Monday, 7 June 2010

200th Post with my favourite comfort food of ...

... Dal, Bhaat, Aloo bhaate, Begun bhaja ... makha!

Ok ... first things first.

Dal - Lentils
Bhaat - Rice
Aloo - Potato
Bhaate - cooked in or along with rice ( or plain boiled )
Begun - Brinjal / Aubergine / Eggplant
Bhaja - fry / deep fried
Makha - Mixed together or ... as in here ... mashed up together.

I finally made it to my 200th post!
I know ... much as I want to, I have not been giving my blog enough time. I do not post as much as I should.
And on the top of it, instead of cooking and posting exotic and dfifferent recipes, I go ahead and post something as common as dal & rice.

But then, this is my favourite dish! And I have to have it in my blog! I love this simple meal so much that I celebrated my b'day this year with this meal ... instead of going out.
So my blog should have it too. :-)

First, the Dal.

I have taken the Mushur / Mushurir / Masoor dal / Red Lentils here. Cooked with the Paanch Phoron, this dal gets an unique flavour.

Ideally in Bengali homes, dals are cooked or boiled first and then tempered seperately. I cook directly in the pressure cooker along with the tempering. Saves time & energy.

Need :

1 cup Mushur / Mushurir / Masoor dal / Red Lentils
1 onion sliced lengthwise
1/2 teaspoonful of Paanch Phoron
( a mix of equal quantities of methi/fenugreek seeds, kalaunji/onion seeds, rai/mustard seeds, saunf/fennel seeds, jeera/cumin seeds)
A little turmeric / haldi powder
2 broken dry red chillies
1 Bay leaf ( I did not use it )
1 teaspoonful of Mustard oil ( if you do not like mustard oil, any other white oil will do )
Around 5-6 cups of water

How to :

Wash the dal and keep aside.

Heat oil in a pressure cooker.

Add the paanch phoron and the chilles.

Add the sliced onion and fry well till onion is partly cooked and starts to brown.

Add the dal, haldi powder and salt. Stir well.

Add water, cover and set on low heat.

After 2 whistles, switch off heat.

Remove cover only after the pressure cooker has cooled.
Serve hot.

Second, the Aloo Bhaate.
Or the Aloo Chokha .. as it is known in certain parts of the country.

Since the rice usually used in the homes of Bengal takes a long while to cook ... and it is usually cooked in an open vessel and drained of the starch water, many a time vegetables would be thrown in to get cooked along with it. This way there was no need to boil the vegetables seperately. Potatoes are one vegetable that would be cooked regularly this way .. though other boiled vegetables taste wonderfully good when had hot out of the rice.

But I usually pressure cook the poatoes or run them in the MW Oven.

Need :

Green chillies
Mustard oil
Salt to taste
Chopped oinions

How to :

To boil the potatoes :

Wash the potatoes well. Prick them with a fork all over or make a slight cut in each of them.

Take some water in a pressure cooker and add the potatoes ( they should be submerged in the water ).

Close cover and set to cook on low heat till around 4 to 5 whistles.

Remove cover after cooker has cooled.

Alternatively, you can take the potatoes in MW safe bowl and run them at 60 % for 5 mins.

Remove potatoes and peel them.

Mash them together with salt, mustard oil , chopped onions and crushed fresh green chillies. Remember to crush them ... no chopping allowed.

(If you do not like the flavour of raw mustard oil, you can use ghee ... just give the onions a skip).

This is wonderful when hot, but is equally tasty when eaten at room temperature too.
If you at all have some of the makha left, you an make aloo tikkis out of it ... only remember to remove the big pieces of green chillies.

Third , the Begun Bhaja.

Begun bhaja or fried Brinjal slices are a very common as well as favourite accompaniment to any Bengali meal. A favourite combination with the Khichuri or Luchi / Puris, they are enjoyed best right out of the wok, crisp and piping hot.
If you are health concious, you can grill it on a flat open pan too ... like I usually do. But once in a while, it is ok to indulge in some deep fried Begun bhaja ... especiall if it is raining outside and you have a plateful of smoking hot khichuri in front of you.

