Friday, January 29, 2010

Duporer Khabar -Pomfret'er Tel Jhaal

Recently a non governing body in Delhi CSE –Centre for Science and Environment conducted some chemical test to see the level of pthalates in soft toys.They collected random samples from toy shops specially the ones children under three years use for sucking and chewing to help them while they are teething.Well it was shocking to find out the results ,45 per cent of the toys have high level of toxic content in them.Pthalates is a very notorious chemical which is used to make plastic soft, but it has very severe side-effect on a child’s developing body,lungs and it may trigger asthma also.
Now the most shocking result was it also included major brands like Funskool and Mattel.In fact highest among the other samples.
If you want to read more then go-- Here
There is no regulation or standard in terms of manufacturing soft toys in India(European countries have banned using this chemical in manufacturing of plastic toys long ago).It becomes even more concerning because half of the parents are unaware or they dont have any clue regarding this. So if you are thinking to buy soft plastic toys as a birthday gift to your friends son or daughter who is an infant or toddler or are looking to give these soft toys to your own child, I would suggest -pick and buy sensibly.

And now to the recipe .This has become a regular in our dinner or lunch table these days.Pomfret fish is fried well and then made into simple,quick easy Tel jhaal with some chopped brinjal and green chillies tossed in.I am sure this can be made with any frozen white fish fillets or cod fillets as well.Here is simple and easy recipe with pomfret –a saline water fish.

Pomfret ‘er Tel Jhaal
Serves for 4
2 silver pomfret
1 brinjal cut into longitudinal pieces
2 medium size tomato chopped coarsely
Few tsp of turmeric powder
2 tsp of red pepper powder
2 garlic chopped finely
3-4 tbs of oil
Salt as per taste

Cut the brinjal into longitudinal pieces.
Cut pomfret in half or let it remian whole which ever is suitable for you ,and then clean it well and then marinate with turmeric powder/holod and salt.
Heat up a saucepan ,add oil and fry the fish pieces well for golden brown.
Now in that saucepan which you were using to fry fish,add chopped garlic and let it fry well.
Add 1cup of water,1-2 tsp of turmeric powder,red pepper powder,chopped brinjal and tomato.
Add salt and some more oil also.
You may add in 2-3 green chillies as well for extra spicyness.
Add in fried fish.Cook till the gravy get thickned a little bit or the brinjal is cooked.

This recipe is inspired by our very known recipe of Ilish Macher Tel jhaal, so in place of pomfret you may use ilish(hilsa) also.

there are other pomfret recipes in Spice and Curry

Duporer Khabar-Pomfret fish curry

Pomfret 'er Kalia

Now there is an interesting series of interview happening at Cook Like A Bong ,dont forget to check in about that .Meanwhile they have come up with this post Here .Hope you like reading it.

Happy Cooking

Monday, January 25, 2010

Methi Matar -Another Version

Last time I prepared Chicken Keema Diye Ghughni , some of you asked the vegetarian version of that.Here is a nice substitute with methi leaves .So,the recipe is same but this time ingredient is methi or fenugreek leaves.We all know the benefits of fenugreek leaves, I don’t have to remind you.
I followed the recipe of Methi Matar Malai , except that this time I used yellow peas instead of green peas.And also used , onion/ginger/garlic paste .

The vegetarian version
Methi Matar
1 bunch of Methi(fenugreek leaves)
1 onion
½ inch ginger
2-3 garlic
1 cup of milk or ½ cup of cream
2 cups of yellow peas
1 tsp of turmeric powder
2 tsp of red pepper powder
2 dry red pepper
2 bay leaf
Cooking oil- 2-3 tbs
2 tsp of ghee

Clean the methi leaves , cut them coarsely.Wash them well in water for any sand particles.
Now in a saucepan blanch them with little water.For detail way of blanching the leaf and preparing methi with fresh peas , you may visit Here.
In a separate saucepan, add oil then temper it with dry pepper, bay leaf.
Add in onions/ginger/garlic finely chopped or better make a smooth paste and use it .Stir/fry them well for 5-7 mints.
Add in turmeric powder,red pepper powder and little salt(remember just enough to season the chopped onion/garlic/ginger)
Now add the blanched methi leaves
Cover and cook till all gets well coated with spices
Meanwhile pressure cook the dal/matar with turmeric powder and salt.
Add the above cooked methi masala to the cooked dal.let it simmer for 5-6 mints
Add in 1 cup of milk , and let it cook for 5 mints more or till the gravy thicken a liitle bit .
Yellow peas absorbs gravy like anything , so its better to leave some gravy so that at the time of serving you have the gravy to eat with .If you want a little dry ,then reduce the milk quantity to ¼ cup .
Friends we are celebrating our republic day tommorow

