Monday, 29 September 2014


GOLAPBHOG..... is nothing but melt in the mouth rose flavoured Rasgulla / Rosogolla. It is this time of the year when we miss Kolkata the most, that is during Durga Puja. So we try to create more or less that ambience. I am very particular in maintaining the tradition and authenticity of the the region I belong.....through its cuisine, dresses, language, mannerisms. Whichever part of the world we are, we should, in no way, forget our roots.

RASGULLA / ROSOGOLLA is an integral part of Bangaliana ...... It represents Bengal so far as food is concerned. Now been very popular throughout India and perhaps in many places of the world. Infact West Bengal exports tinned Rasgullas throughout the world. You can smell a proud Bengali speaking but RASGULLA / ROSOGOLLA probably originated in Odisha. Later in the 19 th century, a Kolkata based confectioner named Nobin Chandra Das made its spongy variety extremely popular. Writing further requires a lot of research, time and space, so let's go to the recipe. Let us prepare this rose flavoured Rosogolla together with stepwise pictures.

 INGREDIENTS (for the dumplings)
Fresh Milk : 2 litres
Semolina : 1 tbsp
Baking Powder : 1 tsp
Rose Syrup : 1tbsp
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup ice cubes.

INGREDIENTS (for the syrup)
Water : 5 cups
Sugar : 2 cups
Green Cardamom : 4-5

Pour the milk in a heavy bottomed vessel.Put the gas mark at medium. Keep stirring so that the milk do not burn at the bottom, add the rose syrup. When it comes to a boil, pour in the lemon juice. Switch off. You can see the milk curdle, switch off gas. Immediately put in the ice cubes to prevent the cottage cheese getting hard. Let cool.

Drain the water through a clean white cloth. Hang the cloth for about 1 hour. Press the cloth and place the cottage cheese on a plate.

Keep on kneading it for about 20-25 minutes. Put in the sugar, semolina and baking powder. Knead for another 10 minutes.

Shape the cottage cheese into small balls. Do not make them too big.

Simultaneously take 5 cup water in a heavy bottomed wide mouthed vessel. Switch on the gas. Put in 2 cups of sugar and the green cardamoms.  Let it boil slowly.When the syrup boils for about 8-10 minutes, slowly put in the cheese balls. Make sure the vessel do not get overcrowded because the balls need space to move around. Cover and cook in medium heat for 15-20 minutes. Press one ball,if it springs back you are done. Switch off. Over boiling may turn them hard.

Enjoy warm/ chilled.

Sunday, 28 September 2014


CHICKEN ....being very popular among this generation kids, is a regular at most of the homes I think. Hence it is very important to bring in variety in way of its preparation. With so many food blogs around it is not a difficult task either. Besides, with little innovation we can always create a new recipe. Honestly, mustard and coconut being widely used among Bengalis, the idea of preparing chicken with a combination of mustard and shredded coconut was making rounds on my mind.
      I remember, as a kid how me and my brother loved chicken. In those days chicken was new in the market, I mean in Kolkata, around the 80's. Mutton was more popular in a Bengali household, besides fish. Chicken became an instant hit. Every Sunday, me and my brother got super hungry much before lunch. The aromatic smell of the spice mix from the kitchen was to be blamed. I try to do the same for my family, just the way my mother did for us. A family bonds over all the efforts we give as individuals.
     This recipe has predominance of mustard flavour in it. The use of chillies can be adjusted as per your taste.

Chicken : 500 gm
Black Mustard : 30 gm
Green Chilli : 5
Garlic Paste : 2 tsp
Onion : 2 big
Bay Leaf : 1
Turmeric Powder : 1 tsp
Salt : As per taste
Shredded Coconut : 4 table spoon.
Juice of one lemon
Oil (preferably Mustard) : 4 table spoon

I have used chicken legs as preferred by my son. Any part of chicken can be used. Wash the chicken pieces thoroughly. Marinate with lemon juice, turmeric and salt. Keep standing for 2 hours.

Wash the black mustard in a strainer. Put in a blender along with the chillies, little salt and 1/4 cup water. Blend to a smooth paste. Keep two tsp garlic ready in hand. The salt is used so that the mustard paste do not turn bitter.

Heat oil in a pan. Temper with bay leaf. Put in the onion slices. Fry till golden brown. Put in the the garlic paste. Fry till the raw smell goes away completely.

At these stage, put in the mustard - chilli paste. Saute for 2 minutes. Put in the shredded coconut. Fry for another 2 minutes. Now put in the chicken along with all the marination. Stir well and cover.

Lower the heat. Open the cover and stir every 3-4 minutes. When the water dries up, pour in 1/2 cup water. Stir well . Cover again and cook till gravy thickens. Switch of, its done.

Enjoy Shorshe - Narcol Chicken with steamed piping hot rice !!


DIWALI......knocking at the door with all its glitterati, glamour, crackers, roshnai and sweets. Rabri is a classic, traditional Indian sweet. It is popular in every region, every corner of India. Very rich in taste, it is either eaten as an individual dessert or as an accompaniment with jalebis or malpuas.
My first meeting with Rabri dates back to 1978, when I visited Hardwar, a holy city in India. They sell excellent Rabri. Being a total vegetarian city where even eggs are not allowed, they depend much on fresh fruits and milk. The better the milk quality, tastier will be the dessert. Visited the same place later and may be had gallons of Rabri.

