Saturday, September 27, 2014

Durga Puja Feast 2014 from Recipe Junction

  As you all know Durga puja is just 3 days away and this is the time we plan our menu for those festive days. I love cooking traditional Bengali dishes for my family, relatives and friends during these festive days. Here in this post I've compiled my earlier posted festive delicacies in one post, to give you some ideas what you can serve to your family and friends on festive days, as pre planning saves a lot of time. So I start with,

Appetizer/Snack :

1. Ghugni (dry yellow/white peas curry)
2. Beguni(Brinjal Fritters/pakora)
3. Baked Samosa ~ A famous street food of bengal
4.  Baked Nimki/namakpara/diamond cuts
5.  Stuffed Bread Pakora 

If you didn't find what you wanted, visit my Recipe Index Page and Bengali Recipes page for more such recipes

Vegetarian Recipes : (includes rice, luchi and veg dishes)

1. Kumror Choka/chakka - A Pumpkin delight
2. Mochar Ghanto ~ A bengali delicacy of Banana Blossom
3. Doi Sorshe Phulkopi
4. Patoler Narkel Charchari(Stir fried parwal/pointed gourd with mustard & coconut paste)
5. Luchi r Phulkopi-Aloo Charchari
6. Bengali Khichuri aar Labra (a mix vegetable mishmash
7.  Bengali sweet pulao
8.  Karaishutir Kachori
9.  Luchi 
10. Dhokar Dalna (Lentil cakes in a light spicy gravy)

If you didn't find what you wanted, visit my Recipe Index Page and Bengali Recipes page for more vegetarian recipe ideas

Non-Vegetarian (includes fish, Chicken and Mutton dishes)

1.  Doi Maach (Rohu fish cooked with yogurt)
2. Chingri Macher Malaikari  (prawn cooked in coconut milk) 
3. Phulkopi-Chingrir Dalna (Shrimp and cauliflower in gravy)
5.  Sorshe Ilish(Hilsa fish in mustard paste gravy)
6.  Potoler Dorma(Stuffed parwal/pointed gourd in thick onion-tomato gravy)
6.  Chicken Chaap (A chicken speciality of Bengal)
7.  Chicken Rezala ~ Bengal's Favorite
8.  Dak Bunglow Chicken Curry and Dak Bunglow Chicken fry  
9.  Kasha Mangsho(slow-cooked mutton bengali way) 
10. Chicken Jal Fraizy (A beloved Chicken dish of Kolkata - Originates in Bengal)
11. Restaurant Style Chicken Biriyani 
12. Mouri Mangsho(Fennel seed flavoured chicken curry)


If you didn't find what you wanted, visit my Recipe Index Page and Bengali Recipes page for more Non-veg. recipe ideas


1. Patishapta Pitha(pancake stuffed with coconut filling)
2. Gurer Payesh (Rice kheer with palm jaggery)
3. Rasmalai (Rasgulla in thick milk sauce)
4. Narkel Naru/soft coconut Laddoo (coconut laddoo)
5. Aam Kheer (Mango in thickened milk)
6. Narkel Totki/Coconut Sandesh/Chandrapuli
9. Phirni (Thickened rice-nut pudding)
10. Kalakand (sweet made with Indian cottage cheese)
11. Dudh Puli Pithe(A speciality made during Makar Sankranti) 
12. Semiya Kheer Khejur er gur diye(vermicelli kheer with palm jaggery) 
13. Aam Doi(baked Mango Yoghurt) 

14. Carrot Burfi (Gajorer Burfi)
15. Gajar ka halwa(Carrot Pudding) in microwave

If you didn't find what you wanted, visit my Recipe Index Page and Bengali Recipes page for more dessert recipe ideas

Chutneys : 

1. Tomato O kacha aamer chutney(tomato & green mango chutney)
2. Anarasher Chutney (Sweet & Sour Pineapple chutney)
3. Tomato-Apple Chutney
4. Green Mango Chutney (kacha aamer chutney)
5. Chaltar Ambol (Sweet & Sour elephant apple chutney)

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rituals of Durga Puja and A Traditional Bengali Sweet ~ Narkel Totki or Coconut Sandesh

        Hurray!!!! It's finally the time of the year, all bengalis(the natives of eastern part of Indian state, West Bengal) can't wait for. It's Durga Puja, the most important festival of bengalis, the worship of Maa Durga, the divine power. It is worshiped in the Autumn(in bengali "sharat") season. When you see the golden sunshine, fluffy white clouds allover the blue sky and the mild fragrance of 'Shiuli phool' , then you know that autumn has arrived. Every bengali, no matter which part of the world a bengali might be in, awaits for this time of the year, to be with their families and can't wait for long 'adda'(chat) sessions with families and friends.

