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Sunday, January 3, 2021

Ilisher (Hilsa) Patla Jhol

Ilish or Hilsa is the favorite Bengali fish and makes it into the favorite top 3 food list of a lot of Bongs. My husband keeps telling me the story of his classmate who always ate a whole Ilish on his birthday. Apparently it used to take him 3 hours to battle all the fish bones, but at the end he’d always emerge victorious.

Ilish is the national fish for Bangladesh and provides for the livelihood for thousand in the lower Ganges delta. These fishes are anadromous and lives mostly in sea water but swims up the great rivers in the Bangladesh delta to spawn. Those from the Bangladesh river of Padma are considered to be the tastiest and the hardest to come by in India. In our childhood we’d mostly contend with the “lesser” Rupnarayan river’s Hilsa (also called Kolaghater ilish). The weird part is that being in US we get easier access to Bangaldesher-r ilish at our local desi store (International Food Bazaar in Bellevue, WA). 

Ilish is cooked in many different styles. However, for the best Ilish the simplest cooking method provides the best taste. The trick is ensuring that no strong flavor or masala is put in, so that the natural flavor of Ilish comes out.

Ensure that when you buy Ilish try to hit the sweet spot of around 2lbs (1 kg). Also wash the fish as less as possible.

Please checkout the video of this recipe on my youtube channel either by visiting the link or using the play button below.


  1. 5-6 slices of Ilish
  2. 1/2 teaspoon Kalonji/Nigella seeds
  3. Turmeric
  4. Mustard oil
  5. 5-6 Hot Indian Green Chilies
  6. 1 medium eggplant cut into chunks
  7. 1 tsp sugar
  8. Salt to taste


  1. Lightly wash and pat dry the fish slices and smear them with turmeric and salt.
  2. Heat mustard oil in Kadai/deep-pan . Once it starts smoking gently slide in the fish pieces. Be careful of the oil splatter!!
  3. Fry them till light golden yellow. You need to be very careful not to brown them. Remove the fish slices from the oil and keep them aside.
  4. We need to reuse the oil used for frying the fish since it already picked up the precious flavor of hilsa.
  5. Dissolve 1/2 tbsp of turmeric in a cup of water and keep it aside.
  6. Temper the oil in the pan with Kalonji and green chilies. When the spices starts popping up add chunks of eggplant to it. Sauté on medium high heat till the eggplants take a golden brown hue. Now pour the turmeric water to it. Season with salt and sugar.
  7. Once the water starts boiling, gently slide the fish pieces into it.
  8. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

This light ,soupy, golden yellow gravy tastes best with hot steaming rice.

Ilish or Hilsa Bhape

Ilish is one of the most loved Bong food. As I mentioned in my previous post ( there is a lot of stories and nostalgia behind it.

The hardest part of eating ilish is their bones. You have to fight with them to get the delicious flavor of the queen of all fishes. My lil one calls it “english fish” for whatever reason. The bong gene is evident in the way she eats it even though she had no “formal” training in taming the bones.

One of the most famous Ilish cooking style is the bhape. Ilish bhape can only be enjoyed with steaming hot white rice and doesn't really need any other accompaniments.

Today I am sharing with you my mom's recipe of ilish bhape which has been perfected over generations in Kitchens around the Ganges delta region in Bangladesh.

Please also checkout the video recipe on my youtube channel by clicking this link or on the play button below.


  1. Ilish Slices -  5/6 pieces
  2. Mustard seeds - 3tb spoon
  3. Freshly grated coconut - 4 tbsp
  4. green chilies - 8/10
  5. Mustard oil - 4 tbsp
  6. Turmeric powder - 2 tea spoon
  7. Salt

Procedure (using pressure cooker)

  1. Make a fine paste of mustard seeds, grated coconut 3-4 green chilies and salt. Add very little water.
  2. Take a pressure cooker safe bowl (like a steel tiffin box) and smear it’s inside with little mustard oil
  3. Arrange the fish pieces in a single layer and pour mustard paste over it so that it covers all the fish pieces
  4. Add the rest of the green chilies and mustard oil over it. Close the box.
  5. Place the box inside a pressure cooker. Pour water around the box.
  6. Close the pressure cooker and then cook it for 2-3 whistles.

