Friday, 28 June 2013

Bengali Cholar guaranteed at first bite!!

Bengali Cholar DalI never liked the Bengali version of Chana Dalnot enough ‘oomph’till I had my mother in law’s versiontry it, love guaranteed at first bite!!! J

Cholar Dal  (Bengali Chana dal)


  • Chana Dal/Split Bengal gram, 1 cup 
  • Water, 3 cups + 1 tbsp + ½ cup if needed
  • Turmeric, ½ tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Fresh Ginger, paste,1 heaped tsp 
  • Mustard oil, 2-3 tbsp (you can use any oil or ghee as well)
  • Bay leaf, 1
  • Whole dry red chilies, 1-2
  • Cloves,3
  • Cinnamon,1” stick
  • Green cardamom, 2
  • Garlic cloves, finely chopped, 4-5
  • Tomatoes, finely chopped, 2 large
  • Cumin powder, ½ tsp
  • Coriander powder, 1 tsp
  • Red chili powder, ½ tsp
  • Sugar, ½ to 1 tsp to taste
  • Fresh Coconut, only white portion, cut into very thin long pieces( optional, I normally skip it)
  • Ghee, 1-2 tsp 
  • Bengali garam masala powder, ¼ tsp ( equal quantity of cloves, cinnamon, cardamom)


Wash and soak the dal for about half an hour.

Drain and pressure cook/in a pan with water, turmeric, salt and ginger paste. (if pressure cook – one whistle on high, and then 10 minutes on low). Dal should be cooked and soft but not go completely mushy.

Mix cumin powder, coriander powder and red chili powder with a tablespoon of water and keep aside.

Smoke mustard oil in a pan, lower the flame and fry the coconut pieces till light golden. Take them out and keep aside.

In the same oil and still on low flame, add bay leaf, red chilies, cardamoms, cloves and cinnamon. After about 10-15 seconds, add garlic and fry well.

Add the chopped tomatoes. Once tomatoes go a little mushy, add the spice mix mixed with water kept aside earlier.
Let the tomatoes cook till absolutely mushy and oil separates.

Pour this mixture into the dal along with the sugar. Dal needs to boil again with the tomato mix - add about half cup water at this stage, if needed.

Let it come to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes till it reaches a thick consistency.

Add in the ghee and garam masala powder just before taking off the heat.

Garnish with fried coconut pieces and serve with luchi/puri, parantha or pulao.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Flax Seed Chutney...end of one of the dramas!!

Flax Seed Chutney PowderI have a seed hater at home!! And a healthy fad food hater as wellany attempts to feed him anything even remotely healthy results in long long long argumentsso when I bought flax seeds and started adding them (whether whole roasted or ground) to various things, you cannot even imagine the ruckusand I eventually gave uptill while cleaning up I discovered an unused packet of flax seedsdidn’t have the patience to go through the drama all over again so went on the net to see if I could find something which I could try...found a lot of chutney powder recipes using flax seeds but all of them had coconut in it (he is not a fan of coconut either) and then Saada Punjabi Puttar Chef Sanjeev Kapoor came to my rescuethis is his recipe with a couple of changescame out absolutely fab and ‘you know who’ is loving it as well

Flax Seed Chutney Powder mmskitchenbites

Flax Seed Chutney Powder


  • Flax seeds, 1/4 cup
  • White Sesame seeds, 2 tbsp
  • Garlic pods, 15-20
  • Dried red chilies, 4-5
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil, 1 tsp 


In a pan, on low flame dry roast flax seeds till the seeds start spluttering and you get the aroma. Keep aside.
Dry roast sesame seeds till they change colour and keep aside.
Add ½ tsp oil to the pan and roast the red chilies till they puff up and colour changes to almost black. Keep aside.
Add the balance ½ tsp oil and add garlic pods. Sauté till they go golden brown. Keep aside.
Once everything is cool, put in a blender/mixie jar along with salt and grind to a coarse powder.
You can store it in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.