The rituals of Durga Puja
         Once a year, in the autumnal month of ASHWIN(English month Sep-Oct), She, Goddess Durga comes on earth, together with her four children, Ganesh, Laxmi, Kartik and Saraswati, and enjoys all the love and attention lavished on her. Seven days before Her arrival starts the Devipaksha. The day is known as ‘Mahalaya’. On the dawn of ‘Mahalaya’, every homes in Bengal listen to the enchanting voice of Late Birendra Krishna Bhadra, who recite hymns from the scriptures of Devi Chandi(Chandipath). Thousands offer prayers to their ancestors at the city's river (Ganga) banks, a ritual called 'Tarpan'. The inauguration of the Goddess idol('Devi Bodhon) starts on MahaShasthi, on the 6th day from Mahalaya. Unveiling the face of the idol is the main ritual on this day.            MahaSaptami is the first day of Durga puja. The second and most important day is MahaAstami. Kumari puja, the worship of a little girl as the mother goddess is a special part of mahaastami puja. Another important ritual is Sandhi Puja, that means the end of Mahaastami and the beginning of Maha Navami. The main MahaNavami puja begins after the end of Sandhi Puja. All three days, devotees come to the puja pandals (the place where goddess is worshipped, a special kind of tent with lots of decorations and lightings) to offer Anjali to the goddess and take her blessings. Dashami, the last day of the puja, when she starts on her journey back to her husband's place in the mountain of Kailash. With a heavy heart bengalis immerse the clay idol of goddess in the sacred Ganges saying her goodbye and start counting days for the next year when 'Maa' will come again to us.
"Sindur Khela" is a major part of Dashami puja. Married women first apply vermillion to goddess before she is immersed and take her blessings and then they apply to each other.

                                                    [Pic Source : Google image]
After the immersion, bengalis greet each other with sweets and men follow the customary 'Kolakuli'(embracing each other).

                                                 [Pic Source : Google Image]

     Unfortunately, this festival lasts for only four days but in these four days, bengalis enjoy and live fully. Afterall, it's a celebration of family reunion, celebration of good food and celebration of lots of happiness...... HAPPY PUJA GREETINGS to all the bangalis allover the world...I wish Maa bless you all and answer all your prayers.........

Today as I write this post, I am very happy as today is Mahalaya, today starts our most favorite festival, Durga Puja. To celebrate this special day, I prepared some sweet for my family.

  Narkel Totki or Coconut Sandesh is my most favorite sweet of all. This sweet is my weakness, anyone can blackmail me for this sweet and I'll surrender, I'm admitting. If you want to serve something different and impress your guests, try this, they'll become your fan. The most fantastic fact about this sweet is it's very easy to make. Grinded Coconut cooked with sweet condensed milk in very low flame to get a very smooth texture and then moulded into a shape. I have used a traditional Sweet or sandesh mould to make this, which we call "chachh/mould". But one can make this sweet without these moulds and can give any shape or sizes. This sweet is often called by the name of "Chandrapuli", when it is shaped like a half moon.
Now let's move on to the recipe ........................
You Need :(makes about 15 sandesh)
Fresh Coconut : 1, big
Sugar : 1/3 cup
Condensed milk : 1/3 cup
Green cardamoms : 3-4 pcs, take out seeds and crush them fine
Pistachios : few, finely chopped
Saffron strands : few(optional)
Ghee : a little, to grease the moulds if using

How To :
  • Grate the coconut, then make a smooth paste of coconut and sugar in a blender.
  • Heat a non-stick pan, pour the coconut-sugar paste and start stirring the paste in a very low flame, do not let the coconut change its colour. 
  • After 7-8 minutes of cooking, add the condensed milk into it and in low flame, mix it well with coconut paste. Cook for another 5 minutes. When you see the whole thing is coming together and the texture is dry yet little sticky, it's done. Take a little portion of coconut paste in your hand and check if you can form a ball, if you can, then it's ready to remove from flame.
  • Add crushed cardamom powder in the mix and give it a good stir to mix well. Remove on a greased plate and let it cool a little. After some time, when it has cooled down a little, it's time to give it a shape, otherwise the coconut paste will become dry.
  • If you are not using a mould, then give it a round or square shape or any shape you want to. If you are using a mould, grease the mould first with a drop of ghee, then sprinkle little chopped pistachios and saffron strands and a little portion from coconut paste to cover fully the moulds surface. Then press with your hand to give it a shape of the mould. Wait a minute, then with a pointy knife, pull a corner of the sandesh and then carefully take out the whole sandesh. Place it over a greased plate and let it cool.
  • Make other sandesh same way with rest of the coconut paste. It will harden more when ti cools. 
  • Serve or store them in an air-tight container and keep in the refrigerator. It'll fine for few weeks in the refrigerator.

