Archive for January, 2012


No matter how hard I tried, I always failed with this dish in the initial few years of my marriage. Ingredients are minimal and I had no clue how I could go wrong with such a simple dish. Then came a day when a colleague of mine had brought this dish and I hastily asked her the recipe. She gave me almost the same procedure as I did it. I told her that I followed similar method but mine never turned out half as good as this. She gave a tip that I need to use a bit extra oil. Also, I need to add the poppy seed paste only after the veggies are cooked and then keep it uncovered. All I did that day at work was to wait to get back home and better my culinary skills at perfecting this Bengali classic dish.

Ingredients:
Ridge Gourd – 1 medium, cut into 1 cm cubes
Potato – 2-3 medium cut into 1 cm cubes
Onion – 1 medium sized, finely chopped (optional)
Poppy seeds – 2 tbsp
Green Chillies – 3-4 or more as per your spice tolerance
Salt – to taste
Oil – 6 tbsp (I generally mix sunflower oil and mustard oil)
Panch Phoron – 1 tsp (a mix of fennel, cumin, nigella, mustard and fenugreek seeds)

Method:
1. Grind poppy seeds, green chillies and salt in mixie without adding water first. Then grind by adding water little by little until you get a smooth paste. Keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan. Add panch phoron. Let it splutter.
3. Add onions and saute till tanslucent. (If using onion)
3. Add cubed potatoes and saute till the cubes turn golden in colour.
4. Add ridge gourd cubes, combine. Cover the pan and let it cook in ridge gourd’s juices. If the water seems less at any point you may add a little for the veggies to cook.
5. Once the veggies are cooked, uncover the pan, add the poppy paste and combine. Adjust salt if required
6. Let it cook on high flame till extra moisture evaporates and you get a dry gravy.

  
I had a meagre amount of prawns lying in the freezer. As I was on the lookout for recipes to use it up, I bumped into this recipe by Sandeepa. The original recipe idea belongs apparently belongs to her SIL. My refrigerator always stocks up Brinjals. I decided to give it a try. The recipe was a huge hit. Infact, when we licked off the bowl in which it was served at the end of our meal, Abbas said that his heart ached that such a yummy dish got over too soon. It will certainly feature in our meals frequently from now on.

Ingredients:
Brinjal – 1 medium sized, cut into thin long strips like french fries
Onion – 3 medium sized, sliced
Ginger paste – 1 tsp
Garlic paste – 1 tsp
Tomatoes – 2 small, finely chopped
Green chillies – 3-4 or more as per spice tolerance
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
Prawns – 10-15 peeled, deveined, cleaned (I used 8 large ones)
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Coriander leaves – handful, chopped
Lemon juice – 1 tsp (Optional, actually I forgot this)
Oil – 6 tbsp + 1 tbsp
Sugar – 1/2 tsp

Method:
1. Marinate prawns with salt and turmeric powder. Shallow fry it, remove from oil. Once cooled, grind to a coarse paste and keep aside.
2. Marinate brinjal fingers in salt, turmeric powder and a pinch of sugar. Keep it aside for a while and then shallow fry them. (Addition of sugar reduces the amount of oil absorbed by brinajl)
3. In the same oil, add sliced onions and saute till golden brown.
4. Add ginger and garlic paste, saute till raw smell goes away.
5. Add chopped tomatoes, use the back of spatula to mash the tomatoes as you go sauteeing.
6. Once tomatoes turn mushy, add chillies, red chilli powder, cumin powder and coriander powder. and combine. Grind into a smooth paste once it gets cooled.
7. In a pan, heat a tbsp of oil. Add cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds.
8. When they splutter, add the fried brinjal fingers, ground masala paste and ground prawns. Add salt and a little water. Cover and cook till brinjals are cooked and the extra moisture dries out.
9. Garnish with coriander leaves and lemon juice.

Of all the Bengali Fish Curries that feature various veggies in different permutations and combinations, this one is my favourite. Medium sized florets floating in the curry appeal to me more than the fish pieces. Here’s the recipe for ya:

Ingredients:
Rui Fish pieces – 5-6
Cauliflower – 1 small – cut into medium sized florets
Potato – 3 medi sized, cut into quarters
Onion – 2 small or 1 big, finely chopped
Ginger paste – 2″ piece
Tomatoes – 2 small
Cloves – 2-3
Cardamom – 2-3
Cinnamon – 1″ piece
Star anise – 1 (optional)
Bay leaves – 1-2
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp for tempering + 1 tsp for paste
Salt – to taste
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp + 1 tsp for frying fish
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Green chillies – 5-6 or more depending on spice tolerance
Coriander leaves – a handful chopped
Sugar – a pinch
Oil – 6 tbsp (I generally mix sunflower oil and mustard oil)

Method:
Preparation:
1. Grind ginger and cumin seeds together to a fine paste.
2. Coarsely pound together cinnamon, cardamom and cloves.
3. Marinate cleaned fish pieces with salt and turmeric powder. Shallow fry till crisp yet soft from within.
4. In the same oil, add some salt and turmeric powder. Shallow fry cauliflower florets till they turn crispy from outside. Keep aside. Repeat the same with potato cubes.

To make the curry:
1. In the same oil, add cumin seeds. When they splutter, add bay leaves, star anise and pounded garam masala.
2. Once nice aroma emanates, add a pinch of salt, add chopped onion. Saute till onions turngolden brown.
3. Add ginger cumin paste and saute till raw smell goes away.
4. Add chopped tomatoes and slit green chillies, once they turn soft, mash them using the back of spatula.
5. Add red chilli powder, salt and combine.
6. Add shallow fried florets and potato cubes and combine.
7. Add water as per desired consistency. Adjust salt of required. Add fried fish pieces and chopped coriander leaves. Let it boil.
8. After the first boil, cover it and let it cook on sim till the veggies are cooked.