Sunday, March 31, 2013

Pabda Mach r Sarshe Jhal

Back to Bengalis favorite dish – fish ! Pabda is one of the many sweet water fishes that Bengalis love to eat. It’s a very delicate fish, known as Pabo Catfish in English. I am not a big fish fan, but both my son and husband love fish like anything, more than chicken or mutton. We generally don’t prefer to cook any frozen fish, but exception is always made in some special occasions.  Sometimes there is no choice because here you would get only frozen pabda in some Bangladeshi stores. Last week I cooked this dish for my hubby's Birthday lunch menu. 

It' s a spicy Bengali fish curry, cooked in mustard gravy that is 'Sarshe jhal' in Bengali. The other preparation of this fish "pabda Mach r kalo jeere diye jhol" is also our favorite. Following the same recipe, you can cook many other sweet water fishes too. The fish is very soft so you should be very careful while handling the fish.

Recipe of Pabda Macher Sarshe Jhal ( Pabda fish cooked in Mustard gravy ) for 4-5 people

Ingredients : 

1.     Pabda Mach medium sized - 4-5 whole pieces.
2.     Kalo jeer e ( nigella seeds) - 1/2 tsp
3.     Green chilies  - 2-3 or as per the taste 
4.      Yellow mustard seeds - 2 tsp
5.     Coriander powder -1 tsp
6.     Red Chili powder - 1/2 tsp or optional
7.     Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
8.     Salt - 
9.     Tomato - 1 small 
10.  Ginger paste - 1/2 tsp
11.  Onion paste  - 1 tsp
12.  Cilantro - few (chopped)
13.  Mustard oil - 4-5 tbsp


1.     Clean and wash the fishes and pat dry. Sprinkle salt and turmeric powder and smear them.

2.     After a short marination like 10 to 15 minutes, in a big pan, heat the mustard oil. Once it gets smoky, fry the fishes on both side, very carefully and keep them aside.

3.     Take the mustard seeds, one green chili and few tbsp water in a blender and make a paste. While you will make this paste, don't over run the blender since it would result in bitter taste of mustard paste.

4.     In the same pan, add some oil again and wait till it starts to smoke. Add kalo jeere / nigella  seeds and green chilies.

5.     Once it starts splattering, add the onion paste. Cook it until the color changes to light brown.

6.     Add ginger paste and stir it till raw smell goes off. Now make a paste of coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chili powder with 2 tbsp of water. Add this paste to the pan.

7.     Keep stirring till oil separates and add chopped tomato pieces. Add salt. Once tomato becomes soft, add the mustard paste. Stir it and mix it nicely. In few minutes, add half cup of water. Let it boil.

8.     When gravy starts to boil, add the fried fishes. Cover it and let it cook for 7 to 10 minutes. Check the seasoning and the consistency.

9.     Add the chopped cilantro ( optional ) and few drops of mustard oil. Add some green chilies if needed. "Pabda Mach r Sarshe Jhal" is ready. Serve hot with steamed rice.

Note : You can use any fish of your choice in the place of Pabda, and make Fish curry in spicy mustard sauce, following the same recipe. 

Langcha - Pantua

Langcha is a Bengali sweet, originated in Shaktigarh, in the Burdwan district of West Bengal, coincidently my in-laws disctrict. Shaktigarh’s langcha is so popular in Bengal that you can even find a community in facebook. This is made of cottage cheese ( chhana), khoya and flour. Though the Langcha from Shaktigarh is the signature brand, but available all over the state in every sweet shops in West Bengal.
Pantua is another popular sweet which is also made of same ingredients like chhana, khoya and flour.  You can say Langcha and Pantua are siblings, only different in shape. Pantua is round shape whereas Langch is of cylindrical shape. Both are deep-fried, cardamom flavored, soaked in sugar syrup and tasted heavenly in mouth J Pantua is also known as Ladycani which was favorite of Lady Canny, the wife of  Lord Canning.

I made both langcha and pantua on my Hubby's B'day, who is a big fan of these sweets. When I planned to make this, to my surprise I found that I had no khoya in my refrigerator. Since it was too late in night, it was not possible to go and buy Khoya from the Indian store. So I started searching many recipes about how I can make good khoya at home. Finally I got one and now I can make khoya at my kitchen. This is far better than the one available in Indian stores.

Unfortunately this recipe is quite big.  There are different phases like making Khoya first, then prepare Chhana, mixing, frying and dipping them into sugar syrup. I am very thankful to one of my friends Pinki for the recipe of Langcha.