Here is another way, My blogger friend, Sayantani of A Homemaker's Diary has made Narkel Totki, check out her recipe here.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Mango & Banana Pancake ~ Kid's favorite breakfast dish

    Who doesn't love pancakes? Specially, Kids' love those soft and fluffy pancakes. My kids are also no exception. I usually make Vanilla flavoured pancakes, sometimes I add those fruits in pureed form which they don't like to eat. Mine two boys, one don't like banana and another one don't like mangoes. So one day, I added these two fruits in the pancake mix. I know, Mango season is over, but canned mango pulp can be used. You can also add any other pureed fruit pulp in this recipe. Here is a quick breakfast favorite of kids ..try it for your kids and see them smile and enjoy their breakfast.

You Need : (makes 4 pancakes)
All purpose flour : 1 cup
Egg : 1
Sugar : 3 tblsp.
Banana : 2, pureed
Mango : 1, Pureed
Baking Powder : a pinch
Milk : 1/2 cup
Oil : 2 tblsp.
Water as needed

How To :
  • Puree banana and mango in a blender. Keep aside. 
  • Beat one egg in a wide bowl, add milk and sugar in it and beat well. In another bowl, mix baking powder and flour together. Then add this flour mixture into the egg-milk mixture.
  • Again beat with a hand beater/whisker to mix well. Finally add the pureed fruit mixture in the flour mixture. Add enough water as needed to make a semi-thick consistency batter.
  • Now add 1/2 tsp. oil on a griddle or tawa, then pour about 1/4 cup of batter, lower the flame to medium and wait until bubble forms on top of the pancakes, check if the lower side has turned light brown, then flip to the other side, drizzle little oil from the corner of the pancake.
  • When the other side also turns brown, remove from heat. Make other pancakes like this way.

 Serve drizzling some chocolate syrup on top or as it is. Kids will love them any way.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Niramish Kanchkalar Kofta curry/Green Banana Kofta Curry, no onion-no garlic ~ Bengali traditional festive delicacy

   The concept of kofta is a gift from Mughal cuisine, which slowly adapted into all the regional cuisines of India, specially in North Indian and East Indian cuisines. Koftas are round shaped balls of mashed or minced vegetables or meat, which are deep fried and then simmer in a cooked gravy. In non-veg., chicken or lamb meat koftas are very popular. In veg., malai Kofta is also widely popular. Koftas are also made from single vegetable like bottle guard or lauki kofta, Green banana or kanchche kele ki koft are also very delectable preperations of Indian cuisine.
  In bengali cuisine too, koftas have made their place in quite popular way. Kanchkalar Kofta or green banana kofta is one of them. The version is cooked in Bengal is less spicier than North Indian kofta gravies and is often made without onion-garlic, mostly on festive days when fast is observed. Today I'll share the no onion no garlic version of Kanchkalar Kofta Curry. It's very easy to make and goes well with luchi/puri or paratha.

You need :
For koftas
Green banana/plaintain/Kanch kala : 3 nos.
Potato ; 1, big
Ginger paste : 2 tsp.
Green chillies : 2, finely chopped
cumin seed : 1tsp.
Turmeric powder : 1 tsp.
Red chilli powder : 1 tsp.
Cumin powder : 1 tsp.
Roasted cumin seed powder : 1 tsp.
Chat masala/Amchur(Dry mango) Powder : 1tsp.
Fresh coriander leaves : chopped
Salt to taste
Corn flour : just enough to bind the koftas
Oil : 2 tblsp./ just enough o shallow fry the koftas

For the gravy
Potato : few chunks, boiled(optional)
Cumin seed : 1 tsp.
Ginger paste : 1 tblsp.
Green chilli : 1, slitted
Tomatoes : 1, chopped
Turmeric powder : 1tsp.
Red chilli powder : 2 tsp.
Cumin powder : 1 tsp.
Coriander powder : 1 tsp.
Salt to taste
Oil : 1 tblsp.
Fresh coriander leaves to garnish

How To :
  • Boil green banana and potato together until they are just done. Drain well and when they are little cooled down, mash them well together. Add all the dry spices in the mash one by one except cornflour and oil. Lastly add just enough corn flour, I needed about 2 tblsp. (just to soak the moisture from boiled vegetable) in the mash and mix well, till you can form some balls from the vegetable mash. Make small round ball shaped or round flat shaped koftas and keep aside.

