Monday, November 26, 2012


When I started my blog ,my Vegetarian friends complained me why I have not started posting vegetarian dishes till now. Though we eat non-veg ,but I love mostly vegetable dishes more and preparing vegetable dishes, I strongly feel, is more difficult and time consuming than non-veg dishes. Here's some recipes I have tried some of my experiments and some of the dishes I liked a lot while eating at my friends or relatives' house.

Palak ka Salan ::::

This is one the preparation I had learned when I came back to Hyderabad with my 3 months old son and started cooking. Neeta Mehta's vegetarian cookbook , a gift from my husband was like my life saver whenever I wanted to prepare something veg. dishes. I prepare this Mughlai dish very often as it is a complete nutrition and goes very well with paratha, roti and rice also and specially my son and husband love a lot. Whenever I prepared this dish for parties or potluck, it is always a hit. 

Ingredients ::::
one cup chana daal or split chickpeas,soaked for 30 min.
2 lb fresh or frozen spinach,
half cup finely chopped onion,
4-5 nos. finely chopped green chillies,
3-4 nos. garlic cloves,coarsely crushed,
1/2 tbsp coriander powder,
1 tbsp red chilli powder,
2 nos. whole dry red chilli,
1/4 tbsp garam masala,(optional)
salt to taste,
2 tbsp oil,
1 tbsp ghee / clarified butter.
Method :::
1. Wash and clean thoroughly spinach leaves and chop coarsely.
2. Heat oil in a deep-bottomed pan, add crushed garlic and green chillies and sauté for half a minute. 
3. Add chopped onions and saute until onion becomes light brown in color. Now add chopped spinach and cook until oil separates or spinach cooked.
4. Wash chana daal and add to the pan and add coriander powder,red chilli powder,salt and sugar. Mix nicely and let it fry for 3-4 mins. Stir nicely to avoid burning at the bottom. Sprinkle water if needed.
5. When done frying , add one and half cup of warm water and cover the pan and let it cook for 25 mins or until done on medium flame. Adjust salt and gravy too.
6. When daal is almost cooked, smash everything with a flat spatula lightly or you can use hand blender but do not make a paste. Then cook for another 10 mins on slow flame.
7. When done, pour in a serving bowl and then in a small pan,heat ghee and temper red chilli and red chilli powder for a minute and then pour over the curry. Serve hot.
If you can use a pressure cooker for this preparation ,it would be the best to reduce preparation time. In that case, cook only for 10 mins or two whistles and then open the pressure cooker when cooled down and then cook on medium flame for another 10mins. You can sprinkle garam masala when done and slightly mix once. Any dishes with spinach always become a little bitter in taste and
for that I have used a pinch of sugar but that is optional. You can also use other daal / lentils or mix with two daals. 

Chamagadda / Arbi pulusu :::
Arbi / Taro root is very common vegetable in India and here in USA easily available in Chinese or Indian groceries. For the first time , I had it in my in-law's house and just loved the simple tangy spicy gravy which is a traditional dish from Andhra Pradesh.It goes very well with plain rice or roti.
6-8 nos. small chamagadda / arbi, 
one medium size onion, finely chopped 
one large tomato, finely chopped,
1 tbsp garlic paste,
one medium size tamarind ball, soaked in hot water
1 tsp red chilli powder,
1 tsp turmeric powder,
1 tsp coriander powder,
salt to taste,
oil to fry.
for seasoning..
1/2 tsp cumin seeds,
1/2 tsp small mustard seeds,
1/3 tsp methi / fenugreek seeds,
2 nos. whole red chillies,optional
10 nos. fresh curry leaves.


1. Boil arbis / chamagadda in a large vessel for 15 mins or in pressure cooker upto 2 whistles. Let it cool and take out the outer black skin and cut it into small pieces. Make sure the skin almost coming off when you press the arbi after taking out from pressure cooker.
2. Heat oil in a kadai or wok and add all the ingredients mentioned for seasoning. Cover the kadai and let it splutter for a while. Now add chopped onion and garlic paste and fry for 5-7 mins or until onion becomes translucent.
3. Now Arbi / chamagadda pieces to the kadai and mix thoroughly and fry nicely for 7-8 minutes and then add chopped tomatoes and saute again for 5 mins. Stir continuously or every 2 minutes to avoid burning.
4. Add turmeric powder, coriander powder and red chilli powder to the kadai and saute for another 5 mins. Now add one cup water and close the lid and let it boil for 7-8 minutes.
5. Now squeeze tamarind pulp from tamarind ball and add to the gravy adding another one cup of warm water. Let it simmer for 10-12 minutes on medium-low flame.
6. Add a small piece of jaggery if it is too sour and little oil if the gravy is too spicy. Once done, serve hot with plain rice or chapathi. This gravy tastes better if you eat the next day.
Chamagadda / Arbi should be fried along with onions and do not overcook also. You need to fry every 2-3 minutes to avoid burning too.This gravy stays very well upto 4 days and tastes even better.

If you want to know more,


Corn palak :::

Whenever I prepare palak or spinach, my kid always asks for the delicious spinach preparation what he had couple of years back in Kolkata. After searching couple of sites and Tarla Dalal's recipes I have prepared my version of corn palak or what widely known as Makai  palak. Spinach or palak ,which is easily available in market and full of nutritions ,makes a very colorful and delicious combination with corn. I have followed Tarla Dalal's recipe with slight modifications.

