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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.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Komola Kopi Chingri

This Durga pujo we got more busy than usual, as both me and my teenage daughter decided to volunteer at the pujo venue. Serving food for hundreds at the pujo meant that we lost our appetite and barely ate lunch. Tired we also decided to turn in early.

A few of our friends learned about a Bengali buffet in a local Indian restaurant. Since
Pacific Northwest does not have too many Bengali families, having a Bengali spread at a local restaurant was a first time. My social media feed soon filled up with folks having luchi-mangso and other Bengali delicacies.

Next week I decided that I am going to give myself and the family our own version of a Bengali pujo spread and got into cooking frenzy. The menu was chapor ghonto, mochar ghonto, dhokar dalna, gondhoraj bhapa bhetki, komola-kopi-chingri, akbari-hundi and rabri.

In this post I bring to you the komola kopi chingri or orange shrimp cauliflower. This is a in-shell shrimps cooked with cauliflower in a orange flavored curry.


  • 1 medium cauliflower cut into medium sized florets
  • 1 large potato cut into medium sized cubes
  • 1 lb prawn deveined (you can also prawns without the shell)
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • Rind of one orange
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1" ginger
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1" cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 1 tsp. powder of cinnamon and clove

Make a paste of tomato and ginger in a grinder.

Heat oil in a pan and fry potato and cauliflower pieces on medium heat till they take a nice golden brown hue. Remove and set aside.

Smear the prawns with turmeric powder and salt. Now fry them on very low heat till both sides turn pink.  Remove and keep aside.

Now add little more oil if you need and temper it with bay leaf, cardamom , cinnamon and cloves. 
When the oil becomes fragrant add fried potato to it. Now put the tomato ginger paste along with little water. Saute on low heat for a while till the raw smell of the spices go away. This is the time you add the cauliflower florets, turmeric and chili powder. As it takes less time for cauliflower to get cooked you add it later.

Mix everything together with the spices till you see oil oozing out. Now add  half a cup of water. Season with salt and sugar. Give a nice stir.

Cook  it covered on medium heat till potato and cauliflower are done. Throw the sautéed  prawns and allow it to sizzle for another one minute.  By this time the curry will be almost dry. Turn off the heat and let it cool down a bit before you pour the orange juice to it. Gently mix. 

Sprinkle cinnamon and clove powder along with the orange rind and keep it covered till you serve,
Goes well with plain rice.

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.


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