Bengali dish

Pan-fried halibut

Posted on July 2, 2009. Filed under: Bengali dish, Non-veg | Tags: , , |

Ingredients
½ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp ground coriander
pinch carom seeds (ajwain seeds), available in Asian stores and some supermarkets
¼ tsp salt, or to taste
2 halibut steaks
½ tsp grated ginger
½ tsp crushed garlic
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp flour
lemon juice, to serve

Method
1. Sprinkle all the spices and seasoning over the fish, then rub in the ginger and garlic and one teaspoon of the oil.
2. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Dust the fish with the flour on both sides. Place the fish into the pan, reduce the heat slightly and fry for four minutes. Turn over and fry for another 3-4 minutes, or until cooked through and crisp.
3. To serve, place the fish onto serving plates and squeeze over some lemon juice.

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Coconut fish curry

Posted on June 30, 2009. Filed under: Bengali dish, Non-veg | Tags: , , , |

The whole spices and green chillies add background flavour but are not overly hot (the seeds and membranes of chillies contain the heat and they are not exposed to the curry), so this is mild enough for the children to eat and enjoy.

Ingredients
2 tbsp vegetable oil
half tsp brown mustard seeds
4 cloves
6 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
1 large piece cinnamon stick
1 small onion, finely chopped
5cm/2in piece fresh ginger, peeled and quartered
2 large garlic cloves
1 tsp ground coriander
300ml/10½fl oz coconut milk
2-4 green chillies, left whole
salt, to taste
100ml/3½fl oz water
10 curry leaves (available from some supermarkets and Asian grocers)
½-1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
¾ tsp garam masala
500g/1lb 2oz salmon or firm white fish fillets, cut into large pieces
To serve
2-3 tsp lemon juice
50g/2oz fresh coriander leaves and stalks, chopped

Method
1. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, add the mustard seeds, cloves, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick and stir fry for 20 seconds (be careful, the seeds might pop). Add half of the chopped onion and fry for 4-5 minutes until soft.
2. Meanwhile, place the remaining onion, the ginger, garlic, ground coriander and 100ml/3½fl oz of the coconut milk into a blender or food processor and blend to a smooth purée.
3. Add this mixture to pan along with the whole green chillies and salt, to taste. Cover with a lid and cook over a low heat for 12-15 minutes, giving the pot an occasional stir.
4. Add the remaining coconut milk, the water, the currry leaves, black pepper and garam masala and the fish and leave to cook undisturbed for about 3-5 minutes, until the fish is opaque and cooked through.
5. To serve, stir in the lemon juice and coriander. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary, then pour into bowls and serve with rice.

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Bengali fish stew

Posted on June 30, 2009. Filed under: Bengali dish, Non-veg | Tags: , , , |

Timings:

Preparation time: less than 30 mins

Cooking time: less than 10 mins

Ingredients :

  • 5 tbsp mustard oil (available from Asian supermarkets) or vegetable oil
  • 4 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 4 cloves
  • 3 small bay leaves
  • 1 tsp panch phoran (a blend of equal quantities of fenugreek, nigella seeds, fennel seeds, cumin and mustard seeds), available from Asian supermarkets, also known as Bengali five-spice
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 green chillies, pricked with a fork
  • 2 rounded tbsp ginger paste (available from Asian supermarkets, or make your own by crushing or blending fresh ginger to a rough paste, adding water if necessary to loosen)
  • 2 large garlic cloves, blended to a paste with 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp red chilli powder
  • pinch paprika, optional
  • salt, to taste
  • 400ml/14fl oz water
  • 600g/1lb 5oz sea bream, cleaned, pin bones removed, flesh cut into 2.5cm/1in pieces
  • 285g/10oz basmati rice, cooked according to packet instructions, to serve

Method :

1. Heat three and a half tablespoons of the mustard oil in a small non-stick pan over a medium heat until smoking. Remove from the heat and set aside for 20-30 seconds.

