Bengali · Indian cuisine · Main Course · Veg

Shorshe Posto Bata Sheem/ Hyacinth beans in mustard khuskhus paste

Ya, ya … I know, I’ve been on this bong cooking spree since a while (my past few posts have been mostly of bong cuisine). Well, these are regulars at my place & the thought of puting these on the blog never came to my mind. But then I thought why not 😎😁

‘Sheem Shorshe Posto Bata’ is a very easy & delicious Bengali preparation in a thick & mildly spicy mustard & poppy seed gravy. The pungency of mustard & the creaminess of ground poppy seeds makes this dish unique & a regular at most Bengali households !

Sheem/ sim is an Indian flat bean variety. Also called lablab beans or hyacinth bean, these flat green pods are about 2-3 inches in length. These tender beans when simmered in mustard paste taste heavenly. This easy preparation makes a great side dish with steamed rice. 

For those who love dishes with mustard paste, this recipe is sure to tickle your tastebuds, a mouthwatering Bengali delicacy.

What you need to make it is…

Ingredients 

  • 200gms hyacinth beans
  • 2 tsps mustard powder (I’ve used the sunrise mustard powder)
  • 3 tbsps poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 green chillies
  • 2 tbsps mustard oil
  • Coriander leaves chopped
  • Salt to taste

Method

Dissolve the mustard paste in little water & add a pinch salt, keep aside.

Wash & string the beans, cutting both the ends & tearing the fibre on either side. Chop into two or three pieces.

I prefer to double boil/steam the beans in the cooker for just 5 mins so they get a little tender pre cooking.

In a blender, grind the poppy seeds with little water & the green chillies. Grind till the poppy paste feels coarse but creamy.

Now in a wok, smoke the mustard oil.

Add the nigella seeds, add the tender beans, some salt & turmeric powder.

Saute till the beans are cooked (won’t take more than 5 mins since they are already steamed).

Add the poppy paste & mustard paste. Cook covered for another 5 mins till the gravy thickens & coats the beans well.

Adjust salt, add some chopped coriander leaves, tip in some raw mustard oil for the extra punch.

Serve hot with steamed rice.

Tanushree’s Notes 

  1. Steaming the beans is optional, but I prefer to do it, since it reduces the cooking time considerably & beans tenderize well too.
  2. Add salt to the mustard paste, if using sunrise powder, it removes the bitterness of mustard. (Advisable as per the pack instructions).
  3. Adding raw mustard oil in the end is optional, can be avoided. 
Bengali · Fish · Indian cuisine · Main Course · Non Veg

​Katla in Cumin Curry/ Katla Maacher Patla Jeere Jhol

Fish curries are every bongs weakness & I must admit that though I’m not a bong, I love their fish curries! When the summers boggle you down with eccentric levels of humidity & heat, this dish is a saviour … There can be nothing more comforting than a bowl full of steaming hot rice & this light fish curry. 
Katla/Catla or major carp is a fresh water fish relished by Bengalis. Easily available almost all year round, Bengalis make a number of preparations with it like the shorshe maach, Kalo jeere diye maach, Kaliya, doi maach.

Today I am sharing a recipe of Fish in Jeere (Cumin) jhol (Curry). A quick preparation that is minimal on spices yet flavourful. A soulful curry that teams best with pipping hot steamed rice.

What you need is…

Ingredients 

  • Katla fish ( cut the bong way )-  5-6 pieces
  • Potatoes 2 medium cut lengthwise into thick wedges
  • Cauliflower 1/2 medium, cut into medium sized florets
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric + 2 tbsp for frying the fish, potatoes & cauliflower
  • 2 medium tomatoes, cut lengthwise
  • 1 tbsp red chilly powder
  • 2 green chillies, slit
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cup mustard oil
  • Chopped coriander leaves for garnish
  • Salt to taste 

Method

Smear the fish pieces, cut potatoes wedges & cauliflower florets with turmeric & salt. 

In a thick bottom wok, heat the mustard oil till it smokes.

Fry the fish pieces till they are golden brown, keep aside.

Next fry the potato wedges till they soften & are almost done. Keep aside

Next fry the cauliflower florets till browned well. Keep aside.

In the same wok, add the cumin seeds, when they splutter add the slit green chillies.

