Poila Boisakh – A time to celebrate, reflect and eat some Kacchi Biryani

Festivals to many people entail many things, but for a true blue Bengali girl like me, festivals are synonymous with family, traditions and food. Growing up, my family ensured that each festival or parbon as we call them is celebrated with dedicated fervour. Noboborsho, or the Bengali New year, holds a special place in every Bengalis heart, it is yet another opportunity to enjoy, usher in the good times with family and friends over new clothes, elaborate meals and lots of adda. Bengalis and their bhuri bhoj is world famous and we don’t leave any stone unturned when it comes to merrymaking.

Just like every year, our plans for Poila Boisakh revolve around food and festivities. As a mother to a 8 year old, I have to ensure that these occasions are celebrated with much fanfare so it creates lifelong memories, which he can carry along in his heart forvever. A typical Poila Boisakh morning, would entail a visit to the temple, donned in new traditional attires, cooking up delicacies in my kitchen, gorging on mishtis and being with family and friends.

Now, coming to food. While quintessentially, dishes like Chingri Malaikari, Kosha Mangsho, Pulao would be a part of the Poila Boisakh menu, one cannot ignore the the perennial love we Bengalis have for Biryanis! Give us a plate of Biryani along with the meat and the potato, we are set and elated. There is this particular Kacchi Biryani – the Dhakai version that Maa makes and I can never get enough of it. With time , I have also struggled to kind of master the art of making this dish and is very happy to share it with my readers here.

A Dhakai Kacchi Biryani is different from the rest of the lot as the here the raw marinated meat is cooked along with the rice in a concoction of flavours. The key is to get the right balance of spices, not too spicy, not to bland, just right with succulent pieces of meat and potatoes. A perfect recipe to bond over with friends and family.

However, no celebration is perfect without a clean home and kitchen. Since the kitchen is the humdrum of activities  during Poila Boisakh, hygiene is of utmost importance. With a young kid at home, I cant help but being hyper when it comes to cleanliness. The advent of summers mean pests and cockroaches and the only sure shot way to get rid of it is to use Godrej Lal Hit.  A premium product from Godrej to keep cockroaches at bay. Its long nozzle ensures that it reaches every nook and corner of your kitchen. Personally, I have been using this product for a while now and I seriously cant complain.

So there! Have the happiest Poila Boisakh, cook up a storm, enjoy the mishtis and have a great time with friends and family without compromising on cleanliness and hygiene. Cherish old memories, call up your loved ones and make some new traditions.

kacchi biryani 1

 

Dhakai Kacchi Biryani
Author: 
Recipe type: Biryani
Cuisine: Bangladeshi
 
A flourful one pot dhakai biryani.
Ingredients
  • Ingredients:
  • For the biryani masala:
  • Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tbsp
  • Dry red chillies - 5-6 nos ( adjust according to taste)
  • Nutmeg ( Jaiphal) - half a piece
  • Mace (Javitri) - 2 pieces
  • Green Cardamom - 3-4 nos
  • Cinnamon - 2 small sticks
  • Cloves - 5-6 nos
  • Other ingredients required:
  • Basmati Rice - 2 cups
  • Mutton - half kg ( good quality and fresh. Can use boneless cubes too )
  • Brown onion slices - 4 tbsp + 1 tbsp ( for this just slice up two big onions and fry till golden brown in refined oil or ghee) Also ensure that you keep the leftover oil or ghee.
  • Yogurt - 1 cup
  • Garlic paste - 1tbsp
  • Ginger paste - 1 tbsp
  • Potatoes - 2 medium sized ( parboiled and fried till light brown in colour)
  • Kewra essence (screwpine) - 1 tsp
  • Salt - for marinating the mutton and while boiling the rice.
  • Atta dough - a small ball of dough made of wheat required for sealing the handi/pan in which the biryani will be cooked.
Instructions
  1. Method:
  2. STEP ONE
  3. Dry roast all the ingredients listed under 'Biryani Masala' and grind into a fine powder.
  4. Please be careful not to burn the spices. This 'is 'the most important ingredients of the biryani.
  5. STEP TWO
  6. Wash and clean the mutton. Marinate with 2 tbsp salt and keep aside for half an hour.
  7. After half and hour wash the mutton once more and keep.
  8. Now add the yogurt , ginger paste, garlic paste , 4 tbsp brown onion slices and the biryani masala. Mix it very well and gently too.
  9. Cover this mixture with a cling film and let it marinate overnight.
  10. STEP THREE
  11. Take 2 cups of good quality basmati rice. Wash it under running water , drain and keep aside.
  12. In a big saucepan add water. Once the water starts to boil add 2 tbsp salt and few whole cardamom , cloves and cinnamon.
  13. Next add the rice and let it boil till the rice is almost half done.
  14. Strain the rice and spread it out on a flat surface.
  15. STEP FOUR
  16. Now is probably the easiest part and the last step' assembling' before you can devour this sinful biryani.
  17. Take a handi or a saucepan (make sure it has a proper lid) and brush it with a little ghee.
  18. We will make the first layer with rice and then the mutton.
  19. First rice,then the marinated mutton and fried potatoes , then rice and then mutton again. Finally top it up with the remaining rice. Sprinkle the remaining brown onion slices and the kewra essence on top. Close the lid tightly of the handi and seal it with the dough
  20. Now the final task is to put this on dum or slow cooking as we say. For the mutton to be fully cooked this has to be put on heat for at least an hour. So to prevent it from burning I always put the handi on a tawa/skillet and not directly.
  21. Now forget about it for an hour and then when you break open that seal - simply divine!!
 

