Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A bengali Lunch

I had an awful night with a runny nose ,headache and dry cough..... and I woke up all sleepy....I talked to Ma and she suggested something a cup of steaming black coffee and two cookies later I was able to stand up straight....
It was a Saturday and I wanted to have a home cooked lunch but nothing too fancy.....
I am very fond of 'Dal' or lentil soup that we make at home.... nothing is better than a serving of hot dal with white rice....and so that was it.... I decided to go for it.....Mung Dal and some fritters to go with it..... these fritters too made of lentil paste and have an amazing taste..... try them!!!

For the dal:

1cup mung dal
whole cumin seeds-1 tsp
ginger paste-1tsp
tomato- 1 medium diced
peas- a handful
garam masala powder- 1/4 tsp
green chillies-2-3 slit


Wash the mung dal and drain the extra water.
Next heat two tbsp oil in the pressure cooker and roast the dal until they turn light brown.
Add a little salt and turmeric and around 1 and 1/2 cup water and pressure cook until the lentil is softened and gets soupy.
This takes around 2-3 whistles but again might vary.
Next in a separate pan, sizzle the cumin seeds, add the ginger and tomatoes.Add a tablespoon of salt and cook in medium heat till the tomatoes soften.
Add the peas and cook until the seasonings blend well.
Add this mix to the hot simmering dal.
Season with salt and sugar and slit green chillies.
Mung dal at our place is taken a little sweet .This is according to personal choice. So add the salt and sugar according to taste.

For the fritters or "dal er bora"

Masoor dal-1 cup
green chillies3-4 cut into small bits
Onion-1 medium chopped coarsely
oil for frying

Make a fine paste of the masoor dal with water in a grinder. It should not be too runny.
Add salt carefully according to taste and mix well.
Add the onion pieces and green chilli bits.
Heat oil in a nonstick fry pan . Scoop out little portions of the lentil paste with your hand and put them in the hot oil carefully.
Fry until golden brown on both sides.
Take out , drain the excess oil and serve with the hot dal and white rice.
Happy lunching!!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Chaat and old memories!!!

Street food is one sinful thing I cannot live without.... be it rolls,kababs ,phuchka(golgappa), churmur . alukabli or the chaat..... oh how badly I miss them!!!
Coming to chaats I have heard Mumbai has amazing chaats on the beaches.. but I have never been fortunate enough to savor them....
I am quite happy with what Kolkata has to offer of my first memories of having Chaat at kolkata is at GUPTA BROS.... a cafe at triangular park .....the amazing dahi kachori that they made steeped in yogurt and hot sweet tamarind date chutney.... I still remember the taste...
another place which we frequented was GANGAUR at park street....they have some amazing chaats there..particularly Rajkachori chaat.....
C and I both like to have chaats and I love to make them.....(most of the days I finish off the yogurt while I am mixing it)....
So here's one simple and delicious chaat that I prepare at home..... you can prepare pudina and tamarind date chutney to go with it... but Since I did not have tamarind or pudina at home I skipped them.....
Serves 2-3

Besan fefdas(savory chick pea flour biscuits floured with caraway seeds.... available ready made in most stores)- 5-6
plain white yogurt-200 gm
cumin powder-1 tsp
green chillies-2-3 cut into small pieces
potatoes-2 large
chana-a handful
sev- a small packet
coriander leaves
lime juice -1/2 tsp

Mix the yogurt thoroughly with sugar and salt and cumin powder .Adjust the sugar according to taste .I like mine a little sweet. Set it inside refrigerator.
Boil the potatoes and chana. Peel the potatoes and and cut thin round slices.
Mix the potatoes and chana together with salt ,lime juice and green chilli bits.
Next break the fefdas into bite size pieces and arrange them at the bottom.
Layer the potato mix over it.
Next pour over the yogurt and let it seep in. Mix lightly.
Generously sprinkle sev on top with coriander leaves.
Serve and enjoy!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Shorshe mach....A favourite

'Shorshe' or mustard has always been a favorite.... for the zing in the taste,for that beautiful color and also because it goes so well with nearly all fish dishes that we cook back home...
'Shorshe ilish' is a Bengali favorite.. no Bengali feast is complete without it....
This fish that I used in this recipe is not Ilish though...I substituted it with salmon which is available in all the supermarkets .... if salmon is unavailable any other white fish will do....
Ma-in-law suggested this recipe and the end result was an absolute delight...