Procedure of making in a Microwave Oven Or Traditional Oven

  1. Take a microwave/oven safe bowl and arrange the fish pieces in a single layer. Pour the mustard paste over it, so that it covers the fish pieces. Add the green chilies and mustard oil over it.
  2. Cover the bowl with a microwave safe cover or cling film and cook it for 6-8 mins.
  3. In case you are using a traditional electric oven, cover the bowl with aluminum foil and bake it for 25-30 mins at 375F

Peas or Koraishutir Kochuri


Peas Puri or Koraishutir Kochuri as bongs call it is brings on fond memory of Kolkata. It reminds me of the "freezing" 60°F (15°C) winters in Kolkata. It’s during that time fresh green peas hit the local market. The kids in the house were given the chore of taking the peas out of their pods. The yield rates were around 50%, the other 50% were stuffed in the mouths with small little hands.

These days in the world of frozen goodies, the famed Koraishutir Kochuri can be made any time of the year, all that is needed is a short trip to the local store. 

Please also checkout the video recipe on my youtube channel by clicking this link or on the play button below.


SERVING 16 pieces
  1. Frozen peas- 700gm 
  2. Ginger-2 inch
  3. Green Chili - 4-5
  4. Bhaja Mosla - 1tbsp
  5. Refined Oil - 3 tbsp
  6. Salt to taste
  7. All Purpose Flour– 2 cup
  8. Salt- 1/2 tbsp
  9. Sugar - 1 tbsp
  10. White oil or ghee(clarified butter) -2 tbsp
  11. Water - 1 cup ( Approximately 
  12. Refined oil for deep Frying


In a grinder add a little water, peas, ginger and green chili. Make a fine paste out of IMG_7367them.

Take oil in a frying pan. Add one pinch of asfoetida. Now add the paste you just made. Keep on stirring till the water completely evaporates and the pea mixture becomes dry and thick enough to make small balls out of it. Now add salt to your taste and if the peas are not sweet enough you can add little sugar to it. Let it cool and then sprinkle some dry roasted cumin powder.

IMG_7370Now we need to make the dough. In a wide vessel take the flour, salt and the oil or ghee for shortening. Rub the ghee into the flour with your finger tips. Now slowly add the warm water and knead it until the dough becomes soft and smooth. Cover it with a damp cloth or kitchen towel and allow it to rest for 30 minutes. Once again knead it and make small ping pong sized ball out of it.

Take a ball you made out from the flour and keep it on your palm. Using the other IMG_7371palm press it and make a small disc. You can also use your rolling pin to make this disc. Make a small ball out of your pea stuffing and put it in the center of the disc.  Bring the sides together and cover the opening. Now flatten it with your palm.

Roll out by applying little oil on both the sides.

IMG_7373Take oil in a wok or kadai and heat it. Deep fry the kochuri till both sides puff up.

Traditionally koraishutir kochuri is had with chana dal or potato curry (aloor dum). However, this time when I made it we had some home made mango chutney from my Tamil friends, it made a killer combo.

Healthy option

If you are like me and need to take care of someone who is prone to over-eat you can take the healthier option of making Peas Paratha.

The stuffing is made exactly the same way. For the dough replace with whole wheat flour. While rolling out the dough use more dough to create larger parathas. Also the dip-fry step is omitted in the Paratha. Heat a tawa or a skillet. Place the paratha on the heated tawa and cook for half a minute. Now flip the other side and pour oil with a spoon around the edge. Cook this side and flip again. You will notice brown spots on the surfaces  when the paratha is cooked.


