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Saturday, 19 May 2018

Mutton Posto - Bengali Style


          Mutton Posto is a traditional non-veg. version of the very popular Aloo posto. It simply means mutton cooked in a creamy poppy seeds gravy. Tried it for the first time and I should confess that it came out real yummy, 

         It is best relished with plain steamed rice or plain chapati. But there is absolutely no harm in serving it with jeera rice, plain biryani, pulao or any Indian bread like naan, tandoori roti, kulcha or paratha. So go ahead and give it a try by following a step by step pictorial recipe. 








  • 400-500 gms. mutton with bones
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1" ginger
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 green chilies
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder (opt)
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 3-4 tbsp. mustard oil
  • 1" cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 green cardamoms
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 dry red chilies
  • 1 mace
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds paste
  • 1/4 cup cashew nut paste
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp. ghee
  • 1 tsp. kewra water






           Grind to a paste the roughly chopped onion, ginger, garlic and green chilies to a smooth paste. 

          Marinate the mutton with the ground paste, 1 tbsp. oil and all the dry spices (except garam masala powder) for a minimum of 3-4 hours or preferably overnight.

          Heat remaining oil in a pan / kadai and temper with bay leaves, dry red chilies, cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves, mace and sugar. Saute for a few seconds.

           Add the onion and stir fry till light brown. Now add the marinated mutton and cook, covered on a low flame till the oil separates.

           Add 1 cup water and pressure cook for 15-20 minutes on a low flame after the first whistle. 

           Bring it back into the pan and add the poppy seeds paste and cashew nut paste. Mix well and cook, covered for 5-10 minutes on a medium flame. 

          Add the garam masala, kewra water and ghee. Give it a stir and continue to simmer for 1-2 minutes more or till the gravy is thick. 


          Serve with plain biryani, pulao, jeera rice, plain steamed rice, naan, tandoori roti, kulcha, paratha or just plain chapati.



Note - I had to substitute poppy seeds paste with sesame seeds & cashew nut paste as the former is unavailable here. But I must confess that it came out real yummy.




                     Marinate the mutton with the ground paste, 1 tbsp. oil and all the dry spices
                    (except garam masala powder) for a minimum of 3-4 hours.



                     Heat remaining oil in a pan / kadai & temper with bay leaves, dry red 
                  chili's, cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves, mace & sugar. Saute for a few seconds.



                       Add the onion and stir fry till light brown. 




                     Now add the marinated mutton & cook, covered on a low flame till the oil                                       separates. Add 1 cup water & pressure cook for 15-20 min. on a low flame 
                   after the first whistle. 



                     Bring it back into the pan & add the poppy seeds paste & cashew nut paste. 
                     Mix well and cook, covered for 5-10 minutes on a medium flame. 



                     Add garam masala, kewra water & ghee. Give it a stir & continue to simmer 
                     for 1-2 minutes more or till the gravy is thick.





                          
                                Serve with any form of rice or Indian bread. 












Friday, 18 May 2018

Mutton Posto Biryani - Bengali Fusion Style


          Mutton Posto is a classic Bengali dish where the mutton is cooked in a poppy seeds gravy. I turned this yummy dish into an amazing and a quick biryani by layering the rice with all the garnishes over the curry and baking to perfection. This new innovation turned out something unique and can be relished with just a plain raita. One pot delicacy for your next party. 









  • 400-500 gms. mutton with bones
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1" ginger
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 2-3 green chilies
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 3-4 tbsp. oil
  • 1" cinnamon stick
  • 2-3 green cardamoms
  • 5-6 cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 dry red chilies
  • 1 mace
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup poppy seeds paste
  • 1/4 cup cashew nut paste
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp. ghee
  • 1 tsp. kewra water
  • 1 cup basmati rice, soaked for an hour
  • 2 tbsp. coriander leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fried onions
  • pinch of saffron / yellow food colour mixed with 2-3 tbsp. milk
  • 1-2 boiled eggs, cut into half
  • few onion rings
  • lemon wedges









           Grind to a paste the roughly chopped onion, ginger, garlic and green chilies to a smooth paste. Cook the rice along with some salt till it is 80 percent done. Drain and keep aside. 


