Saturday, October 31, 2015

Kolkata Style Chicken Biryani (using pressure cooker)

Biryani came to Kolkata, then Calcutta with the Nawab of Awadh, Wajid Ali Shah. He was exiled from Lucknow to Metiabruz by the British and he came to Calcutta with all his family, stuffs and cooks. After his death the cooks became jobless and they start to cook elsewhere or start their own business or open up a food cart. With this the Nawabi cuisine spread in Kolkata and inspired the Bengali cuisine. Kolkata Biryani is very much influenced from the Lucknow Biryani but it is mild in spices. It relies heavily on the use of nutmeg, mace, rose water, kewra water and mitha attar. Also in Kolkata style Biryani the chicken is cooked separately and then it is cooked with the rice. The cooking technique also imparts a different taste to the dish. Another reason, for which Kolkata Biryani is famous is for the use of potatoes in it. There is a story that The Nawab wanted to give a big party and invited a lot of people for the occasion. But the resources were limited and hence to increase the size of the Biryani the cooks of the royal kitchen added potatoes with the meat to the rice. This addition became super hit and the variation stayed on till date. Even today also Biryani for us is incomplete without the potatoes.

chicken biryani preperation

kolkata style chicken biryani recipe

chicken biryani recipe easy and simple kolkata style

I am a sucker of Biryani. I used to find excuses to go to any restaurant and eat them. And trust me there are lots of restaurants in Kolkata to fill in the purpose. Arsalan, Aminiya, Royal, Alibaba, Alya...I have been to almost all. And there is one famous small restaurant in Barackpoor named “Dada Boudir Biryani”, and you must try them if you are true Biryani lover. It’s actually a small shanty with tali roof top and you have to sit on a bench if you want to eat inside but it s the best I had till date. Even better than the Arsalan. They serve it on a paper plate with a green salad and spicy chilli coriander chutney but trust me you will never go to Arsalan if you ever eat from there. But it’s too bad that it was really far from the place I lived and Arsalan was a total rescuer in my moments of need.

Heat oil and add the marinated chicken pieces.

Fry the marinated chicken pieces until they are done and the gravy almost dries off.

Fry the onions, ginger and garlic in tempered oil and then add the rice,

Fry the rice for 2 minutes and add the fried and cooked chicken.

Add water and whole green chillies.

For other times, I had my Mami (aunt). She used to be a total angel and used to cook Biryani whenever we had any occasion. And she cooked it like a real pro. So when I came to Abidjan I missed my Biryani. More than even Phuchka and Jhalmuri I missed Biryani. There is no Arsalan here and simply no Mami to cook it for me. So I had to do what I had to do. One day I realized enough is enough and I have to learn to cook Biryani now. I started with much enthusiasm but soon realized its not an easy task. And for an amateur like me...its almost competing with the Master Chef. I really had no chance. The first batch I cooked turned up like a hotchpotch and ended up in the waste basket. Second and third time, the situation improved but still it was not under control. I asked my aunt again. Again again and again. I watched you tube videos like a real obsessed person. I really have no idea how many times I failed...but then last year just before going to India I had my first okayeish Biryani. And I improved till then. I realized from my mistakes and learned from them and now I can cook a perfect Biryani (not like my aunt, but close enough to satisfy me..he he!!!) with perfect chicken and fluffy rice.

how to cook biryani

how to cook chicken biryani using pressure cooker easy preperation

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Amsotto r Khejur Diye Tomato Chutney / Tomato Chutney with Dates and Mango Leather

Chutneys are Bengali staples. There used to be a time when chutneys were part of the daily staple, to be served after the meal and before the sweets and desserts along with some papad to go with it. But now it is only served in occasions. As a child, I knew there was only one kind of chutney and that was our plain old tomato chutney. The simple ones with only mustard seeds to be visible into it. But then I was introduced with a lot, fruit chutney, aamsotto chutney / mango leather chutney, kuler chutney / plum chutney, papaya chutney and what not!! And list became longer only with time.

