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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Probably the most popular street food in Kolkata

These are called "rolls", pieces of chicken, or paneer, or even chopped onion and bell pepper wrapped in flat bread. Theses are probably the most popular street food of Kolkata. In the evening you will always find a smal crowd in front of each roll-shop. 

Bicolour Pockets Stuffed with Spicy Minced Chicken -- zweifarbige Huenchentaschen?

Finally, I am writing again. I am writing after ages but also after a successful experiment.
I have done something innovative and have not yet come up with a name for it.

I used spinach paste and beetroot paste to make the dough. I kneaded the spinach paste and the beetroot paste separately and see below the result:

Then I gave the dough the shape like below and then cut into pieces and rolled each piece out:

I put the stuffing on half of it ans folded the other half on it. Then it looked like this:
Theses were then shallow fried and we had the end product, ready to serve:

The Stuffing: --

I cooked the chicken with finely chopped onion, chopped green chili and tomato, salt, a few cloves of garlic and a little cumin powder and blended everything after cooking.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Visit to Krishnanagar City, Nadia

            After twelve long years I re-visited Krishnanagar, where I went to college.
The food experience in Krishnanagar was a pleasant surprise. The planned visit did not work but something else came up to postpone my return to Kolkata and to have fun! And, I overate!

After seven long years I am back home to give my ill mom my company.
I also learnt that two of my college teachers have left the mortal world untimely. A feeling of insecurity I never knew before captured me and has suddenly reminded / made me realize that this generation is not forever; we forget this truth because we are accustomed to their existence, their support and help and advice, because we always have them with us. I decided to meet my teachers who were still there, before I miss my last opportunity. It was a feeling of urgency.

I rushed to Krishnanagar, after about twelve years, where I studied English literature and where the senior most teacher of our department of English was living even after his retirement.  Everything has changed on that street and it was not so easy to find the house. I pushed the calling bell. A young girl appeared and I asked for my teacher. “He has sold this house and left this town a few years back”. But she called her mother who shared a mobile number with me which supposedly, belonged to my teacher. Sad and disappointed, I left for some local sweets shop, to have “lunch”. Krishnanagar is very famous for sweets. In fact, the whole Bengal is famous for sweet delicacies. And there are regional specialities, special sweets of different districts or even of different villages. Sarpuria and sarbhaja are the most well known to outsiders but after living there for quite some years, I know, that Krishnanagar can boast of various types of high quality sweet dishes: khirer singara, chhanar murki, for example!

Khirer Singara
Cream Roll


I met a friend of mine. He and his wife invited me to attend their marriage anniversary party planned on the next day. But for me the party started immediately with a home cooked lunch by his mom, with shak, machher jhol. When I lived in Bengal, these were all very common, part of everyday life. Even if I always enjoyed the food, I never thought that I would write about them. Unless you live the life of an expatriate, you don’t realize the enormous significance of some small things of your own culture. Even though I never was homesick, I sometimes missed our food and that is how I became a good cook. So, for the next two days I enjoyed every bit of the typical bori bhaja, shak, panch mishali torkari, posto die alu ar dantar chachchori, peyanj koli and dhone pata bata, gol alu bhaja. 
Every meal was followed by sweets. Sorry, I did not take photos of everything.

The Thursday Lunch: Rice and Some of the Delicious Vegetarian Side Dishes 

Many of us do not eat non-vegetarian food on Thursdays, I guess, because it is the day for worshiping Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. So, auntie prepared many vegetarian dishes. But in Bengal we usually offer fish to guests. So, she explained the reason behind the pure vegetarian meal to me which she did not need to, because I was more than happy. I don't have words to express how much I enjoy these typical Bengali veg daily dishes. These are something I missed for years. Where in Europe could I possibly find sojne danta? I rarely found patol (pointed gourd) in Pune and it was always costly. And I missed bori so much that in Germany I made some on my own. So, I appreciate very much her effort and affection with which she prepared all these for us:
Bori Bhaja

Panchmishali Torkari

Posto die Alu ar Dantar Chachchori
This is actually potato and Indian drumsticks cooked with poppy seed paste.

After the lunch auntie (your friend's mother is like your mother and to be equally respected, so "Aunt"!) offered me some mango-flavoured rasogolla. This rasogolla with the mild flavour of unripe mango was a new experience for me. Though I am born and brought up in Bengal, I somehow, missed an opportunity to taste it.
Mango-flavoured Rasogolla

In contrast to our lunch, our dinner was all chicken with chicken pakora as the starter and doi-murgi, chicken cooked in yogurt sauce, as the main course because a party without anything non-veg is unimaginable in Bengal. But bear in mind, we do not eat beef or pork. :-D
Out hostess, my friend's wife, prepared the main course for us. We had it with ruti (very thin Fladenbrot) of rice flour. She did her job very well. The doi-murgi was very tasty.
Doi-Murgi and Ruti

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mourola Machher Chachchori

Anchovies with Egg plant and Potato

Main course
Serves two

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes


Mourala fish: 100 gm
Potato: 50 gm
Egg plant: 50 gm
Green chili -- two small
Onion -- 25 gm
Sugar -- a pinch (optional)
Mourala Fish in Salt and Turmeric

sliced green chili, shredded onion, potato, egg plant

How to prepare:
Clean the fish. This will take considerable time.
Marinade the fish in salt and turmeric.
Cut the vegetables as shown in the picture above.