Mile sur mera is back with new version and new faces.

and here is part -2

Here wishing all my fellow countrymen a very Happy Republic Day.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Couscous Payesh (Sweet Couscous milk pudding)

Today is Basant Panchmi, and it marks the arrival of spring in northern hemisphere , don’t know why this time it is so early as usually Saraswati pujo falls in the month of Feb.Today we will be offering our small pujo to Goddess of knowledge-Maa Saraswati.And kids will be delighted to have a days off from rigorous study.
And some even be planning to make Gota sheddo.If you want ,please visit here for the detailed recipe--Gota Shedo
Anyways so thought of posting a payesh recipe with a non-traditional ingredient this time.
Cous-cous is a Moroccon/middle Eastern delight .The kind of packets we get here are ready-made/instant couscous, so it takes very few mints to assemble a nice dish out of it.I just thought they were very nice when made into a kheer or payesh.This can be well placed on a breakfast table.Just reduce the milk for a dry crumbly effect.I was in a mood to make a constitency of a payesh ,so added lots of whole milk+some cashews+raisins, and simmered it at low till it thickened into a nice way ,you can say a constitency of a rice pudding.Sweet cous-cous is a delight for us as I tried to add jaggery to it.This remineded quite a lot like nolen gurer payesh .If you want the payesh recipe with traditional content then visit here--- Semiya Payesh with Nolen Gur and here--- Chal'er payesh/Kheer .

Couscous diye payesh ( Sweet Couscous milk pudding)Ingredients
Whole milk- 2 cups
Sugar-2-4 tbs or add as per taste
Couscous-3 -4 tbs
Palm jaggery or any other jaggery -2 tbs
Sugar 3-4 tbs or as per your taste
Soak 3 -4 tbs of couscous in warm water.Keep aside.Let it sit there for 10 mints.
In a separate saucepan, add milk and let it simmer at low.Add one bay leaf at this point .
Now after 8 mints add the above soaked couscous in the milk.Let it thicken a little more.
Add in cashews or raisins as per your choice.
Turn off the flame when you think the milk and couscous have amalgameted well and cous-cous feels like melt in mouth kind of.
Now at the end ,add sugar + jaggery or patali gur /or you may add only sugar /or only jaggery ,entirely upto you. TIP--One thing is that -couscous require a little more sugar as compared to vermicelli or rice payesh.So I just added little more sugar and jaggery to it.Wish I had nolen gur then it would have been even better.Will be posting another recipe with couscous soon.
Serve chilled.
I have used Sri Lankan Palm Jaggery available here in place of nolen gur.
Here is another way of preparing Couscous payasam,visit Sra's blogpost - Here
Happy Cooking and enjoy Basant Panchmi or Saraswati Pujo.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Sedho Puli

We celebrated harvesting festival Sankrati recently.Now in Bengal, during this time people make pithe and puli to mark the harvesting festival or poush paban (poush is the month which coincides with the month of Dec-Jan, approx 15 Dec -to- mid Jan or 15 Jan).
In Punjab people celebrate Lohri ,in down South Pongal .There is a well known ritual of taking holy bath in Ganges/river Ganga on Makar Sankranti . Weather it is in Haridwar or Allahabad or Ganga Sagar near Kolkata. This time it was more auspicious as it coincided with a solar eclipse.Now according to well known ritual or myth whatever that is -after the solar eclipse,if you take a holy bath in Ganges, it wipes out all your misdeeds.With a dip in Ganges, all your misdeed is washed away by the holy river water.(Well ,that I don’t know if it’s ture or not).
[[According to a legend ,King Bhagirath began his hard penance to please River Ganga to revive his ancestor from ashes.Seeing Bhagirath’s sacrifices and ordeal , River Ganga was pleased and came down to earth from the heaven for the benefits of his people.But the force with which she was coming down to earth was uncontrolable and it would flood the earth also.King Bhagirath then again meditated and prayed to Lord Shiva this time.Lord Shive in return, began to control the force by placing river Ganga in his long coiled ,thick and matted hair called jata/Jota in Hindi/Bengali ,visit here for the full legendary story - Here .From then onwards ,it started flowing from Gangotri .River Ganga/Ganges never stopped giving her blessings to the people of this particular area from then onwards.Scientifically it’s proven that the water from this point at Gangotri is pure and can be kept so for many years.It’s sacred water is very fertile ,good for crop production etc and that’s why the northern part of India is ofetn called as the green belt of India.It supports livelihood of many families.That was mythology and picture the real scene now .
With the increase in pollution level in river Ganga from industrial waste and from tanneries ,isn’t , would be great if we can think how we can eradicate the pollution form the river itself without adding all our misdeed to it!! .And also it will help all those poor families ,whose livelihood depends on the river water, weather it’s from fishing,agriculture or from tourism.We should be planning appropriate actions to stop toxins getting into the water anymore.Visit near a river bank and it’s pathetic to see the sewage and industrial wastes dumping down into the river in one corner and in another people blindly drinking that water and having a bath in it thinking it to be holy and pure.We have to act before it is too late for us.Somehow I do think these issues need our attention sooner or later.]]
Anyways Visit any home in Bengal during poush paban and you will be offered sweet made from patali gur,parboiled rice and specially all sorts of pithe and puli or sometimes Payesh also.
Pithe is made from grounded rice and sometimes even sweet potato(ranga aloo) also.Last time we made shoro chakli .Shoro chakli is made from moong dal+parboiled rice powder.If you want the recipe then visit this old post – Shoro Chakli
This time I tried to make sedho puli in a foreign land .I didnt get parboiled rice(sedho chaal) here.So used ground rice packets instead of that.They turn out OK ,not the kind of things we make back in home.May be I should have used rice flour instead of ground rice for a better result.I will leave upto you to decide which works well for you.