I prepared this Rabri in Microwave to save time, to keep an option open for jazzing up a quick dessert for my family and guests. I went through Tarla Dalal's Microwave Rabri recipe. I did not follow her recipe though. I used homemade instant khoya that once I learnt from an youtube video. Yet, I would credit her for the idea of doing Rabri in Microwave without much hassle. Let us do this Rabri In Microwave together.

INGREDIENTS :[for the Rabri]
Full Cream Milk : 2 litres
Sugar : 150 gm
Instant Khoya : 1medium cup
Cardamom powder : 1/2 tsp
Rose Petals : To Garnish

INGREDIENTS : [for the Instant Khoya]
Milk Powder : 1big cup
Whole Milk : 1 medium cup
Ghee : 1/4 small cup


In a microwave proof bowl, take the ingredients mentioned for the Instant Khoya. Mix well. Microwave at high for 3-4 minutes pausing and stirring at a gap of 1 minute. Its done.

Pour the milk in a heavy bottomed microwave proof bowl. Microwave at 600* power for 10 -12 minutes, pausing and stirring every 3-4 minutes.

Add the sugar and microwave for another 4-5 minutes. It turns into a creamy consistency. Add the Instant Khoya and cardamom powder. Stir and microwave for 2 minutes. Once done switch off.

Transfer to a bowl. Once cool, garnish with rose petals.

It can be served hot or chilled. Chilled tastes better. Enjoy as an individual dessert or as a topping on jalebi and malpua.

Saturday, 27 September 2014


How authentic Keralite this egg curry is I do not know, but it has been adapted from a recipe that read Kerala Egg Curry.... Sorry, I have lost the name of the site! KERALA.....located in the south-west region of India on the Malabar Coast, was formed on 1 November 1956 as per the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions. The region was prominent spice exporter from 3000 BCE to 3rd century. The Chera Dynasty was the first powerful Kingdom based in Kerala. It remained an international spice trading Center during the Chera rule. Later, in 15th century, the lucrative spice trade attracted Portuguese traders to Kerala, and eventually paved the way for the European colonisation of India. It has the highest literacy rate among all states of India. It is an important tourist destination, with backwaters, beaches, Ayurvedic tourism and tropical greenery being its major attraction. My connection with Kerala .... sharing similar political views for long may be. {sourced from WIKI]

       Kerala being a coastal region, has abundance of coconut trees. Obviously there will be a considerable use of coconut in its all form.....milk, cream, grated, paste. Eggs being very healthy and regular at my home, I explore through the Internet for more  and more variety of  egg curries. Just stopped by this simple but colourful recipe with all the goodness of coconut one day. Prepared it without delay and thought its worth sharing. The combined flavour of  coconut and curry leaves makes it divine.


Eggs (preferably duck) : 4
Onion : 2(medium)
Ginger Paste : 1 tsp
Garlic Paste : 1 tsp
Chilli Powder : 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/4 tsp
Fennel Powder : 1/2 tsp
Salt : As per taste
Cumin Seed : 2 pinches
Curry Leaves : 8-10
Coconut Milk : 100 ml
Green Chilli : 2
Oil : 2 table spoon(Authentically coconut)
Potato : 1 big(optional)


Wash the eggs very carefully and put for boil with enough water. Add in one tsp of salt. This helps the shell come out very easily. After the water comes to a boil, boil for another 5 minutes. Switch off, let it cool.

Peel,wash and slice the onions thinly. Slit the green chillies. Wash and cut the potato into 4 pieces, first lengthwise and then widthwise.Get the ginger n garlic paste ready. All the spice powders should be kept in small bowls. Coconut milk poured in a cup.Peel off the shells from the eggs and slit both ends.

Heat oil in a wok. Apply little turmeric and salt on the potato pieces. Lightly fry them.

In the same oil, add the cumin seeds and curry leaves for tempering. Do not allow the curry leaves to burn. Tempering should be done at low heat.

Add in the sliced onions and fry till golden brown. Add in the ginger and garlic paste. Saute well till the raw smell goes. Put in all the spice powders along with salt and turmeric and saute well till the spice mix seperate from the oil.

At this stage, add in the lighty fried potato pieces. Keep stirring for 1 minute. Pour in 1 tea cup of water. Cover and let boil till the potatoes are half done.

Now open the cover and pour in the coconut milk. Add the slitted green chillies. No need to cover. After the curry comes to a boil, put in the eggs. Let boil for another 2 minutes. Switch off, you are done.

Please do not boil the curry much after pouring in the the coconut milk, it may curdle. Enjoy with steamed piping hot rice.

Friday, 26 September 2014


LUCHI -ALOOR DUM......a patent Bengali breakfast menu and if its a weekend, it has to be accompanied by halwa  or jalebi / jilipi or pantua or roshogolla or sandesh .... the list is varied.... the aloor dum is static. The word 'Niramish' means vegetarian. Among us onion, garlic are considered as non-vegetarian too. This NIRAMISH ALOOR DUM is prepared without onion and garlic. At times we offer this to God along with Rice Pulao or luchi!

There are various other ways of preparing Aloor Dum, sometimes with yogurt, ginger-garlic paste or even with a combination of milk n lemon juice in the marination. I shall definitely come up with them some day.

As I said in the beginning, Aloor Dum , accompanied by Luchi tastes divine. I remember, a foodie that I was, I relished and cherished every bit of the aloo smeared with the gravy, and then there was the finger licking part. These were the small things we enjoyed as a kid . Even today, as a mother, as a teacher, I would not admit or agree with the fact that these small acts are anyway against table manners. Humans should not turn robots. In self defence, I get more close to traditions and I do not have any qualms about it!

