Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mulor Ghonto or Mulor Chechki – Choose any name but tame the dish in your kitchen...

Mulo/Radish is available in plenty in the market. In winter the mulo/radish has a special taste...a winter vegetable. Nowadays different kinds of fruits and vegetables are available all the year round, no tags of a Seasonal Fruit or vegetable these days. But I think winter mulo tastes better.

Moving straight on to my recipe:

Preparation and cooking time: 40-45 minutes

Mulor Ghanto/Chechki

Mulo/radish: 3-4

Green chillies: 2

Jeera: 1 tsp

Red chilli powder: ¼ tsp

Haldi powder: ½ tsp

Dry red chilli: 1

Sugar: ½ tsp

Salt: to taste

Cooking oil: 2tsp


Wash the radish and grate them, not very fine.

Heat oil in a kadhai/wok. Add the red chilli after breaking it into half.

Half a minute and tip in the jeera. Soon the lovely aroma spreads all around signifying to add the green chillies after giving them a slit in the middle.

Then put in the grated mulo/radish and stir fry. Cover and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes over low heat and then add salt, sugar, red chilli powder and turmeric powder and stir well to mix all the ingredients properly.

Cover and cook for another 6-7 minutes, keep stirring from time to time.

The radish along with the salt will release water which helps in the cooking.

Increase the heat and cook till the ghonto/checheki is completely dry. Make sure the mulo/radish is fully cooked.

You can add some crushed deep fried boris (urad dal dumplings dried and stored) before serving.I didn't have bodi, so no chance of giving that extra taste to the dish.

Serve this dish with rice and dal. This also tastes very good with rotis and parathas.

I love it with rice and dal and of course with hot khasta parathas...smacking my lips at the thought of it...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Semai Payesh – Vermicelli Kheer – Vermicelli Pudding

Hello friends, that’s what I’ve to say first. I missed you all...but I had spent some good time as I travelled a lot. Back to this space - today let me share a sweet dish as I write down my recipe and natter with you.

Payesh, Kheer, Pudding, give it any name but the taste is the same. At this time of the year...it’s very cold here in Delhi...I know you all know about it but the cold makes me speak about it. How I wish this winter could bring some snow to this city. Some will think I’m jabbering but believe me I’m thinking seriously...some kids story building up...Oops! hope not giving you the ‘Bore Feel’...I’m sombre about my writing thoughts...

Leaving all my thoughts aside back to my Payesh. A sweet dish after a full-meal...the typical Bangali thought...and that’s happening in my home most of the days...

Payesh making is so simple...for most of the ingredients are available at home any and every time.

Milk and sugar the main ingredients of Payesh/Kheer.

Cook payesh/kheer/pudding with rice, vermicelli, cheese, or even sabudana. These are the most preferred payesh/kheer/pudding ingredients that need to be added to the milk to cook this dish. Rice (uncooked) is available in every Indian home. I also feel vermicelli is in the monthly grocery list of many households.

Rasins and cashew nuts are also stored in air tight jars and placed on the kitchen shelf...am I not right?

Without much talking let me tell you how I cooked my Semai (Vermicelli) Payesh/Kheer.

1 ½ full-cream milk put to boil in a thick bottom pan.

In the meantime light the other burner and dry roast ½ cup of vermicelli till it turns to a dark pink shade...you may want it in a more softer pink, try your way. Remove and keep it in a small bowl. If you want you can roast the vermicelli with some ghee, but I prefer to dry roast...

Let the milk cook over fire for 5-7 minutes. Now time to add the roasted vermicelli to the milk and let it cook over high flame.

When the milk has reduced to less than half and the vermicelli is cooked, add sugar, here your taste buds have to do the magic...I’ll say sugar as per your taste. Winter and Nalen Gur a good combo for this time of the year...can add this gur (jiggery) to the payesh for the distinctive flavour of the gur. Read about my Nalen Gurer Payesh here.

Cook for another 3-4 minutes. Semai payesh is ready to be served...I like it hot and even a bowl of cold payesh goes well for me.

If you are interested to add raisins and cashew nuts, fry the raisins with some ghee for a minute or two and keep it aside for later use. Before removing the Payesh from the flame add the raisins and cashew nuts and cook for a minute or two. You can decorate a bowl of payesh with some finely chopped pistachio. Again here I come in with my taste...love to enjoy my cashew nuts and salted pistachio...munching away while doing some reading, watching the TV or while working on my laptop. And how can I forget the Cheena badam, this is none other than the roasted peanuts. Love to crack the shell, rub off the pink skin from the peanuts with the fingers and then blow the skin away before throwing in the nuts into the mouth.