Make a slurry of the cumin powder, pinch turmeric powder & red chilly powder with little water.

Add the paste, give a quick stir, now add the chopped tomatoes. Add salt.

Cover & cook for a min till the tomatoes go mushy.

Add about 2 cups water, the fried potatoes & florets. Cover& cook.

When the curry simmers, drop in the fish pieces, add the chopped coriander leaves.

Adjust salt & cover & cook till the potatoes & cauliflower is cooked well & the fish soaks the flavours of the curry.

The curry will be slightly runny & not thick. 

Serve hot with steamed rice! ☺☺

Tanushree’s Notes

  1. Bengalis normally fry the fish for all fish preparations, unlike southern fish preparations. Pls do not skip this step.
  2. Mustard oil can be replaced with refined oil, however I strongly recommend using it.
  3. This curry is generally of a thin consistency, somewhat of that of a stew. Owing to the light texture of the curry, it is best suited for summers when the palate craves for a light, soothing curry that isn’t rich & heavy to digest.
Indian cuisine · Main Course · Punjabi · Veg

Baingan ka Bharta/ Charred Spiced Brinjals

The Punjabi ‘baingan ka bharta’ has many fans a over the world … Our very own indianized version of ‘Baba Ganoush’ is a favourite of most! 

The concept of cooking veggies over the flame directly is what lends the unique favours here… that lovely smokey flavour elevates the dish to a different level all together. Large juicy brinjals are charred over open flame ( Bhatti) till they are tender & the skin can be peeled off easily, the smoked brinjal with a fine blend of spices makes the dish absolutely delectable.

Team the bharta with a Parantha or rotis & you would agree that it’s a match made in heaven! 

A regular at my place, here’s how I make it…

Ingredients 

  • 1 large brinjal 
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, peeled & smashed with a mortar & pestle 
  • 2 hot green chillies, smashed 
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilly powder
  • A pinch asafoetida 
  • Coriander leaves to garnish
  • Salt to taste
  • Mustard oil to cook

Method

Char the brinjal over a large flame till it is smoked well & feels tender all over. 

Now peel the burnt skin & mash the pulp well with your hands.

In a wok, heat the mustard oil to its smoke point.

Tip in the chopped onions, saute till they go translucent. 

Next add the garlic – green chilly paste & a pinch asafoetida.

Saute briefly, add the red chilly powder & turmeric powder.

Add in the tomatoes, add salt, cover & cook till the tomatoes go mushy.

Next, add the brinjal pulp, mix well. Again cover & cook for another 5-10 mins till the brinjal soaks the flavours of the masalas well.

Lastly adjust the salt & garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Serve hot with rotis, parathas or chapattis. Can be had with daal chawal too.

Tanushree’s Notes 

  1. While selecting brinjals choose the large but light ones, when patted you should feel that they aren’t dense. The dense ones often have lots of seeds & don’t make good bhartas.
  2. Retain the brinjal stem, helps turn the brinjal while roasting, handling with tongs tends to puncture the brinjal & the juices will leak.
  3. While I choose to cook the bharta with mustard oil, one can use refined oil or ghee too.
Bengali · Indian cuisine · Mithai/Sweet Dish · Paneer/Cottage Cheese

Nolen Gurer Sandesh/ Date Palm Jaggery Sandesh 

Sandesh! The words in itself is synonymous with Bengalis. The famous sweet treat from Kolkata, the essence of a Bengali, sandesh is a quintessential part of every bongs life! 

If you’ve been to Kolkata you would know that the sweet shops there make a variety of sandeshs a.k.a Sondesh (how a Bengali would pronounce it) like an aam sandesh, nolen gurer sandesh, kaccha golla, shada sandesh. Today I’ve tried the seasonal Nolen Gurer Sandesh. 

Nolen gur I.e date palm jaggery is a special jaggery extracted from dates/ khajur & is available only during winters in Kolkata. While the shada (white made out of sugar) sandesh is available all year round, the gurer sandesh is the exotic & tastier one. The flavours of the jaggery lend a very unique taste to the sandesh. 

The recipe is a simple one with just 3-4 ingredients primarily chenna/ fresh cottage cheese & the jaggery. This is my first try, & so isn’t very perfect however the taste was bang on like the traditional ones. 

