Seafood, considered a delicacy worldwide has to be included in my diet especially during winters. Though I have never tried having the squeaky octopus (which I want to, of course), edibles, like pomfrets, squids, snails, crabs have never missed my culinary palette.
Last winter, I went home to spend Christmas with my family. Holidays make me crave for more such delicacies. This time I was determined to have crabs. Winters are the best time to have these crustaceans as they are full of meat – juicy and succulent. So, without wasting one Saturday morning I rushed to the local fish market and bought 1 kilo crabs (yes you can buy crabs from a fish market.
Cleaning these crustaceans can be a daunting task if you are doing it for the first time. Nonetheless, after achieving the feat I finally ended up concocting this seafood delicacy in the kitchen. Here’s the recipe. Hope you enjoy it!
6 nos big size crabs
¼ cup ginger-garlic paste
½ cup tomato puree
¼ cup curd
¼ cup onion paste
few whole garam masala
2 tsp garam masala powder
2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp whole jeera
4 nos bay leaf
Salt according to taste
½ cup fresh coriander chop
½ cup oil
Wash and clean crabs thoroughly. Boil them in a heavy bottomed pan and keep aside. Heat cooking oil in a pan. Now put whole jeera, bay leaf and whole garam masala. Also, put all other masalas and fry it for few minutes until oil removes from pan. Now put crab and mix with all masalas. Add water and allow it to boil. Keep it covered for 10 minutes on a slow flame.
Bengalis love fish. True. So being a true blue bong, there was no reason as to why should I not drool over this aquatic creature. I love all kinds of fish – be it the royal hilsa, or the humble rui or pomfret – direct from the sea. Back home for my holidays (that stretched for nearly 3 months) I would often concoct up fishy delicacies in the kitchen.
Most of the time, I cooked pomfret. One of my favourites. So, just thought of sharing the recipe of this delicacy with my readers. Its simple, easy and definitely lip-smacking.
Pomfret – 2 medium-sized
Red chilli powder
Salt to taste
Cooking oil 1 tablespoon
Wash and pat dry the fish. Make deep slits on each side. Rub lemon juice and ginger-garlic paste on the fish and keep aside for at least minutes. In a bowl make a smooth paste with yogurt, turmeric, red chilli powder, oil and some salt. Apply this paste evenly over the fish. Marinate it for at least two hours. Pre-heat oven and place the marinated fish. Cook for around 20 minutes at 180 degrees. You may apply some butter for basting while cooking. Serve hot with onion slices and lemon wedges.
Being born and brought up in Bengal, my interaction with the other Indian communities had been quite limited. However, once I shifted to Delhi, my first roommates were an Assameese and a Punjabi. That was my first major stint with communities belonging to other parts of India. I was quite perplexed and excited at the same time. Wondering how would I gel with them and also looking forward to a newly learning experience – getting to know people from various cultures and regions.
So, it was from Sanchayita (S) that I got to know a lot about not only Assameese culture but also their food habits. Being a hardcore non-vegetarian she enjoyed almost every delicacy – from fish to chicken – and from pork to pigeons. Every time I wanted to have non-veg she would be my partner-in-crime (the PG accommodation offered vegan food). So, one fine day she took me to Mukherjee Nagar where I tasted Assameese cuisine for the first time. Geographical closeness definitely has its impact on the cuisine. It reminded of my home especially the tangy taste of Masor Tenga.
Since then I have tasted many a dish peculiar to the north-eastern part of our country. But, the simple tangy Masor Tenga score above all. This post is definitely dedicated to S and my other friends from Assam
PS: Natives from Assam, you may put in your signature touch to this recipe as most of it have been collected from memory.
Here’s the recipe.