Having said a lot for the day, I’m back to relish a bowl of my Simple & Easy Semai Payesh.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Khi(n)chudi Karaishuti Diye and thoughts of Durga Puja

                                    Durga Puja In a Pandal in Delhi

When the day of Mahalaya comes, it brings the message, “Pujo eshaa gelo”, and that starts the countdown of the arrival of the Durga Puja. Memories start appearing just like moving on the reverse gear. And the present beckons...eagerness and enthusiasm play their roles so modestly. In North India the festive fervour also warms up as this day marks the beginning of Navratri.

The day of the Mahalaya draws special attention among the Bengalis as it is the beginning of the Durga Puja festivities. This day brings with it some sweet memories...sitting near the radio early in the morning and listening to Birendra Krishna Bhadra’s Sanskrit recitation of the Mahishasura Mardini which was broadcast by All India Radio Calcutta at 4 a.m.

A sudden change in the air is felt from the day of the Mahalaya. The morning air becomes cool an indication of Sharat and the blooming of the Shuili flowers also indicates the coming of the Pujas. These flowers spread their sweet smell all around at night.

                                         From my puja room

Ma was very particular to start the annual cleaning of the home well before the arrival of the Mahalaya. For once the day of Mahalaya arrived she would get very busy. The tailor came and sat stitching away our Puja dresses...at least 5 new dresses for the five days starting from Sashthi, to Saptami, to Ashtami, moving on to Navami and then the last day of the Pujas, the great Bijoya Dashami.

How can I forget all the food that was cooked at home? The sweets were so special...rosogollas, bonde, payesh, rosmalai...and we entered the store room to eat whatever we wanted. There were no restrictions at all. And so many kinds of Goja’s she made...mishti (sweet) and nonta (namkeen)...

The sound of the Dhaks is so important for Durga Puja. The Dhakis dancing away with the beating on their Dhaks...the sound is so special and magical. The Sondher Aaroti followed by Dhunochi Nach has a place of its own for the 4 days of the Pujas. But the festive fervour and gusto is gone once Ma Durga is immersed. And then we wait for the next Pujo to come.

Though lifestyle has changed a lot in these present days, Durga Puja still carries the same spirit as it was in the past.

Recollecting Pujo memories brought tears to my eyes...of the good old days and not sad ones. Today I would like to share my Khinchudi Karaishuti Diye with you all. This is in my Puja menu list.

For this we need:

Mung dal: 1 cup dry roasted to dark pink

Rice: 1 cup

Green peas: ¾ cup (frozen or fresh)

Haldi powder: 1 tsp

Jeera powder: ½ tsp

Dhania powder: ½ tsp

Red chili powder: ½ tsp

Salt to taste

Sugar: as per your taste

Ghee or any refined oil; 2 ½ tbsp

Water: 4 ½ cups


Mix the dal and rice and wash it. Place the pressure pan on the burning stove. Add the ghee or cooking oil. Once it is hot add the rice and dal and stir fry for 3-4 minutes. Simmer the stove and add all the spices and stir again. Let the spices mix up well. This will take a couple of minutes. Now add salt and cook for 1-2 minutes. Time to add the green peas and increase the flame and keep stirring. Now add water and sugar and place the lid.

3-4 whistles and the Khichudi is done. Once the pressure cooker cools down open and serve it hot with begun bhaja or aloo bhaja. Don’t forget to pour some ghee on the top while serving.

This is simple and takes so little time to cook. This can be also be cooked in a dekchi also but it is time consuming.

My best wishes to you all for the coming Pujas and hope all of you enjoy the festive days with lots of fun and good food.

Re-posting two recipes:
Aloo-r chop, find here
Nalen Gurer Payesh, read here

You can also relish the Allo-r Chop as an evening snack for the Pujas and Chaler payesh. Find it here.

Sending this to Pree's Beyond five Days of Durga Puja.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bhindi Bhaja with Onion and Tomato/ Fried Lady’s Finger

The Pujo atmosphere has gathered me in its arms with a feeling that is so different and something that I yearn for at this time of the year. There are so many thoughts that get together even much before the Pujas come to the doorstep with a knock.

Ask any Bangali (Bengali) about Pujo and see the excitement in the eyes. That’s been happening to me of late and in the preparation for the coming days...enthusiasm tops the list with more things to follow.

Long time I posted on my food blog. For today it is the Bhindi Bhaja. This is more so as some young girls...beginners in the kitchen art...wanted to know about this preparation. I had told them it was very simple and more or so less effortless from many dishes that are cooked at home.

I hope this simple and easy dish will make some of them happy.


