Panta Bhat and accompaniments recipe

8:08 PM

So here are the promised recipes for the panta and few of it's many accompaniments. Guess I have written enough on my previous post about this meager meal so now let me delve into the recipes right away.

Here I have given an idea of how much of what is to be used. Giving an exact quantity is quite difficult. Follow your taste preference and you would be fine.

All the recipes given here are for 4 servings

Panta Bhat

Q. What kind of rice to use? Sundried or Boiled (seddho or atop)?

A: I have seen normal non-hybrid variety, boiled rice (seddho chal) lends itself better to the process of making Panta. They soften and disintegrate naturally and bring in a slightly tangy flavour. You can even use sundried rice (atop) but it has a distinct flavour which I personally do not like in my Panta.
Similarly, short grain rice is better for this recipe.

How to prepare it-
Cook the rice the way you prefer and then when it cools down, pour in enough water so that it at least is 1" above the rice, lightly cover the bowl with a mesh sieve or a plate. Generally, we cook little extra rice than we can consume and after we are done with the meal we soak the leftover rice.
If you have leftover rice in the fridge, then bring it to room temperature or warm it in the microwave for a minute or so and then soak.

The rice would be ready after 10-12 hours (Indian summer, 35-40C). You can even ferment it further for up to 24 hours or even more to impart more sourness and soften the rice. 
If you are in the colder climates then soak for longer hours till the rice looks puffy and the water is slightly whitish in colour.

Alu Makha

Potatoes (I prefer Chandramukhi variety): 4 medium potatoes (300-400 gms)
Onion: 1 medium, (finely sliced 2-3 tbsp)
Bengali style chili oil: 1 tbsp (Recipe below)

Wash the potatoes under running water till the skin is clean. Cut the potatoes in half and boil with enough water till fork tender. Drain the water and immediately peel the skin and mash them smooth, using a potato masher or with the back of a flat bowl. You can cover and keep it aside till you need it.
Once you are ready to eat, Mash the onion with salt and couple of chilies from the chili oil (as per taste). then mix everything together. Finally, pour a spoonful of oil and mash. Taste and adjust the salt and chili as per your liking.

Alternatively, you can saute the onion in a spoonful of oil till they just wilt. Then mix with green chilies and salt.

Bengali Style Chili Oil:

Dry red chilies: 8-10
Mustard oil: 1/2 cup

While the potato is boiling make the chili oil.
If the chilies are very big then cut them in half and place in a glass container so that you can save and use it for long.
Heat the mustard oil till smoking. Switch off the flame and let it cool down a bit. When its still warm pour it over the chilies. The residue heat will cook the chilies and crisp them up. Tighten the lid once the oil is completely cooled. You can store this for months.

Bori Chura or Bori Makha

Bori is a dried condiment in Bengal. For this recipe Red lentil or Musur daler bori works best. You can find the recipe HERE.

Musur Daler Bori: 1/2 cup
Onion: 1 small onion (finely sliced 2 tbsp)
Green chilies: 2 (as per taste)
Oil: 2-3 tbsp
Pinch of salt

Bori needs a lot of oil for frying. So start by dry rosting the boris on very low flame. Use a heavy bottom pan for best result. When brown spots would start to appear, pour the oil from top and mix. Keep frying till they change colour to a deeper shade of brown and is crisp. Take out and let them cool. Then mash them.
Take the chilies, onion, and salt in a flat bowl and mash for a few minutes. Add the bori. mix and serve immediately.

Chingri Mawla or mashed prawns
Tiny river shrimps work best for this one. But if you don't get them, use fresh medium sized prawns. Try to keep the heads on as it has the most flavour. And please do not mix Dhonepata (fresh coriander leaves) to it, it ruins the flavour of the prawns.

Tiny Shrimps: 250 gms
Onion: 1 medium (finely sliced 2-3 tbsp)
Green chillies: 2-3
Turmeric: 1/3 tsp
Musar or any white oil: 1 tbsp

Peel and devein the prawns and wash thoroughly. Mix some salt and turmeric and keep aside for 15 minutes.
Heat oil Fry on medium till browned (4-5 minutes). Take out and let it cool. Then mash with head and all. Add onion and chopped chilies and mash again. If needed, add salt.

Mach Makha (mashed fish)

Rohu Steaks: 5-6 pieces
Onion: thinly sliced: 3 tbsp
Green chilises: 2-3
Oil: 3 tbsp for frying the fish

marinate the fish with salt and turmeric and keep aside for at least 15 minutes.
Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan and fry them on medium till slightly browned on each side (8-10 minutes in total).
Take them out and cool.
Now break the fish and remove the bones. Mash with your hand. MAsh the onion and chilies with little salt and mix with the fish. Mash more to marry the flavours.

How To Serve:

using your hand take out the softened rice from the water. Serve in deep flat bowls with raised sides. 
Serve the accompaniments separately, along with some Lemon (any variety will do), Raw onion and chili oil.

One is supposed to mash the rice first with salt and lemon and then pour in the water in which rice was soaked. Alternatively, you can freshwater or chilled water. You can break green chili or pour a teaspoon of chili oil to flavour this. We love to sprinkle some muri on top and then have this with a little bit of all the accompaniments.

A Homemaker's Diary:
1. I believe Panta bhat or whatever name you call it is slightly acquired taste. But the meal is so soothing that if the accompaniments are right one will soon take to the taste. Try it this summer. It's incredibly good for our body.

2. Please remember, any kind of fermentation requires cleanliness and handling the ingredients right. Use clean bowls and filtered water for soaking the rice. Do not touch the rice with dirty hands or spoons that have been used for other purpose.

3. Some more accompaniments that are popular are 

  • Musur dal or red lentil fritters with onion, nigella seeds and green chilies,
  • Macher dimer bawra (fish roe fritters, Recipe HERE
  • Postor bawra or poppyseeds fritters, 
  • any sorts of Bengali style bhaja or sauteed veggies like, Alu bhaja (potatoes sauteed with onion, green chilies and nigella seeds), Alu-borboti (potato and yardlong beans), Kolmi shaak (water spinach) etc.

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