6 medium pieces of salmon(any white fish will do)
1 tablespoon mustard paste
5-6 tbsp mustard oil or any other edible oil(i used olive oil)
2-3 split green chillies
2 tbsp yogurt or beaten curd
1/2 of a large tomato diced
turmeric powder-1/4 tsp

Rub the fish pieces with salt and turmeric and keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan and fry the fish pieces until they turn brown on all sides.
Take out the fish and drain the excess oil.
Now in the remaining oil in the pan put in the tomatoes , a little salt and the chillies.
Fry until the tomatoes soften.Then stir in the mustard paste.
Put in the fish and let them cook in the gravy for a minute. Then put in the curd.
Add a little water to adjust the consistency of the gravy. Put on a lid and let the fish cook.Put salt according to taste.
Serve with hot rice.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Prawns and an eternal recipe...

Half the people at my place are allergic to prawns... that includes both my father and father- in- law...but prawns being the sinful treats they are... I love to cook them as often I can....
Both in Germany and USA we have had fresh stocks at home and I try and make innovative twists and turns( I don't actually know how innovative they are.)....the Bengali favorite "chingri maacher malaikari " is a favorite with us too..... but this post is not about that....

I cooked this first around 1 year back.... back then my cooking skills were pathetically restricted... but I was one brave little soul.....C was quite enthusiastic..( no other options for him..:))....

This is a short cut way to prepare a pulav....I prepare the rice first and then mix everything slowly....

Rice: long grained white rice cooked and cooled(take care not to overcook it)
tiger prawn or large prawns:200 gms cleaned deveined
Marinate the prawns with lime juice, salt and turmeric.
Frozen peas: 1 cup
Onion: one large sliced in rings and one small crushed
ginger garlic paste:
tomato:2 medium sized pureed or sliced thinly
green chillies: 2-3 slit
whole garam masala:cloves, cardamom and cinammon ground coursely
bay leaves
whole cumin seeds
coriander and cumin powder

cooking oil
One hard boiled egg to garnish

Marinate the prawns and keep it aside for 2-3 hours.
Next shallow fry them in a nonstick pan till they are pink on all sides.
Set them aside and soak the extra oil in a paper towel.
Next heat oil in a wok and put in half of the dry masalas except the coriander cumin powder.
Put in the onion paste followed by the tomatoes and turmeric.Put the gas on low medium and fry until oil starts coming out.
Next put in the yogurt and sugar according to taste.
Stir well and let the gravy form.
When the yogurt sauce boils put the prawns in it and season with salt and cumin coriander powder.
When you get the right consistancy take out the prawn mixture and put it aside.
Next in a large pan(which can hold all the rice) heat oil and put in rest of the dry masalas.
Fry lightly and put in the onion rings and chillies. Saute until the onion is light brown in color. Then put in the peas and let the mixture cook for 1-2 minutes.
Next put in the rice in batches and mix well with onion mixture.
Switch off the gas and at last add the prawn mixure and lighly fold into the rice . Take care not to break the rice. Season with salt according to taste.

Garnish with halves of boiled egg and serve piping hot!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Keema kofta.......source of sustenance

I particularly like minced meat(keema).... goat or lamb or lean pork.....easy to cook... and tastes heavenly.....
That day I discovered the supermarket was selling minced meat in smaller packets ... a quantity just right for two.....I immediately bought one....
Back at home I remembered my boromami's heavenly cooking and how she used to treat us with keema kofta when we went visiting 'mamabari'.....
so that was it..... I had a fair idea of what to use.... and decided to give it a shot..... it turned out fine.... actually quite edible..... though it is not for everyday plate....but when entertaining guests or when you are craving for some sinfully rich food..... you can always give this a try...

