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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Begun Pora (Roasted egg-plant)

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My initial attempts to make this simple dish failed at the very first step. Here in US we have electric coil cooking ranges which doesn’t give off any flames. While they maybe safer they fail miserable to roast the egg-plant. However, we did get to test out the smoke alarm (again and yes they work Smile).

The moment I raised the possibility to my husband he instantly headed out to the balcony in the sub-zero cold with his propane camping stove. Something like below (amazon link). However, we bought it cheaper (around $30)

Coleman Two-Burner Propane Stove

Sure enough soon we had successfully roasted the begun

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Ingredients

  1. 1 medium brinjal/ eggplant
  2. 1 medium onion finely chopped
  3. 2,3 green chilies finely chopped
  4. A few spring cilantro/ coriander leaves finely chopped
  5. Salt to taste
  6. 2 tbsp. of mustard oil
  7. A pinch of sugar

Procedure

Wash the eggplant and wipe it with a paper towel. Now cut one or two slits into it. Rub some oil all over it and hold it over a low open gas flame. Rotate the egg plants every few minutes. After few minutes you will see the juices coming out of it. Gradually the skin will darken and you will start getting a smoky flavor. It takes almost 20 - 30 mins to roast the eggplant. When the skin is totally charred remove from the flame. Allow it to cool. Then carefully remove the burnt skin.

Mash the eggplant and add chopped onion, green chilies, coriander leaves, salt and sugar to it. Drizzle one or two tsp. of mustard oil over it. Now your begun pora is ready to be served with hot phulka.

Note: If you really don't have an open flame gas stove you can roast  your eggplant in oven. It generally takes an hour to roast inside the oven.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Maccher Matha Diye Bandhakopir Chanchra. (Cabbage with Fish head)

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We grew up eating all sorts of Chanchra, Labra, Charchari, Ghonto. At that time all of them seemed to be a mix of various vegetables and sometimes fish. Now I get to understand the subtle nuances and differences between them. For example chanchra is a variant of charchari with the addition of fish oil, fish head or some fish pieces.
Everyone in our family loves cabbage with fish head. I never really thought of blogging about this. It seemed too mundane a dish to publish.
However, my childhood friend came to visit us. We went on a trip to Mt. St. Helens, one of the most active volcanoes in WA. We were all busy gazing at it and the power it unleashed 30 years back. Suddenly I found my friend day dreaming with a blank look. On asking she said, she was thinking about this dish I cooked for her the night before. So I thought maybe this is a recipe worth sharing. Just don’t eat and drive…
 

Ingredients

  1. 1 fish head preferably of Rohu or Catla cut into two halves
  2. 1 medium cabbage finely chopped
  3. 2 medium potatoes cut into cubes
  4. 2 tomatoes coarsely chopped
  5. Half cup peas
  6. 1 large onion finely chopped
  7. 1 tbsp ginger paste
  8. 1 tsp. garlic paste
  9. 1 tbsp coriander powder
  10. 1 tsp. cumin powder
  11. 1tbsp chili powder ( you can increase or decrease the amount depending on your spice level)
  12. 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  13. 1 tsp. whole cumin seed
  14. 2,3 tejpatta/ bay leaf
  15. Salt
  16. Sugar
  17. For Garam Masala
  18. Grind the following ingredients
  19. 2" cinnamon
  20. 3, 4 Green cardamom
  21. 5, 6 Cloves
  22. Mustard oil

