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Potol bhaja


Scrape the patals [don't peel them], make some slots with a knife in them and wash them. Sprinkle a little salt on them. Heat
oil on high heat and add the patals carefully. Deep fry, take them off oil and put in paper-lined dish.


KhichuRi

You can make khichuRi with either mung or masur daal -- the recipe will be different. I am sending the one with mung here, if anybody is interested, let me know, I will send the other one.

Ingredients:

Mung daal 11/2 cups
Tice 1 cup
Ghee
Whole cardamoms
Cloves and cinnamon sticks
Bay leaves
Whole cumin seeds
Green Turmeric
Green chili
Pepper
Green cumin [jeera]
Green ginger
Two medium size potatoes peeled and cut in fourth
Few florets of cauliflower [optional]
Peas [opt.]
Whole green peppers
Oil
Salt and sugar to taste

Fry the vegetables in oil and keep aside. Wash and drain the daal and rice separately. Now in a heavy bottomed pot heat the ghee, add the whole cumin seeds, the cloves, cardamoms and cinnamon sticks, the bay leaves and then after a few seconds add the daal to it. Saute the daal til it looks golden brown and starts emitting a nice fried smell. Add the rice, saute for a couple of minutes, then add water about 3 times the volume of the rice-daal mixture [you will need to add more water later on]. At first you need to cover the pot to make the khichuRi come to a boil, then when it starts to boil uncover it and keep it uncovered, adjust the heat and stir frequently so as to not let it stick at the bottom. When the daal/rice seem to be half-done, add the vegetables, the green peppers, the spices and salt and sugar. Mix them well into the rice-daal mixture and let it cook for about 1/2 hour more or until the khichuri looks and smells done, you will have to stir constantly at this time or the khichuri will burn, also add more water as needed. Serve the khichuRi with melted ghee or butter on top.


Musur daal (a variety)

Only a year ago I picked up this recipe from a good friend of mine. I believe its relative simplicity puts it ahead of many other possible varieties.

Ingredients:

a. Well cleaned and thoroughly washed musur kernels
b. Appropriate amount of salt, chili powder, a dash of sugar (if necessary)
c. Fresh mustard oil or ghee, a tablespoon or two of lemon juiced. Some finely chopped onion, plucked corriander leaves, finely chopped green chilies. All these should be available fresh just about the time of serving.

1. Boil the musur daal throughly. After it is boiled (not before), add
required amount of salt and chili powder. One need not add any
turmeric into it. Keep it aside till needed. It should neither be
thick (like a tarka) nor should it be extremely thin but somewhere in
between in consistency.

2. When ready to serve, warm it again. Add mustatd oil, lemon juice,
onion, corriander leaves, chooped chilies into it. It is ready.


Microwave maachher paaturi (Fish)

First microwave bake a medium size potato or may be two if you want more. In the mean time, wash and rub with turmeric powder and pinch
of salt 2/3 lb. of fresh fish [any good variety is ok, catfish works out excellently!] cut up in small pieces. Peel and crush the potato[es] -- don't mash them -- add to the fish along with 11/2 tsp. of turmeric powder, chili powder and salt to taste [I make it hot!], 1 large onion chopped up, sliced green pepper, chopped cilantro and a generous amount of oil *[this dish can be made without oil for people who can't have oil also :-)] Mix well and put in a microwave safe dish. Do not add water, just sprinkle some on it. Cover, either with plastic wrap or a lid. Microwave at high for 8-10 minutes. Uncover and see if it is done. If not, microwave for 2-3 minutes more. it's done -- eat with plain rice.

Note: You can line the dish you are cooking the fish into with kalaapaata if you can get your hands on one! In that case, line the dish with kalaapaata, pour the prepared fish, line the top with part of the kalaapaata and then cover.


