Boiled Peanut Chaat

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw peanuts
  • 1 chopped cucumber (optional)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 carrot, grated (optional)
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1/4 tsp black salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1 tsp chaat masala
  • Juice from 1/2 a lime
  • 2 tsp chopped coriander leaves

Method –

  1. Soak the peanuts in hot water for 30 minutes to 1 hour
  2. Strain the water and put the peanuts in a pressure cooker
  3. Add a glass of water, a pinch of salt and pressure cook for 3-4 whistles
  4. Once it cools down, strain the water from the peanuts
  5. Add the rest of the ingredients to the boiled peanuts and mix well
  6. Serve at room temperature

Chicken Rezala

Ingredients

  • 500 – 600 gm chicken, cut in big pieces
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1” piece of ginger
  • 3-4 big cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup thick yogurt (not sour)
  • 5-6 whole cashews
  • 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
  • 3-4 dry red chillies
  • 4-5 cloves
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 1 black cardamom
  • 2” stick cinnamon
  • 1/2 mace
  • 6-8 peppercorns
  • A fat pinch of nutmeg powder
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • 1/3 tsp pepper powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 2-3 drops of kewra water
  • 2-3 drops of mitha attar

Method –

  1. Wash and drain all the water from the chicken
  2. Make a smooth paste of onion, ginger and garlic
  3. Soak the cashews and make a smooth paste with poppy seeds
  4. Beat the yogurt till smooth and add it to the chicken with onion, ginger, garlic paste, salt, nutmeg powder and pepper powder
  5. Marinate for at least 4-5 hours
  6. Heat the oil and ghee
  7. Lightly pound the whole spices and add it to the oil
  8. Shake off the marinade from the chicken and arrange them in a single layer in the pan
  9. Cook the chicken on medium heat till all the sides turn white
  10. Now, pour in the remaining marinade and mix well
  11. Cook for 8-10 minutes and add the cashew poppy seed paste
  12. Cook for a minute and pour 3/4 cup warm water
  13. Check the seasoning and cover
  14. Let it simmer on low heat till oil starts to float to the top and the chicken is cooked through
  15. Uncover and add the sugar, kewra water and mitha attar
  16. Switch off the flame and stir the gravy before serving

Phirni

This particular style of phirni is popular in the Mughlai eateries of Kolkata. It is usually served after Biryani.

Ingredients –

  • 75 gm basmati rice
  • 1 litre full fat milk
  • 75 gm sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom powder
  • 4-5 strands saffron

Method –

  1. Wash the rice and soak it in water for 30 minutes
  2. Strain the rice over a colander and leave it to air dry
  3. Once dry, transfer rice to a grinder and reduce it to a powder in 4 or 5 short pulses. The grind should neither be too coarse nor too fine.
  4. Take 1 cup of milk out of the total milk and mix the rice flour in it. Premixing rice flour with cold milk before adding it to hot milk will prevent clumping.
  5. Gently toast some cardamom pods in a pan and crush them to a powder. Sift through a tea-strainer to ensure the powder is fine.
  6. Heat milk in a heavy-bottomed pan and reduce it on medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  7. Then add the rice flour and cold milk mixture and stir immediately to prevent rice from clumping.
  8. Add 4 or 5 strands of saffron to the pan
  9. Continue reducing on low heat until phirni thickens. Keep stirring continuously.
  10. Once the rice is cooked, add sugar and a pinch of salt. Also add the cardamom powder now.
  11. Keep cooking until the phirni reaches the right consistency. It should neither be too thick, nor too thin
  12. Transfer to the ceramic or glass bowl to set. Cover the bowls with a plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 24 hours to set completely.
  13. Serve chilled

Lau Ghonto (Dry Bottle Gourd Curry)

Ingredients

  • 400 gm bottle gourd
  • 1 tbsp yellow moong dal
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut
  • 2 slit green chillies
  • 1 tbsp mustard oil
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Salt to taste

Method –

  1. Cut the gourd into thin juliennes
  2. Dip in water for a few minutes and then strain
  3. Dry roast the yellow moong dal till aromatic
  4. Wash, strain and keep aside
  5. Heat oil in a wok.
  6. Temper with cumin seeds and bay leaves
  7. Squeeze out excess water from the gourd and add it along with the moong dal
  8. Cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes
  9. Water will come out, remove lid and cook the gourd till soft and moisture dries up
  10. Add the grated coconut, slit green chillies and half of the coriander leaves
  11. Add in the sugar and salt
  12. Cover and cook for 2 minutes
  13. Switch off the flame and add ghee
  14. Add the rest of the coriander leaves

