Dim Posto – Eggs in Poppy paste

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A little about my Bong connection:

Probashi Bangali is what I like to call myself. Born and brought up in a small town of UP, I had never really understood the connection that all Bengalis feel with the city of joy. To me Kolkata, then called Calcutta, was my hometown-on-papers while in reality it was just the place where I spent the summer vacations and where all my relatives stayed. It was a place that always used to scare me in my childhood – the traffic… the pollution and the people…. everything. That used to be my connection with Kolkata. On being asked my preferred place for pursuing higher education (which was not to happen in the small town that I was living) Calcutta would figure at the bottom of my list.

I never had the understanding of the culture that we Bengalis are always so proudly boasting of. My parents tried to give me and my brother the most that they could. The bong traits in me resulted in me being a part of the school choir and other cultural groups, wearing glasses as early as in Class 4th (a permanent ornament for the Bongs – sorry for the typecast), developing a sweet-tooth and being what you may call a ‘good student’ (it was a commonly accepted notion amongst us that Bengali kids are the studious kinds). But that was where it ended. I hated Bengali food, could not bear the thought of having plain rice or fish or patla musur dal (lentil soup) or any curry which had sugar in it…. so while my brother was the mach-bhaat (fish and rice) types I was the roti-sabji one. I liked the thick dal with my rotis, loved any cuisine other than bengali and my meals were always accompanied with a fight with my mom for not having fish. I would wait long for everyone to leave the lunch table and then would quietly throw away the fish into the garbage when no one looked (something that I still feel guilty about). I remember me and my brother skipping the Bengali movies on Sunday afternoons on DD2 Bangla channel which my family loved to watch, except obviosuly the Gupi Baga series that even I loved. And though I danced to many a Rabindrasangeet I never really bonded with any of them. Infact I spoke Bengali so poorly that my relatives would make fun of my hindi mixed bengali language.

So somehow when I ended up being in Kolkata after high school (life has its own ways of surprising us!) my family was very – very – skeptical of how I might cope with the city life. And to be honest the first year I hated it terribly.

Kolkata - Copy
Kolkata – the city of Joy
Image Courtesy : Bedabrata Chatterjee

Life changed for me. The first year when I was staying with my dida.. she made me eat all kinds of Bengali food… from Uchchey shedhdho (Boiled bittergourd) to Loitta mach (Bombay duck fish) to lau er payesh (a dessert made of bottle gourd) – names that I had never heard of. Since I was preparing for my entrance exams that year my only recreation used to be the evening bengali movies that I would watch with my dida… mostly the Uttam-Suchitra or Soumitro-Aparna Sen ones. I learned to travel in the crowded buses and packed local trains, and in that one year stint at Kalyani University a friend of mine taught me how to read and write the numbers in bengali so that I could read the bus numbers. At night when I would sleep next to my dida, she would recite poems to me – what we call ‘abritti’ in Bengali. That’s when I got introduced to ‘Korno Kunti Sombaad’ – one of my favorites – in my Dida’s emotion packed voice. My friends and other family members introduced me to other bengali movies and songs. Hostel life, when I finally joined LBC, was a different chapter altogether. The celebrated menu of any bengali meal – the fish – for which I would have so many fights with my mom – became the only edible food in the lunch menu. The crowded street with all kinds of queer people became my co-passengers. I learned to protect myself and even vocally fight back in many cases in the crowded buses and trains – something that the daily passengers of Kolkata will surely understand. The constant hustle-bustle of the big city became my companion whenever I would feel lonely. Eventually the town girl who was once not sure if she would survive in this city started thriving.

After years of alienating myself from Kolkata – gradually, unknowingly, unwillingly, I started falling in love with it. The city gave me love and joy and a few heartbreaks and tears too… but more importantly made me what I am today. I rose above my biases and opened my heart to the city with all its givings and misgivings and the city, as it does with everyone, embraced me and added a distinct imprint on my life.