Sedho puli
Chal goron/ground rice- approx 2cups
Maida/plain flour-3-4 tbs
Semolina/sooji -3-4 tbs
Little bit of oil for making the dough and the small disc in which the filling will be added.
Dessicated coconut-1 cup
Milkmaid/carnation condensed milk-4-5 tbs
Sugar- ¼ cup or less depends on how much sweetness you want
In a saucepan, cook dessicated coconut and sugar together at low flame.This is called as paak deva.Sprinkle some water while keep working on the filling in between.
Add some condensed milk if you want some richness into the filling.Usually Khoya/kheer is added,I didn’t had any so thought of adding condensed milk.Stir/fry it for some times,till the mixture starts to collect.Take out in a separate bowl.
You can make other filling as well.I had some bhaja mooger dal(in fact any vegetables or cholar dal can be made into a delicious puli filling)so thought of making Nonta Puli(savory puli) also.Dry the dal while stir/frying it in a saucepan.Add 1-2 tsp of ghee to it.
Mix in well all the dry ingredients like ground rice, plain flour and semolina to a smooth dough.Let it sit there for sometimes before you start making puli.
Oil well your hands and roll into a long log and then cut it into small pieces.Make the small round rolls out of each piece.With some more oil , gently press and roll into a small disc with the help of your fingers.Fill in the coconut sugar filling or the dal filling ,and close each disc.
Apply little water on the border of each disc and close with your fingers, press it to form a puli shape ,it will be quite like a gujiya shape( a north-Indian sweet made during holi ).
Steam it for 30 mints in a pressure cooker.Fill the pressure cooker with water and place a microwave/oven safe bowl/steel vessel into it .Place the puli inside it and make sure water doesn’t get inside the bowl.Cover the cooker with the lid ,taking out the whistle/weight.Steam this way for 20-30 mints. Just the way you would steam Idlis.
Make each batches of sedho puli this way.
Enjoy with nolen gur or honey or maple syrup.

Sometimes baking powder is added into the dough mixture to get a soft puli.It would be better to add as this may help in to get a soft puli.
You may use rice flour instead of ground rice/chal goron for a smooth and soft puli.
Traditionaly sedho chaal/parboiled rice , is soaked in water for 3-4 hrs and then it is grounded and used to make sedho puli.I don’t get sedho chaal/parboiled rice here.Instead of that I used ground rice available in packets here.
Have heard molasses goes well with sedho puli, I am not sure about that ,but if you feel you may have it with sedho puli instead of gur/jaggery/honey/maple syrup.

Happy Cooking Friends

Monday, January 11, 2010

Keema Diye Ghughni(Minced Meat with Yellow Peas)

Frozen Britain is what we are seeing these days.Britain has seen this type of weather after a gap of 30 years.When outside is so cold as if everything is frozen,just thought of making this spicy and hot ghughni with keema.
Keema diye ghughni or peas with minced meat is another Bengali favourite.And it was kind of customary in our grandparents home to cook ghughni on dashmi during Durg Puja.My mother and grandmother would make all the necessary moshla on sheel/nora and the fresh grounded spices would increase the taste and flavour content.This is just a short and quick way of preparing ghughni as I had all the dry spices in ready made packets.Now,ghughni is very similar to Texas Chili ( a regional fav coming from a state of Texas in US) which is again a very spicy and hot gravy made with meat.However most commercial Chili preparation has beans in it mainly pinto bean or sometimes kidney bean/black eyed beans etc.The keema /minced meat ,I got here is chicken minced meat , so following recipe is based on that.Usually mutton keema is added while preparing Keema ghughni.

