Saturday, December 3, 2016

Khichudi (Rice and Lentil mixture)

Khichudi is one of the simplest and most delicious dishes gifted by the state of Bengal to the world. It is so simple that it can even be made as a quick fix for dinner. Enjoy with some fish fry, roasted papad, and potato fry for lunch on a rainy day. Let's have the recipe here that serves 2!

All you need:
  • Rice (Gobindo Bhog is the most suitable, but can be prepared with practically any kind of rice, I made with Sona Masoori) - 1 cup
  • Moong dal (split yellow lentils) - 2 cups
  • Cumin powder - 1 and 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt - 2 and 1/2 tsp, or to taste
  • Ginger (finely chopped) - 2 tsp
  • Green chilies - 2 (slit)
  • Whole red chilly - 1
  • Mustard oil - 2 tbsp
  • Water - 1.5 litres
Let's cook!
  1. Heat a wide pan, and roast the moong dal until light brown in colour (be careful not to burn it). Tip: Do not wash the dal before roasting, to get a strong flavour
  2. Wash the roasted dal along with the rice, drain the water, and set it aside
  3. In the same pan, heat the mustard oil
  4. Add the red chilly,  and fry till blackish in colour
  5. Add the ginger, and fry till light brown (be careful not to burn it)
  6. Add the cumin powder, and saute for about a minute
  7. Add the turmeric powder and the salt, and saute the mixture on high flame for a minute
  8. Add the mixture of dal and rice
  9. Mix all the ingredients in the pan on high flame, and stir for about a couple of minutes
  10. Reduce the flame, add the water and the green chilies
  11. Cover the pan, and turn the heat to high until the mixture comes to boil
  12. Simmer the mixture with the lid covered for about 20 minutes (or until the rice and dal are properly cooked, looking a little mashed)
  13. Taste the khichudi, and add more salt if required
  14. Mix well, and remove from the flame
  15. Serve hot with fish fry, potato fry and papad

Shorshe baata diye maach bhapa (steamed fish in a mustard gravy)

This is one of the most famous delicacies in Bengal. While it is more popular with Hilsa fish or Ilish maach, and enjoyed on a rainy afternoon, it can be prepared using other fish as well. Here I include the recipe using Basa fish, which might not taste as good as Hilsa, but is a blessing for those who cannot stand the fishy smell.

All you need:

  • Basa fillet - 1
  • Mustard seeds - 3 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt - 1 and a half tsp or to taste
  • Green chilies - 2 or to taste
  • Mustard oil - 4 tsp
  • Water - about 2.75 cups
Ready to cook?
  1. Clean the fish thoroughly with water, and pat dry
  2. Cut the fillet into medium sized pieces, on an average yields 10 pieces
  3. Add half the salt and half the turmeric powder to the pieces of fish
  4. Mix well, and let it set for 5 minutes
  5. Grind the mustard seeds, the green chilies, and the remaining turmeric powder with a little bit of water to make a thick paste
  6. Add the above paste to the mixture of fish, along with the remaining salt and 2 tsp of mustard oil, and mix well. Let it stand for 5 minutes
  7. In a metal box that has a lid, pour the mixture of fish and spread it even
  8. Sprinkle 2 tsp of mustard oil on the mixture (do not mix it)
  9. Add about half a cup of water (depending on how runny you want the gravy to be, adjust the volume of water)
  10. Close the box tightly with its lid
  11. In a pressure cooker, place the grid that comes with the cooker
  12. Add 2 cups of water
  13. Place the box containing the fish evenly on the grid, ensuring that the grid contains the box. This is to make sure the box does not float on the water
  14. Cover the pressure cooker and place it on high flame
  15. After the first whistle, simmer the cooker for 7 minutes (if you use Hilsa, it could take up to 10 minutes)
  16. Switch of the gas and let the cooker cool down of its own accord
  17. Carefully open the box, and check if the fish has cooked properly, if it has not, you might have to return it to the pressure cooker and simmer for another couple of minutes
  18. Serve hot with rice or khichudi (another Bengali delicacy)

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Kanda Poha

Yes, I know what you are thinking! Am I really going to read a recipe that is this simple? Well, Kanda Poha may be a popular dish in a Maharashtrian kitchen, but here I post a very basic, simple version of it, a-la my Bengali mother!!

All you need 
  • Poha (flattened rice): 1 cup (Tip: For the perfect Kanda Poha, ensure you use good quality poha with medium thickness)

  • Onion: 1 large, finely chopped
  • Ginger: about 1/2 inch, finely chopped 
  • Green chili: 1, slit

  • Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
  • Oil: 3 tbsp
  • Asafoetida: 1 pinch
  • Salt: To taste
  • Sugar: 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder: 1/4 tsp
  • Red chili powder: 1/4 tsp (Tip: I use Kashmiri Mirch for the color minus the harmful effects of original red chili)
  • Coriander powder: 1 tsp
Let's cook!
  1. Wash and soak the poha for a few minutes (it usually depends on the quality of poha, as for poha with medium thickness, soaking for 3-4 minutes is enough)
  2. Heat a pan, and add the oil
  3. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds

  1. As the seeds begin to splutter, add the onion pieces, and the asafoetida

  1. When the onions are fried about half way, and turn light brown in color, add the ginger

  1. Fry the mixture till the onion pieces turn completely brown, but be careful not to burn them
  2. Add salt, sugar, turmeric powder, red chili powder, and coriander powder

  1. Fry the mixture until the spices are well cooked
  2. Add the drained poha, and mix well

  1. Cover and cook until the poha is well done (add a small quantity of water if it looks too dry or sticks to the pan)
  2. Add fried peanuts (whole) to the pan
  3. Mix well, and serve hot! 


Friday, April 8, 2016

Yaknee Pulao

This is a one-pot dish, which is extremely simple to make, tastes awesome, and is always a hit! This dish used to be originally prepared at my home by my dad, but I will still feature it in my mom's recipe list, as it is one of the parents after all!

So let's get started!

All you need
  • Rice of your choice, uncooked: 1. 5 cups
  • Chicken (boneless or with bone): 300g, chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • Water: 2.5 cups
  • Oil: 4-5 tbsp
  • Salt: 2 tsp
  • Cinnamon: 2 sticks
  • Cardamom: 5-6
  • Cloves: 4-5
  • Black peppercorn: 3-4
  • Bay leaf: 1
 Getting it done
  • Soak the rice for 1 hour
  • Add the water in a pressure cooker, and place it on a gas stove
  • Add the washed cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black peppercorn, and bay leaf 
  • Add the raw chicken pieces thoroughly washed
  • Add a pinch of salt
  • Cover the cooker, and turn on the stove
  • After the first whistle, simmer the cooker for 5 minutes 
  • Once the cooker has cooled down, separate the chicken and the spiced water
  • Wash and dry the pressure cooker
  • Heat the oil in the cooker
  • Drain the water from the soaked rice
  • Add the chicken, and shallow fry for 3-4 minutes 
  • Remove the chicken
  • Add the rice to the same cooker, and shallow fry it for 2-3 minutes in the same oil 
  • Add the fried chicken back to the cooker
  • Add the remaining salt
  • Add the previously cooked spiced water 
  • Cover the cooker
  • After the first whistle, simmer for 4 minutes
  • Once the cooker has cooled down, remove the lid, and mix the final dish with a serving spoon
  • Serve hot with any kind of gravy