Thursday, December 31, 2009

Niramish Aloo Phul Kopi – Cauliflower and Potato Curry (Totally Vegetarian)

Monday and Tuesday, these two days of the week, I don’t cook non-veg dishes at home. I have been following this rule for quite sometime. Rule? A quiz(zy) word for my readers. This rule formulated by all of us at home. So no blame game to play and no regrets for a decision which we follow religiously. During these two weekdays, many a time I have to watch with greedy eyes when I see others savouring delicious non-veg food right before my eyes. Just joking, I’m not a glutton, just speaking out my thought.

In my Baperbadi (my mother’s place) care is taken to cook the veg and non-veg dishes separately. Fish, meat and eggs are cooked and put in the non-veg. meat-safe and a separate meat-safe for the veg. dishes. The kitchen is huge and there used to be Unoon (clay chulah) which burnt with coal fire. For most of the vegetarian dishes Ma never used onion and garlic and so with me.

As I broke the cauliflower florets I also thought about the phul kopi pakodas. Anyway it is time I share my niramish phul kopir tarkari with my readers.

For the curry you need:

Phul kopi (cauliflower): 1 (florets to fill one medium size bowl)

Potatoes: 4 big ones

Tomatoes: 1

Dhania powder: 1 tsp

Jeera powder: ¾ tsp

Haldi powder: ¾ tsp

Red chili powder: ½ tsp (as per your taste buds)

Cooking oil: 1 cup (I cooked with mustard oil)

Salt to taste

Sugar (Bong special taste): As per your requirement

How to prepare:

Wash the cauliflower florets.
Peel the potatoes, cube into eight pieces each. Wash and keep them aside.
Wash and cut the tomato and keep it ready for use.
In a bowl add the jeera, dhania, haldi and red chili powder and make a thin paste adding water to it and put it aside.
In a kadhai heat the mustard oil or cooking oil of your choice.. Tip in the florets and fry them till they start changing colour.
Once they are fried lightly take them out and keep them.
Add the cubed potatoes to the remaining oil. You can use more oil if no oil remains after frying the cauliflower. Stir the potatoes for a couple of minutes. Add the tomato and stir. When the potatoes take the pink colour and the tomatoes start giving out its juice, add the masala paste and stir. Now add salt and sugar and stir. Add little water if required to cook the masala.
Once the oil starts leaving the sides add water, sufficient for a thin gravy, and let it cook. Cover it with a lid. Stir it from time to time to see if the vegetables have been fully cooked.
Serve hot with rice.

I’ll be away for the weekend.

New Year wishes for you All. Have a nice time.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Easy Cake for December Closing

“If winter comes, can spring be far behind” as I relax I just recall this beautiful line from Shelley’s Ode to the West Wind. Long time I read this poem, no if I refresh my thought’s, maybe about a year back my friends daughter asked me about the ending line of this beautiful poem. This was sometime in the winter months, in Dec. maybe in Jan. What difference does it make as long as we remember such beautiful unforgettable lines from such great poets?

Winter is in full swing. My legs are feeling the cold, they are cold but I don’t like to wear my socks. Feel lazy to get up from the sofa, fetch my socks and wear them. Best, covered my legs with the shawl and I’m enjoying the book I’m reading.

As I read on I read about cakes and then I think of making one…quick and easy…and relish it with a cup of hot tea. The laziness disappears and I start with my work.

All I needed:

Eggs: 3

Maida: Same weight as the eggs

Sugar: same weight as the eggs

Butter: 100gms

Baking powder: 11/2 tbsp

Vanilla essence: ½ tsp


I broke the eggs into the mixie jar. I told you I wanted to make it quickly and easily. I had no time to powder the sugar. So added the sugar to the eggs and let the mixie complete the work. I used my fingers to see the sugar had melted completely. Poured the combination into a bowl.

Rest of it goes like this…

Now add the baking powder to the maida and put it through a sifter.

Gradually add the maida and mix it with a light hand using a wooden ladle. Make sure to mix it in one particular circular movement, either clock wise or anti-clock wise.

Melt the butter and add it to the batter. Finally add the vanilla essence. Grease and dust the baking dish. Pour the batter into it. Put it in the micro oven for 6-7 minutes. Check it with a knitting needle to see if it has been baked. Don’t take it out of the oven immediately. Let it stay in the oven for 2-3 minutes. The cake is ready.

