The Following recipes are taken from "The Healthy Cuisine of India: Recipes from the Bengal Region" by Bharti Kirchner.

Phulcopi Bhapa


`` A Dish to make on a day you are in a hurry. You simply combine the ingredients and steam them, cutting the cauliflower into larger pieces than the potatoes so they cook in the same amount of time. Your guests will thank you for having toiled over the stove for hours.''

1 Tbs. ground cumin
1 Tbs. ground corriander
2 Tbs. water
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. peeled fresh ginger, grated or made into a paste
1 tsp. seeded, chopped fresh green chilli (or to taste)
2 Tbs. mustard oil
4 cups cauliflower, cut into florets 1 1/2 inches in diameter
1/2 lb. (1/4 kg) peeled potatoes (about 2 medium), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup chopped tomatoes (4 Roma or 2 regular)
1/4 cup water
1 bay leaf

  1. Combine cumin and corriander with 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl. Add sugar, salt, ginger and green chilli. Add oil and mix well. Combine cauliflower, potatoes and tomatoes in a large bowl. Pour the spice mixture over the vegetables and mix thoroughly.
  2. Heat the water in a non-stick skillet at least 10 inches in diameter. As soon as it comes to boil add bay leaf and vegetable mixture. (You do not need to stir.) Simmer, tightly covered until potatoes are tender and cauliflower is slightly crunchy, 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve.
4 servings.

Serving suggestions: You can treat this spicy cauliflower as a appetizer and dip it in a bowl of Splendid Cilantro Chutney. For a easy supper pair with Rice and Mung Beans Flavored with Whole Spices. Or serve with rice, Chickpea Lamb Treasure, and Country-Style Chunky Tomato Chutney when family members get together.

Note: You can substitute broccoli, which does not blend with the spices as well but still produces a tasty dish. Reduce the cooking time by 2-3 minutes.


Kabiraji Cutlet


``Just why this dish is so named is not known, but a guess maight be that a certain herbal doctor in a village prescribed it to a patient. The question remains: Did the spices or the meat cure the patient?''

For the spices:

1/2 cup minced onion
2 Tbs. peeled, minced fresh ginger
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. seeded, chopped fresh green chilli (or to taste)
2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. asafetida powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground corriander
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. black pepper (preferably freshly ground)
Dash of ground red chilli or cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 lb (1/2 kg) extra lean ground beef or lamb
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Vegtable oil for pan-frying

  1. Combine all spices in a large bowl. Gently mix in the ground meat without squeezing out the moisture. Pinch off a portion of this mixture, shaping it into a circular patty about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick. repeat with the remainder.

  2. Dip patties in the egg, then coat them lightly on both sides with the breadcrumbs.

  3. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium low heat. Fry 3 or 4 patties at a time until cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes on each side; a toothpick inserted in the thickest part and moved gently to one side should not showa pink color. Do not press down on the patties during frying as this can cause the burgers to loose their natural juices.
Makes 18 patties.

Serving suggestions: For lunch serve 2 of these burgers per person in pita pockets with shredded lettuce and alfalfa sprouts. As part of a main meal, Creamy Sauce, and Green and White Coconut Chutney.


Narkeler Naru


`` A naru or laddoo is a sweet ball made of coconut or some form of legume, often served in religious ceremonies. Ganesh, the elephant-headed "Lord of success," is said to be fond of them. The area of Barisal in bangladesh is known for this naru.
In Bengal, we prepare this easy and flavorful traet with fresh coconut and unrefines palm sugar. But even packaged coconut and refined sugar yield good results.''

4 cups (1 liter) whole or 2% lowfat milk
2 cups firmly packed dried flaked or shredded sweetened coconut,
   ground in a blender 1/2 cup at a time to a coarse powder, or grated or
   shreded coconut mixed with 1/2 Tbs. sugar
3 Tbs. sugar

  1. Thicken the milk by heating it for 20-30 minutes in a lightly oiled pan until it reaches the consistency of whipped cream, stirring frequently to keep the foam down and scraping the bottom and sides if the pan.
  2. Add coconut and sugar. Cook until the mixture acquires a thick, doughy consistency, 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Removefrom heat and let cool slightly. While still a little warm, pinch off protions of the dough and roll into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Serve at room temperature or chilled. (These tend to harden if left in the refrigerator for several days.)
Makes 18 to 20.

Serving suggestions: Serve on a platter alone or with sliced fresh pineapple, mandarin oranges, or bananas.

Mail To: