Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tomato Curry

Tomato CurryI have often eaten tomato chutneys and pickles but never an all tomato curry. This is a nice curry on the table for when you have a dry meat/fish, and vegetable on the side. Its also great when you have both vegetarians and non vegetarians over for a meal and don't want two curries on the table.

1. Grate 6 medium tomatoes, or blanch and peel and chop them up small.
2. Heat a tablespoon of oil. When hot add 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds and 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
3. When they crackle add 2 slit green chillies, 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped ginger, a few curry leaves and 2-3 finely chopped small red onions. Stir
4. Add the grated tomato and stir.
5. Put a pinch of turmeric, 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder, 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder, 1/4 teaspoon garam masala in a little water and make a paste. Add this paste to the cooking tomatoes. Add salt to taste.
6. Simmer and cover and stir occasionally. When the oil leaves the masala, add 2 tablespoons of coconut milk mixed with 1/2 a cup of water. Bring to a boil, simmer till gravy is of the desired consistency.

Tastes great with plain boiled rice and fried fish !

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bhindi Masala/ Spicy Okra

Bhindi Masala, Spicy OkraI have a new found love for bhindi, a vegetable I mostly ignored in the past and now quite like. Here's a simple way to make it as I learned recently from Lizy, my sister in law.

Wash the bhindi whole and wipe dry with a clean cloth. Chop.
Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1 teaspoon red chilli powder or 1/2 teaspoon if you desire less spice, 1/2 teaspoon Amchur (dry mango powder). Set aside for 15-20 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil. When hot add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds or mustard seeds and let them crackle. Add one slit green chilli. Add the bhindi and fry. Keep stirring frequently on a medium- high flame. The vegetable becomes sticky initially and you have to keep frying it evenly till it goes, and the bhindi cooks and lightly browns. I cook it till the stickiness leaves and the bhindi is only slightly browned but not too crisp, as I like the bright green colour to remain. We ate this today with red rice and tomato curry.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Black Pottery from Nagaland

Black pottery from NagalandI've cooked a few dishes in this beautiful black pottery vessel made of clay and stone. The clay pot is unique to Manipur and Nagaland where this age old tradition of making black pottery is still being practiced by some communities. Serpentine and weather rock is mixed in the ratio of 3:2 to make the clay for this hand moulded pottery and it is heated for over 10 hours before giving it the rich black colour which comes from a local plant called Chiron-na. The pot retains heat very efficiently and the food gets a lovely smoky earthy taste to it too.

At the Dastakar Nature Bazaar fair in Bangalore I bought another small sized pot in a similar shape and was lucky to meet N.A Shimray who runs a shop in Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi called NORTHEASTERN where she sells this beautiful pottery and Naga bead jewellery.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Green Mango Chutney, Bengali recipe

raw mango chutney, bengali recipeIts easy to make this green mango chutney, which is almost curry like. We made this almost every day during the hot and humid Delhi summer days while I was there. This tasty and tangy chutney goes well with practically every Indian meal.
2 green mangoes
pinch of asafatida
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 teaspoon paanch phoran ( bengali 5 spice)
1 bay leaf
pinch of sugar
salt to taste


1. Peel and slice the raw mangoes, keep the seeds, slice the fruit
2. Add 2 cups of water and boil mango slices and the seeds together till slices are softened.
3. In a teaspoon of oil, splutter the paanch phoran, bay leaf, add the turmeric and red chilli powder
4. Add the pinch of sugar and salt to taste.

Chitra Ghose's Bengali Food

Chitra GhoseMeet Chitra Ghose, one of Delhi's renowned Bengali food caterers who also happens to consult with the ITC group for their Bengali cuisine. She made a fabulous meal for me recently in Delhi and while I don't have the recipes with me I thought I should feature some of the things I ate.

That evening she made small karelas fried with onions and very little masala, Lau Bori ( Lauki with urad dal baris), baked bekti with mustard sauce, Moori Ghonto (fish head); all this eaten withsteaming hot plain rice. We ended the meal with delicious mishti dohi from C R park market.

To order food from Chitra Ghose, you can contact her at
Tel: 011 29240213, or Mobile: 98106 78663

Fish Head, Moori Ghonto

Fish Head

Baked Bekti with Mustard Sauce

Baked Bekti with mustard sauce

Lauki with Baris, Lau Bori

Lauki cooked with Baris