This NIRAMISH ALOOR DUM  is prepared with a generous amount of tomato which works as a good substitute to onion and garlic and adds  to the colour of the gravy. Nonetheless to say, Kashmiri Mirch is a must have in my kitchen just for the colour factor! The best part of it is that you can have this spicy potato curry with toasted breads too... thats how they are served at Kolkata roadside tea stalls!

Potato(medium sized) : 500 gm
Tomato( medium sized) : 2
Green Chilli paste : 1 tbsp
Ginger Paste : 2 tsp
Cumin Powder : 1 tsp
Salt : As per taste
Turmeric Powder : 1 tsp
Kashmiri Mirch Powder : 1 tsp
Green Peas : 1/2small cup
Cumin Seeds: 2 pinches
Bengali Garam Masala Powder(an equal mix of cinnamon,green cardamom,cloves) : 4 pinches.
Bay Leaf : 1
Sugar : 1/4 tsp
Coriander Leaves : 25 gm chopped ( optional)
Oil : 4 table spoon

Peel, wash and cut the potatoes into halves. Apply little salt and turmeric. Keep aside for not more than 15-20 minutes,otherwise they turn black.

Wash and cut the tomatoes into small pieces and discard the seeds. Slit the green chillies. Keep the ginger paste, green chilli paste ready. Keep the Salt, turmeric, cumin powder, Kashmiri mirch powder seperately in small bowls.

Heat oil in a wok. Fry the potato pieces until golden brown in batches. Take out. Temper oil with cumin seeds and one bay leaf. Put in the ginger paste. Fry till the raw smell goes away. Put in the green chilli paste. Fry for 1 minute.

Now add in the tomato pieces and cook till soft. Put in the green peas. Stir for a while. Add the Kashmiri mirch powder, salt, turmeric, cumin powder , mix well. Stir till the oil separates from the spice mix.

Add the the fried potatoes. Fold in well with the spices. Add  half coffee mug of water. Cover n cook for five minutes at low heat. Wait for the gravy to thicken. Add the sugar and Bengali Garam Masala ,  chopped coriander leaves, give a stir. Switch off. It is done.

Enjoy with chapati, poori, paratha, pilaf or even toasted bread slices.

Thursday, 25 September 2014


GIANT RIVER CATFISH/ LONG WHISKERED CAT FISH......this is what it is commonly called in English. In Bangladesh and West Bengal, it is called AAR MACH. Extremely popular among most of the Bengalis, it is eaten on a regular basis. As the name goes, it is a river water fish, available fresh in the market and can be cooked in different ways. At times we cook it with eggplant and potato, at times a thick gravy with ginger- garlic paste or sometimes with only ginger- green chilli paste or with tomatoes and potatoes cut length wise.
With the head of this fish, we make yummy veggies along with eggplant and coriander paste or with bottle gourd. My friends other than Bengalis may find it weird but if you can grow the taste, and love fish, you may like it.
Different district of Bangladesh and West Bengal has different ways of cooking.As my forefathers belong to the Comilla district of Bangladesh, there people cook it in a gravy of green chilli coriander leaves paste with broad beans, eggplant and potatoes without frying the fish. Hopefully shall come up with that recipe some other day.
This recipe is a everyday one using very little spices. I have used onion because in Singapore we do not get fresh ones, we have to remain satisfied with frozen ones imported from Bangladesh. You can alternate with any variety of catfish available at your place. If it is sea catfish, do use onions. We donot use much onions for fresh water fish unless for some special dishes.

Aar Mach : 500 gm
Onion : 1 big
Ginger Paste : 2 tsp
Cumin Powder : 1 tsp
Green Chilli Paste : 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1 1/2 tsp
Salt : As per taste
Cumin Seeds : 3 pinches
Coriander Leaves : 25 gm(for garnish)
Oil(Mustard) : 5 tablespoon.

Wash the fish pieces under running water very well. Apply salt and one tsp of turmeric powder. Mix well. Let it stand for about 15 minutes.

Make seperate pastes with the green chillies, ginger. Slice the onion thinly. Chop the coriander leaves.

Heat oil in a pan. Lightly fry the fish pieces till golden brown. They should remain soft.

In the same oil, put the cumin seeds, then put in the onion slices and fry till they turn brown. Be careful, they should not burn. Put in the ginger paste, sauté for 1 minute, then put in the green chilli paste. Sauté for another 1 minute. At this stage, put in the turmeric powder, cumin powder and salt. Fry till the oil separates from the spices.

Now pour in one coffee mug of water. Give a stir, cover. Let the gravy boil at medium to low heat. After 5 minutes , put in the fish pieces very carefully. Let boil for another 3 minutes. You can pour  another 1/4 cup water if required. Put in the chopped coriander leaves. Give a stir and switch off.

This fish curry requires the gravy to be light and not thick. Enjoy with steamed piping hot rice, with lentils and vegetable fritters to go.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014


Sweets, Sweets n Sweets......that's what we love to prepare and eat during festivals. Indulging to the extreme is what we do with ourselves during this period. And why not? Such occasions come once a year, to enliven our hearts and we  savour the moments for the next one year. Moreover, any celebration, among us, is incomplete without sweets.
Yesterday was Mahalaya. We generally offer something homemade or store bought to God on such days. I had no time in the morning, hurried down to work , and the whole day I felt awkward. Back home I thought I should not go to bed with guilt. Let me prepare something which is quick and easy to make, without compromising with the taste.
So, I came up with these KACHAGOLLAS , which I loved so much in my childhood. It is made with Chena( curdling the milk with lemon juice) and sugar. During winter we alternate the sugar with date jaggery.
Finally I ended up at around 9 pm and felt extremely happy and content. Hope my God will forgive  me for serving the dinner late.
One thing you should keep in mind, even if you refrigerate, this sweet tends to spoil quickly. So I would suggest to have them all within 2 days. 2 litres of milk shall make about 15 sweets approximately.

