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Monday, December 3, 2012

E(n)chorer Dalna...Raw Jackfruit curry-Bengali style

Raw Jackfruit or Ee(n)chor is eaten as a vegetable and not just eaten but is a delicacy in Bengali Vegetarian cuisine! And in Bengali it's also jokingly called 'Gaachh Paa(n)tha'.... literally translated, that would mean 'Tree + Goat meat'..and meant to say that Raw Jackfruit curry tastes as good as Goat Meat, but is of course vegetarian !! ;))

As a kid I would neither touch or taste either the ripe or raw version of the fruit/vegetable. As I grew up, I developed a taste for the vegetable version but the strong aroma of the fruit version (Kathaal) could never lure me into tasting it!

Seeing the rare sight of raw Jackfruits on the shelves of the supermarket and knowing my homehelp would take care of the tough part of cutting it, I bought a medium sized one.

Ingredients :
Tender raw jackfruit, cut into small cubes and blanched/steamed in salt water
One small onion chopped
One small onion paste
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Tomato chopped (optional)
Two potatoes cubed
Bay leaf / Tej Pata - 1
Garam Masala whole - 3-4 elaichi (Cardamom) + 1 " cinnamon stick + 2-3 clove pieces
Haldi (Turmeric) powder - 1 tbsp
Jeera (Cumin) Powder - 1 tsp
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Kashmiri Mirch - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Sugar - 1 tbsp
Mustard Oil preferably

Procedure :
1. Smear the potato cubes with salt and turmeric and fry and Keep aside
2. Lightly fry the cubed and blanched jackfruit pieces. Keep aside
3. In oil, throw the Bay leaf and whole Garam  Masala.
4. Add a tsp of Garlic paste
5. Add a pinch of sugar and the finely chopped onions.
6. Fry till light brown, then add the ginger paste followed by onion paste. Fry well till nicely browned.
7. Make a mix of the masala paste - Turmeric + Jeera powder + Kashmiri mirch + Chili Powder + salt with little water
8. Add to the fried onions. Cook well on medium to high heat (Koshano as we say in Bengali) till the oil separates out.
9. Add the blanched and fried Jackfruit / Ee(n)chor pieces into the masala and mix well on medium heat. Sprinkle some water if too dry. Add the potatoes.
Continue cooking till the vegetables are soft and cooked.
Finish off with a dash of ghee (clarified butter)...

This post is off to Weekend Herb Blogging #363 started Kalyn of Kalyn's Kitchen and organised by HAALO and  hosted for the week by ELENA of ZIBALDONE CULINARIO

Monday, November 26, 2012

Kosha Mangsho

A common yet much loved mutton preparation in almost all Bengali households, Kosha Mangsho needs no introduction to a Bong!. For the rest, it's a semi dry (as opposed to the 'Mangsher Jhol' which has runny gravy), spicy Mutton (Lamb/Goat meat) curry cooked in traditional Bengali style.

Ingredients :
Lamb /Goat Meat - 1 kg
Potatoes - 3 halved
Ginger - Garlic paste for marination - 1+1 tsp
Vinegar (since I didnt have curd at home) - 1/4 cup
Crushed black pepper - 1/2 - 1 tsp
Tej Pata / Bay leaf - 2 medium
Whole garam masala - Cinnamon stick, Cloves, Cardamon
Dry whole red chilies / Shukno lonka - 2 small
Onion - Finely chopped / paste (I used 2 chopped onions)
Tomato - 2 medium sized
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Garlic paste - 1 tsp
Masala paste comprising of :
      Turmeric - 1.5 tsp
      Coriander powder - 1 tsp
      Jeera powder - 1 tsp
      Chili powder - depending of the spice/heat tolerance
       Kashmiri Chili powder - 1-1.5 tsp
Mustard oil
Green chilies - whole - 2 to 3

