Indrani Roy shares 4 traditional Bengali preparations for the festive season.
Chingrir Malai Curry
Photograph: Riya Chattopadhyay/Wikimedia Commons
Wash the prawns and pat them dry.
Sprinkle salt and 1/2 tsp haldi powder.
Heat oil in a pan. Fry the prawns until they turn golden brown and keep aside.
Add two bay leaves to the remaining oil.
Add onion, ginger and garlic paste.
Add tomato puree, the rest of the haldi powder, chilli powder, salt and sugar.
Toss and cook till the oil starts separating from the mixture.
Now, add the fried prawns to the mixture and mix well.
Slowly add coconut, coconut milk and water.
Bring the mixture to a boil.
When the curry thickens, add ghee and garam masala powder.
Photograph: Vipez/Creative Commons
Mix the two varieties of dal and dry roast in a kadhai till they turn brown.
Soak the rice and dal in water for an hour.
Heat ghee in a pressure cooker.
Add methi, red chillies, bay leaves and ginger paste.
Stir and fry for 5 minutes.
Add the vegetables, onion and green chillies. Stir and cook for 7 minutes.
Add the rice, masoor dal, haldi powder, salt and four cups of water.
Place the lid and pressure cook for two or three whistles. Remove when done. Add butter before serving.
Photograph: TanBanMi/Wikimedia Commons
Wash the meat well and pat it dry.
Peel the potatoes, cut them to size, and sprinkle salt and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder on them. Rub the salt and the turmeric on the potatoes.
Heat the 2 tablespoon of mustard oil in a pan or a pressure cooker and fry the potatoes on high heat until they start browning on the edges.
Remove and set aside.
In the same pot/cooker, add the rest of the oil and add the red dry chili pepper, bay leaves and the cardamom and clove powder.
When the pepper turns dark, add the garlic, yogurt sliced onions and cook them at high heat for about 12 minutes, while tossing them frequently till they start to brown.
Add the turmeric powder and red chilli powder and cook for another 15 minutes.
When the meat browns and the liquid dries up, add 4 cups of warm water, add the potatoes and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid (or pressure cooker).
Cook till meat is almost done and tender, falling off the bone.
If you are using a pressure cooker, add the potatoes and water to the cooker pan and cook to three whistles.
Serve with hot rice or rotis.
Photograph: KoyeliC/Wikimedia Commons
Pour two litres milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Remove from the flame, add lemon juice and stir constantly. The chhana is ready.
Now take a fine muslin cloth to drain the water from chhana.
It should be completely dry.
Make 20 lemon size balls with the chhana. Put them aside.
Take another saucepan and pour one litre of milk into the pan. Let it boil over a medium flame.
Add the cardamom seeds, cashewnut paste and sugar to the milk.
Let the milk boil over a medium to low flame for 30-35 minutes. The milk should thicken and turn light yellow.
Add the chhana balls very slowly and carefully so that they don't break.
Stir the milk slowly on a medium to low flame for another 10 minutes or until the balls become fluffy and smooth.
Remove the payesh from the heat and garnish with pistachios.
Refrigerate the payesh for at least two to three hours.
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