Cow Milk : 2 litres
Sugar : 1/2 cup
Lemon Juice : 3 tablespoon
Green Cardamom Powder : 1/4 spoon
Chopped Pistachios : 6 ( not required if you are using date jaggery)

Let us first prepare the Chena( Indian Cottage Cheese). Pour 2 litres of milk in a heavy bottomed pan. Put on the gas oven for boil. When it boils and comes up, pour in the lemon juice. You can see the milk curdling. Give in one cup ice cubes and cover. Let it cool.

Now take a clean white cloth. Pour in the curdled milk through it, so that the whey is drained away. Please do not throw away the whey, store it in the refrigerator to use later. What is deposited in the White cloth is called Chena. Tie the cloth tightly, put under running water and then hang for about 2 hours. All excess water should go away.

Now blend the sugar along the green cardamom to get a powder form. Chop the pistachios. Mix with the Chena and keep mashing until the sugar is mixed well and the thing turns smooth. Shape into round balls with the help of your palms.

You are done. Your God is happy, your family is happy, you are too! Enjoy!

Monday, 22 September 2014


PAYESH /RICE KHEER is considered very auspicious among us. It is prepared on special occasions, be it birthday, baby shower, puja or any other auspicious ceremony. Actually you can have it any day, whenever you wish to. You can cook it in two hours. Our elders say, on birthdays, one must have a bowl of Payesh, it ensures a longer life. A wife or a mother prepares it wishing that.
Originally or authentically Bengalis make payesh with rice. Gradually with time and developing the power of acceptance, we prepare it with other ingredients also, like vermicelli , sago , broken wheat, carrot, and even bottle gourd. Hopefully, I can come up with each one of them in future.
With the festive season around, let me share this recipe of Rice Kheer, so that they become sweeter by the magic of your hands.
During winter, with the availability of date jaggery, we use date jaggery instead of sugar. I can guarantee you will be in the seventh heaven so far taste is concerned.

Fragrant Rice ( Gobindo Bhog / Chini Gura / Basmati ) : 3 tablespoon
Full Cream Milk : 1 litre
Sugar (alternatively date jaggery) : 1/2 teacup + 2 tablespoon.( in case of date jaggery it should be half cup. I would suggest measurement should be as per your taste)
Green Cardamon : 2 ( not required if you are using date jaggery)
Bay leaf : 1
Cashew : 8 halved
Raisins : 8.
Ghee : 1/4 spoon.

Place the rice in a bowl, wash thoroughly,drain the water. Pour in the ghee onto the rice bowl and mix well. This helps the rice not to stick with each other. Wash the raisins and soak in warm water. Cashews to be halved.

Pour the milk in a heavy bottomed pan. Switch on the gas. Put the gas mark at low. This dish is to test your patience. Once the milk comes to a boil, clean and put the bay leaf. This enhances the flavour. Now you have to stir the milk constantly. Otherwise it may burn from down.

Keep stirring the milk till it gets a bit creamier. At this stage, put in the rice. Give a stir every 3 minutes until the rice is boiled.

Please donot over boil the rice. You have to take care of that. Once the rice is almost boiled, put in the sugar. Keep on stirring.

Crush the green cardamoms. Put into the kheer once it gets creamier. Add the raisins and cashews. After 2 minutes, switch off the gas. It's done. Pour onto a serving bowl.

Please note , always add the rice first to the milk. Put the sugar only when the rice is done. In case you are using date jaggery , crush it and mix towards the end. Once it melts, immediately switch off the gas. Otherwise  the milk will curdle.

Saturday, 20 September 2014


Just one week left, and the festive season is on. The biggest festival of the BENGALIS  , which comes once in a year, is at our doorstep. In whichever part of the world we are, we will celebrate . Maa Durga comes down to earth with  her four children leaving her husband Lord Shiva back in heaven to shower her blessings on us. Earth is said to be her parental house.

Mythology says Durga Puja was at first  celebrated during spring. It was King Rama, said to be the 7 th incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who celebrated for the first time in autumn before going to kill the demon Ravana. Story goes long which this blog may not permit.

All these five days, we indulge ourselves to the extreme, whichever part of the world we are. Prepare lot of home made sweets and greet people with warmth. Thought of sharing few recipes of homemade sweets. Let's start with BHAPA DOI ( Baked Yogurt ) today. You need very less ingredients for this. Method is too easy. If you have a sweet tooth, you will love it.

Plain Yogurt : 1 Coffee Mug.
Evaporated Milk : 1/4 Coffee Mug
Condensed Milk : 1/2 Coffee Mug(you can adjust as per your taste)
Ground Almond : 1 tsp
Chopped Pistachios : 2 tsp
Cardamom Powder  : 1/4 tsp

Blend the plain yogurt, evaporated milk and condensed milk together. Add in the ground almond, mix well. Pour onto an ovenproof bowl. Pour water in another ovenproof bowl .

Place the bowl with yogurt mix over the bowl filled with water. It should be half immersed in water, not more than that.