250 gms / 16 oz baby spinach, washed 
one big cup fresh / frozen corn, washed and drained
one medium size onion, sliced
one small size tomato, sliced
6 nos. green chillies, slitted
1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste,
1 tsp cumin and coriander powder, each
a pinch of garam masala,optional
1/4 tsp of sugar, optional
1/4 cup of dry fenugreek leaves / kasuri methi, 
1/2 cup whole milk,
salt to taste,
2-3 tbsp oil for frying,
a pinch of cumin seeds for tempering,
1/2 tbsp heavy cream for garnishing.

1. Heat 1/4 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker. Add sliced onions, tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste, green chillies, dry fenugreek leaves  and spinach leaves. Add salt. Saute for a minute and then add little water and let it cook up to one whistle. If you are using normal pan or vessel then cover the vessel and let it cook until spinach gets completely cooked. Let it gets cooled. Then make a smooth puree with it. 
2. Now heat oil in a wok or kadai, sprinkle cumin seeds and when it starts spluttering, add corn to the kadai and saute for half a minute and then add spinach puree into it. Once it starts boiling, add cumin-coriander powder, sugar and whole milk and mix thoroughly on low-medium flame. Let it simmer on low flame for 10-15 minutes. 
3. Once oil starts coming on top of the gravy, sprinkle garam masala powder and adjust salt. Let it simmer for 5 more minutes and garnish with heavy cream and serve hot with naan, chapati or parathas.
You will need minimum 2 bunches of spinach and if you need more spicy then add red chilli powder to the gravy. 

Beans poriyal ::

I decided to ask for the recipe when I saw this beautiful n delicious french beans sauteed with fresh coconut as one of the veg.thali items in Kamat Hotel, Hyderabad. I went inside their kitchen and asked for the recipe. The chef was so surprised and even before he could understand , he told me this delicious recipe. Since then beans poriyal is one of vegetable dishes I always prepare for my guests.
1 lbs of fresh french beans,
2-3 nos. green chillies, finely chopped
1 tsp chana daal,
one whole red chilly,
5-6 nos. fresh curry leaves,
a pinch small mustard seeds,
1/3 tsp turmeric powder,
salt to taste,

1 tbsp oil, preferably canola or vegetable oil.

1. Wash beans and pat dry. Cut into thin slices or chop finely.
2. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and dry whole chillies and when it splutters , add chana daal,green chillies and curry leaves. Saute a little and then add beans and sprinkle turmeric powder and salt and fry for 2-3 minutes on high flame.
3. Now cover the pan and let it cook on low-medium flame for 12 minutes or until beans are almost cooked.
4. Once done, add scrapped coconut to the pan and mix thoroughly and let it cook for another 7-8 minutes on low flame.Cover the pan. Serve hot with daal and plain rice or even with paratha.
You can little red chilli powder for spiciness and if you don't have fresh coconut then use dry desiccated coconut too. 

Palang shaaker ghonto / Spinach sauteed with vegetables :

Another simple yet delicious preparation which I cherish and often prepare whenever I miss my mom's food. In winter, my dad used to bring lots of fresh vegetables and spinach from local markets near our home and mom always love to cook fresh ones instead of keeping in refrigerator. It was always my favorite to have this fresh and no spices dish with hot plain rice. A very easy recipe what I felt to share with you all friends.
2 cups fresh baby spinach,
one cup of vegetables of your choice,
1/3 tsp kalo jeere / black onion seeds / kalonji,
2-3 nos. chopped or slitted green chillies,
1/3 tsp turmeric powder,
salt to taste,
1/2 tbsp oil.

1. Clean spinach leaves properly. Keep aside.
2. Clean and cut the vegetables of your choice.
3. Heat oil in a pan, add kalo jeere and green chillies and saute a little. Now add all the vegetables to the pan. Saute a little and then sprinkle turmeric powder and fry for a minute on medium flame. Then, cover the pan and let it cook on low flame until vegetables are half done or 5 minutes. 
4. Once done, add spinach leaves to the pan and mix nicely. Let it cook for another 10 mins or until spinach leaves are totally cooked and mixed with vegetables. Once done, serve with plain rice or chapathi / paratha.
You do not need to add water in this preparation and cook always on medium flame. If needed, sprinkle little water. If spinach leaves are too big then roughly chop the leaves. I generally use cauliflower, potato, beans, broad beans, carrot and Chinese eggplant. Keep little gravy or if you don't want then fry for little more time.
Baghare Baigan ::::

This lovely and delicious side dish or you can say hallmark dish is well-known from Hyderabad which usually served in almost every wedding and other parties or you can say any celebration or party is not complete without this brinjal or eggplant preparation. The small , round and fresh eggplants first shallow fried and then simmered in a sweet and tangy sauce of peanuts and other spices really are mouth-watering and so aromatic that you can't resist having with biriyani or paratha. We can replace brinjals or eggplants with tomatoes or big green chillies or peppers too and also with fish also. I have followed the recipe from the wonderful website Zaiqa with some modifications.
for 8 egg plants...
8 small and fresh eggplants or brinjal, from Indian grocery store
for dry masala paste...
10 dry red chillies,
4 tbsp sesame or til seeds,
one cup peanuts,
10 to 15 fresh curry leaves,
1 tbsp cumin seeds, 
2 tbsp coriander seeds,
1 tbsp poppy seeds or khuskhus,
1/2 cup fresh or dry coconut.

