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Dimer Jhol (Egg Curry)

Ingredients:

4 Eggs, hard boiled and shelled
2 Medium-large potatoes
1 large onion, finely chopped
1" cube of fresh ginger, grated
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed chilli
1 level teaspoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander seed (dhanya)
1.5 teaspoon turmeric powder (halood)
1 level teaspoon ground cumin seed (jeera)
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt to taste
2 cups of warm water

Procedure:

Once you have gathered the ingredients peel the potatoes and cut each into 6 pieces. Heat the oil in a large nonstick pan on medium heat. When the oil is hot fry the potatoes for 4-5 mins turning them over from time to time. Take them out and place aside when they are done

Next make 2-3 small slits in each egg, coat with half of the turmeric powder and fry eggs in the remaining oil in the pan until slightly browned. You must continuously turn the eggs. When these are done set them aside.

In the remaining oil add the crushed chilli and the garam masala and fry for one minute (medium heat). Next add the ginger and garlic and fry for another minute. After this you add the chopped onion and fry for 5 minutes, lower the heat to "low" and add the chilli powder, coriander and cumin and curry powder. Stir and fry for 2 minutes.

Now add to the pan the potatoes, salt and turmeric, turn up the heat to medium again and stir to coat the potatoes with the spices. Add the water and bring to boil. Once it starts boiling lower the heat and cover the pan with a lid and allow to simmer till the potatoes are almost done (10 min). Add the eggs and simmer for another 10 minutes or until the potatoes are well done.

Serves: 4 people
Serving ideas: plain boiled rice and postho or just with roti.


Postho

Method:

Grind half a cup of postho (in spice/coffee grinder)
make paste of the ground postho in water
Dice 3-4 potatoes
Slice one onion
In a pan heat 3 tablespoons of oil
Fry onions until soft
Add potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
Stir fry for a few minutes
Add ground postho paste, stir
Add salt to taste and a cup of water
Bring up the heat to get it boiling
Cover pan, lower heat, simmer til dry, stir occasionally
Before removing from the heat sprinkle mustard oil
Serve with rice and dahl (serves 4-6)

Variations:

You can use jhinge (or zucchini) with potatoes too to make ``jhinge postho''. Replace 4 potatoes with one or two onions to make ``piyanj postho''. Making postho with potatoes, onions and bori's will give you ``bori postho''. Replace the bori's with small besan bora's and you've made ``bora postho''. Leave out potatoes and onions altogether and add some green chiliies and onions while grinding the postho, make a paste and then cook the same way in oil as above to get ``baati postho'' . If you fry the postho some more after the water has evaporated at the end of cooking, you get ``bhaja postho''. If your postho paste is thick and course you can also make ``postho bora'' by moulding it into little cakes and frying them in hot oil. You can add postho to greens to make ``shak postho'' too. Finally, if you like you can make a paste of ground postho, spices, chilli, onion and mustard oil - place in a small bowl and place it in the pan you are cooking rice in during the last ten minutes of cooking this rice and when the rice is done you have a mildly cooked delicious ``kancha postho'' to eat with it.

Note: Postho (or poppy seeds) are a great source of calcium!


Bangali Salad

Ingredients:

1/2 a cucumber, finely chopped
1 carrot, shredded
1 small beetroot, shredded (optional)
1/2 cup finely chopped radish (optional)
2 medium-small tomatoes
1 medium sized onion, finely chopped
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh corriander leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
juice from 1/2 a large lime
few drops of mustard oil
1 teaspoon crushed peanuts (optional)

Procedure:

Place all the vegi ingredients in a large bowl
Add the seasoning and toss the salad until every thing is uniformly mixed
Sprinkle the lime juice, mustard oil and finally the crushed peanuts on top
Serve 15min later, preferably chilled
Serves: 4-6 people


Maacher Kalia

Ingredients:

2 large steaks of a firm fish like salmon or rohu
3 teaspoons turmeric powder
3 teaspoons salt
oil for deep frying
3 medium sized potatoes
10-12 large cauliflower florets
1 large onion, finely chopped
2" ginger root , peeled and grated
2-3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
2 dried red chilli peppers
2 teaspoon panchphoran
1 teaspoon cumin powder
2 teaspoons corriander powder
3/4 teaspoon chilli powder
1 Tablespoon plain unsweetened yogurt
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
3 cups warm water