Preheat the oven. Bake for 30 minutes at 180 degree centigrade in convection mode. Take out and cool at room temperature.

Garnish with chopped Pistachios. Refrigerate for 4 hours. Serve chilled.

Every oven have different features. I would suggest to check from time to time.

Friday, 19 September 2014


Kichuri or Khichdi  is the ultimate comfort food for us. There are different ways of preparing it! At times it is made without any veggies and served alongside some fries and a mixed vegetable dish. It is  made with assorted vegetables too. Either way it is extremely healthy. Avoiding the chilli part, we prepare it as a main meal for smaller kids also. One gets protein and vitamin  from one single dish, cooked so quickly and hassle free.

We prepare it with fragrant rice called gobinda bhog, which is not easily available outside West Bengal. But you have Bangladeshi stores in almost all countries. There you get ' Chinigura chal ' which is nearly the same variety. Alternatively you can use Basmati rice. The lentil Bengalis use for this recipe is Skinless Yellow Moong in general.  At times we prepare it with masoor dal also. In that case we use onions.

Ever since, we were kids whenever it rained in the evening, we knew the dinner menu will be khichuri today with eggplant and potato fries accompanied by tomato chutney. Super lucky we were if there had some Illish (Hilsa) fish in mummy's store, then we would get heavenly tasted deep fried illish pieces. Our mother's pantry was a pandora box actually. Now you all tell me which food loving kid would concentrate on studies when it's raining outside and lovely smell from the kitchen makes you hungry all of a sudden. It's better to pen down a poem and wait for the magic words.....' Your dinner is ready'.

Yesterday I wished to bring into life those childhood memories, tell my son life was simple and we were happy with simple things in life and life necessarily need not revolve around an iPad 24/7. I was late yesterday, so instead of tomato chutney I served mixed vegetable achar ( pickle) with the Khichuri. We can agree on a conclusion that Khichuri, Rain and Bengalis have a close knit connection or bond, whatever.

INGREDIENTS :( for Khichuri )

Rice ( Gobindo Bhog or Chinigura or Basmati ) : 1/2 coffee cup + 2 tablespoon
Lentil( yellow moong dal ) : 1/2 cup
Ginger Paste : 2 tablespoon.
Salt : As per taste
Turmeric Powder : 1 tsp
Cumin Seeds : 4 pinches.
Dry Red Chillies : 2
Green Chillies : 2
Bay leaf : 1
Mustard Oil ( Any other variety will do ) : 2 tablespoon.
Sugar : 1/2 tsp ( optional )

INGREDIENTS : ( for the Fries )

Eggplant : 1 medium
Potato : 2 big
Turmeric Powder : 1/2 tsp
Salt : As per requirement
Oil : 2 tablespoon
Rice flour : 1 tablespoon for dusting



Take the rice and the lentils in seperate bowls. Wash the rice nicely and soak. Heat wok and dry roast the lentils. When cool, wash it , put in one cup of water and pressure cook upto one whistle. Let it cool.

Put the rice on gas with 4 cups water for boiling. Keep at medium heat. Meanwhile cut the potatoes into round thick slices and the eggplants into half moon sizes as shown in the picture . Wash and marinate in salt and turmeric as much as required. Keep aside covered.

When the rice is half done, open the pressure cooker and pour in the half boiled lentil into the rice. Add salt and half tsp. turmeric powder. Give a stir, cover and cook at medium heat. Every 3 minutes open the cover and stir. Pour in more water if required. Once done switch off.

Heat oil in a pan. Temper with bay leaf, cumin seeds and dry red chillies. Put in the ginger paste, 1/2 tsp turmeric and salt. Keep stirring at low heat until it's nicely fried yet not burnt. Pour on the rice and lentil mixture. Stir to mix very well. Switch on the gas. Put in the green chillies after being slitted. Add the sugar if you wish to. Keep stirring for another 2 minutes. Switch off, it's done.

Not put the wok in the gas. Heat 2 tablespoon of oil. Fry the potatoes and then the eggplants in batches after dusting with some rice flour. This helps them to stay crispy upto half an hour. I asked to fry the potatoes first because after frying eggplants, the oil turns black, unlikely to be reused.

Serve Khichuri along with the fries, accompanied by sweet tomato chutney or little pickle. You can pamper yourself more with an omelette or fried fish, preferably Illish. ENJOY!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014


FISH....the word gives goosebumps to me....or rather to the Bengalis. In my current city , variety of fish is available but they are all sea fish. Bengal is a state surrounded by rivers and ponds. Hence, our taste buds are more accustomed to freshwater fish. Here fresh water fish are mostly available in frozen form. With kids at home we cannot always take the liberty to eat frozen things. So in a foreign land, our choice of fish gets limited. Given our love for fish, we will find some way or the other to satisfy our taste buds. I finally felt it is wiser to adapt to the changed circumstances at least to some extent.

From the various blogs by the experts, I learnt that any smelly fish , if marinated in vinegar for at least 1 hour and then washed and cooked, does not smell anymore. With all my tried and tasted recipes on fish, I have seen if we use onion and garlic , curry made with smelly fish can taste good.
Yes, you are right, with availability  of fresh water fish in abundance , Bengalis do not use much onion and garlic in fish curries except for in few dishes.

This FISH IN BLACK PEPPER SAUCE is a favourite with my men. They love it either as an appetiser or as a non vegetarian side. I prepare such dishes mainly on Friday evenings with my refrigerator almost vacant preparing to welcome fresh stuffs next morning. This dish is prepared with minimal ingredients. You can however use all types of bell peppers. The day I prepared this, I had only red bell pepper and green chillies available in my pantry.... yet the end product was tasty.