Carrot Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 cup grated carrot
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Method –

  1. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon powder two to three times
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix the eggs thoroughly
  3. Add sugar and mix well
  4. Add oil and mix well
  5. Now pour in the sifted ingredients in 2 batches
  6. Mix lightly till combined
  7. Add in the grated carrot and walnuts
  8. Mix well
  9. Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 40 minutes

Chanchra

Ingredients

A large fish head
1 bunch pui saag (Malabar Spinach)
150 gm potatoes
150 gm pumpkin
150 gm brinjal
1/2 tsp ginger paste
1.5 tsp panch phoran
2 dry red chillies
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
4 tbsp mustard oil
1 tsp ghee

Method

Clean the fish head thoroughly
Sprinkle 1/2 tsp turmeric powder , salt and marinate the fish head for 30 minutes
Chop the vegetables into medium pieces
Separate the stem of pui saag and chop them thinly
Heat the mustard oil till smoking
Fry the fish head and set aside
In the same oil, add panch phoran and dry red chillies
Add ginger paste and saute
Add potatoes and stems and cook covered for 4 minutes
Add pumpkin and cook for 2 minutes
Add brinjal and mix well
Add salt, sugar, turmeric powder and mix well
Add the pui saag leaves and mix well
Cover the pan and cook on low flame for 10 minutes and stir in between
Add ghee and switch off the flame

Chicken Egg Kathi Roll

Ingredients

For the Chicken Kebabs –

  • 500 gm boneless chicken thighs, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tsp black salt
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • 1/2” ginger, crushed
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3.5 tbsp curd
  • 1 tbsp mustard oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 piece of charcoal
  • 1 tbsp ghee

For the Paratha –

  • 450 gm all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • Warm water to knead
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 eggs

For the Filling

  • 200 gm onion, sliced thin
  • 1 green chilli, chopped
  • Green chutney
  • Lemon juice as per taste
  • Chaat masala as per taste

Method –

  1. Marinate the chicken in black salt, lemon juice, garam masala, Kashmiri red chilli powder, ginger, garlic and mustard oil
  2. Adjust salt to taste
  3. Place a burnt piece of charcoal inside a small steel bowl and then place this bowl inside the bowl with chicken
  4. Pour ghee on top of the charcoal piece
  5. Cover the bowl with a lid and let it rest for 5-7 minutes
  6. Take the charcoal out of the bowl and let the chicken marinate for 1 hour
  7. Put the chicken on wooden or iron skewers and cook them on a grill pan till they are cooked and have charred marks on the surface
  8. In another bowl, add all purpose flour and oil
  9. Knead them together till the consistency is like breadcrumbs
  10. Add salt, sugar and knead with warm water till the mixture turns into a soft and stretchy dough
  11. Drizzle a little oil on the dough surface and keep it covered for 30-45 minutes
  12. Roll the dough out and shape it into a coil
  13. Then, roll the dough out again. This will give the flakiness to the paratha
  14. Heat a flat tawa and apply some ghee on it
  15. Beat and egg with salt
  16. Place the paratha on the tawa and lightly cook.
  17. Pour the egg on one side, flip it over and cook
  18. Drizzle a little oil on the sides of the paratha
  19. Take it off the heat
  20. Make all parathas the same way
  21. Put the onion, chaat masala, green chilli, lemon juice and chicken kebabs on the middle of the paratha
  22. Top it up with green chutney and wrap it in parchment paper/aluminium foil
  23. Serve with ketchup

Amritsari Chole

Ingredients

250 gms kabuli channa (chickpeas), soak in water overnight

3 green chillis, slit length wise

1 tsp grated ginger

1/2″ cinnamon stick

1 whole black cardamom

1 bay leaf

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 tomatoes, finely chopped

1 tsp red chilli powder

Fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Salt to taste

1.5 tbsp oil

For Masala Powder (dry roast on low to medium flame for 4 mts and grind to a fine powder)

1.5 tbsp coriander seeds

1.5 tsp anardana (dried pomegranate seeds)

3 cloves

1″ cinnamon

2 black cardamoms

1/2 tsp pepper corns

3/4 tsp cumin seeds

Method –

  1. Pressure cook the chickpeas along with 3 cups of water, large pinch baking soda, a tea bag, cinnamon and one large black cardamom (badi elaichi) till soft. The chickpeas should be soft and not be overcooked and mushy. Drain the water and keep aside for latter use and discard the tea bag.
  2. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed vessel, add green chillis, grated ginger and bay leaf. Saute for few seconds.
  3. Add the chopped onions and saute till transparent. Add red chili pwd and salt. Mix well. Add the tomatoes and cook until soft and oil separates, approx 13-15 mts.
  4. Add the ground masala pwd and mix well.
  5. Add the boiled channa (keep aside 2-3 tbsps of boiled channa and mash). Cook on simmer for 4 mts. Add the left over water and if necessary add another cup of water and bring to a boil. Add the mashed channa and mix. Cook for approx 18-20 mts or till you achieve a slightly thick gravy.
  6. Adjust the salt and turn off heat. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
  7. Serve hot as a snack garnished with chopped onions or with bhatura or rotis.