Procedure:

Cut each fish steak into 4 quarters as evenly as possible. Wash and drain the fish and place in a bowl; rub the pieces with 2 teaspoons turmeric powder and one teaspoon of salt and let sit about 15-20 minutes

Heat the oil for deep frying in a small deep vessel (like a karhai) at "medium high" heat. Deep fry the fish a few pieces at a time - 5 mins. each side and then set them aside

Peel the potatoes and cut each one into 4 long wedges. Wash the potatoes and the cauliflower florest, drain and set aside

Heat 6-8 tablespoons of the oil the fish was deep fried in in a large pan. When the oil is hot crumble the dried red chilli peppers into it and add the panchphoran. When the panchporan begins to sputter, reduce the heat to "low" and add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for 30 sec to a minute

Next add the onions and stir fry them on "medium" heat until they are soft and golden brown. Now reduce the heat to the lowest setting and add the remaining turmeric powder, chilli powder, corriander powder and cumin powder stir fry for 2-3 mins.

Raise the heat to "medium-high" and now add the potatoes and cauliflower. Stir fry for 5-6 minutes making sure they are evenly covered in all the spices. Add the yogurt and stir fry for another minute or two and then add water and bring it to boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to "low" and let it cook for 15 mins.

Now add the fish and stir once. Cover and cook some more until the vegetables are done. Sprinkle the garam masala and take off from the heat. Pour into a serving bowl, let it sit 10 mins. before serving

Serves: 4-8 people
Serving ideas: plain rice, and spinach for a starter.


Saag Kumro

Ingredients:

3 cups peeled and diced pumpkin (kumro)
2 medium potatoes, diced but not peeled
A bunch of fresh spinach), chopped
1/2 lb baby shrimp (peeled+steamed is ok)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 dried red chilli
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon corriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder
2 tablespoons finely ground/grated coconut

Procedure:

First heat the oil in a pan, add the cumin and the turmeric, stir-fry these spices for a minute before you add the shrimp. Fry the shrimp for a couple of minutes and then take them out with a slotted spoon and leave aside.

Next break the dried red chilli and fry it in the oil for a minute before adding the potatoes and pumpkin. Stir fry these for a few minutes. Add the corriander, chilli powder and sugar and stir-fry for a couple more minutes.

Now add the chopped spinach and stir it in until the it slowly decreases in volume and blends in with the other ingredients (~3 mins). Now add the salt and sprinke a little water (3-4 Tbsp) cover and allow to cook under low heat until the potatoes are done.

Sprinkle and stir in the ground coconut and shrimp before turning off the heat, you may wish to save a little for the final garnish when you serve this dish.
Serves: 4-6 people
Serving ideas: serve with piping hot plain rice and borar jhal!


Microwave Ilish

Shak Begoon
Shorshe Mushroom
Sobji
Kancha maacher Jhal
Chutney
Suji

(Hilsa fish cooked in mustard sauce in a microwave oven)
Wash the fish steaks and coat with salt, leave aside for sometime.
Arrange the fish steaks in a microwave safe casserole dish in a single layer.
Add lots of `shorshe bata' (ground mustard paste), a little `posto bata' (ground poppyseed paste), mustard oil, salt to taste and some green chillies.

Microwave at `high-power' for 10 mins and then at `medium-power' for another 10 mins or until cooked. (Note: This is for an 800watt microwave oven).


Shak Begoon

(Spinach cooked with Eggplant/Aubergine/Brinjal)
Cut the eggplant into large longish pieces and fry them in hot oil
Thaw a packet of frozen spinach.
Add the spinach and chopped green chillies to the eggplant.
Add salt and sugar to taste.
Cover and cook slowly until done.


Shorshe Mushroom

(Gourmet mushrooms cooked in Mustard Sauce)
Dice the mushrooms and wash them in a colander, coat with a little salt and sugar and place a bowl underneath the colander so the juices from the mushrooms drain into it.