Fish (rohu/carp) 500 grams cut into medium-sized pieces
Tomatoes 2 large, sliced
Mustard seeds, a handful
Green Chillies, 2-3 slit lengthwise
Lemon (juice of half or 1 full lemon)
Salt to taste
Mustard Oil, 4 tablespoons
Marinate fish pieces with salt and turmeric for at least 30 minutes. In a wok heat 3 tablespoons of mustard oil and fry the marinated pieces. Keep aside. In the same wok, add the rest of the oil and throw in the mustard seeds. Once they began to splutter, add green chillies and the tomatoes. Stir for two-three minutes and then sprinkle some salt. Adding salt after the tomatoes will help the tomatoes to become tender thus enabling you to make a pulp. Add turmeric, stir for a minute and then add some water. You can add some salt at this stage depending upon your taste. Keep stirring for a few minutes and then add the pieces of fried fish. Cook for some time on low flame. Drizzle the required amount of lemon juice (depends how tangy you want it to be), bring to a boil.
The gravy should be a runny curry or jool as Assameese call it. So make sure the quantity of water you add. Remove from gas. Serve hot with boiled rice.
Tahira was inspired by her friend, Nilakshi Barooah, for this delicacy
One of the oldest forms of livestock, pigs have been domesticated since 5000 BC. The culinary name of the meat obtained from domesticated pig is termed as pork. Pork is one of the most commonly consumed meat worldwide.
I love pork. It is one of the red meats that I can savour with taste buds. Though I started consuming pork at a much later age, but I simply fell in love with it. The appreciation for pork reach its height when my one-time boyfriend (who hailed for the north-east) took me to some exotic food joints in Delhi to have pork delicacies.
But, this recipe is inspired by one of my friends Nilakshi, who also hails from Guwahati (Assam), now residing in Singapore. Her recent status claimed that she has finally mastered Fried Pork. So, a gourmet like me could not possibly have been left far behind to concoct up the dish. I must say it turned out to be yummy. Since Nilakshi was the inspiration, I dedicate this post to her.
PS: N, I have added two seasonal vegetables to the dish. Hope you don’t mind!
Pork Belly Pieces with Fat
Finely chopped garlic (about 10 cloves)
50 grams ginger finely chopped
1 large onion coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon soya sauce
Half a teaspoon turmeric
Fresh black pepper ground
Half a teaspoon brown sugar (white sugar will also do)
Red Chilli Powder (according to taste)
Chopped Green Chillies ( depends how hot you want it to be)
1 large capsicum, diced (optional)
1 broccoli cut into pieces (optional)
Salt to taste
Pressure cook the pork pieces with a pinch of salt and keep aside. Heat 3 tablespoons of cooking oil in a pan and sauté the capsicum and broccoli for 5 minutes and keep aside. Now in the same oil, sauté garlic and onions. In a separate pan, mix all the remaining ingredients together with the pre-cooked pork and stir into the pan containing the sautéed vegetable and garlic and onion. Put on high flame and cook for around 7 minutes and keep stirring. Bring down to simmer. Keep tossing and turning the mixture until the pork turns tender. The pork will start releasing its fat and in the process get cooked in it and it will release a nice aroma! Cover lid and keep for a minute. Remove from gas a serve on a bed of lettuce (optional).
This weekend I had a gala time. My ex-flatmate had been inviting me over to her place in Gurgaon for a long time now. Finally we met after almost a lapse of one year. Now, when two Bengalis meet, food has to make its way into the conversations. So it did. We were so overwhelmed by the fact that, we both ended up deciding that lets cook chicken for dinner. Within an hour the raw chicken arrived and we both arranged all other ingredients in a hurry. I being the gourmet, again dawned the chef’s hat to toss up Kadhai Chicken.
The Kadhai is a not-so-deep or not-so-shallow frying that is idiosyncratic to every Indian kitchen. To know more about Kadhai, you can click on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karahi.
