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Monday, October 29, 2012


Everyone has a way of making their favorite comfort food. The festival season makes me nostalgic and makes me crave home-made sweets and khichudi bhog that are offered to Gods.

This version can be made onion-free (onion-garlic is considered non-veg in Bengali culture- don't ask me why).
1. Measure 1 cup rice, 1/2 cup moong dal and 1/2 cup masoor dal (this ratio works well for me). Rinse well and pressure cook with salt and turmeric. (If you prefer, you can dry roast the moong first. I prefer it watery- so no issues if you don't want to do that. But if you prefer dry khichudi, you might want to roast it first.)
2. In a wok, heat oil and add jeera (cumin seeds), diced onions, Bay leaves, cardamom, a cinnamon stick, slit green chilis, and grated ginger. Fry lightly - add to the boiled rice-dal mix. You can shallow fry potatoes and cauliflower florets and add as well. Or mixed veggies like peas, tomatoes, carrots etc. For Palak khichudi- it is a good idea to fry the spinach and garlic separately before adding them.
3. Usually it fares well with Bengali mixed vegetables, cabbage curry or/and fritters.

Beet gajor aloo matar checki
This is my new favorite way to eat beets. Cut the vegetables (beets, carrots, potatoes) into sticks. Saute with nigella seeds (kalo jeere, kalonji), salt and turmeric. Add slit green chilies. Eat with roti or rice. Good for stuffing sandwiches too.

Another version of khichudi is pressuring cooking vegetables with rice and lentils. We dubbed it 'lopsi' and was a winter favorite as a kid. You may used potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, peas, carrots, radish, 1 tsp of mustard, whole green chilies and quartered onions with salt and turmeric. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Chirer polao or aloo poha is a favorite for breakfast in winter. And surprisingly easy to make too.
  1. Wash the poha (flattened rice) in cold water and drain in a colander.
  2. Finely chop onions, green chilis. Julienne/matchstick ginger if you prefer to add them.
  3.  Dice potatoes, cauliflower in small bits.  (You might want to add a little salt here)
  4. In a wok, heat vegetable oil and add mustard seeds, onions, then potatoes, cauliflower, frozen green peas. Stir.
  5. When the veggies are about done, add curry leaves, green chilis, ginger, dry roasted peanuts. (you can use your favorite snacking peanuts too.)
  6. Add the moist poha (you can add salt and a tsp sugar uniformly before you add it to the wok), stir well and serve warm.
I always try to think what I can have for breakfast- I had almost forgotten how good a well toasted bread tastes in warm milk. Yum.

Mackerel in chive butter

  1. Clean the fish, gut it out it needed. Thaw in cold water if frozen. 
  2. Score the fish with a sharp knife and rub chive butter (chopped chives in butter melted in microwave for a minute or so), garlic salt, Italian herbs, wine, olive oil, freshly squeezed lime, pepper, cumin and coriander powder.
  3. Bake in baking tray covered with a perforated Al foil for 20 mins and uncovered for another 20 mins or until done. 
Enjoy with wild rice risotto.

Poached pear
Recipe link 1
Alternately, I made the poaching liquid with wine, water, cloves, cinnamon sticks and brown sugar. Peeled a whole pear and poached it for 20 mins. Served it with chocolate sauce.

Another pear dessert: Honey-roasted pear