Begun Bhaaja

Begun Bhaaja

From   India Unlimited

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Method: Easy

Course: Starter

Type: Bengali

Key Ingredients:

Almost every Bengali festive meal begins with this

Ingredients

  • Large eggplant (begun / bharta baingan) 1
  • Salt to taste
  • Turmeric powder ¾ tsp
  • Red chilli powder 1 tsp
  • Mustard oil 2 tbsps
  • Caraway seeds (shahi jeera) 2 tsps

Methods

  • Cut eggplant into thick slices and put them in a bowl. Sprinkle salt over them and toss and set aside for some time so that they leech out water.
  • Drain the water and put the slices in another bowl. Add turmeric powder, salt and red chilli powder and mix well so that all the slices are coated with the masala.
  • Heat mustard oil in a non-stick pan, place the slices in it and sprinkle caraway seeds over them. Shallow-fry, turning sides, till both sides are evenly cooked and turn golden.
  • Arrange them on a serving plate, garnish with onion rings and tomato chutney and serve immediately.
Beetroot Pachdi

Beetroot Pachdi

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Method: Easy

Course: Starter

Type: Bengali

Key Ingredients:

  • Beetroots
  • Scraped coconut

A refreshing side dish, it is flavourful and tasty too

Ingredients

  • Beetroots, peeled and grated 1 cup
  • Ginger, chopped 1 tsp
  • Green chilli 1
  • Dried red chillies 2
  • Cumin seeds ½ tsp
  • Mustard seeds ½ tsp
  • Curry leaves 4 to 5
  • Turmeric powder ½ tsp
  • Fresh coconut, scraped 1½ tbsps
  • Coconut oil 1½ tbsps
  • Yogurt 3 tbsps
  • Salt to taste

Methods

  • Heat a non-stick pan, add beetroot and a little water and cook for some time.
  • Put ginger, green chilli, red chillies, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, curry leaves, turmeric powder, coconut and a little water in a mixer jar and grind to a paste.
  • Add this paste to beetroot. Rinse the mixer jar with a little water and add it to the beetroot mixture and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Heat coconut oil in a small non-stick pan, add mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves and saute till the seeds splutter. Add this tempering to the beetroot pachdi and mix well.
  • Transfer into a bowl, add yogurt and salt and mix well. Serve.
Cherupayar Payasam

Cherupayar Payasam

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 35 minutes

Method: Easy

Course: Starter

Type: Bengali

Key Ingredients:

  • Split skinless green gram (dhuli moong dal)
  • Coconut milk
  • Jaggery

A must in the Onam menu, this is a dal payasam which the locals of Kerala love

Ingredients

  • Split skinless green grams (dhuli moong dal) 1 cup
  • Coconut milk 1 cup
  • Jaggery (gur), grated 3 tbsps
  • Ghee 2 tbsps
  • Green cardamom powder ½ tsp
  • Dried ginger powder (soonth) ½ tsp
  • Dried coconut, grated 1 tbsp
  • Cashewnuts 8
  • Coconut cream to drizzle

Methods

  • Melt jaggery in a non-stick pan with little bit of water.
  • Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a cooker and add split green gram and saute till it becomes golden brown.
  • Add 2 cups water, cover the cooker and cook under pressure till 3 whistles are given out.
  • Open the lid when the pressure reduces completely. Add jaggery syrup, cardamom powder and dried ginger powder and mix well. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add coconut milk and mix. Cook till it just comes to a boil. Switch off the heat.
  • Heat remaining ghee in a small non-stick pan, add dried coconut and cashewnuts and saute till they are golden. Put half of this mixture into the cooker and mix and cook till the payasam is semi-thick.
  • Transfer it into a serving bowl and garnish with sautéed coconut and cashewnuts and drizzle coconut cream.
Chicken Farcha

Chicken Farcha

Prep: 2 hours

Cook: 30 minutes

Method: Easy

Course: Starter

Type: Bengali

Key Ingredients:

  • Chicken drumsticks
  • Eggs
  • Breadcrumbs

A popular Parsi deep-fried chicken drumsticks

Ingredients

  • Chicken drumsticks 7 to 8
  • Red chilli paste 2 tbsps + 1 tsp
  • Browned onion paste 2 tbsps
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepper powder 1 pinch
  • Ginger paste 1 tsp
  • Garlic paste 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder 2 tsps
  • Cumin powder 1 tsp
  • Oil 3 tbsps + for deep frying
  • Lemon juice 1 tbsp
  • Fresh coriander leaves, chopped 2 tsps
  • Breadcrumbs 1 cup
  • Eggs 2