  • Make small quantities that you know will be consumed within a week.
  • Helps with increasing good Cholesterol but don’t go overboard with this – control and no more than 1-2 tbsp a day!

Flax Seed Chutney Podi mmskitchenbites

Monday, 24 June 2013

Enoki Mushroom Salad...with the meal and not instead!!

Enoki Mushroom Salada Korean inspired salad which I especially like since no one is expected to swap their meal (read carbs and proteins) and just munch of this is meant to be served as a small portion as an accompaniment to your mealserve it cold or at room temperaturewith grilled meat/chicken/fish/or even Indian Cottage Cheese or with rice

Korean Enoki Mushroom Salad mmskitchenbites

Enoki Mushroom Salad


  • Enoki Mushrooms
  • Red Bell pepper
  • Yellow Bell pepper
  • English Cucumber

For the Dressing:

(amount is given for proportion; adjust to taste and quantity)
  • Light Soy Sauce, 1 ½ tbsp
  • Vinegar, 1 tbsp
  • Sugar, ½ tbsp
  • Sesame oil, ½ tsp


Use your own proportions for the veggies, as much or as little as you want.

Chop off the ends of Enoki mushrooms and separate the strands. Rinse under cold water, strain and keep aside.

Remove the seeds and white membranes from the bell peppers and cut into julienne.

Peel, remove the seeds of the cucumbers and cut into julienne.

Combine the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and sugar in a small glass/ceramic bowl. 

To serve cold:

Mix all the veggies together in a glass/ceramic bowl; pour the dressing over the veggies. Mix well and refrigerate for an hour or so.
(We like it better served cold)

To serve at room temperature:

Blanch all the veggies in boiling water for about 30 seconds. Immediately rinse with ice cold water and drain well.

Put the veggies in a glass/ceramic bowl; pour the dressing over the veggies. Mix well and serve.


  • If you don’t have sesame oil or don’t like it, swap with any flavorless oil

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

No Bake Chocolate Tarts...another 10 minute lazy bone version!!

No Bake Chocolate TartsI had got this recipe from Good Housekeeping magazine issue that I had bought at the airportlove love itso will you J


No Bake Chocolate Tarts


  • Single/Light cream, 180 ml (I used Amul)
  • Sugar, 25-30 gms
  • Semisweet chocolate chips, 180 gms
  • Unsweetened chocolate chips, 60 gms
  • Vanilla extract, 1 tsp
  • Ready to use tarts, graham cracker base, chocolate cookie tart/pie crust 
  • Chocolate shavings, for garnish

Garnishes to serve:

  • Chocolate chips
  • Chocolate shavings
  • Chocolate shavings + Whipped Cream


Add cream and sugar in a microwave safe bowl. Heat the mix in the microwave oven on high for a 1 -1 ½ minutes till cream is just about to simmer. (Time will depend on your microwave, keep a watch).

Add the chocolate chips and vanilla essence to the cream. Stir lightly still the chocolate chips melt and are mixed in with the cream. Let it cool slightly.

Fill the tarts with the chocolate cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least couple of hours.

Serve with the garnish of your choice.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Cottage Cheese Fried Rice...Hungry Kya??

Quick tossed Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese) Fried Rice for one those “Hungry Kya?” moments or combine with Tomato soup for a light no fuss meal

Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese) Fried Rice


  • Paneer/Indian Cottage Cheese, about 200 gms
  • Cooked Rice, about 2 cups
  • Garlic cloves, finely chopped, 2-3
  • Onion, finely chopped, 1 medium size
  • Bell peppers, finely chopped, ½ each of Red, Yellow and Green
  • Dried Oregano, 1 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Red Chili powder, ½ tsp or to taste
  • Cumin powder, ½ tsp
  • Jalapeno or regular Green chili, finely chopped, 1 (optional) 
  • Oil, 1tbsp + 1tbsp


Cut Paneer into cubes and soak in salted water for about 10-15 minutes. Drain well and keep aside.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan. Toss in the garlic, onions and sauté till onions go soft. 