Let’s get to the making of Sandesh 

Nolen Gurer Sandesh

Ingredients 

  • 4 cups full cream milk
  • 1 cup grated date palm jaggery
  • 1/4th cup vinegar 
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped dry fruits (optional I’ve not added)

Method

In a pan add the milk, place it on the gas & bring it to a boil.

When the milk is just coming to a boil, add the vinegar in parts little by little. Say in 3 batches

You will see the milk will start to curdle, switch off the gas when all the vinegar is added.

Keep aside for all the milk to curdle. Do not stir the milk, leave it untouched for 10 mins to curdle well (too much stirring makes the chenna hard).

After about 10 mins you will see the chenna has seperated from the whey. Place a cheese cloth over a strainer & pour the curdled milk over it.

Strain the chenna off all the whey well, place the cheese cloth under running water to remove the sourness of vinegar.

Tie the cheese cloth over the tap & leave it for about 2 hrs for all the excess water to drain.

After 2 hrs take the fresh chenna out on a big plate. Now using the heels of your palm mash the chenna well for about 10-15 mins till it smoothens.

Add the grated jaggery, again knead for another 2 mins till the jaggery is mixed well & the mixture forms a homogenous lump

On a non-stick pan, on low heat, heat the mixture for just about 4-5 mins till the mixture leaves sides of the pan.

Remove from flame, let them cool a bit.

Shape them using moulds when they are still warm. Press some finely chopped dry fruits on the face of the sandesh.

Here’s a picture of the traditional moulds

Savour these warm or cold.

Tanushree’s Notes 

  1. One can replace date palm jaggery with an equal amount of sugar. 
  2. In case you don’t have moulds, make small round balls, or flattened rounds.
  3. Heating the mixture on the flame is optional, bengalis make the simple version too without heating & just shaping called Kacha Golla.

Appetizer · Mexican · Mushrooms · Snacks · Veg

Cheese Tacos with Creamy Mushrooms

Cheese! Ahhhh doesn’t it make everything in the world taste so much better? As for me i have a terrible ‘Cheese Tooth’ 😁😁 

Think Mexican & tacos come to one’s mind first! However these are different from the regular ones… unlike the traditional maze flour tortillas these are have an all cheese base! Yes, easy cheesy breezy ones to put your cravings to rest!!  The moment I saw this recipe put on a foodie group I knew I had to try it! 

A treat for kids & adults alike, this dish makes a great party snack. One can play with the taco stuffing …the choices are unlimited.

So here I urge all cheese lovers to try this one! A keeper of a recipe, this one’s a winner all the way…

Cheese Tacos with Creamy Mushrooms

For the taco shell

Grated cheese (ive used a mix of mozzarella & processed cheese): 60 grams (This will make 3 taco shells).

For the filling

  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium capsicum finely chopped
  • 4-5 button mushrooms chopped
  • 3 tbsps sour cream
  • Generous sprinkle of pepper powder
  • Salt to taste

Method

Grate the cheeses & mix well.

In a non-stick pan on a medium heat, add in the grated cheese (20 grams) in a round shape.fill up all the gaps to form a circle. 

Let it melt and cook until browned on the edges. (It will take some time, you have to be patient)

When you see its evenly browned, take a spatula and remove it slowly from the pan (it will easily come out)

While the cooked cheese base is still hot, give it a shape of a taco (a U shape). Don’t let it get cold, otherwise it will get crispy and will break when you bend it.

Saute all items listed under the filling except the sourcream & the seasoning, once the veggies & mushroom is cooked add the sour cream & seasoning. 

Fill the mixture in ur cheese taco pockets.

Your tacos are ready to be served 😀

Tanushree’s Notes

  1. You can choose a filling of your choice adding mixed veggies, fish, bacon, eggs, chicken,kidney beans etc
  2. It’s ideal to use mozzarella cheese since the cheese melts well. 
  3. Do not try to lift the taco unless the cheese is well browned. Once it is cooked it will leave the sides of the pan. Use only a non-stick pan.