Keema Diye Ghughni
For the keema
Minced chicken meat -200 gms
1 onion chopped finely
3-4 gralic minced
1 inch ginger chopped
2 -3 tsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of cumin powder
1 tsp of garam masala
1 tsp of black pepper powder
2 tsp of red pepper powder
1tomato chopped
Salt as per taste and some sugar
Oil for cooking -2-3 tbs
For the mator ghughni
Yellow peas- 2 cup soaked in water overnight or in warm water for 3-4 hrs prior to cooking
1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of red pepper powder
1 tsp of salt
Sugar pinch of
Some fresh coconut grated
Pressure cook the matar with enough water +turmeric powder+salt.
Now prepare the keema, since the keema(minced meat )is of chicken,the time required to cook is less.
Add oil to a hot saucepan, temper it with 2 bay leaf +4 cloves.
Now add the onion/garlic/ginger paste.
Add red pepper powder,turmeric powder ,cumin-coriander ,salt and sugar and a little bit of water.
Stir/fry the paste at med-low for 5-7 mints till the oil separates out.
Now add in minced chicken to it , stir it well so that the spices get evenly coated over chicken mince.Add in garam masala powder+black pepper powder.
Now cover the saucepan and cook at low for 7-10 mints.
Now transfer th eprepared keema to the cooked matar, and add in chopped tomatoes+ red pepper powder.Adjust the seasoning, if required add little bit more of black pepper powder for extra hotness
Let it simmer some more time at low till the gravy gets a nice colour and keema and matar gets mixed well.Probably some more 7-10 mints.Add in fresh grated coconut or even chunks can be wonderful.Alternately you can make it pressure cooker, just one whistle and open the lid before it gets cold, sprinkle some cold water to open the lid.Serve with coriander leaves and chopped green chilly or freshly grated coconut and finely chopped onions
Ground turkey or chicken breast pieces can also be used in place of chicken minced meat.
Used dessicated coconut in place of fresh ones in above.
Added some cashews also at the time of cooking the keema.
Happy Cooking Friends

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ilish mach’er matha diye Bandhakopi Palang Chenchra (cabbage spinach with fish head , vegetable medley)

"Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there's some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep".
--Robert Frost

Chenchra/Chanchra, as I can recall is basically a chorchori with the addition of fish ,specially the fish head and the oil that comes out after frying the fish pieces and head.Now, the procedure remains the same for a chorchori but at the end a fried fish head is added.
Just thought of creating a label ,pressure cooker cooking onwards ,as this would help many of us in this fast paced world saving time and energy.

Ilish mach’er matha diye Bandhakopi Palang Chenchra/Chanchara (cabbage spinach with fish head , vegetable medley)
Quarter of bandhakopi –cabbage
Approx 100 gms of spinach /Palang
10-12 Mangetout/Snow peas
2 potatoes
1 tsp of turmeric powder/holod
2 tsp of red pepper powder/lanka goron
2 tsp of coriander powder/dhone goron
1 bay leaf/tej pata
½ tsp of panch phoron
2 tsp of sugar
Salt as per taste
For Ilish fish head
1 tsp of Turmeric powder +some salt

Chop all vegetables , clean in water specially spinach leaves.
In a separate saucepan ,heat some oil, and fry marinated the fish head uniformly.
Take out the fried ilish fish head, and take some of the cooking oil to add later in preparing Chenchra.
In this oil,itself, add ½ cup of water,lonka goron/ red pepper powder,holod/turmeric and salt.
Cook the fish head in the above gravy .Take out after 5-7 mints ,keep this as you have to add it later to the chenchra.
Now add the cooking oil which comes out after frying ilish head , in pressure cooker + some more oil 2-3 tbs , add panch phoron and bay leaf , let it splutter.
Now add potato pieces, fry them well , add all the dry ingredients –holod,lonka goron,sugar and salt.
Add in coriander powder/dhone goron.
Now add in cabbage/bandhakopi and mangetouts.
Fry some more time 4mints.
Now add in spinach/palang and sugar also.Mix in well.
At this moment add the ilish fish head+ gravy if any (if you don’t feel like adding the gravy,don’t add it , the chenchra will be knd of dry) into it.
Now cover the pressure cooker lid and let it whistle once.
Now stop the flame and let it cool.When the pressure subside , open the lid and with the spatula/khunti work thro the the Chenchra/Chanchra and mix in uniformly and serve with garam bhaat .

