The Ilish Tramfrado: A Rare Culinary Repertoire from Tagore Family

Bengali cuisine revolves around fishes but there’s a reason why Hilsa (Ilish) is considered to be the Queen of all fishes. With an overly complicated bone structure combined with an immaculate texture, some would argue it is not only one of the best but quite possibly the best tasting fish. Even though there are great, popular Hilsa recipes such as the IlishMaachBhaaja, the IlishMaachBhaapa or the IlishMaachherJhol, sometimes, certain recipes tend to get lost. One such recipe would be the Hilsa Tramfrado. There are few things the Bengalis love the way they love their maach.

A delicious concoction of the Bengali cooking technique combined with Burmese influences, an unusual trio of coconut milk, gandharajlebu and hilsa come together to create an unusual but mouth- watering recipe called the Hilsa Tramfrado.

Ingredients:

  • Hilsa: 4 pcs
  • Vegetable Oil: 2 tbsp
  • Onion Slices: 2 medium-sized
  • Onion Paste: 2 tbsp
  • Coconut Milk: 200 ml
  • GingerPaste: 1.5 tbsp
  • Ghee: 2 tbsp
  • Turmeric Powder: 1 tbsp
  • Red Chilli Powder: 1 tbsp
  • Cinnamon: 2 medium sticks
  • Cardamom: 3 pods
  • Jaitri/Mace: 2 medium skins
  • Cloves/Labanga: 4 pcs
  • Green Chillies: 3 pcs halved
  • Gandharaj/Kaffir Lime Juice: 1 tbsp
  • Salt: To Taste
  • Sugar: 1 tbsp

Procedure:

  • Heat the oil in a pan and add some ghee. Place the chopped onions to it and fry it slightly. Add the halved chillies, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and jaitri. Fry until the onion changes its colour into a brownish shade.
  • Add ginger paste, onion paste and the red chilli powder to the onions, fry until it is cooked well. Add salt and sugar as per taste and cook for 1 minute.
  • Pour 40 ml of coconut oil to the pan and stir the onions until it dries up. Repeat this process twice and then pour the rest of the milk (120 ml) and stir.
  • Pour 100 ml of warm water to the pan and allow the gravy to thicken and the oil to separate. Stir occasionally.
  • Gently place the fish steaks in the gravy, turn and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Cover the pan and let it simmer.
  • Turn the fish in intervals so that it is cooked well.
  • Top it off with some kaffir lime juice and serve!

Hilsa Tramfrado is a lost and rare recipe (chk out the process here@ https://youtu.be/n2TJvS95Uxc?list=UUZutbrdXVJqOsyVGdjSL5IQ) from the Tagore family’s culinary repertoire. Recreate this at home and dive into the wonderful world of flavours and aromas for recipes as delectable as this must not remain lost.

Courtesy: Lost and Rare Recipes (Kitchen Tales)

Methishaak Narkel Doodh-e Murgi, a Renuka Devi Specialty for You

It is hardly an exaggeration when Bengalis are referred to as carnivores! From fish to mutton to chicken, or even pork or beef, we certainly love our fair share of animal protein. In this list, chicken is probably the most easily available and easy to cook for a fulfilling meal. With several delicious dishes available, I chose to pick for you something rare from the bygone era. This is the Methishaak Narkel Doodh e Murgi or Chicken in Fenugreek and coconut-milk gravy.

The origin of this dish goes back to the zamindari era when Renuka Debi Chowdhurani, the wife of notable zamindar Dhirendrakanta Lahiri Chowdhury, developed this delicious chicken dish. She is also the mother to famous elephant expert, Dhritikanta Lahiri Chowdhury, who used to be an efficient hunter in his early life. She was famously known for her culinary skills, and she could cook up a lip smacking delicacy with the simplest of ingredients. This chicken dish in fenugreek and coconut-milk gravy is a fine example of the magic that she could work with flavors.

