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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Guest Post – Prawns with Mustard and Coconut Paste

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We are very happy to publish a mouth watering recipe from our new guest, Pamela Mazumder. Pamela had posted the chingri maach with shorshe naarkel bata recipe at the Cook Like a Bong FaceBook fanpage. We were so happy to find such a wonderful recipe that we decided on publishing this post in our site. Thanks Pamela for sharing this recipe.
We have had couple of other guest posts in our blog. If you are interested in sharing your recipes please do mail us.

Ingredients:

  • Prawns (Chingri Maach): 8-10 large ones (shelled, cleaned properly with the head and tail intact)
  • Coconut scrapped (Narkel kora): 3-4tsp
  • Mustard seeds (Sarse dana): 5-6tbsps
  • Green chilies (Kancha lanka): 8-10
  • Turmeric powder (Halud guro): A pinch
  • Mustard oil (Sarser tel)
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • make a paste of the coconut, mustard seeds and 5green chilies
  • Take the prawns in a bowl and add the paste to it
  • Now pour a generous amount of mustard oil and salt to taste and mix well
  • Transfer the marinated prawns into an oven proof bowl and allow it to cook in a microwave oven for 20-25 mins at 180′ Celsius
  • Serve hot garnished with slit green chilies and with steamed rice.

Hot Tips- It is very important to take out the vein from the back of the prawns, to know how to de-vein the prawns have a look at this video.

Further Reading – Bhapa chingri, Chingrir Malaikari

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Kacha Kumror Tarkari

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Kolkata is raging with heat waves. Not a drop of rain since a little shower last week. The mercury is rising every day, and it has become quite a tough job to keep the body cool. Choosing a meal that would keep the body in good health and also pamper your taste buds is definitely hard.

A healthy diet is very important to keep up with this heat, and to make the food least spicy is another crucial step. Alike winter summers to have its own set of vegetables flooding the markets. I love the small raw pumpkins during this time of the year. The only preparation I have ever tasted with green pumpkin though is this one. The fresh and green taste of the cilantros along with the softness of the green pumpkin makes this simple preparation a good treat. This particular recipe was inherited by mom from her mom.

If you know any other recipes of raw pumpkin please do let us know.


Ingredients:

  • Raw Pumpkin (Kacha Kumro): 1 medium size, 300-400gms approx
  • Potatoes (Alu): 2/3, cut into 2” squares
  • Coriander leaf (Dhane pata):
  • Nigella (Kalo jeera): 1 teaspoon
  • Ginger paste (Ada bata): 1 ½ tablespoon
  • Turmeric powder (Halud guro): ½ teaspoon
  • Green chili (Kancha lanka): 3/ 4
  • Mustard oil (Sarser tel): 2 ½ tablespoon
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • Cut the pumpkin in 2” size square without peeling the coat
  • Heat oil in a wok, and throw in the nigella seeds
  • Add the potatoes and green pumpkin, cook covered without pouring water, add salt
  • Once the pumpkin is half cooked put turmeric powder, ginger paste and the coriander paste
  • Cook uncovered, pour some water if required
  • Take out of flame and serve hot with rice

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Happy Mother’s Day

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Ma is probably the first word that comes out from every child. Whatever language you speak this word makes you remember just one person, the first lady who brought us into this world. Today is Mother’s Day. In India we never celebrated Mother’s Day (wiki has something else to say, though) before globalization struck, but still its just a day to celebrate and to remember the most loved woman.

Bison mother and child, Gorumara, North Bengal

While searching for some links, came across this Mother’s Day poem, hope you like it:

A Thousand Thanks

Mother’s Day brings to mind

The thousands of things you did for me
that helped make me happier,
stronger and wiser,
because I had you as a role model.
I’m grateful for all the times

you healed my hurts
and calmed my fears,
so that I could face the world
feeling safe and secure.
I’m thankful for all you showed me

about how to love and give–
lessons that now bring
so many blessings to me
each and every day.
Your sacrifices and unselfishness

did not go unnoticed, Mom.
I admire you, I respect you,
I love you.
And I’m so glad you’re my mother!
Happy Mother’s Day!