It took me hardly half an hour to make the batter and rest of the time for baking. It was a quick feat indeed and the hot cake went well with tea. And Shelley’s poems, I love them…one of my fav poet.

Ilish Macher Tak - Hilsa in Sour Gravy

Ilish Mach is my all time favourite. Fried ilish mach…aha what a taste and that special aroma. When the fish is fresh from the market, I mostly think about Ilish bhapa. Bhapa ilish is easy to prepare but some people don’t like it. I was very disappointed that day when someone said bhapa ilish is horrible to taste. From that day I make sure to cook this only for those who can relish it.

Today as I read the Mourola macher recipe by Ushnish, I was relishing the taste of it in my mind. I love mourola mach. Reading it I felt I shall post my ilish macher tak I had cooked some days back.

This is a simple recipe where the taste of ilish dominates. For the sour taste you need tamarind and to go with it is haldi powder.


Ilish pieces: 6-8
Tamarind: the size of a ping pong ball (soak in water)
Haldi powder
Red chili powder: a pinch
Dry red chili: 2 or even 1 if you don’t like some heat
Egg Plant: 1 big size (optional) I didn’t have egg plant so didn’t add it.


Wash the ilish pieces.
Rub them with haldi powder and salt.
Soak the tamarind in water. You can use tamarind paste.
Heat oil in a kadhai. Fry the fish pieces, very lightly. Take them out and keep it aside.
If you have egg plant you can slice them into longish pieces and keep the aside. I did not have egg plant so didn’t add it.
Break the red chili into half and put it in the oil. If you are adding egg plant pieces, its time to throw them in and give it a stir. Add salt, haldi powder and a pinch of red chili powder and stir. Don’t fry the egg plants too much. Before it takes the dark pinkish colour add the tamarind juice and let it boil.
Add sugar as per your taste. It takes very little time for the egg plant to cook.
When the egg plant becomes soft add the ilish pieces. Let the gravy boil for a minute or two.
Now its ready to be served.
Ilish macher tak has a thin gravy which goes very well with rice and dal.

Ilish mach gives out oil so use very little oil for frying. If the ilish has given out its oil you can pour it out, add it to a little portion of the rice while eating. Add salt and get a different taste. For those who have not eaten this oil with bhat (cooked rice) they may not like the taste. A Bangal (those from East Bengal) likes it.

Wish you all A Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Aloo Methi

I spend some time at night watching TV. With the Big Boss show coming to an end, just a wait and watch situation for me to know the winner. After a day’s work watching TV is just like a simple past time and of course some recreation. Yesterday there was a bunch of methi saag at home. My Baba always said, “One thing at a time and that done well”. Yesterday I felt the pleasure of doing two things at a time (watching TV and cleaning the methi saag), easy work, not a brain work indeed. But it doesn’t mean I say what my Baba said was wrong. You know watching TV is relaxing, and the saag can be separated from the stem without even giving it a look. A work which has the use of the mind and the brain will never give space for another difficult work. I firmly believe in what my Baba said. I think I'm being silly.

Let me move out of this and write about my  Aloo Methi.

Methi Saag: 2 cups
Aloo: 5 medium size
Dry red chili: 3
Garlic: 5 cloves
Haldi powder
Red chili powder
Cooking oil

Simple preparation method:

Wash the methi leaves and let the water drain out. Once the water is totally drained out, chop the methi leaves and keep it aside.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into small cubes. Keep them aside.
Wash the garlic cloves, crush them and put them aside.
Place a kadhai on the burning fire. Add 2 tbsp cooking oil. I’ve used mustard oil. When the oil is hot enough break the dry red chilies into half and throw them in. Add the crushed garlic soon after and stir it till the colour begins to change.
Now add the cubed potatoes and the haldi and chili powder. Fry it for 3 to 4 minutes cooking over slow flame. The potatoes will get half cooked by now.
Throw in the methi saag and give it a stir.
Now add salt to taste, stir and cover it.
Remove the cover and stir from time to time. Cook till the potatoes are soft and mixed well with the methi saag.

