Chingrir Bhapa (Prawns smoked in Mustard Gravy)

‘Bhapa Chingri’ or ‘Chingrir Bhapa’ is one of the delicate Bengali recipes with ‘Prawns’ aka ‘Chingri’. I have already shown my weakness for prawns through my earlier posts which include various of its curry preparations, rice dishes as well as cutlet. This recipe is perhaps the simplest and need few ingredients. Time for both preparation  and cooking is very less. As we know, mustard seeds are very common in bengali fish recipes. Here, along with two types of mustard seeds (black and yellow), I also added grated coconut and poppy seeds.They reduce the strong pungent smell of black mustard to some extent and infuses an interesting flavour. Raw prawns cooked in mustard paste along with generous amount of mustard oil and green chilli creates the magic which we call ‘ Chingrir Bhapa’. 🙂

The same recipe can also be followed for some other fishes, such as Hilsa, Bhetki etc.

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Fruitcake with Buttermilk (An egg-less recipe)

‘Fruitcake’ is ideal to be prepared on the occasion of ‘Christmas’. However, I missed the chance to make it in last Christmas. Few days back, on demand of my family I baked a super soft, fluffy and spiced fruitcake. Moreover the cake is egg-less as my parents become vegetarian few years back. The recipe is quite simple and does not need any electric hand or stand mixer. The reaction of buttermilk with baking soda gives the cake a soft and airy texture. I have used four types of spices in the cake batter which smells captivating while baking the cake. One will have ample amount of dry fruits with each bite of the cake. As the winter is still not over we can enjoy a slice or two with a hot cup of coffee.

 

Fruitcake with Buttermilk

Fruitcake with Buttermilk

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Savoury Pancake – an Easy Breakfast Idea

Pancakes are popular all over the world. A starch-based batter with milk and egg is used to prepare a thin, flat cake on hot griddle or frying pan. Sweet pancakes accompanied with jam, nutella, whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream can make lip smacking desserts. Whereas a large, round, savoury pancake with cheese, bacon or vegetables can be served as a full fledged meal. In fact, the best pan cake I ever had, was during my stay in Holland. It was very thin, loaded with cheese and bacons.

However today’s recipe is of a simple savoury pancake with a few handful vegetables and cheese. It can be made into a tasty breakfast and prepared quick without much fuss.

Savoury Pancake

Savoury Pancake

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Palong Shaker Ghonto (Spinach with Mixed Vegetables)

With the onset of winter, vegetable markets get exciting with offerings of colourful seasonal vegetables and fruits. Fresh and lively spinach adds to the variety which I prepare often. It is a healthy piece of green and can be turned into some interesting preparations without much effort. Here I prepare a spinach dish with possibly all the winter vegetables like carrot, broad beans with sprinkled green peas and truly can be tagged as ideal mix veg. The USP of the dish is lentil dumplings alias ‘bori’ which is a must ingredient. Indeed winter is splendid with spinach.

Palon Saker Ghonto (Spinach with Mixed Vegetables)

 

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Gokul Pithe – Makar Sankranti Recipe

Makar Sankranti, the folklore indicating harvesting of crops is celebrated all across India with much fanfare. In Bengal, it is called ‘Poush Parbon’, on the last day of month “Poush” when each Bengali household gets engaged in preparation of varities of ‘Puli’ & ‘Pithe’, a typical rice cake made with ‘Notun Gurh’ or the fresh date palm jaggery, a signature of winter.

The amazing aroma of date palm jaggery coming out of the kitchen, when boiled, to make syrup is nothing short of magical. Usually the pithas are filled with finely grated coconut.

This year I choose the recipe of ‘Gokul Pithe’ share with you. The ‘pithe’ is actually a flat round shaped coconut ball, made with either date palm jaggery or sugar. The coconut ball is then dipped into a flour batter, deep fried in oil and soaked into sugar syrup.

These days, unarguably we are drifting away from our age-old culture and traditional practices. As per the food and recipes are concerned, many of them got deep buried or even lost. On the holy occasion of Makar Sankranti, this is a small attempt to relive the moments through food, we left far behind.

