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Monday, October 22, 2018

Fish Fry

I have been blogging for some time now. While my blogs have touched various nooks and crannies of Bengali and Indian cuisine but somehow a mainstay of Bengali food, the famed Kolkata Fish fry has been missing. I did blog the recipe awhile back and it was one of my more popular posts but somehow the post got deleted.
So here it is back on bongcook, and to make up for the deletion I actually have a video to go along with. I love short and sweet videos and in that theme this is only around 2 minutes.
The reason I call it restaurant style is because while a lot of people make it at home it doesn’t quiet get the restaurant look. In the video I tried to cover how to really make it look good as well.
Hope you enjoy the video and as always I have the recipe below as well.

Ingredients For Marination

        • 250gms bhetki fillet cut approximately 2 inch by 2 inch
        • 1 lemon
        • 2 tbsp. onion paste
        • 2 tsp. ginger paste
        • 2 tsp. garlic paste
        • 2 tsp. green chili paste
        • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper corn
        • Salt to taste

                  Procedure For Marination

                  Mix all the ingredients above including the juice of one lemon and apply to the fish fillet so that all the sides are well covered with this spice mixture. Marinate for 3 - 4 hrs.

                  Ingredients For Coating & Frying

                      • 2 eggs
                      • Plenty of bread crumbs
                      • Enough refined oil for deep frying
                        Procedure For Coating & Frying
                        In a bowl beat 2 eggs with salt.
                        In a wide tray or plate take bread crumbs and spread it to form a layer.
                        With a spoon or fork take each fillet out, and dip it in the egg wash and place flat on the bread crumb layer. With your dry hands sprinkle a fistful of bread crumb on the open top layer of the fillet so that that this surface too is covered with bread crumbs.
                        Press gently with the palms of your hand to flatten them.
                        Use the blunt side of a knife and press it along the all 4 edges of the breaded fillet to give them a professional look. :)
                        Heat enough oil for deep frying till it smokes. Reduce the temperature and let it cool down a bit before you slid in the breaded fillet. Fry on medium high heat till both sides turn golden brown and crispy.
                        Remove on a paper towel and serve with salad.

                        Not Pumpkin Flower Fritters

                        Every year during this time everyone in USA gets crazy about pumpkin for all the wrong reasons (ahem ghosts). They drink pumpkin lattes and pumpkin beers, decorate their home with hideously large pumpkins.
                        Last year I started looking out for pumpkins flowers and vines. My queries were met with strange looks. A farm owner in Ballard even offered me to get tones of the vines because essentially it is waste for them. However, I rarely found the flowers.
                        This year, I decided to grow my own, but not pumpkins, but rather zucchini, a cousin of the pumpkin which is easier to grow. The flowers are almost identical and I can vouch they taste exactly the same.
                        Using zucchini flowers this is how I made my kumro phul er bora or pumpkin flower fritters.

                        • 10 zucchini flower
                        • 1 tbsp. kalonji / nigella seeds
                        • 1tsp. turmeric powder
                        • 5 tbsp. Besan / Bengal gram flour
                        • 2 tbsp. rice flour
                        • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
                        • Salt to taste
                        • Oil for deep frying

                        Wash the flowers carefully in running water. Now cut the stem short and make a vertical cut through the flower to take out the stamen and the pistil.

                        In a mixing bowl mix gram flour, rice flour, nigella seeds, turmeric powder, salt and baking soda very well.

                        By adding water little at a time make a thick batter.

                        Heat enough refined oil for deep frying in a pan. Coat each zucchini flower with the batter and gently slide it in the hot oil. Fry on medium heat till crispy and golden brown.

                        Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Serve with hot rice and your favorite daal.

                        Monday, October 30, 2017

                        Kumro Potoler Chokka


                        The very first year we were in US, my daughter went on a school trip to a farm for Halloween. She proudly brought home a pumpkin which she had picked up. She was tiny and the pumpkin tinier, not suitable for carving. I chopped it up and made some Kumro-r Chokka, she still reminds me of this sad incident every Halloween. This year being no exception.

