Monday, June 27, 2011

Mango Salad

Here is a recipe for mango salad. Normally we eat mangoes in simple long slices. Sleek, sweet, golden, and juicy. Those are the ideal characteristics of a mango( to most people. Personally, I love them sour and with a bit of a bite). This is something that my mother threw together to mix things up a bit.This is certainly not traditional. Most of the time we consume mangoes alone, but my mom spotted a lone cucumber in the refrigerator, decided to give it some company, added some conversation pieces, and lo! The salad was conceived.

serves 2-4

1 large ripe mango
1 fresh (seedless if you prefer) cucumber
Juice of 1/2- 1 lime
1/2 a small red onion (optional)
salt (optional)
Mint (optional for garnish purposes)

Cut mango into cubes or square chunks
Cut cucumbers into cubes
Place into serving bowl
Cut a lime in half and squeeze juice over mango and cucumber
Dice half an onion (it should be red even though it is not pictured. We didn't have any available that day)
sprinkle salt (optional)
Mix and garnish

Recipe by Sabrina
Posted by Naz
Photographs by Naz

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Murghi (Chicken) Roast 

 Snippets of Thursday evening supper.  


serves 6-8 or 8-10

Originally this dish is roasted on the stove top covered with a lid cooked on low heat, but an oven distributes heat better.

1 entire chicken cut into pieces
2 large potatoes cut into wedges
1 and 1/2 tsp salt
1tsp blackpepper
1 tsp paprika
1 heaping tsp turmeric
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
6 cardamom
10 cloves
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp oregano (optional)
2 tbs of blended onion, garlic, and ginger paste*
1 cup tomato sauce (optional)
1 whole habenero or de-veined and unseeded( if you like heat)
Few sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)

*this paste can be prepared ahead by chopping 1 onion, 4 cloves garlic, and a piece of ginger about the size of thumb with 1/2 cup of water. Can be covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days.

note: all ingredients labeled optional are non traditional. They are only added for extra flavor. Omit if you prefer traditional ingredients.

In a small bowl combine salt, turmeric, black pepper, paprika, chili powder, cumin, cardamom, cloves, and oil.
Then mix in the onion, garlic, and ginger paste.
Add mixture to chicken and potatoes in a large bowl.
Spread and cover pieces evenly.
Let marinade overnight or 30- 60 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Heat a skillet on medium heat.
Add oil to thinly coat the bottom of skillet.
Add chicken pieces one by one to sear them.
After searing them place in baking dish.
Meanwhile with the stove still on, add the remaining marinated mixture with potatoes to the skillet
Add tomato sauce.
Turn off stove and add potatoes on top of chicken.
Cover with foil and put into oven.
Let bake for 30-40 minutes.

Recipe by Sabrina
Posted by Naz
Photographs by Naz

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Mangsho Ranna

Meat Stew

Spice blend before adding turmeric
After adding turmeric

After tomato
Serves 6-8
serve with rice

1 pound beef (or lamb)
1 medium to large onion
1tsp freshly grated ginger
4-5 cloves garlic
2-3 dried red Chilies
4 cardamom pods
6 cloves
1 and1/2 tsp turmeric
1 large bay leaf
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups hot water
1/2 cup of cold water
1/2 cup tomato sauce or freshly chopped tomatoes
3-4 green chilies (if you prefer heat)
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
6-7 fresh sage leaves (optional)

Put meat in large bowl
Add dried chilies, bay leaf, and oil.
In a separate small bowl combine salt, black pepper, whole and ground cumin, cardamom, paprika, oregano, cloves, and turmeric.
Add spices to meat and mix to evenly distribute.
In a blender place ginger, onion, garlic, and 1/2 cup of cold water, blend until
it takes a paste consistency.
Add to meat and mix.
Let meat marinade for 30 minutes or over night.
Put a pot on the stove on medium heat
(Do not add any oil, oil is already in meat mixture.)
Add meat, stir, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, uncover and add tomato sauce (or fresh tomato) and stir
Cook for 10
After 10 minutes, add hot water
Put heat down to low
Cover and cook for 30-40 minutes
or until thoroughly cooked and meat is tender.

Recipe by Sabrina
Posted by Sabrina
Photographs by Naz

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Boiled Fried Eggs with Onions

This is an accessory recipe. It is used as a garnish or decoration on rice. 

8 eggs hard boiled
1 tsp turmeric
1/4-1/2 tsp chili powder (cayenne powder)
4 tbs oil
1 small or medium onion finely sliced

Peel the eggs and make sure there are no shells.
Place them in a wide bowl.
sprinkle turmeric and chili power over eggs evenly.
Put aside.
Put frying pan on medium high heat.
Add 4 tbs oil.
Add onions.
Fry until golden brown and semi crispy.
Take out of pan and place on a small plate.
Add about a tbs of more oil to the pan. Keep on medium heat.
Then add eggs.
Cover for 2-5 minutes.
Then take off lid, stir and cover again.
Fry the eggs (stirring occasionally) until they are golden and have a layer of crispy skin.
Garnish on a plate of rice and sprinkle the fried onion on top.
Recipe by Sabrina
Posted by- Sabrina
Photographs by Naz

Doodh Chingri

Shrimp with Milk
Bengal is known for its fish and seafood dishes. Here is a recipe that is commonly cooked.