Kolkata Mutton Biryani

Ingredients

  • 1 kg Mutton (large pieces of 100g each)
  • 5 whole Potatoes (the starchy kind, 80g each)
  • 5 boiled eggs
  • 500 g Basmati rice (aged, long-grained, non-parboiled)

For the Birista –

  • ‍150 g Onions (sliced)
  • 150 g Vegetable oil (for deep frying)

For the Biryani Masala –

  • 6 pieces Green cardamom
  • 1 piece Black cardamom
  • 3/4 tsp Cloves
  • 3 cm stick Cinnamon
  • 1/2 piece Nutmeg
  • 2 pieces Mace
  • 2 g Shahi jeera
  • 2 g Kabab chini
  • 1/2 tsp Fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp White pepper (whole)
  • 1/2 tsp Black pepper (whole)

For Marinating Mutton

  • 100 g Yoghurt
  • 10 g Ginger
  • 10 g Garlic
  • 20 g Birista
  • 8 g Biryani masala
  • 5 g Kewra water
  • ½ tsp Red chilli powder
  • 20 g Salt
  • ½ tsp Ground pepper

For the Rice –

  • 6 pieces Green cardamom
  • 2 pieces Black cardamom
  • 7 g Cloves
  • 6 cm stick Cinnamon
  • 7 g Fennel seeds
  • 3 g Bay leaves
  • 3 kg Water
  • 45 g Salt

For Assembly –

  • 6 to 10 pcs Bay leaves (to line the pan with)
  • 40 g Alubukhara (dried plums)
  • 1 tsp Rose petals (optional)
  • 15 g Birista
  • 5 g Biryani masala (see above)
  • 50 g Grated khoya kheer (‘mawa’ or solidified milk)
  • 200 g Yakhni
  • 5 g Lime juice (from half a lime)
  • 1 pinch Saffron (steeped in 20g warm milk)
  • 1 pinch Yellow food colour
  • 180 g Milk
  • 5 g Kewra water
  • 5 g Rose water
  • 4 drops Meetha attar
  • 30 g Ghee
  • 20 g Butter

Method –

STEP I—Frying Potatoes

  1. Peel potatoes and smear on them yellow food colour. Keep the potatoes whole (each piece should be about 80 g) and go easy on the amount of food colour.
  2. Heat vegetable oil, 3 cm deep, in a pan. Fry the potatoes until they are lightly coloured on all sides (about 4 minutes).
  3. Drain them from the oil and set aside.

STEP II—Making Birista

  1. In the same oil, add sliced onions, a small handful at a time, to make birista.
  2. Weigh two separate portions of birista—20 g and 15 g—and keep ready.

STEP III—Making Biryani Masala

  1. In a pan set over medium heat, add all the spices in the given proportions for ‘biryani masala’ (see above). Gently toast them, stirring continuously.
  2. Transfer the toasted spices to a spice grinder and blitz them to a fine powder.
  3. Weigh two separate portions of biryani masala—8 g and 5 g— and keep ready.

STEP IV—Marinating Mutton

  1. Peel ginger and garlic, roughly chop them, and crush them into a fine paste.
  2. In a large mixing bowl or pressure cooker, mix together yoghurt, ginger and garlic paste, birista, kewra water, biryani masala, red chilli powder, salt, and ground pepper, in the proportions given above for ‘marinating mutton’.
  3. Add the mutton pieces and coat them well with the marinade, making sure to to massage it into the crevices too.
  4. Cover and set aside for 1 hour.

STEP V—Soaking Rice

  1. Meanwhile, wash the rice and soak it in water for 30 minutes. At the end of this time, drain the water and strain the rice over a net or colander. Set aside. Soaking leads to longer and fluffier rice grains.

STEP VI-Cooking Mutton

  1. After the mutton has had 1 hour to marinate, it’s ready to cook
  2. Lay the fried potatoes at the bottom of the pressure cooker, followed by the mutton on top
  3. Add 150 g water and pressure cook it on medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Allow the steam to release naturally for another 15 minutes before opening the lid of the pressure cooker.
  4. Separating mutton, potatoes, and yakhni:Extract the potatoes and mutton pieces in separate dishes and set them aside. Now strain the liquid remaining in the pressure cooker. This is called ‘yakhni’ (a broth resulting from mutton and spices cooked together). We need just 200 g of it, so weigh it out and keep ready.

