Home Cooked Everyday Bengali Meal

7:40 AM

I was thinking for quite some time of what to post first in my blog. I have this queer way of thinking that all my first times should be special in some way or other. Be it my first air trip or my first collection of garments at NIFT. So my point was to make my first blog entry memorable. I was still in my search process when I heard my Pishimoni (who was visiting us in Bangalore) telling Hubby ‘A’ about the extra ordinary cooking skills of my Dida. And she fondly remembered the incident how all of them were taken aback when she cooked Piya(n)j er payes (kheer/ custard made with whole onion). Now Hubby ‘A’ belongs to a family where cooking is only an everyday routine affair. Because of their stomach problem they cannot indulge in anything fancy and they like to cook their meals as simple as possible. So this recipe of making payes that too with piya(n)j is like a shock to Hubby ‘A’.

But I dint gave much attention to him as I have found my topic for my first post. What else could be the first entry than some simple yet yum recipe from Dida. She had this extraordinary ability of cooking exotic dishes with items that we generally don’t consider for special affairs. Actually being a forest employee’s wife she with her three kids had to spent a considerable part of their lives in the jungles of West Bengal. Following which she had to cook with items that were locally available. So she experimented a lot to come up with mouth-watering dishes. Like she used to cook a curry using that soft white inner part of Dub (young coconut) or the potato skin fry with poppy seeds.
Once I asked her ‘don’t you ever get bored cooking for all of us everyday? I could still remember her face softened as she replied that its not boring for her coz she cooks for the people who mean the world to her and she gets immense satisfaction in feeding us. Love was her most important ingredient of cooking. She once told us if you cook half-heartedly you would compromise on its taste. You should always think of the person who is going to eat this…that way you will never go wrong. Though she is not with us anymore but we still connect to her through the smell and taste of her recipes. And I know wherever she is today she must be blessing us all for carrying this legacy of cooking and feeding others with love.

So here I am celebrating that beautiful tradition of cooking and feeding with a sumptuous Bengali menu.

Shaaker tarkari (shaag/ leafy vegetable medley)

Note shaak (leafy veggies) these are sold in a bunches (as we call it ‘aanti’.) Am not sure about its weight but guess it would be 150 gms or so.
Jhinge (ridged gourd): 1 small, piece as in picture
Potato: 1 small
Brinjal: 1 small
Bori (wadi): 6 pieces
Onion: 1 small sized
Paanch foron: ½ teaspoon [I have seen many a Bengali argue on what acyually are the five ingredients of Paanch forn. I checked in my paanch foron they are methi (fenugreek), mouri (fennel seeds), jeera (cumin seeds), kalojeere (kalounji or onion seeds) and randhuni(I don’t know its English name sorry.)
Dry red chilly: 1 piece
Oil: 1 teaspoon
Salt: as per taste
Mustard paste: 2 teaspoon Mix in a cup of water and keep aside.
(In Bengal to make our masala paste we mostly use shil nora or shil batta in Hindi (mortar and pestle). but here I use my Mixie for all the dry and wet grinds. Though I have a chutney jar in the set still it’s difficult to make finer paste with less amount. So I just store the excess in an airtight container in the fridge.
When I got married and came to Bangalore for the first time Maa gave me some mustard powder to use in cooking till I get my mixie. Though the taste is not as good as freshly ground mustard paste but still could be a good option if you don’t have any tool for grinding and is very convenient as well. She generally sundry the mustard seeds for a whole day and then makes fine powder in the mixie. Once you have this all you need to do is add water and make a paste.
Pick and wash the shaag thoroughly and then finely chop them as finely as you can. Without peeling cut the potatoes in small pieces lengthwise. Lengthwise cut the jhinge and egg plant in small pieces. Slice the onion. Fry the bori and crumble a lil bit. (bori soaks a lot of oil to avoid that first dry roast the bori and then add lil oil to make it crispy) Heat oil in a pan. (With time I have learnt that when cooking with mustard paste its best to use mustard oil. If you don’t wanna do so just mix a few drops of mustard oil in you regular cooking oil to get the best flavor) Temper with paanch foron and dry chilly. Once crackle add the sliced onions. Sauté till the onions are lightly browned. Add all the vegetables, salt and turmeric. Mix well on a low flame and cover. It will take some time, as a lot of juice will come out from the vegetables. Check from time to time and stir well to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. When the veggies are tender and there is very little or no water in the pan add the mustard mix. Mix well, cover and cook on medium flame. When it starts to boil add the fried wadi. Give it a good stir. When all the veggies are coated with the gravy, mix a few drops of mustard oil and serve with steamed white rice.