for seasoning /  baghaar...
1 tsp cumin seeds,
1 tsp mustard seeds,
a pinch of kaala jeera / kalonji seeds,
a pinch of fenugreek seeds / methi seeds,
5-8 nos. fresh curry leaves,

for gravy...
3 large size onions, sliced (approx. 2 big cups)
2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste,
3 tbsp red chilli powder,
2 tbsp turmeric powder,
1 small tamarind ball, soaked in hot water
salt to taste,
oil for frying.

1. Dry roast all the ingredients mentioned under the dry masala paste starting from red chillies and then following the list on medium flame. Add dry or fresh coconut at the last. When nice aroma starts coming out , switch off the flame and then let it cool for 30 minutes. Then make a coarse paste out of the mixture.
2.Heat sufficient oil in a wok or kadai and then wash and pat dry the eggplants. Make 'X' cut at the bottom of the eggplants keeping the stem intact. Fry the eggplants immediately after cutting sprinkling some salt. When the eggplants are almost fried or after 5-7 minutes, gently take out on paper napkin.
3. Now heat a deep-bottomed pan or preferably cast iron pan and fry sliced onions until onions become light brown stirring continuously. Once done, remove from pan and let it cool. Then make a smooth paste adding little water.
4. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a pan or vessel and add all the ingredients mentioned for seasoning or baghaar on low flame. Cover the pan or vessel and let it splutter on low flame and then take off the cover and add onion paste covering the pan immediately.
5. Let it cook for a minute and stir nicely to mix all the seasoning to the onion paste. Now mix ginger-garlic paste and fry for another minute on low-medium flame. Be careful to avoid burning.
6. Now add the dry masala paste slowly on low flame. Mix well adding half cup water little at a time. Fry on low-medium flame for 10 minutes covering the pan or until oil comes out. Add water if the mixture get dried and to avoid burning.
7.  Now squeeze tamarind pulp out of the soaked tamarind. Add salt and tamarind pulp to the pan and let it simmer for another 5-7 minutes on medium heat. Once raw smell of peanuts and tamarind go off , then add fried eggplants or brinjals and stir slowly to coat all the brinjals with the gravy. Let it simmer for another 15 -20 minutes or until the oil separates on low flame. Stir frequently.
8. Mix chopped coriander leaves. Once brinjals are soft , adjust salt and then remove from flame and serve hot with biriyani or any rice preparation or naan.
This is a very lengthy process but I tried to reduce the preparation times making dry masala paste together instead of roasting and pasting separately and then mixing one by one. Taste dint change and I used little spicy and again you can reduce spice level according to your choice. If you want to cut the eggplants or brinjals before frying then soak them in water adding 1/2 tsp salt to avoid discoloration. This preparation needs a lot of patience but final result is a delicious dish and you can understand why people in Hyderabad can not skip this dish for any celebration.

Gutti Vankaya Koora/Kurra ::::
I wanted to post this one of most popular vegetarian preparation from Andhra Pradesh for long time as couple of my friends requested me to do so. I first had this curry at my Sudha aunty's house. Since then I always like to prepare this dish for my vegetarian friends. Gutti Vankaya means small eggplant or brinjal with stem which are stuffed with roasted ground spices and then simmered in tangy gravy.There are lots of different ways to prepare this stuff vegetable curry but I m sharing the best one which I followed from another good south Indian website Mahanandi with little modifications.
5-6 nos. of small brinjals or eggplants,
one medium size onion, finely chopped
one small size tamarind, soaked in warm water,
one small piece jaggery, crumbled
salt to taste,
oil to fry.
for ground spices..

4-5 nos. whole red chillies,
1 tbsp chana daal or chick peas lentils,
1/2 tbsp whole mustard seeds,
1/2 tsp cumin seeds,
10 nos. fresh curry leaves,
1/2 tsp urad daal or black gram lentils,
1/2 tsp coriander seeds,
1 tsp sesame seeds,
one fistful peanuts,
1/3 tsp fenugreek / methi seeds,
3 nos. cloves,
1/2" cinnamon.
1/3 tsp salt or as per your taste.

1. Roast all the ingredients mentioned under ground spices nicely until nice aroma comes out. Let it cool and then make a coarse paste of it adding salt. You can mix crumbled jaggery and tamarind pulp here too.
2. Cut a 'X' shape slit toward stem side carefully  (do not cut up to the stem). See the picture.
3. Separate the slit with left hand fingers and fill the gap with the ground spices with a gentle push with right hand fingers with patient and without breaking the brinjals. Keep half of the ground spices aside.
4.  Now heat oil in a deep-bottomed pan or kadai, add chopped onions and sprinkle little salt and let it fry until onion becomes soft and translucent.
5. Add rest of the ground spices adding water and mix thoroughly with onion and let it cook for 4-7 mins. Cover the pan.
6. Now place all the brinjals carefully into the gravy and let it fry for 2-4 mins.
Then carefully turn the brinjals and add half cup of warm water and cover the pan and let it cook until brinjals are cooked nicely. Sprinkle freshly chopped coriander leaves on the top of it and let it simmer for another 2 mins. Serve with plain hot rice or paratha.
You have to be very careful while making a 'X' cut and stuffing the eggplant/brinjal. If you don't want to add onion and garlic then make a smooth paste of tomatoes and ginger and corn flour or wheat flour for gravy.

