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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mourola Machher Chachchori

Anchovies with Egg plant and Potato

Main course
Serves two

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes


Mourala fish: 100 gm
Potato: 50 gm
Egg plant: 50 gm
Green chili -- two small
Onion -- 25 gm
Sugar -- a pinch (optional)
Mourala Fish in Salt and Turmeric

sliced green chili, shredded onion, potato, egg plant

How to prepare:
Clean the fish. This will take considerable time.
Marinade the fish in salt and turmeric.
Cut the vegetables as shown in the picture above.

Fry the fish. Keep at one side.
Fried Mourala
Add potato to the oil and saute. As the potato starts turning golden, add the green chili and onion into the oil. Saute a little.
Add the egg plant. Saute. Stir a little. 
Add turmeric and salt.
Stir well to mix well. 
You may add very little water.
Cover the pan and make the flame small.
As the vegetables are almost done, add the fish. Stir to mix well.
Cover and let everything cook on small flame for about five more minutes.
Serve with steamed rice.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Chitol Machher Peti in Onion Gravy

Clown Knife Fish

Main course
Serves 6

Chitol machher peti – 1 kg (6 pieces)
Turmeric powder
Onion – 250 – 300 gms
Ginger – 10 gm
Cumin powder 10 gm (optional) – one tea spoon
Red chili powder – 20 gm (optional) two tea spoon
Green chili sliced – one big
Red chili sliced – two small
Cumin seeds – 10 gm
Bay leaves – three small
Sugar – one tea spoon

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 30 minutes

Marinade the fish in salt and turmeric powder for about half an hour.

In the meantime cut the onions and the green chili into medium pieces.
Add salt, turmeric, cumin powder, red chili powder, ginger and make a fine paste.

Heat up the oil and fry the fish till it turns light golden. As you fry them, cover the frying pan immediately after you put them into the hot oil. You have to turn them over once carefully, by opening the lid for a very short time.
After both the sides are fried, keep them to one side.

Important note: You need to be a little cautious while frying the fishes without scale. When you put them to hot oil, the oil springs out from the frying pan to all directions. I suggest that you keep the flame very low, put the fish on the oil, cover immediately and them make the flame bigger.

Now add bay leaves, cumin seeds, and red chili into the hot oil. 

Then add the above said paste; stir and cook.

Add water after some time when it looks like below.

Bring this to boil.
Now add the fishes into it and let everything boil together for another 5 minutes.

Serve with plain steamed rice.

Papri Chat

In Kolkata food is everywhere! Bengalis are really foody! They love eating out. An evening for shopping is incomplete without some snacking.

This was our snack bar this time, in front of the South City Mall. We went for Papri Chaat, a fast food from northern India. It is vegetarian.
The main ingredient of papri chat is papri, a crispy wafer from white flour and oil.

Our chaat seller starts with sprinkling tomato ketchup on some papris. Then he adds boiled potato and boiled chick peas to it. WE asked him not to add yoghurt, which is another important ingredient.

He also added some chanachur and some roasted pea nuts.Then he garnishes it with thinly sliced coconut and sev and served it to us.

Note: sev is a very thin noodle made of chick pea flour, broken into very tiny pieces. Sev is salty and very crispy.

Papri chat was very spicy for me and probably that is why my stomach did not find it very friendly.

Dal Seddho

Side dish
Serves two

Very simple recipe.


Red Lentil (musur dal) – 100 gm
Green chili – raw
Shredded onion – 10 gm
Mustard oil

How to prepare:

Boil the lentil in water.
The dal boiling
Add salt only after it is thoroughly cooked and soft enough to eat.
Stir and mix the salt well.
Boil till very little of the water is left. I suggest that don’t put too much water right at the beginning.
Add green chili. Depending on your taste, you can also add the chili along with salt.
(I want the chili raw, not partially cooked and softened.)
Add shredded onion.
Dal Seddho

Serve with plain steamed rice.

Traditionally, the lentil, put inside a watertight metal container or in a piece of cheese cloth, tied tightly , used to be put inside the handi (the traditional rice cooker) while preparing rice in it. This is how I have seen my mom and other senior ladies preparing it. When in cheese cloth, it can also be kept in boiling water till the lentil is cooked. 

