Sunday, 17 April 2016

Mutton Dakbanglow

It was the Bengali new year or 'Poila Baishakh' and for bengalis, it is the beginning of new business activities, to start new account known as 'Haalkhata' and so and so. However, for modern bengalis, it is to wear new cloths and of course enjoying good food is a vital part followed by a long afternoon siesta. 
This 'Poila Baishakh', I have tried the famous Mutton Dakbanglow, a near forgotten culinary treasure served by the khanshamas of the dakbanglows or guesthouses spread across bengal dating back to British times in India.   


  • Mutton - 1 kg, I prefer the baby mutton, not the fatty or rewazi pieces
  • Curd - 100 gm
  • Ginger paste - 2 tbsp
  • Garlic paste - 2 tbsp
  • Kashmiri chilli powder - 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
  • Mustard oil - 4 tbsp
  • Eggs - 4, hard boiled
  • Baby potatoes - 8-10, peeled
  • Ghee / clarified butter - 1 tbsp
  • Methi / Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Bayleaf - 3-4
  • Onion - 4, sliced
  • Tomato - 2, sliced
  • Salt
  • Cinnamon, green cardamom, Cloves, Nutmeg powder
  • Cumin powder - 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1 tbsp
  • Green chillis - as per taste
  • Whole red chilli - 2

Marinate the mutton with curd, 1 tbsp each of ginger garlic paste, salt, mustard oil,  kashmiri chilli powder and turmeric. Keep aside for 2 hours.

In a karai, add mustard oil and fry the potatoes and boiled eggs with a pinch of salt and turmeric. Remove and keep aside.

In the same pan, add some more oil and ghee, then add the bayleaf, whole red chilli and methi. Be careful not to burn the mathi. I usually discard the methi once it turns color to prevent further burning. Next add sliced onion with a pinch of salt and sugar and fry well.

Brown them thoroughly then add ginger garlic paste and sliced green chilli.

When the raw smell is gone, add the tomatoes and fry till it is mashed.

Next goes the marinated meat along with ground Cinnamon, green cardamom, Cloves, Nutmeg powder, Cumin powder and Coriander powder. Mix thoroughly. Continue cooking till the water released by the meat is absorbed completely and oil is coming out of it. Then put it in a pressure cooker and cook for 4-5 whistles. Check for doneness, since I have used tender mutton, I didnot go overboard. Add the potatoes and wait for one more whistle. Release the pressure completely, then add the fried eggs and cook for 5 more minutes. Adjust the seasoning.

Serve with plain rice.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Make Your New Year a Sure ’HIT’

One thing that qualifies as a bengali’s true love is ‘celebrations’. We love to celebrate whether it’s our son’s good result, our husband’s promotion or simply a get-together. And when it comes to the bengali new year, bengalis leave not one stone unturned. Essentially, our minds are still tuned to our past, to our ancestors and to our tradition. So here are a few points which will help you discover the grandeur of a bengali new year-
Dressing the ‘bengali way’ is a must for poila boisakh. So throw all your designer wear in the wardrobe and take on an elegant, white ‘lal par(red bordered)’ saree or pajama panjabi to melt into the essence of the newness all around and at the same time recover the look of a true bong.
This time is also especially good for the ‘shoppers’ because poila boishak gives them adequate reason to fill their wardrobe with clothes. Moreover it is a time when gifts are exchanged with merriment. And you would see the words 'SALE' strewn over all garment shops.
Yaaay! Who doesnt like fairs? Hindus throughout Bengal celebrate the year-end or 'Chaitra Sankranti' with some exciting fairs and festivals like Gajan and Charak. Traditional Charak Mela is held across small and big towns in West Bengal, culminating in Latu Babu-Chhatu Babur Bazar in North Kolkata on the last day of the year, and the day after at Konnagar, venue of Bengal's only 'Basi Charaker Mela'. These unique fairs are the best place to soak in the past and every hardcore bong should taste the ‘telebhajas’ made there. I still remember those days when my uncle used to take me there with a surge of excitement.
Don't forget to witness the Halkhata, a age old trader custom. Halkhata is based on the believe the new year provides the most auspicious moment to ‘open’ the ledger. Almost every bengali shop has a puja and the best part? Everyone's invited to the party that takes place in the evening!
Rabindranath Tagore is a personality who is close to all bengali hearts and his compositions, specially his songs, are embedded deep into our principles. The legend’s Esho Hey Baisakh Esho Esho (Come Baisakh, Come O Come!) is the song that every bengali has to sing on poila boisakh. So rehearse a bit before you ‘perform’ to save unwanted embarrassment. My mom was always very eager to make me sing in front of all her friends and so we would sit for a rehearsal session before the new year.

Poila boisakh is the time of the year when every bong-at-heart person comes home to their own Bengal. So it is a time marked with the respawn of old ties that were loosened by the forces of time and isolation. Feel free to discover your friendship again and reconnect with your best-buddy over ‘adda’ with tea and ‘beguni’ or ‘piyaaji’. This is the thing you must do.
Food has always been the locus of any bengali festival and the new year is no exception! A lip-smacking array of dishes and even more delicious sweets are the main highlights of poila boishak. Every bengali household busies itself to come up with a pompous menu. They start with 'Teto Dal' , 'Aloo Posto' , followed by 'Mochar Ghonto'. Then they dig into some aromatic 'Gandharaj Rui', next opt for either 'Bhetki Machh er Paturi' or 'Chingri Machh er Malaicurry' or even for some 'Chital Petir Rasha'. Once you r are through with your fishy fair, go for a typical 'Bengali Misti Pulao or Akhni Pulao' and 'Kasha Mangsho'. Cool down with 'Kancha Aam er Chutney' and end your meal with 'Baked Aam Doi' followed by 'Gokul Pithe'. Ahhhhh, what a treat. What a true Bengali can do after having such an elaborate meal? A long afternoon siesta with a pashbalish, what else?
But these occasions have dangers of their own. When food is made in kitchens that are littered with pests, like cockroaches, diseases would soon take over the family and all the frolic would be over in a moment. Cockroaches and other pests often creep up dirty drains and leave their filthy footprints all over your utensils. To ensure that every is safe from these pesky creatures use Godrej HIT. this would surely emerge victorious and keep you and your family safe.
To get more details on Godrej HIT do visit:

A Very Prosperous New Year To All Of You!

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