Recipe — aloo-phulkopi bhaji

Posted in culture, food by jrahman on October 17, 2017


Heat couple of tablespoon of mustard oil, and fry couple of medium-sized potatoes cut into small cubes until they are golden brown.  Set aside.

In the same oil, throw in four (less if you aren’t Desi) dry red chillies, one teaspoon of whole cumin seed, and couple of bay leaves. Couple of minutes later, add a finely chopped medium-sized onion.  Fry till golden brown.

Add a medium-sized cauliflower chopped into very small florets.  Stir couple of times and add salt.  Reduce heat and saute for three minutes.  Add potatoes and peas.  Reduce heat to very low, and cook covered for a few minutes.

Uncover.  Check for salt.  Turn the heat high.  Stir fry until vegetables are browned.  Add three chopped spring onions before removing.

*Chitrita Banerjee, Bengali Cooking: seasons and festivals.


Heat two tablespoons of ghee.  Fry for a few seconds one and half teaspoon of white cumin seed, quarter teaspoon of black cumin seed, and half teaspoon black mustard seed.

Add one large potato cut into small cubes, and stir-fry for five minutes.

Add one teaspoon salt, one teaspoon chilli powder, one teaspoon turmeric powder, and one teaspoon coriander powder.

Add a medium cauliflower split into florets.

Stir to mix the ingredients well.  Add three tablespoon of whisked yogurt and simmer until vegetables are cooked.  A few minutes before ending, add one teaspoon of garam masala and one table spoon of fresh coriander leaves.

*Joyce Westrip, Moghul Cooking: India’s courtly cuisine.

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Recipe — goat rezala

Posted in culture, food, Uncategorized by jrahman on April 10, 2016

There appears to be a lot of variation in how people make rezala.  Mine is definitely not authentic as I tend to improvise a lot while cooking this, which these days is regrettably rare.  Back in the day, however, this had never failed.  Go ahead, give it a shot.


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Recipe – duck vindaloo

Posted in culture, food by jrahman on December 28, 2014

Apparently the Portuguese used pork, which for obvious reasons I have not tried.  But the British liked duck.  Not sure when and how the Sylhetis turned it into a beef dish, but I like duck.

Soak a dozen or so dried red chillies* in hot water for 20 minutes, then drain and then grind using a mortar-pestle (yes, you can use a food processor, but I like mortar-pestle).  Add a dozen or so black peppercorn, one teaspoon cumin seed, one tablespoon coriander seed, and half a teaspoon fennel seed to the grind.  Once you’ve ground all that to a paste, add one tablespoon tamarind water and one tablespoon white vinegar.  Keep grinding until the paste is very smooth.

Cut the bird into 2cm cubes.  Place the cubes in a wide, flat dish and evenly coat with the paste.  Scatter one decent sized cinnamon stick, three bay leaves, three star anise and six cloves.  Stir really well.  Set aside for at least an hour, longer if possible.

Fry couple of medium-sized onions, chopped, in four table spoons of mustard oil in a heavy based pan.  Add the marinated bird cubes and cook over high heat, stirring constantly, for three minutes or so.  Add water to barely cover, salt and jaggery to taste, cover, and cook in low heat until cubes are meltingly tender.


*Use more if you want to turn up the heat, keeping in mind that the spices interact in a non-linear way in this dish.

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Recipe — okra

Posted in culture, food by jrahman on November 19, 2013

Need succulent, greenish okra.  Cut the stem.  Put it in hot oil, with sliced onion, green chili, and salt.  Stir.  Cover until cooked.

Simple.  And delicious.

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Recipe — pulao

Posted in culture, food by jrahman on January 23, 2013

Not the way any of the women in my life does it, but Chitrita Banerji* says this is the Bengali way.  And this is what I cook.

Wash 500 gram of basmati rice thoroughly and let it rinse in a colander.

Heat 120 ml ghee in a large pot and add four cloves, four cardamoms, and four 2.5cm sticks of cinnamon.  Add two teaspoons of ginger pastes.  Stir a couple of times and pour 1.7 litre of heated water.  Add salt to taste, cover and bring to boil.  As the water boils up, add the rice and stir for a minute.  Add two table spoon of keora water and stir.

Cover the pot tightly, put the heat to the lowest possible, and cook for 20 minutes.  After that, remove the pot from the stove, but keep it covered for another 20-25 minutes.

Serve with bereshta.

Bengali Cooking: Seasons and Festivals by Chitrita Banerji.

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Seven trashes collected by the senses.  Well, bonus holiday edition of 20 trashes.


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Posted in culture, food, labour, macro, Rights, society, trade, TV by jrahman on September 7, 2012

Seven trashes collected by the senses.


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Recipe — potato

Posted in culture, food by jrahman on September 6, 2012

This was cooked on the Eid day. 

– Cut a kilo medium sized potatos into two to four pieces (each piece should be about one square inch).  Microwave for a few minutes.

– Heat oil.  Throw in a few cinnamon sticks.  Once the fragrance is strong, add four coarsely chopped medium sized tomato.  Add salt and stir for couple of minutes. 

– Add two table spoon each of cumin powder and ginger paste, and some tumeric (as usual, how much depends on how strongly you feel about yellowish fingers). 

– After the gravy starts to form, throw in the potatoes, lower heat, and cook covered. 

This can be eaten with rice and daal, or luchi / paratha, or (as was done on the Eid day) pulao.

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Recipe — goat curry without onion and garlic

Posted in culture, food by jrahman on July 16, 2012

Ramadan is coming, which means onion is about to become expensive.  You want to have that peyaju for iftaar, but worry about having no money for the solid serving of gosht on the Eid day?

I’ve got just the thing for you over the fold.


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Recipe — daal

Posted in culture, food by jrahman on May 28, 2012

I’ve been thinking about linearity in cooking.  Suppose you want to cook one kg meat. 

Suppose the recipe says you need two onions.  Does it mean, for 500g you need one onion, and for two kg you need four?  If so, we have a recipe where the meat is homogenous to degree 1 in onion. 

What food items are HD 1 in all ingredients?  Over what ranges?  What food items exhibit returns to scale — that is, you don’t need proportionately as many onions as you vary the quantity?  Does it vary systematically between, say, Deshi and French food?   Don’t even get me started on quasi-concavity.

I wonder if anyone has written on this. 

Anyway, let me tell you how to cook red lentil — moshur daal in Bangla

The simple way

Wash some daal — red lentil needs to be washed very, very carefully — and microwave it in water with turmeric and salt until it boils.  How much turmeric and how much water?  Depends on how strongly you care about your fingers (assuming you eat with finger) and how ‘watery’ you want the final product to be.  While it’s boiling, fry some onion and garlic — ratio of one medium sized onion to one clove of garlic — in mustard oil.  Put them in boiling daal.  Just before the boiling finishes, put some fresh coriander and sliced green chili

The simpler way

Wash the daal.  Microwave it with water and salt.  Add some ghee and sliced green chili after it has boiled.

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