Squeeze the water out from the mushrooms and them fry in hot oil. Add salt.
Then add lots of `shorshe bata' (ground mustard paste), some turmeric powder (halood) and chili powder (lanka gooro).
Stir fry until mushrooms are evenly coated with the spices, add the mushroom juices, mix and then cook slowly until done.


Sobji (Bengali vegetable stir-fry)

Cut eggplant/aubergine/brinjal, bean and corjette/zucchini into long thin slivers, coat with a little salt and sugar and let sit for a while.
Fry some `panch-phoran' (Bengali fivespice mix) and `shukno lanka' (dry red chili) in very hot oil.
Add the vegetables and stir fry for some time then cover and cook till done.


Kancha maacher Jhal (Poached Salmon Curry)


Put oil in a pan and place on heat and immediately add ginger paste, garlic paste, green chillies or bell pepper (capsicum), chopped tomatoes and a little chopped onion.
Cook slowly until it boils and ingredients blend into each other.
Now add the salmon pieces into this boiling mixture. Cook slowly until the fish is cooked.


Chutney (with tomato and dried fruit)

Add panch phoran and a whole dried red chilli pepper to very hot oil in a pan
Now add 2 chopped tomatoes and stir fry
Add 1 cup of water and then dried fruits like dates, raisins and aamsatta pieces.
Bring to boil, then add 1/3 cup of sugar and cook slowly, covered.


Suji (Bengali sweet semolina)

Heat ghee or oil in a pan
Add bay leaf and whole cardamom, cinamon and cloves ("gota garam mashla")
Add 1 cup of suji and fry
Stir in 1 cup of sugar, then add 1 cup of water and some currants ("kismis")
Cook till it is as dry as you like it
Makes a great breakfast accompanied with fried papadums ("papor-bhaja")!


Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) is a member of the Cucurbitaceae (gourd) family, and a relative of squash, watermelon, muskmelon, and cucumber.

Common Names

English: bitter melon/gourd
Chinese: ku gua, foo gwa
Filipino: ampalaya
Hindi: karela
Thai: mara
Malay: peria katak
Japanese: tsuru reishi
Indonesian: pare pahit
Vietnamese: muop dang
Dutch: springkomkommer
French: assorossie
German: wunder-balsamapfel
Italian: balsamini lunghi
Spanish: balsamina

Description: Green, oblong, warty skin, 1-8 inches long. It is filled with large seeds, which are loosely packed in the spongy flesh. The Indian variety is saw-toothed like crocodile skin and the seeds are small and tightly packed in the flesh.

Selection: Select firm light to dark green Bitter Melon, free of soft spots.

Storage: Refrigerate covered and unwashed up to 4 days.

The Plant: Bitter melon grows in tropical areas, including parts of East Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and South America, where it is used as a food as well as a medicine. The fruit of this plant lives up to its name-it tastes very bitter. Although the seeds, leaves, and vines of bitter melon have all been used, the fruit is the safest and most prevalent part of the plant used medicinally.

Health benefits: As a nutrient source, bitter melons are rich in iron. As for its medicinal value, at least three different constituents in bitter melon have been reported to have hypoglycemic (blood sugar lowering) or other actions of potential benefit in diabetes mellitus. Two bitter melon proteins have been shown to inhibit the AIDS virus and an as yet unidentified constituent in bitter melon may benefit people with psoriasis. It has been recommended by the Department of Health of the Philippines, as one of the best herbal medicines for it's ability to help with liver problems. It is also an excellent natural remedy for the common cold, works in only 3-5 days. A component in the seeds has recently been found to have immunosuppressive properties and may be beneficial to people with autoimmune diseases.

Eating Bitter Melon the Bengali Way: As with all other bitters foods, bitter melon preparations are always eaten at the start of a Bengali meal with plain boiled rice. Some of the traditional ways of cooking this vegetable in Bengal include deep frying bitter melon slices, adding bitter melon to Moong dal, boiled bitter melon mashed with potato, and the most famous of all a light stew of bitter melon and other vegetables known as "Shukto". Green bitter melons are also enjoyed as part of other vegetable curries for example stir fried with potatoes or curried with with eggplant and onions. When bitter melons become ripe they turn orange and the seeds turn red, these ripe bitter melons are also eaten grilled and then mashed. Serving bitter foods at the begining of a meal helps get digestive juices flowing for the rest of the meal, which if it is a Bengali meal, can be a long, elaborate and sumptuous affair!