More about the Dish:

To prepare this dish you would need the following ingredients:

  • 1Kg of chicken pieces evenly cut
  • 500gm of fenugreek leaves
  • 4 chopped onions along with 5-6 green chillies
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic paste and 1.5 spoon of ginger paste
  • Two tablespoons of ghee and salt to taste
  • Spices like Cinnamon,
  • 2.5 cups of coconut milk and 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil

Add the ginger and garlic paste to the chicken and add some salt before setting it out to marinate for around half an hour. Heat up some oil and put in three green chillies. It is now time to add the fenugreek leaves and gently stir them before adding salt to the mix. Keep these tossed fenugreek leaves aside for around seven minutes.

Now, add the ghee in a pan and put in the chopped onions. Fry them till they are golden brown and add the cinnamon. Now put the marinated chicken to this mixture and add some more salt to taste. Keep stirring and gently add a cup of water. Cover the pan and let it cook for a while before adding a few green chillies to add to the flavor.

Now add the fenugreek leaves to the chicken and continue cooking for some time. It is now the turn of the coconut milk to add to the flavors. Pour it in the chicken and continue stirring the mixture. Add some more ghee for the heavenly aroma to engulf the dish!

Conclusion

Your dish is now ready. You can try it out (chk out the process here @ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZutbrdXVJqOsyVGdjSL5IQ ) with some steaming hot rice, and it would be a delightful and fulfilling meal! If you have a knack for new dishes, and you too are tired of the same old chicken dishes, this can be a fun dish to try out! Do let me know your feedback!

Courtesy: Lost and Rare Recipes (Kitchen Tales)

The Exotic Vegetarian Delicacy Called Bnadhakopir Golay Dori

We often look for something new and unique when it comes to our vegetarian dishes. What if you came across a dish that involves one of the cheaper vegetables but tastes exotic! That is precisely what we have for you today! This dish is called Bnadhakopir Golay Dori or The Strangled Cabbage and it is believed to have originated from the kitchens of Kamala Sundari Devi. She hailed from a financially weak family and couldn’t always afford the luxuries of flamboyant vegetables. Thus, she decided to turn this simple vegetarian dish into an enjoyable delicacy that can be the perfect companion for your healthy lunch! The strange name comes from the method of preparation where the cabbage has to be tied with threads before being cooked.

Ingredients required for Bnadhakopir Golai Dori

You would require the following items for cooking up this delicious dish.

  • Cabbage, Mustard Oil, Turmeric Powder, Cumin Powder, Salt, Sugar, Raisins, Garam Masala Powder, Kashmiri Chilli Powder, Green chilies, Bay Leaves, Ginger Paste, Ghee, Curd, Garam Masala.

The preparation:

First, you need to cut up the cabbage into 4 parts and each part has to be neatly tied up with a thread. Now heat some water in a pan and add a tablespoon of salt and three cinnamon sticks to the mix. You also need to add 2 cardamom and clove buds to the pan. Once you are done, place the cabbage pieces in the water and blanch. Cover up the pan with a lid and let the cabbages steam for some time.

Once the cabbages are steamed, keep them aside and work on the gravy. For this, pour about four tablespoons of oil in the pan and add two teaspoons of ghee and three Bay leaves. A teaspoon of sugar would add the necessary sweetness to the dish. Now put in the spices and fry them till it is aromatic. It is now time to add the ginger paste and stir some more while adding a cup of water to this. Put in the kashmiri chilli powder, cumin powder, and turmeric powder and keep stirring. Following this, add four green chillies to the curry and put the raisins into the gravy. You can even add some sugar and then put in the curd to add to the flavor.

Now get the steamed cabbages into this gravy and cook till they are completely done. You can now remove the threads and finish off with a dash of ghee to the dish! The delicious dish is now ready to be served with steaming hot rice and some pickle!

Conclusion:

Do try this out (chk out the process here @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fa3gr52XGxg)   I can assure you that you will be pleasantly surprised with the flavorful magic that simple cabbages can create! This can be your go-to healthy but tasty snack!