Serves 3 -4

For Kofta:
Minced meat:100 -150 gms
ground garam masala: 3/4 tsp
ginger garlic paste:1tbsp
coriander cumin powder:1/2 tsp
chilli powder(optional):1/4tsp
finely sliced fried onion: 2tsp
turmeric:a pinch

For the the curry:
ginger garlic paste:1 tbsp
onion:finely sliced
tomato:puree of two medium sized ones
potaotes:two medium ones cubed
bay leaves:2
Cinnamon roll:1"
All the whole garam masalascan be coursely ground in a mortar pestle.
Whole jeera:1 tsp
thick yogurt:2 tbsp

oil:4-6 tbsp

Take the minced meat in a bowl and mix in all the spices and the fried onion.
You can use your hand or the blender.
When all the spices and the meat c0me together in one roll, pinch out small balls out of it and keep aside. Do not make the balls too large because then they will not cook properly.
Fry the potato cubes and keep them aside.
Next heat the oil in the wok and put in the whole jeera and whole coarsely ground garam masalas .Let them sizzle.
Next put in the ginger garlic paste and the onions.Fry till the onions are soft and transparent.All this while keep the flame on medium.
Next pour in the tomato puree and after 30 -40 seconds reduce the flame to low medium.
When the raw smell goes stir in the yogurt followed by 1 cup water. Let the gravy come to a boil.
Next arrange the the keema balls in the gravy .Take care that they are completely inside the gravy and are well spaced out.Also put in the fried potaotes.
Put a lid on top and let this cook for 20 -30 minutes or until the meat is cooked. If water dries out you can add water to get the correct consistency of the gravy.
When the meat and the potatoes are cooked , check the seasoning, add salt and sprinkle garam masala powder.
And voila!!!
It is ready to be served!!
Serve this dish with veg pulav or jeera rice or plain hot rice.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Red tales.... rajma chawal

i love the color it my wedding benarasi (which is not quite so red), or the red sindur, or red pola, the color looks really happy and rich to me ....
the story of foods is not quite different..... i love red chillies(SRK's Red Chillies entertainment too!!),red tomatoes,cherries, red bell pepper and all that....(also note the red spoon on the plate!!)
Rajma is an all time favorite ..... for the color..... the taste and also because the curry tastes wonderful with the white steaming rice.....there's nothing like a plate of piping hot rajma chawal after a long tiring day!!!

Recipe:(serves 4)

Rajma: 1 and 1/2 cup
Potatoes: 3-4 medium size diced
Onions: 1 medium cut into rings
Tomato:1 large diced
Ginger: 1" root finely ground
Whole spices: 1" Cinnamon roll, 4-5 cloves dry roasted and ground coarsely
Whole cumin seeds:1 tbsp
Cumin powder: 1/2tsp
Coriander powder: 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder:1 pinch
Natural Yogurt:3 tbsp
Salt and sugar to taste
Cooking oil
Slit green chillies

How to cook:

Pressure cook the rajma until soft , the skin should not be peeling.
Also boil the potatoes and keep aside.
In a cooking vessel heat 4tbsp oil and add the cumin seeds and the coarsely ground spice mix.
Wait till the smell comes out.
Then add the onion rings, and the ginger paste. Cook on low medium until the onions turn translucent and then add the tomatoes.
Increase the heat to medium and let the tomatoes soften.
To this add a pinch of turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder , the rajma and potatoes .
Lower the heat and cook the mixture until the spices coat the beans and potatoes evenly.
Next add the yogurt and around 1/2 a cup of water . Increase the heat to medium and let the gravy thicken.
Add salt and sugar and the green chillies.

Serve hot with white rice.