Victoria Memorial
Image Courtesy : Bedabrata Chatterjee

I still love to call myself a probashi bangali instead of a true Bangali. My tastes have matured from Bollywood movies to foreign movies and yet I love to watch the mature Bengali movies of the recent years… While I listen to A.R. Rehman and Adele I also have a playlist of songs ranging from Anjan Dutta, Chandrabindoo to Lopamudra and the modern versions of Rabindra Sangeet…Old Uttam Suchitra movies hold more passion and romance than the current Ranbeer-Deepika movies… Though I am perfectly fine with the quiet and peaceful life of the US, there are times when I long for the traffic filled Bypass rides and the liveliness of the city life… While there is no place like New York city or Las Vegas, Victoria Memorial of Kolkata will always hold the memory of the most precious moment of my life… Comfort food ranges from dal bhaat aloo posto, rajma chawal to roti and mixed dal… While I still follow and prefer the North Indian style of cooking Indian meals, I have also come to love kosha pathar mangsho (Mutton curry) with mishti pulao (Rice), the slightly sweetend chanar dalna and I never forget to add a little sugar in my egg curries… While we both are still not crazy about fish, I have found  that cooking it little differently suits our palate better. I have tried to imbibe in me best of both the worlds and keep myself open and receptive to the wide world where there is so much more to experience and learn.

Coming to today’s recipe – it is an attempt to accolade my bengali roots that I have come to understand lately. And the one thing that I have realized about bengali cuisine is that given a chance Bongs would put every edible thing in a poppy seed paste with lots of green chillies, maybe add some mustard or coconut and come up with a heavenly dish…! For the countless egg lovers here is a simple Bengali preparation – Eggs in poppy seed paste – Dim Posto

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Ingredients:

  • Eggs – 4 hard boiled, shelled and halved
  • Potatoes – 2 small, cut lengthwise into quarters (optional)
  • Onions – 1 medium, thinly sliced
  • Green chillies – slit lengthwise,  5-6 or to taste. I usually dont use red chillies but you can.
  • Poppy seeds – 4 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds – 2 tbsp for paste (optional, can skip it)
  • Kalonji/Kalo Jeere/Nigella seeds – for tempering (optional).
  • Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp and a little more for sprinkling on the eggs and potatoes.
  • Red chilli powder – to taste, if not using green chillies
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – as required. Preferrably mustard oil but I use white oil.
  • Water – as required
  • Chopped coriander leaves – for garnishing

Method:

  • Hard boil the eggs, once done keep aside and let them cool. De-shell and cut them into halves length wise. Sprinkle salt and turmeric and keep aside.
  • Boil the potatoes half done and keep aside.
  • Make a paste of poppy seeds, mustard seeds with salt and some water. I generally use the Sunrise mustard powder which I soak in 1-2 tbsp of water and salt for 15 mins. I grind the dry poppy seeds in a grinder and then soak it in water for 15 mins along with the mustard powder or sometimes separately.
  • Heat oil in a pan, fry the thinly sliced onions till browned, drain and keep aside.
  • Fry the eggs in the oil with the yellow side facing the pan and the white side up. That way the boiled yolk will not separate from the whites. Once done flip the eggs carefully and fry the white sides. Remove from the pan and keep aside.
  • In the same pan, add some more oil if required, heat it and temper with the kalonji / nigella seeds.
  • Add the half boiled potatoes with some salt and turmeric. Add green chillies and fry a while.
  • Next add the green poppy paste / poppy mustard seeds paste, salt to taste, red chilli powder (if using) and mix well.
  • Add some water – quantity according to the desired gravy – and let it come to a boil. This will not have too  much gravy so adjust the quantity accordingly.
  • Once the potatoes are completely cooked, check for salt and spice. Add salt / chillies accordingly.
  • Now you can add the eggs to the gravy and mix it carefully so that the yolk does not come out. Alternatively you can arrange the eggs on a serving dish with the yolk side up, and pour the gravy along with the potatoes on top of it.
  • Garnish with the fried onions and chopped coriander leaves.

Serve it immediately. This dish tastes best with plain rice when served immediately after cooking as on reheating the poppy paste gravy tends to dry up.

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Egg Shrimp Pie / Dim Chingri

I start this post with a fact that am not sure what to name this recipe. My dida (grand mom) found out this recipe in a cooking show and and after its huge success in the family, passed it on to me, my mom and many others. Probably I am the only one who finally tried it out, of course thanks to the whole day that I have to myself for such experiments and the constant want for some new food. So I named it according to my fancy but you can choose to give it a better name (and also let me know of the same please).