Recipe of Langcha and Pantua : ( 10 + 10 = 20 pieces)

Ingredients: For Khoya

1.     Milk Powder- 1 cup
2.     Heavy Cream- 1/2 cup

For Chhana

1.     Milk : 2 liters
2.     Lime juice - of a big lime and mix it with 1 tbsp water.

Sugar Syrup

1.     Sugar - 2 cups
2.     Water - 4 cups
3.     Cardamom - 4-5 ( crushed)

For the dough

1.     Channa - 2 cups
2.     Khoya - 1 cup
3.     Baking powder - 1 pinch
4.     All purpose flour - 2 tbsp
5.     Cardamom powder - 1/4 tsp
6.     Ghee/ Clarified butter - 1 tbsp

     Oil - for deep- frying


First Step - Making the Khoya

1.     Mix 1 cup of milk powder and 1/2 cup of heavy cream together nicely. Then micro-cook the mixture for 3 minutes.

2.     In each 30 seconds, stir it and check it to prevent burning at the bottom. Increase or decrease the cooking time to get the desired consistency. Home-made Khoya would be ready in a few minutes.

Second Step - Making the Chhana or Cottage Cheese at home

1.     Boil the milk in a pan, stir continuously. Once the milk starts boiling, lower the flame.

2.     Pour the lemon juice. Stir the milk. Once the milk starts curdling and changes into chhana (cottage cheese) and greenish water, remove the pan from heat.

3.     Leave the chhana / cottage cheese in this condition for 5-7 minutes.

4.     Put it over a soft cotton cloth / or a cheese cloth (if you have any). Let all the water drain away. Now put this cloth with the chhana under cold running water for 2-3 minutes.

5.     This will help to remove the smell of lemon.  Hang the chhana along with the cloth on the kitchen tap / faucet for 45 minutes to 1 hr.

6.     Now once again, squeeze the cloth if there is any extra water. Try to get rid of as much water as possible but note that the chhana (cottage cheese) should not get too dry.

Third Step -Making the Sugar Syrup
1.     Mix the sugar and water and heat up till it comes to boiling state.

2.     Add the crushed cardamom, lower the gas.

Final step
1.     Smash the Khoya on a flat surface till it becomes smooth.  Smash the Chhana same way once it becomes very smooth and oily.

2.     Add the baking powder, flour, cardamom powder and ghee (clarified butter) in the chhana and again knead it.

3.     Add the smashed khoya and mix it together with the chhana. Knead it well with your palm till there would be no lump in it.

4.     Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Now make 20 equal sized balls out of the dough and give them a smooth shape.

5.     For Langcha, it should be cylindrical and for Pantua it would be round.

6.     Heat the oil, once it is ready turn off the gas for 1 minute. Turn on again and lower the flame. Fry them in very low temperature till they get dark brown in color.

7.     Once it is fried, transfer them into hot syrup and let it soak for 30 to 40 minutes. Yahoo !! Mouth-watering Langcha / Pantua is ready !! Serve hot.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Holud Mishti Pulao

Holud Mishti Pulao is one of the very popular rice preparation in Bengali wedding, since it goes well with Bengali tongue’s normal inclination towards any sweet thing. It is aromatic rice dish, yellow in color that makes the the dish very inviting and tempting. This particular pulao is very favorite at my family too. My mom used to cook Mishti pulao in special occasions and serve it with spicy chicken or mutton dishes.

The main ingredient of this preparation is aromatic rice that is called 'Gobindobog chal', also known as Jeera rice. The dish is very easy to make and takes less time to prepare. For this recipe, I followed my mom which is one of her signature dishes. As a kid I didn't need any side dish with this pulao.

Recipe of Holud Mishti Pulao


1.     Flavored Rice ( preferably Gobindobhog) - 2 cups
2.     Ghee ( clarified butter) - 2-3 tbsp
3.     Bay leaves - 2 
4.     Cardamom - 3 
5.     Clove - 3 
6.     Cinnamon stick - 1/2 inch
7.     Cashew - 1 handful
8.     Raisins - (golden color)1 handful
9.     Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp 
10.  Salt -
11.  Sugar - 3 tbsp or as per taste


1.     Wash the rice nicely and soak it for 15 to 20 minutes. In a big pan, put the ghee/clarified butter.

2.     Once it heats up add the bay leaves, cardamom, cinnamon and clove. Once they get aromatic, add the cashew and fry them till it changes the color to light brown.