It’s ready to be served with hot roti, paratha and rice.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cabbage cooked with simple spices (Bandhakopir Tarkari)

Nowadays cabbage is available in the vegetable market throughout the year. But I think the winter cabbage tastes better. I prefer to use my Bonthi (the traditional vegetable cutter where you have to sit on the floor and cut the vegetables with the sharp knife that stands up attached to a wooden board which is supported firmly with the legs as you sit on it) as it is easier to shred the cabbage easily. This act may be easy for me but sound uninteresting for those who have never used such a typical traditional vegetable cutter.

For today’s Bandhakopi tarkari I used Ilish macher matha. You can cook it without adding fish head, make it simply Vegetarian. The recipe you see in the picture is cooked with fried fish head (macher matha).

Ingredients: (without fish head)

Cabbage : 2 (medium size)
Potatoes: 2
Tomatoes: 2
Tej pata (bay leaves): 3 or 4
Garam masala (freshly ground home-made preferred): 2 tsp
Haldi (turmeric) powder
Jeera (cumin) powder (1/2 tsp)
Dhania (Coriander) powder (3/4 tsp)
Lai mirch (red chili) powder (the heat that you can bear)
Salt to taste
Sugar as per your taste
Cooking oil


Shred the cabbages. Wash and drain the water. Peel the potatoes and cut it into small cubes. Cut the tomatoes into small pieces.

Heat oil in a kadhai. I prefer mustard oil. Once the smoke comes up add the tej pata. Then add the cabbage and stir. Cover it up and let it cook for a couple of minutes. By now the cabbage will give out the water. It is time to add the haldi, jeera, dhania and red chili powder. Give it a stir and cover it cooking over low flame. Add the cubed potatoes and tomatoes. Stir it again and add salt and sugar as per your taste. Cover and let it cook in the water the cabbage gives out. It will take sometime for the cabbage, potatoes and the tomatoes to get cooked. Increase the flame and cook till the water dries up completely. You can find the oil leaving at the sides. This shows the curry is ready to be served. Add garam masala and put it in the serving bowl.

Simple Niramish Bandhakopir tarkari is ready to be served with rice or if you prefer with roti or paratha.

I have added fried ilish macher matha that had been lying in the fridge. If you want to add fried fish head, it is best to break them up into small pieces and add just before the water dries up completely.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tomato Chaatni (Chutney) with a Tangy Touch

Tomato Chaatni (Chutney) is one of my favourite chaatni during winter. The word Chaatni is very much the Bengali word for Chutney. The juicy tomatoes simply lure me to make lots of Chutney and keep it in the fridge. When I was young there used to be a Tak (Sour) item cooked everyday during lunch. It could amaar tak, tentuler tak (tamarind chutney), anarosher chutney (pineapple chutney) with mustard paste and kamrangar tak (star fruit chutney). Chutney has always been one of my favourite dish and I love it with dal, bhat and aloo bhaja.

Most of the Bengalis like chutney. In Bengali context Chutney is a sweet and sour relish served towards the end of the meal.

Tomato chutney tastes good with khejur (dates) and even with aamshotto (aam papad). I did not have khejur or aamshotto, so I made it simple.

Tomato Chutney

For Tomato Chutney the main ingredients are:

Tomato, sugar, salt, dry red chili (whole), cooking oil, turmeric powder, tamarind whole or pulp and any home made masala for extra flavour . The other two ingredients are optional – khejur and aamshotto,.


Wash 5 large size tomatoes and cut them into small pieces. Heat oil in a kadhai and when the oil is hot break into half and add 2/3 dry red chilies. Once the chili turns darker in colour add the chopped tomatoes and sauté. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and stir. Cover and cook over slow flame, keep stirring from time to time. The tomato will release its juice. Add salt to taste and also add the sugar about 8 tbsp or adjust as per your taste. It is time to add the tamarind pulp or whole tamarind, with or without the seeds, to give it a little tangy taste. Now cook it over slow flame. Enough juice has been given out from the pulpy tomatoes and also by adding sugar. Cook till it reduces to a thick consistency. Sprinkle the powdered masala of roated jeera, red chili and methi. This powder gives an achari taste.

If you want to add khejur or aamshotto, add it along with the salt and sugar so that the khejur and the aamshotto becomes soft. Can add whole khejur or cut into half removing the seed. Also cut the aamshotto into tiny pieces before adding it to the cooking tomatoes.

And get the taste…