Mochar Ghonto(Banana flower cooked with aromatic spices)

This dish is very dear to Bengalis and though it takes long to remove the stamens and stigma and chop them fine,we still manage to go through all hurdles to endure the end result which is worth the wait. Thanks to the home delivery of vegetables, we now get it peeled and just ready to be chopped. This is eaten with plain rice and is little sweet which is not exactly new to Bengali cuisine. The sweetness balances the tartness of the banana flower.

Ingredients

  1. 1 banana flower (peeled, stamens removed and chopped)
  2. 4 tbsps of freshly grated coconut
  3. 1 cinnamon stick, 4 cloves, 2 green cardamoms, 2 bay leaves, 1 dried red chilli
  4. A pinch of turmeric powder
  5. 2 tbsps of ghee or clarified butter
  6. 1 small tablet sized tamarind ball (seedless)
  7. 1 tbsp of freshly squeezed ginger juice
  8. 2 tbsps of fresh cream
  9. Garam masala powder
  10. Slit green chillies
  11. Salt and sugar to taste.

Procedure

  1. Wash and drain the chopped banana flowers and transfer it to a pressure cooker with tamarind , salt and turmeric powder and half a cup of water.
  2. After one whistle, let it cool down and drain the water and slightly mash the flowers with a fork.
  3. Add ghee to a wok and put all the whole spices and once they start to crackle, add the flowers.
  4. Saute and keep adding all the ingredients except grated coconut.
  5. Stir fry on medium flame until the aroma of ghee, fresh cream and spices fill your kitchen.
  6. Once it is dry, transfer it to a plate and garnish it with grated coconut.
  7. It is ready to serve.
  8. Cooking of this recipe varies from kitchen to kitchen. Many add potatoes but I personally do not like potatoes in this dish.

Potato and Cauliflower fry

This is a versatile recipe because I can combine this with rice and dal, make nice sandwiches, use this as a samosa filling (more of a bengali winter samosa with potato, cauliflower and green peas), have with parathas and of course with kurmura or puffed rice as well. This comes to my rescue even when I come back from weekend getaways and after having heavy meals for two days I look forward to this light and aromatic vegetable dish. Aroma comes in the form of roasted cumin powder, slit green chillies, red chilli flakes and coriander leaves – all of which is added right at the end.

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My Macher Jhol (Bengali Fish Curry)

The word curry or jhol implies slow cooking with spices wherein each spice has a role to play. Few of them impart their flavour, some render their sweetness and some give the required consistency to the curries. For bengalis, macher jhol and rice combo is comfort food. In earlier times, fish was deep fried before putting into jhol which made it tastier. Nowadays keeping health factor in mind, we shallow fry or at times even grill before putting into the already simmering curry. We add vegetables as per season and availability but believe me there nothing can stop us from cooking macher jhol. If our pantry runs barren we cook it with only potatoes and dal kisses(bori). Today I have shared the recipe of aloo(potatoes), phoolkopi(cauliflower) and bori(dal kisses) jhol cooked the traditional way. Each and every household have their own recipe.

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Chorchori (Mixed Vegetables) 

This recipe is a hot favourite of Bengalis. My personal belief about the origin of this recipe is that in earlier times there used to be a joint family system in most of the households. Bengalis have always been fond of food and the variety of food on their platter would require  lots of  fresh vegetables. The peels of the vegetables must have been quite a lot in quantity. Instead of  wasting and throwing away the peels they came up with the concept of chorchori. All the members including the helpers  and the servants would have gotten to eat a good share. Not to  forget the widows who, in those days were not allowed to have the non-vegetarian fare. This tasty dish would have satiated their taste buds. Interestingly, the word Chorchori comes from the noise made by the sizzle of the vegetables and their peels inside the wok. In course of time, chorchori has occupied a very loved and adored place in Bengali meals. 

This preparation doesn’t have any  fixed set of veggies. The best thing is,  you can use whatever you want to  and how much ever you want to. I have mentioned whatever I have used in this recipe but you can let your imagination run wild.

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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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 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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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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Potatoes cooked in poppy seed paste( Aloo Posto)

Potatoes cooked in Poppy Seed Paste

There are very less dishes where poppy seed is used as the main ingredient.But, its not new for Bengalis.For us, whenever we want something very tasty and comforting we cook with poppy seed paste.Potato can be replaced by pointed gourd or even ridge gourd.It tastes as good.We combine onions with potatoes at times. Continue reading “Potatoes cooked in poppy seed paste( Aloo Posto)”

Jhaal Muri(Hot and Spicy Puffed Rice)

Jhaal Muri
Jhaal Muri

I have no words to describe this ultimate evening Bengali snack.It is very light with a wide array of nutrients and is completely subject to your imagination and liking, no wonder the Queen of England loves it too. The only principle you have to strictly adhere to, is to not add anything that makes the rice puffs go soggy. Its not required that you add all the ingredients that I have added. A little here and there is okay. Continue reading “Jhaal Muri(Hot and Spicy Puffed Rice)”