Saturday, August 25, 2012

Potol Dolma - A delicious bengali recipe

My ma could do magic with Potol, which we know as Parwal in Hindi and, I guess Pointed gourd if you care to know, in English.  Coming back to the topic of magic, Ma made some amazing dishes with Potol ... patla potole'r jhol (simple gravvy) with nothing but kalo jeera (onion seeds) and green chillies to a spicier version of potole'r jhaal. Potol Dolma or Stuffed Potol  is special, since it is slightly more elaborate, it is usually made as a special dish when guests are at home.

Here, I have not found good quality Potol ... but, I have a distinct memory of the vegetable and all rmagic that can be done with it. Try this and, you will keep licking your fingers... 

For the Dolma
1. Whole Potol/Parwal (1 pound)
2. Stuffing - choose any paneer or cheese, boiled fish meat, cooked minced meat, coconut/onion/nuts mix (about 1/2 pound)
3.   Red Chilli powder (pinch, to taste)
4. Oil for deep frying
5. Salt to taste

For the Curry 
1. Onions (1-2)
2. Ginger (1" piece)
3. Jeera Powder (1 tsp)
4. Dhania Powder (1 tsp)
5. Turmeric Powder (1 tsp)
6. Red Chilli Powder (1/2 tsp)
7. Garam Masala (1/2 tsp)
8. Bay Leaves (1)
9. Salt to taste
10. Ghee (1 teaspoon)
11. Oil (2 tbsp)

Make the Dolma first
As you can see in the ingredients, the stuffing for dolma can be either vegetarian mix or non-vegetarian.   The common choices are minced panner, or coconut/onion/nuts mix for vegetarian stuffing, and minced meat or boiled fish for non-vegetarian. First prepare the potol by lightly scrapping the skin, and cutting thin circles off the two edges. From one of the ends, start scooping the seeds out. Use your own tool, but, dont hesitate to use a hair pin as well ... try keeping the potol intact. Now, insert the stuffing in each potol, and seal the end with some flour paste. Deep fry the potols and keep them aside to be put in the gravvy/curry. 

Preparing the Curry
Make a paste of onion and ginger. In the oil, add Bay leaf. Next mix the ginger onion paste, with turmeric and chilli powder, and add to the oil. Keep sprinkling water, so the spices are fried, but, do not stick to the pan. Next add the other spices and keep frying on low heat. Add 1/2 cup of warm water and let it simmer. After 5 minutes, once the water gets to a boil, lower the heat and add the potol dolmas. The oil will rise, as the gravvy thickens. Just before putting the heat off, add garam masal and a tea spoon of ghee for aroma. 

Serve with plain white rice. And, enjoy!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Spicy Okra - Bhindi Masala

Though, a fan of simple food with minimum spices, sometimes I do enjoy rich versions of food. For example, making Okra in its simplest form does not need more than 2-3 ingredients and 5 minutes of effort. But, Okra can be made very spicy and tastes just as good. I had this Okra Masala at a restaurant in San Francisco [Naan and Curry] and liked it a lot. A little bit of digging and experimenting, got me closer to the taste there. This recipe can be made when you are entertaining people and a simple vegetable as Okra can become a fun side. Try this out!

1. Okra - [about 3/4 pounds]
2. Onions - 2 medium
3. Tomatoes - 2 medium
4. Grated Ginger - 1 tsp
5. Pounded Garlic - 1 tsp
6. Green Chillies - 4 to 5 [or per taste]
7. Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
8. Chilly Powder - 1 tsp
9. Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
10. Garam Masala Powder - 1 tsp
11. Clove Pods - 3-4
12. Cardamom - 1"
13. Bay leaf - 1-2
14. Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
15. Oil for frying and cooking
16. Salt - per taste
17. Kasoori Methi