Potoler Dolma..pure veg.:::

Potol or Parwal or pointed gourd in English is always my another favorite vegetable. I always feel good and buy this vegetable whatever the price. The other day I found big ones in Indian groceries and those were perfect for dolma means stuffed vegetable curry and this is very popular in Bengal. With mom's help I followed our family recipe to prepare these stuffed vegetables simmered in mustard paste. Everything after I served this dish , is just perfect from aroma,taste to appreciation. You need little patience and little more hard work and your pure vegetarian dolma will be eye-catcher for your loved ones and guests.

6-7 nos. big size potol/parwal/pointed gourd,
half cup of fresh or frozen coconut,
2 tbsp mustard seeds,
3 green chillies, optional
one cup paneer or cottage cheese,
a pinch turmeric powder,
2 tbsp of all purpose flour/ maida paste for sealing.
for gravy...
3 to 5 tbsp mustard seeds,
one big tomato, sliced
3 green chillies,
a pinch of kalo jeere/kalonji/black onion seeds,
one whole dry red chilli,
salt as your taste,
oil to fry, preferrably mustard oil.
1. Wash and clean all the potol / parwals and lightly peel off the hard skin from two sides and then slit one side lengthwise without cutting into two pieces. Take out all the seeds carefully using knife or fork. Do one at time and carefully. Try to take out how much seeds you can and try not to open the vegetable totally. You can't close it then.
2. Make a coarse paste of paneer/cottage cheese, coconut, mustard seeds and green chillies adding all the seeds and then mix salt and turmeric powder. 
3. Now take one tbsp of this paste and slowly put inside the potol /parwal little by little pressing by backside of a spoon. Then seal the potol with moida paste. 
4. Make a smooth paste of mustard seeds and tomato adding green chillies. 
5. Heat oil in a pan,  sprinkle turmeric powder and then fry all the potols/ parwals slightly one side at a time for 2 mins.Take out from pan and keep aside.
6. Now,add kalonji/kalo jeere and dry red chilli. When kalonji starts spluttering, add mustard paste with half cup of water and let it cook for 5-7 mins. Add salt.
7. Now place all the potols  z/parwals in the pan carefully. The cut side should not be inside the curry then the paste will come out. Cover the pan and let it simmer for 10mins. Once done, you can add slitted green chillies and half tsp of mustard oil on the top of it.
This recipe take patience and more effort than other. If you are carefully stuffed the vegetables, it is simple to prepare the curry. You can use tindora, cucumber, banana peppers also. Instead of kalonji, you can use panch foron also. These are easily available in Indian groceries.You can use potatoes for stuffing too.
Dum Aloo / Alur dom ::::

Dum alu or what we call in Bengali cuisine Alu dum prepared with small newly harvested baby potatoes is one of the most favorite and commonly prepared at my home. I can not think anything except hot crispy puris or we say Luchi in Bengali cuisine with this spicy with a little tangy touch alur dom. Every Sunday morning I used to get up with nice and mouth-watering smell of this perfect combination at my home and now I try to prepare at my home too. Here I m sharing my mom's recipe with you.

6-7 nos. baby potatoes,
one big onion, finely chopped or paste,
one big ripe tomatoes, paste
3-5 nos. green chillies, slit lengthwise,
1 no. bay leaf,
1/4 tsp whole cumin seeds,
a pinch asafoetida or hing,
1 tbsp ginger paste,
1 tbsp cumin and coriander powder each,
1/2 tsp turmeric powder,
1/4 tsp red chilli powder,
a pinch of garam masala(optional),
1/2 tsp of roasted cumin powder,
salt to taste,
1/3 tsp sugar,
oil to fry.
1. Prick all the baby potatoes all over with a tooth pick or fork at least 5-6 times. This will allow to escape steam and prevents the skin of the potato from splitting open or from the inside exploding.
2. Boil potatoes with skin until cooked or give one whistle if you are using pressure cooker or 30 mins to cook. Let it cool and then drain out water using strainer and keep aside for 5-7 mins.
3. Heat oil, sprinkle little turmeric powder and fry boiled potatoes until it changes to yellowish red in color. Take out from oil and keep aside. 
4. In the mean while, heat oil in pan or kadai and add sugar and allow to melt or caramelize and then add bay leaf and cumin seeds and saute a little.
5.  Now add finely chopped onions or onion paste and fry for 8-10 mins on medium flame covering the pan. Now stir continuously for 2-3 mins to cook onion sprinkling hing or asafoetida. If needed, sprinkle little water.
6. Add ginger paste and then finely chopped tomatoes and saute for 2-3 mins and let it cook for another 5 mins covering the pan. Once done, fry onion-tomato mixture nicely until properly cooked and oil separates. 7. Now mix cumin powder,turmeric powder, coriander powder and red chilli powder in a bowl adding half cup of water without leaving any lumps. Add the spice mixture to the pan and mix everything. Let it cook on medium flame for 7-8 mins again covering the pan.
8. Once done,  open the lid and you can see oil already starts separating. Then add one cup of warm water and let it boil. Once starts boiling, add fried potatoes to the pan and saute a little and cover the pan and let it cook for 10 min on low flame.
9. Once done, sprinkle a pinch of garam masala or roasted cumin powder and slitted green chillies and mix carefully once more and serve hot with hot puris or luchi what Bengali says.
I wanted to keep this recipe as close as possible to my mom used to do that. But if you want you can add chopped coriander leaves and few drops of ghee on the top of it while serving. Adjust your spice level. 