Ingredients:

  • Eggs – 4
  • Shrimp – 10 – 12
  • Onion – 1 medium sized
  • Tomato – 2 medium sized, boiled, peeled and chopped (refer to the method  given below)
  • Ginger – 2 inch piece, finely chopped or grated
  • Garlic – 5 cloves, finely chopped or grated
  • Green chillies – finely chopped to taste
  • Salt – to taste
  • Sugar – to taste
  • Garam Masala powder – 1 tsp (optional)
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Red chilli powder – to taste
  • Paprika powder/Kashmiri lal mirch – 1/2 tsp (optional)
  • Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp for garnishing (optional)
  • Dried Parsley or finely chopped coriander leaves – for garnishing
  • Oil

Note: You will need a non stick pan (atleast 9 inch) with a lid for the final dish, but you may choose to use any other cookware to fry and mix the ingredients. I used only the pan for the entire process.

Method:

  • Boil the whole tomatoes for a minute, peel the skin and roughly chop into small (1/2 inch or litlle less approx.) cubes.
  • Heat oil in a nonstick pan (or any other cookware).
  • Fry the shrimps with little salt and turmeric. Keep aside for later use.
  • Add oil if required in the pan; fry ginger and garlic for half a minute.
  • Then add the chopped onions and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the chopped boiled tomatoes and fry on medium flame without crushing them completely.
  • Add chopped green chillies, salt, sugar, turmeric powder, garam masala powder, red chilli powder, paprika powder, and mix well for almost 5 minutes.
  • If using a separate cookware for the frying, follow this step: At this stage, lightly grease the hot nonstick pan with oil or butter and transfer the masala / mixture on the  pan.
  • Spread the masala/mixture in the pan evenly into a uniform layer.
  • Break each egg onto the pan such that the yolk remains intact (same while making an egg poach) and each egg occupies a quarter of the pan. Try not to break the eggs too hard so that the yolk remains intact.
  • Sprinkle little salt and pepper on the eggs.
  • Place the fried shrimps on the eggs, preferrably at the intersection of the four eggs (so they form a ‘+’ shape). However I had some extra which I placed randomly.
  • Garnish it with some dried parsley or finely chopped coriander leaves.
  • Cover quickly and simmer for another 5 minutes till the eggs settle in.

Serving suggestion:

  • If using a non stick – use a spatula and gently lift one side of the pie and let the spatula slide under the entire pie. Gradually lift it entirely or let it slide into a serving plate.
  • Cut it into desired portions / quarters for serving. Ideally each receives a minimum of one egg with the hardened yolk.
  • Can be served with garlic/italian bread or with rice and dal or as a snack.

Egg Keema

Eggs – so popularly and frequently cooked in non-veg Indian households.  So in ours…

I always keep sufficient eggs in my stock, that way even if I have to cook for ourselves in a hurry we can have plain rice, dal and a omlette. When I have nothing else to cook or do not want to strain myself with too much of experiments in the kitchen, I make eggs. Ask my husband what he wants to eat – at any hour  – he would say ‘eggs’. Well.. I can tell you, if your husband or kids love eggs, nothing like that! Full of proteins, no hassles, and you can stock them beforehand. Add them to your noodles or Maggie and they are even more yummy!

As far as I am concerned, yes, I am fine with eggs. I am just fine! I have never treated them as special and just take them for granted. My favorite is chicken (though I have not yet mentioned any of the chicken recipes yet… they will follow soon). I not only love having chicken, but I also love cooking them. You can have so many different preparations… wow!

And probably that is the reason the other day I was looking for some nice egg recipes, should be easy to cook,tasty yet different. Not the usual way. And here is what I found – ‘Egg Keema’. Initially I was excited  – does this mean eggs and minced meat? No, it definitely does not, rather its minced eggs! I know I can try making minced meat and eggs some other day, but till then we are stuck with this recipe .

Here we go. Make it and am sure it will be a pleasant variation to have the minced eggs served with parathas. Bon Appétit !