I find this dal preparation so tasty that I can make it my main course and eat up all the rice on my plate with it. But usually we prepare some small accompaniment, typically some fried vegetables, to go with it.
Here is an example: alu-bean-gajor-bhaja.


Serves two.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: about 15 minutes

Carrot – one, medium
Potato – one, small
Green beans – 50 gm


How to prepare:
Cut carrot, beans, and a small potato into very small cubes.
Heat the oil.
Add nigella and sliced green chili to it.
Add the vegetables.
Add turmeric. Stir well to mix well.
Add salt.
Stir well. Let it cook till all the vegetables are softened. Stir from now and then.
Serve with dal seddho and steamed rice.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Alu Bhaja ar koraishunti diye Muri Makha

Puffed Rice with Fried Potato and Green Peas

       "Muri" is a very popular snack in Bengal.
Muri makha, i.e. puffed rice with different ingredients added to it accompanied by a cup of tea is one of our most favourite evening snacks. It can also be called moshla muri (= puffed rice with spices) or jhal muri (jhal = hot [and spicy]).
        I love chanachur diye muri makha/ muri-chanachur : puffed rice with chanachur, a very spicy mixture of fried lentils, pea nuts, gram flour noodles, flaked rice, which my mom considers not very healthy since it is not homemade and since it is very hot and spicy. So, as an alternative she usually offers puffed rice with fried potato and other ingredients like green peas, shredded onion or roasted pea nuts etc.

       This time we had it with potato and green peas and, sadly for my mom, without tea, since tea is now forbidden for her.

           Puffed Rice with Fried Potato and Green Peas


Puffed rice -- bought ready made
The mix:  potato cut in small cubes
               green peas
               green chili -- shredded if you want it really hot; otherwise, sliced
               black caraway seeds (nigella sativa)
               mustard oil

How to prepare the mix:

Heat mustard oil till its typical smell vanishes and the colour changes.
The potato needs to be shallow-fried. So, we do not need a lot of oil.

Add the nigella and chili to it.
Add the potato. After it starts turning a little golden, add salt and stir to mix well. Cover the frying pan and let it cook. When the potato is softened, add the peas and cover again. Let it cook for about 2 minutes.

Now mix all these with the muri and enjoy snacking.

Puffed rice is usually a little salty. So, we did not sprinkle salt to the the whole mixture in the end.
Traditionally, a little raw mustard oil is mixed with the puffed rice for all muri makha / jhal muri. You can also do the same if you have developed a taste for its typical strong flavour.

Sunday, January 13, 2013


Today we had phuchka for evening snacks.
Phuchka balls with Tamarind-Water and Mashed Potato
To experience the phuchka bliss, you have to do as follows:
1) Take one phuchka ball. with your finger prick the phuchka in the middle. It makes the sound "phuch"! Hahaha! And the phuchka now looks like this:

2) Place some mashed potato into the hollow womb of the phuchka so that there is some space left inside the phuchka.

3) Traditionally, you should pick the above with your fingers (the thumb, index finger and the middle one) and dip it, along with your fingers into the tamarind-water so that the blank space still left after placing the potato inside the phuchka is now filled with that water. We took the tamarind water with a spoon and poured on the popato.

Phuchka filled in with Mashed Potato and Tamarind Water
4) Now put the whole thing into your mouth; do not try to eat it bit by bit with tiny bites, it will not work.
5) Sip from the bowl the left over tamarind water oozed out from the phuchka.
 If you have it from some phuckawala (a traditional phuchka seller), at this point,
5a) ask for one without water and with only the filling, saying "aekta shukno, dada!"
5b) and now ask for some tamarind water without phuchka: "ektu jol, dada!"

5a) and 5b) are interchangeable!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Masala Soft-Drinks

Coke with Indian Spices

              Have you ever tasted coca cola with 16 different Indian spices added to it? Have you ever imagined any such thing? I didn't.  Today when my sister was asking me to try some masala cold drink I thought she was kidding! But no! She was serious!
Masala Coke

I must admit, that I actually liked it.
Do have a look at what all they offer: masala thums up, masala coke, masala sprie! Innovative, isn't it?!

