Chhana Phoolkopir Dalna (Paneer Cauliflower Curry)

 

Chhana fulkapir dalna (Paneer curry with cauliflower)
Recipe and Narration: Maumita Paul Ghosh

The dekchi of milk, golden yellow, sits patiently on the mud oven. The first rays of the nascent sun, yet Grandma is up, going about the house, reciting her chants while doing her regular morning chores. Gesticulating to the maid to clean a corner that has seen an overnight spider invasion. Arranging the pots and pans just returned from washing in a regimental array in the soot-blackened kitchen. Stepping out to the yard to pluck the fragrant jasmines that have bloomed overnight. Patting her favourite calf that has come bursting from the shed the moment she saw her.

Now she’s back in the kitchen and gives the milk a loving stir, scrapes the bottom of the dekchi to ensure there is no crust forming, signals to the maid to stoke the fire of the oven and disappears again to her morning chores.

These cycles of stir-back to chores-stir-back to chores continue uninterrupted till Grandmas experienced eyes are convinced that the milk is of exactly the consistency that she needs.

She now halves some lemons and squeezes the juice into the bubbling milk. A stir again.

And then the magic starts.

Chhana Phool Kopir Dalna (Paneer with Cauliflower)

The milk starts to curdle, tiny islands of pristine milk solids forming in the ocean of milk that gradually metamorphoses from its golden yellow to a pale grey-green. And a starry-eyed me, all of five years or even less, watches, enraptured and enthralled, as more immaculate white islands take birth, floating blissfully on the ocean of whey, now boiling rapturously with a furious frenzy. (My first brush with chemistry, to be my profession many years later, and for the next couple of years, I remember persisting doggedly with Grandma to wake me up, however early it was, if she were to curdle milk.)

With her deft hands Grandma drains the whey out, endearingly collects the milk solids, places them gently in a soft muslin cloth, ties a firm knot and hangs the cloth onto an ancient hook on the wall to drain any extra water.

Decades later, as I go about the rituals of making paneer at home, these images come fleeting back. Nostalgia. Memories honey-sweet. A life of blissful days and sublime evenings. No tensions. No worries. The innocent pleasures of childhood.

I pair the fresh paneer this morning with cauliflower, a delectable curry Grandma used to prepare, in a tomato gravy perfumed with whole spices and coriander.

Recipe and Narration: Maumita Paul Ghosh

Chhana fulkapir dalna (Paneer curry with cauliflower)

Chhana fulkapir dalna (Paneer curry with cauliflower)

Ingredients

  • 200g paneer or cottage cheese, cubed, home-made or bought from the market
  • 1 medium cauliflower, cut into medium sized florets
  • 1 tomato, pureed
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 2 tsps ginger paste
  • couple of bay leaves
  • 2-3 green chillies, slit
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • to taste salt

Method

  • Smear the paneer with a pinch of turmeric.
  • In a separate bowl, sprinkle turmeric on the cauliflower florets and mix well.
  • Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in a frying pan and saute the paneer pieces till they take on a tinge of golden brown. Remove from oil and keep aside.
  • In the same oil, sauté the cauliflower florets till they are just golden. Remove from oil and keep aside.
  • Add the remaining oil and when smoking hot, temper with crushed cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and bay leaves. When the spices start to release their aroma, add the tomato puree, ginger paste and a couple of slit green chillies.
  • Sprinkle in a little salt and cook over a medium flame till the tomato purée is cooked are oil starts to separate from the masala.
  • Now dissolve the remaining turmeric powder and coriander powder in very little warm water and stir in this paste to the masala. Splash a little water if it’s getting too dry and cook over a low flame for a further 3-4 minutes.
  • Add a cup of warm water along with the fried cauliflower and cook on a low flame till the cauliflower florets are cooked. Bring to a simmer and gently add the fried paneer pieces. Add the sugar and cook for another 5 odd minutes.
  • Adjust the seasonings. Serve hot with rice.

http://www.ranna-bati.com/chhana-phoolkopir-dalna-paneer-cauliflower-curry/

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Rock Salt Garlic Chicken

 

Recipe and Narration By Purna Chowdhury

Rock Salt Garlic Chicken (বীট নুন রসুন দিয়ে মুর্গির ঝোল)

My latest ‘fad’ is rustic cuisine that had started a couple of years back with my discovery of Boatmen’s cuisine in Bengal and Assam. I love the Spartan audacity. My other fascination is using rock salt in cooking. They came together in this recipe without-a-name I hijacked from a friend, who is a gourmet and a culinary philanderer. The recipe happened as a casual conversation on ‘What’s for dinner?’ and he got going. He is much traveled too and has tasted tribal and regional cuisine from most parts of India. He does not sell his recipe. He says: “Just try it”. And I did.

 

 

Rock Salt Garlic Chicken

Rock Salt Garlic Chicken

Ingredients

  • 1 farm/Desi/ free run chicken, smallish.
  • For marinade
  • red chili powder
  • rock salt
  • cumin
  • onion (chopped)
  • coarse garlic paste (roughly 1 tsp for one small chicken)
  • Mustard oil

Method

  • Marinade the chicken in spices for an hour.
  • Heat mustard oil in your pan and dunk the chicken pieces; sauté briefly and immediately turn down the stove. Add a few cloves of garlic ( I did 6-7) Let the chicken simmer, slowly, gently to release its own juice and the whole cloves of garlic with it till it is cooked. That is it.

http://www.ranna-bati.com/rock-salt-garlic-chicken/

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Bikrampuri Murgh Salan

A delicacy of Bikrampur in Bangladesh… and the new angle given to it is by a smooth paste of roasted spices called ‘Chhaag’. This makes the dish wonderfully aromatic and lends a lovely brownish texture. The dish was influenced by the union of many cultures which chronologically enriched Bikrampur and its cuisine. Among them were Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist. The special blend of roasted spices named ‘Chhaag’ came into being as a result and brought a revolution in the gravies and curries of the region.

Pic Courtesy :- Anindita

 

 

Bikrampuri Murgh Salan

Bikrampuri Murgh Salan

Ingredients

  • 1 kg chicken with bone regular cut
  • 6 onions roughly chopped/grated
  • 1 inch ginger grated or coarsely chopped
  • 8 pods of garlic coarsely chopped/grated
  • 2 tablespoons of red chilli flakes, you can use according to your own taste
  • 2 slit green chillies, I used for additional flavour
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Mustard oil as per requirement
  • For the ‘Chhaag’:
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 2-3 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
  • 1 heaped tablespoon garlic chopped or grated

Method

  • Marinate the chicken with onion, ginger, garlic, mustard oil, turmeric, red chilli flakes and salt. Keep it for 45 min-1 hr.
  • Prepare the ‘Chhaag’ in the mean time. Put a little oil in a skillet and roast bay leaves, cumin seeds and garlic until brown. Remove from heat and let it cool completely. Now make a smooth paste in the blender by adding a little water.
  • Heat the same skillet again and add the marinated chicken. Cover and cook. Stir once or twice in between.
  • when the chicken is almost done add the ‘Chhaag’. Stir to mix it well with the chicken. Now cover and cook it again and let the flavors mingle for an additional five minutes until the chicken is fully done.

Notes

No souring agent or water is needed except for the pasting of ‘Chhaag’. The chicken gets cooked in its own juices.

http://www.ranna-bati.com/bikrampuri-murgh-salan/

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