1. Marinate the meat overnight in a paste of Vinegar (or curd) + Ginger-garlic paste + Salt + Pepper
2. Half the potatoes and after smearing with a pinch of turmeric & salt, shallow fry in oil . Keep aside
3. In a Kadai, pour 1/2 cup (small) of mustard oil and when smoking hot, temper with Bay leaf, whole garam masala and two dry red chilies. Also add 1/2 tsp of sugar for caramelizing and giving the dish its characteristic reddish brown colour.
4.Now add the garlic paste followed by chopped onions and fry on medium to high heat till the onions are turning brown. 
5. Add ginger paste and chopped tomatoes. Again cook on high heat till the tomatoes turn soft.
6.Add the moistened masala paste and cook vigorously with sprinkling of water (if required) till the oil separates and the raw smell of the masalas are no longer there.
7.Now add the marinated mutton pieces without the liquid. Fry on high heat and mix well to coat the pieces with the spices. Once its nicely fried, lower the heat, add the marination liquid and mix it in.
8.If you have time on hand, lower heat, cover the kadai and cook (with occasional stirrings) for 45min - 1 hour or till the meat is tender. But I didnt have the time (and never do ;)) and hence the semi cooked meat was transferred to a pressure cooker and cooked till 4-5 whistles went off. Switched off the gas and once the pressure reduced on its own, checked, added the fried potatoes and cooked for another 2 whistles. Switched off the gas and waited for the steam/pressure to get released on its own.

In the meantime the 'Ata'r Ruti' (Phulkas) were prepared and made ready for the Ruti-Kosha Mangsho dinner.

Once the mutton was out of the pressure cooker, garnished with some green chilies and chopped coriander leaves (optional...I didnt use as I didnt have any) and served with hot Phulkas

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Dhoka'r Dalna (A curry made of lentil dumplings / kofta)

'Dhoka' in Bengali means to cheat. And one of the jewels of Bengali vegetarian main course is DHOKAR DALNA. Why was it named so?  Was it to signify that the dish tasted so delicious despite not containing onion, garlic (the two ingredients considered non-vegetarian in Bengali cuisine), that it could easily fool / cheat everyone into thinking it to be a non-vegetarian dish like fish or meat??? Who knows? May be....maybe not....

A bit cumbersome in preparation but finger licking good, and worth the trouble!

Ingredients :

A) For the Dhokar Boda / Kofta
Chholar Dal / Chana Dal-400-500 gms (approx) - soaked in water overnight
Ginger paste - 2 tsp
Hing / Asafoetida - a pinch
Green chili - as per tolerance
Salt - to taste
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Oil for deep frying

B) For the gravy : ( I made it 100% vegetarian i.e without onion & garlic)
Whole garam masala - elaichi, clove, cinnamon sticks
Bay leaf
Whole jeera - 1 tsp
Ginger paste - 1 tsp
Tomatoes - 2-3 chopped
Coriander Powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric /Haldi - 1 tsp
Kashmiri Chili powder - 1- 1.5 tsp
Potatoes - 2-3 cubed
Ghee - 1 tbsp

Procedure :
1.Drain water from the dal (lentil) soaked overnight.
2. Add all ingredients in 'A' of Ingredients to the Dal, except Hing & Oil. Grind to a paste.
3.In a wok / kadai, pour a little oil and after it heats up, add a pinch of Hing and then add the Dal batter
4.Cook briskly and well on medium flame ...this is 'koshano' in Bengali and continue till the consistency is slightly sticky and neither too dry nor too runny.
5. Place the hot batter in a mound on a flat plate. Flatten it as fast as you can to an approx 2" thick slab. Smoothen the top surface with a belan (rolling pin).
6.After it cools down a bit and also hardens a bit, with a sharp knife, cut diamond shaped or square 'barfis'

7. After it cools down, carefully slide of the cut barfis from the plate and deep fry and keep aside. These fried 'dhokas' are crispy and tasty by their own right and tastes yum as a side dish with Dal.

Now the gravy....
8. Partially fry the cubed potatoes after smearing them with a pinch of Turmeric & salt. keep aside
9. In a kadai, pour 2 tbsp of oil. Add bay leaf, whole garam masala & whole Jeera and a pinch of sugar (for caramelising and giving the dish its colour), once the oil is hot.
10. Add the 1.5-2 tsp of ginger paste followed by chopped tomatoes. Cook on medium to high heat.
11. Add a few drops of water to the dry spice mix of coriander powder+haldi powder+kashmiri chili powder + salt and add the masala paste to the kadai. Cook well on medium to high heat till the tomatoes turn into mush and spices loose their raw smell.
12. Add the partially fried (or 'shaantlano') potatoes and pour 3-3.5 cups of warm water. Cover and bring to a boil.
13. Once the gravy is ready slide in the deep fried 'dhokas' or lentil dumplings/koftas and bring to a boil till the oil swims up.
14. Finish off by garnishing with a spoonful of ghee...of course that's optional...but I like my niramish dishes with a flavour of ghee...

Serve with steamed ric.

Make sure that there's adequate gravy as the 'dhokas' tend to soak up the gravy.