1. Wash the okra when whole and pat dry, before cutting. Cut in small horizontal rings
2. Let the okra dry some more, till any wisp of water is dried. Fry the okra pieces in hot oil and keep aside
3. In the same oil, add the clove, cardamom, bay leaf and cumin seeds
4. When the cumin starts to splutter, add ginger-garlic. Stir till they just start turning yellow
5. Add finely cut onions to the oil and stir well, till it is golden brown
6. Add all the ground powder from 7 to 10 and Kasoori Methi. Mix well and stir continously, till the spices are done
7. Add the tomatoes (pureed) and cook for some more time.
8. Add green chillies and the Okra and mix well to the curry
9. Cover and cook for another 5 minutes
10. It will be done, when there is a smooth consistency with okra and curry

This tastes very good with hot Chapatis. Enjoy!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Light Fish Curry [Just Fish -2]

This is in continuation of my previous post. Where as the previous fish had a thick consistency, this one is more liquid. But, both retain the flavor of fish and are made with very little spices. This also is a very typical Bengali preparation.

1. Fish [I used smelts] - 12-14
2. Vegetables [any or more of Potatoes, Parval (see the image), egg plant] - 1/2 bowl
3. Kalonji or Paanch Phoron - 1 tsp
4. Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
5. Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
6. Cummin Powder - 1/2 tsp
7. Red Chilly powder (optional) - 1/2 tsp
8. Green Chillies (slit in half) - 6-8
9. Oil - 2 tbs
10. Salt - to taste

1. Wash and cut the vegetables in long vertical cuts
2. Rub fish with some turmeric and salt and lightly fry them in oil. Take them aside, when done
3. In a wok, pour some more oil, if required. Add the Panch phoron or just Kalonji in hot oil. When they start to splutter, add the green chillies.
4. Mix the spice powders (4, 5, and 6) with very little water and add to the oil. Stir nicely and add few drops of water, if required and to keep the spices from getting burnt.
5. Add the vegetables and mix with the spice. Pour 1/2 cup of water, cover and cook the vegetables.
6. Once, the vegetables are done add the fish, salt and mix well. Pour some more water. The level of water at this point should completely cover the fish. Add few more slit green chillies, for flavor.
7. Cover and cook. After 4-5 minutes, or when the water level has reduced to just about half, the curry is done.

Garnish with coriander. Serve hot with plain steamed rice. I bet, you will not forget this simple and flavorful fish curry. Even after you have have exceeded your appetite, you will not feel heavy, as the fish curry is so light!

Steamed Fish in Mustard Sauce [Just Fish - 1]

There are some fish, specially the fresh ones that taste best with very less spices. This and the next recipe is made in such a way that the flavor of the fish is retained and not lost in several spices.

Both the fish recipes are made in typical Bengali style and one would prefer making (and eating) it this way, when fish is what you eat daily, I mean - almost!

Mustard Paste - 1 tbs
Fish - 4 -6 pieces
Green Chillies - 5-6 [or per taste]
Mustard Oil - 2-3 tspn [any other oil is fine]
Salt - to taste

1. Grind Mustard (use paste, if available) with the green chillies and little water to make a smooth paste. The quantity of green chillies will depend on how hot you can eat.

2. In a bowl take the fish pieces, add the mustard green chillies paste, salt and the mustard oil and mix very nicely. If required, add some more oil and 1/4 cup of water. Let it rest for 15-30 minutes. [I usually am short of time, and cook instantly]

3. If cooking in Microwave:
Take a deep microwave bowl filled 3/4th with water. Tightly cover the other (smaller) bowl with fish mixture in the container filled with water, cover and steam in Microwave for 10 minutes.
4. If cooking in Gas (oven): Place the covered bowl with fish in a steamer, filled with water. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes.