          Curry - Marinate the mutton with the ground paste, 1 tbsp. oil and all the dry spices (except garam masala powder) for a minimum of 3-4 hours or preferably overnight.

          Heat remaining oil in a pan / kadai and temper with bay leaves, dry red chilies, cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves, mace and sugar. Saute for a few seconds.

           Add the onion and stir fry till light brown. Now add the marinated mutton and cook, covered on a low flame till the oil separates.

           Add 1 cup water and pressure cook for 15-20 minutes on a low flame after the first whistle. 

           Bring it back into the pan and add the poppy seeds paste and cashew nut paste. Mix well and cook, covered for 5-10 minutes on a medium flame. 

          Add the garam masala, kewra water and ghee. Give it a stir and continue to simmer for 1-2 minutes more or till the gravy is thick.

          Biryani - In a oven proof dish layer the mutton posto curry and top it up with the rice. Sprinkle the coriander leaves, mint leaves, fried onions and the colour. Cover with a lid and bake for 10-15 minutes at 180 degrees C.

           Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with boiled eggs, onion rings and lemon wedges. Serve with raita for a sumptuous lunch / dinner.
          


Note - I had to use sesame seeds in place of poppy seeds as the latte is unavailable here. But frankly speaking there was no change in the taste and flavour.
























Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Semolina Cococnut Halwa


          Semolina Halwa in general is a very common and an all time favourite dessert prepared during auspicious occasions and ceremonies. It is very easy and simple to make. I just gave a twist from my side by adding equal quantity of fresh grated coconut to enhance the flavour. It can be relished as it is, as an after meal dessert or as a side dish with poori / paratha.  











  • 1/2 cup semolina
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
  • 1 tbsp. ghee
  • 3-4 tbsp. sugar or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 & 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup chopped dry fruits (walnuts, raisins, cashews, cranberries, apricots, dates, etc.)
  • 1 tbsp. tutti frutti (opt)










          Heat ghee in a pan / kadai. Add the semolina and coconut. Stir fry for a while or till you get a nice aroma coming through. Add rest of the ingredients and mix well.

          Simmer on a low flame till it turns thick. Switch off the flame. Garnish with the tutti frutti and serve in individual bowls in room temperature or slightly chilled.




















Monday, 14 May 2018

Designer Patishapta Pithe (Stuffed Crepes - Bengali Style)


          These beautiful stuffed patterned Crepes known as Patishapta Pithe is a traditional homemade Bengali sweet usually prepared during the festival of Sankranti. It is also very popular in Bangladesh. They are crepes made of rice flour-plain flour and stuffed with fresh coconut and khoya (thickened milk). It is sometimes sweetened with date palm jaggery instead of sugar.

           But in this recipe I stuffed with semolina-coconut halwa. You can stuff it with some store bought kalakand for an instant version. Give a designer look to it by forming some beautiful patterns to make them look appealing and appetizing. So check for a step by step pictorial recipe. 





  • 1 cup rice flour (makes 8 )
  • 1/2 cup plain flour (maida)
  • 2 tbsp. semolina
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp. rose water
  • 1 & 3/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp. melted ghee
  • 1-2 drops of red, green & yellow colour
  • ghee to grease
  • 1 & 1/2 cup stuffing 





          In a bowl, mix together all the above mentioned ingredients (except the stuffing) into a smooth semi thick batter. Keep aside for 15-20 minutes.

          In 3 small bowls, take a ladleful of the batter. In each of it add the 3 different colours. Mix well and keep aside. Fill the coloured batter into piping bags / bottle.

           Heat a non-stick pan and grease with some ghee. Now make a pattern of your choice with the coloured batter. Cover with a lid for a few seconds till the batter is set.

          Pour a ladleful of the white batter and spread it around over the pattern so as to cover it. Cover and cook for a few seconds more.

          Place some of the stuffing lengthwise in one corner and fold gently like a roll. Transfer to a serving plate. Make similar designer pithes and relish as and when desired. 










                                Make a pattern of your choice with the coloured batter. Cover 
                                with a lid for a few seconds till the batter is set.









                              Pour a ladleful of the white batter and spread it around over the
                             pattern so as to cover it. Cover and cook for a few seconds more.









                                      Place some of the stuffing lengthwise in one corner.