Sometimes it’s better to open the lid before the pressure subside as this would stop further cooking of the chenchra.How you would do it, simple,take the pressure cooker in the sink,sprinkle some cold water over it and it would be easy to open the lid.
There is perhaps another way of making this, in a korai/saucepan, follow all the procedures except don’t transfer in pressure cooker, cover the korai and let it cook at very low flame till all the vegetables gets cooked or the thing turn out little mushy …in Bengali “makha-makha.

some more recipes

Puin Shaak 'er Chorchori at Spice and Curry
Chanchra at Bengalicuisinenet dot com

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bandhakopi Palang Kabuli Cholar Ghonto(Cabbage Spinach Chick Peas Vegetable Medley)

It’s been 4 days already now as the new year ushered in .And back to reality has struck.I mean you wait and plan for this long holidays.Where you will be going ,what you will be cooking , whom you want to spend time with and how. And before you could realize,time flies away .Its Monday now,another working week has started. Net total is -The holiday euphorbia fades away.
I have seen and heard people feel rejuvenated after this much awaited break/holiday.But it seems I am not yet ready to hang up .If it was on my hand,I would have loved to see this fabulous holiday time and spirit never end.May we always feel rejuvenated with the fresh memories of festive spririt throghout the year.And the holiday euphorbia lingers on forever.

I have made no new year resolutions as I am unable to stick to them so far .Keeping in mind the poor track records,I will be taking things as it will come to me.For another fresh year ,this is first post of the year –“bandhakopi palang kablir Ghonto”.
There is a very thin line when it comes to differentiating between labra ,chorchori and ghonto.I was little clueless when I was writing this post as what should I call this dish , a labra or a chorchori or a ghonto .Since the end result was a very mushy thing and also I chopped the vegetables coarsely not longitudinally , so thought it would be appropriate to name it Bandhakopi Palang Kablir ghonto.
How ever if you feel kabli chola can be replaced with some spicy chingri/shrimp or ilish mache’er matha but then that will be Chenchra right?.Will write the recipe in next post.
Bandhakopi Palang kabulir cholar Ghonto(cabbage spinach chick peas vegetable medley)
Quarter of bandhakopi –cabbage
Approx 200 gms of spinach /Palang
1 cup of kabli chana/kabuli Chola/Chick Peas
1 carrot
2 poatoes cut in cubes
1 tsp of turmeric powder/holod
2 tsp of red pepper powder/lanka goron
2 tsp of coriander powder/dhone goron
1 bay leaf/tej pata
½ tsp of panch phoron
2 tsp of sugar
Salt as per taste
Chop all vegetables coarsely, clean in water specially spinach leaves.
Soak the chick peas overnight .TIP- you may use canned chick peas , drain the excess liquid from it as it has way too much salt.If you want to add the liquid also then adjust salt in labra later at the serving time.Personally I prefer fresh chick peas over canned ones.
Now add cooking oil in pressure cooker, add panch phoron and bay leaf , let it splutter.
Now add potato cubes, fry them well , add all the dry ingredients –holod,lonka goron,sugar and salt.
Add in coriander powder/dhone goron.
Now add in cabbage/bandhakopi and carrots/gajar and soaked chick peas/kabli chana.
Fry some more time 4mints.
Now add in spinach/palang and sugar also.Mix in well.
Now cover the pressure cooker lid and let it whistle once.
Now stop the flame and let it cool.When the pressure subside , open the lid and with the spatula/khunti work thro the labra and mix in uniformly and serve with garam bhaat .
Mangetout is another vegetable which can be included in this ghonto.
Fried Ilish Fish head can also be included in it , making it amish chorchori/chenchra.
Chingri mach is another variation which can be included.I have made this with it and it comes out really great.Add the stir fried spicy shrimp at the end ,for the recipe visit here.
You can cook this in a saucepan/korai also.Just when you have coated the vegetables well with spices ,add spinach last and then cover it .Cook the vegetables till they turn out mushy.There is no need to add water ,water comes out from leafy vegetables easily.
This post is going to Cook like a Bong (Sudeshna) who is guest hosting - MM MIngle-winter fruits and vegetables an event started by Meeta at Whats for the lunch honey ,visit here for event rules and more details- MM-Mingle-rules .
Happy Cooking