Bhindi/Lady’s Finger/Dhe(n)rosh in Bengali: ½ Kg. Wash them whole and then cut into 1 inch long pieces.

Onion: 2. Slice thinly.

Tomato: 1. Washed and chopped.

Cooking oil: 2 ½ tbsp (I’ve used mustard oil, any cooking oil will do)

Haldi powder: ¾ ts

Red chilli powder: ½ tsp (optional)

Salt: To taste


Place the kadhai/wok on the burning stove. Add the oil and once the smoke starts rising add the sliced onions and stir. Simmer the flame and once the firmness of the onion starts breaking down add the chopped tomatoes and stir fry.

After 3-4 minutes the tomatoes will become mushy. Time to add the bhindi pieces and increase the flame. Give it a stir and cover with a lid. Open the lid and stir from time to time for 2-3 minutes. Now add salt, haldi powder, red chilli powder (if you want it a bit spicy). Cover and simmer the flame again and let it cook in its own juices that are released and in between make sure to remove the lid to stir and cook so that all the ingredients get cooked evenly. This will take about 8-10 minutes to be fully cooked and served.

Relish it with hot rotis or with rice and dal. Sometimes a simple dish can make all the difference.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ilish-Begoon Shorshe aar Taak Diye - Hilsa and Eggplant cooked in Sour Mustard Gravy

I have been cooking and eating a lot of Ilish (Hilsa). For the last 4 weeks Hilsa is travelling all the way, every weekend, from the CR Park fish market to my home. Fed up with the regular Rui (Rohu) and with Ilish available in plenty simply enjoying the taste of it.

Last week I cooked Ilish-Begoon with Sorshe bata (mustard paste) and tentul (tamarind). This is a simple, quick and easy to cook dish.

All we need:

Hilsa pieces: 6 pieces. Rub with salt and haldi powder. (To get the best taste and flavour of Hilsa it is always better to remove the scales and wash the whole fish. Next cut it into pieces and don’t wash it again).

Begoon (Egg plant): 2 wash and then cut each one into half and then cut 3 pieces lengthwise from each half. Keep it aside.

Dry red chillies: 2

Mustard seeds: 1 ½ tbsp make into a paste along with 2 green chillies

Tamarind: Size of a small lemon soaked in water to extract the pulp

Haldi powder: ½ tsp

Red chilli powder: ¼ tsp

Salt: To taste

Sugar: As per individual taste

Mustard oil: Cook Hilsa in Mustard oil as it brings out a special flavour

Now it’s preparation time:

Pour mustard oil into the cooking kadhai/wok/pan. Once it is hot fry the Ilish pieces very lightly. Some people cook Ilish without frying for this fish has a special smell.

Take out the pieces and keep it for later use.

In the same oil break the red chillies into half and tip in. Once the strong smell of the red chillies starts spreading add the eggplant pieces and sauté for a couple of minutes. To this add salt, haldi and red chilli powder and stir for 3 minutes. Don’t let the eggplants get the brown coat on the outer sides.

Time to add the mustard paste and some water as this dish has running gravy.

Once it starts boiling add the tamarind pulp and soon add the sugar (to your taste).

Cover and cook till the eggplant is cooked.

Then add the fish pieces and after 2-3 minutes the dish is ready to be served.

Serve with hot rice and dal and enjoy your meal with the flavour and taste of Hilsa.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Chingri Macher Malai Curry with a difference

The chingris (prawns) were swimming in the huge earthen tub Balai had placed close to him. Balai, the machwala, our very own machwala (the fishmonger) who kept his stock of fresh prawns and bancha (live) magur for Baba. The big and small prawns moved about in the water and children, who went to the fish market, stood with backs bent at 45 degrees to see them...fear and excitement moving together in the euphoric trolley of childishness.

When the chingri was carried home in the cotton jhola...Ma stitched the jholas from the used and somewhat faded floral skirts and frocks of her little girls. Her little girls...never protested ...once the old ones were cut and stitched into user friendly items...there was a look beyond ...for new ones...and then...

The wait for the curry to be served would be like waiting for years. Ma would give instructions and Thakur (the cook) would follow obediently...she loved supervising. With chingri in the kitchen, it could be Chigrir jhol, Chingri Kosha, Chingri Bhapa, Chingrir Malai Curry, Chingri cooked with lots of onion and capsicum and tomato sauce, Chingrir boda. Thinking about all this my mouth salivates.

...and my recipe waits to be written down...my Chingrir Malai Curry with a difference...

                                Prawns - shelled and de-veined

Prawns – ½ Kg. shell and de-vein, wash properly, sprinkle some haldi powder and salt. Set aside to marinade.

Make a paste of 2 onions, 2-3 garlic cloves and about an inch length of ginger.