Bengali Bitter Melon Recipes


Korola Bhate (Mashed Bitter Melon)


If you are using green bitter melons, boil them and then mash them. You may eat or leave out the seeds. Adding some mashed boiled potatoes to this also tastes good and helps reduce the bitterness. Add salt and dried red chili peppers fried in oil (add both the chillies and oil). Mash until there are few or no lumps and just scoop out a serving. Serve with plain boiled rice as a starter.

For ripe bitter melons, coat them in vegetable oil and grill or roast them whole then mash them. Mix in salt, mustard oil and chopped chili peppers (red or green) as seasoning. Again you may leave out the seeds if you wish. Serve as a starter with plain boiled rice although these are not so bitter.


Korola Bhaja (Fried Bitter Melon)

1. Slice the bittermelon (like you would a cucumber) and coat the slices with turmeric powder and salt. Leave to sit for 5 minutes.
2. Meanwhile heat oil for deepfrying in a karai or wok. Deep fry the slices; some people prefer thicker slices fried til they are just cooked but still green and soft while others prefer wafer thin slices fried til they are crunchy and become dark bitter melon chips.
3. Again you may remove the seeds if you like before eating. Serve with plain boiled rice as a starter. Very delicious!


Thetor Dal (Bitter Melon with Lentils)

1. Boil moong dal (split yellow moong/mung beans or lentils) in water until half done.
2. Lightly stir fry cubes of bitter melon and onion slices flavored with cumin seeds, chopped red/green chillies and grated ginger in some vegetable oil or even better in some ghee.
3. Add this to the boiling dal, also add salt and some turmeric powder.
4. Boil until both bitter melon and dal are fully cooked.
5. Serve with rice as a starter, this is a thick dal, not a watery one.


Thito (Bitter Melon curry)

1. Heat oil in a vessel, fry plenty of sliced onions.
2. Add chili, cumin and turmeric powders, stir in.
3. Add cubed eggplant (brinjal/aubergine) and cubed bittermelon (equal amounts).
4. Stir fry for a few minutes then add salt and a little water if needed, cover and simmer til veggies are cooked (should not have much gravy).
5. Serve with plain boiled rice as a starter.


Uchhe Aloo Bhaja (Bitter melon stir fry)

1. Chop bittermelon, potatoes and onion.
2. Heat some oil in a frying pan
3. Fry a crushed dry red chili pepper in this oil
4. Now add the veggies and a little turmeric powder. Stir fry for several minutes
5. Add salt, mix, then cover pan and allow to cook on low heat until the veggies are done.
6. Serve with plain boiled rice as a starter.


Shukto (Bitter Mixed Vegetable Curry)

1. Dice the following vegetables: bittermelon, potato, horse radish (mooli), plantain (green banana), eggplant (brinjal/aubergine), kochu (taro).
2. Stir fry each vegetable seperately in some oil and keep aside.
3. Grate some ginger and grind 1 teaspoon of mustard seed.
4. Fry some "bori" (mung dal wadi) and also keep aside.
5. Now heat some oil in a large vessel, add 1 tablespoon of panch phoron and wait for it to sputter. Then add the ginger and mustard seed paste.
6. Add all the vegetables and bori, stir to mix the ingredients well.
7. Add salt and sugar (this dish is supposed to be slightly sweet)
8. Add water and bring to boil, cover and simmer untill veggies are cooked.
9. Add a tablespoon of ghee at the very end.
10. Serve at room temperature with plain boiled rice as a starter.


Korola Shorshe (Bitter melon curried in mustard sauce)

1. Cut bittermelon into small pieces.
2. In a pan heat some oil and fry some "kala jeera".
3. Add some chopped green chili peppers.
4. Next add the bitter melon and fry in this spiced oil.
5. Blend a smooth paste of mustard seeds, salt and dried red chili pepper in some water.
6. Add this to the bittermelon in the pan.
7. Add salt to taste and lots of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
8. Boil until the bittermelon is cooked and most of the water has evaporated.
9. Add a little mustard oil at the very end.
10. Enjoy with plain boiled rice as a starter.


