in the cumin seeds and red chili. As the seeds start to sputter pour it in the cooked dal. Add the spices and boil for 3-4 minutes more. Serve with warm rice or chapati.

Dal Palank

Hot Tips- If you are knew to the kitchen, the best way to know if the dal is half cooked is to press one of the lentils with your thumb and if you feel a hard core, the dal is half cooked.

You can also try the moong dal version of dal palang from ecurry.

Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win 4 different simmer sauces from Saffron Road Food. Click the image to know the rules. Just 6 days to go.

Giveaway 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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Chanar Dalna – Homemade Bengali Cottage Cheese Curry

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Paneer is a household name in almost every Bengali family now. When it comes to having vegetarian platter a paneer preparation is always there; be it an occasion or just a simple dinner. But, even a decade back paneer was not that readily available.

The next best option was to make paneer at home. The paneer that is available in the market is processed and mixed with other binding agents like flour along with curdled milk to give it a tougher texture. The one that is made at home is softer and doesn’t have flour. This is called chana. Chana is milk curdled with lactic acid, like lemon juice and squeezed thoroughly to drain out the extra water.

Chana is the basic ingredient of almost all sweets that we eat, but if you are in a mood for something savoury to make with chana, chanar dalna is a very good option. Dalna is a type of Bengali curry with a rich and thick gravy unlike the ordinary jhol which is more watery.

To make the chana, all you need to do is boil about a litre/ quarter gallon of milk, it will give about 200gms/ 7 oz of chana. Once the milk starts rising pour in about 4 tablespoons of lemon juice or about 1 tablespoon calcium lactate. The milk will start curdling – the solids will separate from water. Drain out the water using a cheese cloth. Squeeze the chana well to drain out any excess water. You can also hang it for about an hour before you start using it. If there is any extra water in the chana, the cubes will fall apart as you cook.

Chanar Dalna - Bengali Cheese Curry

Indian, Side, Cottage cheese, Chana, Chenna, Bengali curry
Cooks in    Serves 4
Ingredients
  • For the cubes -
  • 200 gms chana
  • 2 tablespoon chickpea powder/ besan
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon green chilli paste
  • Pinch of salt
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • For the dalna –
  • 1 medium sized potato, cut into square
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala powder
  • 1 tablespoon ghee (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • Salt to taste
Directions
  • Knead the chana well till your palm start feeling oil, mix in all the ingredients excepting the oil and knead once again
  • Pat the chana to make a 1” thick square slab, cut into 1” cubes and let it rest for 5-10mins
  • Heat about a quarter cup of oil in a skillet and fry the cubes till lightly brown, place on a kitchen paper to drain out the excess water, reserve for later
  • Season the cubed potatoes with a pinch of salt and turmeric powder. In the same skillet add the cubed potatoes in the leftover oil and fry till they turn light brown, drain out the excess oil using a kitchen towel and reserve for later
  • Mix all the powdered spices for dalna excepting garam masala powder, pour in water to make a thick paste
  • Heat the mustard oil in a wok and put in the whole cumin seeds, as they start spluttering add the fried potatoes and pour in the spice paste mix well to coat all the potatoes. Stir till the color takes a little darker shade; turn the heat if you fear to burn the spices. Pour in about 1 ½ cup of water, season with salt
  • Cook covered for about 5-7minutes till the potatoes are well done. Put in the fried chana cubes and cook for 2-3 minutes more.
  • Add the garam masala powder and ghee, if you are using and serve hot with warm white rice or chapatti.

Hot Tips – If you want more gravy in the dalna, then pour half cup more water. The chana cubes tend to absorb the water, so if you keep it for longer period, the gravy will dry out. You can cut the chana in any way you like, if you prefer diamond shape then go for it, or roll it between your palms to make small balls.

To curdle the milk, I prefer lemon juice as calcium lactate has a funny smell, and it doesn’t taste good when using the chana in curry.

More on chanar dalna from other blogs – Preoccupied’s take on the grandmom’s secret chanar dalna. Not exactly the typical Bengali recipe, here’s another way of preparing chanar dalna from Cookerefic.

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Comfort Food – Dahliya Khichudi

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When you are sick and tired to the rich and spicy food, there’s nothing better than to have a wholesome comfort food. Even psychological studies show that when you consume comfort food it picks up positive emotions and also relieves from negative mental affects.

Comfort foods can be anything that you had while growing up or even that had some sentimental values attached. When I’m tired and lazy to cook, khichudi is that one thing that I hold close.

Khichudi reminds me of those rainy nights, the continuous sound of the raindrops outside and the yummy smell of the spices from mom’s kitchen. What’s your comfort food?

You can make khichdi in many ways – the runny style or even the dry or the bhuno khichudi. My favourite is the runny khichudi with lots of vegetables in it. You can use rice and dal like mung or masoor or you can make it with broken wheat or dahlia and mung dal.