Procedure

IMG_8305Clean and wash the fish head. Rub salt and turmeric powder to it. Keep it for five mins.
In a kadai or wok heat oil till it smokes. Now add the fish head and fry it on a medium heat till all the sides are properly done. Remove from the oil and keep it aside. Discard the oil.
Heat some oil in the pan and temper it with cumin seeds and bay leaf. Once the spices pop up add chopped onion and fry till they become brown. Add potato cubes and fried fish head followed by ginger garlic paste and sauté on low heat for a while.
Now add chopped tomato along with coriander, cumin, chili and turmeric powder. Mix well and fry till the oil separates out and the potato and fish head pieces are nicely coated with spices.
IMG_8306Add chopped cabbage to it. Season with salt and sugar. Cook it covered on medium heat till the cabbage becomes soft. You need to stir in between to avoid sticking at bottom. You can add water little by little if required.Add peas to it and mix well.Cook for further one or two minutes.
This dish will be little mushy or in Bengali makha-makha. Once done remove  the pan from heat and sprinkle garam masala powder.  Finish it with a spoon of ghee.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bengali Garam Masala Powder

Packed garam masala powder available in most stores is targeted towards North Indian cuisine and contains a lot of different types of spices. There are various sub-types like saahi garam masala for mughal cuisine, punjabi garam masala for Tandoori. Even though the ingredients looks the same, the proportion causes the main difference.

South India in contrast uses whole garam masala (things like star anise gets predominance).

In Bengal garam masala is far simpler with strong notes of cinnamon (daimager-chini as we call it). It’s easier to prepare at home and in case you make a lot of bong food, it will serve you well if you take the pain of making it yourself and keeping it for ready use.

Ingredients

  1. 2” cinnamon stick
  2. 1 tsp. clove
  3. 1 tsp. green cardamom

Procedure

Take the above ingredients and grind it to a powder and keep in a air-tight container.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bati Charchari

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This is one of the easiest bong food that you can make. Especially good for a cold wintery night and goes best with fresh hot phulkas.

The whole idea of making bati-charchari is to use the freshest vegetables available at the time. The ingredients are pretty flexible, I just used stuff that I had at home and this needs no special spices either. You can add carrot, beans anything you find at the local grocer or tucked away in your refrigerator.

Ingredients

  1. Baby potatoes 5,6
  2. Pearl onions - 4,5 (I used frozen ones you can add fresh onions as well)
  3. Turmeric powder
  4. Tomatoes 2,3 each cut into 4 halves
  5. Peas half cup
  6. Mustard oil
  7. Turmeric powder 1 tsp.
  8. Chili powder 1tbsp.
  9. Green chili 5,6
  10. Salt
  11. Sugar

Procedure

In a sauce pan take all the vegetables. Add  2-3 tbsp. of mustard oil.

Add turmeric powder, chili powder along with salt  and little sugar.

Now pour about 2 cups of warm water and give it a nice mix. Cover and cook on a medium heat without stirring. Once the water almost dries up. slit open the green chilies and drop them in.

Enjoy with hot phulkas.  

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mutton Stew

IMG_0553 A bowl of health (ek-bati sastho) is what my mom used to call it. My husband has a theory that a food’s taste is inversely proportional to it’s nutrition value. This is one of those that is an exception to that law (and hence proves it).

Ingredients

  1. Spices For marinatingIMG_8473
    1. 2lbs Mutton ( I used goat meat you can use lamb meat as well)
    2. 1 cup plain yogurt
    3. 1tbsp ginger paste
    4. 1 tsp. garlic paste
    5. Salt
    6. Sugar
  2. Vegetables
    1. 3 large potatoes each cut into 4 halves
    2. 2 long carrots cut into big chunks
    3. 10-12 French beans each cut into 2 pieces
    4. 8-10 pearl onions / shallot peeled
    5. 2 tomatoes cut into 2 halves
  3. Whole Spices For Tempering
    1. 3,4 Bay leaves or tejpatta
    2. 2 sticks cinnamon
    3. 4,5 cloves
    4. 1 tbsp black peppercorn
  4. For Stew
    1. 3-4 tbsp of all-purpose flour/ maida
    2. Salt
    3. 1 tbsp butter
    4. Canola or any vegetable oil.

ProcedureIMG_8476

Marinate the meat with all the ingredients listed under “spices for marination”. Keep for about an hour.

In a pressure cooker or thick bottom vessel heat oil and temper it with all ingredients listed under whole spice. When the spices sizzle add all  vegetables and sauté for a minute on high flame so the vegetables take a brown hue on all sides.

