By Toshali Mandal
For gastronomes, there is no epicurean boundary. They relish every bit of what is on the platter that is served with love. Food is the uniting factor and brings people from different creed, culture and region together. In fact, “Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.” So this week, we present three Indian recipes, including two quintessentially Bengali dishes, to add variety to your Sunday menu. Have a sumptuous meal.
Mixed Vegetable Curry
2 tablespoons of oil; 12 cubes of paneer/cottage cheese; 1 potato, chopped; 1 onion, chopped; ½ carrot, chopped; ½ cup cauliflower florets; 4 beans, chopped; ¼ cup peas; ¼ capsicum, chopped; 2 tomatoes, chopped; 1 inch cinnamon; 5 cloves; 2 pods of cardamoms; 1 bay leaf; 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds; 2 teaspoons of kasuri methi; 1 green chilli; 1 red chilli; 1 teaspoon of ginger-garlic paste; ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder;1 teaspoon of red chilli powder; 1 teaspoon of coriander powder; 1 teaspoon of cumin powder; ½ teaspoon of garam masala powder; 1 teaspoon of black pepper powder; salt and sugar for taste; ½ cup curd, whisked; ½ cup water; 2 tablespoons of cream/malai; 2 tablespoons of coriander leaves, finely chopped.
Heat oil in a kadai and sauté the spices. Sauté onion and the ginger-garlic paste. Further add spices, salt and sugar. Sauté well. Add tomato puree and cook well. Add whisked curd and stir continuously. Now, add roasted vegetables and mix well. Add half cup of water and cook for another 10 minutes. Turn off the flame and add cream, kasuri methi and coriander. Mix well. Serve the mixed vegetable curry with hot rotis, parathas or rice.
Parwal/Pointed Gourd with Prawns
10-12 pointed gourds, scraped and chopped into roundels; 1 potato, cubed; 2 onions, chopped; 1 tomato, chopped; 1/2 cup prawns, deveined and cleaned; 3-4 tablespoons of mustard oil; 1” cinnamon stick; 2-3 green cardamoms; 4-5 cloves; 2 bay leaves; 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds; 1 tablespoon of ginger-garlic paste; 1 teaspoon of cumin powder; 1/2 teaspoon of coriander powder; 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder; 2-3 fresh green chillies, slit; 1 teaspoon of red chilli powder; 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper powder; 1 teaspoon of ghee; 1 teaspoon of coriander leaves, chopped; 1 teaspoon of garam masala powder; salt and sugar to taste.
Heat oil in a kadai and fry the prawns till golden brown. Drain the oil and keep the prawns aside. In the same oil, fry potato and pointed gourd separately till light brown. Keep aside. Heat the remaining oil and temper with bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamoms, cloves and cumin seeds. Sauté for a few seconds. Add the onions and fry till translucent. Then add the ginger-garlic paste and sauté till the raw smell vanishes. Add the tomatoes and cook till soft. Add cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and black pepper powder mixed with 1/4 cup of water. Sauté till the oil separates. Now add the fried pointed gourds, potatoes, prawns, slit green chillies, salt and sugar. Mix everything well and stir fry for two minutes. Add two cups of water and simmer, covered on a low flame till the gravy thickens and the vegetable turns soft. Now, add garam masala powder. Cover and cook for another two minutes. When done, add ghee and mix well. Switch off the flame. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with steamed rice or chapati.
Dudh Lau or Bottle Gourd with Milk
5 cups of chopped bottle gourd; 1 cup milk; 1-2 bay leaves; 1/2 teaspoon of cumin seeds; 2 green chillies; 1 dry red chilli; 1/4 teaspoon of red chilli powder; 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper powder; salt and sugar to taste; mustard oil; 1 tablespoon of ghee; a handful of dry lentil balls, popularly known as ‘bori’ in Bengali.
Heat oil in a kadhai. Add the lentil balls. Fry till golden brown in colour. Take them out of the kadai and keep them aside. Add more oil if required. Then add bay leaf and kala jeera. Once it starts sizzling, add the green chillies, dry red chilli and the bottle gourd. Cover and cook on low flame. Add salt, sugar, red chilli powder and black pepper powder and mix well. Then add the milk and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for another five minutes till it gets soft. Add the dry lentil balls. Mix well. Switch off the flame and add ghee. Serve with steamed rice.
(The author is a food blogger. You can follow her on https://toshaliscookbook.blogspot.com/ )