Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Aloo Bhaja , Baigan Bhaja and Spring Onion Pulav - Book Review

This is a very interesting post. It's about book review by fellow blogger  Rinku Bhattacharya who blogs at Spice Chronicles. She has few books already published and when she got this one out, The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles, she asked me if I can review her book and I was always fascinated by Bengali cuisine, well who is not, who can say no to Spongy rosogulla or  soft sondesh. And everyone loved their Bhaja so I grabbed that opportunity and here I am. There are a lot of vegetarian options and I was so confused about what to make and finally, I decide to do three dishes which can be served as a diner.

I made Aloo Bhaja ( means fried Potatoes) Bhaja means fried, Fried Eggplant and  Spring onion pulav. In her book, she explains everything in details so you can understand the history and culture of Bengali cuisine too. I know about bhaja but the spring onion pulav was something new for me. I was little hesitant to make that not knowing how it will turn out but the flavor was amazing. You never know that garam masala and other spices go this well together. In the future, I will prepare a few more dishes from this book that's for sure. In these recipes, you have to use mustard oil for the authentic taste.

Ingredients for Aloo Bhaja

2 large potatoes
1/2 Tsp Turmeric
Oil for deep frying or shallow frying, whatever you choose, I did shallow fry.
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp Rice flour - it is not in the book but I like the crispness of the flour and masala don't get burnt.


Peel the potatoes and cut in half and then cut into thin matchstick sizes.

Wash thoroughly in plenty of water. Dry the potatoes. and rub them in salt, pepper and turmeric and rice flour mixture.

Heat some oil in a pan. Fry the potatoes till they are done and make sure it's not burnt.

Ingredients for Bhaigan Bhaja (Eggplant Fry)

4 Medium eggplant
1 Tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp salt or as per taste
1 tbsp Rice flour
Mustard oil for deep/shallow fry

Method :

Cut the eggplant into rings.  Roll them into masala.

Heat oil in a pan, add eggplant in the oil and fry for about 2 minutes on each side. Don't overcrowd the pan, finish eggplants in batches.

When it's done, take it out on paper towels to remove excess oil.

Spring onion Pulav - Ingredients : 

1 tbsp. Ghee
1 cup chopped spring onions
1 cup of rice
1 tsp garam masala
2 or 3 whole bay leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar

Method : 

Heat the ghee in a pan, add the onion and cook till its soft.

Add the garam masala, bay leaves, turmeric, salt, sugar, rice.

Mix it nicely. add enough water to cook the rice.

Bring to a boil and then cook covered on low heat for 20 minutes.

Shut off the heat and let this rest for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork.

Serve hot with any curry dish but I made a meal out of my bhaja.

Her book

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Halal Cart Style Falafel Over Rice

If you are from New York and nearby areas, you know that NYC is full of food carts, serving different kinds of food, from hot dogs to Dosa, to falafel to Biryani to BBQ to desserts to Empanadas, you can find anything and everything there. But my favorite is Falafel carts, even you are not eating there and just passing by, the fragrance of food craves you to just stop and have it. I love to eat this whenever I get a chance to. For some people it's not hygienic, some it's religious issues, some you are in another part of the world where that is not possible so why not to make it at home and enjoy it. You can make falafel by frying or just baked, it's your choice. Just make rice and sauces and salad and you are all set.

Ingredients : 

Authentic Falafel Balls - Fried

Baked Falafel Balls

For Rice : 

1 cup Rice
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cumin
2 and a half cups Vegetable Broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For White Sauce : 

1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp sugar
1tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped parsley/cilantro/dill leaves
Salt and pepper as per taste

In a bowl, combine mayo, yogurt, sugar, lemon juice, greens, and black pepper. Whisk to combine all the ingredients and add the salt as per the taste.

For Hot Sauce 

5-6 dried red chilies
1 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tsp olive oil
salt to taste
2 cloves garlic

Mix it with little water in a blender until it gets sauce consistency

To serve : 

Lettuce leaves chopped
 red onions, cucumber, Tomatoes

Method :

Cooked the falafel with your preferred method.

For rice, melt the butter in the pan, add turmeric and cumin and mix it in the butter. add the rice and stir to coat. Toast the rice while continuously stirring.

Add Vegetable broth, season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat and bring it to boil. Once its boil, lower the flame and cover and let it simmer and cook for 15 minutes without touching.

Check after 15 minutes, if its still not done , add little water and cook it.

Remove from the heat and let it cool.

To serve , in a bowl, make one layer of rice, spread falafel bowl over the rice. On one side of the dish , put all the salad ingredients and drizzle both sauces on top of it. enjoy the NYC food at your home.

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