Bhaja Posto (Vegetables in fried poppy seed paste)
This is the normal posto but in this we use a very less quantity of water and fry the whole thing to make it dry. Unlike other posto recipe we also add a lil bit of turmeric that gives it lovely golden yellow color. As I cannot cook without tomato so I added a small tomato too.
Potatoes: 3 medium sizes
Onion: 1 big
Green chilies: 2 pieces
Tomato: 1 small
Poppy seed paste: 3-table spoon
Oil: 2-table spoon
Peel and cut the potatoes in small cubes and keep aside. [I generally steam or microwave the potatoes for 5 minutes before hand to lessen the amount of oil in cooking.] Peel and cut the onion in small cubes. Slit the green chilies. Heat oil in a kadai. Put the slited green chilies and onion. Fry till the onion is translucent. Add the potatoes, whole tomato, salt and turmeric. Mix well and cover. Keep the flame on low and let it cook evenly for 4-5 minutes till the potatoes are tender. With your cooking spoon Split the tomato and mix well. Add the poppy seed paste and mix well so that the potatoes are evenly coated. Now comes the difficult part of frying. Just stir, stir and stir so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. In this stage sprinkle some water from time to time to cook the potatoes from inside. Keep frying on low heat till the fried aroma comes in. When this start leaving sides of the vessel increase the flame and fry for some more time till it achieves its gorgeous golden brown color.

Macher jhol (Light Fish Curry)
Though this is prepared as a light everyday dish but you can also make it rich and spicy by using more of the spices and oil. In this recipe I used rohu but can be replaced with cut pieces of rohu, katla or any other small fish. In my in laws place they make it with fresh catches from the pond. They use small whole (chara pona as we call in Bengali) pieces of rohu, katla, silver cup or tilapia.
Fish: 4 pieces
Potato: 1 medium
Onion: 1 small
Ginger paste: ½ teaspoon
Cumin seeds paste: ½ teaspoon
Tomato: 1 small
Green chilly: 1 piece
Oil: 4 tablespoon
Turmeric: 1 teaspoon
Chili powder: ½ teaspoon
Sugar: ¼ teaspoon
Salt: as per taste
Wet grind the onion and green chilly to a fine paste. Wash the fish pieces and lightly rub with ½ teaspoon turmeric and salt. Peel and lengthwise cut the potato (as in picture). Cut the tomato in quarters. Heat oil and lightly fry the fish pieces and keep aside. In the same oil add the potato pieces and lightly fry. When they turn light yellow in colour add the onion paste, chili powder, salt, and sugar, Keep on frying on low flame. When oil separates at the side add the turmeric, ginger and cumin paste. Fry till the aroma rises. Add the tomato pieces and cook till it turns to a fine pulp. Add water (it totally depends upon how much gravy you want. As mine was eaten with rice I added 2 cups of water) When it comes to a boil add the fish pieces. Check the seasoning. Keep the flame on medium till the potatoes are done. At the last stage you can use garam masala powder or fresh coriander leaves. I added coriander, as Hubby loves it this way.

I served the meal with some macher dimmer bora (fish egg fritters).

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  1. bhaloi.lekhatao jhorjhore,kintu thalatar bodole sadar upore kono bonechina dish e(arektu boro size er) serve korle dekhte bhalo hoto.dekhte thik jeno lovoniyo hoini.

  2. @Anonymous, thanks for visiting me and for your valuable comment. ami ota kansa'r thalay serve korte cheyechilam kintu amar kache chilona. ebare ote sajie chhobi tulbo. thanks again for checking my page and hope to see you more.