My pics have been taken during dinner while the dhokar dalna was made for  lunch with lots of gravy. See how the gravy has been soaked into the dhokas ...of course that is what makes the dhokas succulent and moist ...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Baked Fish (Bhetki) on a bed of grated Cabbage

 Bhetki Fillets, juicy & succulent. The first thought which comes to mind is Fish Fry (the Bong way). But the past few days have been an overdose of Fish Fries and hence decided against it.

As necessity is the mother of ALL inventions or discoveries and in this case recipes, decided to put to use the only vegetable available at home and 'create' something new. Well..... was definitely skeptical as to how fish and cabbage would taste....So with apprehensions mounting regarding the outcome of the dish and how it would be received by my in-house trio (father & daughters) of food tasters/critics/consumers etc etc, I went ahead.

Ingredients :
Bhetki fillet - around 1.5 kgs which yielded about 12-15 boneless pieces
Vinegar / Lemon juice-1/2 cup
Ginger-garlic paste - 2 tbsp
Onion juice (optional)
Green chilli paste (optional)
Pepper - freshly ground
chilli flakes
coriander leaves - finely chopped
grated cheese- 1 cup
finely chopped cabbage - 1
2 onions - diced

Procedure :
1. Marinate the bhetki fillet / steak in a mix of vinegar/lemon juice + ginger-garlic paste + onion juice (optional) + green chilli paste (Optional) + very finely chopped coriander leaves + salt/rock salt + freshly ground pepper

2. Finely chop / grate the cabbage. I chopped mine. You may blanch the chopped cabbage...I didnt as i wanted it to retain its crunchiness.

3. Preheat the OTG in bake mode at 250 deg C.

4. Spray / smear butter/oil on the baking tray. Make a bed of the grated / chopped cabbage. Squeeze juice of 2 (or more lemon depending on how tangy you like) lemon. Sprinkle salt (in moderation) & pepper . Mix well and make an uniform bed of cabbage.

5. Place the diced  onions on the cabbage bed. and also scatter some tiny butter cubes on the bed.

6. Now place the marinated fish fillet / steak on the cabbage bed. With a pastry brush, liberally brush the top of fish pieces with melted butter or oil. I had used butter. Now garnish liberally with grated cheese. And finally sprinkle roasted red chilli flakes..

7. Set the OTG at aroun 180 deg C in bake mode for around 12-15 minutes or till the cheese turns golden brown. Prick the fish with a fork to ensure it's cooked. Do not over bake/cook the'll turn fibrous an chewy.

8. Serve with some crispy fried potato wedges or roasted baby potatoes (as in Sl.13 of this procedure).

And the unanimous verdict was 'YUMMILICIOUS'!!!!

And since this incidental &experimental dish is healthy indeed, it is off to Indrani's Blog Event SPOTLIGHT:HEALTHY BAKING which was originally announced here

And as this baked dish would make a great main course in a Christmas Lunch, it's off to Sudeshna's Blog (COOK LIKE A BONG) ' s CHRISTMAS EVENT

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Quick Banana Cake

When your fruit basket is weighed down by a bunch of over ripe bananas that nobody in the family (including you) will touch, you know something HAS to be done to avoid the fruits from going straight to the bin. Well, that's exactly how this cake happened to happen in my kitchen. Otherwise I am not much of a baker and would never ever volunteer to bake a banana cake, of all things..... ;)

Ingredients :

Ripe Bananas - 3
Eggs -
Flour / Maida - 2 cups
Sugar - 3/4 cup
White Oil - 1 cup
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Vanilla Essence - 1 tbsp
Fresh Cream / malai - 3 tbsp
Cinnamon sticks - 2-3"
Broken Cashew - a handful
Salt - a pinch

Procdeure :
1. In a mixie jar, put the following and mix:
     a) peeled and chopped bananas
     b) eggs
     c) sugar
     d) fresh cream / malai
     e) oil
  Pour into a wok like vessel or mixing bowl.

2. In a container, pour the flour, baking powder, powdered cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Mix well.

3.Pour the dry mix into the wet one. Gently fold in to combine.

4. Add vanilla essence & cashew pieces. Fold in .

5. Pour the batter into a preheated and greased cake mould. The oven is to be preheated to 250 deg C for 8-   10 min.

6. Set the OTG in 'baking' mode, at temp 175-180 deg C for 45 minutes.


Insert a fork / toothpick into the cake and if it comes out clean, the banana cake is done.

Let it cool in the oven and then cut a thick slice ...the taste is mildly sweet with a hint of banana flavour.
Eat it just as it is . I had mine with chocolate sauce, garnished with roasted almonds! And despite being quite a banana hater, I loved the cake!!