Add in the bell peppers, salt, chili powder, cumin, oregano and green chili (if using). 

Sauté for a couple of minutes and add in the rice.  Mix well and keep tossing around for a couple of more minutes. Adjust seasoning, empty out the rice in a bowl and keep side.

Heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil in the same pan. Add the paneer cubes in single flat pile in the pan – be careful, oil will splutter the second you add the paneer. 

On high heat, shallow fry the paneer on both sides till crispy and golden brown. This needs to be done quickly so that paneer doesn’t lose too much water and become dry.

Add the rice back in and mix well. Done.


  • Hate Paneer/Indian Cottage cheese or can’t find it? Add in grated cheddar cheese instead for a completely different option.
  • Want a healthier option than Cheddar cheese or an extra helping of protein? add in tinned/boiled beans of your choice.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Summer Pasta Salad...Carb addict!!

My Summer Pasta Saladdifferent people have different addictionsmine is carbs (among a few others, but let’s not get into that now!!)I can’t survive without carbsI just cannot...I have tried and failed miserably each timemy salad meals need to have either bread or pasta or rice in themthis is one such meal

Light Pasta Salad with Vinaigrette mmskitchenbites

Summer Pasta Salad


  • Shell shaped or Wagon wheel Pasta
  • Tomatoes
  • Spring onions
  • Bell peppers, Red, Yellow and Green
  • Sweet Corn, boiled
  • Green or Black Olives (optional)


(Specifying measurements to give an idea of proportion, adjust to taste and quantity) 
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 4 tbsp
  • Balsamic Vinegar, 1 tbsp
  • Lemon Juice, 1 tbsp
  • Fresh Basil, chopped, 4 tbsp
  • Fresh Garlic, crushed, 1
  • Italian seasoning, ¾ tsp
  • Parmesan cheese, 3 tbsp
  • Sugar, ¼ tsp (if for dietary requirements you can’t use sugar add honey instead)
  • Red chili flakes, ¼ tsp
  • Crushed Black pepper, ¼ tsp
  • Salt, to taste


Boil the pasta, drain and cool.

Wash and chop the veggies of your choice into bite size pieces

Mix all the ingredients from dressing in a small bowl and whisk until well blended.

Pour the dressing over the pasta and toss

Add the veggies and toss again.

Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Serve cold.


  • You can add bite size pieces of Mozzarella cheese or cooked chicken as well.
  • If you want to add salad leaves, add them at the time of serving.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Potoler Dolma/Stuffed Pointed gourd...make it Non-Veg or Veg

Potoler DolmaStuffed Pointed Gourd, Bong ishtyle!!...sooooo, I had promised myself 5 recipes for Bong week and posted 6!! and just when I thought I was done I realized I couldn't go out on a 'chilkha' recipe!!...the plating and lighting almost didn't make this one happen (finished cooking this at 6:30 p.m and then rushed to make the ‘daylight’)but that won't stop me!! And now, we can officially close this week

Bengali Stuffed Parmal mmskitchenbites

Potoler Dolma (Stuffed Pointed Gourd)


  • Potol/Parwal/Pointed Gourd, 12
  • Oil, ¾ cup

For the stuffing:
  • For Non-Veg option: Mutton Keema/Minced Meat or Rohu Fish or Small prawns, 500 gms
  • For Veg option: Potatoes or Indian Cottage Cheese or a mix of both
  • Onions, finely sliced, 350gms
  • Fresh Ginger, paste, 1 tsp for the fish/prawn, 2 tsp for mutton
  • Fresh garlic cloves, 3-4
  • Red chili powder, 2 tsp or to taste
  • Green chilies, finely chopped, 2
  • Turmeric powder, 1 tsp
  • Bengali Garam masala powder, ¾ tsp (refer to notes)
  • Salt, to taste

For the gravy:
  • Onion, paste, 5 heaped tbsp
  • Bayleaves, 2
  • Ginger paste, ½ tsp
  • Red chili powder, ¾ tsp or to taste
  • Turmeric powder, ½ tsp
  • Bengali Garam masala powder, ¾ tsp
  • Salt, to taste


Wash and clean the potols. Very lightly scrape the potols if you want or can use as is. Cut off the tips from both ends.  Scoop out the seeds from one end without breaking/damaging the other end - I use the handle of a teaspoon to do this. (Don’t discard the seeds, refer to notes).