  3. love bengali food...all the dishes looks YUM!!!! superb collection...will try sometime soon...bumped in here for the first time...:-)

  4. Great!! Eto khete khute lekhar jonyo dhonyobad. Aaj try korbo Aluposto....Aniruddha

  5. Great!! Eto khete khute lekhar jonyo dhonyobad. Aaj try korbo Aluposto....Aniruddha

  6. Hi, just explored your blog when searching chhanar dalna recipe. The snap looks awesome! Will peep in your blog often now onwards. Having a crave for Bangali dishes.

  7. Thank you for sharing all this. I love Indian Food and i am so very lucky to live in the tropics where i can find almost everything i need to prepare nice Indian dishes (at least Indian style) Amchoor is something i did not know how to make, and i was trying to find something as we have lots of mangoes here. Thank you again!

  8. ami apnar blog 1st time dekhlam, khub bhalo laglo apni jebhabe khetekhute receipe gulo ke bujhiyechen...along with the photos...r apnar ei kajer madhyome amader bengali ranna onnoder kacheo pouchochhe ta dekhe khub bhalo laglo....asonkho dhonnobad apnake ei kajer jonye...

  9. I saw your blog for the first time.I like it very much.Thanx alot for such nice yummy dishes and esp thanx for the Moglai Paratha recipe.I was searching that particular recipe for long time.I will try that out very soon.

  10. Thanks for sharing all this yummy recipes.I just found your blog ...will be visiting this site often from now onwards

  11. tomar lekhata porte khub bhalo laaglo.. thala ta dekhe bhishon khete ichche korche.. your writing always inspires me to cook as well as write.. thanks for that..

  12. Ki bhishon appetizing !! Aamader barite kaancha poster bora khub hoye.have you tried it?it's delicious.you can finish the whole plate of rice with that alone? Wish I was your neighbor,looking at all the pics make me hungry in the middle of the day:)
    Sayantani , when I visit Kolkata , I'll come over and meet you.:)

  13. Just one feedback...we dont use Onion in Shaak/Saag and even for Bhaja Posto we don't use Onions. Its only used for making Postor Tarkari with Onions and Turmeric.

  14. @Ananya, thanks for your comment. but I think there are variations of every dish which widely differ from home to home. In my family and surroundings onions are often added to greens like pui shak, lal shak,lau shak, mulo sahk, note shak etc. though we dont add onion to palong.
    also for postos we mostly cook it with onions. and for bhaja posto, onion is the thing that brings out the real flavour. only when it is cooked during puja or so we stay away from it.

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  16. Made it for my mother today without onions, turned out great.. Thank you..

    Used previously prepared mustard paste at the end 2 tsp but we couldn't taste it. Could you suggest how to use it?

  17. @Anon. thanks for trying but I could not understand your question on mustard paste. sorry.

  18. Hello this is bipasha; after coming to japan i becum a homemaker nd also a cook with ur recipies thanks; but note saak tar english ki janen? Ota dekhte kmn i dnt knw tht too tai japani nam tao dnt knw;ank kichu korte icha holeo cnt prepare;ektu jodi jene bolen khub hlp hoy;evn i hv no idea whether i cn get note shak here;nt even kumror ful bokful😣😢😢😣😣

  19. Hello i dnt knw amr ager commnt post hoeche nki so again i m writing; i am bipasha(beas) after coming to japn i hv bcum fulltime homemaker and ur homemakers diary hlpd me a lot to b such. But i cnt find note saak here cn u give the english name of note shaak so tht i cn find with its japanese name;i even tried to find bokful kumroful bt i think those r nt availabl here

  20. @Beas, thanks for your comment. Glad that my blog could help you with recipes and cooking. even I lived in Japan for sometime and finding ingredients were difficult. You wont get note shaak there but you can use Mizuna in the same way. just very finely chop the stems which has a very chewy texture. try to use Japanese greens I loved them in our regular ghanto and charcharis. Shisho leaves are great when made into fritters so are lotus roots and turnips. I have a few recipes that I developed with Japanese veggies on my blog. Happy cooking.


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