                        While stealing pumpkins from little one is not recommended, the recipe totally is.


                        • 250 gm pumpkin peeled and cut into medium sized cubes
                        • 250 gm potol (Pointed Gourd) peeled and cut into halves
                        • 2 medium potatoes peeled and cut into medium sized cubes
                        • 1/2 cup soaked  whole red Bengal gram
                        • 1/2 cup grated coconut
                        • 1 large tomato cut into quarters
                        • 1 tbsp. cashew powder
                        • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
                        • 1tbsp. Kashmiri red chili powder
                        • 1 tsp. cumin powder
                        • 1/2 tsp. hing (asafetida)
                        • 2 dry whole red chilies
                        • 1 tsp. paanch phoron
                        • 1 tsp. sugar
                        • Salt to taste
                        • Mustard oil
                        • 1 tsp. powder of dry roasted cumin and coriander seeds of equal quantity


                        Heat mustard oil in a wok and one by one fry pumpkin, potol and potato pieces for about two to three minutes and remove them for later use.

                        If required add more mustard oil to the wok and temper it with dry whole red chilies, paanch phoron and hing. When they stop sputtering add tomatoes to it. Lower the heat and add fried potato cubes. Sauté everything together on medium heat.. You can add turmeric, chili, cumin powder at this point and keep frying. If required add water little at a time to prevent burning of the spices.

                        Add grated coconut, soaked red Bengal gram and keep sautéing. Pour half a cup of water and let it simmer on medium heat for about five minutes.

                        When the potatoes are half way through add potol and pumpkin pieces to it along with grated ginger. Add the seasonings and mix well. You may want to add some more water to it. Cook it covered on medium heat till all vegetables are tender but yet retaining their shapes.

                        This will be a dry gravy. so adjust the quantity of liquid accordingly. Add cashew powder and let cook it for about a minute.

                        Turn off the heat and sprinkle dry roasted cumin and coriander powder to it. Garnish with some more grated coconut.

                        Enjoy with luchi or parota.

                        Sunday, October 29, 2017

                        Cook Friendly Chili Chicken


                        One of my most ardent readers is now one of my very good friend and neighbor. One day over tea we were discussing, how hard it is to make chili-chicken when you have food robbers in the house. The moment we are done with frying the chicken it starts disappearing. Finally the chili-chicken results in lot of chili and very little chicken.
                        Just to handle this situation I have come up with the cook friendly version where the chicken is not fully cooked after frying and that stops the robbers.


                        For Marination
                        • 1lb boneless chicken cut into small pieces
                        • 2 tbsp. garlic paste
                        • 1 tbsp. ginger paste
                        • 2 tbsp. dark soya sauce
                        • 2 tbsp. chili garlic sauce
                        • 2 tbsp. green chili sauce
                        • Salt to state
                        • 2 tbsp. all purpose flour
                        • 2 tbsp. corn meal or rice flour
                        • 4 tbsp.. oil
                        For Gravy
                        • 1 large onion cut into cubes
                        • 1 green bell pepper cut into cubes
                        • 2 tbsp. chopped garlic
                        • 1 tbsp. chopped green chilies
                        • 1/.2 cup chopped green onion.
                        • 1 tbsp. vinegar
                        • 2 tbsp. green chili sauce
                        • 2 tbsp. chili garlic sauce
                        • 2 tbsp. dark soya sauce
                        • 2 tbsp. corn starch diluted in half cup water
                        • Salt to taste

                        Marinates chicken pieces with all ingredients listed under margination without the flours and the oil. Marinate for half an hour. Sprinkle all purpose flour and corn meal over the chicken pieces and coat very gently.

                        Now heat oil in a wide shallow frying pan. Shallow fry the chicken pieces in one layer first on high heat for a minute and then on medium heat till the meat is ninety percent done. You will see the surface of the chicken pieces are crispy because of the application of corn meal. Remove and reserve for later use.