Earlier posts on ‘Makar Sankranti’ recipes :

Gokul Pithe

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Pasta alla Norma (Pasta with Eggplant, Basil & Tomato sauce)

Participation to ‘A to Z recipe challenge’ provokes to think about recipes which are off-beat, not exactly run-of-the-mill and thus interesting. This time around, the challenge is to prepare a dish with key ingredient starting with the letter ‘E’. Eggplant comes naturally to mind which I thought to use in Pasta. And the pasta has to be ‘Pasta alla Norma’, a typical Sicilian cuisine, coming from southernmost part of Italy. The original recipe is prescribed to be made with macaroni, tomatoes, ricotta salata cheese, fresh basil leaves along with fried egg plants. I could find neither ricotta not fresh basil easily and replaced them with the dried basil and local cheese, without much ado. And I have used ‘penne’ as well. The result is yummy creamy Pasta all Norma with the Italian job accomplished.

Pasta alla Norma

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Gobindobhog Chal die Chingrir Polao (Pulao with Gobindobhog Rice & Prawns)

Long back, I shared the recipe of Prawn Pulao. This time, I present the same dish, however with some substantial difference, in a new avatar which actually does an interesting facelift altogether. Here I prepare the pulao using Gobindobhog rice, which is a typical rice cultivar found in West Bengal. It has a short grain with an  unmatchable, fascinating aroma. The rice pudding or payesh in bengal is ideally made with this gobindobhog rice.

Back to the present recipe, I cook it in the pressure cooker this time which makes it much prompter and easier compared to the previous version. The other good thing is that, in the pressure cooker, the aroma of rice, prawns and the ghee mix so well, that I got the flavour exactly what I desired. For the prawn lovers, the pulao is an absolute joy. Again to mention, the key trick and the ingredient in this recipe is Gobindobhog rice, which you can try to procure online if not available in the Bengali market close by.

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Paneer er Chop (Cottage Cheese Croquettes/ Cutlets)

Croquettes are referred to as fried snacks coated with breadcrumbs. The stuffing can be made of either vegetables, cheese, fish or meat. These kind of snacks are pretty popular among Bengalis and we usually call them ‘chop’ or ‘cutlets’. You will find a few cutlet recipes in my earlier posts, which are given here.

In the current recipe, I have chosen paneer or the Indian Cottage Cheese  as the stuffing since it is extremely popular among vegetarians. I love the soft, crumbly texture of paneer in my mouth with each bite. Icing on the top is the flavour of coriander leaves in the stuffing, symbolizing the onset of winter. Without using variety of spices, the garam masala solely creates the magic.

While one has to be careful while frying the croquettes which is the only tricky part, however, with a few handful ingredients a tasty snack will be ready within minutes.

Paneer er Chop (Cottage Chheese Croquettes/ Cutlets)

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Lote/ Loytta Macher Jhuri (Mashed Bombay Duck Fish Curry)

Bombay Duck Fish or ‘Lote/ Loytta mach’ (in Bengali) although not being considered as a top grade fish, however can be turned into quite a few tasty preparations. ‘Lote Macher Jhuri’ is one of these finger-licking dishes. With ample use of onion, tomato and garlic, this mashed fish curry will surely rouse your taste buds. In contrary to the traditional fish preparations, the spicy dried fish curry is nothing short of a revelation. I can bet you will finish your plate without a blink of your eyes.

Lote Macher Jhuri (Mashed Bombay Duck Fish Curry)

Lote Macher Jhuri (Mashed Bombay Duck Fish Curry)

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Oats & Dates Squares / Bars

When I was asked to participate in the A to Z recipe challenge, a challenge initiated on Facebook Group, I was wondering what could be my recipe, that too starting with the letter ‘D’? Date was something, that I thought about right from the beginning, but was not sure of something interesting with dates. Then, all of a sudden, I got reminded of this recipe, of bars or blocks, made of dates and oats.

These days, oats is a common feature in the breakfast, having a high nutritious and health value. And I could use it in a completely new avatar in this recipe; this thought made me super excited. Luckily the oats and dates bar came out pretty nicely, quite like the way I thought. Now, I am pretty pleased to live up to the challenge. I hope you will love this crunchy bites with the falvaour of dates.

“Oats & Dates Squares / Bars” is my contribution to the A to Z recipe challenge for the month of November. Letter “D” is the challenge for this month and I choose Dates as the key ingredient of my recipe.