  • Now heat 2 tblsp. or less oil in a frying pan and carefully place the koftas in the oil and in medium heat fry till golden brown from both sides. Drain on kitchen paper towel and soak the excess oil from both sides.
  • Now it's time to prepare the gravy. I have added few chunks of boiled potatoes but that is optional. Heat 1 tblsp. oil in a pan, temper with cumin seeds, immediately add slitted green chillies and all powdered spices with 2 tblsp. water added to them. Also add ginger paste and chopped tomatoes. In low flame, cook the spices along with tomatoes. 
  • When oil seperates and tomatoes are mixed well, add boiled potatoes in there, mix well. Add about 1 cup of warm water for the gravy. Season with salt. Cover and let it cook, when gravy thickens to your desired consistency, remove from heat. 
  • Place the koftas in the gravy just before you are going to serve, otherwise koftas will be soggy and soft. Serve garnishing with fresh Coriander leaves.

Enjoy hot with Puri/Luchi, parathas or any kind of Indian bread.

Note :
  • I made round flat shaped koftas, so that I can shallow fry them and can avoid deep frying. In round ball shape, deep frying is better option, so that koftas are cooked thoroughly. 
  • Using potatoes in the gravy is totally optional.
 Sending this Festive delicacy to Kolkata Food Blogger's ongoing event, "Durga Puja Bhuribhoj"

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dhaba Style Handi Paneer

     Paneer and Pasta are the two most favorite food items of my daughter and even I like them too. Therefore, I am always in hunt of new preperation of Paneer and pasta. Not only at home, when she goes to any restaurant, these are the two items she'll order.
      After she tasted this Handi Panner at one Indian Dhaba, she was behind me to try that out at home too. So I did and it was awesome, so thought to share with you all. Everyone in our family loves dhaba food very much, nothing matches the taste of dhaba food. For those who don't know what a dhaba is, Dhaba is the roadside restaurant in India who serves mostly Punjabi food and also local food. They are found on highways, next to petrol stations. Most are open for 24 hours a day and serves as resting stops for truck drivers. The spicy dal tadka, varieties of paneer curries and the hot rotis straight from the tandoor are simply mouthwatering. Dhaba recipes are generally rich and spicy.  

        Handi paneer is one of those delectable dhaba recipes from Punjabi Cuisine. The paneer is cooked in a yogurt based gravy and then served in an earthen pot or 'handi'. Hence, it is named handi paneer. The blend of desi spices with the richness of cream make this paneer recipe a hit for any occassion. Enjoy with tandoori roti or naan and a bowl full of freshly cut salads. Heaven !!!!!!!!!!!

You Need :
Paneer : 250gms (cut into cubes)
Onion : 1, sliced
Ginger-garlic paste : 1 tblsp.
Tomatoes : 2 ,chopped
Green chillies : 1-2, chopped
Yogurt/dahi : ½ cup (beaten)
Turmeric powder : 1tsp 
Coriander powder : 1tsp 
Black pepper powder : 1tsp 
Red chilli powder : 1tsp 
Garam masala powder : 1 tsp 
Bay leaf : 1 
Salt to taste 
Oil : 2 tblsp. 
Fresh cream : 1tbsp(optional) 
Fresh Coriander leaves : 1/3 cup (chopped)

How To :
  • Heat one tablespoon of oil in a pan. Fry the paneer cubes for 2-3 minutes till they turn light brown on medium flame. Remove and keep it aside.
  • Add one tablespoon oil in the same pan and season with a bay leaf. Now add the onion slices and fry for 3-4 minutes till it turns golden brown. Add ginger-garlic paste and chopped green chillies. Fry for about 2 minutes. Then add chopped tomatoes, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, pepper powder, garam masala powder one by one and stir fry for 2-3 minutes on a medium flame. 
  • Now lower the heat to low and add the beaten yogurt to it and keep stirring continuously for about a minute. Add water and bring the gravy to boil. Now add the fried paneer cubes to it. Mix well and cook for 5 minutes on a low flame. Lastly, add fresh cream if your are using to get a creamy gravy. Cook for another 2 minutes. Once done, switch off the flame.
  • Transfer the content from the pan to a earthen pot or any serving dish. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. 

        Serve this Handi Paneer with tandoori roti, kulcha or naan. 

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