Now add the mutton pieces along with the marinade and cook it on a high flame for about 5 mins.  A lot of water will be released during this time. So you have to adjust the water level depending on how IMG_8479much stew you want.

Pressure cook on medium heat for 10 mins, if you are using any other pan, cover and cook in low heat for 40 mins.

In a bowl mix flour with little water. Once the pressure is released remove the lid of the pressure cooker and pour the flour mixture into it and boil for a minute. It will help to thicken the watery stew.

Put the dollop of butter.

Serve with your favorite bread.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mutton Rezala

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I had my first rezala at the famous Sabir restaurant in Chandni Chowk, Kolkata. The looks of the place half kills your appetite, but the aroma revives it right back. The walk up the narrow stairs to the so called family section is filled with anticipation of the sumptuous rezala and tandoori roti.

The other day I made rezala the same Sabir style, my husband qualifies this as the best food I have every cooked for him. However, the petuk says that almost once every week Smile. Here goes the recipe, try it out and let me know in the comments if this is worthy of the praise heaped on it.

Ingredient

  1. Mutton 1lb, preferably ribs (I used goat meat, lamb can also be used)
  2. Onion - 1 medium ground into a fine paste
  3. Garlic paste - 1tbsp
  4. Ginger paste - 2tbsp
  5. Plain yogurt - Half cup
  6. Cashew paste - 2tbsp
  7. Ghee / Clarified butter - half cup
  8. Dry whole red chili - 8, 10
  9. Peppercorn - 1tsp
  10. Bay leaf
  11. Saffron - 1/4th tsp.
  12. Milk - 2,3 tbsp
  13. Kewra essence few drops
  14. Salt
  15. Sugar
  16. Grind the following dry spices into a powder
    1. Black cardamom - 2
    2. Green cardamom - 2,3
    3. Cloves - 5,6
    4. Mace (Javitri) - 1, 2 leaves

Procedure

Soak the saffron strands in warm milk and keep aside.

Take a bowl and blend onion paste, ginger garlic paste, cashew paste with yogurt. In a mixing bowl marinate the mutton pieces with yogurt mixture along with salt, sugar and two tsp. of dry spice powder. Let it rest overnight.

In a heavy bottom pan or pressure cooker heat ghee on a low heat. Temper it with bay leaf. Take out the mutton pieces from the marinade and after shaking off all the excess liquids add the meat pieces to the pan.IMG_8491

Sauté it for about 4-5 mins on medium heat. Now add the marinade slowly and mix well.

Add whole red chilies and peppercorn. Cook it covered on low heat for about 30-40 mins till the meat is tender. During cooking add water if required and stir in between to prevent the meat sticking at the bottom***.

Once  the mutton is just done add the saffron infused milk along with a few drops of kewra water. Cook for another two mins to imbibe the flavor of saffron and kewra into the meat+++. Let it stand for an hour. Serve with naan or paratha.

Tips:

***I like to cook the mutton first in a pressure cooker for about 2-3 whistles on medium high heat and once the pressure releases, cook it covered till the rest is done. It helps me to prevent overcooking the meat.

+++To give the gravy a silky appearance take out the mutton pieces separately and strain the gravy through a muslin cloth or a strainer.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Ghugni (Yellow Peas in a gravy)

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghugni

In Kolkata it’s usual to hear the shrill “ehhhhhhhhh ghuggggniiiiiiiiiii” call in the winter evenings as the ghuniwala the moving ghugni vendor roams the street selling his super hot freshly made ghugni. All that is needed is to open the windows in the cold winter and a call out to him “dada edike”.