2. Add the cardamom pods, cloves, bay leaves and panch phoran and fry over a low heat, stirring well, until the cumin starts to darken in colour.

3. Add the onion and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until softened.

4. Add the green chillies, ginger paste and garlic paste and continue to cook, stirring well, for a further minute.

5. Add the powdered spices and salt and stir well to combine, then add the water. Bring the mixture to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer the mixture for 12-15 minutes, or until the volume of liquid has reduced. Set aside.

6. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a separate frying pan over a high heat, add the sea bream pieces and fry for 1-2 minutes, turning once, until the fish pieces are golden-brown on all sides.

7. Add the fish to the spice mixture, adding more water as necessary to thin the sauce. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Serve immediately with basmati rice.

Chef’s tip:

Using fish heads in your curry will really enhance the flavour. If you find them offensive at the table, just leave them in the cooking pot and serve the rest of the fish.

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Spiced whitebait

Posted on June 30, 2009. Filed under: Bengali dish, Non-veg | Tags: , , |

Timings :

Preparation time: less than 30 mins

Cooking time: less than 10 mins

Ingredients :

  • 400g/14oz whitebait
  • 1-2 tbsp rock salt
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1cm/½in piece fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 50g/1¾oz plain flour
  • 50g/1¾oz gram flour (chickpea flour)
  • 2 tsp rice flour
  • fine salt, to taste
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil

Method :

1. Rub the whitebait with the rock salt to remove the scales. Wash and drain the fish, then rub it all over with the lime juice and ground spices.

2. Grind the root ginger and chopped garlic to a paste using a mortar and pestle.

3. In a bowl, mix the plain flour, gram flour, rice flour and ginger and garlic paste together until well combined. Season, to taste, with fine salt. Dredge the whitebait in the flour mixture until it is completely coated.

4. Heat the oil in a frying pan or heavy wok over a medium heat, until smoking. Add the fish in batches and fry for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until crisp and golden-brown on all sides. Set each batch aside to drain on kitchen paper. Serve immediately.

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Prawn curry

Posted on June 30, 2009. Filed under: Bengali dish, Non-veg | Tags: , , , |

Timings :

Preparation time: less than 30 mins

Cooking time: 30 mins to 1 hour

Ingredients :

  • 400g/14oz medium-sized prawns, cleaned, shells removed, tails left on
  • salt, to taste
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 4 tsp English mustard, to taste
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • splash water
  • 4 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1 tsp nigella seeds
  • 2 green chillies, left whole
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 2 tsp garlic paste (made by blending 1 garlic clove with 1 tbsp water)
  • 2 tsp ginger paste (available from Asian supermarkets, or make your own by crushing or blending fresh ginger to a rough paste, adding water if necessary to loosen)
  • 130g/5oz freshly grated coconut
  • 200ml/7oz water
  • handful chopped fresh coriander

Method :

1. Place the prawns into a bowl, sprinkle over the salt, ground turmeric and red chilli powder and set aside to marinate for 10-15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, blend the English mustard, cornflour and water to a paste in a small bowl.

3. Heat the mustard oil in a large non-stick pan over a medium heat until smoking. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 15-20 seconds, then add the nigella seeds, return the pan to the heat and cook the seeds until they sizzle.

4. Add the green chillies and onion, stir well and fry for 7-8 minutes, or until softened.

5. Add the garlic and ginger pastes and continue to cook for 45-60 seconds.

6. Add the mustard paste and grated coconut and stir well to combine. Fry the mixture for 4-5 minutes, then add the water and continue cooking for a further 3-4 minutes, or until the volume of liquid has reduced by half and the sauce has thickened.

7. Add the prawns and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until pink, stirring well. Stir in the chopped coriander and serve immediately.