Need :
Fresh Brinjals / Eggplants / Aubergines, cut into thick roundels ( just make sure the brinjals do not have too much of seeds in them )
Mustard oil to deep fry
A little Turmeric / haldi powder

How to :
Apply salt and turmeric to the brinjals and keep aside.

Heat enough mustard oil to deep fry in a heavy kadahi or wok ... preferrable of cast iron ... but never of steel.

Slowly let in the brinjal pieces carefully ... they might splutter ( holding a big sized cover helps).

Let them cook till one side truns golden brown.

Turn them over carefully and brown the other side too.

Sometimes they need to be covered to cook well ... depends on the kind of brinjal you get.

Remove and drain on a paper towel of extra oil.

Serve hot.

Here's a plateful.

And here's how I like to have it ....
... Makha!
All mashed up together. :-)

If you have been patient enough and have reached here finally ... I'll tell you the reason why I love it so much.
My Mom used to mash everything up this way and feed me while I used to hurriedly get ready for classes.

And the love for that taste ... and the memories ... remain. Every mouthful would have a combination of flavours ... mild dal with sharp brinjal fry and some aloo with crunchy onions and sometimes the sharp heat of a piece of green chilli. :-)

Who wants a spoonful of home? :-)

I'll be around henceforth folks.
Take care all !


  1. Congragulations, and scrolling down i am getting more and more hungry. All the dishes look so so good, i am not greedy ;-) so i will be perfectly happy with just that dal and rice too, but then youserve me the rest i will be a happy happy woman :-)

  2. Congrats Sharmila...wish to see many more post...I just want that platter...ohh long time had aloo chukha..and tht baigan fry is my fav...just delicious

  3. Happy 200th, enjoy blogging! :))

    What a lovely delicious looking platter. It looks comforting and love the Eggplant side dish. Good one.

  4. akdom erokom kore amar maa kakhano kakhano baba o amader schoole jabar age khaie dito. tabe amader barite begun bhajar badole dim bhaja ba mach bhaja thakto. you made me nostalgic. eta amaro bhishon bhishon priyo aar comfort food. tabe ami sange dimer jhuro bhaja khete khub bhalobasi.Congrats on reaching the 200th mark. beling a food blogger I understand what a milestone that is.

  5. Congrats on the 200th Sharmila. Kotodin alu bhaat e khai ni, wyahhhh

  6. Dear Sharmila
    Nice to see you are back with great mood..and what can be more befitting recipe on your 200th post. ( and that too my favorites)
    Humm I never tried bay leaf seasoning with panch phoDon and onion, will try tomorrow.
    Well I fry Brinjal, with little oil, a technique learnt from my Mom...but nothing to match dip fried ones. Oil is so expensive for pocket and health. The brinjal drink oil to their heart.
    I am going to try this combo day after tomorrow.
    Take care

  7. Congrats! on the double century. Simple foods are the best and the ones you are presented here are down home and good for all occasions.

  8. Sharmila,
    congrats on completing 200 post.And amaar ja khide pache eyi shob ranna dekhe:)..r eyi upbeat mood ta agey O chaliye jeyo,pore bhalo lagey :-)..
    hugs and smiles

  9. All the curries looks great. I especially liked the brinjal.

  10. Thanks Happy! Everything here is for you. :-)

    Thanks Asha! :-)

    Thanks Priti! :-)

    Thanks Sayantani! Chotobelar kotha ar khabar bodhhoye keo konodin bhole na. :-)

    Thanks Sandeepa! Banie felo taratari ... mw te 5 mins lage. :-)

    Thanks Ushnishda! That is why mustard oil is used for deep frying ... it thins when heated and is easy to drain off the brinjals. :-)

    Thanks ISG! :-)

    Thanks Jaya! Chaliye jawar puro icche ache. :-)

    Thanks Nostalgia! :-)

  11. congrats...looks the deep fried brinjal dish..I never tried that before...

