Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mutton Liver Curry (মেটে চচ্চড়ি)

When I was a kid (and in my teens too) the one thing I despised most is food. I was very choosy with what I ate; only thing I liked was boiled rice with a big scoop of ghee and mashed potato (আলুসেদ্ধ). Vegetables, lentils, fish were on my "nah!" list, but I liked mutton dishes, specially liver and fat. My grandma and aunt(s) still tell me so many funny stories from my childhood.

My husband is a big foodie and loves (actually crazy about) mutton dishes. Whenever we cook mutton at home, we always end up fighting over who is going to eat more!

Last night I made mutton liver curry (মেটে চচ্চড়ি), which is very famous in Bengal. I made a quick jeera rice and kachumbar salad to accompany it. Hopefully you will like it too!

Mutton Liver - 2 lbs (cut into 1/2" pieces)
Potato - 3 (cut into small pieces) (ডুমো করে কাটা)
Onion -1 big (chopped)
Ginger - 1 tbsp (grated)
Garlic - 1 tsp (grated)
Tomato - 2 (cut into small pieces)
Green chilli (chopped)
Cilantro (chopped)
Bay leaf
Cumin seed - 1/2 tsp
Coriander seed - 1/2 tsp (crushed)
Red chili powder  1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp
Water - 1/2 cup (hot/warm)

Add red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and turmeric powder in about 2 tbsp warm/hot water. Mix well and keep aside for use later.
Heat oil.
Fry potatoes on medium heat and keep aside.(Add a pinch of of salt and turmeric to the potato while frying).
In the hot oil, add bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon, clove and fry until it crackles. Next add cumin and crushed coriander seed and fry a little more.
Next add onion in it, add some salt and fry on medium heat. When the onions gets translucent, add ginger, garlic, green chili and fry till the onion gets brown.
Now add tomatoes, cover the pan and cook it on low flame allowing the tomatoes to melt. Stir it occasionally until  the mixture is well cooked.
Add the spice mixture into it and cook until oil oozes out.
Now add the mutton liver to it and cook well.
Add fried potatoes in it and continue frying.
Add hot/warm water, mix well, cover it and let it cook until the liver is well cooked.
Finally add ghee, sugar, garam masala and mix well. Check seasoning and add salt if required.
Garnish with cilantro.

Always mix spice powder in warm/hot water and keep it for a while. This enhances the flavor and color of the dish.

Jhinger Chapor-ghonto (ঝিঙে-র চাপড়ঘন্ট)

This dish brings back waves of memories from my childhood. I learnt this recipe from my maternal grandma (দিদা). My maternal grandma's place (মামাবাড়ি) is in a small town in North 24Parganas. I visited her for summer holidays every year when I was in school. It was a vacation I waited for all the year.

As a child I was quite mischievous! I played with my friends/cousins for the entire day, there was no studies, no scolding. My dida used iron pots (লোহার কড়াই) and clay stoves (উনুন) to cook. I helped her pickup dry leaves from trees in the backyard and then use them to fire up the stove for day's cooking. It was only at my dida's place that I saw this style of cooking & I was a part of that process; it intrigued me.I still cherish those days, they are memories that I hold very close to my heart.

Ridge gourd (ঝিঙে) - 4 or 5 (cut into small piece) (ডুমো করে কাটা)
Matar dal - 1/2 cup
Mustard seed - 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek/Methi seed - 1/4 tsp
Dry red chilli - 2
Cumin - 1 tsp (Dry roast and ground)
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/4 tsp

Soak the matar dal for 6-8 hours and then grind it to a thick paste Add some salt and sugar to it.
Heat some oil in a nonstick frying pan and make a thick pancake out of the matar dal paste.
Cook it on medium flame; it might look dry but no need to add any more oil.
Cook until both sides little brownish.
Once cooked, break the chapor into pieces and keep it aside.

Heat some more oil in the frying pan.
Add the mustard seeds, methi seeds, dry red chilli and fry it until crackles.
Add the ridge gourd pieces in it and fry it well. It will ooze out water.
Once the water dries out, add salt, sugar, cumin powder, coriander powder and mix it well.
You can add little more water if you need to cook the ridge gourd for some more time.
Add the chapor pieces now.
Finally add dry roast cumin powder, mix well and serve.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Kolai Dal with Shrimp

Kolai (কলাই) dal and alu-posto, this is a killer combination for ghoti's (like me).
Kolai  dal is my dad's favorite. Back at home, every Saturday we used to have only vegetarian food and this was a must have. Inevitably alu-posto was always served with kolai dal.

My dad loves kolai dal made in its purest form; perfectly boiled and "foron" (ফোড়ণ) with bay leaf, dry red chilli, fennel seeds and ginger paste. But I was bored with this usual preparation (that slurry liquid!).

When I came back to US last time, my mom-in-law packed in a small packet of kolai dal. I thought of trying this interesting recipe I have seen long back in a magazine. I kept it simple and did not go for too many spices. The result was really good. I am sure you will like it!

Kolai dal - 1 cup
Shrimp (I used the pre-cooked variety available in stores) - 1 cup
Onion (chopped) - 1 cup
Green chilli
Ginger paste - 1 tbsp
Dry red chilli

Boil kolai dal with a pinch of salt and turmeric.
Next rub in salt and turmeric with shrimp and keep aside.
In a pan heat oil
Add dry red chilli, green chilli and bayleaf
Add chopped onion and fry till it turns brown.
Add  the marinated shrimp in it and fry on high heat.
Next add ginger paste and keep frying until little oil oozes out.
Now add the boiled dal (add water if needed). We want the dal of a thick consistency.
Finally add ghee and green chilli, switch off the flame and keep covered for a while before serving.

I have used frozen cooked shrimp, so I thawed it for some time before using it. If you are using raw shrimp add it with onion in the beginning and fry it well.