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Poached peaches

Posted on June 30, 2009. Filed under: Bengali dish, Sweets | Tags: , , , |

Timing :

Preparation time: less than 30 mins

Cooking time: 10 to 30 mins

Ingredients :

  • 6 ripe peaches
  • 1.5 litres/2½ pints cold water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 4 star anise, left whole, plus 2 tsp ground star anise
  • 4 thin slices fresh ginger
  • 225g/8fl oz sugar
  • 400ml/14fl oz Greek-style yoghurt
  • flaked toasted almonds, to garnish

Method :

1. Score a cross shape in the bottom of each peach. Place the peaches into a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside for 30 seconds, then drain the peaches and fill the bowl with cold water to refresh. Set aside for a further 40-45 seconds, then drain the peaches again and peel using a sharp knife.

2. Place the measured cold water, cinnamon, star anise, ginger slices and sugar into a large saucepan, stir well and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture resembles syrup.

3. Add the peaches to the syrup mixture and cover them with a disc of greaseproof paper measuring the same diameter as the pan.

4. Cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the peaches are cooked through (they will be soft when pricked with a knife). Remove the peaches and set aside on a warm plate.

5. Continue to boil the syrup until its volume has reduced to 200ml/7fl oz. Set aside to cool.

6. Brush the peaches with a little of the syrup. Stir half of the remaining syrup and the ground star anise into the Greek-style yoghurt until well combined, adding more syrup as necessary, to taste.

7. To serve, cut each of the spiced poached peaches in half and place two of the peach halves onto each of the serving plates. Spoon a portion of the star anise yoghurt alongside each peach. Drizzle a little syrup over each peach. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds.

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Kumror subzi

Posted on June 30, 2009. Filed under: Bengali dish, Subzi | Tags: , , , , |

Timings:

Preparation time: less than 30 mins

Cooking time: 10 to 30 mins

Ingredients :

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • large pinch ground asafoetida
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp panch phoran (a blend of equal quantities of fenugreek, nigella seeds, fennel seeds, cumin and mustard seeds), available from Asian supermarkets, also known as Bengali five-spice
  • 1-2 mild dried red chillies
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 level tsp ground cumin
  • 1 heaped tsp ground coriander
  • salt, to taste
  • sugar, to taste
  • 2 tsp ginger paste (available from Asian supermarkets, or make your own by crushing or blending fresh ginger to a rough paste, adding water if necessary to loosen)
  • 500g/1lb 2oz butternut squash(pumpkin/kumra), peeled, seeds removed, flesh cut into 4cm/1½in cubes
  • 200ml/7fl oz boiling water
  • 200g/7oz canned chickpeas, drained and washed
  • 1 tsp ground garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground fennel seeds

Method :

1. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan over a medium heat. Add the asafoetida, bay leaf, panch phoran and chillies and fry for 1-2 minutes, stirring well to combine.

2. Add the onion, stir to coat in the spices, and fry for 2-3 minutes, or until softened and golden-brown.

3. Add the ground turmeric, cumin and coriander, the salt, sugar and ginger paste and stir well. Add a splash of water, stir and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.

4. Add the butternut squash pieces and the boiling water. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan with a lid and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the butternut squash is tender.

5. Add the chickpeas, ground garam masala and fennel seeds and another splash of water if necessary to keep the mixture loose. Add more salt and sugar, if you like, to taste. Stir well and continue to cook for 1-2 minutes, or until warmed through. Serve immediately.

Chef’s tip:

The butternut squash is cooked once a knife goes smoothly all the way through without putting any pressure on it. Cook the squash any longer than this and it begins to break up. Take care not to stir to often.

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Anglo indian tomato soup

Posted on June 30, 2009. Filed under: Bengali dish, Starter | Tags: , , , |

This dish was introduced by the British at the time of the Raj and is reminiscent of cream of tomato soup, but with more flavour. This recipe serves four.