By Joanna Fuchs

Mom had been my first teacher, my strength, my best critic and I know my secret admirer :). Last but not the least, ma had been the best cooking teacher I could ever get. My ma is the best cook I have ever seen. Though she prefers preparing Bengali dishes, she loves to experiment in the kitchen. Her kitchen is like her laboratory and ma the scientist in there. This blog is also an ode to the various dishes, particularly Bengali recipes that I have learnt from her and this post is a collection of few of her wonderful recipes.

Shukto – The first served food for any lunch in any typical Bengali household. The bitterness of the bitter gourd and the plethora of all the other vegetables is said to have a cooling effect to the body that serves as an appetizer.

Cholar Dal – This typical Bengali lentil preparation is best had with luchis on a lazy Sunday morning

Kachuri – A little deviation from the Bengali puris or luchis, these stuffed puris is an envy for all those who can’t use the rolling pin to make a perfect circle (including me)

Aamer Dal – A must have during the warm summers

Kanch Kalar Kofta – Raw banana always seem to be a bad option for any meal, but if you have this kofta, you’ll ask for more

Lau Chingri – A lovely medley of the vegetable and the most loved fish (Trivia: shrimps are actually insects)

Chanchra – Although most Bengali recipes have an influence from the ruling dynasties in Bengal, this typical Bengali preparation has been left untouched by any invader

Bhapa Chingri – A very easy to prepare mouth watering fish preparation

Patla Ilsiher Jhol – Hilsa is mostly prepared with muatard, but this non-spicy preparation stands its chance to be loved by anyone

Mutton Kasha – a Bengali menu can’t be over without mutton in it

Aamer Morobba – This is one of my most favorite dishes, I love it and have it almost throughout the year

Misti Doi – Sweet yogurt so as translate in English, but misti doi has its own magic spread over its taster’s tongues

Patishapta – This is a sweet dish prepared during the harvest festival

There are numerous other recipes that mom had taught me, and there’s loads more to learn from her. This one is a very short list of my favorite mom-taught recipes.

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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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Dimer Malpua

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When you wake up late in the morning the last thing you can think of is what to have for breakfast and what to pack for lunch. I face this problem quite often. Right now mom’s here so don’t need to worry about that, but when I am all alone this is a big deal. I am sure this troubles you too.

My mom gave me a great idea, and the result turned out awesome. It’s the simplest of egg preparation with gravy one can think of. It took me just 10mins from getting inside the kitchen to serving the dimer malpua.

Dimer malpua sounds a little crazy though, but I looked at my plate this is what came out of my mind. The fried poaches looked almost like malpua (Bengali style pan cakes) dipped in spicy gravy. You can have this as a brunch or can carry for your lunch.

Here are some more option for breakfast with eggs.

Preparation time: 2-3min
Cooking time: 5-7min
Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • Eggs (Dim): 2
  • Onion (Peyaj): 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Garlic (Rasun): 4-5 cloves
  • Ginger-garlic paste (Ada-rasun bata): 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder (Halud guro): ½ teaspoon
  • Chili powder (Lal lankar guro): 1 teaspoon
  • Mustard oil (Sarser tel): 3 tablespoon

Preparation:

  • Make two fried poaches like this
  • Heat one tablespoon of oil in an wok and sauté the onions, and garlic
  • As the onions turn pinkish add the other spices and salt, toss and pour in ½ cup of water
  • Let the gravy thicken
  • Pour this gravy over the fried poaches and dimer malpua is ready
  • Serve with chapatti or rice

Hot Tips – If you have any left out gravy from last night you can also heat that and pour it over the fried poaches. If left for 5  to 10mins the gravy soaks inside the poaches making it spicier and tastier.

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Cholar Dal

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There is almost a 50 page report waiting for me to be completed by tonight and submitted tomorrow morning. So, it seems to be a long night. In all these lab reports – proteins, DNAs, RNAs and whatever molecules you can name of, I just thought of publishing this post tonight. Cholar dal is one of my favorite lentils. Cholar dal or chana dal is prepared in different ways throughout India. This preparation is very specific to Bengal. This authentic Bengali recipe has an affluence of sweet taste in it, and the charming yellow color will drive any foodoholic crazy. Cholar dal is best had with kachuri, luchi or chapattis.

