Saturday, October 31, 2015

Begun Bhaja (Brinjal fry ) - healthy style


In continuation of my last post of bhoger khichuri today I present a simple Bengali fry recipe of Begun bhaja. Begun bhaja means (shallow) fried eggplants (aubergine) or brinjal.Bengalis serve this as an accompaniment for rice, Khichdi,rotis or just as a snack. We make varieties of bhaja with potato, bitter gourd etc & there should be at least one bhaja in Bengali lunch menu for sure. 

Preparation Time: - 20 mins

Cooking Time: - 20 min

Servings: - 3~4 persons

  1. Medium sized Begun/Brinjal/Aubergine/eggplant - 1 no. Please try to select one with less seeds and more flesh. I know it is difficult to determine whether the seeds are there inside when buying but I use a thumb rule that lightweight means less seeds.
  2. Turmeric Powder - ½ tsp
  3. Red chilli powder - 1 tsp (optional)
  4. Salt - as needed
  5. Garam Masala – pinch if want it more spicy
  6. Sugar - a pinch
  7. Cooking oil - 3-4 tbsp. I used mustard oil but you can use any white oil

  1. Wash and slice the medium sized brinjal/eggplant into few ciccular 3/4 inch thick slices. Thinner slices means less time to cook and also less oil.

  2. We all want healthy food today but cannot restrain us from fried food. Hence it is required to keep the oil content down as much as possible without compromising on taste. For that soak the brinjal pieces inside salt water for 10~15 min. This will require less oil for frying.

  3. Mix turmeric powder,salt,red chilli powder, garam masala (I do not use it but spice lovers can use it) and sugar and keep aside. Remove brinjal pieces from water and mix with this. Please make sure the mix coats the brinjal well. Marinate for 10 minutes.

  4. Heat oil in a pan (non stick for less oil) in medium flame. Fry 4~5 brinjal pieces at a time for 10 minutes in low flame. Flip it occasionally. Add more oil if necessary. Fry till all of them turns golden brown.

  5. Drain the brinjal in a tissue paper to remove the oil.
Now enjoy it hot with rice, khichdi or roti.

As always I am all ears and eyes for any comment,suggestions and queries - good or bad .

Friday, October 23, 2015

Bhoger khichuri - a special Durga Puja khichdi


Durga Puja is a special time for Bengalis. We all know by heart when the smell of autumn flowers brings home the feelings of it. Since we, Bengalis are petuk (gourmet / foodies) by nature our Puja is also a culinary feast. We prepare a lot of food during the puja but this one – bhoger khichudi or Khichdi is the most common and popular among them. Bhoger khichudi as the name suggest is an offering to Goddess Durga and it is offered on Ashtami or 2nd day of the Durga Puja. Hence I tried this recipe on Ashtami of 2015 Durga Puja but my family duties differ the posting by another day.

Preparation Time: - 15 mins

Cooking Time: - 35~40 min

Servings: - 3~4 persons


  1. 1 cup (~250gm.) Gobindo bhog/ jeera/ basmati rice
  2. 1 cup (~250 gm.) mung ki daal (skinless yellow dal or mung). If you have digestion issue you can use ½ cup. It will be light on your stomach.
  3. 3~4 tbsp ghee
  4. 4 tbsp green peas (or more if you feel)
  5. 1 tbsp. ginger paste or finely grated ginger
  6. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  7. 1 tsp cumin powder
  8. 1 dried red chili
  9. 2 bay leaves,
  10. 2 slit green chillies,
  11. 2 small tomatoes chopped
  12. Salt to taste
  13. 1 tsp. sugar
  14. 1 ½  tsp turmeric powder
  15. 2 green cardamom,
  16. 2-4 cloves/laung
  17. 1 thin stick of cinnamon
  18. 6 Florets of Cauliflower
  19. 2 medium potatoes (peeled and cut into big pieces)
  20. 8~10 small pieces of coconut
  21. 7~8 tbsp of mustard oil ( you can also use sunflower oil)
  22. Sufficient water


