Chitoi Pitha is a bengali rice based steamed pancake that is eggless, need no oil or butter. It is served with freshly grated coconut and some jaggery, preferably date palm jaggery - Patali gur/Nolen Gur.
Khejur Gurer Payesh is a Bengali comfort dessert prepared with short grain aromatic 'gorinbobhog rice' or 'kalijeera rice'. It is often sweetened with sugar but on special occasion the white payesh is turned into mild brown by using kejur gur (date palm jaggery).
Delicate zucchini blossoms stuffed with a mix of white poppy seeds and creamy coconut. It’s then dipped in a light batter and fried to crispy. The filling for this stuffed zucchini blossoms might sound a little unusual unless you grew up eating Bengali food and then you will find the connection. It’s amazing when served with warm steamed white rice. But it can make a lovely appetizer too, served with drinks to wash it down.
Sliced eggplant pan fried in very little oil and then layered with spiced yogurt followed by a drizzle of tempered hot oil! Doi Begun is a popular Bengali eggplant curry, except I make it little untraditional way. Typically yogurt will be cooked along with the spices and eggplant. This recipe doesn't call for that which makes it a very quick meal. It's light on the tummy and great on warm days too.
Fulkopi’r Data Bhaja is a classic Bengali dish that is prepared using the stalk, leaves and core of the cauliflower. It is a simple pure vegetarian dish that you can prepare with very basic ingredients. This Cauliflower Stalk Stir fried is a great way to embrace the concept of no-waste-food.
I have been making my everyday spice mixes for the past few years. Spices are the soul to Indian cooking and the aroma of freshly made spice mix can never be matched by the store bought version. It might add a few extra minutes but I always feel it’s worth tasking that time. Today, I am sharing 3 essential Bengali spice mixes, which very much defines the Bengali cuisine. These simple spice mixes are used in everyday cooking, vegetarian or non-vegetarian, and often prepared fresh at home.
Sometimes I wonder who names these dishes? Labra may sound a little funny. But I can assure you it’s like no other vegetable curry or stew that you have tried before. Labra (Mix Vegetable Medley) is a quintessential festive food. It is best paired with Khichuri/Khichdi. The vegetables are slow cooked to release their juices that blends together to form a perfectly tasty dish. It’s very mildly spiced side dish. You definitely need to try, if you haven’t already.
We try to avoid deep-fried food as much as possible but on weekends, I get the craving for these deep-fried flaky luchi (Deep Fried Mini Breads) . I am pretty sure most Bengalis like me would consider it their guilty pleasure too. Soft, flaky and almost melting in your mouth, when paired with dishes like Ghugni or Kosha Mangsho, it is a comforting and hearty treat. We could even call it a close cousin of North Indian Poori, which of course, pairs best with Aalu Tamatar Sabzi.
Tel Potol is a popular pointed gourd curry prepared in Bengali style with nigella seeds, pungent mustard oil and fresh green chilies. There are no other spices apart from turmeric for color, salt and sugar for seasoning. Tel Potol is a very light curry, which makes it smooth on the tummy too. A perfect summer meal!
Organizing and hosting a party can be overwhelming and tense but when your guests end up having a good time, you know it was all worth the effort. Last Saturday, I organized my first Bengali Lunch Pop-Up. If you follow my Instagram stories, you would know that I have wanted to do this for few weeks now. To be more specific, I have been waiting to do this ever since I photographed Vijitha @spicesandaroma Chai Pop-Up.
Here is a fun fact. While badam in Hindi refers to only almond, Bengalis classify every variety of nuts as badam. Kaju Badam is cashew, Kaath Badam is almond, Cheena badam is peanut and hence the name of the dish. Cheena Badam Bhendi (Bengali Style Okra with Peanuts) is an easy to prepare side with very minimal ingredients and it tastes delicious.
After a month of back and forth, we finally have the name and the book cover! I am so happy to ultimately share it with you. Through the process of writing the book and photographing all the dishes, I don’t think I ever sat down to realize the scale of the achievement. Now, when I see the book cover again and again with the title, my name on it and those dishes that I cooked, it started to feel a lot real. Soon, I can call myself an author. Oh boy! To celebrate the moment, I wanted to make something…