Friday, 18 April 2014

Begun Pora/ Bengali Roasted Eggplant Mash ...only an only if you love mustard oil!!

Begun Pora (Bengali Roasted Eggplant Mash) the first time I had thisufff!!what a ruckus I had created..screaming…"kachha ?? kachha?? Nahinnn!!!!" ...and then, of course got hookedI still prefer the Punjabi Baingan Bharta more , which is ‘cooked’ the second time round as wellbut this one is a good option when you are feeling lazy – which you know by now, happens to me about 14 days a week!! J oh!! Wait, almost forgotyou HAVE to love mustard oil to enjoy thisif you don’t or have preconceived notions about using it (without even trying it), stay away!!

Bengali Roasted Eggplant Mash mmskitchenbites

Begun Pora (Bengali Roasted Eggplant)


  • Begun/Eggplant, 1 large (the fat round one) 
  • Onion, finely chopped, 1 medium 
  • Tomato, finely chopped, 1 medium
  • Green chilies, finely chopped, as much or as little you can handle 
  • Mustard Oil, 1 tsp + generous drizzle
  • Fresh Coriander leaves, coarsely chopped
  • Salt, to taste


Wash the eggplant and pat dry. Smear the skin with some salt and a teaspoon of mustard oil.

Roast the eggplant on an open gas flame till you have charred skin on all sides and it has sagged completely – you will have to keep on rotating the eggplant every few minutes. Or you could broil in the oven till charred –takes about 50 minutes to an hour depending on the size.

Let it cool completely and then discard the charred skin.

Mash the scooped out inside flesh well with a fork or with ‘clean’ hands.

Add in the chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, green chilies, coriander leaves, salt and mustard oil.

Mix well and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes.

Serve with hot rotis/chapattis. (I love mine spread on a hot toast) 

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Ghugni/Bengali Curried Yellow Peas Snack...and wishes for a Happy New Year!!

Ghugnithe famous Bengali snackthis is my versionminus the potatoesif you have been following the blog, you know how I feel about them...if you are new here, stick around and maybe you will get lucky enough to hear it one of these daysdo refer to the notes section below if you would like to add potatoes and a few other things including muttonif this version is to die for, the mutton version is to kill forand yes,  today is the Bengali New year so a “Shubho Noboborsho” to you all!! J

Ghugni (Bengali Curried Yellow Peas Snack)


  • Dry Matar/Vatana/Dried Whole Yellow Peas, 1cup
  • Ginger, paste/finely grated, 1 tsp
  • Turmeric, ¾ tsp
  • Salt, to taste

For tempering:

  • Bayleaf, 2
  • Cinnamon, 1 small stick
  • Green Cardamom, 2
  • Coves, 3
  • Onion, finely chopped, 1 large
  • Green chilies, finely chopped, 3-4
  • Ginger, paste/finely grated, 1 tsp
  • Cumin powder, 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder, 1 tsp
  • Red chili powder, ½ to 1 tsp
  • Oil, 2-3 tbsp

The 'Bhaja Moshla'/ the special roasted and ground masala:

  • Cumin seeds, 1 tbsp
  • Coriander seeds, 1 tbsp
  • Dried red chilies, 2-3

For serving:

  • Chopped Green chilies
  • Chopped Coriander leaves
  • Chopped Onions
  • Lime wedges
  • Tamarind Chutney


'Bhaja Moshla’: Dry roast all the spices separately. Cool and grind coarsely and preserve in an air tight container

Wash and soak peas overnight.

Boil/Pressure cook to soften with ginger, salt and turmeric. Cook till peas are tender but not over-cooked or smashed. Use just enough water to submerge the peas – you want barely about a ¼ cup of water left, once the peas are cooked.

Heat the oil in a large pan/skillet. Add bayleaf, green cardamoms, cinnamon and cloves. When they start spluttering, add in the chopped onion and green chilies. Fry for few minutes, till the onions get caramelized

Mix cumin powder, coriander powder and red chili powder. Add about a table spoon of water to the spice mix to make a thick paste.

Add ginger and spice paste to the onion mix. Cook on low flame till the raw smell of the ginger goes away and spices are cooked.

Add in the cooked peas with the water they were boiled in. Give a quick boil so that everything gets mixed together, most of the water evaporates and you are done.

Garnish with coriander leaves, chopped green chilies and Bhaja Mashala on top.

Serve with chopped onions, lemon wedges and tamarind chutney.


  • This one looks a little drier than then the other pictures you will see on the net. That is how hubz likes it; you can make it a little runnier if you want. He also cannot stand tamarind chutney with it, and like a good obedient wife that I am – I agree on both counts!! J

The other additions, if you want:

  • Potatoes: 2 small sized potatoes cut into small cubes. You can add them to the boiling peas or fry them till they golden crisp and then add them to the tempering mix along with the peas.
  • Coconut: 2-3 tbsp of fresh coconut cut into small pieces. You can add it along with boiling the peas or in the tempering mix and fry a little before adding the peas and/or use it in garnishing while serving.
  • Sugar: ½ tsp. Add in with the onions.
  • Tomatoes: 1 large finely chopped. Add in with the ginger and let the tomato go all soft and mushy before adding in the peas.
  • Mutton: ½ to ¾ cup mutton pieces on the bone. Boil/pressure the mutton pieces till soft with minimal water. Shred the meat, save the stock. Tomatoes get added in once the onions caramelize. The shredded meat gets added in once the tomatoes go all mushy. Add in the stock along with peas.