                                       Fold gently like a roll. 



                               Serve as desired.











Friday, 11 May 2018

Bengali Platter


          A traditional Bengali platter is an elaborate affair with a very large spread. But here is a medium size menu with some traditional homemade delicacies. To start with we have Aloo Uchche Bhaja (Potato Bitter Gourd Fry), Begun Bhaja (Eggplant Fry), Panch Mishali (Mixed Vegetable Curry), Aam diye Tok Dal (Raw Mango Lentil Curry), Bhapa Shorshe Chingri (Steamed Mustard Prawns), Ilish Macher Jhaal - (Bengali Hilsa Fish Curry), Sweet Tomato Chutney and Chaler Payesh (Rice Kheer / Pudding).



 


1.   Aloo Uchche Bhaja (Potato Bitter Gourd Fry)

  This bitter preparation is a delicacy on a Bengali platter and served at the beginning of any meal as it is considered to cleanse the system. Add kasundi (mustard) paste for a more pungent flavour. 


  • 2 medium size Karela (Bitter Gourd), chopped finely
  • 1 potato, chopped finely
  • 1 tsp. panch phoron (equal quantity of fennel, cumin, mustard, fenugreek and nigella (kalonji) seeds)
  • 1-2 whole dry red chilies, broken into two
  • 2-3 tbsp. mustard oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. ghee or 1 tsp. kasundi / mustard paste (opt)


          Heat oil in a pan and temper with whole dry red chilies and panch phoron. After it stops spluttering, add the chopped karela, salt and turmeric powder. Stir fry on a low flame till done. 

          When done, add the kasundi, if using, and stir well to combine. Serve with hot steamed rice. If not using kasundi, then treat yourself to some ghee.



2.  Begun Bhaja (Eggplant Fry)


          Begun Bhaja is very commonly had as a side dish. It goes extremely well with Khichdi, Veg. Pulao, Poori, Paratha or Chapati. I generally like having it mixed with plain steamed rice along with ghee and 1-2 fried whole red chilies. It simply tastes awesome.

          It is a very simple recipe where you need to choose larger variety eggplants. The thick slices of Eggplants are marinated with salt and turmeric powder and then shallow fried in mustard oil to perfection.



  • 1 large Eggplant 
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • mustard oil to shallow fry


          Cut the eggplants into 1/2" thick slices. Wash well and drain. Apply salt and turmeric powder and marinate for 10 minutes.

          Heat oil in a pan and fry them in batches on both sides till golden brown. Drain and serve as a side dish with khichdi / plain rice / veg. pulao / poori / paratha or chapatti.




3Panch Mishali (Mixed Vegetable Curry)

           This is a traditional mish mash curry of 5 veggies. So you can choose any 5 types of vegetables to cook up this simple delicacy. I have also added fried vadi (dried lentil dumplings), but for a non-veg. version, it is generally cooked either with prawns or fish head.This dish is a very common menu on a Bengali platter It is relished with rice, khichdi (Rice porridge), chapati, poori or paratha.

  • 1 cup each of eggplants, pumpkin, green papaya, radish & parwal (pointed gourd), cubed
  • 8-10 vadi (dried lentil dumplings)
  • 2-3 tbsp, mustard oil
  • 1 tsp. panch phoron (equal quantity of fennel, fenugreek, cumin, mustard & nigella seeds)
  • 1" cinnamon stick
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 1-2 green chilies, broken into half
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp. ginger paste
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander-cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. ghee
  • coriander leaves to garnish


          Heat oil in a pan and fry the vadi till golden brown. Drain and keep aside. Temper the same oil with panch phoron, bay leaf, dry red chili, cinnamon, cardamoms and cloves.

          Saute for a few seconds. Then add the ginger paste and all the dry spices mixed with a little water. Saute till oil separates.

          Add all the chopped veggies and the fried vadis. Cover and cook on a low flame till the moisture evaporates.

          At this point if the veggies are not soft enough, add 1/2 - 1 cup water and continue to simmer, covered, till done. Add ghee and serve, garnished with coriander leaves.