Saturday, September 26, 2020

Phulkopir Dalna (Cauliflower and Potato Curry)


Updated: With video

If you are a Bengali you have literally grown up eating Phulkopir Dalna. This is one of the most common and fundamental bong dish. At the beginning of Winter when fresh cauliflowers arrive at the local markets in Kolkata dalna becomes the staple curry at the bong household for the next few months. Even though cauliflower is used in a variety of recipes this simple dalna uses limited spices and help the true flavor of cauliflower to come through.

Video Link:


Serves four
  • 1 cauliflower cut into medium sized florets
  • 2 medium sized potatoes cut into quarters
  • 1 large tomato chopped (optional)
  • 1” fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. whole cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. whole coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Bengali Garam masala powder
  • 1 tbsp. ghee (Clarified Butter)
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • For Tempering
    • 2 bay leaves (Tejpatta)
    • 2 green chilies slit lengthwise
    • 1/2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
    • Whole Garam Masala ( 1” cinnamon stick, 2 cloves, 2 green cardamom)


Heat 4 tbsp. oil in a pan and add cauliflower florets to it. Fry till the florets are well coated with oil and get a light brown hue (8-10 mins). Remove from oil and keep aside.

Add 2 tbsp. of oil and temper it with bay leaves, whole garam masala, whole cumin seeds and green chilies.

Wait till they stop sizzling. Add potato cubes and fry on medium heat for 2-3 mins.

Now add ginger paste. Make a paste of all dry spice powder by adding little water and add to the pan. Sauté on slow fire till the raw smell of ginger goes away. Optionally add chopped tomatoes. Fry well till the oil is separated.

Add salt and sugar and give it a nice mix. Add fried cauliflower florets and give it a nice mix. Add one cup of water to it and cook it covered on low heat till potatoes are done.

Add a spoonful of ghee and sprinkle little garam masala powder to it. Serve with hot rice or chapatis.



Bhoger Khichuri

I have been blogging for a long time on this platform. However, I kept hearing from my friends and followers that they would really love to see videos of the recipe as well. Well pictures are worth a thousand words and video is but a collection of thousands of pictures. So hear goes my attempt on vlogging along with this blog.

  • 1 cup rice (any of gobindobhog, zeera or basmati in that order of preference)
  • 1 cup yellow moong dal
  • 1 cup green peas (fresh / frozen)
  • 1" ginger root grated
  • 6 green chilies slit lengthwise
  • 1 tsp. whole cumin seed
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • Whole garam masala (1'cinnamon stick, 2 green cardamom, 2 cloves)
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • Oil (  I have used olive oil, feel free to use mustard oil or any other refined oil )
  • 2 tbsp. ghee ( Clarified Butter )
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp. bhaja mosla (dry roast and crush 1 tsp of cumin, coriander, one dry red chili, 1" cinnamon stick, 2 clove, 2 green cardamom)

Wash rice thoroughly and spread on a plate to air-dry. In the mean time heat a pan and dry roast yellow moong dal on medium heat till the grains turn brown and a nutty aroma starts coming. Pour water over it and wash the dal thoroughly. Drain the water and keep the dal for later use.

Heat 5 -6 tbsp. oil in a pan and temper it with whole cumin seed, bay leaves, green chilies and whole garam masala. Let the spices sputter for a bit.

Add air dried rice to it and fry on low heat for about 5 min. Now add roasted moong dal and mix well. keep frying for another few minutes. Throw the peas in.

Add ginger paste, and turmeric powder. Give a good mix. Season with salt and sugar. Bhoger khichuri is generally on a sweeter side of the palette, so adjust accordingly.

Now pour 2-3 cups of water. Give a thorough stir. Let it come to a boil on high heat. Once it starts boiling lower the heat and cook it covered till the grains are done. You might need to add more water in between if the water gets dried up. 

Add ghee along with the bhaja mosla and turn off the heat.  Keep it covered till you serve.

Serve with begun bhaja, labra, or some pakodas of your choice.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Gondhoraj Bhapa Bhetki

This is part three in my pujo spread post. Prompted by my social feed filling up with posts from friends eating a Bengali pujo buffet, I decided to make a Bengali spread of our own.