As the wiki link says, Chana dal is produced by removing the outer layer of Kala chana (black chickpeas) and then splitting the kernel. Although machines can do this, it can be done at home by soaking the whole chickpeas and removing the loose skins by placing the chickpeas between two towels and rubbing with a rolling pin.

Preparation time: 10min
Cooking time: 25min
Serves 6

 

Ingredients:

  • Bengal gram (Cholar Dal): 1 cup
  • Coconut (Narkel): ½ cup, cut into very small pieces
  • Ginger paste (Ada bata): 2 tablespoon
  • Turmeric Powder (Halud guro): 1 teaspoon
  • Chili powder (Lal lankar guro): 1 tablespoon
  • Coriander powder (Dhane guro): 1 teaspoon
  • Sugar (Chini): 1 teaspoon
  • Red chili (Lal lanka): 3 /4
  • Mustard oil (Sarser tel) : 3 tablespoon
  • Clarified butter (Ghee): 1 tablespoon
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • Soak the pulses for half-an-hour before preparing
  • Put the soaked pulses along with salt in a pressure cooker with ample water so that the dhal remains 1cm below the water level, cook till three whistles of the pressure cooker
  • Take out of flame, let the pressure cooker cool
  • Open the lid, add ginger paste, cumin, turmeric, coriander, chili powder, sugar – mix well with the cholar dal
  • Heat oil in a heavy bottom wok and fry the coconut pieces till brownish, take out and keep aside
  • In the same heated oil add the chilies and fry till then turn a darker shade of red, pour in the boiled dal, pour in little more water if required
  • Cook till the dal attains the desired consistency, pour in the ghee if using
  • Garnish with the fried coconut pieces, serve warm with puri or luchi

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Dimer Devil or Deviled Eggs Recipe

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Update: Removing Vegan word from the post. Since it uses eggs even for the filling, how can it be vegan, argued Soma. And I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for pointing that out.

What is Dimer Devil or Deviled Eggs recipe

The eggs are boiled and the yolks are removed, and re-stuffed with a mixture prepared from the yolk, boiled potato and some vegetables. The re-stuffed egg is then dipped in besan, then in bread crumbs and fried in oil.

Who can cook Dimer Devil

This is for intermediate skilled cooks, or mere amateurs who want to prove that given adequate instructions, they can cook (I fall in this category). You can have Dimer Devil for an exotic evening snack. I had this at lunch with steamed rice, musuri daal and ketchup.

You can learn about more Egg Recipes here.

Ingredients of Deviled egg recipe

Ingredients of Deviled egg recipe

About the devil (why such name)

Deviling means seasoning the food heavily (This link gives an elaborate explanation). I tried this egg recipe only because of its name. Never had it, so gave it a shot. And it turned out well.

Though this isn’t an authentic Bengali recipe, Bengalis sure love it. And you would too.

Recipe in 10 words

Boil Eggs, cut in half, fill with stuffing, oil fry

Ingredients of Dimer Devil (Deviled Eggs recipe)

  • 3 eggs (2 for cooking + 1 for dip)
  • 1 medium potato
  • 1 medium onion
  • Carrot (gajar, gajor) or Beet
  • Other vegetables as per availability/taste (matar – green peas, beans etc.)
  • Ginger and garlic (or ginger garlic paste)
  • Green chilies
  • Hing (asafoetida), Jeera (Cumin)
  • Garam Masala Powder
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Maida or Besan

Preparing Dimer Devil (Deviled Eggs recipe)

  • Boil the Eggs and potato for 15 min [in Bangalore, the potatoes don’t soften easily. In such a case, its best to cut the potato into several small pieces and then boil]. Cover the eggs with at least an inch of water.

