5 secret recipes from my house

5 Secret Recipes from my house

5 secret recipes from my house– ………….Nine out of ten Bongs seek solace “by eating”. We are a community whose favourite pastime is gloating over our cuisine and culture and how the entire world is surreptitiously conspiring against us by denying us our rightful pole position in global gastronomy. But all this, only after managing to squeeze out some time post hammering each other’s skulls over politics or offering unsolicited advice to our fellow neighbours, accompanied by endless rounds of tea. And I am no different, though, politics is not exactly my cup of tea. But poke me about food at your own peril. I can go on for hours if not days.

From my early childhood, I had been a certified carnivore and a fussy eater. Though I ate anything that crept, crawled or walked, I kept a safe distance from all kinds of fish except crustaceans. But crustaceans are not fish, anyway. I was appalled by those tiny, obstinate bones that used to stick to my gullet and hence decided fishes were not worth the trouble. Being an offspring of parents both of whom were unadulterated Bongs, and that too from erstwhile East Pakistan, I was despised by all and sundry for despising fish. And anyone who dared to read a few of my previous blogs would know that I had nothing but contempt for vegetables in general and vegans in particular. I was an abomination to my Bong ancestors. Disgraceful, as it may sound, as I grew older and especially after tying the betrothal knot, I obviously got domesticated and started compromising on stuff that I loathed once. And that included food. But. on the brighter side, I came to discover that I had been grossly unjust to fishes during my bygone years. Amazingly, I have come to even respect some of those godforsaken creatures.

From my earliest memories, I still recollect our household cuisinière. She was our Woman Friday and an excellent cook who could have easily given “Aunt Dahlia’s” chef Anatole a serious run for his money. She helped refine our tastebuds to such epic proportions that more often than not we found food prepared at other places way below par. And those were the first signs of my fussiness. Over the years I found that our family boasted of some unique recipes both simple and complicated. Many of those I have mastered myself and have given my own spin to adapt to the changing tastes. I must mention that my in-laws are also very rich with their own culinary variations, their exclusive blend of spices that I was unfamiliar with before marriage.

Here, I would like to share with you some of our family recipes from both houses.

Chingri-Kolmi Kebab (Shrimp + Water Spinach Kebab) from 5 secret recipes

5 secret recipes from my house

Ingredients

  • Shrimp 40/50 shelled and deveined- 500g
  • Water spinach- 500g (leaves only)
  • Water- for blanching
  • Lime juice- 1 lemon
  • Onions chopped- 150g
  • Garlic chopped- 8 cloves
  • Green chillies chopped- 2 nos.
  • Black pepper powder- 1 Tsp
  • Salt- to taste
  • Refined flour- 1 Tbsp
  • Mustard oil- 1 Tbsp + 60 ml
  • Onion rings- for garnish
  • Kasundi- for serving
  • Lime wedges- for serving

Method

  • Roughly chop the cleaned and deveined prawns, and apply little bit of salt and 15 ml of lime juice and rest for 15 minutes.
  • While the prawn is being rested, blanch the water spinach leaves in boiling water for 30 seconds, pour in a colander to strain and immediately rinse the water spinach under cold running water. This will prevent it from overcooking. Now chop the water spinach.
  • Take a mixing bowl and mix together prawns, water spinach, onions, garlic, green chillies, salt, black pepper, the remaining lime juice, refined flour and one tablespoon mustard oil. Mix well nicely, cover the mixing bowl with a cling film and marinate inside the refrigerator for one hour.
  • Take it out of the refrigerator and allow the mixture to come to room temperature.
  • Now, wet your palms with water, make balls with the mixture and flatten each ball between your palms by applying mild pressure to form patties (like galouti kebab) of approximately one centimeter thickness and one-and-half inches diameter.
  • Heat 60 ml mustard oil to smoking point on a thick bottomed tawa (griddle). Reduce heat to medium-low and shallow fry the kebabs in batches till they form light brown and slightly crispy exteriors.
  • Arrange the kebabs on a platter, garnish with onion rings and serve hot with kasundi and lime wedges.

Jalpai + Mulo diye Motor Dal (Split Pea Lentil with Olives + Red Radish)

Ingredients

  • Split Pea Lentil- 1 cup
  • Red Radish- 2 medium
  • Green chillies slit- 2 nos.
  • Olives fresh- 3 nos.
  • Garlic smashed- 10-12 cloves
  • Mustard oil- 2 Tbsp
  • Nigella seeds- 1 Tsp
  • Red chillies whole- 3 nos.
  • Turmeric powder- 1/2 Tsp
  • Salt- to taste
  • Water- 500 ml

Method

  • Wash lentil thoroughly and soak for at least 6 hours.
  • Peel radish and cut lengthwise into 3-inch batons of 2 cm thickness. Smash the olives lightly such that the skin ruptures partially and exposes the pulp.
  • Take water in a Dutch oven or pan, add salt and bring to boil. Add lentils, radish, olives, half of the garlic and green chillies and cook for 10-15 minutes. Lentils should be 3/4 th cooked by then. Keep warm.
  • In a separate wok, heat mustard oil to medium hot and add nigella seeds and let them sputter till they release a nice aroma. Add the remaining garlic and fry its raw smell goes off.
  • Add the cooked lentils along with the radish, olives and the cooking liquid into the wok and bring it to boil.
  • Cook for another 10 minutes until the lentils are fully cooked.
  • Adjust seasoning and serve hot with steamed rice.

