Bengal has a varied cuisine as does most states of India.Be it the rice dishes,sweetmeats like mishti doi or fish dishes.Its variety of vegetarian dishes is also a gastronomer's delight.It is said that there are several courses of items even in a modest Bengal household.Here I am trying to present a simple Bengali thali with Khichidi/khichuri, Doi Begun and Subz Bhaja.
This is actually vegetables and spices cooked with rice and moong dal/yellow split lentils,similar to Pulao.I used this recipe as a base but adjusted it as per taste and availability of items.This is simple and easy to prepare pulao dish and tastes great with or without raita.
Basmati Rice: 1 cup
Moong Dal: 3/4 cup
Vegetables: 1 cup mixed (Potatoes,peas,beans,carrot,cauliflower etc)
Onion: 1 medium
Ginger:1 inch piece
Garlic: 1 clove
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
Salt:as per taste
Spices to be crushed:
Bayleaves: 1 or 2 small leaves
Cinnamon: 1/2 tsp
Roast moong dal till it turns lightly brown.Wash and soak the rice.Chop onions finely .Crush/mince garlic and ginger or paste them.Crush the spices.
Heat oil in a pan,add jeera,bayleaf and other crushed spices and saute.When it splutters,add chopped onion and minced ginger and garlic and slit chillies.As the onion turns brown,add the cubed veggies and turmeric and salt and mix well till the veggies are coated well.Add dal and rice and mix well.Add enough water and cook till done.Add more water in between if needed and when done garnish with coriander leaves and ghee.
Doi Begun /Eggplant Raita
This is a simple eggplant raita.I found several versions and found one that was easy to make and modified it.
Eggplant: 1 small
Yoghurt: 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder:1/2 tsp
Chilli Powder: 1/2 tsp
Salt:as per taste
Cube the eggplant pieces and apply salt.Leave them in the colander for about 15 minutes to remove the bitterness.Squeeze the eggplant pieces carefully and place them on a greased baking sheet.Mix in half turmeric and chilli powders on the eggplant pieces and drizzle little oil on top.Bake for 12 minutes on a pre heated oven at 475F for 12-15 minutes.Once done,allow to cool for a few minutes and mix in with remaining spice powders,little salt and yoghurt.Serve chilled with the rice/pulao.
Subz Bhaja/Vegetable fritters
I found that Khichuri/Khichidi is always accompanied by vegetable fritters.I found this recipe and modified as per items available in my pantry
Rice flour: 1tbspn
All purpose flour:2 tbspn
Chilli powder: 1 tsp
Onion seeds/kalonji: 1/4 tsp
Mixed vegetables:1/2 cup(I used spinach and potatoes)
Salt:as per taste
Mix flours,salt,chilli powder and onion seeds into a thick batter.You can also use grm flour/besan instead of all purpose flour and even avoid rice flour.I have added rice flour as it gives crispiness to the dish.Chop the vegetables-slice the potatoes and chop the leafy vegetables .Marinate them in the batter and deep fry in hot oil.Serve as a snack or a side dish with Khichuri.
It was a delicious meal,but you know what,I am still reeling under Sia's magic, so past few weekends I am trying out thali meals from other Indian states.But Thank GOD,its not International!.To be honest,I was a bit sceptical about Khichuri,because Bengali is something that I have not tasted except for rasgullas,but once I inhaled the aroma wafting from the pan,I started working on other accompaniments.SWC:Bengal hosted by Sowmya of CookingStation and Laksmi of tasteofMysore,Hope you enjoy this too.