Courtesy: Lost and Rare Recipes (Kitchen Tales)

Bikrampuri Korma: A Treasure of Bangladeshi Culinary Heritage

Whenever I think about a preparation with chicken, my grandmother’s advice resounds in my ears. She always used to say, “No matter what you try with chicken, no preparation can beat Bikrampuri Korma.” With a nominal use of edible oil, this recipe is a perfect companion of rice or roti.

Bikrampur is the former name of Munshirganj that is an adjoining district of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Korma took its name after the district.

I remember how grandmother used to prepare the dish with the magic of her hands and our house used to fill with the fragrance of the dish. When the chicken mixes with ghee, bay leaf, cloves, cinnamon, the recipe produces an exotic aroma that all of the foodies crave for.

Now have a quick look at what ingredients are required to prepare the dish:

  1. Chicken (1 kg)
  2. Beaten Curd (4 tablespoons)
  3. Milk (150 ml)
  4. Ghee (2 tablespoons)
  5. Bay Leaf (4 pcs.)
  6. Cardamoms (3 pcs.)
  7. Cinnamon (1.5 inches)
  8. Cloves (3 pcs.)
  9. Ginger paste (2 tablespoons)
  10. Onion paste (3 tablespoons)
  11. Green chili (4 pcs.)
  12. Sugar (1.5 Tablespoon)
  13. Lemon juice (2 Tablespoons)

Besides satisfying your taste buds, the dish adds up some necessary nutrients to your body. While curd helps to keep the BMI at a healthy level, cloves are there to supply your body the amount of manganese it demands. Along with keeping the BMI at a balanced level, the curd helps in losing weight. Along with cloves, there are Bay leaves that also manage the requirement of manganese. Bay leaves supply a sufficient amount of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, iron, Potassium, Calcium, and Manganese.

When I had tried the recipe, I was a total amateur at cooking. I would suggest you to follow the process thoroughly that is mentioned here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qa3ewJB9giI). You just need to take all the ingredients in proper quantity and have the courage to try something new. The rest is just a matter of time. The dish doesn’t take more than 30 minutes to prepare. Boil the chicken well so that it doesn’t create a problem in digestion though curd is there to help you digest the food easily.

A combination of health and taste is rare in this age of “2 minutes” food. So, this weekend are you going to make your guests say in wonder, “What on earth does have such beautiful flavor and aroma?!”

Courtesy: Lost and Rare Recipes (Kitchen Tales)

P.C: Lost & Rare Recipes (Kitchen Tales)

650 Years Old & Kicking! The Unforgettable Belgian Hoegaarden Wheat Beer!

Who doesn’t like the occasional sinful indulgence to have a gala time! And what better way to celebrate those moments than to down your tension in a tall glass of chilled beer! I have often enjoyed one of these soft n tasty alcoholic beverages during my rare leisure moments. A few days ago, I was spending some quality time with my family at the Holiday Inn Kolkata and I suddenly got intrigued by my son to have and enjoy some Belgian Hoegaarden Wheat Beer. I was blown away at the rich taste of this fine beverage and couldn’t stop myself from putting my thoughts into words.

All about the Belgian Hoegaarden Beer:

I got myself a 375ml bottle for just INR 550, and for the quality on offer, the price seemed pretty reasonable. What amazed me the most was the lightness of the beer, despite the enriching taste of the hard-hitting alcohol inside it. I could tell that the beer had been processed with care and was intrigued to dig deeper into the brand to learn more about their history. Here is what I found out!

This beer originates from the exotic corners of Belgium, where it is believed that monks were churning out delicious alcoholic beverages as early as the 14th century. In a village called Hoegaarden, is this famous brewery that has floored the world with the quality of beer that they manage to provide for the price. It was started by a milkman, but now it has gone on to become one of the giants in the alcohol industry, delivering to over 70 nations.  Although they produce various types of beer, their wheat beer variant is the most popular. From the taste of one chilled sip, I could tell why! The beer is the perfect companion for the thirsty tired soul that needs some refueling before getting back to routine again!