  1. In a dry pan/kadai, roast moong dal dry in medium flame. You will get a nice smell of roasted dal . When the colour becomes dark yellow, turn heat off.
  2. Take a pressure cooker and add rice, roasted moong dal, salt , turmeric powder and sufficient water. Boil on high flame and when steam comes out turn the gas knob to medium heat and cook for around 4 minutes.
  3. In a frying pan heat mustard oil till it starts smoking. Set the gas knob to medium heat and add potatoes and cauliflower florets. Fry till they become slight brown and keep aside. Similarly fry the coconut pieces and keep aside.
  4. Heat ghee in another kadai / large pan. Sprinkle cumin seeds, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaves, whole red chili and sugar. When seeds splutter, add ginger and cumin powder and stir fry for sometime.
  5. Put chopped tomatoes and stir fry until mushy.
  6. Add the already fried potatoes and cauliflower.
  7. Add green peas and stir fry for few more seconds.
  8. Now put the rice and dal mixture (already cooked in step 2) and stir well. It should be thoroughly stirred and smooth.
  9. Add ½ cup boiling water and cook on low heat for another 10 minutes, stirring sparingly. When khichuri is ready, it should be like porridge, not too dry.
  10. Add a little more ghee and put the already fried coconut. Cover and cook for 1~2 min
Serve hot with Laabra (mixed vegetable curry which I will cover in future), Fried brinjal, Tomato Chutney. Most Bengalis like payes (paramanna) as a desert after this.

As always please feel free to comment, criticize and seek if any help is required. I am all ears.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Cholar Dal - Durga Puja special


Not in a mood to go pandal hopping during Durga Puja? Bring on the festive mood with some Bengali food. Durga Puja is surely the season to feast for Bengalis. Want to know what a typical Bengali feast can look like? And are you thinking fish? You could be right to some extent. But there’s much more than fish to Bengali cuisine This one is another protein rich dish of Bengali cuisine made on special occasions like Durga Puja, weddings etc. Cholar Dal (lentil) or chana dal with Luchi (Bengali style deep fried puffed bread) is a combination which can make any Bengali salivate heavily.

Preparation Time: - 30 min

Cooking Time: - 30 min

Servings: - 5~6 persons


  1. 1 ½ cup Chana Dal (cholar dal / Bengal gram)
  2. ¾ teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  3. 4 tablespoons sliced Fresh Coconut
  4. 10~15 Raisins ( You can use any raisin but I prefer sultana which is smaller in size and with less sugar content – so healthy)
  5. 8~10 Cashew nuts
  6. 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  7. ½ teaspoon of Asafoetida (hing), optional
  8. A little Cinnamon
  9. 3 Cloves
  10. 3 Green Cardamoms
  11. 1½ teaspoon Ginger paste
  12. 1 Dry Red Chilli
  13. 1 Green Chilli, slit vertically
  14. 1½ teaspoon Sugar or to taste
  15. 3 tablespoons Oil ( I prefer Mustard oil but sunflower can also be used for health conscious people)
  16. 1 ½ teaspoon Ghee
  17. Salt to taste
  18. Cumin powder – 1 teaspoon
  19. Coriander powder – 1 teaspoon
  20. Bay leaf – 2~3 nos.
  21. Sufficient Water



  1. Wash and soak chana dal in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Drain water and put the soaked pulses along with turmeric powder and salt to a pressure cooker. Add ample water so that the dal remains 1 cm below water level. Cook till pressure cooker gives 4 whistles in medium flame. Turn off flame and let the pressure cooker cool.
  3. Now open the lid and put ginger paste, cumin and coriander powder, green chili and sugar. Mix thoroughly and keep aside.
  4. Heat oil and ghee together in a small pan over low flame. Add sliced coconut and cashew nuts and shallow fry them until coconut slices turn light brown. Drain excess oil and keep aside in a plate.
  5. In the same pan add cumin seeds, asafoetida, bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms and dry red chilli and sauté for ½ min.
  6. Add cooked dal, fried coconut slices, fried cashew nuts and raisins. Put some more ghee. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes over medium flame. You may need to add some water according to your choice.

Try this hot with Luchi, Puri or Kachori. It goes well with fried rice or even Roti.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Mackerel Curry - another version


This Mackerel curry is originally given by one of my Keralian friend. I have modified slightly to keep the sourness down.

