Sunday, March 26, 2017

Bhapa Paneer - Bengali style Steamed Cottage Cheese with mustard and spices

This recipe is for those situations when you just do not have the energy or motivation to cook a proper dish but family needs a quick and nutritious meal. Paneer or Indian cottage cheese is a healthy dish most popular in Northern part of India. Now-a-days even Bengalis love it. Bengalis steam a lot of things to make tasty stuff. I have already provided recipes for steamed / bhapa prawn and fish. This time it is with paneer. You can buy paneer from shop or can make it in your home. The procedure to make homemade paneer can be found here. There is various ways to make Bhapa Paneer but the recipe here is one of the Bengali way to do it. My mom used to make this in cooker and here I cooked it the same way but I have given various options to cook at the end as note.

Preparation Time: - 5 min

Cooking Time: - 10 min (It all depends upon the way you steam the mixture. You can cook in the pressure cooker, microwave oven or in normal oven. Time will be different in each of them)

Servings: - 4 persons


  1.  200 gm paneer – cut into small cubes
  2. 100 gm thick curd – whisked
  3. 3 tsp mustard seeds
  4. 1 ½ tbsp poppy seeds
  5. 1 ½ tsp turmeric powder
  6. 1 tsp Red chilli powder ( I used Kahmiri red chili powder but you can use as per your taste)
  7. 2 slitted Green Chillies
  8. Salt to taste
  9. Few chopped Coriander leaves
  10. 3 tbsp Mustard Oil


  1. Mix mustard seeds and poppy seeds in a mixer grinder. Add little bit of water and make a smooth paste out of it. Scrape them out of the mixer and keep aside.
  2. Whisk the curd and set aside.
  3. Take a small kadai / pan or a pressure cooker and heat the mustard oil on medium flame.
  4. When oil started smoking put the burner to low and pour the paste of mustard seeds and poppy seeds.
  5. Add in the whisked curd, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, slitted green chillies and salt.
  6. Stir continuously for 1~2 minutes or until the oil start to come out from the mixture.
  7. Now add the cubed paneer pieces to them. Also add in the chopped coriander leaves if you want.
  8. Mix everything thoroughly so that a layer of spices are coated on the paneer.
  9. Now pour the whole mixture in a small bowl, close it with lid. Put this in your steamer and steam for 12 to 15 minutes or put 1 cup of water in your pressure cooker and cook until it blows 1 whistle. I prefer pressure cooker.
  10. Switch off the flame right away and let the steam come out of the cooker naturally.Now put off the lid and serve hot as side dish with hot steamed rice.
As a note the steaming process can be done various ways other than the pressure cooker.

1. Microwave Oven - You can cook in the microwave, combine everything together as above in a microwave safe bowl. Cook for 3 minutes, then take it out, mix everything and again cook for 3-4 minutes. The cooking time will vary will the power of the microwave.

2. Steamer: -This may also be cooked in a steam basket/steamer; place the container inside of a foil so that no water can go in. Steam for about 12~15 minutes, or until the paneer is cooked properly. You will have to adjust the cooking time.

3. Bake: - You can use the same steel bowl if it is oven safe. Close the oven door and bake at about 350 degree Celsius for about 10 minutes. Stop the oven, open the bowl, stir and again bake for another 5 minutes.

4. Inside rice: - This is an old Bengali way to cook two things at a time.  Place tightly closed container inside the rice when cooking boiled rice. Calculate a time so that the container is inside the rice for about 5 minutes before the burner is turned off. The timing is very important here and my mom could time it perfectly but not me.

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

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Magur macher Kalia - Bengali Catfish curry

Magur mach or catfish is considered a healthy fish among Bengalees for kids and kalia is the most popular dish with this fish. Including the nutritious fish in your diet helps you meet your protein needs and boosts your intake of vitamins (B12) and healthy fats and fatty acids. This is considered even more effective when recovering after a long illness.

Preparation Time: - 15 min

Cooking Time: - 25~30 min

Servings: - 2~3 persons


  1. 3 medium sized Magur mach or Cat fish
  2. 2 medium sized potatoes
  3. 1 medium size onion chopped
  4. 1 medium sized Tomato
  5. 2 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
  6. 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  7. 1 tsp Cumin powder
  8. Salt to taste
  9. 2 green chilli slitted vertically
  10. 1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chili (optional)
  11. 5 tbsp Mustard oil (As it is an authentic Bengali dish I prefer mustard oil but you can also use any vegetable oil if you do not like the pungent smell of mustard)
  12.  1 tsp Garam Masala
  13.  1 tsp Ghee


  1. Put the catfish steaks in a bowl, rub some salt and keep it aside for 5 minutes. Now wash them thoroughly.
  2. Dry them in a strainer and marinate with turmeric powder and pinch of salt for 10 min.
  3. Chop the onion and tomato. Slit a green chilli vertically. I am preparing this dish keeping my kids in mind – hence used chillies this way. But you can remove stem and then chop finely. You can use more chillies in number also.
  4. Heat 3 tbsp oil in a non-stick kadai /pan with burner turned to high position.
  5. When heated sufficiently (smoke started coming out) shallow fry the potato in medium heat and keep aside.
  6. Use same oil to shallow fry the fish and keep aside.
  7. Now either wash the kadai or use a different kadai / frying pan to heat up rest of the oil
  8. Once heated add the chopped onion and a green chili - stir fry till they turn golden brown.
  9. Add ginger garlic paste and mix well. Fry till the raw smell goes out.
  10. Add tomato and fry till the tomatoes are all nicely mushed up and there is no raw smell. Stir continuously.
  11. Add red chili powder, turmeric powder and cumin powder. Fry till oil starts separating from the masala.
  12.  Add already fried potato and sauté for 1~2 min
  13. Pour 1 ½ cup water and add the fish.
  14. Mix and then cover it. Cook for 10~12 min.
  15. Open the lid and sprinkle garam masala on it. Cook for 2 min and stop the burner.
  16. Now pour ghee and mix it slowly such that fish pieces are not broken.
The recipe is now ready and serve this with hot streamed rice as a side dish.

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