Their other forms of beer include Rose, Citron, Julius, Forbidden Fruit, and many other beverages that contain somewhat the same alcohol content. I was impressed with what I had, and am definitely trying this brand out one more time when I have the opportunity.

Conclusion:

A simple beer would have been enough to win me over. So you can imagine my plight when I tasted the excellence of this one, a brand that is over six centuries and fifty years old! It seems practice does make a man perfect!

Have You Ever Tried Kancha Lankar Jhol (Green Chili Curry)?

Can you imagine Indian cuisine without spice? I certainly cannot with all the mouth-watering dishes on offer that have a generous dose of spice in them. Now when it comes to heat, we Indians have mastered the art of eating the spiciest of dishes as long as they are delicious. Such has been the case with our consumption of chili. Ever since Portuguese introduced us to this unique specimen, we can’t seem to get enough of it! We literally add it to most of our dishes for the heat and for the flavor. But, have you ever considered a curry dish where chili is the stand-alone item?

The Kancha Lankar Jhol is just that, originating in the rural areas of Bengal. This is a lip-smacking curry item that uses green chilies as their main ingredient. However, contrary to what you may think, this dish isn’t the spiciest on offer. This is because during the cooking procedure, the heat of the chili is neutralized by the usage of milk. The end-result is an aromatic, flavorful, and spicy dish that complements steaming hot rice brilliantly.

How to get going and make some delicious Kancha Lankar Jhol?

The ingredients that you will need include 15-20 green chilies, flour, salt, turmeric, nigella seeds, mustard oil, and milk. Take the milk in a bowl and add about a tablespoon of flour in it. Then add a tablespoon of turmeric and stir into a mix. Heat some oil in the pan and add the nigella seeds. Thereafter add the chilies and fry them a little before adding the mixture of milk and flour. Stir repeatedly and reduce the gravy while adding salt to taste. You need to cook it for around 5-6 minutes and once you are done, you can finish with some raw mustard oil. Your flavorful yet simple dish is ready. Try it out with some steaming hot rice and enjoy the rich taste of a lost cuisine.

If you’re interested to look at the video clip of the preparation, chk out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FagVj8Mpms

Conclusion:

It is time to move over the conventional vegetables, fish, and meat items, and explore the uncharted territories of Indian cuisine. In this case, you will have one of the most delicious things from the most unconventional recipe. It is high time you tasted the brilliance of our very own, authentic, Kancha Lankar Jhol!

Courtesy: Lost and Rare Recipes (Kitchen Tales)

Enjoy the Flavours of Bangkok Street Food at Kolkata’s Zara’s Kitchen

A surprise food tasting from Zara’s Kitchen (Insta: @_zaraskitchen0103, Fb: _zaraskitchen0103), courtesy Candid Communication and my world of taste buds become gay!!

The kitchen truly reminds me of the rich aroma and authenticity of a Thai street food. A sweet throwback and immediately you’re transported to Chinatown, Silom Road, Soi Rambuttri, Banglamphu, or Soi 38 Sukumvhit in Bangkok! A weekly pop up assortment of delightful dishes, prepared and curated by the Master chefs of Zara’s Kitchen shows the class. While the platter gives you a Goosebumps to taste it on a satisfying note.

The Monday platter comes with Chicken Satay (6 pcs), Thai Red Curry and Steamed rice. Priced @Rs.599, this is a ‘must try’ call for each and every food lover. The Chicken Satay was perfectly marinated in soya and grilled to perfection before it was served with peanut sauce as a starter. Red Thai Curry (chicken) is hot and sweet because of a coconut milk punch along with a careful mix of Thai red chillies, and a dash of kaffir lime leaves. And just imagine, the curry is served with hot, sticky and traditional Thai steaming rice! Wow! What a combination!

Fish cakes, which comes combining with Thai traditional sticky rice is actually an all time hit in Thai street food market. Zara’s Kitchen brings it for you on every Saturday with an added option to try out some more variants in the form of fish / chicken/ veg / crab. These fish cakes are a close match to our favourite “Macher Dimer Bora” (fish egg cake). They are deadly because of its enticing mix of red Thai paste, sweet chilli and fish sauce.