Coconut milk– ½ cup

Haldi, red chilli powder, a pinch of sugar and salt to taste, tej patta and whole garam masala.

And of course cooking oil.

Place the kadhai/wok on the burning stove. Add 1 cup of water. As soon as the water starts getting hot, add the marinaded prawns , cover and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. By now the water is completely dry, add 2 tsp of cooking oil and stir the prawns for another couple of minutes. Now keep it aside.

When I have a good stock of prawns, I marinade with salt and haldi powder, cook them in boiling water for a short time, about 3-4 minutes, put them out in a bowl to cool. This is then kept in the fridge for later use...can be added instantly for any dish as it is already cooked. I feel the flavour and taste remains much stronger than when it is fried.

In the kadhai pour some oil, quantity check is yours. Once it is hot add 2 tej patta (bay leaves), whole garam masala of cinnamon (dalchini) 2 sticks, cardamom (elaichi) 4 and cloves (laung) 4...beaten in mortar and pestle to break up roughly...and sauté. When the aroma of the spices start spreading add the onion, ginger, garlic paste and sauté for 3-4 minutes over medium flame.

Then put in 1 tsp haldi powder, ½ tsp red chilli powder, and sauté again.

Next add salt and sugar and cook till the spices show sign of separating from the oil.

Add the coconut milk and some water and let this gravy cook over high flame for some more time.

Now add the prawns and watch out for your preferred thickness of the gravy.

Serve with rice, for that’s better.

As I had mentioned in the title, this curry is cooked with a difference. It was the sudden arrival of guests during the lunch hour which made me think of increasing the quantity to serve this curry to everyone without any complaint. I boiled 2 big potatoes, removed the skin and made small cues.

When the gravy showed signs of thickening, added the prawns and cubed potatoes. Cooked for another couple of minutes before transferring into the serving bowl.

Everyone relished the taste of the prawns...compliments for the cook... and it made no difference.
In a malai curry we don’t add potatoes, but you can in a situation like this...makes no difference. After all “Necessity is the mother of invention” isn’t it?

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mur(d)i Ghonto (Bengali dish) – Curried Fish Head

This is not an everyday recipe. A Bengali household can relish Macher jhol everyday with gorom gorom (hot) bhaat (plain rice). And when the whole Rui (rohu) mach (fish) is brought home, carefully the Ginni (lady of the house) cleans the fish, separates the daily quota and puts the fish head in the deep freezer along with the remaining packets. On a Friday night, before sleep engulfs her, she chalks out her menu for the next day. She thinks of cooking mur(d)i-ghanto for the Saturday lunch, when everyone in the house is together for a sumptuous meal with some finger-licking dishes. She takes utmost care to cook her mur(d)i-ghanto and happy with the compliments that come her way.

The ‘she’ in me is no way less interested. Last Saturday I cooked mur(d)i-ghanto.

Speaking of mur(d)i ghanto, the ‘d’ sound has its own effect in it. Not a tongue twister but the tongue helps in bringing the two sounds together...like the Kingfisher Ad...

Cookinh Mur(d)i Ghanto is easy. For this dish we need:

Fish head – 1 big Rohu head will do. Clean it properly, wash, rub it with some haldi (turmeric) powder and salt.

1 tomato, washed and cut into tiny pieces.

In the meantime peel two big potatoes, wash and dice them.

2 onions, 4-5 fat garlic cloves, 1 inch long ginger, all go together into making a paste.

Kick start the cooking process by placing the kadhai/wok on the stove. Pour oil enough to fry the fish head. Once done, this goes into waiting.

Pour out some oil from the kadhai into a small bowl for later use. There should be about 2 tbsp oil remaining in the kadhai.

Now tip in whole garam masala – cinnamon 1 inch stick, cloves 4-5, cardamom 4-5 – don’t beat them hard but a simple crush in mortar and pestle so that they are slightly broken. Tip them in the kadhai and soon the aroma of the grand Indian spices will start spreading all around. Add 2-3 bay leaves.

Add the onion, ginger, garlic paste and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Put in the tomatoes pieces. Soon the tomatoes will start breaking up and become mushy.

After having cooked for 6-7 minutes add the cubed potatoes. Cook till the oil separates from the masala.

In the meantime take 2 tbsp of raw rice and roast them in another pan. Once the rice starts hopping and popping around in the pan, pour them into the cooking kadhai.

Now break the fried fish head into smaller pieces, tip into the kadhai and stir cook for 2 minutes.

Add water (sufficient for the potatoes to cook), cover with a lid and let the curry cook over high flame.

Once the water dries up Mur(d)i Ghanto is ready to be served.