Mishti Chorchori (sweet stir fried vegetables)

Ingredients:

Vegetables:
Beet, Carrot, Beans, Sheem, Eggplant, Potato, Mooli and Cabbage
Cooking oil
Panch phoran
Dried red chili
Turmeric powder
Cumin powder
Salt and sugar to taste

Method:

1. Chop vegetables into really small pieces
2. Heat some water in a pot and boil the vegetables in it adding salt, sugar, turmeric, and cumin powder
3. Drain the water from the vegetables
4. Heat oil in a pan, fry the dried red chili and the panch phoran until they sputter
5. Add the vegetables and stir fry until it looks done (slightly blackened)
6. Serve with steamed rice, tastes good with masoor dal.


Macher Matha diye Bandhakopi (cabbage with fish head)

Ingredients:

Cabbage
Large fish head
Potatoes
Cooking oil
Panch phoran
Dried red chili
Cumin powder
Onion paste
Ginger paste
Chopped tomato
Turmeric powder
Salt and sugar
Garam masala powder

Method:

1. Deep fry the fish heads till crispy and golden brown
2. Shred the cabbage, or chop it very, very fine
3. Boil the cabbage in hot water for a few minutes
4. Drain the water from the cabbage
5. Heat oil in a pan and fry the chili, phoran and cumin
6. Add the potatoes (peeled and diced) and stir fry
7. Now add the onion and ginger pastes to this, followed by the tomato, salt, sugar and turmeric and mix well
8. Add the cabbage and fish, mix with the spices and potatoes and cook (covered) until very well done
9. Then stir fry until you are satisfied (should be dry)
10. Finally sprinkle and stir in the garam masala
11. Serve with steamed rice, goes well with moong dal.


Macher Jhal (fish in hot mustard sauce)

Ingredients:

Small whole fish: Tangra, percey, bata, goby etc.
or Large fish pieces: Rui, salmon, ahi-tuna etc.

Mustard seeds (mix black and yellow)
Turmeric powder
Cumin powder
Kalo jeera (nigella seeds)
Green chilies
Salt
Cooking oil
Chopped corriander leaves (cilantro)

Method:

1. Wash fish thoroughly, coat with salt and turmeric and leave for 20 min.
2. Fry fish: small fish lightly, large fish pieces til crispy.
3. Mix yellow and black mustard seeds in a 3:2 ratio and grind them in a spice/coffee grinder with the chilies and a some salt, mix with a lot of water and set aside.
4. In a pan heat a some fresh oil, fry the kalo jeera til they pop and add any more chili if needed. Next add the turmeric and a pinch of cumin powder, mix in the oil.
5. Strain and add all the water from the mustard, make sure you squeeze all the juices out of the pulp (use a tea-strainer and spoon or just your hand), add more water if required.Throw away the seed remains.
6. Turn the heat up till it statrs to boil and then add the fish and more salt if required.
7. Cook till fish is done, sauce should be thick.
8. Mix in corriander leaves and serve with steamed rice.


Neemer Rokomari (neem recipes)

Neem Begoon

1. Chop up an eggplant (begoon) into small cubes, coat with salt and turmeric powder and leave aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan, fry panch phoran, dried red chili pepper, and very tender young neem* leaves.
3. Add the begoon and stir fry on low heat til done.
4. serve with steamed rice as a starter.

Neem Jhol

1. First deep fry same boris (moong vadi).
2. Fry chopped potatoes, drumstick (shojne data), sheem.
3. Add some chopped eggplant and stir fry some more.
5. Add turmeric and cumin powder, salt to taste and a pinch of mustard paste.
6. Add as much water as you like, (should be thin and runny like a stew), cook. til done
7. In a seperate vessel heat a little oil, fry some panch phoran, dried red chili and tender young neem* leaves in it and add this savory oil to vegetables.
8. Serve as a starter with steamed rice on a hot day.