Timings :

Preparation time: less than 30 mins

Cooking time: 30 mins to 1 hour

Ingredients :

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2cm/¾in piece ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 1 tbsp cornflour, mixed to a paste with a splash of water
  • 650g/1lb 7oz ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • ½-1 tsp sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • ¾-1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 100ml/3½fl oz milk
  • 300-400ml water
  • For the coriander and garlic bread
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt, to taste
  • 4 slices bread, sliced on the diagonal

Method :

1. Heat the butter and the oil in a large non-stick pan over a medium heat. Add the bay leaf and fry for 20-30 seconds.

2. Add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, garlic and ginger and stir well. Cover the pan with a lid and fry for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened and the onions are pale golden-brown.

3. Add the cornflour paste and stir for 1-2 minutes (do not allow the cornflour to burn).

4. Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar, salt and black pepper, bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the tomatoes have reduced to a thick pulp.

5. Turn up the heat and continue to cook the tomato mixture for 5-6 minutes, or until the tomato skins have turned golden-brown. Discard the bay leaf.

6. Transfer the tomato mixture to a food processor and blend to a purée. With the motor still running, add the milk and water in a thin stream until the mixture has the consistency of double cream and is smooth and well combined (you may not need all of the water).

7. Return the soup to the pan and return to the boil. Keep warm.

8. For the bread, using a pestle and mortar, blend the coriander, oil, garlic and salt to a loose paste (allow some coriander leaves to remain whole for texture).

9. Heat a chargrill pan over a high heat. Add one of the bread slices and grill for 1-2 minutes on each side, or until the bread is toasted and golden-brown on both sides. Repeat with the remaining bread slices.

10. Remove the bread slices from the pan and brush them all over with the coriander oil. Serve immediately with the soup.

Chef’s tip:

Browning the reduced tomato base for a few minutes over a moderately high heat will enrich the flavour of the soup. Add a touch of red chilli powder for more punch.

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Aloo keema chop

Posted on June 30, 2009. Filed under: Bengali dish, Non-veg, Snacks | Tags: , , |

Timing :

Preparation time: less than 30 mins

Cooking time: 30 mins to 1 hour

Ingredients :

  • 5 medium potatoes, peeled, boiled, drained and mashed
  • 2 medium fresh green chillies, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds, toasted and finely ground
  • 2 sprigs fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for deep frying
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 450g/16oz lean minced lamb
  • 1cm/½in piece fresh root ginger, peeled and chopped
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • pinch ground cumin
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ½ lemon, juice only
  • salt, to taste
  • 2 free-range eggs
  • 225g/8oz fresh white breadcrumbs

Method :

1. In a bowl, mix the mashed potatoes, chopped chillies, ground cumin seeds and chopped fresh coriander until well combined. Season, to taste, with salt.

2. For the croquette filling, heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat, add the chopped onion and fry for 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown.

3. Add the minced lamb, root ginger, chilli powder, ground coriander and ground cumin. Cook, stirring continuously, for 18-20 minutes, or until the minced lamb has cooked through.

4. Add the garam masala and the lemon juice and season, to taste, with salt. Strain the lamb mixture through a fine sieve and allow any excess oil to drain away. Set the mixture aside to cool.

5. Divide the potato mixture into 12 equal portions and roll each portion into a ball. Make a hollow in the centre of each potato ball, using your finger. Spoon one tablespoon of the mince mixture into each of the 12 hollows, then fold the potato over and around it.

6. Flatten the filled potato ball into a patty using your hands. Place the potato balls onto a baking tray, cover the tray with cling film and set aside for 15-20 minutes.

7. Beat the eggs in a bowl and sprinkle the breadcrumbs onto a plate.

8. Heat the remaining oil in a deep heavy-based frying pan until a breadcrumb sizzles and turns brown when dropped into it. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.)

9. Dip each patty into the beaten egg, then dredge in the breadcrumbs until completely coated. Lower each patty into the oil and fry for 5-6 minutes, or until crisp and golden-brown and completely cooked through. Set aside to drain on kitchen paper. Serve immediately.

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