serves 4-6

1-1.5 pounds of shrimp
1 medium sized onion
3 cloves of garlic
1small chunk of fresh ginger peeled and chopped
3 dried chili peppers
2-3 chilies(if you prefer heat)
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2-3/4 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp old bay spice or paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
pinch of black pepper
5-6 cloves
1 bay leaf
1 cup regular milk (or coconut milk)
5-6 tbs of oil

Put onion, garlic, ginger, and dried pepper in a blender.
Add 1/2 cup of water. (if using a food processor do not use water)
keep mixture to the side while you prepare the shrimp.
Put shrimp in a large bowl.
Add turmeric, salt, cumin, paprika(old bay), oregano,
black pepper, cloves, and bay leaf.
Mix together and let marinate for 5- 10 minutes.
Put skillet or frying pan on stove on high heat, add oil
Heat for 3-5 minutes then turn down to medium.
Add the onion mixture you made in the blender
or food processor to the pan. (take caution, it will sizzle)
Stir briefly. When it bubbles add shrimp.
Cook for 10-12 minutes on medium high heat stirring occasionally.
At this point you may add more chilies.
Add milk and let cook for another 5-10 minutes.
Taste to check the salt content (add more if needed).
Garnish, serve, and Enjoy!

Recipe by sabrina
Posted by- Sabrina
Photographs by Naz

Shaag Bhaji

Sauteed Spinach
Everyone thinks that Indian cooking requires exotic and hard to find spices, but this recipe proves that theory wrong. This is a perfect, healthy, quick, and easy recipe to cook when you have an unexpected visit from friends or family.

Spinach growing in our garden

Serves 4-8
Use as side dish    
1 big bunch of spinach or 2 small bunches medium to finely chopped (They are actually classified as an amaranth or chinese spinach, but if you cannot find at an indian or chinese store then regular spinach is fine.)
1 small-medium onion chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic chopped
4 green chilies chopped (add or omit to desire)
1/2 -1 tsp. Salt to taste
That is all you need. No more.

Turn stove on to medium high heat.
Add oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet. (we used a heavy bottomed nonstick)
when the oil is heated, add onion, garlic, and chilies.
Stir for a minute, but do not let then get brown. Just sweat them.
Add the spinach (all at once if possible)
Add a 1/2 tsp of salt (add more later if needed)
Increase the heat a notch or two.
Stir, cover and let the steam cook it (do not remove the lid, it will dull the color of the leaves)

Cook for 10-15 minutes (15-20 if using more mature leaves)
Remove lid and stir to distribute heat and cook evenly.
Turn heat down to medium low.
Cook without lid for another 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally.
Take off the stove when they look evenly cooked.

Recipe by Sabrina
Posted by Naz
Photographs by Naz

Please do not distribute pictures without permission. All images belong to us unless stated otherwise.
Thank you.

Spice cabinet

This is the spice cabinet. It is a reference to all the spices and herbs that are used in this blog. It will be updated as necessary. 


Turmeric is often confused with curry powder. They are sometimes incorrectly termed as the same spice.
Turmeric is a powder made from dried and ground turmeric rhizome.
Curry powder is a blend of various spices.
This golden spice is what gives Indian food "The Midas Touch."


Cumin is a very aromatic spice especially when it is ground. In fact it is the first
smell most people pick up. It adds a wonderful flavor to meats and stews.
It aids in ridding the fleshy smell.
  Little goes a long way with this spice.
It tends to linger on fabric and clothing. Use sparingly and keep kitchen ventilated
when cooking with it.


Cloves are quite common in Bengali cuisine.
They are used from meat dishes, seafood, desserts, and even 
as breath mints. 
They have a pungent and woody scent. 
They really pack a punch when you put one in your mouth.
There is an enormous zesty tingling on the tongue. 

Cardamom is another widely used spice.
It is used whole in mostly meats, rice dishes, and desserts.
The pods  have a kind of piney/pistachio scent with hints of sweet undertones.

Chili Powder

Yes, the notorious chili powder.
We are sure you are all familiar with this.
It is the crushed and ground version of the dried red chilies below.
It provides heat and a smoky flavor to food.

Dried Red Chilies 
Honestly dried red chilies are more commonly used
than the powder. Sometimes my mom adds both to one dish
but this is rarely done. 

Mustard Seeds

This is the absolute most widely used ingredient.
Used in especially fish, seafood, and vegetables.
Except meat. Never used in meats.
Mustard seeds also make mustard oil and mustard paste.
It has a zingy and peppery taste.

Bay Leaves
Bay leaves are a staple in the pantry.
They are used in everything.
They have a delicate flavor and scent.

Onion Seeds
This is a common ingredient in bengal, but for some reason
it is quite difficult for us to find where we live in the U.S.
So it is rarely used and reserved for pickles or garnish.
Panch Phoron
This is a blend of 5 different spices.
Cumin seed
Onion seed
mustard seed
Fennel seed
I have not seen my mother cooking with this so much
She does, however, use it quite commonly when 
she makes pickles. It is quite aromatic.

Not very commonly used.
My mom likes to put some over steaming rice to
release the aroma.
By its self it has a concentrated latex scent,
but when paired with rice or pilafs
it smell better.

Again rarely used.
Goes best with rice.

Black Pepper
Yes, the blog's namesake.
I don't think we have to elaborate too much on this.
Cinnamon is another staple ingredient.
It is rarely used as a powder. If it is then its on desserts
otherwise it is used in meats and rices.

Log Stick

Flat Stick/chinese cinnamon

Posted by - Naz
Photographs by Naz 

Please do not redistribute pictures without permission. All pictures belong to us unless stated otherwise.
Thank you.