Rub a little salt on the inside and outside of the potols and keep them aside for 10 minutes.

Heat half of the oil in a kadhai/wok and fry the potols till they turn light brown (add some more oil if needed). Drain well and keep aside to cool.

For the stuffing:

In the same oil that you fried the potols in, fry the sliced onions and garlic till golden brown. Add turmeric, ginger, red chili powder, green chilies and a little salt. Add in the main stuffing ingredient: 
  • If using fish – boil and debone it first. Mix well with above masala, cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • If using prawns –Mix well with above masala, cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • If using mutton keema/minced meat – cook on low heat till completely cooked and soft
  • If using potatoes – boil and mash it first
  • If using cottage cheese – crumble it first

After the gravy dries up, add the garam masala. Mix well and keep aside to cool

Once it cools down, fill the scooped out and fried potols with the stuffing – till the edge and packed tightly.

For the gravy:

Heat up the remaining oil in a kadhai/wok. 

Add in the bay leaves, onion paste and ginger paste. Fry very well, add red chili powder and turmeric. Mix and sauté for a couple of minutes. 

Add water and let it come to a boil. 

After a couple of minutes, add in the stuffed potols and let it all simmer on low heat till gravy thickens. 

Add garam masala powder, stir and remove from heat.

Arrange potols on a serving plate and pour the gravy on top.

Serve with plain boiled rice or pulao.



  • If you want, you can serve the fried stuffed potols without cooking in the gravy as well or even batter fry them.
  • Bengali Garam Masala recipe: equally quantities cloves, cinnamon and cardamom – either sun them for a few hours or dry roast them lightly and then grind into a fine powder
  • The scooped out seeds can be ground and added back into the stuffing or just stir fry with spices of your choice – which is how we eat themyum yum yum!!!
  • In the cottage cheese version, you add in a handful of raisins and sugar as well
  • There is another stuffing version using coconut for filling but I have no clue how to go about that one!!

Bengali Potoler Dolma

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Lau er Khosha Bhaja/Dry veggie dish of Bottle Gourd Peels...Thanks MD :-)

Lau er Khosha Bhaja (Sautéed Bottle Gourd Peels)pending from yesterday as mentioned in Lau Ghonto postI got this recipe from my friend MD and adapted it a bitThank you MD (this has become a favorite with my parents as well)

Lau er Khosha Bhaja (Sautéed Bottle Gourd Peels)


  • Lau/Lauki/Ghiya/Bottle Gourd peels, from one bottle gourd
  • Onions, finely sliced, 1 medium *refer to notes
  • Kalo jeera/Kalonji/Nigella seeds, 1/8 tsp
  • Green Chilies, Slit, 2
  • Posto/Khus Khus/ White Poppy Seeds, 1 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sugar, a pinch
  • Oil, 1 ½ tsp


Wash and rub the skin of bottle gourd to clean properly before peeling. (I use a vinegar water wash in 1: 3 ratio) .  As I mentioned in the post of Lau Ghonto, the peel needs to be slightly thick. Chop the peels finely into thin long strips.

Heat oil in a kadhai/wok. Add nigella seeds and one green chili. 

Add the onions after about 10-15 seconds and sauté till soft. Add the lau peels, salt, sugar and mix well. 

Add in the posto, cover the pan and let it cook on low flame for 5-6 minutes till the peels turn soft. Do stir at frequent intervals. 