If you are too far for “dada edike” then make your own Smile. Here’s how


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Ingredients

  1. 1 cup yellow peas soaked overnight
  2. 2 medium sizes potatoes cut into cubes
  3. 1 onion finely chopped
  4. 1 tbsp ginger paste
  5. 1 tsp garlic paste
  6. 1 medium tomato finely chopped
  7. 5/6 green chilies finely chopped
  8. A handful of chopped coriander greens
  9. 2 tbsp coconut slices
  10. Turmeric powderIMG_8464
  11. Chili powder
  12. Salt
  13. Sugar

Dry roast and make  a  powder of the following spices

  1. Coriander seeds - 2 tbsp
  2. Cumin seeds - 3 tbsp
  3. Dry red chilies - 10-12

Procedure

  1. Boil the pre soaked yellow peas in a pressure cooker with a pinch of turmeric and salt. Do not over boil the peas.
  2. In a pan heat oil and fry the potato cubes. Remove and keep them aside. Add the chopped onion and fry till golden brown. Now add chopped tomato and cook it on medium heat till they are mushy. Add ginger garlic paste, chili powder, turmeric powder and sauté for a while.
  3. Add the boiled peas, potato and coconut slices and mix it well with all spices. Once done add water along with salt and sugar.
  4. Check the seasoning and adjust it accordingly.
  5. Boil for another 5-10 mins, By this time the gravy becomes thick.
  6. Garnish with chopped onion, green chilies and coriander greens.
  7. Sprinkle dry spice powder and serve it piping hot with a dash of lemon juice.

Note: Soak the dry peas in a bigger container to accommodate expansion.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Recipe Rui/Rohu macher Kalia

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Today a Bengali marriage feast is less about bong food and more of international fare. Food like noodles, kebabs have become mainstay. Not so long ago that place was held by the likes of fish kalia.

Kalia is generally made with Rohu but can be replaced with other sweet water fish like Katla. The bigger and fatter the fish, the better.

Ingredient

  1. 6 pieces rui or catla or any carp
  2. 2 medium sized onion finely chopped
  3. Ginger paste - 1 tbsp
  4. Garlic paste - 1 tsp
  5. Tomato - 1 large pureed
  6. 2 medium potatoes each cut into 4 long wedges
  7. Yogurt - 2-3 tbsp
  8. Coriander powder - 1 tsp
  9. Turmeric powder - 1 tbsp
  10. Kashmiri red chili powder or paprika powder - 2 tsp
  11. 2 tbsp. raisins
  12. Coriander leaves
  13. Green chilies - 3,4
  14. Bay leaf - 2,3
  15. Cinnamon stick - 1'
  16. Green cardamom - 2
  17. Clove - 3,4
  18. Salt
  19. Sugar

Procedure

  1. Wash the fish pieces and smear with turmeric powder and salt. Keep aside.
  2. Heat oil in a kadai or wok till it smokes. Fry the potato wedges. Remove from the oil and keep it.
  3. Shallow fry the fish pieces till they are golden brown on both the sides. Discard the oil you used to fry the fish.
  4. Now heat rest of the oil and temper it with bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom and clove. As soon as they start sputtering add half a spoon of sugar to it. It will give the gravy a bright red hue due to caramelization.
  5. Now add onion to it and keep on frying on medium heat till it turns reddish brown. You can add a pinch of salt to the chopped onion while frying,. It helps the onion to be cooked faster.
  6. Now add raisins and keep sautéing till they turns golden.
  7. Remove and make a paste of them.  
  8. Take 2 tsp. oil in the wok and add tomato puree. Fry it till  oil separates from the spice.
  9. Add ginger garlic paste to it. Sauté till their raw smell goes away. Add turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, onion raisin paste to it. Fry till you see that oil is getting separated out.
  10. Lower the heat and add beaten yogurt to it. Mix well. Add fried potato wedges and mix it well so that each of them are well coated with spice.
  11. Add one cup of warm water along with salt.
  12. Once the gravy starts boiling and the potato is just done add fried fish pieces. Allow it to cook on high heat till the gravy thickens.
  13. Sprinkle garam masala powder. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and green chilies.

