Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Chicken Chow Mein

Mum used to make the most awesome stir-fried noodles! Here is my version that is dedicated to her memory.

Stir-Fried Eggplant & Potatoes

Begun Alu Bhaja
This is a very quick and easy vegan dish that is one of my favourites because of the eggplant and potato combination. It's versatile and goes well with rice or Indian bread of any kind. Great for lunch because it's so light, it's also perfect as a side dish as part of a more elaborate meal.

Stir-Fried Green Beans with Onions, Tomatoes & Black Pepper

The crowning touch to these green beans is the freshly ground black pepper cooked along with the green beans and used as a garnish. The green beans need to be blanched (step 1) only if they are mature. The young and tender green beans cook up really easily as they simmer. Adding water is not necessary because the onions and tomatoes release enough moisture to cook the beans.

Garlicky Red Lentils

Lasunwali Masoor Dal
This was one of Mum's favourite ways of preparing red lentils. It tastes great garnished with diced tomatoes, green chilies and lots of cilantro.

Mango Fish

Mango Fish
This dish is to die for! In Rangoon (Burma/Myanmar) this was made with whole Topshe maach (Mango Fish). I used filleted fish pieces which is not the same at all! Mum used to make it with Topshe maach, potatoes and wedges of green mangoes. I've used dried mango pieces here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Asparagus & Shrimp in White Poppy Seed Sauce

Posto Bata Chingri & Asparagus
Shrimp and white poppy seed sauce go well with asparagus and a lot of other vegetables such as eggplants, potatoes, pumpkin, summer squash or sweet potatoes. Asparagus provides a crisp note when combined with shrimp in this dish. It also cooks very quickly which makes this so easy to prepare.

2 bundles asparagus, trimmed and cut in 1" pieces
1 lb. medium shrimp (35-40 count), shelled & deveined
1 Tbsp. ginger paste
2 + 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/4 tsp. nigella seeds (kalo jeera/kalonji)
4-5 green chillies
2 Tbsp. white poppy seeds, soaked in boiling water for half an hour
Salt to taste
1 tsp. mustard oil

1. Blend poppy seeds along with soaking water to a thick paste.

2. Heat 2 Tbsp. oil and stir-fry shrimp just until pink and set aside.
3. Heat remaining oil, fry green chilies until skins turn white, remove and set aside.
4. Sputter nigella seeds in oil in same pan.
5. Add asparagus pieces along with ginger paste and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
6. Stir in poppy seed paste along with shrimp and stir well.
7. Cover pan and simmer over low heat for 3 minutes until asparagus cooks.
8. Adjust salt to taste, return fried chilies to pan & garnish with mustard oil.

Serve on a bed of hot Basmati rice.

Shared this recipe on

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mung Dal with Tomatoes & Eggplant Flavored with Ginger

Mung Bean Lentils
Mung dal is quite often roasted before cooking, but it tastes very good without roasting. I try to add vegetables to any lentils I cook to increase my family's intake of vegetables. Today, I've added tomatoes and a diced Oriental eggplant to the lentils and flavored it very simply with ginger.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ground Chicken with Chickpeas & Potatoes

Keema Cholay
There are so many ways to prepare keema curry, but this one is really delicious because of the addition of Shan Pulao/Biryani mix, which is available in Indian grocery stores throughout the United States & Canada.

There's lots of texture in this main dish because of the ground chicken & chickpeas/garbanzo beans. Hubby requested this some weeks ago - it worked out so well!

Fish in White Poppy Seed & Mustard Sauce

Posto Bata Maach
Ground white poppy seed paste is combined with strained dark mustard seed paste and green chilies to make a delectable sauce in which fish pieces are simmered. Any white fish or small whole fish such as climbing perch (Bengali koi maach) and smelt are ideal for this dish. Fish and sauce spooned over freshly steamed Basmati rice makes a very satisfying meal. 

Cilantro or coriander leaves come in huge bunches at the market and inevitably, a large amount gets tossed because they spoil fast. I ground the remaining cilantro with tamarind paste and mustard oil, and that's what dots the tops of the fish pieces in the picture above.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Stir-Fried Spinach with Shrimp & Mustard Paste

Palang Shaak Shorshe Chingri
A popular condiment on the Bengali table is kasundi which is a mustard sauce that goes great with stir-fried spinach. Brown/red mustard seeds are ground to a fine paste, sometimes in combination with raw mangoes, and vinegar to make a sharp, fiery and tangy sauce. This sauce is served with greens or snacks and is unforgettable. The last time I bought a bottle in North America, it was most disappointing because the kasundi was made with acetic acid and burned my mouth. I threw the whole bottle away.

While stir-frying spinach the other day, I decided to try the next best thing. A package of salad shrimp mixed with mustard paste and added to the spinach at the last minute, gave me the desired and much-craved taste of kasundi with greens. This spinach dish was outstanding!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Minty Chicken Curry in Yogurt Sauce

Dadu's Ceylon Chicken Curry
Mum used to make this scrumptious recipe of Dadu’s (Grandfather). He was a
gourmet cook and loved International cuisine as much as Baangal (East Bengali) food. The combination of mint, cilantro and yogurt gives this chicken curry a very unique flavour.

Tahina Baingan - Stir-Fried Eggplant with Toasted Sesame Seed Paste

Baba Ghanoush and Baingan Bharta are some of my favourite eggplant dishes. Here I have combined the two and it tastes wonderful. The tahina or toasted sesame seed paste adds a creaminess and rich flavour to this dish. Tahina is apparently the same as tahini. The only difference I could see is that tahina is light brown in colour and tahini is white. I found the tahina in a Middle Eastern grocery store.

5 Mixed Vegetables with Crab Paste

Shukto with Crab Paste

The bitterness of the bitter melon is made more palatable with the addition of crab or shrimp paste. The cauliflower this time was really fresh and the outer leaves and stems were begging to be used, so I added them to this dish.