Thai Coconut Prawn Soup bowl looks very dull, but tastes immaculately refreshing. Needless to say, this is one of the best from Zara’s Kitchen. I preferred to have it cool with steaming, sticky rice, just to savour the lovely aromatic use of coconut milk blended with some strong ginger and basil, with a tinge of red paste to create the drama on your tongue. Just don’t expect big prawns in this soup. Have it once! This is a star item from this kitchen.

I cannot imagine ending this Thai platter without having my share of Zara’s signature coconut pancakes. Thanks to Zara Chishty Abedin for including this for me. Thanks once again for reminding me of the coconut ice creams, I had in Krua Apsorn and Baan Jay Fai in Bangkok. This soft beauty is made of eggs, shredded coconut, fine flour and a dash of Gandharaj lime to make it more interesting.

The meal ended in a jiffy. But believe it or not, the aroma and the satisfaction lingered long. And that’s where Zara’s Kitchen wins the heart.

Wanna touchbase Zara’s Kitchen? Feel free to WhatsApp: +918697849510

A Chocolate-y Main Course! Visit The Chocolate Room

Is there a particular age for being a chocolate addict? I think not. Over the years, the old and young alike have made chocolates the most loved dessert snack in the world. You might be feeling low or you might want to celebrate a wonderful success and your go-to snack can be a handsome chocolate bar.

The Chocolate Room:

I have obviously been to cafes that serve an exotic hot chocolate or some amazing chocolate cake. But to have a café provide food that solely revolves around chocolate? Well, I experienced it for the first time when I walked into The Chocolate Room. This one was located right opposite to the main gate of VIT University (Vellore Institute of Technology). Though, they have branches in various cities including Pune, New Delhi, Bangalore, and many others.

So what is the specialty of this place? For starters, it serves some delicious Choctails that are basically chocolate beverages to work out your appetite. The best thing about this place is that they use some supreme export quality chocolate in their products and this adds the exotic flavor and taste to their food. They do serve some savory items such as a Bread Fondue or a Cheese fondue when they are best-known for their chocolate specialty dishes. An item that I had never tasted before blew my mind. I had never known a chocolate dish to be served as a main course but why should good things come in portions? The Chocolate Room serves a delicious Chocolate Sizzler with an abundance of chocolate to heal the worst of moods!

The chocolate varieties are plentiful and you can get your hands on everything from dark chocolate to milk chocolate, and even white chocolate. As I have mentioned already, the quality leaves nothing to complain about and takes you to a different world. Although the prices are slightly on the higher side, it isn’t exorbitantly priced under any circumstances. The ambiance and service of the café also impressed me during my visit.

Conclusion:

There can never be a limit to a culinary experience. As you go around trying new combinations, you must acknowledge that something new is always in store for you. I was a little hesitant while walking into the café but after having some of their remarkable chocolate dishes, I certainly walked out as a satisfied customer. Do try out the place if your town has one on offer!

Savouring Street Food, the Hygienic Way

Street food under pandemic? Are you mad, or what? When everything seizes, life stops to breathe, uncertainty looming large and the going gets tough, I found a ‘FRIEND.’

Due to perpetual lockdown and times of uncertainty, eating outside has become a questionable habit. Even though some restaurants have put in their best foot forward to ease out the situation, street food is still like a forbidden fruit. I’m dying to have a bite of the rich street-food delicacies but the questionable hygiene has scared me every now and then. And just then, I found a ‘FRIEND.’

The unique Idea

Under such trying circumstances, an amazing initiative was taken up by my so called ‘FRIEND,’ Holiday Inn, Kolkata Airport, and their restaurant, Social Kitchen. They visualized and designed a street-food spread infusing the security of the best hygienic conditions and this event was called Unlock: Khao Galli the Eat Street Feast. It was enough invitation for me to go and try out their food. After all, I have missed street-food for so long, as much as any other foodie Bengali!

