Monday, April 20, 2009

Doi Potol (Pointed gourd with Curd)

This one is a summer special. Low in calories, tasty and very light on the stomach. Interestingly, bengalis stuff it with fish (which I will share later) and it tastes heavenly! However, in this post I will share a very simple, yet delicious vegetarian recipe called Doi Potol and as I said - a lovely dish to have with hot rice on a hot summer afternoon! Here is what you need:

7-8 scraped pointed gourds or parwal or potol
1 Tsp of shredded ginger
1 Tsp of cumin paste or powder or seeds
2 tsps of sugar
5 Tbsps of Yogurt
1/2 Tsp of chilli powder
1 Bay Leaf

Take the scraped parwal and slit the top and bottom like a cross. Make sure that you don't cut them through - just small slits on the top. Heat the oil in a heavy bottomed pan and fry the parwal to a light greenish-brown. Remove from the pan and drain them. Now, add the bay leaf, cumin seed/paste and stir. Quickly add the ginger paste, chilli powder and yogurt and stir well. Let the spices cook in the yogurt. Add the sugar and salt. Add the parwal and add 1 cup of water. Cover the pan with a lid and let the vegetable get cooked by steaming. When the Parwals are cooked, you will be able to cut them with a spatula. Lastly, remove from flame. You can add some fried onion or shredded coconut on the top.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Khichree - The Bong style (Khichuree)

For everyone, Khichree has been a comfort food since ages. Its history can be traced back to the Mughals. I am quite interested to know how the food of the nawabs transcended to become 'food of the sick' and is served in ALL hospitals. Whenever someone is sick, he is advised to have only khichree. Moms, grandmoms, great-grandmoms, uncles, aunts, elder sisters - all have prescribed this dish the moment you utter that you are feeling a bit down in the belly.

There are several variants to this dish but what is remarkable is how the bengalis tend to make merry with food and happen to change this plain and sad looking, 'dish of the sick' to a gourmet delicacy! They relish khichree on a rainy day with accompaniments like papads, beguni (brinjal fry), mashed potatoes, ghee and illish Machh bhaaja (hilsa Fish fry). I like mine with an Omlette! There is a strong superstition in my family - whenever it rains, make khichree and see the rain dissappear! I have never understood why this happens with us, but it is true. The clouds stop pouring the moment they get the aroma of my heavenly smelling Khichree :)). So, here is what you require:

1 Cup of Moong Dal
1 Cupe of Rice
7 Tbsps of Peas
3 poratoes - cut into halves
6-7 florets of Cauliflower
1 tiny piece of crushed ginger
1 onion cut broadly
1-2 Bay leaves
2 Tsp Turmeric
2-3 Green chillies
3 cardamoms, 2 cinnamon, 6 cloves
2 Tsps of Garam Masala
2 Tsp of Cumins seeds

Take a large bottomed frying pan and add the moong dal. Roast the moong dal slightly till golden brown. Once you see that the dal is turning a bit brown, remove it and wash it in cold water. Wash the rice and put it in a pressure cooker along with the Dal. Add the potatoes, Turmeric, salt, sugar and green chillies and close the lid. Let the cooker whistle for 4-5 times and switch of the gas. Let the cooker cool down. Alternatively, you could use a heavy bottomed pan and cook it slowly for 15mins - till the dal and rice gets cooked.

Now, take a separate frying pan and add the ghee. When the ghee gets hot, add the cloves, cardamom, bay leaves, cinnamon and the chopped onions. Now, add the caulifower florets, green peas and stir-fry them in the ghee. Add the cumin and ginger and fry till the onions are brown. Now, add the khichree from the cooker and pour a bit of water to regulate the consistency. Let it simmer for 5-6mins. Add the garam masala powder.
Serve it with hilsa fish fry or papad or beguni.

Pickled Prawns

For this one, credit goes completely to my aunt-in-law who has this amazing, 'prawn in 2 mins recipe' and it goes well with both rotis and rice. Though part of her family is vegetarian, but she cooks delicious non-veg stuff too! The secret ingredient for this one is: Bedekar's readymade pickle masala. I have tried this with other pickle masalas but it is not the same. So, I would recommend that one shouldn't try this until and unless he/she has got hold of the secret ingredient!

500gms of medium sized, de-shelled prawns
2 tbsp of Bedekar pickle masala
4-5 crushed garlic cloves
4-5 green chillies
Methi seeds - 1 Tsp (Optional)
Shredded coconut (Optional)
1 Tsp of lime juice

Wash the prawns well in cold water and add salt to it. Add the lime juice and toss it in the marinade. Keep it aside for 7-8mins. Now, take a frying pan and put oil. Heat the oil in the pan. Once the oil is heated, lower the flame and add the garlic. Stir the garlic for 1min and then, add the prawns and green chillies. After 1 min, add the bedekar masala (& coconut & methi seeds - optional) and Salt. Add 5 Tbsps of water and let the prawns simmer in the curry. After 4-5mins when the prawn are orange in colour and look a bit tender, put off the gas. Add fresh coriander on the top and serve with rice or rotis.