Capsicum is usually used to make this delicacy, but since we were short of time and of course ingredients, I opted for the simplest way to make this delectable delicacy. Here’s how:
Chicken 500 grams cut and cleaned
1 big onion finely sliced
1 big tomato finely chopped
2 table spoons ginger-garlic paste
3 whole dried red chillis
2 table spoons of coriander seeds (dhania)
2 bay leaves (tej patta)
Coriander leaves (dhania patta)
3 table spoons of oil
Salt according to taste
Begin by grinding the red chillies and the coriander seeds into a coarse powder and keep aside. Heat the required quantity of oil in a kadhai and add the bay leaves. After a few seconds add the sliced onions and sauté till it turns brownish. Then add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for a minute; add the above-mentioned coarse powder. Add the chopped tomatoes and pinch of salt. Stir for sometime until the tomatoes blend well with the masala. Now add the chicken pieces and stir vigorously until it mixes well with the masala. Pour a little water and a pinch of salt and cover with a lid. Cook till chicken becomes tender. Sprinkle some garam masala and turn off gas. Serve with rice or roti.
Just as the biryani, the Pilaf or Pulao, as it is commonly known as, a rice dish where the rice is slowly cooked in a broth. Depending upon the region, the colour of the dish varies —sometimes with hues of yellow or sometimes brownish. Just as the biryani, the pulao’s orgin can be traced largely to the Middle East, Balkans and the Indian subcontinent.
The earliest reerences of the pulao can be traced in the historical chronicles of Alexander the Great where he describes the Bactrian way of hospitality. Bactria is a region in present day Iran. It is believed that the Pulao was popularized in Greece by Alexnder and his men.
Even the pulao has its variations. It can be cooked without meat, making it a complete vegan delicacy or pieces of meat can add to its aroma.
Being a gourmet, I have tried my hands at concocting up this delicacy more often in my kitchen. So, this time I tought of sharing the receipe of Yakhni Pulao with my readers.
Shoulder mutton or chicken 200 gms
1\2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste.
Salt to taste
21\2 cup basmati rice (soaked and drained)
1 tbsp oil\ghee
5 green cardamoms
2 bay leaves & 2 dalchini sticks
1 large onion finely chopped
1\2 cup coriander leaves (optional)
4 – 5 green chilies slit lengthwise
Cook mutton or chicken in 5-6 cups of water in a pressure cooker with turmeric, ginger-garlic paste and salt for 20 minutes till tender. Strain stock and keep aside for cooking rice. Cut meat into pieces or shred them. Heat oil or ghee in a heavy bottomed pan and fry whole spices till aroma is released. Add onion and sauté till its translucent. Add rice and fry for a minute. Add the stock, meat pieces and other remaining ingredients. Bring to boil, lower heat and cook till stock is absorbed. Pulao is made.
Sampurna Majumder shares her stint with a rare vegetarian dish – posto (khus khus or poppy seeds)
Bhaat e Macch e Bangali (Rice and Fish make a true Bengali), so goes an adage. True. Food has always been a weakness for Bengalis. The quintessential Bangali Babu’s meal would be incomplete without these ingredients – bhaat, machher jhol and a bhaja (any vegetable fried, brinjal or bitter gourd/uchhe bhaja). However, Bengali cuisine offers a whole range of vegan delicacies as well.
Posto (poppy seeds or khus khus) is an integral part of Bengali cuisine. The use of posto in Bengali cuisine dates back to almost two centuries. Posto finds its place in Bengali literature as well. Bankim Chnadra Chattopadhyaya’s Kamalanter Daptar (From the Desk of Kamalakanta) is one such example. Written on the lines of De Quincy’s Confessions of an English Opium Eater, Bankim’s protagonist remains inebriated most of the time as an aftereffect of consuming too much opium (drug obtained from poppy seeds). Opium dens are known to exist in Kolkata’s China Town as during the 1940s.
The sole purpose of penning this note is nothing but nostalgia buffs. Few days back, the quintessential Bengali in me was craving for some kaancha posto (raw khus khus). I remember way back in the 90s when I was barely a decade old, my granny would pretty often make kaancha posto. She would grind them mixed with water and some salt; then add some chopped onions, green chilies and a zing of strong-smelling mustard oil.
As a kid, my share of the yummy kaancha posto would be devoid of the green chilies. However, as I grew up green chilies made their way to my kaancha posto and thus began my never-ending love affair with this sumptuous vegan Bengali dish. Pretty often I have eaten all my rice with kaancha posto! Yes and it gives me a high till date whenever which is followed by the afternoon siesta which comes as a booty along with it.