RC: Pratichi Dixit Sadangi

Indian cuisine · Main Course · Veg

Aloo Bhindi Masala/ Okra & Potato Stirfry

Nothing beats the taste of simple homemade food! Moreso with summers at its peak, a simple & soul soothing meal is what one craves for. 
This simple recipe is a common dish in most indian households. It’s a regular at my place too, easy to make & tasty, it teams well with rotis or daal chawal. 

Aloo Bhindi Masala

Ingredients 

  • 25o gms okra, washed , pat dried
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled
  • 1 big onion, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp red chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Chopped coriander leaves
  • Oil to cook
  • Salt to taste

Method

Pat dry the okra well, discard the head, cut into 1inch pieces.

Peel the potatoes, slice lengthwise into strips.

Now in a wok heat some oil, add the potatoes, sprinkle salt, let them cook until almost done.

Take out the potatoes, drop in the okra, add some salt.

Fry well till the okra goes limp & is lightly browned. Keep aside.

In the same wok, add cumin seeds, let them splutter. Next add the green chillies.

Add the sliced onions, saute till they go translucent. Add the spice powders.

Mix well, add the sliced tomatoes, add some salt, cover & cook till the tomatoes go mushy.

Next drop in the lightly fried potatoes & okra pieces, add about 1/4th cup water, mix well & cover & cook.

In about 5-10 mins you will see the curry dry up a bit, with the masala coating the potatoes & okra well. 

Check potatoes for doneness & the seasoning.

Switch off the flame & sprinkle chopped coriander leaves.

Serve hot with rotis, phulkas or daal rice.

Tanushree’s Note

  1. Frying of the potatoes & okra is an optional step if one wishes to reduce the oil content, however the okra has the tendency to turn slimy if not lightly fried. My suggestion would be to lightly saute them instead of adding them raw to the curry. 
Appetizer · Indian cuisine · Snacks

Masala Peanuts

Masala peanuts is a very popular snack, a favourite munch for most people while watching TV, reading a book or even as a side alongside drinks during home-parties.

Spicy & crispy, we all love to binge on this snack, but for calories it comes with 😦 !! The traditional ways require the nuts to be deep fried, however i have a way out for the calories conscious too. Yes! You read it right… Guilt-free indulgence!! These microwave made peanuts taste just as good sans the deep frying. Just a little smear of oil & you are good to go… Interesting is it? 

So what are we waiting for?? Make a bowl full for yourself before that interesting novel or your favourite TV show ends 😁😁

Masala Peanuts

Ingredients:

1 cup Groundnuts raw or can be roasted slightly

1 cup Chickpea flour(Besan)

3/4 tsp Carom seeds(Ajwain)

a pinch of Asafoetida (optional)

1/4 cup Water,approximately

1 tsp Red chili powder

2-3 tbsp Oil

Salt to taste

Method

In a bowl add ground nuts, chickpea flour, salt, asafoetida, red chili powder and carom seeds and mix everything nicely.

Add oil and water and mix nicely.Do not add water at once, add water slowly so that the batter coats the groundnuts evenly.If needed add 1-2 tbsp more of water but you should not make the batter thin,the ground nuts should hold the batter.

Cut a wax paper(butter paper) to the size of the tray in the Microwave.

Drop the peanuts into small clusters leaving some space in between them. 

Microwave it on HIGH for 1 1/2 – 2 minutes and keep an eye after 1 1/2 mins so that they would not burn. Check by tasting 1 cluster(peanut), if you feel it is still raw microwave it again for a minute or two. It might take any time in between 2-4 mins based on the power of your microwave.

Remove the wax paper from MW.Let the peanuts cool completely & then remove them from the paper.

Repeat the same process for the rest of the peanuts and microwave them and cool them completely.

Store the peanuts in an air tight container.

Rc : Chef & her Kitchen

Tanushree’s Notes

  1. You should not allow each cluster to have more than 3-4 peanuts otherwise the peanuts will not get cooked evenly 
  2. Also do not clutter them in one batch , instead do it in small batches. The quantity I mentioned should be done in 2-3 batches based on the size of your microwave.
  3. Keep an eye on the MW & keep checking peanuts intermittently to make sure they don’t burn.
  4. I have added some crushed fried curry leaves to the masala peanuts for an extra flavour while storing
  5. Additionally you can sprinkle some chaat masala or amchur powder too