I prepared this one a couple of days back for lunch with all the vegetable I could find in my fridge.

Dahliya Khichudi

Dinner, Indian, Comfort food, Khichdi, Porridge, Broken wheat recipe
Cooks in    Serves 2
Ingredients
  • ½ cup broken wheat or dahlia
  • ½ cup split mung dal
  • 1 cup of vegetables (I used carrots, peas, cauliflower and potatoes)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon mustard oil
  • ½ teaspoon whole cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • ½ teaspoon ginger paste
  • Salt to taste
Directions
  • Roast the dahliya and mung dal separately. Wash and mix
  • Pour in the water and season with salt
  • Boil till the dal is half done
  • Add all vegetables
  • Cook till the vegetables are tender, put in all the ground spices and mix
  • Heat the mustard oil in a pan and throw in the whole cumin seeds
  • As the cumin starts to splutter pour it over the cooked khichdi
  • Serve hot with or without fries of choice

Hot Tips – You can opt not to roast the mung dal, but if you do then stir continuously as mung dal tend to get burnt very easily. Roasting the dahilya helps to get rid of the slimy texture.

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Alu Chokha – Bengali Mashed Potato

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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.

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Alu Potoler Tarkari

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Summers in India bring intense heat and incessant sweat, but lots of fruits and some special vegetables too. In fact, there are some vegetables that you won’t quite relate to continental or for that matter any well-known cuisine outside India. One of such special variety is Potol (Patol), Parwal in Hindi and Pointed Gourd in English.

Potol is widely used in Bengali cuisine. Some famous ones are Potol Alur Jhol (Parwal Alu Curry), Potol Korma, some fish items such as Potoler Dorma (Fish stuffed Parwal), Potol diye Macher Jhol (Parwal Fish curry) and Potol diye Singhi Macher Jhol (made infamous by Pyalaram, a character in Tenida series). In fact, there is even a well known sweet prepared with Potol, called Potol Mishti.

Or simply, Potol Bhaja with Bhaat and Dal.

Without further ado, let us have a simple Potol (pointed gourd) recipe – Alu Potoler Tarkari, or Bengali style Pointed Gourd with Potato Curry.

Ingredients for Alu Potoler Tarkari

  • 5-6 pointed gourd (Potol / Parwal)
  • 1 medium size potato
  • 1 medium size onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala

How to Prepare Alu Potoler Tarkari

  • Lightly skin the Potol, and cut laterally into two equal halves. If its too large, then cut into 3 pieces
  • Peel the potato and cut into medium square pieces
  • Heat oil in a wok, and separately fry the Potol and potatoes till lightly brown. Keep aside
  • Remove the mustard oil used for frying and pour in 1 tablespoon of oil in the same wok
  • As the oil gets heated, throw in the onions and garlic cloves. Sauté till the onions turn pinkish
  • Put in the fried vegetables, ginger-garlic paste, and all other spices except the garam masala. Season with salt
  • Toss for sometime till the spices coat the veggies
  • Pour in water and let it cook till the vegetables are tender
  • Sprinkle the garam masala and serve with warm rice and dal.

How do you like your Potol?
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Poila Baisakh Special – Tel Koi

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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

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Guest Post: Oler Kofta Curry

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While you may heard of having chicken kofta or mutton kofta or may be the raw banana kofta, kofta prepared with yam (ol in Bengali) is quite an unique preparation. When Suchismita posted this recipe in Cook Like a Bong Facebook page, I just couldn’t help myself but request her to use it as a guest post here.

Koftas originated from Middle East, it being a variation of the more known meatballs in the Western countries. As the preparation touched the Indian shores, each state started turning this meat preparation into a different. The Bengalis were at pace and you can find a varied version of koftas ranging from potatoes to paneers and from mutton to beef.

Ingredients:

For kofta:

  • 200gms yam or ol
  • ¼ cup gram flour
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chopped ginger,
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic,
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green chilli or red chilli powder,
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon whole garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon sugar,
  • Salt to taste

For curry:

  • 1 large potato, cut into 1” squares
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste,
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder,
  • 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar,
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ghee,
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala powder

Preparation:

For kofta:

  • Boil the yam in water, mash the boiled yam
  • Add the chopped onion, chopped ginger, chopped garlic, chopped green chilli ba icche hole red chilli powder, sugar, and salt and mix well
  • Roast the cumin and garam masala, and grind to a fine powder
  • Sprinkle the roasted spices to the mashed yam, add the gram flour
  • Make a dough
  • Make small balls of this dough
  • Heat oil in a wok and deep fry the yam balls, take out and drain out the excess oil using a kitchen paper

For curry:

  • Half fry the potatoes and keep aside
  • Throw in the bay leaves and cumin seeds in the same oil, as the seeds start sputtering add the onion, and sauté
  • As the onions turn brown, put in the ginger garlic paste, chopped tomatoes, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, sugar. Fry till the oil separates
  • Add the potatoes
  • Pour in about 2 cups of warm water
  • Season with salt, cook covered
  • As the potatoes get cooked, add the koftas and cook for some more time
  • Sprinkle the garam masala and pour in the ghee
  • Take out of the flame, and serve hot

I’m a little confused with the actual English for ol/wol. If you know please share.