  • And this is what Dried Whole Yellow peas look like...
    (picture taken from the net)

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Chana my plan failed!!

Chana Biryani…I can be a very mean person when I want nasty meanthis biryani was made to torture someone who has been showing up demanding food every week for the past month...this time the request was pretty simple though“Biryani”since he didn't specify, this is what he gotthis was supposed to discourage any further visits for at least a couple of weeks but unfortunately it turned to be quite goodresult, another self-invite for the coming week!!! Lesson learnt - I need to get “the mean me” some practice sessions a.s.a.p. L

Chana Biryani


For the rice:

  • Basmati Rice, 1 cup
  • Bayleaf, 2-3
  • Cinnamon, 1 “stick
  • Black Cardamom, 1
  • Green Cardamoms, 2-3
  • Cloves, 2-3
  • Fennel seeds, ½ tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Water

For the marinade:

  • Safed Chane/Chole/ Chickpeas, boiled/canned, 2 cups
  • Plain Yogurt/Dahi, 1 cup
  • Fresh Ginger, grated/ paste, 1 heaped tbsp
  • Red chili powder, 1 tsp (less or more to taste)
  • Kashmiri Red chili powder, 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder, ½ tsp
  • Fresh Green chilies, split into two, 2-3
  • Mint leaves, finely chopped, ½ cup
  • Coriander leaves, finely chopped, ¼ cup
  • Salt, to taste

For the Biryani:

  • Cumin seeds, 1 tsp
  • Onion, finely sliced, 1 cup
  • Coriander leaves, a handful
  • Saffron, a few strands
  • Milk, ¼ cup
  • Fresh Green chilies, a few
  • Ghee/Oil, 2 tbsp + more for brushing the container
  • Kewra water/ Screwpine essence, a few drops (optional)


In a bowl, whisk the yogurt and add in the boiled chickpeas, ginger paste, red chili powder, kashmiri red chili powder, turmeric powder, green chilies, mint leaves, coriander leaves and salt. Mix well and keep aside.

Wash the rice till water runs clear. Soak in cold water for about 20 minutes. Drain and boil the rice with bayleaf, cinnamon, black cardamom, green cardamoms, cloves, fennel seeds and salt till they are about 60-70 % done. Drain the rice in colander. Keep aside till cool.

Soak saffron in warm milk, add in Kewra water (if using) and keep aside.

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the sliced onion till turn golden brown. Add in the cumin seeds. Once they start sizzling, add in the chickpeas with the entire marinade. Stir well and let it cook on low flame for about 5-7 minutes. Switch off the flame.

Time to assemble...

Take a heavy bottomed pan and brush the base and sides with oil.

Place the chickpeas mix at the bottom and then layer on top with the boiled rice. Sprinkle saffron infused milk and coriander leaves on top.

Cover with a tight fitting lid and cook over low indirect heat (pan placed over tawa) for about half an hour or so, until it steams and it's done.
If making it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 175 C and bake covered with a tight fitting lid for about half an hour.

Let it rest for about 5 minutes. Remove the lid, fluff up and mix the rice well with the chickpeas at the bottom with a fork. 

Important: In spite of coating the pan with oil, keep you fingers crossed and hope that some rice do get stuck to the sides and bottom of the pan, IMO the crusty crispy bits are the most delicious part of the biryani. You can either keep it all aside for yourself or if you are generous sort, sprinkle it on top of the serving plate!

Serve hot, garnished with some chopped green chilies, coriander or mint leaves.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Thai Style Cucumber chitter chatter!!!

Thai Style Cucumber Saladquick quick quick postdinner needs to be made

Thai Cucumber Salad mmskitchenbites

Thai Style Cucumber Salad


  • Seedless English Cucumbers, thinly sliced ribbons or finely diced , 2-3 medium size (if using regular cucumbers, do discard the seeds) 
  • Onion, thinly sliced into half moons or finely diced,1/2 medium
  • Hot water, 3 tbsp
  • Rice Wine Vinegar, 1 tbsp ( if you don’t have rice wine vinegar, regular white vinegar would do)
  • Sugar, 1/2 tbsp ( I use brown sugar)
  • Fresh Red Chilies, finely chopped, ½ tbsp
  • Salt, ¼ tsp 
  • Fresh coriander leaves, a handful, optional


Mix hot water, vinegar, sugar, chili and salt in a small bowl. Let the sugar dissolve completely and the mix cool down.

In a serving bowl arrange the cucumber and onions. Pour the vinegar mixture over the salad. Refrigerate for about an hour before serving.

Works very well with Thai Fish cakes (which are what we are having tonight) or Red Thai curry and steamed rice or even regular sandwiches/burgers.


I would not suggest storing for too long as the cucumbers completely lose their crunch.