  12. Congratulations Sharmila. You are so right ... the best recipes are the ones with the most loving memories

  13. aami jekono shomoy aloo bhaate khete pari, daal aar begun bhaja diye, aar kichhoo naa paai kono dukhho neyi :-)
    jokhon ii aloo bhaate makha hoy aami aamar chhanader khaiyye dii, bodo taar toh oshombhob priyo, chhotorao bhalobeshe khaaye..daaler rong ta aito tempting with that shukno lonka..and the aloo bhate with the onions and kacha lonka..ahaa

  14. Heartiest congrats on the double century, J. Here's to many more.
    That thali of yours makes me just want to hop over to your house, sit cross legged on the floor and dig in with my hands, desi style.

  15. exact reason why I would love it too...
    Congrats on the 200th post!

  16. Congratulations Sharmila and wishes for more to come. I have enjoyed reading your thoughtful posts and the bengali dishes. All the dishes look delicious.

  17. Congratulations on the double century.
    I do not think there is any Bengali child who has not grown up eating this. Another top favourite in my house is aloo-dimshiddho-bhaat with ghee or butter.
    This is my absolute favourite and I can eat it every day. And you are right, it has to do with our childhood and our mothers.

  18. Congrats on your 200th post. Kichu Khon ekhane theke...mane tomar lekha-ta pore koto katha mone pore gelo. bhat, alu bhate, dal, tak, bhaja amar sobtheke bhalo lage khete.
    aegia cholo...aaei boli...

    ...and keep smiling...

  19. Thanks CBI! :-)

    Thanks Madhu! :-)

    Thanks Joyee! Ei khabar ta emon je Ma khaiye dile aro tasty hoye. Ar tumi toh tomar chanader jonne koto ki banao ... ora lucky! :-)

    Thanks dear I! I really wish you would come over ... I promise this thali and lots more. :-)

    Thanks Somoo! Btw ... did you miss my fiction writing ... I'd love to hear from you on that. :-)

    Thanks RC! Am so glad you like them. :-)

    Thanks Aparna! Aha .. aloo-dim sheddho with ghee ... heaven. Right now am not allowed to have eggs or fish ... else would have teamed this up with a fish fry or omelette. :-)

    Thanks Gouri di! Apnar comments pete shob shomoye khub bhalo lage. :-)

  20. Khoob shundor. Alu bhate ta emni khe favorite with a little ghee bhaat and noon.

    Chhobi gulo khoob shundor.

  21. I do. so much now. i am tired of seeing the red oily grease in food for the past few months, tired of smelling onions and garlic. The feeling of wanting to sit down and eat has disappeared. But seeing this gives me the inspiration again to savor every "gal" of the food. Thank you Sharmila, you don't know what effect this has on me. Time that i make dal, alu bhate and begun bhaja and some chutney for me only.

    congrats on your 200th psot.

  22. Congrats on the 200th post. This is such glorious comfort food, esp the begun bhaja!

  23. Thanks Soma! Aaj e ektu khani baniye nao. :-)

    Thanks Sra! :-)

  24. Congratulations Sharmila ! I have been and still seem to be on a long break from blogging...Came here to check your eggless cookies and saw this post !! I love the begun bhaja...and the dal looks very interesting, never tried this one...200 posts is a huge milestone - keep the posts coming...

  25. Congratulations Sharmila! I love baigun bhaja its my favorite and i even tried once but couldnt make close to the one like yours! Will try sometime again, using your method :)

  26. Congrats on the double century :)

    Can't think of a better way to bring it in. Alu sheddo bhaat used to be a regukar feature with a working mom. Picture brought back lot of memories

  27. Thanks Arch! Hope you get back to blogging soon. :-)

    Thanks Parita! Do give them a try. Am sure they'll come out great. :-)

    Thanks Kalyan! It's the best comfort food in the world. :-)

  28. Congrats, Sharmila on 200th post..lovely post for celebrating this mark....puro combi ta amar o bhisan priyo..aar kichu chai na..kono vacation theke ese first thing ami ei combo ta khai..aloo bhate shukno lanka bhaja diye mekhe kheyecho? tomar begun bhajar stack ta dekhe jive jal ese, aar parchi na, jai begun bhaja banai aaj dinner er janya, ei bhabe ami o musur dal banai, kintu alpo tomato o are as usual mouth-watering

  29. Perfect...even I love them, daal-rice-aaloo ka chokha
    I was searching for begun bhaja and finally found them. I have made just once, by only shallow frying them in a pan. This time, will try deep frying.



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