(Mum's Cooking)

While I was away visiting my Mum in I managed to get the recipes for some of her everyday Bengali dishes. She is one of those expert cooks to whom proportions of ingredients come naturally so no amounts are mentioned in the recipes below because they are written in her own words. Everything is "andaj moton" or "add spice accordingly/to taste".

  • Microwave Ilish
  • Shak Begoon
  • Shorshe Mushroom
  • Sobji
  • Kancha maacher Jhal
  • Chutney
  • Suji
  • My mum and me

    Microwave Ilish
    (Hilsa fish cooked in mustard sauce in a microwave oven)

    1. Wash the fish steaks and coat with salt, leave aside for sometime.
    2. Arrange the fish steaks in a microwave safe casserole dish in a single layer.
    3. Add lots of `shorshe bata' (ground mustard paste), a little `posto bata' (ground poppyseed paste), mustard oil, salt to taste and some green chillies.
    4. Microwave at `high-power' for 10 mins and then at `medium-power' for another 10 mins or until cooked. (Note: This is for an 800watt microwave oven).

    Shak Begoon
    (Spinach cooked with Eggplant/Aubergine/Brinjal)

    1. Cut the eggplant into large longish pieces and fry them in hot oil
    2. Thaw a packet of frozen spinach.
    3. Add the spinach and chopped green chillies to the eggplant.
    4. Add salt and sugar to taste.
    5. Cover and cook slowly until done.

    Shorshe Mushroom
    (Gourmet mushrooms cooked in Mustard Sauce)

    1. Dice the mushrooms and wash them in a colander, coat with a little salt and sugar and place a bowl underneath the colander so the juices from the mushrooms drain into it.
    2. Squeeze the water out from the mushrooms and them fry in hot oil. Add salt.
    3. Then add lots of `shorshe bata' (ground mustard paste), some turmeric powder (halood) and chili powder (lanka gooro).
    4. Stir fry until mushrooms are evenly coated with the spices, add the mushroom juices, mix and then cook slowly until done.

    (Bengali vegetable stir-fry)

    1. Cut eggplant/aubergine/brinjal, bean and corjette/zucchini into long thin slivers, coat with a little salt and sugar and let sit for a while.
    2. Fry some `panch-phoran' (Bengali fivespice mix) and `shukno lanka' (dry red chili) in very hot oil.
    3. Add the vegetables and stir fry for some time then cover and cook till done.

    Kancha maacher Jhal
    (Poached Salmon Curry)

    1. Put oil in a pan and place on heat and immediately add ginger paste, garlic paste, green chillies or bell pepper (capsicum), chopped tomatoes and a little chopped onion.
    2. Cook slowly until it boils and ingredients blend into each other.
    3. Now add the salmon pieces into this boiling mixture. Cook slowly until the fish is cooked.

    (with tomato and dried fruit)

    1. Add panch phoran and a whole dried red chilli pepper to very hot oil in a pan
    2. Now add 2 chopped tomatoes and stir fry
    3. Add 1 cup of water and then dried fruits like dates, raisins and aamsatta pieces.
    4. Bring to boil, then add 1/3 cup of sugar and cook slowly, covered.

    (Bengali sweet semolina)

    1. Heat ghee or oil in a pan
    2. Add bay leaf and whole cardamom, cinamon and cloves ("gota garam mashla")
    3. Add 1 cup of suji and fry
    4. Stir in 1 cup of sugar, then add 1 cup of water and some currants ("kismis")
    5. Cook till it is as dry as you like it
    6. Makes a great breakfast accompanied with fried papadums ("papor-bhaja")!

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