Recipe and Photo and narration By Lipika Dey
Rakhaliya Fish Pie (রাখালিয়া পাই) –
Rakhal is the Bong word for a cowherd – a person who tends to grazing cattle (ref: Wiki).
Okay, okay I know a cowherd is not a shepherd. But Bengal is not a land of shepherds. Rather the Rakhal along with his flute has occupied quite a prominent place in the Bong hearts – be it the romantic type or be it the pious type. Surprisingly, though Bengali literature is full of Rakhals and their antics, especially the role of the flute on unsuspecting maidens, – not much is known about their favorite dishes. Of course – this does not hold true about their Lord, the one of Makhan-chor fame.
Hence here goes my dedication or adaptation of the famous British pie for our Rakhals – cooked with fish caught from the river, by the side of which grazed the cows. Surely the cowboy would catch some when he got tired of playing the flute!
- Fish filling
- Bekti – 500 gm. If you are not using fillets, steam the fish. Drain and debone it completely. Remove every bit of skin or oil. Shred it to pieces.
- Onions: 2 diced finely
- Garlic Pods – 4 crushed
- Ginger paste – 1/2 tsp
- Green Chili – 4 to 6 diced finely
- Salt to taste
- Oil – 2 tbsp
- For the vegetable layer
- Mushrooms : 1 cup, diced
- Carrots – 1/2 cup diced
- Onion – 1 small diced
- Black Pepper, ground: ½ tsp
- Garlic Pods – 4 crushed flakes powder: 1tsp
- Celery leaves – 4 to 6 fresh and shredded
- Salt: to taste
- Butter: 2 tbs
- Top Layer
- Potatoes: 3-4 boiled, firm, not mushy
- Milk – 2 tbsp
- Grated Parmesan Cheese – 2 heaped tbsp
- Black Pepper ground – 1 tsp
- To prepare the fish filling, in a pan heat the oil and add the crushed garlic. When the garlic turns brown add and sauté the onions. When the onion turns light brown add the ginger paste. Next add the fish. Mix well. Add salt and sauté till you get a lovely aroma. Add green chili. Saute till the mix is dry. Set aside.
- Boil and mash the potatoes. Make a creamy mixture with two table spoons of milk, black-pepper, salt and grated cheese.
- For the vegetable layer, heat a pan and add two tbsp butter. Add the garlic and sauté on low heat till garlic turns brown. Add diced onion. As soon as onion turns translucent add mushrooms and carrots. Mix well. Add salt. The veggies will release water. Add the celery leaves and put a lid on the pan. Let the veggies cook for a few minutes on low heat. Remove the lid. Turn up the heat and cook for a few minutes to let the water dry. Add black pepper.
- Take a baking pan and brush it with butter. Place the veggies, covering the pan completely. Next add the fish filling, pressing it firmly with a wide spatula to make the surface even.
- Finally add the mashed potato as the top layer. Press the layers firmly and smoothen with a spatula.
- Heat the oven to 220 *C convection bake.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, or till the potato crust turns brown.
Copyright Ranna Bati
To Celebrate the Chinese New year – a dish of spicy Pork Noodle By Purna Chowdhury
- • 1-pound pork chops (untrimmed)
- • 1/4 cup lower-sodium soya sauce
- • 2 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- • 1 tablespoon tomato paste/ sauce ( I used paste)
- • 1 teaspoon sugar
- • 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
- • 4 garlic cloves, minced
- • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- • Egg noodles cooked (about 400 gms uncooked)
- • 3/4 cup sliced green onions
- • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (optional)
- • 1/3 cup chopped unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
- • A handful of chopped fresh cilantro (not used)
- • lime wedges (for an optional drizzle)
- Place pork chops in a pan (don’t crowd them ); Mix 1 tablespoon soy sauce and next 5 ingredients (through garlic); drizzle over the chops. Cover and cook on LOW 6-7 minutes. Remove pork from the frying pan, reserving cooking liquid in the pan. Let pork stand 10 minutes.
- Strain cooking liquid through a strainer into a bowl. Cover and keep warm. Slice up the chops in thin slices.
- Return cooking liquid to the pan; stir in remaining 3 tablespoons soya sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil. Cover and cook on Max for about 8- 10 minutes. Turn off heat. Add pork, noodles, green onions and peanuts; give everything a toss and a swirl. Spoon noodle mixture into bowls; sprinkle with peanuts and chopped cilantro. Serve with lime wedges, if needed !
Copyright Ranna Bati
A flavorful way to make quick dish of winter vegetables. Monica Gupta‘s recipe for a delicious dish.
- Mix veg chopped ( cauliflower, potato , green beans) 2 cups
- Boiled peas 1/2 cup
- Green chilli 1
- Red chilli powder 1 tsp
- Tomatoes 2
- Cumin seeds 1 tsp
- Coriander seeds 1/2 tsp
- Turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
- Kasoori methi 1/2 tsp
- Ginger 1′
- Sabzi masala powder 1 tsp (see recipe below)
- Salt to taste
- Desi ghee 1 ladle
Sabzi masala powder
- 1 cup cumin seeds (jeera) , roasted
- 4 tbsp black peppercorns (kalimirch)
- 3 cloves (laung / lavang)
- 1 cup roasted corriander seeds
- Black salt 1 tsp
- Bay Leaf 2
Make the Masala
- Combine the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, bay leaf peppercorns and cloves and blend in a mixer to a fine powder.
- Transfer to a bowl, add the black salt and mix well.
- Use as required or store in an air-tight bottle.
Make the Veggies
- Cut ginger into fine juliennes.
- Take ghee in a kadhai (wok).
- Add cumin seeds and coriander seeds.
- Once they start cracking up,
- Add ginger strips and green chili.
- Add mix veg and stir fry the vegetables on high flame.
- Add Sabji masala, salt, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, kasoori methi and Cover kadhai with the lid and let it cook on low flame for 5-6 minutes.
- Add green peas. Cook it for another minute or so.
- Add chopped tomato and cook till they become mushy.
- Take care to retain crunchyness of vegges.
- Your mix veg is ready to eat.
Copyright Ranna Bati