Jhinge aar Matar daler borar sukto :::
Sukto is the traditional vegetable stew of West Bengal and it is always served first of your meal. There are different version of Sukto are there. I will try to post here one by one. This recipe I have recently learned from one of our great groups where one expert chef, Subrata posted the recipe. This is little sweet in taste but keeping my family's taste buds I made a little spicy too. This sukto goes the best with hot steamed rice only. And you can keep for one two day in refrigerator and the tastes enhances as well.

Ingredients :::
one big jhinge / Ridge gourd , cleaned and diced,
1/4 tbsp of mustard seeds,poppy seeds,radhuni each,
1/4" ginger cube,cleaned,
1 or 2 no. bay leaf,
1/4 tsp of panch phoron,
a pinch of coriander powder,
oil to fry, preferably mustard oil,
very little ghee or clarified butter,
salt to taste.
For bora / vada ::
1 cup matar daal / yellow split peas or  split peas,

1. First soak matar daal for 5-6 hours and make a smooth paste with salt using a blender or mixer.
2. Make small size ball with that paste and deep fry until they are brown in color and crispy. Keep aside.
3. Make a fine paste of mustard seeds,poppy seeds or posto, radhuni and ginger adding little water. Keep aside.
4. Now heat oil in a wok or kadai, add bay leaf and panch foron and saute for half a minute.
5. Now add ridge gourd / jhinge pieces and sprinkle salt and sprinkle coriander powder and fry for 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook them. Now add the mustard and poppy seeds paste adding little water and mix nicely and cover the wok or kadai with lid and let it cook until the ridge gourd pieces are nicely cooked. Make sure vegetables are not overcooked. Cook always on medium flame.
6. When done, add matar daal vadas and mix nicely without breaking the vadas and vegetables. Sprinkle half cup of warm water as vadas always make gravy thicker and adjust salt too. Let it cook for another 3-5 minutes on slow flame.
7.Now add little ghee/clarified butter on the top of it and serve hot with hot steamed rice.
Ridge gourd or jhinge what we call in Bengali must be sweet in taste otherwise the whole preparation will be bitter in taste and I generally use yellow mustard seeds to avoid the bitterness while making paste in mixer or blender.I used 3-4 nos. green chillies while making the paste of mustard seeds along with others ingredients. RADHUNI is one of the main ingredients of Panch Foron . But in USA, it is not easily available so you can skip that. Panch foron will be available nowadays in any Indian grocery shops here in USA and other countries.

Cauliflower Butter Masala :::

Another north-Indian delicacy of cauliflower I wanted to share with you my dear friends. As I told you before, cauliflower is my most favorite vegetable. At-least one cauliflower should be there in my refrigerator. Any cauliflower dish is my favorite and here's another one. This is very delicious dish and you can add cottage cheese / paneer or green peas to it. If you prepare with patience and time, it will be surely your party hit. This recipe is modified version of a recipe from a beautiful blog whose host name is Pari. 

one big cauliflower, cut into medium size florets,
one big size onion,sliced,
4-5 nos. green chillies,
3-4 garlic cloves,peeled,
1" big ginger,cleaned and sliced,
a pinch of kasuri methi,
1/4 tbsp of garam masala,
2 tbsp butter,
1 tbsp whipped / fresh cream,
6-7 nos. dry red chillies,
1tbsp coriander powder,
a pinch of sugar or 1/2 tbsp honey,
1/4 tbsp amchoor powder / dry mango powder,
1 bay leaf,
2-3 nos.cloves,
2-3 nos. cinnamon,
2 nos. green cardamon,
salt to taste.
1. Dry roast bay leaf,cloves,cardamon and cinnamon. Crush everything together and keep aside.
2. Heat 1/2 tbsp oil in the same pan, add sliced onion,green chillies ,dry red chillies and ginger-garlic. 
3. Saute nicely for 3-4 mins or until onion becomes pink in color. Take out from the pan and make a smooth paste of it. Keep aside.
4. Take cauliflower florets in a big bowl of water and add salt to it. Microwave for 7 mins on high powder. Or you can boil for 5-6 mins on stove top.
5.In the same pan, add sugar,butter and add crushed garam masala and then add onion paste and fry for 10 mins on medium flame covered with a lid.
6. Now add coriander powder and cream and mix thoroughly and let it cook for another 10 mins. Avoid not to burn the masala and adjust salt too.
7. Add cauliflower florets now and add half cup of warm water and mix nicely and let it cook for another 7 to 8 mins or until oil comes on the top of gravy. Sprinkle crushed kasuri methi and garam masala now and simmer for some more time.Serve hot with roti,kulcha or naan and salad.
Now you can use sliced tomatoes while frying onion and make paste of it. I use extra hot red chilli powder for extra spiciness and that gave nice red color without tomatoes. You can add whole spices instead of crushing and then take out all the whole spices before serving.In original recipe, cauliflower stock is used instead of warm water but I get kind of bad smell after boiling cauliflower in water and don't like to use it for gravy. If you are using honey instead of sugar then use it when you are mixing cream.