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Pan Fried Chicken Tikkas

Nothing like quick fix recipes. Recipes that however do not compromise on taste and freshness! My endeavour is to share with my readers, recipes that don’t need you to slog it out in the kitchen. Well, of course there are some dishes that have no shortcut but for the rest if there is a way, then why not?! With the dreaded summers fast approaching, we all like to keep it simple and easy. This Pan Fried Chicken Tikka recipe is perfect to make. Only requires a good marination and quicky fry. They could even be made in the oven.

panfried chicken tikkas 1

A perfect accompaniment to go with drinks for an evening with friends. With the cricket season on, I am sure all of us are having  lot of sessions bonding with friends. Make this for you next adda and wow your guests. Serve with a simple green salad, a fresh raita, some green chutney and a squirt of lime!

panfried chicken

Pan Fried Chicken Tikkas
Author: 
Recipe type: Starters , Snacks
Cuisine: Indian
 
Super easy , chicken tikkas
Ingredients
  • Boneless chicken - 250 gms- cut into chunks - If possible use a mix of breast and thigh pieces.
  • Curd / Yogurt - 2 tbsp.
  • Ginger - Garlic paste - 1 tbsp.
  • Kashmiri red chili powder - 1tbsp
  • Besan/ chick pea flour - 1 tbsp
  • Garam Masala powder - 1 tbsp.
  • Salt - to taste
  • Lime juice - 1 tbsp.
  • Ghee - 1 tsp
  • Refined oil - 1 tsp
Instructions
  1. Mix the chicken cubes with all the above mentioned ingredients except the refined oil.
  2. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for atleast 4 hrs or even overnight.
  3. In a non stick pan, heat the refined oil.
  4. Add the chicken pieces along with the marinade.
  5. Cover and let it cook. This will take around 15-20 mins.
  6. Once the water has all dried up and chicken cooked through.
  7. Remove from heat and serve with salad and raita.
  8. You can also string the pieces on a wooden skewer before serving.
 

Paneer Pasanda

How much can you do with Paneer?! Well , you never know. Personally I find it very difficult to infuse flavours into paneer. Somehow my bhurjis always remain bland and tasteless. For gravies, most of the times I resort to a tomato based gravy so as to salvage the dish. This dish too, is a tomato – cashew infused gravy, with stuffed pan fried paneer triangles. It turned out nice , so I had to share it with you all.

paneer pasanda mainEveryday cooking can sometime get on to your nerves. Even for someone like me, who enjoys her time in the kitchen, it gets a tad overwhelming. With the onset of the dreaded summer, even more. What I like to do is make easy recipes , that doesn’t compromise on taste. This gravy can easily be frozen for few days, and used as and when required.

paneer pasanda 1

5.0 from 1 reviews
Paneer Pasanda
Author: 
Recipe type: Main course
Cuisine: Indian
 
A rich gravy dish that goes well with rice/naan/roti
Ingredients
  • Paneer - 200 gms - cut into triangles and then halved
  • Tomato paste - 1 large - blanch tomatoes and make into a paste
  • Tomato puree - 2 tbsp.
  • Cashew paste - 2 tbsp. + 1 tbsp.
  • Raisin paste - 1 tsp - blend raisins into a paste
  • Garam masala - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Sugar - a pinch
  • Ginger paste - 1 tsp
  • Kashmiri red chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Warm water - 1 cup
  • Ghee - 1 tbsp.
  • Refined oil - 1 tbsp.
  • Fresh cream- for garnish
  • Fresh green/red chilies - for garnish
  • Fresh coriander - chopped for garnish
Instructions
  1. Cut the paneer into triangles and slit them into half lengthwise.
  2. Make a paste of 1 tbsp. cashew paste, raisin paste and a little salt.
  3. Stuff the mixture inside two slices of paneer.
  4. In a non stick pan , heat 1 tbsp. refined all.
  5. Shallow fry the paneer triangles, till gilden in colour.
  6. Drain and keep aside.
  7. In another pan, heat the ghee.
  8. Add the garam masala powder.
  9. Next add the tomato paste and fry till fragrant,
  10. Once the tomato paste has cooked through, add the tomato puree, cashew paste, red chili powder, salt and sugar.
  11. Give a good mix, cook the masalas for 3-5 mins. Add a cup of warm water and let the gravy simmer.
  12. Once it thickens up, turn off the heat.
  13. In a serving dish, lay the fried paneer traingles.
  14. Pour the hot gravy on top.
  15. Garnish with fresh cream, chilies and coriander.
  16. Your dish is ready to be served.
 