Boneless Fish Fillets ( Tilapia, Sutchi or Grouper ) : 500 gm.
Minced Garlic : 1 table spoon
Minced Ginger : 1 tsp
Onion : 2 medium
Red Bell Pepper : 1 ( you can use yellow and green bell pepper along with it.)
Green Chillies : 4 - 5
Soya Sauce ( light ) : 1 table spoon
Black Pepper Sauce : 2 tsp.
Salt : very little as both the sauces have salt in it.
Vinegar : 2 table spoon
Corn flour : 3 table spoon
Oil : 4 table spoon.

Wash the fish fillets thoroughly , cut into small squares, marinate with vinegar and keep aside for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, cut the onions , red bell peppers, into small cubes. Slit the green chillies. Get ready with the minced garlic and chillies.

In a bowl put in the corn flour . After 1 hour drain the vinegar from the fish. Wash again and pat dry. Add very little salt.

Heat oil in a wok. Coat the fish pieces very well in the corn flour. Fry them in batches. Please do not over fry them. Fry in batches, the wok should not be overcrowded.

Put the fish pieces in a tissue paper to drain the excess oil.Now pour the excess oil in the wok keeping only 1 tsp in it. Only that much is required. Once the oil is hot , put in the minced garlic and ginger,sauté till you get the fragrance. Put in the onion pieces. Sauté till translucent. Put in the bell peppers and slitted green chillies.

Increase the heat. Sauté for 3 minutes. Pour in the soya sauce. Stir for 1 minute. Now put in the fish pieces. Mix well carefully so that they do not break.

Now pour in the black pepper sauce. Stir in high heat for 1 minute . It's done. In the process sprinkle salt if only it's required.

Transfer to a bowl and serve hot as an appetiser or as a side with steamed Jasmine rice or with noodles.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014


The very sight of eggs remind me of Devang Patel's famous ad "Monday to Sunday ...Roz khao andey hi andey " as part of NECC 's promotional advertisement on the health benefits of having eggs. Oh! How my mother  relentlessly tried to persuade me and my brother to have eggs , the two egg haters, citing example from this particular advertisement.

One cannot deny the health benefits of egg. It is among the most nutritious foods on the planet. Though eggs are high in cholesterol, but they don't adversely affect blood cholesterol. Infact eggs raise the HDL, the good cholesterol . It contains choline..... an important nutrient required by us and help to reduce risk of heart disease  among us. The list is big. Let's stop here with the note..... We should have eggs on a regular basis.

My husband being extremely fond of eggs, it is a regular at my home. For  egg curries, we Bengalis prefer duck eggs, it tastes better. Duck eggs being banned in this island, we remain faithful to  the more popular bird, hen.

Today, let's cook a tangy tomato egg curry. Bengali curries are generally red and hot but this one not so much of an authentic Bengali curry.


Eggs ( preferably of duck, else hen ) : 6 nos.
Tomato : 4 medium
Onion : 1 big
Garlic paste : 1 tsp
Ginger paste : 1 tsp
Kashmiri Chilli Powder : 1/2 tsp ( it is known more for enhancing the color of the curry but extremely mild )
Green Chilli : 3 nos
Salt : As per taste
Bay Leaf : 1
Cumin Seeds : 2 pinches
Turmeric Powder : 1 tsp
Bengali Garam Masala ( an 1 inch size cinnamon stick, 2 green cardamoms, 3 cloves , roasted and powdered )
Oil ( Mustard or otherwise ) : 2 tablespoon.


Being a cleanliness freak, I prefer washing the eggs before boiling. Boil the eggs with half spoon of salt. This helps the shell to come out quickly without damaging the egg white. Once done, let it cool.

Meanwhile, cut each tomato into 4 pieces, discard the seeds, wash and put into the blender to get a smooth paste. Get a paste of onion,ginger, garlic and green chillies...... all separately .
Now discard the shell of the eggs. Wash again and make 2 slits on each one of them.
Apply some salt and turmeric on them and rub well.

Heat oil in a wok. Lightly fry the eggs. Take out. Temper the oil with bay leaf and cumin seeds. When the cumin seeds start spluttering, add in the onion paste. Fry till the raw smell goes. Now add in the garlic and ginger paste. Fry till the raw smell goes.

Pour in the tomato paste , keep stirring for 3 minutes, now put in the green chilli paste, salt and turmeric, Kashmiri mirch powder. Keep on stirring  till the oil seperates from spice mix.

Add 1 cup water. Let boil for 2-3 minutes. Slowly put in the eggs. Cover and let boil for another 3-4 minutes. Add the garam masala powder. Stir well. Add little sugar if you wish to. It's done. The gravy should be of creamy consistency.

This curry goes well with both steamed rice or roti.

Monday, 15 September 2014


Paneer remains the most common type of cheese used in traditional South Asian cuisines. It's use is more common in Nepal, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

It's versatility may be the reason why I am so much in love with it. There are so many dishes we can prepare  with it..... in curries, pakoras, kheer, sandesh, vegetarian kebabs and so on.
To prepare paneer, food acid ( lemon juice or vinegar or citric acid ) is added to the hot milk to separate the curd from the whey. The curd is then drained in clean white cloth and the excess water is pressed out. The resulting paneer is dipped in chilled water for 2-3 hours to give it a good texture and appearance.

