The Following recipes are taken from "Bengali Cooking: Seasons and Festivals" by Chitrita Banerji.

Doi Patol

`` For Doi Patol (or patol in yoghurt sauce) for four people, you need

1 lb tender young patol
4 oz yoghurt
3 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 bay leaves
1 tsp of whole cumin seeds
salt and sugar to taste
a pinch of asafoetida
2 Tbsp ghee
4 Tbsp oil
garom mashla ground from 4 cardamoms and 4 sticks of cinamon (no cloves)

These patols being young (as will the canned ones), need to be peeled lightly, but they can be left whole with 1/2 inch slits being made at both ends. Rinse them in running water and drain. Heat 2 1/2 tablespoons of oil in a karai and lightly brown the patols. Remove and set aside. The oil will have turned black and so will have to be discarded. Heat another 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil in the karai, add one tablespoon of ghee to it and throw in a phoron of bay leaves, and asafoetida. After a minute or so add the ginger-turmeric-chilli and a little salt. Fry the spices well, whip the yoghurt and pour it in. Add the patols, some sugar and sprinkle a little water over the whole thing. Cook uncovered for 5-6 mins and taste. You can add more salt and sugar if needed. Finally combine the the rest of the ghee and garom mashla, add to the patols, stir once or twice and remove from the stove. Keep covered until serving time.''


 

Chicken with Posto

`` For Chicken with Posto for eight people take two plump medium-sized chickens. Skinned, portioned into 10-12 pieces each and washed, combine the birds in a large pot with
8 oz of yoghurt
8 oz of grated onion
1 tablespoon of groung ginger
1 teaspoon of ground garlic and coriander
2 teaspoons of ground cumin
1 tablespoon of chilli powder
2 tablespoons of ground posto
1 teaspoon of ground fennel
1/2 teaspoon of ground mace
2 oz of almonds, blanched and slivered
2 oz of raisins
2 tablespoons of salt
120 ml of peanut oil
120 ml of ghee.
The whole thing, mixed well, was cooked, tighly covered, on a very low heat for an hour. Check to see if the flesh is tender. You can add extra water if you find the chicken tough and stringy. Once it is done the stir the meat over a high heat until it is nicely coated in the oil/ghee and spices, with no moisture left. Before serving you can sprinkle some extra almonds on top. A polao, instead of plain boiled rice, is a good accompaniment.''


 

Malpo

`` Some years, when my mother happened to be in the mood, she would spend part of her Bijoya afternoon making home-made sweets which were a refreshing change from the cloying commercial products that would flood our house at that time. Malpos are flat, round fennel seed dumplings in syrup. This is quite simple to make and often appears in our house.

To make Malpo, first the syrup has to be prepared. The consistency is important , for if it is too thin the malpos tend to fall apart. I find that 250 g (8 oz) of sugar with 5 tablespoons of water and a table spoon of lemon juice is about right. Once the syrup has boiled, my mother sets it aside.

Then she mixes 250g (8 oz) of flour with 2 tablespoons of oil and when they are blended smoothly, adds 250 ml (8 fl oz) of whole milk and a teaspoon of whole fennel seeds. These give the malpos their distinctive taste.

Then she heats about 120ml (4 fl oz) of oil in her karai, lowers the flame to medium and, taking large spoonfuls of the floor mixture, drops them in, one at a time. Each round malpo is fried carefully until both sides are brown and the edges curl up crisply. Nothing can be worse than half-done malpos.

Once all of them are fried she dips them in the syrup, turns them over and lays them out on a flat serving dish. Then the rest of the syrup is poured over them. These keep well without losing their taste - there is nothing like the surreptitious pleasure of quickly eating a malpo in the middle of your day's work when you are sure nobody is looking. ''


Mail To: sutapa.ray@colorado.edu