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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Tandoori Cauliflower

I love to prepare this dish because of the minimal masalas required and yet being so tasty. I can eat this without any rice or roti (Indian flatbread) just like that. This can be made dry and served as an appetizer, but I have made it curry-like for serving this as main course. 

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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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Green Moong Daal

This daal has been used for thousands of years in grandmothers kitchens all across the Asian continent as a healing medicine. Well renowned  for its nourishing and detoxifying effects, Green Mung soup or daal helps to balance all 3 doshas. It helps clear away Aam (toxicity) that gets lodged in the body over time due to poor diet, lack of exercise and living a sedentary lifestyle. This is ideal for anyone trying to shed a few pounds or wanting to do a gentle cleanse. It has also been said that living on this daal for seven continuous days will cure you of all mamy of your ailments. I love this recipe and am sharing  with you. I have added a few more things to make this tastier for people who do not like the taste of moong. This is a complete food in itself and there is no need to have rice or any bread with it. I love to have this with roti though. 

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​Kaali Daal( Whole urad daal cooked with spices)

Kaali Daal

This Indian delicacy that belongs  typically to the Northern region of India has made its way into the hearts of millions of Indians. This Daal is included in almost all menu lists ranging from restaurants to parties to get-togethers because of its  versatility to go with any type of bread and rice. I, personally feel this is a very close cousin of black beans both tastewise and from the nutrition point of view.Having learnt to make this from two of my close Punjabi friends 20 years ago, I have been making this once or even twice every month. I assure you that once you’ve mastered the art of cooking this, there will be no looking back. The gelatinous nature of this lentil makes the gravy so satiny and smooth and once cooked,stays for quite long in the fridge.

Serves 6

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Chinese Pakora

If you are taking a stroll in the evening in Mumbai you will find vendors setting their stalls .Apart from panipuri stalls, if you find a very crowded place and only school going and college students crowding over there,follow your nose and stick to that place till your turn comes.Its Mumbai street food at its best.Though its very hot and spicy its very addictive.When my daughters were young ,they wanted to have this too.That’s when mumma bear came in.After having a few pakoras and steathily peeping into how they make I came up with my own take.

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Holiday recipe 3 -Creamy Roundels

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An all time favourite for all age groups and an ideal snack for children. Though I prefer to use toasted bread, it can also be made using crackers. The recipe actually demands a deep – fried bread, but keeping in mind the growing waist line of children I have modified it with toasted bread.

Makes 4 roundels

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Bitter Melon(Karela) Stir- Fried with Tomatoes ( korola prothom paate )

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Bengalis usually begin their meals with something bitter. This preparation is generally made in most bengali households using potatoes. However, keeping in mind the benefits of this vegetable for diabetics, I have been cooking without potatoes for years . The ratio of the karela and tomatoes is 1:1. If you are using a large size karela use a large size tomato and likewise for either medium or small .

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