Best served with steaming white rice…4

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Methi paneer or Indian cottage Cheese with Fenugreek

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For a change there is no story behind todays recipe. I had some paneer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paneer) and methi and hence made Methi-paneer :). I was in a hurry so ran to the nearest store and bought some naan (so no I didn’t make the naan in the picture above)

Ingredients

  1. Paneer or cottage cheese - 200gms or 7oz cut into cubes
  2. Fenugreek/ Methi leaves - 1 bunch coarsely chopped
  3. Cashew paste - 2 tbsp
  4. Onion - 1 medium
  5. Ginger - 1"
  6. Green chili -  1,2
  7. Fresh cream or whipping cream - 50 ml
  8. Salt
  9. Sugar
  10. Whole Garam masala ( cinnamon 1 piece, 2 green cardamoms, 4 cloves)

Procedure

  1. Take a bowl of hot water and keep the paneer pieces into that for 5 mins.  It will make the paneer much softer. Now drain the water.
  2. In a grinder make a fine paste of onion, ginger and green chilies.
  3. Heat oil in a cooking pan and temper with coarsely pound cinnamon, cardamom and clove. When the fragrance of garam masala hits the air add the paste you made.
  4. Start frying in a medium heat and continue doing so till the oil separates from the spices.
  5. Add water to it. Add salt and sugar. When the gravy starts boiling add  paneer pieces and chopped methi leaves to it.
  6. Cook for about 5-6 mins. When you get your desired consistency finish it with fresh cream.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Begun Basanti (Eggplants In A Creamy Mustard Sauce)

IMG_8442

Bong’s just need an excuse to use mustard in a recipe. This dish provides ample excuse for that. Inspired by all the Italian restaurants who make such delicacies out of eggplant, I thought I’d share one from our own cuisine.

I have some vegetarian friends, this goes out to them…

Ingredients

  1. 4 long slender eggplant each cut into 2 length wise pieces
  2. 4 tbsp mustard seeds
  3. Half cup grated coconut fresh or frozen
  4. 5,6 green chilies
  5. Chopped coriander leaf
  6. Half cup yogurt
  7. 1 tsp. kalonji / nigella seeds
  8. 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  9. Salt
  10. Sugar
  11. Oil ( I prefer mustard oil. You can use canola or sunflower oil)

Procedure

  1. Make a fine paste of mustard seeds with 2 green chilies, grated coconut and yogurt.
  2. Smear the eggplant pieces with salt and turmeric powder.
  3. Heat mustard oil in a frying pan and shallow fry the eggplant pieces till they are light brown in color. Remove from the oil and keep aside.
  4. Take fresh oil in a cooking pan and heat it. Temper with kalonji/Nigella seeds. When the spices start dancing (yep the do that) add mustard and yogurt paste. Add little turmeric powder. Sauté till the oil separates out.
  5. Add half a cup of water, salt and sugar to taste. Allow it to boil.
  6. Once it starts boiling dip the fried egg plants to it. Cover and cook it for 2-3 mins. By this time the eggplants will be well coated by mustard yogurt sauce.
  7. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and green chilies.

Serve with steaming white rice.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Hyderabadi Mutton Pepper Fry

IMG_9469We have had our best Hyderabadi foods outside of Hyderabad. One of our favorites had been Nandini Palace in Bangalore (just off the old airport road). Our fav dishes their was the Andhra biriyani and mutton pepper fry, followed by Kolkata misti pan in the small shack below it.

Since these days we are a bit away from Bangalore, we make our own mutton pepper fry, you can do it too and here’s how.

Ingredient

  1. 2lbs goat meat you can use lamb as well
  2. Juice of 1 medium size Lime
  3. 1 tbsp ginger paste
  4. 1tbsp garlic paste
  5. 1 large onion finely chopped
  6. 2 large tomatoes coarsely chopped
  7. 1tsp turmeric powder
  8. 1tsp chili powder
  9. 1/2 cup chopped coriander leaf
  10. 5 green chilies
  11. Few curry leaves
  12. Salt
  13. Sugar
  14. Oil

To Dry Roast and Powder

Dry roast and finely grind the following ingredients

  1. 2 tsp black pepper corn
  2. 2 tsp whole cumin
  3. 1 tsp whole coriander
  4. 5 cloves
  5. A small piece of Cinnamon

Procedure

In a large mixing bowl take the mutton and add lime juice, ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, chili powder, onion, tomatoes, coriander leaves, salt and sugar. Mix it well so the meat pieces get covered with all the spices. Marinate it for 2-3 hrs. You can add green chilies at this point. It will make the dish more spicy. Else you can add it at the end.

