Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bengali Peyaji / Peyaj ki Pakoda / Onion fritters


Monsoon is in full swing across country and fries are the call of the day. What better can accompany the hot tea or coffee in the rainy evenings other than few spicy pakodas. Among all pakodas we prepare onion pakodas or peyaji/peyanji (as we call it in Bengali) are easiest to make even for the novice. Here is a recipe which I believe you like:-


Preparation Time: - 10 min

Cooking Time: - 15 min

Servings: - 3~4 persons (varies from person to person)


  1. 1 medium sized Onion thinly sliced
  2. ¾ cup Gram Flour / Besan
  3. 2 Green chilies finely chopped
  4. ¼ cup chopped coriander leaves
  5. 1 tsp Kalonji / Nigella seeds
  6. 1 tbsp Rice Flour
  7. Pinch of baking soda (optional)
  8. Salt to taste
  9. Water as required to make a medium thick batter
  10. Sufficient oil for deep frying ( I used 1:1 mixture of Sunflower and mustard oil)


  1. Wash, peel and thinly slice onion. Keep aside.
  2. Chop the coriander leaves and keep it in a small bowl
  3. Chop the green chilies and keep aside in a bowl.
  4. Take sliced onion in a big bowl.
  5. Mix all other ingredients except oil in the same bowl.
  6. Add water slowly and make a thick batter by kneading with fingers. The water amount has to be just right so that the batter is coated evenly on the onion pieces. Also too much water makes the ultimate product less crispy.
  7. Heat oil in a frying pan / kadai over medium flame.
  8. Throw a pinch of the mixture in oil. If it start floating immediately then the oil is sufficiently hot for deep frying.
  9. Make round shaped pakoda out of the mixture and throw them in hot oil two at a time. This also depends upon the size of your frying pan / kadai.
  10. Keep the burner on medium flame and fry until they turn golden brown in color – Stir occasionally so that they cook evenly on all sides.
  11. Take the pakodas from oil by a slotted spoon. Keep them on paper towel so that the excess oil is drained.
  12. Repeat the process for remaining batter and deep-fry in batches.
Serve them hot with chutney / tomato sauce. This is a delightful evening snacks that goes well with puffed rice and tea/coffee.

Please note that:- 

1.     Since onion releases lot of juice, do not keep the batter for long. Instead prepare the batter fresh just before frying.
2.     For the same reason, if you want to prepare the batter now and use it over 1~2 days then do not add more than 1 tsp of water while making the batter. The water released from onion will be sufficient to coat the pieces with the mixture.
3.     Please do not fry in low flame as that would make the pakodas absorb too much oil which is unhealthy.
4.     You can add sliced potatoes with the onion for variation.

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Alu Potol er Dalna - Traditional Bengali Vegan side dish


This is a traditional Bengali Niramish (pure veg) cuisine and is very easy to cook. Dalna in Bengali Cooking is a thick gravy dish unlike a jhol where the gravy is more liquid. My husband loves it and I am happy to deliver a healthy and nutritious dish to them for lunch.

Preparation Time: - 15 min

Cooking Time: - 30~35 min

Servings: - 5~6 persons (varies according to consumption capacity)


  1. 8 pieces of medium sized Potol/ Parwal
  2. 4 medium potatoes
  3. 1 tsp turmeric Powder
  4. 2 bay leaves
  5. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  6. 2 1” sticks of Cinnamon
  7. 4 pieces of cloves
  8. 2 green Cardamom
  9. 2 ½ tbsp. ginger paste
  10. 3 tsp ground fresh coriander
  11. 1 ½ tsp Kashmiri Red Chili powder ( you can add more according to your taste)
  12. 1 dry red Chilli
  13. 1 juicy medium sized Tomato
  14. Pinch of asafetida (Hing) - optional
  15. 6 tbsp vegetable oil ( I used 50:50 Sunflower oil and mustard oil)
  16. Salt to taste
  17. 1 tsp Sugar (optional)
  18. 1 cup warm water
  19. 2 ½ tsp Ghee
  20. ½ tsp Garam Masala
  1. Chop the potol and potatoes as shown in the picture. Keep aside.

  2. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a kadai in high heat.
  3. Shallow fry the Parwal with a pinch of turmeric powder. Remove it with spotted spoon and keep it on paper towel to drain the oil.

  4. Fry potatoes in the same wok with a little turmeric powder until they turn golden yellow. Keep aside in paper towel.
  5. Pour the rest of oil and heat it in high flame.
  6. Turn the burner to medium and add asafetida, cumin seeds, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves and dry red chili.
  7. When the spices splutter add tomato, ginger paste and salt. Keep cooking with occasional stirring for 5 ~ 8 minutes.
  8. Now add ground coriander and Kashmiri red chili powder to it. I prefer freshly grounded coriander for better smell but you can use readily available coriander paste also.
  9. Add potatoes and mix gently.
  10. After half a minute add shallow fried parwal.
  11. Mix well and pour warm water. Now check the salt and add if required.
  12. Cover the lid and cook till the potatoes and parwals are done.
  13. Remove the cover and adjust the gravy to your liking by cooking for some more time.
  14. Turn off the heat. Add sugar to your taste and add ghee and garam masala.  Stir for a minute and your delicious dalna is ready.
Serve hot as a side dish with steamed or flavored rice. You can even have it with roti, paratha and puris. I remember to have it with Bengali fried rice during our famous Durga Puja as a Prasad.

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