Recipe and Photo By Shyamosree G Chaudhury
This should be a very common item, in most of the Bengali homes, when fresh prawns are seen in plenty in the Kolkata markets , while new summer veggies , like potol crowd all the vegetable stalls.
This preparation brings to me memories from my maiden days , for this was Ma’s signature dish in the monsoon .
I like easy and simple cooking , involving less oil & spices , yet the flavor and taste of which should make one crave for more servings.
This is one of such where we get the natural flavor of fresh prawn and tender veggies & the taste is light and succulent .
- Medium sized prawns……500gms , washed ,descaled ,deveined .
- Shrimps can substitute prawns, anyway .
- Pawtol/Parwal…250gms , peeled and diced .
- Sweet pumpkin …200gms , diced similar .
- Potato …2 medium , diced likewise .
- Tomato…1/2 shredded .
- Haldi , Cumin -Coriander powder , Red chilli powder , Salt and Sugar .
- Sautee the prawns in a little mustard oil , with haldi and salt ,keep aside .
- Sautee , likewise , the parwal pcs and keep aside .
- Pour mustard oil in the wok and when its hot add pnachforon and slitted green chillies , as the tempering . Sautee …
- Add the potato and the sweet pumpkin …add salt , sautee and then cover on medium low flame .
- When the vegetables are half done, add the sauteed parwals …add haldi , red chilli powder , cumin and coriander powder .
- Add shredded tomato too .
- Mix well the spices along with the veggies .
- Add pinch of sugar or as you like .
- Add the prawns and continue stirring lightly , till oil begins to come out from the sides .
- Add lukewarm water , little , as by this time vegetables are already done .
- Increase the flame …let the curry boil for some time .
- Add more green chillies , if you wish …adjust the taste of sugar , salt and chilli .
- When the gravy thickens and the curry is quite dense , switch off the flame and cover for 5 mins more , before serving .
- A mind blowing affair , when taken with steaming rice !!…
Copyright Ranna Bati
For any bengali, no monsoon is complete without Hilsa fish, though it is summer here in New Jersey ( At the time of sharing this recipe), but the craving for hilsa is always there and it increases more when you see the updates and photos uploaded in FB by friends and family during illish/ hilsa season. So made the bhapa immediately as soon as I bought it!
Recipe and Photo by :- Amrita Chatterjee Dey
Bhapa Illish – Steamed Hilsa
- Hilsha fish pieces: 4-5
- Yellow mustard seeds: 3 tablespoon
- Black mustard seeds: 1 tablespoon
- Poppy seeds: 1 teaspoon
- Green chillies : 4 or more ( as much as you can tolerate chillies)
- yogurt : 2 tablespoon
- mustard oil: 3-4 tablespoon
- Salt to taste
- Make a paste of yellow mustard seeds, black mustard seeds, poppy seeds,3-4 green chillies. Add little salt while making the paste to avoid bitterness. I also added a pinch of sugar ( i dont know the reason myself, just thought of adding it)
- Take out the paste in a bowl, add the yogurt and beat well. Add little water if the mixture is too thick. Add salt and 1 tablespoon of mustard oil.
- The fish pieces need to be marinated in this mixture for at least 20 minutes. However, I fried the fishes lightly after smearing them with salt and turmeric. This is because I get frozen Hilsa here, also my hubby dear wont have kacha Illish, so ineeded to fry them lightly.
- Take a stainless steel container with lid, add the fishes and the marinade, spread one more tablespoon of mustard oil on the top and also add a few slit green chillies. Close the container.
- In a deep kadai/wok or pot with lid add an inch of water and heat it, add the container having the fishes
- Close the container with a lid and let it cook in vapour for 20-25 minutes.
- i did not add any turmeric powder as I dont prefer its taste in Bhapa. Have the bhapa illish only and only with pipping hot white rice!
Copyright Ranna Bati
Recipe, Narration and Photo by – Moumita Roy Who writes the wonderful blog Poetry of Food.
On Ranna Bati’s Birthday here is something special for everyone. Chaler Payesh….Rice Kheer ( Bengali Version) !
Payesh or rice kheer is an indispensable dish in every Hindu feasts or celebrations. It is also prepared in temples and in every special occasion. In our Bengali culture birthdays are considered to be remained deficient without this. Usually during birthdays or any special occasion we prepare it and first offer it to our God and then we all cherish it as God’s Prasad or sacrament.
Rice kheer is usually prepared with milk, rice, ghee, sugar/jaggery, and khoya. Some also add a little bit of heavy cream for a richer taste. It is often garnished using almonds, cashews, raisins and pistachios. There is one more popular version of North Indian kheer which is prepared during festivals and havan in Varanasi which is prepared by using just milk, rice, ghee, sugar, cardamom, dry fruits and kesar.
Chaler Payesh – Rice Kheer ( Bengali Version)
- Gobindobhog Rice ( Ambemohar Rice, a special type of flavourful short grain rice which is ideal for Bengali rice kheer preparation) : ¾ th Cup.
- Full Cream Milk: 1 ½ lt.
- Condensed Milk: ½ Can
- Sugar /Jaggery: As per your taste, usually if you use condensed milk, you need to be very careful while adding extra sugar as the condensed milk is extremely sweet. Ma didn’t use.
- Cardamom Powder: 1 sp.
- Ghee ( Indian Clarified Butter) : 1 ½ tsp.
- Cashew nuts: Handful.
- Saffron Strand : A few.
- Bay Leaves:2-3 nos.
- Soak the rice in 2 cups of water for 15-20 minutes. Drain the water properly then.
- Take a heavy bottomed vessel. Heat half of the ghee and slightly fry the cashew nuts first. Take them out and keep separately.
- In the same vessel add the rice first and stir fry it very slightly on low flame for 2-3 minutes. Take the rice out of it and keep separately.
- Now heat the rest of the ghee and add the milk. Let it boil on a very low flame until it become little thick. I want to mention here that for boiling milk I always like to use non-stick vessel else you need to be very careful so that the milk can’t be burnt.
- Now add the bay leaves and the rice into it. Increase the temperature little and cook until the rice is boiled properly. But be careful so that rice can’t be overcooked.
- Now add the condensed milk and let it boil again. Cook till your desired consistency. Then add the cashew nuts, cardamom powders and mix well. Check the sweetness. As I like lightly sweetened payesh Ma didn’t add more sugar into it. But if you want you may add little more sugar or jiggery into it.
- Turn off the flame. Your rice kheer is ready now. Sprinkle the saffron strands on it. Serve hot or chilled garnishing with more dry fruits of your choice and fresh rose petals.
- Enjoy the blissful dessert.
Copyright Ranna Bati