This post is off to 
1) Sudeshna's Blog (COOK LIKE A BONG) ' s CHRISTMAS EVENT 

2) Indrani's Blog Event SPOTLIGHT:HEALTHY BAKING which was originally announced here;

3) 'Fast & Quick Healthy Dishes - Guest hosted by Kalpana Sareesh of Life with Spices, on behalf of Priya of Priya's Versatile Recipes

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Prawn Masala

The main course of last Sunday's Lunch....

Ingredients :
Large prawns – 1.5 kgs
Onions – 1 large
Tomato – 1
Tomato sauce – 2 tbsp
Garlic cloves 3-4 chopped
Garam Masala whole – 2-3 green elaichis; 1 no. 1” cinnamon stick, 3-4 cloves
Bay leaf/Tej pata – 1
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Turmeric / Haldi – 1 tsp
Kashmiri chili – 1 tspn
Jeera powder  - 1.5 tsp
Amchoor powder / Chaat Masala – 1.5 tsp
Red Chili powder – 1 tsp (optional)
Salt to taste
Sugar- a pinch
Green chilies – finely chopped
Coriander leaves – a handful ..finely chopped
Potatoes – 2 large cut into small cubes
Oil – white oil for sautéing prawns & potato; mustard oil for the cooking

Procedure :
1.       Wash, clean, de-vein prawns and marinate in a pinch of haldi & salt for 15-20 minutes followed by light sautéing.  Keep aside

2.       Cube the potatoes and after smearing with a pinch of haldi, salt & chili powder, fry them . Keep aside.
3.       In the kadai / wok, heat 3-4 tbsp of mustard oil and add the bay leaf 7 whole garam masala; followed by chopped garlic and chopped onions. For caramelisation, add a pinch of sugar and fry on medium-high flame.
4.       When the onions are golden brown, add the ginger-garlic paste, followed by chopped tomato. Cook till the tomatoes are reduced to a pulp and then add the tomato sauce.
5.       Mix the dry powdered masala with drops of water and add the paste to the wok. Cook on high heat with sprinkles of water if required. Continue till the oil separates. Check  for salt and tanginess. This dish is meant to be tangy in taste.
6.       Now add the potatoes followed by the sauted prawns. Sprinkle some water , if too dry.
7.       Cover and cook for 2-3 minutes.
8.       Check for the spiciness …if you want it hotter and spicier , add chopped green chilies.
9.       Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

We had it with steamed white rice!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mushroom & (Pan) Roasted Broccoli Soup

Realised (seeing the date of my last post) that I'm posting after a year! Most of the times, the urge of posting has been pushed to the backburner, was due to lack of photographs! Several posts are gathering dust in the drafts for want of pictures ...

Managed to click a few quick pics and hence this post happened....and hopefully a few more will follow too!

Ingredients (yielded 4 soup bowls of soup)
Broccoli - 1 small - cut into small florets
White button mushrooms - 250 gms
Milk - 750 ml - boiled and lukewarm
Onion - 1/2 , finely chopped 
garlic cloves - 2-3, chopped.
Bay leaaf - 1 (optional)
Butter / Oil
grated processed cheddar for garnishing
Salt  & Pepper
Chili flakes - optional
crushed dried oregano leaves - optional
salt - I used rock/black salt (beet noon/kaala namak)

Procedure :
1. In a thick bottomed wok/kadai, pan roast (I used butter) the broccoli florets alternating between medium-to-high heat. Season with rock salt and freshly crushed pepper. Roast till the brocolli has a nice brownish speckles all over. Keep aside and let it cool.
2. Again in the wok,  heat butter / oil, and add the cleaned and halved mushroom and cook till water starts oozing out. sprinkle (black)salt and pepper while cooking. Take it off the gas before the water dries off.
3. Blend the roasted broccoli & fried mushrooms.
4. Again in the wok, add a tbsp of butter, add the bay leaf, some chopped onion and garlic and crushed pepper and a pinch of sugar for caramelisation (that's the bong in me!!) fry till the onions are golden brown. 
5. Add the blended broc-mush paste. Stir well. Check for salt and add if needed. 
6. Now to liquefy, on low heat, add the milk while stirring continuously till you get the desired thickness of your soup. Cover and bring to a boil.
7. Sprinkle chili flakes and crushed dried oregano leaves .
8. Serve after garnishing with grated cheese.

Yummy on a damp rainy evening!!

This is linked to Let’s Cook #18 ~ Starters / Appetizers