  
4.  Aam diye Tok Dal (Raw Mango Lentil Curry)

           A simple Bengali dal, it is mostly prepared during summer. Few Kaffir lime leaves can be added while boiling the dal for some refreshing flavour. It is best had with plain steamed rice and some aloo bhaja (deep fried potato strips) as a side dish. I do sometimes add some ghee to enhance the taste and flavour. 


  • 1/2 cup masoor dal (red lentil), soaked for 30 minutes
  • 1/2 small raw mango, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp. mustard oil
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1-2 whole dry red chilies
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder


          Pressure cook the dal in 1 cup water for 3-4 whistles. When cool, blend well with salt and turmeric powder.

          Heat oil and temper with red chilies and mustard seeds. After it stops spluttering, add the chopped mango pieces and saute till light brown.

          Add the boiled dal and simmer on low flame for 2-3 minutes. Add more water if you want a soup like consistency. Serve hot with steamed rice accompanied by fried potatoes strips.



5.  Bhapa Shorshe Chingri (Steamed Mustard Prawns)

          This is a traditional Bengali delicacy where prawns are steam cooked in a mustard-coconut gravy.  Mustard oil is used for an authentic taste and flavour. It is best relished with only plain steamed rice. 


  • 200 gms. prawns, cleaned
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. red chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp. mustard oil
  • 1-2 tbsp. fresh grated coconut
  • 1-2 tbsp. kasundi / mustard paste
  • 2 green chilies, slit
  • 1-2 tbsp. coriander leaves, chopped


          In a bowl, combine all the above mentioned ingredients and transfer to a steel container with a lid. 

          Steam for 15 minutes. (If using pressure cooker do not put the went and steam for 5 minutes on high and then the remaining on a medium flame). Serve with plain steamed rice.


Note:
1. If using mustard paste - soak it for 30 minutes and then grind along with a pinch of turmeric powder and one green chili. This will prevent it from turning bitter.


6.  Ilish Maacher Jhaal - (Bengali Hilsa Fish Curry)

           This is a very simple and a yummy Hilsa fish curry prepared with minimum of spices. So less effort but the end result extremely delicious and simply divine. It is best relished with plain steamed rice.         

  • 3 pieces of Hilsa fish, cleaned
  • 2 tbsp. mustard oil to fry the fish
  • 1/2 tsp. kalonji (nigella seeds)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. red chili powder
  • 2-3 green chilies, slit
  • 1 tsp. raw mustard oil
  • 1 tsp. coriander leaves, chopped


          Marinate the fish pieces with a pinch of salt and turmeric powder for 10 minutes. Make a paste with the turmeric powder, red chili powder and 1/2 cup water. Keep aside.

          Heat 2 tbsp. oil and fry the fish pieces slightly on both sides. Drain and keep aside. Temper the same oil with kalonji. Saute for a few seconds. Add the paste and salt. Bring it to a boil.

          Add the fried fish pieces and green chilies. Simmer on a medium flame for 2 minutes. Add the raw mustard oil and switch off the flame. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with plain steamed rice.


7. Sweet Tomato Chutney - 

           This tomato chutney is a must-have on a Bengali platter. It is served at the end of a meal and just before the dessert.


  • 3-4 tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tbsp. mustard oil
  • 1/2 tsp. panch phoron
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 dry red chilies
  • 1 tsp. ginger, grated
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • sugar to taste
  • few chopped dry fruits (opt)
  • 1/2 tsp. panch phoron powder



           Heat oil in a pan. Temper with panch phoron, dry red chilies and bay leaves. Add the ginger and saute for a few seconds.

           Add the tomatoes and continue to stir fry on a low flame till it is mashed. Add the salt, sugar and the dry fruits. 

           Mix well and cook, covered till it turns thick. Add the panch phoron powder and switch off the flame. Give it a stir and serve.


8.  Chaler Payesh (Rice Kheer / Pudding) - 

          This is a traditional Bengali Rice Kheer / Pudding / Payasam that is served at the end of a meal. it is also prepared on many important festive occasions and ceremonies. A special variety of aromatic rice called Gobindo Bhog is generally used in this recipe. But you can also substitute it with Basmati Rice. Relish it at room temperature or chilled. 