Savour this dish with plain rice or roti.
And let me know. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Awards from Madhu

I feel happy and excited to receive these awards from Madhu. Been quite some time she asked me to collect them from her blogspot, though late, I’ve collected them. Thanks and welcome for sharing and thinking about me.

Thanks again Madhu for these lovely awards.

Rule on receiving The Versatile Award says that I have to say 7 things about me. Bear with me and read on...

1. Can’t do without my first cup of tea in the morning.

2. Love to travel.

3. Reading and writing is my passion and cooking too.

4. Though I have few potted plants, love to speak to them every day and look after them with much care.

5. I am sincere in what I do.

6. I do get angry very soon but the heat comes down very quickly.

7. Like to watch movies. Love games and sports.

I would like to share these awards with Deepa, Kamalika, Babli, Suja, Ushnishda and all my blogger friends. Feel free to collect them from here.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Lau-er Tarkari – Simply simple -- Lauki/Bottle Gourd Curry

I've been irregular here... my posts stand witness. But my kitchen gives out every day the aroma of the different spices, spreading all around the house...the sensitive nostril can pick up what’s cooking there. It’s so hot and humid these days and how I want a cooling effect in my kitchen...why wipe the sweat from time to time with the loose end of my sari...

...cool cool kitchen, a weird thought creeps into my mind...

A typical Indian kitchen, shelves lined up with bottles...some full, some half-filled and even some empty ones waiting to be washed, dried and then filled up. Cooking utensils of different shapes and sizes...a must.

The sound of the morning whistle blowing...not from a train engine or even a child’s toy train... the pressure cooker cooking and singing or more correctly whistling as the dal...a common everyday dish for many Indian homes...boiling and cooking...waiting for the tardka...the very next step that follows soon.

... the whoosh and cha(n)k-choo(n)k (the ‘n’ gives the nasal note) noise (a Bengali expression) coming when cooking is on. Lots of oil and ghee and masala going into cooking and at the end the kitchen sink is filled with sticky utensils to be rubbed and scrubbed and washed clean for the next use.

...and who has to do all this...dependence, on someone who comes to help...

Back to my kitchen for the Lau Tarkari. Very simple and no puzzle to solve.

To serve this dish for 4 people you need to take Lau/Lauki not one but two medium ones. Wash it before peeling off the skin. Never wash the lau/lauki after cutting into pieces. Cut the lau/lauki into small pieces. Don’t judge the quantity before cooking for once the cooking is over the quantity reduces to a little more than half of what it was in its uncooked form.

Place a kadhai/wok or any cooking vessel on heat. Sprinkle about 1 ½ tbsp of cooking oil in it.

When the smoke starts coming up add 2 green chillies slit in the middle. To this add 1 ½ tsp of kalo jeera/kalonji/nigella seeds.

After you hear that little noise that it gives out, add the lau/lauki pieces to it. Stir and cover and again stir and cover, repeat this, and cook for 3-4 minutes on high flame.

Now set the stove on medium flame and add haldi powder about ½ tsp, very small quantity of red chilli powder, ¼ tsp, salt and sugar to taste, sugar can be optional but a little quantity will balance the taste.

Stir, cover and now cook on low flame. The lau will release water which will help in the cooking.

After cooking on low heat for 10-12 minutes, cook  on high flame. Open the cover and stir-cook for another 5-7 minutes till the water dries up completely.

Serve with hot plain rice and dal. I like it with gorom (hot) parathas and Luchi/Puris.
This is a simple and perfect niramish curry.

Note: You can pressure cook the lau/lauki after adding all the ingredients. 3-4 whistles and after opening the lid, cook till the curry is dry, make sure there is no water remaining. Serve it hot.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Suji (Semolina) Upma

I was in bed for days, down with fever. Even after the fever left me for good, I was not the usual self that I am. I tried to spend some time on my internet, but was unable to sit with it for a long time. So I was left with little reading, posting fewer comments and no posts from my end...really boring lying down all the time.

After feeling better I made Suji Upma and how I relished it, for by now I was fed up with the food I ate. And this upma tasted heavenly, maybe because I didn’t get to eat my normal food for so many days.

I looked for the suji/semolina container which had been misplaced in my absence from the kitchen. Measured a cup of it and dry roasted it till it started to get the pinkish touch. Kept it aside. Took an onion, a big one, and cut it. The onion pieces sat on a plate while I took the next step.

Placed the kadhai on the burning stove and poured 2 tbsp of groundnut refined oil. Once it was hot added some curry leaves and then put in 1 tbsp of chana dal, 1tsp of mustard seeds and once the
spluttering started added the onion pieces and gave it a stir. When the onion started to lose its firmness added 2 cups of water and let it come to a boil. Then came the salt and soon added the roasted suji and kept on stirring. Before the water dried up totally, added 1 tbsp of ghee and my Upma was ready.