Phulkopi Kosa :::
Phulkopi or Cauliflower is my most favorite vegetable and I always love to prepare something with this vegetable. I saw this preparation in my sweetheart friend Romi's blog and made it right way. In Bengali, Kosa means dry stir-fry preparation and takes very little time and easy to prepare. Mostly you will love to serve as one of your party menu too. 

one big size cauliflower,
1/4 tbsp of whole cumin seeds,
1 no. bay leaf,
one cup of onion paste,
1/2 tsp of ginger and garlic paste,
1 big fresh tomato, finely chopped or paste,
1 tsp of cumin and coriander powder each,
4-5 no. green chilli,
1 tsp of turmeric powder,
salt to taste,
1 tsp of whole garam masala,
coriander leaves to garnish,
salt to taste,
oil to fry.
1. Cut cauliflower into medium sizes and soak in cold water.
2. Put oil in a frying pan or skillet, fry cauliflower florets sprinkling turmeric powder and salt for 3-4 minutes or raw smell disappears. Once florets are all nicely coated with yellow color and slightly fried,take out from the pan and keep aside.
3. In the same pan, heat little more oil and add bay leaf and whole cumin seeds.
4. When seeds start spluttering, add onion paste and stir fry for 2 mins on medium flame.Once onion becomes light brownish in color, add ginger-garlic paste and fry again for couple of seconds.
5. Now add tomato paste and add turmeric powder,cumin and coriander powder. Stir fry for 7-8 mins sprinkling some water on medium flame.
6. Fry until the spices are cooked nicely and leaves a nice aroma and then add cauliflower florets and mix everything together to make a nice coating. Sprinkle very little water and add salt here and then cover for 2-3 min on low flame.
7. Now on high flame keep on frying until florets are cooked.
8. Crush whole garam masalas lightly and sprinkle over the florets and mix again slowly.
9. Once done, garnish with fresh coriander leaves and thinly sliced onion. Serve hot with parathas or rotis.
For whole garam masala, I use cloves,cinnamon and cardamon. You can use store-brought garam masala too. For tomato paste, I generally boil tomatoes with salt and then make a smooth paste out of it. Again you can use store-brought tomato puree or simple ketchup too. But the taste will vary for the same. If use a pinch of sugar to caramelize oil while heating then it will give the dish a very nice color too. Then you have to adjust your spice level too.
Doi Potoler Dum :::

Potol or Parwal or the pointed gourd is one of the vegetables what you get only in summer season that specially in north and north-eastern part of India. After coming here in USA, I hardly got a chance to get big ones in Indian grocery store and most of them are frozen and not so good in taste either. Last week when I saw big and fresh Parwals I did not even see the prices and brought the packet and here I have tried didi's yummy yet simple and pure vegetarian Bengali recipe.

Ingredients :::
7-8 nos. big potol / parwal , 
1/4 tbsp cumin seeds,
1 no. bay leaf,
a pinch of asafoetida or hing powder,
1/3 cup of yogurt or curd, beaten nicely,
1 tbsp ginger paste,
1 tbsp cumin powder,coriander powder,red chilli powder each
1/2 tbsp turmeric powder,
1/2 tbsp garam masala powder,
1 tbsp besan / chick peas flour
salt to taste,
1/4 tbsp ghee, optional.
4 tbsp oil, preferably  mustard oil.
1. Wash potol thoroughly and scrub it lightly with a knife to remove the harder skin and then cut off both the ends. Slit slightly from the end up to 1/4" towards middle part of every potol and marinate with turmeric powder.
2. Heat oil in a skillet , fry all the potols until nice aroma comes out or 10 minutes. Try to avoid burning.
3. Take a bowl, mix  besan, curd and all the spices except garam masala powder without leaving any lumps. Keep aside.
4. Now add oil in the same skillet and then sprinkle cumin seeds. When splutter, add bay leaf and hing powder. After half a minute, add ginger paste and salt and stir nicely for a minute. You can add sugar if needed.
5. Now add the curd and spice mixture to skillet and fry adding 2 tbsp of water until oil comes out on medium flame. You can cover the skillet.
6. When done, add fried potols and add 1/3 cup of water and let it cook on low flame for 10-14 minutes.
7. While serving, heat oil / ghee in a small pan, add garam masala and mix it. Then spread over the dish and serve hot.  
You can mix ghee and garam masala while cooking but the aroma goes off. and again I would say to adjust salt and spices according to taste. This dish goes very well with plain hot steamed rice or paratha and luchi too.

Sabzi Bahar ::::::

Though I m Bengali but I am not comfortable with Bengali cooking as I learned my cooking lessons after marriage.So before trying anything I always either surf the internet or the experts ladies I know and here's another recipe from one of elder sister I met through Orkut, Suchismitadidi what she made with only eggplant but here I prepare the same recipe with lots of vegetables and little modifications.