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Beginners guide to Preparing Rajbhog quickly

Cooking can be stress buster for bachelors. More so if you don’t cook so well but can lay your hands on a book with an easy but mouthwatering recipe. Well, I had Satarupa Banerjee’s The Book of Indian Sweets (affiliate link) for help.

Missed my swimming lesson yesterday and so was desperate to put the evening to good use. I received the book yesterday from Kwench, and not having cooked for a while I decided to start with what a Bong outside Bengal craves for – The Oh-so-Awesome Rosogolla.

The Giant Rasgulla

Satarupa’s book on Indian sweets starts off with the unputdownable (yeah Telegraph, I borrowed your subtitle, but I hope you would take it as flattery) Rasogolla. Since the book looked pretty handy, I thought of starting off sequentially. But then it would have been too Bong for comfort. The next one was Rajbhog and I chose it immediately. Satarupa calls it The Giant Rasogulla, with a little different texture. Followed instructions to the T and ended up with this:

Rajbhog

Rajbhog

You can search the internet for several videos, recipes and prep styles for Rajbhog so would include just the basic style (without the jazz).

What you need (Ingredients of Rajbhog)

Note: I prepared 12 giant balls (no pun intended :P) with these. So, if you want more/less, extrapolate the figures accordingly.

  • 250 gm Paneer (softer the better. If you find Chhana, or Chhena, all the better)
  • 60 gm Khowa (not many stores would give you this amount though)
  • 1 tsp flour (maida), 1tsp semolina (suji), 1 cardamom (you just need the Elach, or Elaichi, seeds)
  • 1 kg sugar (yes, you need that much Chini for the sugar syrup)
  • 750 ml water (hopefully, you have one of those 1 litre mineral water bottles at your house, it would help in the measurement)
  • Edible Yellow color (or, 1 gm saffron, or Kesar, if you have some extra dough. Mind you, not many stores would give you 1gm of this costly stuff, so be prepared to be set back by 150 odd rupees. Else, edible colors work just well. What do you think they give you in the Sweets shops anyways?)
  • 1tsp rose water (if you already have all the other stuff at home, but not this one, don’t worry too much about it)

How to make Rajbhog (preparation steps of Rajbhog)

  • Ensure that the Paneer doesn’t have too much water (yeah I know that sounds a little moronic), and knead the Paneer with your palm well until it becomes smooth.
  • Then mix 1tsp (maida) and 1tsp semolina (suji) with the kneaded Paneer and knead again
  • Make 12 smooth balls, and ensure that there isn’t any crack
    • Tip 1 (For Beginners): at the start you may not know the optimum size of each ball, so don’t worry. Once you start making a few Golas, you would get a hang of how much Paneer to put in each Gola.
    • Tip 2 (for all) : if you want the Rajbhogs to look yellow, while kneading the Paneer, mix some edible yellow color with it
Slightly kneaded paneer

Slightly kneaded paneer

Smoothly kneaded Paneer

Smoothly kneaded Paneer

Paneer balls

Paneer balls

Now, that we have Paneer Golas, we need to make some Khowa/Cardamom balls and put it inside the Paneer Golas. Lets get started.

  • Mix Khowa and Cardamom (Elaichi) seeds and divide into 12 portions (I made 12 balls).
  • Stuff one portion of the Khowa/Cardamom mix into each Paneer Gola, and roll the balls into your palm so that the Paneer covers all the Khowa
    • Tip 3 (For Beginners): if you don’t, while boiling the Golas in sugar syrup, the Khowa would drain out. It happened to 2 of my Golas.
The Khowa balls

The Khowa balls

Preparing sugar syrup

Preparing sugar syrup

Okay, now we need to prepare sugar syrup and then boil the Golas in it. Lets do it.

  • In 750 ml water, put ½ kg sugar and boil it. When the sugar seems dissolved, pour another ½ kg sugar and continue with the heat. A while later (say 5-7 minutes), you have Sugar syrup with you.
  • Put your Golas one by one into the heated sugar syrup and continue with the boil. You’ll see that the Golas increase in size (I mean they will get puffed).
  • Continue for another 7-8 minutes and you might see some crack appearing on the Rajbhog’s surface. Remove them from fire.
  • Add (rather sprinkle) 1tsp rose water
  • You’ll have let the Golas soak in sugar syrup for a few hours (say 3-4 hours) before you can have them.

Tada, your Rajbhog is ready.

Expert Eater Challenge

Try having one Rajbhog in one mouthful J. If you can, send us a photo, we’ll publish it here.

Eating Rasogolla

Eating Rasogolla

Lau Khoshar Chhechki

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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

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