Once done, add in the remaining 1 green chili, mix and take it off the heat. Done!


  • As far as I know, onions are never added to this preparation – I added as I didn’t have enough peels this time round. And now will be regular feature when I make this J
  • Normally the peels are boiled first but since the lau that I used was quite fresh, I didn’t think I needed to. The peels change the colour to slightly dirty green on boiling so from on am not going to boil the peels.
  • Taste good with tempering of mustard seeds, curry leaves and whole dried red chilies as well.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Lau Ghonto…skeptic turned believer!!!

Lau Ghonto (Bottle Gourd cooked with Mung Dal)another one of my mother in law's recipe...I was super skeptical the first time I saw her making thisshe was sure I wouldn’t eat it and so was I Jthen,  one bite and I was hooked...ok, so I think I have cribbed often enough that I was (am) not too fond of veggies...except a fewgive me ghiya, tori, tinda (squashes) and I will  gobble them merrily without any complaintsBut, this being made without any spices or onions, garlic and tomatoes had me worriedsuper worriedbut like I said, my first bite and I was hooked

Lau Ghonto (Bottle Gourd cooked with Mung Dal)


  • Lau/Lauki/Ghiya/Bottle Gourd, 500 gms
  • Sona Mung Dal/Mung Dhuli Dal/Split Skinless Mung, ½ cup (yellow dal in the below picture)
  • Ghee, 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds, ½ tsp
  • Dried red chilies, whole 1-2
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sugar, ½ tsp or to taste


Heat a kadhai/wok on medium low heat and stirring frequently dry roast the mung dal, till it changes colour to golden brown. 

Take it off heat and let it cool. 

Wash in cold water, drain very well and spread it out on a plate to dry a bit.

Peel and cut lau into thin short pieces. (Peel off slightly thicker peels and save them for the next recipe coming up)

In a kadhai/wok, put chopped lau and roasted dal. Cover with a lid and place the kadhai on low heat. The lau will release enough water while cooking and the dal will cook in that water. 

Check and stir once or twice – stir lightly so that the lau pieces or dal doesn’t break. Add salt and sugar.  

Mix well but lightly and let it cook further – dal needs to cook completely without losing its shape and water needs to dry out completely.

Heat ghee separately in a small pan. Add cumin seeds and the dried red chili  to the oil. Once the seeds start spluttering, switch off the heat and add this tempering to the lau. 

Mix well, check seasoning and add coriander leaves.


  • Normally if the lau is fresh you wouldn’t need to add additional water and both dal and lau get cooked in the water released from the lau. So check while stirring and sprinkle a little water only if necessary.
  • Since there are no spices in this, pls. ensure the seasoning is just perfect.
  • For my lau hating husband I add more dal than is normally put in this – in the above picture have used ½ cup dal, in the below picture 1 cup dal…normally one would not add more than ¼ cup dal for 500 gms of lau. So adjust based on whether or not you are lau loving or lau hating person!!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Daler Bora/Red Lentil fritters...quick and hassle free

Daler BoraRed Lentil frittersour evening snack yesterday…traditionally deep fried...however my friend N had once told me that she made vadas and pakoras in Paniyaram pan/ Appapatram as known in India or the Dutch Poffertjes Pan/ Danish Æbleskive pan as known elsewhereso I had promptly gone ahead and bought one...bought the one with non stick coating as the cast iron one was not available...have been using it ever since to replace some of the deep frying cooking and it works like a charmnot as crisp as deep frying but avoids all the hassle of deep fryingand in fraction of the oilthe only thing you need to take care of is to cook at low flame to ensure the insides get cooked properly

Daler Bora (Red Lentil fritters)


  • Dhuli Masoor Dal/ Red Lentils, ½ cup
  • Fresh Ginger, 1” piece
  • Green chilies, 3-4 or to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Onion, finely chopped, 1
  • Coriander leaves, chopped, a handful
  • Oil, according to your cooking method of choice


Wash the dal till water runs clear. Soak in water for about an hour.