bengali tomato chutney recipe

aamsotto chutney recipe tomato chutney

Fish curry with Curry leaves / Curry Pata Diye Macher Jhol

I open up the fridge in the middle of the night. I smell caramel sauce. I smell the leftover egg curry, the just done leftover tandoori chicken and the bottle of half finished chicken pickle (my new obsession), the 2 weeks old bread loaf and the dull but strong smell of vegetables. Sometimes I just open up the fridge and stand. Nothing tempts me to eat but I stare still to all the foods stacked inside. Then I look at the jar of Curry leaves. I open it and a take a deep breath. It’s so soothing. I feel at peace. Then I close the door and go back to sleep. Seeing and smelling is better than eating you know!!! It doesn’t give you calories.

fish curry recipe with curry leaves

fish curry recipe with curry leaves

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Niramish Kosha Alur Dom / Pure Vegetarian Bengali Dum Aloo

Alur Dom has a long lingering affair with the Bengali families. It is the most frequent as the breakfast accompaniment and it is also widely loved during the winter season. The potatoes are generally harvested during the winter season and the markets in Bengal get flooded with what we call “natun alu” / new potatoes. The baby potatoes are also a very winter thing. Mainly because the baby potatoes don’t go to the cold storage with their bigger siblings and hence they become completely exhausted during the winter.  And all these new potatoes with their soft texture and barely there skin and a unique smell maked Aloor Dom a sweetheart of our platter.

bengali alur dom recipe

bengali aloor dom recipe

Monday, October 26, 2015

Rosomalai / Rasmalai

Somewhere in between Doshomi and Lokhi Puja / Laxmi Puja, we Bengalis let ourselves to be flooded in sweets. All kinds of sweets...dry, soft, soaked in syrup, soaked in rabdi, deep fried and dipped into sugar syrup, loaded with nuts....we care a damn. It all starts from the evening of the Durga Dashami, the last day of the Durga Puja, when the younger ones touches the feet of all the elders and the elder ones give us their blessings in return...well and a mouthful of sweets not to forget. Younger ones also visit the house of the older relatives with sweets and then they do “Bijoya”. We touch our elder’s feet i.e we do “pranam” and seek their blessings and the same aged people embrace each other. If I can remember correctly, I remember my grandmother doing Bijoya by touching a hand woven fan made of date palm tree leaf and sprinkling some raw whole grain rice and a special type of grass called “durbo ghas” on our head and murmuring some poem or mantra. After she was finished we touched her feet. Then Ma did this and so did my aunts. i.e . masi , mami and pishi.
bengali rasmalai recipe rosomalai recipe

rasmalai sweet recipe

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Mutton Rezala

I don’t know what is it in the day time, but I rather find myself writing and finalising the blog posts in the middle of the night preferably after 2:00 A.M and complete everything with soaring red eyes. But today it’s a different story. Tomorrow...or should I say today is Ivory Coast’s election. And we are pretty much scared with the aftermath of it. Because the last time the country had an election, it ended up in a 6 month long internal war leading to much hazards. My husband had to flee the country at the last moment and so did most of the other expats. Those who couldn’t were rescued by the French Army and U.N. Hoping that we don’t have to face them this time.

Awadhi Mutton rezala recipe

bengali mutton rezala recipe

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Doi Chingri / Prawns in Creamy Yogurt Sauce

Doi Chingri is what I cooked second with my huge batch of left over yogurt. It’s really wonderful the way yogurt brightens up the taste in every dish it is added. It’s like the surprise element. No one suspects and yet it goes and does the job.

chingri bhapa recipe

how to cook bengali style prawn curry in yogurt sauce

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Kata Moslar Mangsho / Kata Masala Mutton

“Mahashtami” can never pass for me without a yummy meal in the lunch. In Kolkata Ashtami used to be the day when all the hell broke loose. Wearing the best dress, eating out, going from pandals to pandals without caring what time it is and where we are and of course giving “anjali” in our Baghbazar Sarbojanin Puja Mandap, were some of them...which made “ashtami”, “ashtami” for us. But now, since I am missing all the thrills, it was the time to get busy in the kitchen and create a stormy menu for the lunch. So I made Kata Moslar Mangsho.