In this post I bring to you Gondhoraj Bhapa Bhetki. You can substitute the bhetki with local white fleshed fish. I have used rock fish.


  • 1/2 lb fish fillet (Bhetki, rock-fish or cat-fish)
  • 1/2 cup hung plain yogurt
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 tsp. chopped ginger
  • 4 green chilies
  • Juice of one lime
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil
  • Banana leaf washed and cut into big square pieces
  • Kefir lime leaves for garnishing

Cut the fish fillets in medium sized rectangular pieces. Marinate with lime juice and salt for about half an hour.

In a pan heat 2 tbsp. oil and fry onion, and ginger till the onion turns pink. Now make a paste of onion and ginger with green chilies.  To this paste add hung curd, salt and sugar. Check the seasoning and keep aside.

After half an hour remove the fish fillets from the marinade and coat them well with the yogurt and spice paste mixture you have just made.

Now season the banana leaves for wrapping. Turn on the heat and swipe the leaved one by one over the flame to make them more pliable so that it won't tear when you fold them.

Take one square of the leaves and place a fillet of fish along with the marinade at the center of it.
Sprinkle some lemon zest and chili flakes over it. Place a lime leaf on the top of it for garnishing. Drizzle little oil over it. Fold the sides of the banana leaf  over the fish to make a parcel. Secure with a toothpick.

Now boil water in a wide pan and keep a steamer pan over it. You can use a big metal strainer as well.

Arrange the banana leaf parcels over the steamer or strainer in a single layer. Once the water starts boiling cover the steamer with a lid and wait for five minutes. Remove the lid and turn over the parcels. Let it cook for another five minutes.

Serve with plain rice. 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Chapor Ghonto

This is part 2 of our pujo spread post. Prompted by our friends going to a pujo spread buffet at a local Indian restaurant, I decided to make a pujo spread of our own.

In this post I bring to you chapor ghonto. This is a medley with bitter gourd being predominantly featured along with other seasonal vegetables. This recipe is a variant from my boro-pishi (dad's oldest sister), where she skipped the other veggies and used only potatoes along with a generous helping of ghee.


  • 1 cup yellow split pea or motor daal washed and soaked overnight
  • 1 large potato cut into medium sized cubes
  • 2 bitter gourd or karela cut into thin half moon slices
  • 1 tsp. paanch phoron
  • 1 tsp. dry roasted paanch phoron powder
  • 1 tsp. ginger paste
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. ghee or clarified butter
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil
Step 1

Drain excess water from the soaked dal and grind it coarse with salt. Gently beat the batter for a minute. 

Heat a griddle or tawa and grease it with oil. Now place the batter on the hot griddle and spread it flat over the tawa with a flat bottom spatula. Let it cooked on the medium heat for a minute or two. Now crank up the heat to high and let it sit there for another minute.

Noe with your spatula try to turn it. you will see it will break unevenly.  These uneven pieces of the lentil cake is called chapor. Flip those uneven pieces on the tawa and apply oil with a spoon from the sides. Let this side sit for two minutes on medium heat and one minute on high heat. 

Remove those chapors from the tawa and keep aside.

Now add oil in a wok and fry the slices of bitter gourd on medium heat till they are crispy. Set aside.

Add two tsp. oil in a wok and temper it with paanch phoron. Wait till they stop spluttering. Add potato cubes to it and fry them on medium heat for a while. Add turmeric powder and ginger paste and mix well. you might need to sprinkle water to it to avoid the spices from burning. 

Season with salt and sugar and add little water to it. Cook it covered till the potato is almost cooked and ninety percent of the water is evaporated. This is the time you add the lentil pieces and the fried bitter gourd to it. Mix well. The chapor will absorb the excess water.

Finish it off with a dollop of ghee and dry roasted paanch phoron powder.

Serve with hot rice and enjoy.