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Fiery Chilly Mustard Relish Kasundi

Yield: 1 servings

5 oz Fresh hot red chiles
1 tb Mustard seeds
4 Garlic cloves, peeled
1 sm Green mango, peeled,
1 pn Salt, or to taste

This relish from Bengal, an eastern region of India, is for those who
like fiery flavors. Try it with tandoori dishes, kebabs and shellfish, also good with sandwich.

Combine all ingredients and blend smoothly. Cover and store up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Makes 1/2 cup.

PER TABLESPOON: 20 calories, 1 g protein, 5 g carbohydrate, 0 g fat,
0 mg cholesterol, 35 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.

Labra Vegetables in a mingling mood


2 Tblsp water or broth
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp five-spice
3 Tblsp peeled, minced fresh ginger
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup chopped tomatoes (about 3 Roma or 1 1/2 regular tomatoes)
1/2 cup water
1/4kg potatoes (approx. 2 medium), cut into 1" cubes
1 1/4 cups yams cut into 1" cubes
2 cups cauliflower cut into florets 1 1/2" in diameter
1 cup green beans, cut crosswise into 1 1/2" lengths
2 cups eggplant cut into 1" cubes
1 to 3 tsp red chili paste (optional) or (see below)
1/4 cup thawed frozen peas
1/2 tsp garam masala

Boris (lentil dumplings) (optional)


- cook veggies uncovered part of the time/when simmered covered for a long time veggies become soft and mashed, but cooked uncovered they develop a rich roasted flavour
-Crush a few of the veggies at the end with the back of a spoon to release their essense, blending to form a unique sauce
-since the quantity is large, a 12"(30cm) DEEP-SIDED skillet is needed/this allows the veggies to lie in a single layer,which results in more even cooking, rich roasted flavour+ holds their shape better
-important to add spices in order as indicated; for instance garam masala-a hot spice is usually added when the heat is turned OFF, otherwise it will lose its aroma with high heat, and turn bitter if overcooked.

1. Heat water or broth in skillet (nonstick or Dutch Oven) over med. heat Add sugar and fry(a few sec.) til it darkens/Turn heat to med.low, fry bay leaf + 5-spice til they start crackling. Add ginger, turmeric, cumin and salt; then tomatoes + water. Add potatoes and yams. Simmer, covered for 15 mins.
2. Add cauliflower, beans, eggplant + red chili paste. Simmer, covered, for 10 mins. Turn heat to med. low. Uncover + cook til the veg. are almost tender approx. 10 mins. Sprinkle 2 to 4 Tblsp hot water over the veggies if they start to stick to the bottom, but try not add any more than necessary; the sauce should be thick and clingy.
3. Add peas + simmer, covered til the veg. are tender, 3-5 mins. Remove from heat. Blend in garam masala. Using the back of a spoon, mash a few of the potatoes + yams to mix with the sauce. Sprinkle cilantro on top.
Dried red chili, made into a paste adds a rich,warm flavour + a mellow hotness to the dish. You can roast the chilies first, to further enhance the paste. Put 2-4 whole dried red chilies on an ungreased griddle or skillet over low heat. Turn as soon as they start t o darken on the bottom. Repeat for the other side. Soak the chilies in hot water for 15 mins or til soft. Remove the seeds to reduce hotness. Grind the flesh with a mortar and a pestle or in a mini-chopper using 2 tsp or so of the soaking water. *Do not substitute with commercial red chili paste. This paste contains other ingred. which will alter the taste of the dish.


In a typical Bengali home it would be served with rice, tart red lentils, mellow tomato chutney or soft bread.

Kamala Phoolkopi

Serves: 4
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes


800g/1 lb 13 oz : cauliflower (medium)
4 : potatoes (large)
Cooking oil to deep fry potatoes
75g/5 tbs : clarified butter
5 : green cardamom
3 : cloves
2 sticks : cinnamon (1")
2 : bay leaves
100g/3 oz : onions
15g/2.5 tsp : ginger paste (strained)
6g/2 tsp : cumin powder
4.5g/1.5 tsp : red chilli powder
3g/1 tsp : tumeric powder
10g piece : palm (or cane) jaggery
4 : green chillies
120ml/0.5 cup : orange juice

The Garnish

8 : orange segments


The cauliflower:
Clean, cut into medium sized florets, wash, reserve in salted iced water, drain and pat dry.