3.     Then add the raisins. In few seconds, add the turmeric powder and then add the rice.

4.     Stir it and mix the rice with the other ingredients. Add salt, sugar and water. It is approximately three and half cups. Let it boil.

5.     Lower the flame and cover it. Cook till the rice is done.

6.     Check the taste. Add more salt or sugar if needed. Serve hot with spicy Chicken or Mutton Curry.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Kosha Mangsho / Mutton Curry(dry version)

Kosha Mangsho or Mutton Kosha  is a spicy Bengali Mutton Curry, which is a traditional and authentic mutton preparation of Bengali Cuisine. It is dark brown or blackish in color and has thick, finger-licking gravy along with juicy soft mutton pieces. This is one of the most renowned Bengali dishes that never fails to impress anyone.

The words Kosha Mangsho always reminds me of my hubby ordering the dish whenever we used to go to a Bengali restaurant in Bangalore. We used to love this along with phulka or luchi. In most of the bong families, you will find this dish in any Sunday lunch.

Recipe of Kosha Mangsho or Mutton Kosha : Serves 3


1.     Mutton - 1 lb cut into medium to small pieces
2.     Onion - 1 big cut into thin slices
3.     Ginger - 1 tbsp
4.     Garlic - 1 and 1/2 tbsp
5.     Green Chili Paste - 1 tbsp or as per the taste ( optional )
6.     Red Chili Powder - 1 tbsp or to taste
7.     Cumin Powder- 1 tbsp
8.     Yogurt - 1 tbsp ( nicely beaten )
9.     Bay leaf- 1-2
10.  Cinnamon stick - 1/2 inch
11.  Cardamom - 2
12.  Cloves - 2
13.  Peppercorn - 3-4
14.  Whole Red Chili - 1
15.  Oil - 4-5 tbsp ( preferably Mustard oil )
16.  Salt -
17.  Garam masala Powder- 1/2 tsp
18.  Raw Papaya - 2-3 tbsp (grated)  or any meat tenderizer ( optional ) 


1.     Wash the mutton pieces, pat dry with paper towels and marinate them with the grated raw papaya for 2 to 3 hrs or overnight, if you have enough time. (If you cook baby goat, skip this part.) 

2.     In a heavy bottomed pan heat the oil. Once it is ready, add bay leaves, whole red chili, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and the pepper corns.

3.     Once they become aromatic, add the sliced onions and stir them till it gets golden brown color.

4.     Add ginger and garlic paste. Cook again for few minutes till the raw smell goes off.

5.     Add mutton pieces and salt. Stir it nicely till the color starts to change.

6.     Add the red chili powder and cumin powder. Keep stirring. After few minutes, when masala is well-cooked, add the green chili paste and the beaten yogurt.

7.     Stir it continuously and cook it till the oil separates. Add 1/2 cup lukewarm water and cook covered over low flame till the mutton pieces get tender.

8.     It will take 2 to 3 hrs. If you are in a hurry, put them in a pressure cooker and wait for 3 whistles. Approximately it takes 20 minutes.

9.     Once the mutton is done, sprinkle garam masala powder and turn off the gas.

10.  Serve hot either with steamed rice, Misti Pulao or Luchi (poori), Roomali Roti or Paratha followed by a Bengali dessert like Mishti doi or Sponge Rasogolla.

Related Recipes : ( you may like )



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Aamsotto - Tentul r Chutney ( Chutney made of Mango leather and Tamarind )

Spring is here! Days are longer and brighter. After the chilly winter days, it is slowly becoming warmer. Spring, the season of colors, the best time of the year. Flowers start to bloom. Nature becomes more beautiful in this time. Though the recipe I will share today has no connection with the Spring, still couldn't resist myself from sharing some Spring photographs that I clicked last week.

Okay ! hope I didn't bore you ! Now I'm back to recipe. Will not write much today but give you a tongue-tickling recipe for ''Aam shotto - Tentul r Chatni '' which is made of dried mango leather and tamarind. 

Chatni / Chutney, a pungent relish is made of fruits, spices and herbs. An endless number of Chutneys are there in Indian Cuisine. The word Chutney has come from the Sanskrit word 'chatni' that means licking. The name itself tells you everything about its taste !!