Pressure cook the marinated meat till 2-3 whistles. In case you don’t have a pressure cooker, cook the meat in a closed pan in medium heat until done.

Wait till the  pressure releases. Now remove the lid and cook it on high flame till most of the liquid evaporates and all the mutton pieces are well coated with spices.

Take a frying pan and heat oil. Temper with a handful of curry leaves. Add the cooked mutton and fry it for a while. Add the ground roasted spices and fry on medium heat till oil separates out from the spices. Finish it with some chopped fresh coriander leaves.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hyderabadi Chicken Biriyani

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There are as many ways of making biriyani as there are people in India :). This recipe cuts through all the complexity and provides the simplest way to make South-Indian yummy biriyani. Especially good for non-Indians if you want to try your hand on some Indian delicacy.

I promise I’ll be back with the more difficult full-blown version of Awadhi and Hyderbadi Biriyani later.

Ingredient

  1. 2 lbs (1 kg) chicken cut in bigger than regular curry sized pieces
  2. 3 large onions finely sliced
  3. 2 tbsp ginger paste
  4. 2 tbsp garlic paste
  5. 4 bay leaves
  6. 4-5 green cardamom
  7. 5 cloves
  8. 2 sticks of cinnamon
  9. 4 star-anise
  10. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  11. 1 tsp chili powder ( you can add more if you want to make it hot)
  12. 1 cup thick yogurt
  13. 1 lime juice
  14. 1 bunch coriander leaves chopped
  15. 1 bunch mint leaves chopped
  16. Few strands saffron soaked in warm milk
  17. Biriyani masala available at most Indian store
  18. Garam masala
  19. 8 green chilies
  20. Half cup of Sunflower or Canola oil
  21. 1 lb Basmati rice washed and soaked for half an hour.

Directions

  1. Marinate the chicken pieces with yogurt, ginger+garlic paste, turmeric powder, chili powder, 3-4tbsp biriyani masala, salt and a handful of chopped coriander and mint leaves for 1 hour.
    IMG_7792
  2. In a deep frying pan or Kadai heat oil and deep fry half of the sliced onions till they are golden brown and crispy. Remove from the oil and keep on a tissue paper. Retain the oil for further use as it contains the excellent taste of fried onions.
  3. In a pan heat the oil you used for frying the onions.
  4. Temper it with clove, cinnamon, cardamom, star anise and bay leaves.
  5. When the spices start popping add the rest of the chopped onions and fry them in a medium heat till the onions become light pink.IMG_7788
  6. Add the chicken along with its marinade and fry till the oil separates out from the spices.
  7. Cover and cook till the meat is just done. Do not overcook the meat. It will spoil your whole day's labor.
    IMG_7796
  8. Cook the basmati rice
    1. either in a 1:2 ratio of rice and water in a closed rice cooker or microwave
      OR
    2. Cook in an open pan, drain the water
  9. Spread rice on a plate.
  10. Sprinkle enough salt, very little sugar and lime juice on the rice. It will help the rice grain to stay separated from each other.

Direction for Layering

  1. Take a deep wide bottom pan suitable for layering and serving. 
  2. Start the bottom most layer with rice.
  3. Then put a layer of caramelized onion (prepared above), chicken coated with spices, chopped coriander, mint leaves and green chilies. Sprinkle little garam masala powder and pour some saffron infused milk over it.
    IMG_7809
  4. Cover it up with another layer of rice and continue alternating the layers till one third space in the vessel is left
  5. The top and the bottom layer should always be rice. Cover it up and keep it on very low heat for 15 to 20 mins.