Mochar ghanta (Bikrampuri style)

Ingredients:

(a) The flowers of a mocha with the pollen stem coming out from
inside removed. However, it is important to select the fresh mocha
flower appropriately. Often they render a bitter taste if one is
not careful. In absence of fresh mocha flower one could use
preserved mochas in cans.
(b) Two to three tablespoons of grated coconut (sweetened ones).
(c) Peeled potatoes and chopped in cubes.
(d) Fresh green chilies
(e) Salt, sugar, jeera powder, mouri, bay-leaves, turmeric,
chili-powder
(f) garam-masala (freshly powdered cardamom & cinnamon -
no cloves, this time)
(g) A little flour (in case of emergency), ghee

This method of preparation is basically a standard one for many vegetables. One could even call it a base scheme. For instance, should one feel like adding a little "umph" into it by adding some shrimps -- one could use basically this but, of course, without the coconut. Otherwise, it would be an overkill.

1. Cut fresh mocha flower stalks into short pieces. Boil them till they are sufficiently tender. If canned mochas are used, remove them from the can, wash them thoroughly and chop them into short pieces. Boil them. You may find the water turning black but don't that distract you. After the mocha is boiled, remove them from the water and keep it aside.

2. While the above step is carried out, fry the potatoes in a little ghee. To do this, sprinkle a little turmric and salt onto it and coat them evenly. On a hot frying fan, fry them till they turn slightly redish. Do not overfry them. After they are done, keep them aside.

3. Now return to your boiled mocha. Wash your hands thoroughly and then mash this mocha as much as you can with your hand attending
particularly to the hard centers that you'd occasionally meet. Now you are really ready.

4. In a clean frying pan, heat some ghee. When the ghee is hot sprinkle some whole mouri, a bayleaf or two, some green chilies into it. Before they start to burn, add the coconut and stir it. Almost immediately (and you don't have much time otherwise the coconut would begin to burn), add the potatoes into it and stir it. Now add the mochas into it, stir it a little. Now add the turmeric, chili powder, a little geera powder, a half a teaspoonful of mouri powder (you can prepare it in your grinder). Stir everything thoroughly.

5. After a while the potatoes would be cooked inside it. Taste it, if it requires a little more sugar, add a dash of sugar (1/8 th of a teaspoon, say) and stir into it. If it is still kind of watery -- add into it a little water containing some flour -- say a teaspoon-full at most and stir into it. Very soon the whole think would appear dry as
it should be.

6. Just before removing it from the heat, add a half a teaspoon-full of garam masala and stir into it.

Now enjoy the meal when you are ready! I'd use a Beaujolais or any robust Burgandy to serve with it.

Note. If you are using shrimp, fry them a little until their opaqueness is gone. Do not use any cocconut now, but add the mocha straight after the potatoes are added. Then add the shrimp into it.


Kaalojire-kNaachalankaa diye maachher jhol

Get some fresh fish [try to avoid frozen ones for this recipe] and rub some turmeric powder and a pinch of salt to it. Heat oil on stove very hot [not a lot], add the fish pieces one by one delicately trying not to over crowd. Cover. Wait couple of minutes or so, uncover, turn the fish, cover. Wait some more, uncover and take them off hot oil, draining. This way fry the fish in batches if needed. [always fry fish in high heat and very hot oil]

Turn off heat. Put some kaalojire and slivered kNaachalankaa in the oil before it gets cold. Stir. [careful, the lankaas might explode!] Add a11/2 tsp. of turmeric powder [more for more than 10/12 pieces of fish], chili pepper according to taste, 1-2 tsp. of jeera powder [depending on how much fish] and mix. Turn on heat, high. Saute for a minute [do not burn the spices] and add water, enough to cover the fish. Add salt to taste. As soon as the gravy starts boiling, add the fish and cover making sure the fish are submerged in the gravy. Cook on high heat for about 10/15 minutes, open cover and add chopped cilantro. Cover and cook for couple more minutes. DONE!

Note: The trick of cooking fish is to cook them on high heat -- less time, more heat. I asked you to turn off heat while adding the whole spices so as not to scorch them [as the oil should be really hot for frying the fish]. If the oil is not that hot, you need to have heat turned on at this point. Be careful not to burn the spices.