kata masala mutton recipe with step by step pictures

bangladeshi kata mosla mangsho recipe

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Posto Bhapa / Steamed Poppy Seeds Paste

We are planning to halt in Dubai again this year. Last year we had a small trip but seriously Dubai is too large to finish off in just 3 days. My husband had to resume his work and we could manage only 3 days in Dubai. Needless to say that there are a lot of things still unseen for us. So I have picked up some 3 or 4 stops which we will see this year. We will roam the city throughout the day, storm out the spice souk and will catch our flight in dawn. Then we will be landing in India in the morning...and yes...this is the killer....we will be having lunch in Bhojohori Manna on our way home. I am really excited now. Although our holiday is still far far away....but still the sense of it makes me all giggly. I am dying to visit my city of joy again!!!

bhapa posto recipe

bhapa posto recipe how to make bhapa posto

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Coconut Mutton Curry

Is it only me..or is it everyone, who think that “pujo asche” (puja is coming sensation) is more exciting than the puja itself?? The puja comes and literally rushes towards the “Bijoya”. The five days are just gone like “whoooosh....” and again we start counting the days for the next puja.

simple mutton curry with coconut milk recipe

lamb curry with coconut gravy recipe

Friday, October 16, 2015

Bhoger Pulao / Bengali Mishti Pulao

Persian in origin, the Bengali pulao is basically sweet and loaded with cashews and raisins. It need not be yellow all the time, but is has to be sweet and savory. Traditionally made with Gobindobhg rice, bhoger pulao is made essentially on the days of puja as a deity to the god or goddess. Gobindobhog rice has its own fine aroma which is why the bhoger pulao is so much famed and raved about.

holud mishti bhoger pulao recipe

bengali halud bhoger polao recipe

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Narkel Khichuri

We Bengalis add a little chopped coconut to our Niramish Khichuri. We love that crunch there. Since I had a fresh coconut and a can of coconut milk sitting in the fridge for quite a long time...I decided to be done with them. I made coconut mutton curry...which came out rather to my surprise,  as great, contrasted to a not so great expectation I had when I was cooking that dish.  And then I had half of the can of coconut milk left with me so made khichdi with that the next day. Sole conclusion....if you can’t decide what to make...just add coconut milk to that god damn thing and it will be fantastic!!

coconut khichdi recipe

narkel die khichuri recipe

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Doi Maach / Bengali Fish curry in Creamy Yogurt Sauce

Generally a tub of yogurt has a self life of 2 weeks. I am talking about the yogurt I generally buy from Cash Centre. I don’t make them in home. The manufacturing and the expiry date is always written on top of the lid. However....I did not use one for a long and finally now I have 1kg yogurt which will expire after 3-4 days. So...I started making foods with yogurt. I can’t throw away foods like that!!  So I made doi maach (fish curry with curd), doi mangsho (chicken curry with curd), doi chingri (prawn curry with curd), doi alu (potato curry with curd), doi die alur dom (dum aloo with curd)...and so on. And quite purposefully I closed the deal in time.

doi rui recipe

doi maach recipe

Monday, October 12, 2015

Macher Matha Die Rosha

 May be Abidjan has ran out of houses. Either they are super expensive or they are in a dreadful condition. Posh areas....forget it, the price of one bedroom flat starts from 1million Fcfa, and if you want to have a good location and view..well I guess I just can't imagine anymore. I am tired and in a rotten mood, cause I just can't seem to find a ground floor flat with a wide garden. I am tired of living on the upper floor, I just want to live close to earth right now.

fish head curry recipe bengali rosha recipe

macher mathar rosha recipe

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Keema Kaleji

Its Mahalaya right now. Timewise, everyone in Kolkata will be wide awake by the 4'0 clock alarm today and after repeatedly wiping their eyes they are sitting straight either putting a scrutinizing eye on the t.v screen or pressing their ears on the radio to have a clear signal during the Mahalaya broadcast. Sadly nothing is available for me here. I can roll on to the you tube app and watch the old Mahalaya videos there, but it lacks the thrill in it. Will the “dhaki” sound, which starts the beginning of the program is almost like ringing the bell for the puja season.

