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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.