I gobbled up the simple dish like someone who had not eaten for days. And then had a cup of tea...felt so good.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Long Break...and Back with simple Lau Dal (Lauki Dal)

I’m not back with a BANG for, while writing, there was no noise except the tap tap tap of the keyboards and...slowly and noiselessly the blog space accepted my words and pictures...easy for friends to read and, of course, look forward to the encouragement I get from your precious comments.

This VIRTUAL blogging world is so different from the very REAL world we live in. Here we make friends with people whom we don’t meet in person, yet we get to know each other through our communication with words.

...and internet makes all this easy...

Science and Technology has advanced by leaps and bounds. Even today children bring home from school their essay home work with the topic, “Is Science a Bane or a Boon” and many students pester their mothers for some valuable points and then mother’s trip back into their school days...

...the Aahh!!! and the Oohh!!! is beginning to crawl from the other end.

So just let me tell you about the Lau Dal recipe so that...

...unfinished sentence for the focus now is on the recipe.

This is a simple dish cooked so easily...can be a beginner’s delight. Call it Lau/Lauki/Bottle Gourd when cooked in different kitchens bring out the variety in taste.

The Recipe:

For this we need:

1 cup moong dal (dry roasted)

½ of a Lau (Lauki): Washed, peeled and cut into medium size cubes. Always wash the lauki/lau before peeling off the thick skin (the skin can also be cooked for a special tasty dish...a Bengali preparation) and cutting into pieces or grating (for kofta) it.

Panch phoron: 1 tsp

Haldi powder: ½ tsp



Cooking oil

Water: 5 cups

Begin the cooking process:

Dry roast the mung dal till it turns dark pink. Wash 2-3 times.

Place the pressure cooker on the burning stove. Once it starts picking up the heat add 2 tbsp oil and let the smoke come up (don’t burn the oil).

To this add 1 tsp panch phoron and after the crackling starts in the pressure pan and the whole spices start giving out their (mixed) heavenly aroma pour in 5 cups of water and soon after add the washed mung dal.

To this add the haldi powder and the cubed Lau/Lauki.

Close the lid and cook till the pressure cooker hisses 5-6 times. Switch of the gas oven and let the pressure cooker cool down.

Open the lid and let the dal come to a boil. To this add salt and sugar (optional, but even then I feel you can add ½ tsp sugar). Let it boil for another couple of minutes and the dish is ready to be served with plain white rice, roti or paratha.

Wasn't it easy and time saving?
Serves 4-5 person
Cooking time: In total 20-25 minutes
Taste - very individual...and then the final points.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Taking a Break...

Friends of this blogging world, I'll be enjoying few days of a much needed break...no computer, no internet, few days of total relaxation.

I’ll miss you all and your wonderful recipes.

Will be back by the first week of July.

Till then...Happy blogging to all and I know there’ll be a lot to read once I come back.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Aloo Potol-er Dalna – Curried Potatoes and Parwal

Potol is a summer vegetable. Moving away from this Bengali name of the vegetable, you can know it as Parwal in Hindi and Pointed Gourd in English. Aloo Potol-er dalna is a common dish in our home and especially in most Bengali families. Cook it the simplest way or use more spices...up to you.

I always like to cook my curries in a simple way...mainly without onion and garlic. Mrs. B was surprised when I told her I don’t add onion and garlic in cooking this. She said, “Then how will the curry taste? And what about the gravy, do you use lots of tamatar?

I gave her a smile and said, “No tomatoes but simple everyday spices and all the juices and flavours mix together to give out the taste”.

“So you’ll cook and let me get the taste”.

“Of course, what’s the big deal about it?

She tasted the curry and liked it and said, “It tastes really good”.

Here comes my simple recipe.

All that is required:

Parwal: ½ kg

Aloo (potatoes): 4

Tej patta (bay leaves): 3-4

Garam Masala (home-made): ½ tsp

Jeera powder: 1 tsp

Dhania powder: ½ tsp

Lal mirch (red chilli) powder: ½ tsp

Haldi powder: 1 tsp

Salt to taste

Sugar: As to your taste. Add ½ tsp if you don’t like to for the sugar adds colour to the curry and balances the taste with simple spices.

Cooking oil

                         The Potol or Parwal

Working time:

Now peel the skin of the potol and cut it into half. I don’t peel off all the skin. See in the picture.

Peel the potatoes and make 8 pieces from each one.

Wash the vegetables and set aside.