Me and my son being hardcore paneer lovers, it is a must have almost every week. The husband does not love it but has it with roti / parathas! Why not will I prepare it? With so many recipes being done with it which are both healthy and tasty, I have to. This  self proclaimed cook who is but quite lazy, uses store bought paneer for most of her dishes. Hi folks, instead of scolding me, please consider my time management skills.

Jokes apart, I believe, on Mondays we should go easy on our stomach , give some honour to the variety of vegetables available and what could be a better alternative  for fish and meat other than Paneer..... I meant for us "desis".

I decided to share with you the recipe of Palak Paneer today, a popular North Indian cuisine.


Paneer : 200 gm
Spinach ( Palak ) : 250 gm
Onion : 2 medium
Garlic paste : 1 tsp
Ginger paste : 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala Powder ( Punjabi ) : 1/4 th tsp
Green Chillies : 2
Cumin Seeds: 2 pinches.
Bay Leaf : 1
Oil : 2 table spoon
Salt : As per requirement
Garnish with fresh cream.... I did not!


Roughly chop the spinach discarding the roots. Blanch them. In your blender, put the spinach and green chillies together and get a smooth paste. Slice the onions, wash and keep aside.

Cut paneer into cubes and marinate with salt. Heat oil in the wok and lightly fry and soak them in warm water for 1/2 an hour. Discard the water.

Heat oil in a wok. Add a bay leaf, then the cumin seeds. When the seeds splutter, add the ginger garlic paste. Fry till the raw smell goes. Now add the sliced onions. Fry till golden brown.

At this stage, pour in the spinach paste. Saute well at low heat because we need to retain the green color of the spinach. Sauté till the water that comes out of the spinach dries up gradually but not fully.

Add salt as required and the garam masala powder. Mix well. Add the paneer pieces. Stir very carefully for another one minute. See that the paneer pieces do not break. Switch off. It is done.

If you wish, you can add 1 table spoon of fresh cream to it. It will enhance the taste of the dish.

Serve hot with jeera rice , naan, paratha or chapati. I served it with curry leaf & dal tempered rice topped with toasted coconut and paratha!

Sunday, 14 September 2014


Weekends are days you wish to treat yourself  with something different, say some kebabs or fries, cooling down with your favourite wine and just relax. There are so many varieties of kebabs, using wide range of spices and fish, meat and vegetables. They are prepared in so many ways in different regions and countries, from the Middle East to South East Asia .

Originally and authentically , may be kebabs were done with lamb or beef. Succulent pieces of meat mixed with various spices and roasted on swekers over slow heat. Now a days, chicken, vegetable, paneer.....anything can be used.

Yesterday was Saturday, I wished to have some kebabs, but was not in the mood to dine outside. I had some yogurt and chicken stored i the refrigerator and the lazy mind said ..... can we have some quick fix chicken kebabs? I was really not in the mood to use swekers and slow cook.....So here goes my quick fix chicken hariyali kebabs that we will do together while listening to some good music.

Chicken ( boneless ) : 500 gm
Plain Yogurt : 150 gm
Coriander leaves : 200 gm
Garlic Paste : 2 tsp
Green Chilli Paste : 2 nos.
Salt : As per your taste
Garam Masala Powder ( Punjabi ) : 1 tsp
Onion Paste : 2tbsp
Oil : 2 tablespoon

Cut the boneless chicken into small pieces and wash thoroughly. Beat the yogurt to a smooth paste and pour onto the chicken.
Discard the roots of the coriander, wash and put into the blender along with the green chillies. Get a smooth paste and add to the chicken. Add the garlic paste, onion paste, oil, salt and garam masala too.  Fold in very well.

Refrigerate in a closed container for at least 2 hours.Take out 1 hour before cooking and transfer into a grill plate along with the marination.

I cooked in Microwave + Grill option for 15 minutes, taking out and turning every 5 minutes.

Once done, transfer into a serving plate. Squeeze juice of a lemon over the kebabs. Garnish with  coriander leaves and onion rings if you wish. Isn't it quick fix ?

Saturday, 13 September 2014


Tenualosa Ilisa is a species of fish in the herring family( Clupeidae). Among the Bengalis, it is considered the king of all fish and commonly called Ilish..... in English.....Hilsa. It is an oily fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids. They say it has beneficial effects in decreasing cholesterol level. I will not go much deeper into its beneficial effects, as Wikipedia also goes wrong at times. We eat it because we love to. A simple revelation. Among Bengalis, Ilish can be smoked, fried, steamed, baked in young plantain leaves, prepared with mustard seed paste, curd, eggplant. It is said there are 100 ways of cooking it. No, I won't brag of knowing them all. But yes, being a true Bong I can brag that if the fish is fresh, it can be cooked only with green chilli paste. And still it will taste heavenly. It's roe, has a distinct taste when fried.

Hilsa Fish : 4 pieces( 100 gm each )
Turmeric Powder : 1 tsp
Salt : As per taste
Green Chillies ( moderately hot ) : 5.
Nigella Seeds(Kalonji) : 2 pinches
Mustard Oil( Must ) : 1 tablespoon


This fish has a lot of scales. So wash the pieces very well. Add half tsp turmeric powder and salt as required. Marinate for about half an hour. Prepare a paste of the green chillies.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with nigella seeds. When it gives aroma, add the green chilli paste. Give it a stir and add the remaining 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and salt as per your requirement. Stir for 1 minute.

Pour in 1 cup water . Cover, let boil for 2 minutes. Now, add the fish pieces carefully into the boiling curry. Boil for another 2 minutes. Switch off. It's done.