Bengali Chatni is little different in taste from the Chutney in other parts of India. It’s totally tangy and sweet and usually made of  tomatoes, mangoes, pineapple, tamarind, papaya or a combination of fruits and dry-fruits, served in a meal just before the dessert.

Recipe of Aamshotto - Tentul r Chutney :

Ingredients :

1.     Aam Shotto ( Mango leather / Mango papad ) - 1 cup ( If you don't get that, use ripe mango )
2.     Tomato - 3 medium sizes
3.     Tamarind - 2 tbsp soaked in water
4.     Green chilies - 1-2 as per your taste
5.     Panch Phoron ( It is a whole spice blend consists of fengreek seed, nigella seed, cumin seed, fennel seeds and radhuni (celery seeds) in equal part )- 1/2 tsp
6.     Ginger julienne( cut into thin - small stripes ) or grated ginger - 1/4 tsp
7.     Bhaja Masla ( roasted spice powder) - 1/2 tsp
8.     Sugar - 5-6 tbsp ( or as per the taste) mixed in 1/4 cup of water.
9.     Salt -
10.   Oil - 2 tbsp

Method :

For Roasted Spice Powder (bhaja Masla) : Take a 1 tbsp cumin seeds and a whole dry red chili in a pan, dry roast them, until it becomes fragrant. Let it cool down at room temperature then grind them into a fine powder.

1. Chop the tomatoes, aam shotto into small cubes, chop the green chilies.

2. Get the pulp of tamarind which is being soaked in water and discard the other stem or seed parts.

3. Heat oil in a sauce-pan. Add the Panch Phoron, once it splatters and add the chopped green chilies and ginger. After few seconds, add the tomato pieces and keep stirring. Add salt which helps to become soft or cook the tomatoes quickly.

4. Once tomatoes are almost cooked, add the aam shotto pieces and stir it. After few minutes when it becomes soft, add the tamarind pulp and add sugar-water mixture.

5. Keep stirring at medium to high flame and mix them together. Check the seasoning and consistency. Yeah Aam shotto - Tentul r Chutney is ready, turn off the gas and sprinkle some bhaja masla.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Banana Walnut Bread

This particular recipe is inspired from Food Network. The banana bread is moist, sweet and delicious cake-like bread which is golden-brown crust and delightfully crisp when it just comes out of the oven and completely irresistible to eat. It is made of some fully ripe and smashed bananas.

There are several types of Banana Breads. Almost every time, I bake the Banana Bread following a different recipe. This time what I'm going to share is the recipe of Banana Walnut bread, my favorite one. It’s  quite healthy one and goes well with a cup of tea or coffee.

To make Banana bread, you need fully ripe bananas which means their skin color would turn into brown and its flesh would become very soft. At this stage, many people throw these bananas in the garbage, not realizing how delicious they  would be when they are baked in a bread. Every week I buy banana for breakfast but  a few of them will turn brown before eating them. Instead of throwing them, I put them in a plastic bag and keep them into the refrigerator. Then wait until I have enough for baking.  This recipe is very easy one and takes hardly 10 to 15 minutes to prepare before baking.

Recipe of Banana Walnut Bread : (1 loaf)

  1. All purpose flour -1 1/4 cups
  2. Baking Soda - 1 teaspoon
  3. Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
  4. Eggs - 2 large at room temperature
  5. Pure Vanilla extract - 1/2 teaspoon
  6. Unsalted Butter - 1 stick ( at room temperature) and little more for greasing the pan
  7. Sugar - 1 cup
  8. Very Ripe Bananas - 3-4 peeled and smashed with a fork ( about 1 cup)
  9. Walnut ( chopped)  - 1/2 cup (toasted)

Method :

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or 177 degrees C. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt into a medium bowl and keep it aside.

2. Whisk the egg and Vanilla together and keep them aside.

3. Lightly brush a 9- by 5- by 3- inch loaf pan with butter.

4. Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer with a paddle or with a hand mixer until it becomes light and fluffy.

5. Gradually pour the egg mixture into the butter and mix it. Add the bananas. (after mixing the bananas the mixture will appear to be curdled but don't need to be worried)

6. Mix in the flour mixture with a rubber spatula, mix them together nicely.

7. Fold in the walnuts and transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake the batter until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. It will take 55 minutes to 1 hr depending on your oven.

8. Let it cool in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Take it out of the pan when it is completely cool. Banana Bread is best if it is served the next day!

Note : To make it healthier, you may use vegetable oil in the place of butter. (1 stick butter = 1/2 cup of vegetable oil )