Shukto (Veggies cooked with Bengali  Five Spice Mix) 

Shukto is a Bengali delicacy served with rice and fish curry and  I believe, its actually is a palate cleanser. Bengalis are known for their sweets but what people do not know is, a bitter tasting dish is a part of a their everyday afternoon meal. There has been quite a debate about the origin of Shukto because some say it is Portuguese in origin. They had a similar dish which they cooked with Bitter-gourd or Karela but, when Bengalis cook Shukto, they incorporate lot of  summer veggies with karela and bori(dal kisses) . A sweet touch  by adding milk and sugar transforms this dish to a different level altogether. 

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Chick Peas Curry (No Onion No Garlic) 

This is among my all time favourites, especially on the days I want to have vegetarian food. I wonder how  this dish goes so well with rice, puri (deep  fried Indian flatbread), roti, bhatura (leavened deep fried Indian flatbread) and pulao as well. I always make it a point to have at least 50gms of soaked and boiled chick peas in my fridge. I can quickly assemble a salad or a dip or a main course dish with this. I usually make this with onion and garlic, but to keep it light and not very spicy I tried  making this without these two aromatics. The result was good and I’m sharing it with you. 

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 Cabbage and potato Cooked in Bengali Style

This recipe is typical of bengali households barring the fact that some love to have it little sweet. My version is not sweet though. I strongly believe that the cutting of this vegetable plays a very important role in enhancing the taste. I have shown in the pics below as to how I exactly cut it. I tried  using the food processor,  but that didn’t work very well as it affects the look of the ready dish. And as I always believe that, its your eyes that eat first. 

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Eggplant Sauteed With Tomatoes and Fenugreek leaves( Methi Begun)

A very simple,  no onion and no garlic dish that cooks very fast. I love to have this with plain rice but you can have this with any flatbread. I would rather, you keep your plate ready before you start making this. As you sautee, the aroma of fenugreek leaves fills the air and you tend to feel very hungry. This dish is very good for diabetics. Whole cooking process is done on a high flame.

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Quinoa Pulao

Pronounced “keen-wah,” this protein-packed grain contains every amino acid, and is particularly rich in lysine, which promotes healthy tissue growth throughout the body. Quinoa is also a good source of iron, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium, and fiber. It looks a bit like couscous and is as versatile as rice, but quinoa has a richer, nuttier flavor than either of them.Quinoa is closely related to the edible plants beetroot, spinach, and amaranth(Amaranthus spp.), another pseudocereal which it closely resembles. Amaranth or Rajgira as it is locally known is a cheaper alternative to quinoa. We can use rajgira instead of quinoa. 

Both are pseudo-grains — foods that are prepared like grains (for making flours, and cereals), but are actually seeds and are gluten free. Rajgira, also called amaranth, is comparable to quinoa in terms of calories (370 cal per 100gm), fibre (7gm), fat (6-7gm) and protein (6-7gm), and has similar calcium, potassium and iron content too, plus higher vitamin E and magnesium as compared to quinoa.Both can be eaten on its own as a side dish, with a bit of butter or oil, salt and pepper, or other seasonings. It also makes a great breakfast dish mixed with dried fruit, cinnamon, milk, and maple syrup or honey. Paired with chili, stir-fries, beans or curries, quinoa is a healthy substitute for rice, and it also makes a tasty pilaf. In fact, I made one in a rice – cooker and everyone loved it. 

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Bengali Masoor Daal ( Red lentils)

Lentils have been eaten by humans since Neolithic times and were one of the first domesticated crops. In the Middle East, lentil seeds have been found, dating back to more than 8000 years. In Judaism, lentils are considered to be a food for mourners because of their round shape symbolizing the circle of life. The Greek playwright Aristophanes called lentil soup the “sweetest of delicacies”. Lentils have also been found in Egyptian tombs from as far back as 2400 BC. In India, the lentil is known as dal or daal. For many centuries, lentils were considered to be “the poor man’s meat.” In Catholic countries, those who couldn’t afford fish would eat lentils during Lent instead. In the 18th century, King Louis XV’s wife, Marie Leszczynska, made lentils fashionable among royalty and they were nicknamed “the queen’s lentils”.

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Veggies and Fruits with Black Rice

 

This is my idea of an ideal weekend lunch during summer. Black rice, which was also known as forbidden rice, has won the hearts of a whole lot of rice eating population because of its nutitional value. This rice is native to China. 

According to legend, black rice was thought to be so rare, delicious and nutritious, that it could only be eaten by emperors. While this rice is now being brought to the masses around the world, its nutritional content has still remained high. It provides a satisfying nutty flavor, making it a great addition to a number of different dishes. 

It usually takes a bit longer to be completely cooked than traditional white or even wild rice. Due to its high fibre content it keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time, making it a favourite for weight watchers. This recipe combines the health benefits of rice, fruits, veggies and healthy oil . I usually make it on saturdays for lunch because everyone is at home and I want to feed then something really healthy.

Serves 4

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