The potatoes:
Wash thoroughly (do not remove skin), quarter and then halve each quarter lengthwise. Blanch in salted boiling water until half cooked, drain and keep aside. Heat oil in a kadhai/wok add the blanched potatoes and deep fry until light golden (they should be al dente which means nine-tenths cooked, not soft and squishy). Remove to absorbent paper to drain the excess fat.

The other vegetables:
Peel, wash and finely chop. Wash green chillies, halve, deseed and discard the stems.

The Jaggery:
Wash and pound into a coarse powder.

Heat clarified butter in a kadhai/wok, add cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves, stir over medium heat until the cardamom begins to change colour, add onions, bhunno/stir-fry until light golden, add ginger paste and bhunno/stir-fry until the moisture evaporates. Then add the cumin, red chilli and tumeric powders (dissolved in 45ml/3 tbs) of water, bhunno/stir-fry until moisture evaporates, add the jaggery, stir until incorporated in the masala, add cauliflower and salt, stir, reduce to low heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally until three-fourths cooked (approximately 6-7 minutes). Uncover, increase to medium heat, add potatoes and green chillies, stir for a minute, add orange juice and cook, stirring occasionally, until the orange juice is fully incorporated and the cauliflower is al dente (approximately 2-3 minutes; add a little water, if necessary, to prevent sticking). Remove and adjust the seasoning.

To Serve
Remove to a dish, garnish with orange segments and serve with Loochi or Poori or as an accompaniment.

Note: All weights are nett, i.e. post preparation, and not gross.

Bengali Crab Curry


15 oz whole crab
2 big potatoes
2 onions
2 cloves
2 cardamom
0.5 inch stick of cinnamon
3 inches ginger
5 cloves garlic
1 medium sized tomato
2 tsp jeera powder
1 tsp red chili powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
mustard oil

Precision Demanded:
You should stick to above quantities religiously. Timings listed below need some judgement.


Clean the crab.
Mince the ginger and garlic into a paste.
Chop onions fine.
Peel and chop potatoes, and wash 'em.
Heat the oil. Put in cardamom, cloves and cinnamon and fry for a minute. Put in the crabs and fry at high temperature. It will splutter and fume-- do not lose nerve. When crabs are fried, take them out and put them aside. This should take 3-4 minutes of frying at high temperature, at most 5 minutes.
Fry the potatoes for 2 minutes. Add the minced onions. Fry till the onions are well done. Put in the ginger and garlic paste and cook for a minute-- the aroma of ginger and garlic should be apparent. Now put in the chopped tomatoes. Add jeera, chili, salt and sugar. Fry, occasionally adding water to prevent burning until the oil seperates.
Put the crab back in and mix well. Add water enough to drown the mixture and boil for 15 minutes.

Maachher Jhol Bengali Fish Curry


1 lb fish (preferably freshwater like carp or catfish with skin and bones cut into steaks 3/4'' thick)
1 cup mustard oil
1-1.5 tbsp mustard paste
2 tbsps turmeric
5-6 hot peppers
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste


Smear fish pieces with 1 tbsp turmeric and salt and set aside for a few minutes. Heat mustard oil in a deep pan and fry fish lightly until golden yellow on both sides. Dissolve mustard paste, remaining turmeric and salt in 1.5 cups hot water. Slice hot peppers lengthwise and add to the mustard sauce. Add a few drops of mustard oil to the sauce. Bring sauce to boil in a saucepan and add fish to it. Simmer until fish is tender and sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from heat, allow to cool, sprinkle lemon juice and serve with white rice.

Note 1: The mustard oil is quite essential as this is what gives the dish the tang. Also , it should be of good quality .

Note 2: The mustard paste is best prepared fresh by crushing 4-5 tbsps mustard seed with water but prepared mustard can be substituted.

Chingri Vaja Fried Shrimps


8 jumbo shrimps
1 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp onion paste
1/2 tsp green chilli paste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
Salt to taste
1 cup bread crumbs
1 well beaten egg
Oil for deep frying


Clean the shrimps, de-vein and slit them lengthwise in a
couple of places so that the masala can penetrate.
Combine together ingredients 2 to 8 and mix well.
Add this to the shrimps and let them marinate
for about 1 hour.
Dip each shrimp in the egg, coat with breadcrumbs and
deep fry in hot oil till crisp and golden brown.
Drain and serve with mint chutney.