Ingredients:

  • Eggs, hard-boiled  – 4 (peeled and grated/finely chopped)
  • Egg, hard-boiled – 1 (sliced) optional for garnishing
  • Bay Leaf – 1
  • Whole garam masala
    • Cinnamon Stick – 1 inch piece
    • Black Cardamom – 1
    • Green Cardamom – 2
    • Whole Cloves – 2
  • Onion – 1 large, finely chopped
  • Ginger – 2 tsp, minced
  • Garlic – 2 tsp, minced
  • Green Chilies – to taste, finely chopped
  • Turmeric Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Red Chili Powder – to taste
  • Coriander Powder – 2 tsp
  • Cumin Powder – 1 tsp
  • Tomatoes –  1 large, finely chopped or puree
  • Salt – to taste
  • Green Peas, cooked or boiled – 1/2 cup (if using frozen soak in warm water for a minute and drain)
  • Garam masala powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Oil –  1.5 Tbsp
  • Water – as required
  • Cilantro – finely chopped for garnishing

Method:

  • In a pan heat oil on medium heat.
  • Add bay leaf, cinnamon stick, black and green cardamom, cloves and stir .
  • Add onions and little salt, mix well, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Stir frequently.
  • Add ginger, garlic and mix well. Cover and cook till the onions  are browned and oil separates.
  • Add green chillies and tomatoes, mix well. Cover again and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently in between.
  • Uncover and cook for a while till the oil separates. From now on cook uncovered.
  • Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander and cumin powder. Stir well.
  • Add the grated eggs, salt to taste and a little water . Mix well.  Do not add excess water as this preparation is a dry one. The yolk absorbs water, so add accordingly.
  • Add cooked green peas and garam masala powder. Let it cook for 2-3 minutes, so that any excess moisture evaporates.
  • Serve hot, garnish with chopped cilantro.
  • Add sliced boiled eggs on top for garnishing though this is optional

Egg Masala or Dimer Kosha

Time for some eggs 🙂 All time favorite for most of us… and can be made in a number of ways. This recipe “Egg Masala” popularly known as ‘Dimer Kosha’ in bengali is just a variation of the normal egg curry that we cook on a daily basis. This dish will ideally go well with parantha or puri (luchi) , however we have it with plain rice as well. Here is a quick look at how I prepare it.

Ingredients:

  • Eggs (hard-boiled and cut in halves) – 4
  • Whole Garam Masala (optional) –
    • Cardamom – 2-3
    • Cloves – 4-5
    • Cinnamon – 2 one inch sticks
  • Ginger paste – 1 tbsp
  • Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
  • Onions – 2 medium-sized (made into a paste or else very finely chopped)
  • Tomatoes – 1 (made into paste or very finely chopped)
  • Green chillies – 2 (1 finely chopped and 1 sliced for garnishing)
  • Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp or to taste (optional)
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Cumin powder – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
  • Garam Masala powder – 1 tsp (optional, if whole garam masala already used)
  • Yogurt (well beaten) – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Sugar – a pinch or to taste
  • Oil – 1.5 tbsp
  • Freshly chopped coriander leaves – or garnishing (optional)

Method:

  • Heat oil in a pan and lightly fry the halved eggs (this is optional).
  • In the oil add the whole garam masala , fry for 1 minute.
  • Add ginger paste, garlic paste and onions and fry them till slightly browned.
  • Add salt, green chillies, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and garam masala. keep frying for 5 minutes. Sprinkle few drops of water to prevent it from drying.
  • Add tomatoes, cover the lid and let it cook well till the spices blend up.
  • Add the yogurt and keep stirring continuously.
  • Add water to the mixture if required based on the desired consistency, and let it boil for 5 minutes.
  • To this add the eggs and mix well so that the curry gets coated on the eggs.
  • Cover and cook for 5 minutes and then uncover it to let any excess water dry up.
  • Finally garnish it with chopped coriander or cilantro and 1 slit green chilli.

Note – The more you fry the onions (on medium heat) the darker is the color of the curry, so fry them well yet do not let them be burnt. Cook all the ingredients well to blend in all the flavors.