My Experience at this event

I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations for bringing in such a brilliant, innovative concept. At Rs.499 plus tax, with a wide spread of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian delicacies, this event was a huge hit and provided the taste of street-food from various parts of the country. Imagine a fine dining experience with the likes of Maidan Chaat counter or Paranthewali Gali or some famous tea-stall in the mix of things!

For starters they had various vegetarian and non-vegetarian chops and cutlets. I particularly enjoyed the chicken lollipops and the chaat counter was good enough to stir up the nostalgia of the days when you could freely enjoy street food. Even the famous Pav-Bhaji was authentic and left a lingering taste in the mouth. After filling up on the starters, I moved on to the main-course items where I gorged on some Kolkata style mutton biriyani and paneer dishes alongside a delicious fish in garlic sauce. The Murgh Tawa masala was perfectly spiced and they even had some Chinese options like chowmein and stir-fried vegetables.

As I headed for the dessert counter, I was pleasantly surprised by some hot gulab jamuns and a dedicated jalebi counter. They all had the conventional flavors that you would expect from a good street-food joint and those with a sweet-tooth would have a gala time! The chocolate brownie, pastries, and ice-creams were the cherry on the cake and by the time I was done, I could barely move!

Conclusion

Since they were so careful with the hygiene and maintaining food-standards, there was a significant footfall to attend the event. They are conducting this food journey from 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM every Sunday and I would strongly recommend you to go and try it out!

Baked Mihidana with Kamola Bhog, a Dramatic Combination at the Independence Day Dinner

What a combination!!

I am one of those individuals who look to celebrate a big occasion and as Indians, what better occasion it can be to celebrate than the Independence Day! We headed for the Dinner Buffet on the 15th of August organized by the Holiday Inn Kolkata. Given the standards and expertise of their capable kitchen, the price was cheap and tempting, and I didn’t think twice before I slipped into the den.

Social Kitchen was the venue for the grand buffet. They also had a 14th August pre-independence dinner alongside the lunch and dinner plans on the 15th. The best thing about the sumptuous meal is that the prices were surprisingly affordable considering the star category hotel spread on offer. Valued at INR 450 + GST, this has to be one of the most convenient dinner buffets that I have attended. More so because, the deal is quite affordable even for the middle class people having a tough time under the circumstances.

Coming to the food, I was pleasantly surprised with the explosion of flavors and dishes through their items. The Welcome drink was refreshing and I quite enjoyed the seasonal fruit punch as the beverage. We started off with the hot, fresh and delicate starters on offer such as Fish Amritsari and Chicken Lollipop. The lip-smacking taste was heightened by the quality of fish that they had procured. For the vegetarian starters, they had crispy chilly baby corn and Hara Bhara Kebab. After stuffing myself with these known, yet lip-smacking starters, I headed for the soup appetizer that consisted of a flavorful lemon-coriander.

The Spread, at a glance

There were salad options as well but I conveniently avoided the leafy greens to enjoy the sumptuous main course on offer. From mutton bhuna to grilled fish in lemon butter sauce to an amazing veg lasagna, they had perfected it all. The quality of mutton was amazing. It was soft, well-cooked and hence could smother each pieces within the mouth quite effortlessly. Each and every item was praiseworthy, except the Chicken Biriyani that tasted rather ordinary. There were also noodles and koftas and many other dishes that escaped my attention.

I was saving myself for the dessert spread that looked rather inviting. Baked Mihidana was simply awesome, and I swear, this particular item from Social Kitchen can pose tough contest on any day to lot of renowned sweet confectioners in the city. But the intense magic took place not before when the guy served me a scoop of hot Baked Mihidana combined with Kamola Bhog which absolutely stole my heart. The cream caramel which was basically a form of caramel custard was also heavenly for the taste buds and I also took a mouthful of the Fresh Fruit Gateaux.

Overall, it was a fascinating experience and I was feeling full and contented at the end of my meal. The fresh ingredients were impressive and their hygienic service using disposable plates and completely contact-less serving was also satisfying. At least I could enjoy a meal without worrying about the virus for a while!