Aloo Calcutta Indian style potatoes

4 waxy boiling potatoes
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1/8 tsp. asafoetida powder
1/2 tsp. whole cumin seed
1 or 2 diced hot red peppers (opt)
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 6-oz. cans V8
1 tsp. salt, coriander

Boil whole potatoes with the skin until soft.
Peel the skin and cut to bite size.
In hot oil, put cumin seed, red pepper and asafoetida powder to sizzle.
Put in all the potatoes and fry a little, turning.
Add salt, turmeric and tomato sauce.

Cover and allow to simmer gently 4 to 6 minutes.
Asafoetida powder is not your every-day ingredient, but is nearly essential in many Indian dishes.
It's considered a flavoring but also a digestive aid.
Find it at an Indian or Middle-Eastern grocery, or mail order a small jar.
A pinch is usually all that's ever used.

A complete modification.
First you heat the oil or oil/margarine (or butter) and cook the spices briefly.
Throw in some cut green beans for a few seconds and then diced potatoes and some garlic and onion.
Let saute', then add the V-8 (or even plain water) and cover... cook for as long as it takes to get everything tender, up to 40 minutes or more.

Bengal Curry Of Lamb

Serving Size : 4

Amount Measurement

2 1/2 Lb Lean Lamb Shoulder
1/4 Tsp Dried Mint Crushed
1/4 Cup Butter
2 Cups Milk
2/3 Cup Onion Chopped Fine
1/2 Cup Coconut Milk (See Instructions)
3 Tbls Crystallized Ginger Chopped
1/2 Cup Coconut Grated
1/2 Tsp Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup Lime Juice
1/8 Tsp Black Pepper Ground
1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
2 Tsp Salt
3 Tbls Curry Powder


TO PREPARE COCONUT MILK: Remove the shell and the brown
inner skin from the meat of a fully ripe coconut.
Chop the meat (NOTE: you may substitute 1 cup of packaged
shredded coconut for the chopped coconut meat).
Combine the chopped coconut meat with one cup of scalded whole milk.
Let stand for 20 minutes.
Remove bones and fat from the lamb.
Cut the meat into 1" cubes.
Melt half the butter in a large, heavy pan.
Add the onion.
Cook until tender (about 5 minutes).
Use a slotted spoon to remove the onion.
Set aside.
Add the remaining butter to the pan.
Brown the lamb cubes on all sides.
Return the onion to the pan.
Add the ginger, sugar, pepper, salt, curry powder, mint and milk.
Mix well.
Simmer over low heat for 1 hour.
Add the coconut milk and grated coconut.
Cook for 5 minutes.
Gradually stir in the lime juice.
Slowly blend in the cream.
Cook over low heat (DON'T LET IT BOIL !) until the lamb
is tender (10-15 minutes).
Serve over hot, fluffy rice.
Yields 4 Servings

Simple Chana Dal

Considering how easy this dish is to prepare, it's amazing how great it tastes.


2 cups (uncooked) chana dal
6 cups water
1 large onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garam masala1
salt to taste


Simmer dal until tender. Purée part of it. Carmelize onion in a bit of olive oil. Add garam masala and simmer a bit more. Add onions to dal.

Serving suggestions:

Serve over a bed of one-half rice and one-half barley. Top with fat-free sour cream or plain non-fat yogurt.


1Garam masala is a mixture of fragrant, pulverized spices. In Bengal it consists of cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. In other parts of India it may also include black peppercorns, nutmeg, coriander, and other spices. All Indian stores sell ground garam masala.

Curried Eggs, Bengal Fashion.

