This blog is dedicated to Mum, my greatest mentor. It is a compilation of simple recipes - Bengali, Indian, Burmese and Continental, among others. All of these recipes have been tested in my kitchen. Most use everyday ingredients found at your local market, but some use specialty ingredients available at Asian and/or Indian markets. Comments are welcome and members are invited to send in any recipes they would like to share.
Japanese eggplant are my favourite because they are practically seedless. It's only recently that this type of eggplant is being stocked at our local supermarket. Hubby usually does our regular grocery shopping, but it's my pleasure to shop at the Asian markets. We have Indian, Bangladeshi, Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean markets within 5 miles of our home. Each market has something different and unique to offer foodies like me, like these Korean fried anchovies.
Korean Fried Anchovies
The anchovies are fried with chili powder and packed in oil. Stir-fried eggplant takes on a whole new flavour when they are cooked with anchovies. The dish could be cooked until dry and served with hot rice.
Dry Fried Eggplant & Anchovies
A slight twist was introduced today to add a cup of coconut milk to the pan just before removing from the heat. This left a little gravy that is always welcome when anything is eaten with rice.
This is another dish inspired by Mum. She would take a whole cabbage, remove the core and stuff it with spiced, seasoned and browned ground meat. The cabbage would then be bound with kitchen twine so it wouldn't fall apart and browned on top of the stove. From the frying pan, the bound cabbage would be transferred to the pressure cooker with a wee bit of water, brought up to full pressure and cooked over medium-low heat for about half an hour. The yummiest stuffed cabbage there ever was!
I deconstructed it and made a stir-fried, shredded cabbage with ground sausage meat. The longer the cabbage is cooked, the sweeter it tastes, so take the time to simmer and stir till the cabbage turns golden brown. Ingredients: 1 lb. ground hot Italian sausage meat 1 cup frozen peas 2 large onions, diced 8 cloves garlic, minced 2 Tbsp. ginger paste 1 large tomato, diced 3 green chilies, minced 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil 1 cinnamon stick 2 star anise 2 bay leaves 1/2 tsp. panch phoron (Bengali 5-spice) 1 tsp. roasted panch phoron powder 1 tsp. Kashmiri mirch/paprika 1/2 tsp. Bengali garam masala powder 1 tsp. ghee Directions:
Heat oil and sputter cinnamon stick, star anise, bay leaves and panch phoron.
Add hot sausage meat, break up the lumps and brown.
Toss onions into the pan along with minced garlic and ginger paste.
Stir-fry until onions turn translucent, add tomatoes and chilies, cover and simmer until tomatoes soften.
Add shredded cabbage to pan, season with salt & sugar to taste and stir well.
Sprinkle roasted panch phoron powder and Kashmiri mirch over the cabbage.
Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until all liquid evaporates and cabbage turns golden brown.
Pour peas into pan and stir again, sprinkle with garam masala and garnish with ghee.
Less than half a mile from our home, a tiny grocery store opened its doors a couple of years ago. It's stuck at the end of the strip mall and beckons passersby with its flashing lights strung around the perimeter of its windows. It has a magical name - Alladin Spices & Groceries. From the name it's a good guess that it's an Indian store - in particular, a Bangladeshi store. When it first opened, Prasun & I ventured in, but we weren't terribly impressed because it was cramped and dingy and they were still stocking their shelves. Besides, the products didn't look too interesting. No kasundi available, for example, so not truly a Bengali store.
Two years later, I needed to buy red lentils, also known as masuri dal. I was reluctant to travel 5 miles to Patel Bros. and decided to pick it up at Alladin. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the store appeared much bigger and brighter. The bag of lentils I needed was close enough to the entrance that I could have made a quick exit, but decided instead to give the store another look-over. Kasundi on the shelf (yay!) and even though I couldn't understand the lingo uttered by the stock boys, words like 'balti' and 'kumurehsah' makes me believe they were speaking chydgah, a dialect from Chittagong.The inventory was much more varied and as I walked around the back of the store, came across this gem.