Oats Aloo Tikki Chaat

Spring hardly showed up and summer is already here! I cant even bear to think how I am going to cope up with Calcutta summers. Random rantings ! But one thing I know is that I am going to rustle up a lot of yogurt based dishes to keep us cool all along. This Oats Aloo Tikki Chaat is a healthier spin on your regular tikkis. With the goodness of oats incorporated into this dish you wont feel as much guilty indulging into your favourite chaat. Also I have shallow fried the tikkis, so a little more solace there.

aloo tikki chaat 1Theres not really much to this recipe. You just need to put together the cutlets and then serve it along with your favourite condiments. I used the staple tamarind chutney, pudina chutney and some bhujias for crispiness.

aloo tikki chaat

Oats Aloo Tikki Chaat
Author: 
Recipe type: snacks
Cuisine: Indian
 
spicy tangy tasty aloo tikki chaat
Ingredients
  • Potatoes - 1 large - boiled and mashed
  • Brown bread slices - 2 slices
  • Oats - 1 cup - soaked in warm water for 15 mins - drain the water after 15 mins and keep aside
  • Refined oil - 2 tbsp.
  • Yogurt - 1 cup
  • Tamarind chutney - few tbsp.
  • Pudina chutney - few tbsp.
  • Fresh coriander - chopped - a handful
  • Roasted cumin powder - 1 tbsp. + 1 tbsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Sugar - a pinch
  • Bhujia /sev- a handful - for garnish
Instructions
  1. First the tikkis:
  2. Mash together boiled potato, brown bread slices and soaked oats.
  3. Season with salt and roasted cumin powder.
  4. Roll out into small cutlets, the size of tikkis.
  5. Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the tikkis, till brown in colour.
  6. Take them out of the pan and keep on a kitchen towel.
  7. Next prepare the yogurt.
  8. In a bowl take the yogurt, add a little water to thin it out.
  9. Season with salt, sugar and roasted cumin powder.
  10. You can also add chopped green chilis.
  11. To serve:
  12. Place the tikkis in serving plate.
  13. Pour the yogurt mixture on top.
  14. Add the tamarind chutney,pudina chutney ,fresh coriander .
  15. Garnish with bhujia/sev and serve.
 

Mutton Galawati Kebab

So the husband is a huge meat lover and kebabs is something we both enjoy. This particular recipe has been on my do list for a while now. I scoured the net for recipes and then developed this easy version that tastes almost like the real ones. The thing is when you eat a particular dish many times, there is a lingering taste that remains and those taste help you develop the recipe in your home kitchen. Sometimes more than following a recipe to the T its best you go with instincts, it works I tell you. Atleast with me , except baking , instincts work best!

galawati main

Like most of the recipes asked to use dessicated coconut, but I skipped that and it worked for this recipe. Just ensure that the mutton mince is fresh and tender. The softness of the kebabs depend on that. Also don’t skimp on the ghee part, its essential to the recipe!

galawati

 

Mutton Galawati Kebab
Author: 
Recipe type: Starters
Cuisine: Awadhi - Indian
 
Succulent mutton kebabs that go well with parathas
Ingredients
  • Mutton mince - 500 gms
  • Onion - 1 larrge - finely sliced - deep fried in oil and made into a paste
  • Poopy seed paste - 2 tbsp.
  • Besan/gram flour - 2 tbsp - dry roasted in a pan
  • Salt - to taste
  • Ghee - 2 tbsp
  • Refined oil - 1 tbsp
  • Egg - 1
  • To be made into a dry powder:
  • Green cardamom - 1tsp
  • Cinnamon - 1 small stick
  • Cloves - 1 tsp
  • Mace - 1 tsp- 1 whole - roughly crushed
  • Dry red chilis - 5-6
  • Black peppercorns - 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1tsp
  • Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
Instructions
  1. In a blender , put the mutton mince , dry masala powder,poppy seed paste,fried onion paste , pulse in the mixture till very smooth.
  2. Take the mix out in a bowl. Add the egg, dry roasted gram flour and salt. Mix it all up preferably with your hands.
  3. Keep the mixture in the fridge for half an hour.
  4. Heat oil in a hard bottomed pan.
  5. Make small patties out of the mutton mixture and lay it on the pan.
  6. Fry till golden on each side.
  7. Serve with mini parathas, green salad and yoghurt.