Maachher tel-jhaal

I would like to offer the following recipe to our fish-loving friends all over the world. Ideally, the belly portion of carp (or similar large fish) would be my choice for the texture it offers.

1. Cut belly of the fish into several finger-sized portions. This is really the fatty part of the fish that hangs down as belly. Wash them thoroughly.

2. Grate or grind just one or half of an onion. The actual amount would be predicated by the amount of gravy one requires.

3. Coat the fish portions with turmeric and salt and a little flour. Then fry them in a frying pan. They should not be over fried though. Perhaps a minute in the frying pan on an intense heat is sufficient.

4. Into a hot saucepan, add some oil (be a little generous to yourself today). When the oil is really super hot, sprinkle five-seeds (reasonable amount of kolanji, methi, jeera, mouri (fenugreek) and mustard) and a dry red laanka into it. Immediately, without burning it, add the onion paste. Fry it till it becomes sticky golden
brown. Add a couple of green-hot chili pods into it. Keep frying the lot and then add some turmeric (haldi) and chili powder (guro-lanka) and salt. Stir them well. By this time you'd be getting its wonderful irresistable aroma. But continue on! When the gravy has thickened a lot add your fried fish into it.

5. Add some water and thicken the gravy so that it basically clings to the fish. Ideally this dish should be fairly dry -- all its gravy should be on the fish.

You are now ready to eat this delicious food using just ordinary hot rice. Any chilled white wine (semi-dry) goes with it well, but I prefer Lieb Frau Milch if and when I can afford it.


Mishti Doi

I have two recipes for mishti doi:

1 can condensed milk
1 can [12 oz.] evaporated milk
1 8 oz. plain yogurt
Cardamom seeds crushed

Mix them well with electric hand mixer or in a blender til froth forms on top. Pour the mixture in a rectangular or oval cake pan, cover with foil and put in preheated 300 deg. oven for half hour. Turn off the oven and keep the doi inside [don't open oven door at any time during the process] overnight. Take out doi in the morning and put in refrigerator. Keep at least 3/4 hours before serving. Serves about 10/12 people. Mix together with an electric hand mixer til it starts frothing:

2 cans of condensed milk
1 32 oz. plain yogurt
1 8 oz plain yogurt
a little rose water/rose essence for food
cardamom seeds crushed

Pour in rectangular 13x9 baking dish [some will be left, pour in a small baking dish]. Put in warm oven [225/250 deg] uncovered for 30 minutes, check, if not set another 30 minutes. Take out carefully and let it cool. Cover and refrigerate a few hours. Serves about 25 people.


Dimer jhaal tomato diye

Hard boil the eggs and peel. Heat a little amount of oil, and fry the eggs. Add water to just cover the eggs, not a whole lot. Now add a teaspoon and half [depending on how many eggs reduce or increase. I have about 6/8 eggs in mind] turmeric powder, chili powder according to your taste, salt, sliced green pepper, cilantros chopped, a tablespoon of musturd oil [if you don't have it, forget it!] and a couple of tomatoes cut up. Mix them in the water delicately, cover and simmer in med.high til the gravy has a heavier consistency with the tomatoes getting mushy and roughly mixed into the gravy [about 15 minutes approx.] and do not look like water with spices mixed in it. [Stir occasionally and delicately while it's cooking to turn the eggs and to prevent burning.] It's done, eat with plain rice.

`Dimer jhaal' has quite a few variations, the process of cooking being the same, let me give you the ingredients used.

1. Plain jhaal: Use just turmeric, chili powder, salt, sliced green pepper, cilantro and if you can, mustard oil.
2. Sorshe diye: With above ingredients use ground mustard [a tablespoonful or less, according to taste] before 5 minutes left of cooking.
3. With garlic and mustard: Use all the steps above, only crush a couple of garlic cloves and add it right before you are adding water to the oil and saute for a second.
4. Try no.3 without tomatoes.