Put the dhania, jeera, lal mirch and haldi powder in a small bowl and soak it in some water.

Cooking Period:

Heat oil in a kadhai and as the smoke start rising put in the potol (parwal) pieces and fry till it starts changing colour. Don’t over fry. Take them out. The oil will take a black colour. Don’t throw it away.

Tip in the bay leaves and then the potatoes in the remaining oil. Stir occasionally as the frying process goes on for 4-5 minutes.

Now add the soaked spices and stir. Couple of minutes into this course of action, add the salt and sugar. The cooking process goes on, sometime on low flame and for a time on high flame. Cook till the oil starts separating from the masala. Add the fried parwal stir for a couple of minutes and then add sufficient water, sufficient for the type of gravy you want, and cook till the potatoes and parwal is cooked to be served. Add the garam masala, mix it well in the curry and pour into the serving bowl.

Serve with hot rice along with some dal. It can also be served with roti, paratha or luchi (puris).
Next the taste will speak.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Green Mango Panna – Simply Summer Comfort

On hot summer days its lots of liquid intake that gives relief and comfort to thirst. So many comfort drinks can be made at home. With lots of green mangoes in this season, mango treats are loved and relished by many...almost every Indian will say, “I love mangoes”.

Green mangoes are rich in vitamin C. In summer whenever Ma made this simple drink she spoke about its power: “This is good to fight against heat stroke and how easily it takes away the tiredness and fatigue created by the heat”...true it is...refreshing my thoughts...

Talking about this it reminds me of the lemonade and soda making factory which was just two houses down the row of buildings on the opposite side of the road of our house. When she added that small quantity of lemonade to this sherbet, minuscule bubbles started coming up and these exploded, spreading the thinnest spray that was born from the bursting bubbles. While some enjoyed the taste with lemonade, it was never to my liking. I loved to see the lemonade coming out of the mouth of the glass, filling up the glass and some crushed ice going into it, making me feel happy as I drank to the last drop. Whenever elders felt uneasy after eating a heavy lunch, they drank a bottle of soda and believe me they belched soon after saying, “Aah! ki aaram (what a relief!)", the relief from the discomfort could well be read on their face.

For this comfort drink all that is needed for 2 glasses of Aam Panna:

Green mango: 1

Sugar: 3 tbsp (I added but you can adjust as to your taste)

Salt: It should be to your taste

Ice cubes or only cold water (as you prefer)

Few drops of ginger juice (if you want the ginger flavour) and a pinch of pepper powder for the spicy touch.

As I said earlier you can add some lemonade, about 1 tbsp for that extra (large) tangy taste, I didn’t.

Now it is time to put in your labour to make this soft drink.

Wash the mango, peel and cut into small pieces discarding the seed. Place the mango pieces in some water in a pan and leave it on the burning stove to cook till it is soft. Let it cool.It is time to add the sugar and salt to the cooked mango and bring together in a blender. Now add lemonade (optional), ginger juice, pepper powder and mix well.

Pour this into two glasses, add chilled water and mix well again. Add some ice cubes before serving.

Beat your heat with this Panna and get some relief from the heat and exhaustion.

Sending this to Nithu's Sizzling Summer Contest

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Thanks Madhu for sharing the Awards

Madhu of Sweet, Spicy and Sour has shared these awards with me. Madhu, really sorry for putting them up late, there was some problem at my end with ‘Copy and Paste’ from there (your blogspot) to here (my blogging space). Now I’ve done it!!!

Thanks so much dear for remembering me and making me happy with this beautiful sharing.

 a picture from my photo album

Awards and Thanks to Suja

Thank you Suja of Kitchen Corner-Try It for passing on these Awards to me. It’s a great pleasure to receive them...so nice of you to think about me.

Thank You

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Aloo-r Chop or say Potato Chops – Something Different with Muri Crumbs

Aloo (potatoes) is liked by every one – Big or Small, Young or Old – all love the taste of potatoes. At times when there are totally no vegetables at home except a few potatoes lying in the basket, nothing to worry. That was what happened with me the other day. With some potatoes at home I was in no mood to cook neither Aloo- dum nor Aloo posto (potatoes cooked with poppy seeds) and I also thought only Aloo bhate (mashed boiled potatoes spiced up with few drops of mustard oil, chopped onions and chopped green coriander) would not solve my problem.

I cooked Dal, Bhat (rice), Aamer chutney (mango chutney), Aloo bhate and then made up my mind to make some Aloo chops, and serve them hot and sizzling for lunch-time.