   
  • 1/4 cup small grained aromatic rice, soaked in water for 30 minutes
  • 1 litre milk
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp. ghee
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 2-3 green cardamoms, bruised
  • 1/2 cup sugar or to taste
  • 1-2 tsp. chopped nuts
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom powder
  • 1 tsp. rose water


          Heat ghee in a pan. Add the bay leaves and cardamoms. Pour in the milk. Bring it to a boil and add the rice. Continue to simmer on a low flame till it becomes soft. 

          Add the salt, chopped nuts and sugar and give it a stir. Continue to simmer till it turns slightly thick and you get the right consistency. 

          Switch off the flame and add the cardamom powder and rose water. Mix well and serve at room temperature or chilled.


9.  Plain Steamed Rice - 


  • 1 cup basmati rice, soaked for 30 minutes


          Pressure cook the rice in 1 & 1/2 cups water for one whistle. Alternatively cook in an open saucepan in sufficient water till done. Drain and serve.
















Thursday, 10 May 2018

Lemony Kadhi Malpua - Fusion Style


          Kadhi (spiced yoghurt) is my all time favourite comfort food. It is healthy, simple, easy to make and yummy too. Kadhi is a very common menu in many North & West Indian platter. They are prepared with or without pakoras / fritters dipped in it. I added some kaffir lime leaves for some refreshing lemony flavour. This recipe is a bit of a fusion style. 

           As I had some leftover malpuas (before dunking in the sugar syrup), thought of adding these to the kadhi. So use a cookie cutter to give the malpuas a desired shape and go ahead with the recipe. You will have a different style of kadhi that can be served with rice or chapatis. 






  • Few leftover malpus, cut into desired shape
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • 3 & 1/2 cups water
  • few kaffir lime leaves
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin-coriander powder
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. asafoetida
  • 2 green chillies, slit
  • 1 tbsp. chopped coriander leaves to garnish (opt)






           Blend the yoghurt, water and all the dry spices. Heat oil in a pan. Temper with cumin seeds, green chilies and asafoetida. Saute for a few seconds.

          Pour over the yoghurt mix and the kaffir lime leaves. Bring it to a boil and simmer on a low flame, by stirring at intervals till it gets slightly thick. 

          Drop in the malpuas and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Switch off the flame and discard the kaffir lime leaves. 

           Garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with plain steamed rice, jeera rice, pulao, plain biryani or any type of Indian bread.

         














Monday, 7 May 2018

Panch Phoron Flavoured Colocasia Curry



          

          Here is my version of a simple, homemade style colocasia curry that I have tempered with panch phoron and finished it off with a sprinkle of some panch phoron powder for some extra flavour. This side dish can be relished either with rice or chapatis. 







          The Bengali term Panch Phoron in simple terms is a 5 spice mix consisting of fennel, mustard, fenugreek, cumin & nigella seeds. It is commonly used for tempering any curry preparation. The powdered form of it is also used as a garnish on curries, chutney, dal, pickles, etc. The aroma of Panch Phoron brings back a string of fond memories of my stay in Kolkata. It is one of my favourite spices. It is widely used in Bengali, Bangladeshi & other Eastern cuisines.






  • 500 gms. colocasia (arbi), boiled, peeled & sliced
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tomato, roughly chopped
  • 1" ginger
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 3-4 tbsp. mustard oil
  • 1 tsp. panch phoron (equal quantities of fennel, mustard, fenugreek, nigella & cumin seeds)
  • 1-2 green chillies, slit
  • 1/4 tsp. asafoetida
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp. red chili powder
  • 1 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 1 tsp. panch phoron powder
  • 1 tsp. raw mustard oil
  • 1-2 tbsp. coriander leaves, chopped









          Blend onion, ginger, garlic and tomatoes to a smooth paste and keep aside. Heat 2 tbsp. oil and fry the sliced colocasia till light brown in colour. Drain and keep aside. 

          Heat remaining oil and temper with panch phoron, slit green chiles and asafoetida. Saute for a few seconds. Add the onion paste and stir fry till the oil separates.

          Add all the dry spices (except panch phoron powder) and mix well. Then add the fried colocasia and give it a stir so that it is well coated with the masala. 

          Continue to cook on a low flame for 2-3 minutes. When done, add the mustard oil, panch phoron powder and coriander leaves. Give it a stir and switch off the flame. Serve as a side dish with either rice or chapatis. 





















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