                        In the rest of the oil add chopped garlic and fry for a minute before you add onion and green chilies to it. Sauté everything together for a minute or two on high heat. Now add fried chicken pieces to it and mix well. Cook it covered on low heat for couple of minutes. This will cook chicken through and through.

                        Remove the lid and crank up the heat to high. Add bell pepper and toss everything well. Turn off the heat.

                        In another sauce pan combine vinegar, chili garlic sauce, green chili sauce, dark soya sauce with half
                        a cup of water. Bring it to a boil. Bring the heat to the lowest and slowly add diluted corn starch to it.

                        Crank up the heat while stirring it continuously till you see the sauce thickens up. Add the fried chicken mixture to it and turn off the heat.  check the seasoning and adjust. Garnish with green onion.

                        If you want dry chili chicken then you add all the sauce directly over the fried chicken mixture and fry everything together till the chicken pieces are well coated with the sauces. Add diluted cornstarch over it and mix on high flame till the moisture dries up. Check the seasoning and adjust. Finish it off with chopped green onion.

                        Thursday, October 19, 2017

                        Rajsahi Fish Tikka


                        My husband had invited few of his friends for a barbecue at our home. Seattle weather being as it is, turned a bit iffy with possibilities of rain. So I decided to make something indoors incase cooking outside failed. Given the party theme I plated it in a more western style on slices of whole grain bread with fresh cut salad.

                        Rajsahi is a major city in Bangladesh and I actually doubt if people from there really know about this recipe. Either way it is pretty rajokio or royal in taste.

                        I make most of these kind of bengali dry fish recipes with locally available rock-fish. If you have the good fortune of access to bhetki, please go with that instead.


                        • 1/2 lb. fish fillet cut into medium cubes (Best if you can get bhetki, cod and rock fish work well)
                        • 1 lemon juice
                        • 1 tsp. ginger paste
                        • 1 tsp. green chili paste
                        • 1 tbsp. garlic paste
                        • 2 tbsp. thick plain yogurt
                        • 1 tsp. Bengali Garam Masala powder
                        • 1/2 tsp. mustard powder
                        • 1/2 tsp. black pepper powder
                        • 2 tbsp. ghee
                        • Salt to taste
                        • Few slices of bread for serving


                        Wash fish and pat it dry with a paper towel. Mix everything with fish keeping aside one tbsp. ghee and half of the lime juice.

                        Now marinate the fish for about an hour.

                        Pre heat oven at 350F. Grease a baking tray with oil and lay the fish pieces in single layer.

                        Bake for about five minutes. Take the tray out and strain the liquid released from the fish.

                        Turn over the fish cubes, brush it with the rest of lemon juice and ghee and bake it again for about ten minutes..

                        Remove and brush it again with the lemon juice and ghee mixture. Sprinkle a pinch of mustard and black pepper powder over it.

                        Cut the bread slices into square and place each tikka on top of it to serve.


                        Tuesday, October 17, 2017

                        Dim Fulkopi R Rezala


                        Few days back I posted the story of our new family tradition of making Prawn-pulao every Mahalaya. Now you cannot really eat pulao by itself, even though mysteriously the pulao kept decreasing as I was busy making it’s accompaniment. While I do plan to summon Mr. Holmes to get to the bottom of this mystery, here goes the recipe of egg-cauliflower rezala that I made to go with the pulao.

                        This rezala goes really well with the pulao because of it’s mild smooth taste. Since the pulao itself has a very distinct flavor, serving it with anything stronger like mutton doesn’t work that well. We also really enjoyed the left over rezala with some laccha paratha.