Take the soaked dal (now puffed up after soaking) and grind it into a paste in the grinder/blender with ginger, salt and half of the green chilies. 
Try not to use water while grinding – it needs to be thick paste with slightly coarse texture.

Empty out the contents from the blender into a bowl. Mix in the chopped onions, coriander leaves and remaining green chilies. Lightly whisk the dal paste with a fork for 5-10 minutes.

If using Paniyaram pan:

Heat the pan on low heat and add about 1/4 teaspoon of oil in each indent. (if using cast iron pan, you would need to add about a tsp of oil in each indent for the first round).

When the oil heats up, add a spoonful of the paste into each indent.

You would know it is time to time to flip them over, once the boras start pulling away from the side.

Add a few drops of oil on the sides of each one and with the help of a skewer or back of a spoon flip over the boras and cook till the other side is also crisp brown.

Serve hot with meal or as snacks.

If deep frying: 

Heat enough oil in a kadhai/wok/frying pan for deep frying. 

Gently drop spoonfuls of batter into the wok and fry on medium low heat initially, to evenly cook the insides and then increase the heat to medium high towards the end, to crisp up the outsides. 

Remove from the wok using a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel before serving.


  • You can use Chana dal/Split Bengal gram also to make this or a mix of both the dals...the soaking time will increase to a  minimum 4-5 hours if using chana dal

P.S. does the photograph remind you of another post?? It is meant to J

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Bengali Masoor comfort food even for a 6% Bong!!!

Bengali Masoor dal (Bengali style Red lentils)...the main difference between the dals cooked the Punjabi way and dals cooked the Bengali way is the consistency – Punjabis like their dals thick and Bengalis like their dal more soupysince dal is a staple at home and is cooked almost every day, the more variations available the betterthis is a basic Bong style dal except its consistency (both of us prefer our dals thick)lunch today was this dal, aloo bhaja (fried potatoes) and fried Rohu fishtotal comfort food  even for a  6% Bong like me (1% for ever year that I have been married J)

Bengali Masoor dal (Bengali style Red lentils)


  • Dhuli Masoor Dal/ Red Lentils, 1 cup
  • Water, 3 cups plus more if needed ( 2 ½  cups for a thicker consistency like mine)
  • Ginger, finely grated,1 tsp
  • Garlic, finely chopped, 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder, ½ tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Green chili, slit, 1
  • Sugar, ½ tsp

For tempering:

  • Mustard Oil, 1 tbsp  (or Ghee or any oil of your choice)
  • Panch Phoron, ¾ tsp 
  • Dried Red Chilies, 1-2
  • Onion, finely chopped, 1 large

For garnishing:

  • Green chilies, slit, 1-2
  • Coriander leaves


Wash the dal till water runs clear. Soak in water for about 10-15 minutes. 

Cook the dal till done with 3 cups water, ginger, garlic, green chili, salt and turmeric (pressure cooker: 1 whistle on high heat and immediately switch off the gas; in the pan: about 20-25 minutes) 

Open the cooker, once the pressure lets off completely. Whisk the dal lightly using a wire whisk or back of a spoon.

Heat oil in another small pan and add
Panch Phoron, dried red chilies and fry till the seeds start spluttering. Add in the onions and sauté till they turn light brown

Once onions are done, tip in the tempering mix into the dal and immediately close the lid for the dal to absorb the flavors.

Put the dal back on the gas and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. Add in the sugar, mix and check for seasoning. Add in the green chilies and coriander leaves and take it off heat.

Serve hot with boiled rice and any veggie for your choice. (Ideally Aloo-Bhaja i.e. fried potatoes)


Innumerable variations, some of them are :
  • Add in the tomatoes to the tempering and cook till they are mushy
  • Replace mustard oil with Ghee or top up the dal with a tsp of ghee
  • Only use ginger and not garlic
  • Let the onions cook till they are almost burnt i.e. dark brown but not burnt