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Saturday, January 12, 2013

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!

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