Bengali cuisine for me is more than the roshogollas and Sandesh. As a staunch vegetarian, it means Ghugni, Rasamalai (my fav!!) and Begun Bhaja and the ubiquitous Kichuri of course ! Our team member Sujata Roy has suggested Bengali cuisine this week for #foodiemondaybloghop and I had bookmarked two dishes that I had eaten as a combo during my stay at a friend’s house at Kolkata a few years ago. Along with Bengali cuisine, Sujata also has some wonderful and healthy bakes on her blog and that always has me in awe 🙂
Panchphoron (a mix of 5 spices) is a lifeline ingredient as is mustard oil. I had the former but not the latter. And as much as I wanted to make a slightly larger spread, last week had been hectic and this week the summer vacations officially begin for the kids, which leaves very little time for myself .
This Combo Meal from Bengal today – Niramish Kichuri with Alu Phulkopir Bhaja (Vegan and GF) is very low on fat, but high on nutrition and protein. Without much ado, let’s begin to make this. I made just one portion of each for myself , but the quantities can be easily doubled / tripled. For the quantities below, a child and an adult can easily finish their lunch so plan accordingly.
A) Niramish Kichuri – Niramish in Bengali means without any meat. This Kichuri is light on the stomach and perfect for Summery days like these when you don’t want to be spending hours in the kitchen. Govindobhog rice is primarily used here, but Basmati is recommended as a substitute. Its a quick & great meal to put together for bachelors too !
You would need:
Spilt yellow dal – 1/4 cup
Soaked govindabhog / basmati rice -2/3 cup
Veggies – 1/2 cup (I used 1 carrot, 6-8 french beans and a handful of fresh green peas)
Tomato – 1 (I didn’t add)
Oil – 1 tsp
Cumin powder – 1/3 tsp
Ghee – 1 tbsp (skip for vegan , I didn’t add)
Ginger – 1 inch , cut into juliennes
Tempering -cumin seeds, broken green chillies, Bay leaf, Kalonji (onion seeds)
Salt to taste
Turmeric – 1/8 tsp
Soak the rice and dal separately for 20-30 mins . In a pan, add the soaked dal along with water, turmeric, veggies , ginger and 2 cups of water and let it Cook till the veggies are 80% done and the dal is cooked fully. Don’t add any salt while the dal is cooking, it will slow down the process (a pressure cooker is NOT recommended for this dish).
Meanwhile par boil the rice with a pinch of salt till 80% done
While the dal has cooked, add the parboiled basmati rice and a little more water 1/4 cup and let the rice and dal cook fully.
In a tempering pan, add the ghee and oil. Splitter cumin seeds, split green and red chillies and bay leaf, switch off and add cumin powder along with a tsp of water so the spices don’t burn. Add this tempering to the khichdi along with salt now to taste, mix well. Serve hot with papad or any fry sauté. I served it with Alu phulkopir bhaja
B) Alu phulkopir bhaja – serves 1
Cauliflower florets – medium – 1/2 cup
One medium potato – peeled and cubed
Oil – 1 tsp
Panchphoron- 1/2 tsp
Onions -1/2 medium (sliced thin) – optional
Salt – to taste
Turmeric -1/8 tsp
Par boil potato and cauliflower separately with little water and a pinch of salt and turmeric (I microwaved them for 4 mins each)
In a pan, add oil and temper with 1 slit green chilli and panchphoron. Sauté the onions till slightly translucent.
Add the par boiled veggies, salt & sprinkle 2-3 tsp of water. Cook covered till veggies are soft. Serve with Luchi (Bengali puffed breads) or any bhaat and dal