IMG_0241Garnish with crispy fried onions, and few strands of coriander and mint leaves.  Serve it with fresh raita (beaten thick yogurt with chopped onions, coriander, salt).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Breakfast With Eggcellent Toast

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I learnt to cook from my mother. I try my best to pass on the legacy to my daughter. But sometimes you learn from the student. My daughter learned about this kid friendly recipe from www.sproutonline.com a learning site used by her school. We equipped ourselves with wads of kitchen towels and cleaning liquids and decided to let her try it out. The result was yummy to say the least.IMG_8441

NOTE: Oven required for this recipe

Ingredients

  1. Sandwich bread - 4 slices
  2. Eggs - 4
  3. Butter - 4 tsp
  4. One round cookie cutter
  5. Baking sheet

 

Direction

Pre heat the oven to 400F (obviously mom/dad needs to help out with this).

Take a cookie cutter or even a sharp edge small bowl (katori) and press the shape out of the center of the bread. Lightly butter both the sides as well as the cut out part.

Place the outer pieces of the cut out breads onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. Gently break eggs into the holes in the center of the bread. Place the bread circle cutout on the baking sheet  as well. Transfer the sheet to the oven.

Bake for approximately 12 mins.

Remove from the oven and serve with the cut out pieces on the top. 

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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Pista Kulfi (Traditional Indian Ice-cream)

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All the memories are rushing back to me. Memories of the college days, of the sun drenched summer afternoons in Kolkata, of sitting beside the lake in a gang, and having matka kulfi. We used to love having those Kulfis especially some from our gang who loved the bhang strained ones (cannabis leaf). 

Enough of nostalgia, lets get down to business and make some Kulfi to re-live those days…

Ingredients

  1. Sweetened condensed milk 14oz
  2. Milk 20oz
  3. 1tbsp cornstarch
  4. 1/4t unsalted pistachio skinned and coarsely ground
  5. 1/4th cup Almond skinned and coarsely ground
  6. Saffron few strands soaked in warm milk

Process

  1. Blend the cornstarch in 1/4th cup of milk and keep aside.
  2. Take a heavy bottom pan and pour the condensed milk into it. Pour the remaining milk and give it a stir.
  3. Add the saffron strands and bring this mixture to a boil. Stir it continuously to prevent burning at the bottom
  4. Once it starts boiling add the corn starch mixture to it and turn off the heat. Let it cool down to room temperature
  5. Now add chopped pistachio and almond to it. Mix it well. Pour it into the Kulfi molds and place them in the freezer for at least 5-6 hrs.
  6. To serve remove the kulfi from the molds by running the sharp edges of the knife around the kulfi and carefully slide each of them on a dessert plate.

In case you don’t have kulfi mold, use popsicle molds available in US stores or online at Amazon.

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Chingri Mach Diye Mochar Kopta (Banana Flower With Prawn)

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This is one of the lost foods. Mocha is generally a vegetarian dish but this variant adds prawns to it. I learnt this from a cookery show which had a special week on lost bong recipes.

First off head on to my post http://www.bongcook.com/2011/11/mochar-ghonto-banana-flower.html to see how to get the good stuff out from the banana flower.

Ingredient

  1. 1 medium sized Mocha or Banana flower finely chopped and soaked overnight in [IMG_8342%255B5%255D.jpg]water or buttermilk
  2. 1/2 cup yellow split peas (motor dal) soaked and ground into a smooth paste
  3. 1 cup shredded coconut fresh or frozen
  4. 10-12 medium sized prawn
  5. 2 tbsp ginger paste
  6. 1 medium sized potato cut into cubes
  7. 1 tsp cumin powder
  8. 1tsp coriander powder
  9. 2/3 bay leaf or Tejpatta
  10. 1 pinch Asafetida or Hingh
  11. 1 tsp whole Cumin seed
  12. Ghee or clarified butter
  13. 5/6 green chili slitted length wise
  14. Salt
  15. Sugar
  16. Dry roast and coarsely grind the following spices
    1. Clove 5/6
    2. Green Cardamom 2/3
    3. Cinnamon 1 stick
    4. Nutmeg 1/4th of a whole one
    5. Cumin seed 1/2 tea spoon