Preparation Time: - 8~10 mins

Cooking Time: - 35 min

Servings: - 2 persons


  1. 2 pieces Mackerel Fish
  2. 2 tsp turmeric powder
  3. 1 medium onion cut and grinded to make paste
  4. 1 ½ tsp Ginger Garlic paste – you can use readymade ones or can prepare yourself by grinding
  5. 1 tsp methi seeds
  6. 1 small tomato
  7. 1 tbsp coriander (dhania) powder
  8. Little tamarind paste or pulp as per your likeness to sour taste
  9. Sufficient water
  10. Salt - To taste.
  11. White oil – as required. I used Saffola sunflower oil
  12. Green chili – 2
  13. Chili Powder to taste


  1. At first mix ginger garlic paste and onion paste – then keep aside.
  2. Heat oil in a kadai/pan with medium flame. Shallow fry the mackerel pieces and keep aside. You can use the raw fish if you are sure of its freshness. But if you have any doubt like me then frying is needed.
  3. Heat oil again in the same kadai/pan with medium flame. When oil is hot put methi seeds in it.
  4. Once seeds become brown add the smashed garlic ginger and onion. Stir and fry till the raw smell goes away.
  5. Then add tomato, chilly, Turmeric, coriander powder in it. You will need to add little water to make it smooth paste.
  6. Fry this Masala till the water dries and the oil is seen
  7. Then put the tamarind water or pulp and fish. Add more water that should be just above the level of fish.
  8. Please add salt as required and boil till fish gets cooked. Add chilly powder to your taste
Now it is ready to serve. Switch of the gas stove and serve with rice.

As always please feel free to comment, criticize and seek if any help is required. I am all ears.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Pomfret jhal (Pomfret curry with mustard)


This is my first recipe with sea fish. Research has shown that eating fish and shellfish regularly is beneficial to our bodies in many ways.

Seafood is low in saturated fat and high in omega-3, (which can both) protect the heart from disease and lower the amount of cholesterol in the blood.

Not only does omega-3 help to protect the skin from the harmful effects of the UV damage, but eating lots of fish can also help with the symptoms of skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Fish is also a great source of protein, which is an essential ingredient of collagen, a substance which keeps the skin firm and flexible. 

Evidence suggests that a diet rich in fish oils can help to protect us against serious inflammatory bowel diseases (BD) including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. There is also evidence to suggest that omega-3 could help to slow the progression of inflammatory bowel disease in some sufferers.

There are many more benefits like helping brain to fight depression, dementia, ADHD etc. But let’s come to the point and start with this healthy but delicious dish I made.

Preparation Time: - 20 min

Cooking Time: - 20 min

Servings: - 2~4 persons


  1. White Pomfret – 300 gm
  2. Mustard grinded – 3 tbsp
  3. Turmeric Powder – 1 ½ tsp
  4. Posto (poppy seeds) - 1 tsp
  5. Black Jeera/Panchforon - ½ tsp
  6. Green Chilies – 3 silted.
  7. Chopped coriander leaves - few
  8. Salt to taste.
  9. Oil – as required to fry the fish. I used mustard oil but you can use any vegetable oil.


  1. Wash the fish thoroughly and soak in salt water for 10 min. For any sea fish you need to soak the fish in salt water. This reduces the odor of the sea fish.
  2. Now add turmeric powder and salt. Marinate for 5 minutes.
  3. Take sufficient oil in kadai /frying pan. Heat the oil in high flame.
  4. Fry the fish in low flame once the oil is heated enough.
  5. Mix poppy seeds, pinch of salt, little bit of water and mustard seeds - grind them to a fine paste. I used Sunrise mustard powder which is better than the whole mustard seed as it is healthier.
  6. Use the same oil where you fried the fish. Splutter black jeera/paanchforon and sauté 1 slit green chili in it.
  7. To this add 1 tsp turmeric powder, and 2~3 tbsp of water and stir dry.
  8. Now add the mustard and poppy seed paste and keep stirring till dry.
  9. Add some water, chopped coriander leaves and 2 green chili.
  10. Simmer for a while and finally add the fish. Cover and cook for a while.
  11. Just before finishing add 1 tsp mustard oil and sprinkle few coriander leaves for garnishing
Try this hot with rice.

As always please feel free to comment, criticize and seek if any help is required. I am all ears.