indian keema kaleji recipe

indian keema kaleji curry recipe

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Rastar Moto Ghugni / Street style Ghugni

Today I am making chicken biriyani with mutton rezala in dinner. A few of my husband’s friends are coming over, and this is what I have decided to make. Recipe will be coming soon. But before that today I am going to share the chatpata ghugni that we get on the streets. Lovely, tangy, spicy and crunchy with the chopped onions and grated coconut. How cool is that??

calcutta ghugni recipe

how to cook street style ghughni recipe bengali way

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Niramish Mangsho / Bhoger Mangsho

On the night of Kalipuja and on the 9th day of Durga Puja, which we call “Nabami”, it is customery in some places to sacrifice an animal to the goddess. It is generally a goat, which we call “patha”. In temples and in houses where the puja is observed in a grand manner, that particular meat is prepared and they are served as deity in the puja. Well...since it is prepared to be served to the goddess and then will be eaten as “prosad”, it is prepared without any onion and garlic, as this pair does not qualify as “niramish” or pure vegetarian in any scenario and hence are kept omitted here too. However, as the meat comes from an animal which is sacrificed to the goddess, it becomes pure and pious, and hence it is then at that particular moment and night is being considered as pure vegetarian. This is what we call “Niramish Mangsho” or “Bhoger Mangsho”.

niramish mangsho recipe with step by step pictures

niramish mangso recipe with step by step pictures

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Jhinge Posto and Kalai Dal

There is no hiding from my husband’s love for poppy seeds and this one is another addition to the list. Jhinge posto is a very popular dish with jhinge / ridged gourd in Bengal, where jhinge is the main attraction. In other cases, jhinge is added to the curries and dry vegetable curries to add to the taste. Chopped up jhinge and potatoes simmered in a sauce made of poppy seeds over the mustard oil is as delectable as it sounds. And during summer, this is one of the light meals that people opt for.

biulir dal recipe

bengali style urad dal recipe

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Fish Kofta Curry

It all started the day I made the fish croquets. The smooth and crispy croquets were a delight to eat at any time of the day. And I was all ready to make koftas out of that dough and eat with a curry. In Bengal there is a fish kofta curry, which is made from the fish “chitol” and the koftas are called “muitha”, which comes from the word “muthi” or “fist”, simply because the koftas are given shape by closing them inside the fist.

fish kofta curry recipe

Monday, October 5, 2015

Mutton Sukka

I am a cat person. From my mind and heart. I don’t like dogs, and people say that there is a problem with me for thinking like that. But then they also don’t like cats too. For them, cats are selfish and are not loyal like the dogs. I think cats are very human like...they will not come when you call them, they will not snuggle just because you are feeling so...and they will simply not accept your caress attitude if they are not feeling so. Are we not all like this??? But despite all their moody nature...I just cannot ignore these fluffy furry balls when they come to me to sit on my lap or just to sleep with me under the blanket. They make my dress overly furry, they pee on my important things including books and dresses, and they even scratch (not intentional) when I hug them against their will...but I still love them. I can’t come to terms with any dogs, but cats are my life...and I would prefer to be this Cat Lady the rest of my life.

maharashtrian mutton sukha recipe

how to cook mutton sukha recipe

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Dalia Khichuri / Broken Wheat Khichdi / Bulgur khichdi

I took a break from mithai making when my gulab jamun did not turn out as I wanted. I had a grumpy face and left the hope that I ever will be able to make something like that. I tried making rasgulla many a times in the past. But every time it turned out either soggy or broken or not puffed up enough. But this came out perfectly. Round, spongy and exactly like the store bought rasgullas. I was above the seventh sky...and really could not make out exactly when I had the courage to cook so many things in life. From a girl who dreaded the kitchen chores, who didnot even know how to light a gas or turn the micro oven, it feels like as if I am a different person now. Although there are more things to learn ahead....I am happy that finally I have found out something which gives me joy in the process of learning. I just want to cook and I want to know everything, from history to science about Indian seems I am in heaven. I have finally found out happiness in what I do, and what I make.

how to cook khichdi with broken wheat

dalia die khichuri recipe