With my domestic help ‘Absent without Information’, I was facing Trouble and Problem who were trying to make life pathetic for me. I knew both Trouble and Problem were glad to make my life a Hell. I could have easily ordered some food from our neighbourhood Restaurant. But I was not at all willing to submit before the TWO (Trouble and Problem) trouble-makers of my life.

I said, ‘Get, Set and Go’, and then everything began to fall into place. By lunch-time food was ready...a simple meal but everyone enjoyed the home-made food.

I boiled 5 big size potatoes. After peeling off the skin, mashed them using my hand and fingers...that’s how I like to do in my kitchen. Kept some mashed potatoes for Aloo-bhate. With the rest of the mashed potatoes I began working with it.

To the mashed potatoes added...

½ tsp Haldi and ¼ tsp red chilli powder. Then added the salt to taste and some sugar (sugar is optional). Mixed all the spices with the mashed potatoes and kept it for the next process.

Heated 1 tbsp oil in a wok. Put in the mashed potatoes taking care that the potatoes got cooked correctly to get the pinkish touch. Switched off the flame and transferred the contents onto a plate to let it cool.

Once it cooled down, broke up into small quantities that could fit into a fist and slowly gave the chops its final shape.

In the meantime placed my regular frying kadhai (I use an iron kadhai for deep frying as the heat is equally distributed in it) and poured enough refined groundnut oil to deep fry the chops. Placed it on slow burning fire for the oil to warm up slowly.

I had no bread crumbs. My Ma never panicked when she didn’t have bread crumbs. There was always a stock of Muri (puffed rice or murmure) at home. She made a coarse powder of the Muri as a bread crumb substitute. So I took some Muri and the dry grinder did the rest of the work. Spread my coarse Muri-crumb on a plate.

Subsequently made a thin batter of maida and water. You can use a thin besan (chick pea flour) batter, I used maida as my besan jar was empty. Dipped in the aloo chops one by one into the maida batter and then rolled it over the Muri-crumbs and sent them into the oil to come out brown and crunchy.

Once it was done, all of us enjoyed our meal.

These chops can also be served as a tea-time snack...serve with tomato sauce or some home-made chutney. You can also relish this with Tel-muri. For Tel-muri, take some puffed rice (Muri) in a bowl. To this add few drops of mustard oil and salt (to taste), some finely chopped onion, mix well and enjoy the Muri Feast...bite into the chop along with every fill of muri that goes into the mouth.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pui Shaag - er Chorchori

Pui Shaag - er Chochori is a typical Bengali dish. Chorchori in Bengali - a medley of vegetables, cooked over low heat and not very spicy.

The Botanical name of Pui Shaag is Basella alba. It is also known as Malabar spinach, Red vine spinach, Creeping spinach, etc. This creeping or climbing spinach grows very fast, can also be grown in a flowering pot at home.

                                   Picture of Pui Shaag

My pui shag chorchori is a very simple recipe...can be cooked easily.

Pui shaag – 1 kg. The leaves need to be broken from the soft stem and chopped into small pieces. Cut the stem into 1 ½ length.

Kumro (pumpkin) cubed – 2 cups

Potatoes – 2, peeled and cubed

Eggplant (optional) – 1, cut into cubes

Green chillies – 2-3 slit in the middle

Mustard seeds – 1 tbsp and Poppy seeds – 1 tsp, made into a paste (This dish can also be cooked without adding mustard and poppy seed paste).

Panch phoron – 1 ½ tsp

Haldi and red chilli powder

Sugar (optional) – as per taste. The red fresh pumpkin adds sweetness.


Mustard oil – 1 tbsp

Heat oil in a pot or wok and as soon as smoke comes up add the panch phoron and as the crackling sound comes up add the green chillies. One minute and then all the vegetables along with the pui shaag goes in. Stir and cover. Cook for a couple of minutes. Next goes in the haldi and chilli powder soon followed by salt and sugar. Cover the pot and cook over low flame. The shaag and the vegetables releases water and the whole medley begins to cook in the pot...slowly.

Don’t let the pot go unattended. Open the lid and stir it from time to time. Before all the water dries up add the mustard and poppy seed paste and cook for another 3-4 minutes over high flame till the whole thing looks mushy.

Transfer into a serving bowl...serve, eat and get the taste of it.

The dish I’ve cooked is totally vegetarian. You can also add chingri (small size prawns) and fish head to this Chorchori to serve as a non-veg dish.

To add the prawns, first clean and devein the chingri, fry and keep it. For the fish head, the hilsa fish head adds a distinct Ilish (hilsa) flavour. But you can also add the Rohu fish head and even others. Clean the fish head, fry till it looks dark and crispy. The prawns can be added 2-3 minutes before the gas is switched off. For the fried fish head, break into small pieces before adding to the chorchori.