Remember this recipe does not require frying the fish. Recommended to cook this way only if it is fresh and not frozen. The fish oil that oozes out from the fresh pieces is what enhances it's taste.
Enjoyed only with steamed rice.

Friday, 12 September 2014


Let's go back..... may be 20 to 30 years..... Mushroom was not so known in my hometown..... or state.... or rather country. Whatever the source may be it was considered to be unhealthy and poisonous. The fish loving BONGS refused to think beyond freshest of fish, vegetables, sweets when it came to food. The scenario has changed...... a bit I would say..... Only in the cities where the supermarkets made us believe it is something worth eating..... Like my own people, the much ignorant me came to know about its nutritive value after landing in Singapore. We quite enjoy it, in soups, curries, salads. Though my visiting guests from India still have reservations about it.
This particular dish is actually the brain child of a dear colleague , I loved it when she treated us with it . Ever since I prepare it quite often.

Mushrooms ( button ) : 300 gm
Tomato : 1 big
Shredded Coconut : 4 table spoon.
Red Chilli Powder : 1 +1/2 tsp ( adjust according to your taste )
Cumin powder : 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder  : 1/2 tsp
Garlic pods : 4
Ginger : one inch pieces.....2
Green Chillies : 2
Green Peas : Optional
Oil : 2 tablespoon
Bay leaf : 1
Cumin ( whole ) : 2 pinches.
Turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp
Salt : As per taste.
Onion : 2 medium
Put into the blender, the shredded coconut, garlic pods, ginger pieces and blend well with little water,
if required. Make a paste of the tomato.
Wash and cut into halves the mushrooms, put in little salt and turmeric. Mix well.
Heat oil in a wok. Temper with bay leaf and whole cumin. Put in the already sliced onions. Fry till light brown. Put in the tomato paste. Stir till oil separates.
Now pour in the mixture of shredded coconut, garlic and ginger. Sauté  very well. Put in the cumin and coriander powder, salt and turmeric, red chilli powder. Sauté very well .
At this stage put in the marinated mushrooms and stir continuously so that it mixes well with the spices. Put in the green peas if you are using it. Water is not required because the mushrooms will release water. Cover and cook till all water dries up. Put in the slitted green chillies one minute before switching off.
Garnish as you wish. Goes well both with steamed rice or roti.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014


Domesticated somewhere in Europe before 1000 BC, Cabbage is cooked in so many ways...... steamed, stewed, sautéed , braised or even eaten raw. Different countries, different ways of eating it. Indians, or say our subcontinent cannot think of cooking anything without spices, we prepare cabbage  with spices and dollops of clarified butter. Doesn't it sound yum?

In our childhood, this vegetable was eaten only in winter. Nowadays, with its availability throughout the year, we really have to think about various ways of cooking it. It was a Sunday, a day with ample time to cook something different and with my vegetarian friends planning to unfriend me, I thought why not Cabbage Kofta today? Weekends should be the day for all kinds of time consuming  kofta curries..... n to be merry at the dining table.

INGREDIENTS : ( for kofta balls )

Cabbage : Shredded 300 gm
Besan ( powdered Bengal gram ) : 3 table spoon
Rice flour : 2 table spoon
Turmeric powder : 1/4 tsp.
Green Chillies : 2 ( thinly sliced )
Salt : As per taste
Sugar : 1/4 tsp.
Nigella Seeds ( kalonji ) : 1/2 tsp.

INGREDIENTS : ( for the curry )

Onion : 2 medium
Tomato : 2 medium
Ginger paste : 2 tsp
Cumin powder : 1 tsp
Red Chilli powder : 1 tsp( adjust as per your requirement )
Turmeric powder : 1/2 tsp.
Salt : As per your taste
Bengali Garam Masala ( a powder made of equal amount of cinnamon , green cardamom, cloves ) : 3 pinches.
Clarified Butter ( ghee ) : 1 tsp
Oil  : 4 tablespoon
Cumin Seeds : 2 pinches
Bay leaf : 1 medium


Wash and shred the cabbage thinly. In a microwave safe bowl put together the cabbage and water. Microwave at high for 4 minutes. When cold discard the water. This is done because raw cabbage may cause bloating in some. Now transfer the cabbage in a big bowl .put in all the ingredients for koftas. Mix well and shape into small balls. No need to add water as the remaining water in the cabbage will help to bind all ingredients together.

Heat oil in a wok. Fry the kofta balls in batches. Keep aside on tissue papers to drain excess oil.
Make a paste of the tomatoes, onions and ginger separately. Reheat the same oil, temper with the bay leaf and cumin seeds. Put in the onion paste. Fry till the raw smell goes and it turns golden brown. Now add the tomato paste. Fry  for 2 minutes. Put in the ginger paste. Fry till the oil separates from the spice mix. Add the cumin powder,chilli powder, salt, turmeric powder. Stir well for 1 minute. Pour in 1 cup of water. Cover and let the curry boil at medium heat.

Transfer the koftas in a serving bowl. Once the gravy turns thick [not creamy], add 1/4 tsp sugar [optional], the clarified butter and the garam masala powder. Stir well. Switch off. Pour the gravy over the kofta balls. Keep covered for an hour so that the gravy gets inside the balls. Now microwave at high for 2 minutes at 30 seconds intervals. Serve hot with steamed rice/ phulkas.

      These are the tricks I have to use to force in some vegetables inside my strictly non- veg. son and husband. Hope you will enjoy too!!