Now is the time to prepare the filling. I used a vegetarian filling. You pick whatever suits you.

vegetable cut

vegetable cut

Potato and egg boiled

Potato and egg boiled

Mashed up

Mashed up

Fried mashed up mixture

Fried mashed up mixture

  • Meanwhile, cut onion, chilies, beans and grate the carrot/beet
  • Drain hot water, pour cold water (makes peeling off easier) and crack the egg shells
  • Cut the boiled eggs length wise and pop out the egg yolk in a separate container.
  • Add peeled off potato and the vegetable mixture to the container. Add salt, pepper to taste. Mash them well.
  • Heat a frying pan, put some cooking oil (mustard oil for the quintessential jhanjh, or sunflower oil for the calorie savvy) and then the onion pieces. Heat till the color changes to brown. Add the mashed potato-yolk-vegetable mixture.
Stuffed Eggs

Stuffed Eggs

Preparing for the fry

Preparing for the fry

Next, need to stuff egg white with the filling and fry

  • Fill the egg halves with the mixture. Make it tightly fit since we need to fry this later. Let us call this stuffed egg half
  • In a separate bowl, break an egg carefully and add a spoon of Besan. Add salt, pepper to taste and blend it well. Let us call this egg besan
  • On a pan (I used a newspaper J), pour some bread crumbs.
  • Heat a frying pan and add oil.
  • Now do this in sequence – roll the stuffed egg half in egg besan, then in bread crumbs and then lower carefully on the heated oil. Fry well. Do this for each stuffed egg half.
Dimer Devil or Deviled Eggs

Dimer Devil or Deviled Eggs

Tada. Your Dimer Devil (Deviled Eggs recipe) is complete. Serve with ketchup.

If some egg besan is left, fry it on the pan to make Egg Bhurji. It tastes good.

Dimer Devil with Rice and Dal

Dimer Devil with Rice and Dal

Further Reading

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Ful Kopir Achar – Cauliflower Pickle

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Grandma’s Secret

Winter has left Kolkata, fans are on all day long. But, there are some left out winter vegetables in the market, being sold at quite a low price. My Didu (maternal grandmother) used to buy a good number of cauliflowers from the market during this time of the year, cut those into small florets, treated with salt and some other spices (which I can’t remember now) and dry them up in the sun.

These cauliflowers remained intact for more than 3-4months, retaining the same color and texture. Those days have gone passed a long time back; you can get any kind of vegetable at any time of the year. Though my mom insists that seasonal vegetables should be had at that particular season, leaving out the good exception of potato, though harvested in winter its eaten all year round. [Potatoes and Bengali cuisine are closely related; there are so many authentic bengali recipes that feature potato that it seems there had been a marriage between these two].

Steal the Pickle (Achar churi)

Remember the jars of pickles lined up on the roof, a little hands approaching to steal a handful? And there came the bigger hand in between the little hand and the jar of tangy pickle. The fear coated adventure of stealing pickle in the summer afternoon is one of the best memories I have of my childhood. Mom never allowed to have pickles and so stealing and having pickles had an extra feeling of happiness, if not I got caught.

Love thy Neighbor

Coming back to cauliflowers, my neighbor knocked the door this morning with a plate full of lovely looking cauliflowers. When asked she said that it’s the cauliflower pickle she made. It looked so lovely and I just couldn’t resist but pick up a small floret and put it straight into my mouth. I have never tasted such an awesome pickle.

I asked for the recipe and she was kind enough to share the recipe of Cauliflower Pickle (Gobi Achar, in Hindi). And, I thought of sharing this bengali pickle recipe with you. Prepare it and let me know how you fared.

Ingredients of Cauliflower Pickle:

  • Cauliflower (Ful kopi): 1 big size, cut into small florets
  • Potato (Alu); 2 medium size, cut into small pieces to complement the cauliflower florets
  • Green peas (Mator shuti): ½ cup
  • Green chili (Kancha lanka): 8-10
  • Raw tamarind pulp (Kancha tetul bata): 2 tablespoon
  • Mustard paste (Sarse bata): ½ cup
  • Mustard oil (Sarser tel): ½ cup
  • Asafoetida (Hing): ½ teaspoon
  • Salt to taste

How to prepare Cauliflower Pickle:

  • Steam the cauliflower florets, potatoes and green peas together, and drain out any excess water
  • Bring the steamed vegetables to normal temperature
  • Mix all the ingredients to the vegetables and pour in the oil
  • Store in glass container and keep under sun for 2-3 days before the first use

The cauliflower pickle tastes good with warm rice.