Peel three onions, cut them in very thin slices, and put
them into a stew-pan with two ounces of fat or butter,
two ounces of chopped bay-leaves, and a sprig of chopped
thyme ; fry these all together for about fifteen minutes till
of a nice golden brown ; then lightly sprinkle in a tablespoon-
full of fine flour, add a teaspoonful of cardamoms, one small
scraped clove of garlic, a saltspoonful of ground allspice,
curry powder, and salt, a pinch of ground ginger, three-
quarters of a pint of any light stock or milk, and boil all
together till the mixture is almost dry. Add to it twelve
sliced hard-boiled eggs, then serve on a hot dish in a border
of plainly boiled rice, garnished with little bunches of hard-
boiled yolk of eggs that have been rubbed through a wire-
sieve, and shredded green capsicums.

Pullao Pilau Rice

Serves four people


3 tablespoons oil
5cm piece of cinnamon stick
4 cardamon pods
4 cloves
1 onion sliced
1 1/4 cups long-grain rice
2 1/2 cups of beef stock or water
3/4 cup shelled peas
3/4 cauliflower pieces

Wash the rice in running cold water and then leave it to soak for 30 minutes in clean cold water.

THEN: ask mum or dad to help.

Heat the oil in a pan, add the cinnamon, cardamon and cloves and fry for a few seconds. Add the sliced onion and fry until golden. Add both the 3/4 cups of cauliflower pieces and shelled peas to the pan and fry for 5 minutes. Drain the rice thoroughly, add to the pan and fry for a further 5 minutes, stirring the mixture occasionally. Add the stock or water and the amount of salt you desire. Bring to the boil, then simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, until the rice is soft and the liquid is absorbed.

Serve to your friends. Impress them with your cooking.

Vegetable Curry

Serves 4

What you will need:

3 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 onions, sliced.
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds
2.5cm piece, ginger chopped
2 eggplant, sliced
three quarter cup shelled peas
1 medium potato cubed
1 x 215g can tomato pieces
4 green chillies

What to do: Heat the oil in a big pan, add the fennel seeds and fry for a couple of seconds, then add the onions and fry until tender and golden brown. Add the chilli powder, ginger, salt and coriander, mix and fry for 2 minutes. Then add to the pan the eggplant, peas and potato and cook for 5 minutes, stirring sometimes.
Add the chillies and the tomatoes with their juice, cover and allow to simmer for 30 minute or when peas are soft and sauce thickens.

Aubergines Curry


2 Aubergines
2 Green Chillies-Chopped
1 Medium Onion finely grated
2 Cloves of Garlic-grated
1 Tomato finely chopped
1 Tablespoon of Mustard oil
Salt & Pepper to taste

Cut aubergines into 1 inch thick slices. Put them in a microwave proof dish, cover with a paper towel or a clean dish cloth and microwave for 3 minutes on full (100%) power, and an additional three minutes on medium high power.

Adjust times according to your own microwave wattage. When done, mash the eggplant, including the skin, with a spoon. Skin should be soft.

Heat the oil ( any preferred cooking oil is OK) in a frying pan. Add rest of the ingredients and fry until the excess juice gets absorbed. Add the mashed aubergine (eggplant), mix it well with the ingredients. Enjoy as a starter with plain rice.

Note from the Cooks:
If you don't already know this, Satya R. is a masterchef of microwave cooking. He can even tell you how to cook eggs in a microwave!!!
Note: From the Editor:
"Aubergine" the French word for what is also affectionately known as Eggplant, Brinjal, Baigon or BayGoon.
In trying out this recipe, I had to microwave for little longer to get the aubergine fully cooked. I think, the cooking time depends on the kind of microwave oven as well as the type of eggplant (aubergine) one uses. There are various kinds of this vegetable available in the market. I used the skinny long ones.

Fish Head Jamboree Chyanchra


1/2 Small squash or yellow pumpkin (Kumro)
6-8 Green Beans or Cut Italian Beans (Sheem)
1 C Chopped Spinach or Tender Cauliflower Leaves
1 Large Eggplant (Begoon)
3 Potatoes
1 Fish Head and Fish Liver (Fried)
2 ts of Ginger (Ground or Paste)
4 T Cooking Oil
1 ts of Panch Phoron (five spices)
2 ts Turmeric Powder
2-3 Green Chillies
Salt to Taste
1 Ts Chopped Cilantro (optional)

On Chaitee's recent visit to India, she tasted this wonderful authentic fish-head recipe at her aunt's, Dr. Sudeshna Majumdar. She was so impressed with this recipe, that she thought should be published on P-Net. Some readers might be inhibited to see this, but there is a firm traditional belief that "eating fish head increases brain power", and sons-in-law are served fish head as a sign of supreme adoration, love and discriminating taste. So here it is. Who knows, it might just do what it is suppose to do.