A Recipe for Lau-moong

1. Get sona-moong daal, if possible. On a heavy skillet, roast the moong by frying it dry (without any addition of oil, of course) stirring it constantly. When the color of the moong becomes reddish brown, remove it from fire and put it aside.
2. Now peel the lau and cut it into convenient sized thin slim pieces. Put it aside after washing it.
3. In a saucepan, add some water and boil the moong with some crushed ginger, some green chili and salt. When the moong is sufficiently soft add to it the lau pieces which you have it already.
4. Stir it periodically so that it does not get stuck at the bottom of the saucepan until the liquid from the lau is practically gone.
5. In a separate saucepan, add some ghee. When it is really hot, sprinkle some white jeera and a little mouri along with a bayleaf or two, and a red dry chili. Before the whole thing burns, add your boiled lau-moong concoction and stir into it. You are done.


Varieties of Laau-moog

Peel the laau and cut up strips like french fries, only shorter [and thinner if possible]. Wash, drain and keep aside.

Heat a large pot over stove and add a handful of dry [do not wash them at this point] moog [mung] daal to it. Stir continuously til they are golden brown [this is a little bit tricky -- it shouldn't take a lot of time, couple of minutes at the most, and the daals have a tendency to scorch -- so stir continuously and as soon as they look and smell done get off the stove and put the pan under cold water tap -- this way you cool the pot immediately and also wash the daal.]. Drain the daal and put on stove over med-low heat. Add the laau, a little turmeric powder, very little chili powder [optional], a tsp of jeera [cumin] powder [more depending on how much laau], salt and sugar to taste. Also add sliced green chili peppers. Cover. Wait a few minutes, uncover and stir the laau and cover again. Lower the heat even more. Usually the laau will emit a lot of liquid, so you don't have to add water. But some laau may not do that, in that case add a little water and let it cook. Uncover from time to time and stir -- check if the laau and the daal are cooked. The laau should be thoroughly cooked with the daal getting mushy and clinging to it. Add some chopped cilantro and cook for a minute or two more. Now in a small pan heat some ghee [oil is ok too] and put a pinch of whole jeera [kaalonji is another option, specially if you are not using ghee] and couple of whole red chili peppers in it. Take them off heat as soon as they begin to pop [if you like, a tbsp. of grated coconut
can be added at this point -- saute a little, then take off heat]. Pour the ghee mixture in laau, cook for a minute or two [add a little more time if you have added coconut]. Enjoy!

Note: If the laau is very tender [kochi laau] -- after roasting and washing the daal first put them on stove with a little water [just enough to cook them] and cook in low heat, covered, til they are half done. Then add the laau and spices and follow the recipe.

Variations of cooking laau:

The main process is the same, but you can use different ingredients as additives:

1. Fry some shrimp and add in the beginning. [laau-chingRi] -- do not add coconut in this recipe.
2. Fry boRis and add when you are adding the ghee mixture.
3. Wash thoroughly and rub a generous amount of turmeric and a pinch of salt to a maachher maatha. Pan fry it [keeping a cover on, lest you might get hit! ;-)] golden brown, inside out. Add it in the beginning of cooking. Increase amount of turmeric powder to 11/2 tsp. or more, depending on amount, also more cumin powder than the other recipes, consider ghee as a must [no coconut] -- this is a gourmet dish, if you know what I mean.
4. Also something else could be added to enhance the taste. For instance, one of my favorite is to add "daal er boraa" (not bori, but boraa) into it.
Prepare some mator daal paste by grinding already soaked mator daal over four hours. Add to the grinder fresh chili and ginger and some salt. The thick paste is then spread on a hot frying pan (don't add any oil) and then slowly dried over a medium heat by constantly stirring it until its becomes a very thick, sticky greenish/yellowish mass. Remove it from the fire and then spread it over a large plate patting it gently with your already washed hand. After it has cooled down a bit, cut into small diamond shaped cubes. Then fry them gently. Once they are fried add them into lau-moong while it is cooking. It will absorb most of the water from the lau-moong.

This variation is also quite appealing.