Hot Tips – Always use a dry spoon to take out pickle from the jar. The cauliflower pickle can be stored for more than a month.

Further Reading – Andhra Style Cauliflower Pickle, Cauliflower Pickle with onion

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Paneer Bhurji for Bachelors

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If you’re a bachelor, chances are that you like spending the minimum amount of time in the kitchen. If that’s the case, this paneer recipe is just for you. [Here’re some more quick Indian recipes – Microwave Fried rice and Breakfast with egg series].

For this preparation, I bought fresh paneer from sweet shop. You can also use the packaged paneer or even try making some paneer (chana, chenna) at home.

Easy way of making Paneer at home

Boil a liter of milk, and pour 4 tablespoons of lime juice in it. Separate the curd from the whey. Put the curd in a soft cloth, preferably muslin and drain out the excess water.

While the cheese is inside the cloth, place it over a perforated metal can or box and place a heavy weight over it so that the cheese gets firmer and any extra water gets drained out. The more you press it, the harder it becomes.

Preparation time: 10min
Cooking time: 10min
Serves: 3-4

How to make Paneer Bhurji (Paneer Jhuri Bhaja)

Ingredients:

  • Indian cheese (paneer): 300gms
  • Potato (Aalu): 2 medium sizes
  • Green peas (Matar, Mator shuti): ½ cup
  • Tomato (Tamatar): 1 small, coarsely chopped
  • Turmeric powder (Haldi Powder, Halud guro): ½ teaspoon
  • Chili powder (Lal Mirch Powder, Lal lankar guro): ¾ teaspoon
  • Green chili (Hari Mirch, Kancha lanka): 2 -3 (optional)
  • Ginger paste (Adrakh paste, Ada bata): 1 tablespoon
  • Sunflower oil (Sada tel): 3 tablespoon
  • Salt to taste

Preparation:

  • Slice the potatoes into thin two inch long pieces, wash and drain out the water
  • Grate the paneer in a grater. Alternately if you are using fresh curd cheese then just press with your palm to make it fluffy
  • Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan, and throw in the potatoes
  • As the potatoes get half cooked, add all the spices, tomato, peas and mix well
  • Cook for 2-3 mins more and pour in the grated paneer
  • Mix and cook for 2-3min more
  • Take out of flame and serve with roti, paratha or rice and dal

How to make Paneer Bhurji in Microwave

You can make the same paneer bhurji in microwave as well. Put in 2 tablespoons of oil and potatoes and cook covered for 4 min in microwave high (100%). Mix all the spices, tomato, peas and cook uncovered in microwave high for 2mins. Add the grated paneer and cook uncovered in microwave high for 3 more minutes.

Further Reading – Bengali Style Matar Paneer, How to make paneer

Personal Note: Kalyan had been doing a lot of cooking these days. Thanks to his cook, who has gone back to his native for a fortnight, or probably a little more. Office, cooking, phone calls from home and time for his girl friend – takes away a lot of time, leaving almost nothing for his own personal leisure. So, I thought of suggesting him a quick and easy recipe for dinner. I could have done it just by getting him a call or personal mail. But, I’m sure there are hundreds of bachelors or even spinsters who frantically search for some quick and easy recipes for beginners.

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February Monthly Round Up

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9 new posts, Valentine’s week recipes, salad carnival and increased community engagement (both here and at Facebook page) made February 2010 pretty exciting at Cook Like a Bong. Valentine’s week, Holi and (unfortunately) sudden traffic drop due to hosting trouble marked the month.