Fry the fish. Keep at one side.
Fried Mourala
Add potato to the oil and saute. As the potato starts turning golden, add the green chili and onion into the oil. Saute a little.
Add the egg plant. Saute. Stir a little. 
Add turmeric and salt.
Stir well to mix well. 
You may add very little water.
Cover the pan and make the flame small.
As the vegetables are almost done, add the fish. Stir to mix well.
Cover and let everything cook on small flame for about five more minutes.
Serve with steamed rice.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Chitol Machher Peti in Onion Gravy

Clown Knife Fish

Main course
Serves 6

Chitol machher peti – 1 kg (6 pieces)
Turmeric powder
Onion – 250 – 300 gms
Ginger – 10 gm
Cumin powder 10 gm (optional) – one tea spoon
Red chili powder – 20 gm (optional) two tea spoon
Green chili sliced – one big
Red chili sliced – two small
Cumin seeds – 10 gm
Bay leaves – three small
Sugar – one tea spoon

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 30 minutes

Marinade the fish in salt and turmeric powder for about half an hour.

In the meantime cut the onions and the green chili into medium pieces.
Add salt, turmeric, cumin powder, red chili powder, ginger and make a fine paste.

Heat up the oil and fry the fish till it turns light golden. As you fry them, cover the frying pan immediately after you put them into the hot oil. You have to turn them over once carefully, by opening the lid for a very short time.
After both the sides are fried, keep them to one side.

Important note: You need to be a little cautious while frying the fishes without scale. When you put them to hot oil, the oil springs out from the frying pan to all directions. I suggest that you keep the flame very low, put the fish on the oil, cover immediately and them make the flame bigger.

Now add bay leaves, cumin seeds, and red chili into the hot oil. 

Then add the above said paste; stir and cook.

Add water after some time when it looks like below.

Bring this to boil.
Now add the fishes into it and let everything boil together for another 5 minutes.

Serve with plain steamed rice.

Papri Chat

In Kolkata food is everywhere! Bengalis are really foody! They love eating out. An evening for shopping is incomplete without some snacking.

This was our snack bar this time, in front of the South City Mall. We went for Papri Chaat, a fast food from northern India. It is vegetarian.
The main ingredient of papri chat is papri, a crispy wafer from white flour and oil.

Our chaat seller starts with sprinkling tomato ketchup on some papris. Then he adds boiled potato and boiled chick peas to it. WE asked him not to add yoghurt, which is another important ingredient.

He also added some chanachur and some roasted pea nuts.Then he garnishes it with thinly sliced coconut and sev and served it to us.

Note: sev is a very thin noodle made of chick pea flour, broken into very tiny pieces. Sev is salty and very crispy.

Papri chat was very spicy for me and probably that is why my stomach did not find it very friendly.

Dal Seddho

Side dish
Serves two

Very simple recipe.


Red Lentil (musur dal) – 100 gm
Green chili – raw
Shredded onion – 10 gm
Mustard oil

How to prepare:

Boil the lentil in water.
The dal boiling
Add salt only after it is thoroughly cooked and soft enough to eat.
Stir and mix the salt well.
Boil till very little of the water is left. I suggest that don’t put too much water right at the beginning.
Add green chili. Depending on your taste, you can also add the chili along with salt.
(I want the chili raw, not partially cooked and softened.)
Add shredded onion.
Dal Seddho

Serve with plain steamed rice.

Traditionally, the lentil, put inside a watertight metal container or in a piece of cheese cloth, tied tightly , used to be put inside the handi (the traditional rice cooker) while preparing rice in it. This is how I have seen my mom and other senior ladies preparing it. When in cheese cloth, it can also be kept in boiling water till the lentil is cooked. 

I find this dal preparation so tasty that I can make it my main course and eat up all the rice on my plate with it. But usually we prepare some small accompaniment, typically some fried vegetables, to go with it.
Here is an example: alu-bean-gajor-bhaja.


Serves two.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: about 15 minutes

Carrot – one, medium
Potato – one, small
Green beans – 50 gm


How to prepare:
Cut carrot, beans, and a small potato into very small cubes.
Heat the oil.
Add nigella and sliced green chili to it.
Add the vegetables.
Add turmeric. Stir well to mix well.
Add salt.
Stir well. Let it cook till all the vegetables are softened. Stir from now and then.
Serve with dal seddho and steamed rice.