Chicken in Smoked Tomato Gravy– from 5 secret recipes

5 secret recipes from my house

Ingredients

  • Free range chicken (Indian curry cut) without skin- 1 kg
  • Kashmiri chilli powder- 1 Tsp
  • Salt- 1.5 Tsp
  • Tomato puree- 150 g
  • Toasted chilli flakes- 1.5 Tsp
  • Thick curd- 150 g
  • Garlic peeled and smashed- 8 cloves
  • Fresh cream- 50 ml
  • Desi ghee (clarified butter)- 100 g
  • Salt- to taste
  • Charcoal- 1-inch piece
  • Butter- 20 g

Method

  • Wash and clean chicken and pat dry to remove excess moisture.
  • Take a large mixing bowl and mix together tomato puree, Kashmiri chilli powder, chilli flakes, curd and salt. Add the chicken pieces and coat them evenly with the marinade.
  • Cover the mixing bowl with cling film and rest for marination inside the refrigerator for two hours.
  • After marination, take it out of the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature.
  • Heat ghee on a saucepan to medium hot and add garlic. Fry till the raw smell evaporates.
  • Add marinated chicken along with the marinade and cover and cook for five minutes on medium heat.
  • Reduce heat to low and cook for another 20-25 minutes till chicken pieces are fork-tender. Do not add water. The chicken is supposed to be braised, that is, to be cooked in its own juices and the marinade.
  • Remove from heat and pour the fresh cream and mix well. Adjust seasoning.
  • In a small stainless-steel bowl, melt butter and keep ready.
  • Hold the charcoal piece with a pair of tongs over an open flame let it come to a hot orange glow.
  • Put the glowing charcoal into the bowl containing the melted butter. It will release a lot of smoke.
  • Place the bowl immediately in the centre of the pan containing the prepared chicken and keep covered for 3-4 minutes. The smoke from the charcoal will impart a beautiful smokey aroma to the dish. But do not prolong more than the specified time. The smokey flavour will become too strong then and overpower the finer nuances of the dish.
  • Serve hot with Khamiri Roti or Naan.

Aam Katla (Catla with Raw Mango)

Ingredients

  1. Fish- Catla (Bengali cut)- 500 g
  2. Black mustard seeds- 1 Tbsp
  3. Green chillies- 2 no.
  4. Mustard oil- 2 Tbsp
  5. Nigella seeds- 1 Tsp
  6. Onion paste- 100 g
  7. Red chilli powder- 1 Tsp
  8. Turmeric powder- 1/2 Tsp + 1/2 Tsp
  9. Raw mango- 1 small (100 g)
  10. Salt- to taste
  11. Water- 150-200 ml

Method

  • Marinate the fish with salt and 1/2 Tsp turmeric for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile grind mustard seeds to a paste with green chillies and a little bit of water.
  • Remove the skin and the stone of the mango and cut into 1-inch cubes.
  • Heat mustard oil to medium hot and fry the marinated fish lightly without browning and keep aside.
  • In the same oil, add nigella seeds and fry till they start crackling.
  • Add onion paste and sauté till the raw smell evaporates. Take care not to brown the paste.
  • Add chilli powder, the remaining turmeric powder and raw mango and sauté for about a minute.
  • Add mustard paste and water and bring to boil. Mash 2-3 mango slices with the back of a spoon. Do not mash them all; the gravy will become too acidic.
  • Carefully put the fish in the gravy and cook for 7-8 minutes and the gravy becomes thick (reduced to 2/3 rd). Do not stir much to avoid the fish from disintegrating.
  • Adjust salt and serve hot with steamed rice.

Radhuni-Roshun Chingri (Braised Veggies with Shrimp + Garlic + Wild Celery)

Ingredients

  • Pointed gourd (Potol)- 50 g
  • Ridge gourd (jhinge)- 150 g
  • Potatoes- 150 g
  • Red pumpkin (Kumro)- 100 g
  • Pumpkin stems (Kumro data)- 100 g
  • Pumpkin leaves (Kumro shak)- 50 g
  • Red radish (Lal mulo)- 100 g
  • Shrimps 40/50 tail on (shelled and deveined)- 300 g
  • Mustard oil- 2 Tbsp
  • Onion paste- 1 Tbsp
  • Garlic- 10 cloves
  • Wild Celery seeds (Radhuni)- 1 + 1/2 Tsp
  • Green chillies- 1 + 3 nos.
  • Turmeric powder- 1/2 Tsp + 1 Tsp
  • Water- 100 ml
  • Salt- to taste

Method

  • Wash shrimps, pat dry and marinate them with some salt and 1/2 Tsp of turmeric for 15 minutes.
  • Wash pumpkin stems and leaves and cut the stems into 3-inch-long sticks and roughly chop the leaves. Keep them ready to be used later.
  • Wash and clean all other vegetables and cut them all into cubes of 2 cm and keep ready.
  • Grind together wild celery seeds, garlic and one green chilli and one Tbsp of water into a smooth paste and reserve.
  • Place a wok on the stove and heat mustard oil to smoking point. Reduce heat to medium and sauté the shrimps for about a minute and remove.
  • In the same oil add all the vegetables except the pumpkin leaves and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, to be used later.
  • Add onion paste to the same oil and fry on medium-low heat till the paste turns light golden.
  • Add all the stir-fried vegetables, the rest of the green chillies, one Tsp turmeric powder, garlic-celery seed paste and pumpkin leaves and cook for 3-4 minutes stirring frequently till it releases a beautiful aroma. By this time the vegetables will start releasing moisture.
  • Add water, cover the wok and cook for 15-20 minutes on low heat till the vegetables are soft and tender and the potatoes are full-done.
  • Now, add the sautéed shrimps, stir to mix evenly, adjust salt and immediately remove from heat.
  • Serve hot with steamed rice.

In this blog, I have only shared five among many such gems from our family. There are a few more in one of my previous write-ups which you can check here.

Now, that I have shared a few secrets, I shall be eager to hear from you. Let your adventurous spirit take wings, use your own imagination and improvise with your favourite ingredients.


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