Posts in February

  1. Strawberry SandeshA Bong can’t remain away from sweets for long. The strawberry sandesh is an ode to all those sweet lovers staying in a place far from sweet shops.
  2. Bengali Style Matar Paneer – Matar paneer is a favorite among North Indian communities, I tried putting in some Bengali twist to this very popular Indian recipe
  3. Chocolate Cake in Microwave – After many attempts, disasters and heart break, at last I succeeded in preparing a cake in microwave
  4. Bengali Food Bloggers Interview – Bong Mom: A series that plans to ‘bring out’ the personal side of your favourite Food Bloggers. Part 2 features Bong Mom of Bong Mom’s CookBook. Know her favourite food blogs, why she started cooking, what was her first dish and lots more.
  5. Paneer Pulao in Rice Cooker: Celebrating the Valentine’s week, paneer pulao was the recipe for Teddy Day. This preparation looked as lovely as your Teddy.
  6. Bread Chop Suey: This one is a must prepare for the kid at home, or even for the kid at heart.
  7. Gits Karaisutir Kachori Mix – Product Review – This was the first product review at Cook Like a Bong. Will be publishing the second one soon.
  8. Happy Holi – Celebrating the festival of colors at home. Here’s some more pics from my neighborhood. The kids went mad.

Awards:

Indrani was very kind to share two of her awards with me. Thanks a lot Indrani. Know more about the awards in our Awards Page.

Random: The luck arches the closing ozone.
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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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Shukto

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There is a saying “Bhojon Rashik Bangali” (“food loving Bengali”). I won’t say it’s absolutely a myth. Bengalis are really fond of eating and feeding others. A usual Bengali lunch starts with a shukto, dal, fries or fritters, a vegetarian curry, and then the non-vegetarian item, most likely to be fish if not a egg, chicken or mutton curry, and ending with a chutney. And of course there are a few guests at home, then there is always a chance to feast on some sweets at the end of the meal. So, it is always a heavy meal in a Bengali household whether you like it or don’t like it. Talking about lunches, there has to be a shukto to start with. Shukto is a typical Bengali dish with minimal spices and all the vegetables that you can find in the kitchen, the refrigerator, or for that matter anywhere in and around the house. But, a statutory warning here, tomatoes, cauliflower, cabbages are not allowed to be a part of this bitter sweet preparation.

Shukto is of various types, depending on the type of spices used or even at times the absence or presence of some particular vegetables. But, in general it is a bitter in taste because of the bitter gourd, which is the most important ingredient of this preparation. Among all the types of shukto the most popular one is the dudh shukto, here milk is used to temper the taste of the whole preparation.

Shukto

My mom is an avid lover of shukto, first because she can use all the vegetables in her stock and secondly because she gets an alibi to feed us bitter gourd. She prepares shukto in different style, and this one is one of her own creations. There another very interesting part about having shukto, it is never served for dinner, but is only had at lunch time. While writing this post, I called up my mom, my aunts and even my father, but they all had the same statement, “shukto raat e khete nei” (You should not have shukto at night), but nobody actually knew why not to have it at night. Baba (my father) tried to solve the mystery saying that with so many vegetables its quite a heavy preparation and so one should avoid having it at night. He also added that may be its because of that bitter gourd, which may create some digestive trouble if had at night. Truly speaking, I am not satisfied with his solution. I would love to hear from any of you if you have any suggestions or solutions to this.

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 20min
Cooking time: 15 -20min

Ingredients:

Aubergine (Begun): 1 medium

French Beans (Bean): 5 -6

Bitter gourd (Karola): 2 medium sized

Pumpkin (Kumro): 100gm

Potato (Alu): 2 medium sized

Ridge gourd (Jhinge): 1

Mustard seed (Sarse): 1 tablespoon

Drumsticks (Sajner data): 2, cut into one inch lengths

Raw rice (Atop chal): 2 tablespoon, coarsely made into paste

Turmeric powder (Halud guro): ½ teaspoon

Ginger paste (Ada bata) 1teaspoon

Mustard paste (Sarse bata): 2 tablespoon

Mustard oil (Sarser tel): 4 tablespoon

Preparation:

  • Dice the vegetables into even size pieces.
  • Heat 3 tablespoon of oil in a wok, throw in the mustard seeds and grinded rice
  • Add all the vegetables as the mustard seeds start popping
  • Mix the oil well with the vegetables and let it cook in low flame under cover
  • Take out the cover when the vegetables are half done, pour in little water (about half cup), ginger and mustard paste, turmeric powder; mix well
  • Cook for about 5 min or till the vegetables are well cooked
  • Pour in the rest of the mustard oil and take out of flame
  • Shukto tastes best with warm white rice

Shukto

Hot Tips – You can add squash or green papaya to this, it enhances the taste. Bodi also tastes good with shukto, so you can just fry some and garnish shukto with the bori.