Oats & Dates Squares / Bars

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Cheeni Adhirasam (a Tamil Sweet for Diwali) – Guest Post by Swapna Karthik of Swapna’s Kitchen

Me and Swapna came to know each other through food blogging. This acquaintance quickly turned into friendship  which grew only stronger over time. I feel blessed to know such an wonderful person like Swapna with whom my bond expanded beyond the boundary of blogging.

As my dear friend hails from Chennai, her blog Swapna’s Kitchen is full of amazing traditional Tamil recipes. Also one will be surprised to find a bouquet of recipes consisting of sweets, baked goods, snacks and what not. I am bit indulged to know many nice non-veg dishes from her blog. Do check her blog which is a must visit.

Just a few days back I asked her to do a guest post for me. In return she shared with me the recipe of a traditional Tamilian sweet dish, Cheeni Adhirasam.

As I get to know from her ‘Adhirasam’ is a traditional deep fried sweet specially made during Diwali with rice flour and jaggery or sugar. Those who don’t like the taste of jaggery can try this authentic recipe with sugar. In that case one need to take care of the sugar consistency. If the sugar consistency turns hard then the adhirasams would also turn hard. Try to use ponni pacharisi (raw rice) for perfect adhirasams. Always fry the adhirasam in low flame, it does take time to get cooked.

Swapna’s guest post for my blog is one of my sweetest gifts for Diwali ever. Do try this sweet at home this Diwali and have a fun filled celebrations with your loved ones. Thank you so much Swapna and Happy Diwali to all my friends and fellow bloggers.

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Bread Pizza on Tawa

Bread is perhaps the most common item for breakfast around the world. Even in India, a slice of bread has replaced the traditional regional foods for breakfast. I cannot think of my busy weekdays mornings without bread, which you can just bake and have it with a spoon of butter or jam. I must admit that since my childhood I have been a big fan of a crunchy toast with lots of butter and sugar on top of it and the love affair continues till date.  However, with growing age I am trying to cut  down the amount of consumable butter and sugar. 🙂

Sometimes I also get bored with bread toasts. Luckily, plenty of options for cheeses are available in the market which tempts me to carry out experiments with mundane breakfasts with breads. And here I am with a quick, easy and delicious ‘Bread Pizza’ recipe with capsicum, tomato, herbs like oregano and basil and grated cheese . I am pretty sure that kids will love it too. It can also be served as snacks anytime in the day.

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Chicken Lababdar

After trying my hands on so many different chicken recipes, I have come to the conclusion that this exploration is a never exhaustive process and one can not really run out of the recipes which offer flavour, taste and challenge, nevertheless. The present one, known as Chicken Lababdar, which is basically a Mughlai Khana, adds variety to the existing palate of chicken delicay. And as the name perhaps indicates to a spicy, rich and high calorimetric non-veg genre, indeed ‘lababdar’ lives up to the expectation with dose of fresh cream and cheese. Ideal to enhance the mood of festivity, Chicken Lababdar although bearing some similarity to Butter Chicken, is much easier to prepare and surprise.

Chicken Lababdar

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Chocolate Kalakand with Condensed Milk (Milkmaid)

We all wait round the year for the festive season which sets off with Durga Puja and Navaratri and continues till Deepavali. While soaking in the joy of festivity, as Durga Puja is just over, on the occasion of Bijoya Dashami or Dusshera, I believe it is great to share a recipe of a favourite sweet dish called Kalakand, to be precise chocolate Kalakand

If one recalls, I shared Kalakand recipe once, but this time it is slightly different in terms of preparation and content. Kalakand with a chocloate flavour is new and rocking. And it is much quick and easy this time coz I used condensed milk bypassing the lengthy churning procedure adopted last time.

I feel happy and content sharing sweets with you, my fellow bloggers and patrons and wish Ma Durga showers blessings on you and your family.

Chocolate Kalakand

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Ol Chingri r Dalna (Elephant Foot Yam Curry with Prawn)

For some reason unknown, these days my husband got so enthusiastic about ‘ol’, a seasonal vegetable of highly moderate status; not even much well known either, that he buys it every other day and I am compelled to prepare curry out of it. As this story is recurring much too often, I am prompted to try different dishes with ol to make it a bit more interesting. Thus I arrive at the present dish, where I make diced ol marry with prawns in a spicy curry. The presence of potato pieces make it even more delightful, as usual though. To be noted here that this dish is not at all invented by me, but collected from a old popular recipe. To people, who are aware about ol, this dish might seem interesting. And for the rest, here comes a dose of GK on ol. Falling in the category of ‘Yam’ (sweet potato etc.), ol is basically a tropical ‘tuber’ crop which is nothing but a much thickened underground part of stem. It has an interesting English name ‘Elephant Foot Yam’ probably due to its jumbo size.