Methods

  • Make some incisions on the chicken drumsticks and put them in a bowl. Add 2 tbsps red chilli paste, 1 tbsp browned onion paste, salt, black pepper powder, ginger paste, garlic paste, coriander powder, cumin powder, 1½ tbsp oil and lemon juice and mix till all the drumsticks are well coated. Keep the bowl in the refrigerator to marinate for 2 hours.
  • Heat remaining oil in a deep non-stick pan, add remaining browned onion paste and remaining red chilli paste and saute till fragrant.
  • Add the marinated chicken drumsticks and a little water and mix well. Cover and cook till the gravy becomes thick, and the chicken is cooked.
  • Add some coriander leaves and turn off the gas.
  • Heat sufficient oil in a kadai.
  • Take breadcrumbs in a bowl and roll chicken drumsticks in it till they are well coated.
  • Take eggs in another bowl, add a little salt and whisk well. Dip the chicken drumsticks in whisked egg and deep fry till golden. Drain on absorbent paper.
  • Serve hot along with the gravy if any left.
Goshtaba

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Method: Moderate

Course: Starter

Type: Bengali

Key Ingredients:

  • Mutton mince (keema)

A popular Kashmiri mutton dish

Ingredients

  • Mutton mince (keema) 250 gms
  • Egg white 1
  • Salt to taste
  • Red chilli powder 1 tsp + to sprinkle
  • Black cardamom seeds ½ tsp
  • Mustard oi 1 tsp
  • Ghee 1½ tbsps
  • Browned onion paste 2 tbsps
  • Cumin seeds ½ tsp
  • Black pepper powder 1 tsp
  • Fennel powder 1 tsp
  • Cinnamon powder 1 tsp
  • Cloves, crushed ½ tsp
  • Black cardamom powder ½ tsp
  • Green cardamom powder ½ tsp
  • Coriander powder 1 tsp
  • Dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) powder 1 tsp
  • Yogurt, whisked 2 tbsps
  • Fresh coriander leaves, chopped 2
  • tsps

Methods

  • Take mutton keema in a bowl and add egg white, salt, red chilli powder, black cardamom seeds and mustard oil and mix properly.
  • Heat some ghee in a non-stick pan and add browned onion paste and cumin seeds and saute till fragrant. Add a little water and mix well.
  • Put black pepper powder, fennel powder, cinnamon powder, crushed cloves, black cardamom powder, green cardamom powder, coriander powder and dried fenugreek leaves powder on a muslin cloth, bring the edges together and tie it up like a potli. Dip this potli in the gravy.
  • Divide the mutton keema mixture into small equal portions and shape them into balls. Add them to the gravy and cook for 10-15 minutes on low heat.
  • Take out the muslin cloth potli and squeeze to extract the flavour and add to the gravy. Add salt and whisked yogurt and mix well.
  • Transfer into a serving bowl, garnish with coriander leaves and red chilli powder and serve hot.
Irachi Ishtew

Irachi Ishtew

Prep: 25 minutes

Cook: 20 minutes

Method: Easy

Course: Starter

Type: Bengali

Key Ingredients:

  • Boneless chicken
  • Coconut milk

Famous Kerala speciality – the combination of appam and ishtew is just too irresistible

Ingredients

  • Boneless chicken, cut into medium cubes 250 gms
  • Coconut oil 2 tbsps
  • Green cardamoms 6
  • Cloves 7 to 8
  • Black peppercorns 12 to 15
  • Star anise 3
  • Cinnamon 2 one-inch sticks one-inch sticks
  • Bay leaves 3
  • Fennel seeds 1 tsp
  • Medium onions, sliced 1½
  • Ginger, sliced 1 inch
  • Garlic cloves, sliced 4 to 5
  • Green chillies, chopped 3
  • Curry leaves 8 to 10
  • Salt to taste
  • Carrots, peeled and diced ¾ cup
  • Thin coconut milk 1 cup
  • Thick coconut milk ½ cup
  • Potatoes, peeled, cubed and deep fried 1 cup
  • Garam masala powder ½ tsp
  • Cumin powder ½ tsp
  • Dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) 1 tsp
  • Coconut cream 1 tbsp

Methods

  • Heat coconut oil in a deep non-stick pan and add green cardamom, cloves, black pepper corns, star anise, cinnamon, bay leaf, fennel seeds, onions, ginger, garlic, green chillies, curry leaves and salt and saute till fragrant.
  • Add carrot and chicken pieces and mix. Add water and thin extract of coconut milk and cook it for 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, add potato cubes and mix.
  • Mix together thick coconut milk, garam masala powder, cumin powder, salt and dried fenugreek leaves, add to the pan and mix well.
  • Add coconut cream and mix well. Transfer into a serving bowl and serve hot with appams.