Further Reading – Dudh shukto, Shukto with bori

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Luchi

Welcoming the Goddess

The Hindu calendar follows the lunar phases and so it’s a little different from our well known English calendar from January to December. As the Gregorian and the Hindu calendars do not tally the timing of Durga Puja also shifts yearly from Late September to late October. This time the Puja starts on 24th September; the day being Shasthi, welcoming the goddess to earth.

Shasthir ghaut

My grand mother used to tell me different stories of the goddess. One such was the welcoming of the goddess. According to the Hindu mythology, Devi Durga is the daughter of the King of Himalayas. Every year on the Shasthi of the Bengali month of Ashwin, she comes down from Kailash, the abode of her husband, Lord Shiva to earth. She stays here for the next four days and goes back to Kailash. The goddess doesn’t come alone; she comes along with her four children, two daughters and two sons, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesh and Karthik.

The Celebration

While listening to these stories, as a kid I used to become spell bound and dreamt about how the goddess with her four children would come down to earth. Years have passed, and there is nobody to tell me stories nowJ. But the feeling of happiness, the planning to go pandal hopping, meeting friends, and above all buying new clothes and eating out – make this time the best month of the year.

From today the ninth day is Shasthi. Kolkata is getting decked up with the minute decorations of this grand festival. The clay idols of the goddess are almost ready except for the last coat of paint. At Cook Like a Bong we decided on celebrating this festival with an event and publishing our first eBook on Shasthi this year. Also, I’ll be posting about the different recipes that you can try out during the four days of celebration; starting today.

Shasthir Dala

Bongs love for luchi

A breakfast with some luchi, alu dum and sandesh will make the day for any Bong. Bengalis cannot get enough of these fluffy fried phulkas. Luchi, luuchi, lucchi, poori, puri, phulka – whatever one can call them, but to any Bong it’s an essence of pure ecstasy. The taste and smell of luchi enhances if fried in ghee. So, while frying the rolled out luchi, you can add half the volume of ghee with sunflower oil. Will tell you the recipe for this curry in my later post.

Luchi Tarkari

Preparation time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 30min
Makes 20 luchis

Ingredients:

All purpose flour (Maida): 2 cups

Carom seeds (Jowan/Ajwain): 1teaspoon

Sunflower oil (Sada tel): For deep frying

Salt: ½ teaspoon

Water: 1 ½ cup

Preparation:

  • Take the flour in a big bowl, carom seeds, salt and 2 tablespoon of oil
  • Mix the ingredients well to form a sandy mixture
  • Pour in half the water and knead the dough to almost dry
  • Then again pour the other half of water and knead well
  • If you feel the dough is not sticking to your palm, then its ready
  • Keep the dough for about 40mins covered with a wet muslin cloth
  • Divide the dough into 20 small balls, dip half the balls in oil for lubrication and roll the balls to 4-5 inch diameter circles
  • Heat oil for frying in a deep wok till smoking hot
  • Reduce the flame and slide in the rolled out poori
  • Press the luchi, while frying with the back of a slotted spatula, this helps in making the luchis fluffy
  • Take out of flame and place in a colander to let the luchis drain out the excess oil
  • Serve with any thick gravy curry (veg or non-veg)

Luchi

Hot Tips: Don’t drop the rolled out pooris into the heated oil, oil may splash out. Luchi even tastes good with granulated sugar or payesh, try it. You can use atta instead of maida but that makes the luchi look darker on color. You can even leave out the carom seeds while preparing luchi.

Further Readings: Bong Mom’s Luchi Preparation, Wiki Puri

Let us know your likings and memories of luchis or pooris, and don’t forget to send in your entries to the blog event ending 22nd September.

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