Ol Chingri r Dalna (Elephant Foot Yam Curry with Prawn)

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Mutton & Cheese Pie

‘Pie’ is nothing but a baked dish of fruit, or meat and vegetables, typically with a top and base of pastry.

I recall to share a few posts on tarts ( Fruit Tartlets, Cherry tomato & poppy seed tartlets, Blue Cheese & Walnut Tartlets, Caramelized Lemon Tart ) in the past. Pies, which fall almost in the same category of tarts, but with a lid, are pretty interesting baked items too. Here I share with you the recipe of a savoury pie filled with mutton and cheese which also happens to be my first ever post on pie.

‘Mutton & Cheese Pie’ reminds me my good old days in Utrecht, Holland, where I got exposed to different kinds of baked items. Quite a few times I tested the savoury pies in small street-side baking shops there for which I grew an instant linking. It has been almost 4 years since I am back from Europe and after such a long time, finally managed to try one of my favourites among those pies, by my own. However, as a substitute of lamb meat, I used mutton along with Cheese, the latter being an addition and innovation from my side. One can skip adding cheese at will,  since simple mutton pies are also pretty delicious.

Mutton & Cheese Pie

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Red Velvet Cake

It always feels nice to be back to baker’s block and post something or other on baking. Off late, what attracted my attention is the spongy cake covered with white cream and red dust on the top sporting a damn tempting look, people are going gaga over. A bit of research revealed that the red dust is not coming from bit root, as I thought, but from simple red food colour which made life easy. The USP for this cake is cream cheese frosting which is a break from usual butter cream or whipped cream used for cake icing and which also brings in an interesting flavour. It can lighten up any occasion many folds which was also a motivation for me to bake it for my marriage anniversary.

Red Velvet Cake

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Hilsa fish in light gravy (Ilish Macher Jhol)

Hilsa (Ilish in Bengali), the most quintessential Bengali fish is still counted to be the poster boy of Bengali cuisine and culture withstanding the onslaught of modernity. Undoubtedly one of the most exotic fishes ever to be come out from the water of Bengal (East Bengal to be precise), make stuff for legends. A few years back, I have shared with you recipe of Bhapa Ilish or Smoked Hilsa which is one of the richest treatments that can be meted with ‘Ilish’. In comparison, the present recipe describes a light gravy with flavours of Brinjal and pinch of Kalonji. The best part of this recipe is that, Ilish flourishes in taste in the light gravy as the latter acts as the perfect foil for the former. It further proves that Hilsa imposes its uniqueness both in the rich must mustrad gravy as much as it does in light soup like ‘jhol’.

Hilsa fish in light gravy (Ilish Macher Jhol)

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Chinir Narkol Naru (Coconut Laddu with Sugar)

Once, I have had the pleasure to share the recipe of coconut laddu with you, that too a while back (Coconut Laddu with Jaggery (Gurher Narkol Naru)). Here, I present the same but with a difference. Here the Laddu is getting prepared with Sugar instead of Jaggery. Must admit, that both are equally delicious, however none to be blamed if at all having an edgy preference. The effort gone into grating the coconut turns into a delight when you put those coconut balls into your mouth and they melt happily. A must during the Dashami or Dusshera in Bengal, coconut laddu can be prepared whenever your sweet teeth need to be sharpened.

Coconut Laddu with Sugar (Chinir Narkel Naru)

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Chelo Kebab

‘Chelo Kebab’ consists of Rice or ‘Chelo’ and Kebabs or grilled meat. It is considered as the ‘national dish of Iran’. A butter flavoured rice is accompanied with ‘cubed chicken tikka’, ‘minced mutton seekh kebab’, poached egg, grilled tomato and a scoop of butter.

Few famous restaurants in Kolkata make this dish popular to all Kolkatans. Thus it becomes a worth having dish during our visit in Kolkata. If you are not willing to have a spicy mutton or chicken gravy still want to have the meat then this dish can be one of your top choices. Again rice fulfills the carbohydrate need of this protein rich dish which presents a complete meal to you.

Chelo Kebab

Chelo Kebab

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