Procedure

  1. Strain the chopped banana flower and boil it with a pinch of turmeric and salt
  2. In a mixing bowl add boiled banana flower, yellow split peas paste, 1 tbsp ginger paste, half cup shredded coconut, salt, sugar and 1 tbsp of ground spice powder. Mix it well. IMG_8413
  3. Heat oil in a non stick pan and pour the mixture and cook it till it becomes dry . Remove it from the pan and keep aside.
  4. Clean the prawns and pat dry. Smear them with salt and turmeric powder and keep aside.
  5. Heat oil in a pan and temper it with bay leaf and whole cumin seeds. Add prawns and fry it. Once the prawn is fried add potatoes. Now add asfoetida, ginger paste, cumin powder and coriander powder to it. Sauté the spices while slowly sprinkling water
  6. Add the banana flower and dal mixture to it. Season with salt and sugar. Add  little water and cook until dry
  7. Sprinkle 1 tsp of ground spices, 2 tbsp of ghee and green chilies and give it a good mix.  Keep it covered for 5 minutes.
  8. Garnish with shredded coconut and serve with steaming hot rice.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

(Mochar ghonto) Banana Flower

IMG_9003

Few people know what is banana flower (mocha) and even fewer has eaten one. In todays fast paced life, this is one of the good things that is slowly fading away from our life. I doubt our next generation will even know something so delicious even existed.

Bongs who have eaten mochar ghonto swear by it. My husband clearly calls it as the most tasty vegeteranian dish. Once he saw one at our local desi store, there was no turning back, he had to get it and I had to cook it. Making this is not for the faint hearted. You have been warned Smile

Ingredient

  1. 1 medium sized Mocha or Banana Flower finely chopped and soaked overnight in buttermilk
  2. 1 large potato diced
  3. 3/4 Green Chilies lengthwise slit
  4. 1 tbsp Ginger paste
  5. 1 tsp Coriander powder
  6. 1 tsp Cumin paste
  7. 1 tsp whole Cumin seeds
  8. 2/3 bay leaf or Tejpatta
  9. Turmeric powder
  10. Half cup grated coconut frozen or fresh
  11. 1 tsp garam masala powder (Clove, Cinnamon, Green Cardamom)
  12. Ghee 1 tsp
  13. Canola, Sunflower or Mustard oil for cooking.

Direction

Getting the right part of the flower out is the hardest part. Petals of this flower is of no use and we actually eat the stamens. Below is a step by step guide of how you open the flower and get the stamens out. In image-3 I have marked in yellow the parts of the stamens that should be discarded.

Once you have the cleaned up stamens, chop them and drop in a bowl of water mixed with two tbsp of plain yogurt (curd). The stamens have is coated with an alkaline substance which is neutralized by the acidic yogurt.

IMG_8342IMG_8354IMG_8346IMG_8350IMG_8353

  1. Strain the chopped banana flower from buttermilk and boil it with little turmeric and salt either in a covered pan or in a pressure cooker. You don't have to add any water as the salt will make the flower release moisture.
    IMG_8412
  2. Heat oil in a pan and temper it with whole cumin seeds, bay leaf and green chilies
  3. When the spices start sputtering add the potato cubes and fry them till they are light brown
  4. Now add ginger paste, coriander powder, cumin powder and fry them with little water till they are cooked
  5. Add the boiled banana flower and continue cooking till the banana flower is mixed with all the spices.
  6. Now add salt and sugar and mix it well. Cook it covered till potatoes and mocha are done and the water is dried up.
  7. Add ghee, garam masala powder and give it a  good mix.
  8. Garnish with grated coconut.

Your mochar ghonto is ready to be served with steaming white rice

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