STEP VII—Boiling Water for Rice

  1. Place the spices mentioned in the ‘rice’ section above in the given proportions on a small square of cheesecloth. Tie them with a piece of twine to form a bag.
  2. In a large pot, take 3 kg water. Add 30 g salt to it.
  3. Add the bag of spices to the water and allow it to come to a boil (should take about 20 minutes).

STEP VIII—Preparing for Assembly

  1. Meanwhile, prepare for assembly by weighing out all that you will need (see ‘assembly’ section above) and keeping ready.
  2. This is the order in which you will need everything.
  3. Bay leaves
  4. Cooked mutton pieces
  5. Cooked potatoes
  6. Alubukhara
  7. Birista
  8. Rose petals (if using)
  9. Biryani masala
  10. Grated khoya kheer
  11. Yakhni
  12. Lime juice
  13. Saffron and yellow food colour mixed in 20 g warm milk
  14. Rose water, kewra water, and meetha attar mixed in 180 g warm milk
  15. Ghee and butter, melted together in the microwave

STEP IX—Cooking Rice, Assembly and Dum

  1. Set the pan you are using for dum on low heat. Grease it with ghee.
  2. Lay bay leaves in a single layer to cover the bottom of the pan. These will impart an aroma and provide buffer against burning.
  3. Place the mutton pieces in a single layer, and the potatoes on top of the mutton. Don’t place potatoes too close to the edge or you might accidentally cut into them while serving.
  4. Strew alubukhara, birista, and rose petals evenly.
  5. Take half the stipulated amount of biryani masala and khoya kheer, and spread evenly. We will use the remaining half in the next layer.
  6. Now add the yakhni and lime juice.
  7. By this time the water for your rice should have come to a boil and its colour changed. Extract the bag of spices and discard it. Add the rice and let it cook until 80% done, that is, until when the centre is no longer hard, but the grain is still firm. Our rice took about 5 minutes to reach this stage, but read your packet instructions.
  8. Strain rice, a ladle at a time, and spread it directly in the pan. Repeat this until half the rice is added to the pan.
  9. On top of this first layer of rice, spread the remaining biryani masala and khoya kheer. Also spread the saffron+colour mixture evenly.
  10. Now strain the rest of the rice and add it to the pan. Flatten it gently.
  11. On top of the second layer of rice, add milk mixed with the aromatics. Also add melted butter and ghee, making sure to drizzle it near the sides of the pan too.
  12. Add the boiled eggs on top and sprinkle Birista
  13. Cover the pan with heavy-duty aluminium foil (use double layers if required), sealing the sides well so that no steam escapes. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid. If you don’t want to use foil, you can also seal the lid with a wet flour dough.
  14. Set the pan on dum on medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Turn of the heat and allow it to rest another 15 minutes before serving.

Koi Mach’er Jhol Phulkopi Diye (Climbing Perch Curry with Cauliflower and Potatoes)

Ingredients

  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 piece cinnamon
  • 2 pieces cardamoms
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • Salt and sugar to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 350 gm koi fish (climbing perch)
  • 150 gm cauliflower cut into 5cm florets
  • 100 gm potatoes, cut lengthwise
  • 20 gm tomatoes, quartered
  • 10 pieces of bori
  • Chopped coriander leaves
  • 3-4 tbsp mustard oil

Method

  1. Clean the fish thoroughly and make shallow slits on the fish
  2. Marinate with 3/4 tsp each of salt and turmeric powder
  3. Set aside for 15 minutes
  4. Heat mustard oil in a kadhai to smoking point
  5. Fry the boris till golden brown and set aside
  6. Fry the cauliflower florets with 1/4 tsp salt
  7. Remove and set aside
  8. Fry the fish for a minute on each side and set aside
  9. Temper the remaining oil with bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamoms, cumin seeds and green chillies
  10. Add the potatoes. Cover the pan and sauté for 4 minutes
  11. Make a paste of turmeric powder, cumin powder, red chilli powder, salt and sugar with 50 ml water
  12. Pour this paste into the pan
  13. Cover and cook for 5 minutes
  14. Add ginger paste and tomatoes
  15. Add 50 ml water and cook the spices for 4 minutes
  16. Add the fried cauliflower, mix well and add 350 ml water
  17. Once the gravy boils, add the fried boris and fish
  18. Cover and simmer for 6 minutes
  19. Add chopped coriander and remove from heat