Menu List

The Shop
The Shop is tiny but the sale is big.

The Year-End Lunch

Recently my ex-student and now friend visited Kolkata for just a few days. We got the opportunity to see each other after eight long years!
I invited her to have lunch with us. And I cooked!

A Bengali meal usually consists of several courses. The meal traditionally starts with something a little bitter, fried bitter gourd, shukto for example. Usually a lentil soup accompanied by something fried or mashed potato with finely chopped raw or glazed onion and finely chopped green chili or, fried fish is served then. For my friend I fried green beans, cauliflower and potato together to have with rice and “daal”, red lentil soup as the entry course; I did not prepare anything bitter for this lunch.
Then comes some very typical and popular vegetarian dish. For my friend I prepared kumror chhenchki (at the left side of the plate) and alur dom (in the middle). 

The Vegetarian Side-Dishes: Kumror Chhechki, Alur Dom, Alu Kopi Beans Bhaja and  Musur Daal with Rice

Fish is the most popular and the most important food for us. No wonder that fish is often the main course of a Bengali meal, especially of daily meals. For guests, sometimes, we replace fish with chicken or mutton (from goat). We, Hindu Bengalis, usually do not eat beef mainly because it is prohibited in our religion. Even though I am not selective about meat and eat every thing: pork, beef, lamb etc., I do not cook those at home. I cooked chicken this time.
The main course is followed by sweet yogurt (mishti doi) and some sweets like rasogolla. However, we eat every day neither bitter gourd nor sweets and the healthier regular yogurt (tok doi) replaces sweet yogurt. But this lunch ended with pantua and rasogolla. This was the last lunch of the year after all and her visit made it even more special.


Here I am sharing with you the recipes for the vegetarian side dishes.

Musur Daal 


Red lentil
Finely chopped onion and garlic
Red chili, dried 
Turmeric powder,

How to prepare:

Heat the water until it starts boiling. Now add the lentil. Let it cook. You can also use a pressure cooker.
Add salt only after the lentil is completely cooked.
Heat oil in a small frying pan. Add the red chili into it and wait till it starts truning brown. Now add onion and garlic. As soon as the onion starts turning golden, pour all these, including the oil, into the boiled lentil.
Let everything cook together for about 2 minutes.
Musur daal is ready to serve with rice.

Alu Phulkopi Beans Bhaja

Ingredients: (all cut into very small pieces)

Potato (Alu)
Cauliflower (Phulkopi)
Black caraway seeds (Nigella Sativa)
One small green chili -- sliced
Sun flower oil

How to prepare:

Heat the oil. Add chili and then the nigella seeds. Add the vegetables. Add salt and turmeric powder and stir well so that they mix well with the vegetables. Saute till the vegetables are cooked.
Serve as an accompaniment with daal and rice.

Kumro chhenchki


Unripe pumpkin,
Turmeric powder
Dried red chili
Shredded onion
Potato (optional)
Mustard oil (/Sun flower oil)

How to prepare:

Cut pumpkin into small cubes.
Heat the oil. Add red chili and wait till it turns dark brown and then add shredded onion into it. Wait till the onion turns golden.
Add the pumpkin to it. Add salt and turmeric powder. Stir a little. Then let it cook.

Alur dom

This recipe is shared here when I started blogging: since I had not started my food blog yet!

Cabbage Pakora

Snacking is easy and fun!

Serves 6 -- 8


Cabbage – very finely shredded – 500 gm
Besan – chick pea flour (gram flour) 100 gm
Onion – shredded – 100 gms.
Turmeric powder (optional)
Green chili – finely chopped -- one
Sunflower oil
Sugar – half a tea-spoon

Preparation time: 

15 minutes

Cooking time: 

about 5 minutes on small flame (depending on the size of the frying pan, how many pakoras you can fry at a time)

How to prepare:

Shred the cabbage.
Add salt and sugar (and turmeric powder) to the besan and mix very well.
Add water little by little to this mixture of besan and salt to make a thick paste.
[Or you can add the salt (and turmeric powder) to the water and after the salt is dissolved in it, add this water to besan to make the paste. But do not add salt after mixing besan and water because salt will not mix uniformly in a paste.]