Alternative, the fish can be cooked, with rice pot. Once done, the fish will be soft and succulent and the flavor will be so good, that you can eat the rice just with the flavor! Really :)

There will not be too much gravy - put the piece of fish with mustard sauce, on a plate of rice and serve. Enjoy!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Cantaloupe Strawberry Shake

These days I am eating healthy or let's say, trying to eat healthy. So, today my hands were trying to reach the choco-chips ice-cream in my freezer. But, my conscious took me elsewhere and I, instead, picked strawberries and cantaloupe from my refrigerator. What then turned out was an instant concoction of flavor and color - a cool drink, that is healthy and delicious.
Cantaloupe - 1 cup [Diced]
Strawberry - 1 cup [hulled]
Milk - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 3-4 tsp
Ice, Cream [optional]

1. Blend all the ingredients in a mixer into a fine smoothie
2. In a tall glass, add some ice, pour the shake and top with some cream
[Hulled Strawberry - with a knife make a round cut around the top of the strawberry and pull it up - the green leaves, along with the center white stem will come out. ]
Enjoy this healthy and cool drink on a summer evening!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Fish Chop [Fish Cutlet]

One of the most interesting recipes of fish is the fish chop or fish cutlet. There are several variations of the same, and they all have their own contribution to the taste. However, I like the fish chop with minimal ingredient so that the flavor of fish does not get lost.

1. Boneless Fish Pieces [4-5 small pieces]
2. Boiled Potatoes - 2 Medium Potatoes
3. Chopped Onion - 1/4 of a large onion
4. Chopped Green Chillies - 8 to 10
5. Chilly Powder - 1/2 tsp
6. Ginger Powder - 1/2 tsp [optional]
7. Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
8. Egg - 1
9. Corn Flour + Semolina / Bread Crumbs
8. Salt - to taste
1. Boil the fish pieces in salt water, until they are tender
2. Mash the potatoes and the fish
3. Mix the remaining ingredients such that they form one big ball of mix
4. Take small dollops and roll them into smooth cylinders, or any desired shape
5. Roll them into beaten egg and cover with either corn flour / semolina powder mix or bread crumbs
6. Deep fry on low heat for 2-3 minutes and then on high heat
Garnish with onions and fresh coriander leaves and enjoy with spicy chutney. This can be served as a snack or a side with fried rice or pulao. Enjoy!!!

Fish - North Indian style

I am so used to cooking Fish the Bengali style that I find it difficult to experiment much with fish recipes. However, I realize that Bengali style fish tastes best with Rice. Since, Shekhar prefers roti over rice, I often am in dilemma as to how should I cook Fish. This recipe is an attempt to make it such that it would taste very nice even with Roti. It is quite different from the typical Bengali way but, I am very happy with my experimentation and the final result.

Ingredients - Ground Paste
1. Few cloves of Garlic (approximately 7-8 large cloves), peeled
2. 3 inch fresh ginger, peeled
3. Cumin powder - 1 tsp
4. Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
5. Mustard seeds, ground - 1/2 tsp
6. Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
7. Salt, to taste
8. Water - enough to make the paste

Ingredients - Curry
1. Fish Fillet [I used approx 500 gms Cat Fish, carp or any other solid fish is fine]
2. Vegetable oil
3. Fenugreek Seeds - 1/2 tsp
4. Tomatoes, puréed - 2
5. Turmeric Powder - 1 tsp
6. Red chilly powder - 1tsp or to taste
7. Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
8. Fresh coriander stalks and leaves, roughly chopped
9. Water for the gravy

Simple :)
1. Make a paste with all ingredients specified for the ground paste. Keep aside
2. Shallow fry the fish pieces, coated lightly with turmeric and salt [optional, I like the fish light fried in the curry]. Keep aside
3. In a wok, heat some oil. Add the Fenugreek (methi) seeds
4. When they start to leave an aroma, and start turning brown, add the ground paste
5. Stir till the paste leaves oil [approximately 3 minutes]. Add a little water, if required
6. Add the Tomatoes, turmeric powder, chilly powder and garam masala and salt
7. Stir well till the tomatoes are soft and mix well with the spices
8. Add the fish pieces and cover them with the spices - let the spices immerse in the fish pieces
9. Add water to make a gravy of desired consistency, cover and simmer the fish in low heat for about 5 minutes.
10. That's It!!!
The curry leaves a very nice aroma and for those who do not quite like the smell of fish, while it is cooked or later, will find this recipe perfect. Enjoy with Rice or Roti - it tastes equally well with both!