Ingredients ::::
1 no.long slender eggplant / brinjal,
3-4 nos medium size cauliflower florets,
2 medium size potatoes, peeled
1 no. ridge-gourd, cleaned
one cup of cauliflower stems,slit lengthwise,
3-4 nos. green chillies,
1/2 tsp turmeric powder,
1/2 tsp red chilli powder,
3 tsp yogurt / curd beaten,
one and half tsp mustard seeds,
one and half tsp poppy seeds,
half cup fresh coconut,
1/3 tsp black cumin seeds / kalo jeere,
salt as per taste,
1/2 tsp sugar,
4-5 tsp mustard oil / vegetable oil,
half cup chopped coriander leaves(optional)

1. First clean and cut the vegetables into 2"long and 1"wide and keep aside.
2. Soak mustard seeds for sometime and then grind with poppy seeds,salt ,sugar and green chillies to smooth paste.Add coconut to the paste and grind it again adding little water.Mix yogurt / curd with this mixture
3. Now heat oil in a deep pan or skillet, add black cumin seeds and 1 green chillies and saute for one min.
4. Add turmeric powder and salt to the oil and then add all the vegetables (first add potatoes as it takes more time to get cooked).Fry all the vegetables for atleast 8-9 mins on medium flame.
5. Now add the mixture to the skillet adding half cup water and mix thoroughly. Adjust salt and sugar and sprinkle red chilli powder on it and mix nicely and let it cook covered until cooked.
6, When oil starts separating and all cooked properly, spread one tsp of mustard oil on it and garnish with coriander leaves.
You can make it with one vegetable or mixed vegetables too.If dish is too dry,mix one cup of hot water and mix thoroughly and it goes well with hot steamed rice.

Alu Tomator ki sabzi ..A typical Bihar cuisine :::

Here in St.Louis, I have met lots of people but one of amongst them is Reena,my friend,well-wisher and elder sister. Whenever I miss my mom or my home , I just go her house and just like my mom, she made me sit and then ask what you will eat. One day,I was angry and depressed , as usual I reached her house and with roti and this curry. Til now ,I cant forget the taste of this curry. I tried this time at home and my husband just said awesome.Here's the recipe I m sharing with you.

4 nos.potatoes,
1 1/2 juicy big tomatoes,finely chopped.
2 tsp yellow mustard seeds,
2 garlic cloves,
1/4 small onion,
1/4 tsp methi / fenugreek seeds,
1/4 tsp turmeric powder,
1/2 tsp coriander powder n red chilly powder each,
salt as per taste,
3 tsp oil, preferably mustard oil.

1.Grind mustard seeds,garlic and onion together smoothly.Keep aside.
2. First wash and peel potatoes and cut into 1/2" inch cubes. Boil with salt.
3. Now heat oil in a deep frying pan, add fenugreek seeds. When it splutters,add the mustard paste and fry nicely for 2-3 mins. Stir continuously to avoid burning and using extra water.
4. Add chopped tomatoes and sprinkle turmeric powder and then fry for 3-4 min. When tomatoes are half-cooked ,add coriander and red chilly powder and salt. Stir properly to avoid sticking. If needed sprinkle little water every now and then.
5. Now add boiled potatoes and half cup of water and cover the lid and let it cook. When done, serve hot with roti or also hot rice.

Here I first fried potatoes cubes and then added into the curry and cooked until potatoes done. Both of the methods are good. And to increase the spice level you can grind green chillies also with mustard seeds. Black mustard seeds don't go with this curry as its taste and flavor would be absolutely different.

Dondakaya Poriyal :::

Dondakaya or Kundli or Ivy Gourd is very common vegetable in any South Indian kitchen.Here the other day I got some fresh ones in Indian grocery store and prepared one of my favorite South Indian dish and here's the recipe which I follow.

Ingredients :
1lb Dondakaya / Ivy Gourd,slit lengthwise,
one cup of fresh coconut /dry coconut powder,
4-5 nos. green chillies,
1/2 tsp of mustard seeds,
2 nos.dry whole red chilli,
5-6 nos. curry leaves,
1 tsp of Bengal gram lentils / chana daal,
a pinch of turmeric powder,
salt as per taste,
2 tsp oil.

1. Heat oil in a skillet and add mustard seeds and When mustard seeds start splutter, add dry red chilli,curry leaves and chana daal. Saute for 1min.
2. Add dondakaya and green chillies together and saute thoroughly adding turmeric powder and salt.Let it cook covered until the vegetable becomes half - cooked on slow flame.
3. Now open the lid and add coconut and mix nicely and let it cook uncovered for 4-5mins stirring occasionally.When done, serve hot with any kind of sambar and hot plain rice or chapati.

Potato - Capsicum fry ::::

When I came to USA for the first time almost 5 years back with my baby son,I didn't know so much about cooking. I just started learning the basic things about cooking. One day I went to one of my neighbor and husband's colleague house and his newly married wife was cooking this dish. Before that,I didn't have any idea how to cook Bell pepper or Capsicum except stuffed one. After coming home,I cooked and till now I prepared so many times for veggie guests and normally at home and everybody just loved it,This is a North-Indian dish but with trial and error this is my version what you can have with Chapati,paratha, roti or you can make tortilla roll with that.