                        • 4 eggs boiled and de-shelled
                        • 2 medium potatoes cut into halves
                        • 8 medium sized florets of cauliflower
                        • 1 cup sliced onion
                        • 2 tbsp. minced ginger
                        • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
                        • 1/2 cup yogurt
                        • 1tbsp. cashew and raisin paste
                        • 1/4th cup milk
                        • 1 tbsp. ghee
                        • 1 tsp. dry spice powder of the following dry roasted spices
                          • 1" cinnamon stick
                          • 4 green cardamom
                          • 5 cloves
                          • 1 tsp. caraway seed
                          • 1 bay leaf
                        • 1 tbsp. sugar
                        • Salt to taste


                        Heat oil in a pan and fry onion, ginger, and garlic for about five minutes on low heat.
                        Remove from heat and let it come down to room temperature. Now make a paste of all these three ingredient with half a cup of yogurt.

                        Heat oil in a wok and fry cauliflower florets on medium high heat. Ensure the florets don't change their white color. Remove with slotted spoon and reserve. Fry potatoes and eggs in the same way.

                        Now in the same oil add dry whole red chilies and pepper corn. When they stop sizzling add onion, ginger, garlic paste to it add fried potatoes and sauté till the raw smell subsides.  If required you may add water during the sautéing process.

                        When the potatoes are three quarter done add cauliflower florets to it. Sprinkle salt and sugar to your taste. Mix well so that every pieces are well coated with spice mixture.

                        Add half a cup of water and let it simmer on low heat till both the vegetables are tender. Now goes in the fried boiled eggs along with the cashew and raisin paste. Add quarter cup of milk to it. Let it simmer for a while till it takes a thick gravy consistency.

                        Turn off the heat. Add one tbsp. ghee along with one tsp. of dry roasted spice powder. Mix once and keep it covered till you serve.


                        Sunday, October 15, 2017

                        Dhakai Fish


                        I have had the good fortune to be always blessed with great neighbors. Our Seattle home is no exception. We meet a few times over the summer vacation to indulge in barbecue and pot-lucks.This summer when one of my neighbors organized a get-together at their place, I asked them what I should get. I got the request of something spicy.

                        I wanted to ensure I bring something from our homeland and not the fake Indian food like butter chicken. It also needed to be finger food and palatable to the western taste. I settled on Dhakai fish, which is a shallow fried fish garnished with sautéed onion and green chilies. I made it with locally available fresh rock-fish fillet. You can use any fish of your choice both as fillet or cut into steaks. You can even use whole cut fish like pomfret. Just change the frying time depending on the size of the fish.

                        I have no clue why this is referred to as “Dhakai” or from Dhaka the capital of Bangladesh, it’s just what my mom used to call it.


                        • 1lb fish fillets cut into medium cubes (2" *2")
                        • 1tbswp. ginger garlic paste
                        • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
                        • 1 tsp. red chili powder
                        • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
                        • 1 tbsp. rice flour
                        • 2 tbsp. Besan (Bengal Gram Flour)
                        • Salt to taste
                        • Oil for shallow frying

                        For Serving

                        • 1 onion thinly sliced
                        • 2tbsp. minced garlic
                        • 1 tbsp. minced ginger
                        • 2 tbsp. chopped green chilies
                        • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
                        • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
                        • 1 tbsp. oil


                        Marinate the fish cubes with all ingredients other than the flours and oil for half an hour.

                        Once the margination is over sprinkle the flours over it and mix it gently so the fish cubes are roughly coated with the flours.

                        Heat oil in a frying pan and fry the fish pieces on medium high heat in a single layer so that their surface turns crispy yet the inside stays soft and juicy. It takes about three minutes. Remove them.

                        Now keep one tbsp. oil in the pan and add chopped ginger, garlic, onion sliced fry on medium high heat for about two to three minutes. Add green chilies to it and fry everything together on low heat.
                        Add fried fished to it and toss very gently to coat the fishes with the fried spices. Take care not to break the fishes.

                        Serve on a platter and garnish with chopped cilantro and crushed black pepper.

                        Enjoy with plain rice or as a finger food.



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