Clean the fish head and remove the gills and the unwanted parts. Mix some salt, a little turmeric powder and a ts of oil in a small bowl and pour it on the head, fish oil and liver, covering it well all around. In a deep pan, heat about 1 Ts of cooking oil and fry the head & the liver etc. for 4-5 minutes. Take it out and put it on paper towel to absorb the extra oil.

Slice the vegetables and the chillies. Add 2 Ts of additional oil to the pan and add the panch phoron and the chillies. Fry until you get the aroma of the phoron. Add vegetables and the fish head, liver. Add salt, turmeric powder, ginger, sugar and cover.

Cook and simmer the ingredients for twenty minutes on low heat, stirring from time to time until the vegetables are done and there is no liquid left in the mix. Turn off the heat and transfer to a serving dish. You can add the chopped cilantro before serving as a garnish.

Chingri Dish


Shelled & deveined prawns - 250 gms
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Red chilies - 2
Cinnamon - 2 pieces
Clove - 1
Garlic - 4 cloves
Salt - 1 1/2 tsp
Oil - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Lime juice - 1 tsp
Lime cut into slices - 1/2
Banana leaves or aluminum foil


Wash shelled prawns under cold running water and pat dry with cloth.
Rub with 1/4 teaspoon salt and lime juice.
Let prawns stand for 15 minutes. Drain.
Grind ginger and garlic, cinnamon, red chilli, clove and cumin seeds to a smooth paste.
Combine prawns, remaining salt, oil, turmeric.
Mix well and set aside.
Line container with banana leaves covering the sides as well.
Lay the prawns with the paste over it, covering the prawns completely with the banana leaves.
Close the container with the lid.
Steam in a close container, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes.
Before serving remove the upper banana leaf and either serve straight from the container with
lime slices or turn out on a warmed platter.
Surround the prawns with the lime slices and serve hot.

Fish in Bengali Sauce ( Machher Jhol)


Carp steaks, red snapper steaks, or any other firm, white-fleshed fish - 800 g(cut about 4cm in thick large fillets should be cut into pieces no longer than 5 cm)
ground turmeric -1/2 tsp
salt - 1/2 tsp
mustard oil or vegetable oil - 2/3 cup
ground coriander seeds - 1 Tbl.sp
ground cumin seeds -1 tsp
finely grated (peeled fresh ginger) - 1 1/2 tsp
ground turmeric - 1 tsp
red chilli powder (cayenne pepper) - 1/2 tsp
salt - 1/2 tsp
nigelia seeds (kalonji) - 1/4 tsp
whole, dried, hot red chillies - 4
bay leaves - 2
large onion (peeled and fairly finely chopped) - 1
whole hot green chillies - 3

Rub the fish well with the 1/2 tsp of turmeric and 1/2 tsp of salt and set aside for 10-15 minutes.
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium flame. If you are using mustard oil, let it get smokingly hot.
Now put in the fish pieces and brown lightly on all sides without cooking them through.
Gently lift the fish out of the oil and put it on a plate.
Turn off the heat.
Combine the ground coriander seeds, the cumin, ginger, 1 tsp turmeric,chilli powder (cayenne pepper) and 1/2 tsp of salt in a small bowl.
Add 3 Tbl.sp of water and mix.
Remove all but 5 Tbl.sp/6 Tbl.sp. of oil from the frying pan.
Heat the frying pan over a medium flame.
When hot, put in the nigelia seeds.
A few seconds later, put in the red chillies.
As soon as they darken a bit, put in the bay leaves.
When the bay leaves start to darken, put in the onion.
Stir and fry the onion, lowering the heat, if necessary, until it is translucent and lightly browned.
Add the spice paste.
Stir and fry it for about 1 minute.
Now put in the fish in a single layer as well as 1 cup of water.
Lay the green chillies over the fish.
Simmer over a medium heat for 2 minutes, spooning the sauce over the fish pieces as you do so.
Now cover, turn the heat to low and cook the fish for 10-15 minutes or until it is just done.