Ingredients :::
3-4 nos. big potatoes,peeled and diced.
3 nos. big green bell pepper / capsicum,washed and diced,
1 no.medium onion,sliced or chopped,
1 tsp ginger paste or 1/2" finely chopped ginger,
2-3 nos. green chillies,slit lengthwise,
1/4 tsp cumin seeds,
1 no. dry red chilly,
1 tsp coriander powder,
1/4 tsp turmeric powder,
1/2 tsp red chilli powder,
1/4 tsp garam masala (optional),
3-4 oil,
salt to taste.

Method :::
1.Heat oil in a skillet .Add cumin seeds and red chilli.
2.When cumin seeds starts spluttering,add chopped onions and ginger and saute for 2 mins or until onion becomes translucent.
3.Now add potatoes and sprinkle turmeric powder .Fry on high flame for one minute and stir continuously.
4.Bring the flame low and sprinkle some water and cover the skillet to cook potatoes for 4-5 mins.
5.when the potatoes are half-done,then add bell pepper pieces and mix nicely and then sprinkle coriander powder,red chilly powder and gorom masala and mix everything nicely.
6.Add salt and then cover for 2 mins to cook and then open the lid fry on medium flame.When vegetables are cooked nicely,you can sprinkle a little gorom masala and serve hot.

You can use mustard seeds and curry leaves instead of cumin seeds.After adding bell pepper / capsicum, try to cook without covering the skillet then little crispness will come.Again adjust salt and spices as your taste.

Jhinge - Alu Posto (Ridge-gourd n Potato in poppy seeds gravy) :::

Posto or poppy seeds is one of the most common ingredient you will find in almost every kitchen of West Bengal. In south India also ,poppy seeds are used for some of the special dishes.I will share with you some of the dishes of Bengal where poppy seeds used as main ingredients.

Ingredients :::
2-3 nos. ridge gourd / jhinge ,freshly available at Indian grocery,
4-5 nos. big potatoes,
3-4 nos. green chillies,
1 small onion,peeled and chopped finely,
black cumin seeds / kalo jeere for seasoning,
3-4 tsp oil, preferably mustard oil,
1/2 tsp turmeric powder,
salt as per taste.

Method :::
1. First wash and clean potatoes and ridgegourd and cut into 1 inch size.Keep aside.
2. Dry grind poppy seeds with green chillies first and then put little water and then make a smooth paste.
3. Heat oil in a skillet , sprinkle black cumin seeds.When it splutter, add chopped onion and fry until onion color changes or nicely cooked.
4. Add potatoes and fry for one min.Then sprinkle turmeric powder and salt. Let it fry for another 2-3 mins. Don't cover the skillet.
5. Now add ridge-gourd pieces and fry for 3-4 mins on high flame. Stir continuously and if needed sprinkle little water.6. Now cover the skillet and let the vegetables cook.If needed, add little water.When half done, pour poppy seeds paste and 1/4 cup of water and mix nicely and cover the lid for 10 mins. Adjust adding water how much gravy you like to have.
7.When the raw smell of poppy seeds gone, sprinkle finely chopped green chillies and serve hot with hot plain rice.
You can adjust the spices and salt. I have seen one of my West Bengali friend to spread one tablespoon of mustard oil over the curry as soon as it is done.

Palak Alu / Potato in spinach gravy :::

This preparation is very healthy and easy to cook. Specially I prepare for my son who doesn't eat green or leafy vegetables at all. Sometimes I add paneer or tofu also in this preparation.

Ingredients :::
one big packet baby spinach,
2 big potatoes, peeled and cubed,
1 no.medium onion,sliced,
4-5 nos. green chillies,
1 inch ginger,
1 clove garlic,
1/2 tsp cumin seeds,
1/2 tsp coriander powder,
1/2 tsp red chilli powder,
1/4 tsp garam masala powder,
1 no.bay leaf,
a pinch of sugar,
salt as per taste,
2 tsp oil.

1. Wash and clean spinach leaves with warm water. Grind into a smooth paste with green chillies and Keep aside.
2. Make a smooth paste of ginger,garlic and onion and Keep aside.
3. Heat 1/2 tsp of oil in a deep-bottomed pan, fry potato cubes lightly and keep aside.
4. Heat oil in the same pan, add a pinch of sugar and then cumin seeds and bay leaf.
5. When cumin seeds splutter, add onion paste and saute on medium flame for 5 mins. Stir nicely to avoid burning. Add little water if needed.
6. Now sprinkle all the spices and fry for 3-4 mins adding very little water.
7. Now add spinach paste and salt and mix nicely and cook covered until the raw smell goes off.
8. When done, add fried potatoes and cook on very low flame for 7-8 mins.
9. Sprinkle garam masala and serve hot with rice or roti or paratha.

If you feel the gravy is too thin, mix corn flour with warm water and pour at last and mix nicely. You can add sweet corn, cauliflower ,tofu etc. When the preparation is done, I generally sprinkle half spoon of clarified butter or ghee and cover the lid.


  1. HI first time to ur blog.. looks so good and loved the sarkarai pongal. The potato capsicum curry is looking good too. Peep in my blog when u find time.. Keep going

  2. Hummm this subji looks yummmm!!!


  4. nice collection.. love the birnjal gravy