Now mix this paste and shredded cabbage, shredded onion, and finely chopped chilies all very well together.

 Make small flat circular shapes, like tiny pan cakes and dip fry them over low flame. Serve hot with puffed rice (muri).
Cabbage Pakora

Note: While frying you have to make sure that the cabbages are cooked soft enough but not over-fried or burnt. If you have a big pan, you can fry all the pakoras at one go. If your pan is smaller, the cooking time will increase.
If you prefer using less oil, you can also go for shallow fry. Then, make your pakoras flat and turn them over while frying to make sure that they are well cooked from both sides.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Lau Chingri

Bottle Gourd with Shrimp

Serves 4


Bottle gourd (lau) – 1 Kg
Shrimps – 200 gm
Sugar – half a tea-spoon
Green chilies – two small, sliced
Cumin Seeds
Bay leaves
Mustard oil (or sun flower- or olive oil)

How to prepare:

De-vein the shrimps and clean the heads very carefully. Usually we do not behead the shrimps ;) but yes, you can get rid of them since cleaning is not an easy task. Marinade them in salt and turmeric powder. Set aside for about fifteen minutes.
In the meantime, peel the skin off from the gourd and cut it into very thin and small pieces.
Now heat some oil in the pan. If you use mustard oil heat it enough so that the typical smell of the oil vanishes. Fry the shrimps and keep them in one side.
Add bay leaves, green chilies and cumin seeds to the oil.
Add the shredded gourd. Let it sauté a little and then stir. Repeat this. Add turmeric and stir well so that it mixes with the vegetable uniformly. Add salt. Stir and mix well. After adding salt water will start coming out from the vegetable slowly; you do not need to add water from outside; so, just cover it and let it cook.
When the vegetable is almost done, add the friend shrimps and half a tea-spoon sugar, stir and mix well and cover again and let it cook for ten more minutes.
Serve with steamed rice.

Next time I prepare it, I will make a better photo to replace the one above!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Mankochur Torkari

Taro Roots with Potato
Serves 4


Taro root – 500 gm
Potato – 200 gm
Turmeric powder– one tea-spoon
Bay leaves (dried) -- two
Cumin seeds – a pinch
Green chilies – two small (sliced)
Ginger paste/ powder – half a tea-spoon
Cumin paste/ powder – 2 teaspoons
Coriander paste/ powder – half tea-spoon
Mustard oil (or sun flower oil) – one and a half table-spoons

How to prepare:

Cut taro and potato in small cubes, wash with water and drain all the water carefully. Keep these in one side.
Heat mustard oil until the colour changes and the typical smell of mustard oil vanishes.
Add bay leaves, green chilies and cumin seeds.
Add the vegetables; add salt, sauté for some time, till taro starts turning golden by stirring it now and then. Add ginger paste. Stir a little. Add turmeric, stir and mix well. Add Cumin- and coriander paste/ powder, and just like before, stir and mix well. Add water. Add sugar. Cover and now make the flame small. Let it cook in low heat until the vegetables get tender. By then the gravy will also thicken. Serve with steamed rice or roti.

Begun Chachchorhi

Side dish
Serves 4


Brinjal (begun, "eggplant") – 500 gm
Mustard paste – 3 tea-spoons 
Nigella – “black Caraway” (Kalo jeeray) – a pinch
Sugar -- a pinch
Turmeric powder – half a tea-spoon
Mustard oil (or sun flower oil) – one tablespoon
Green chilies -- 2 small
Coriander leaves (shredded)

How to prepare:

Cut Brinjal into small pieces.
Heat oil. Add nigella and thinly sliced green chilies to it.
Add brinjal pieces. Add salt. Make the flame small. Cover. Let it cook till the brinjal becomes a little brown. Add turmeric. Stir well. Cover. Let it cook till the brinjal becomes soft. From now and then stir as the brinjal cooks.
Now, as the brinjal has become tender, add the mustard paste. Stir well so that it gets mixed well. Add coriander leaves. Cover and cook further for about 5 minutes. 
Serve with steamed rice.