Category Archives: Bengali

Bengali Egg Rolls

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Egg roll before it is rolled - parathas, egg, keema and sauce, yum!

Egg roll before it is rolled – parathas, egg, keema and sauce, yum!

This is part 3 in a 3 part series of recipes that go together – parathas, keema and Bengali egg rolls.  They are called egg rolls because they actually have eggs in them, so forget Chinese egg rolls and give these a try. This is one of Arvind’s all-time favorite dishes.  You can tell, he stopped taking picture once they were almost assembled.  It is a snack, but if you make enough of them, they can become a meal.

The filling is extremely flexible and is nearly begging for you to add your own fusion style here.  For this recipe, I’m going with keema (see recipe in meat section), but you can put any leftovers you have in there that is not too liquidy.  The recipe is for 4 egg rolls, but you can see how to easily move it up or down to fit any quantity you want.  Also, prepare to be hooked on parathas, the most wonderful Indian bread ever.  The directions are in excruciating detail, so don’t worry, it sounds like more work than it is.  They are actually super quick once you get everything assembled.

Get all your ingredients laid out ahead of time - it goes quickly

Get all your ingredients laid out ahead of time – it goes quickly

Ingredients
4 eggs
½ of an onion, finely chopped (if you have onions in your meat, you can skip this)
1 c keema, (but see notes below)*
Maggie Hot and Sweet Sauce**
Cilantro for garnish
4 parathas, still frozen***
toothpicks

Notes
*  You just want finely chopped meat (or nice veggie) here for contrasting flavors.  I like keema (here’s a link to the recipe), but you could used chopped up cooked chicken (like leftover from rotisserie chicken), cooked hamburger, leftover Indian dishes that aren’t too saucy, etc.  Or go fusion and come up with something entirely different!

Heat up parathas and then start the first egg when they are almost done

Heat up parathas and then start the first egg when they are almost done

**Maggie Hot and Sweet sauce is sort of an Indian ketchup. Their tagline is “It’s Different!” and it is.  It is also great on scrambled eggs, potatoes, etc.   It has a little heat and is a little sweet
*** For paratha directions, see the blog on how to make parathas (click here).

Directions
Crack eggs into a bowl with a lip (like a measuring cup).  Scramble them.  Set aside.  If you like raw onions, set those aside.  If you don’t, brown the onions and set aside.  Heat up the meat.  Have the Hot and Sweet sauce and cilantro ready to go. (You may want to taste the sauce to make sure you like it before adding it to the food.  Arvind does not like it, I love it.)  Get your toothpicks handy.

Put the cooked paratha on the egg as it cooks

Put the cooked paratha on the egg as it cooks

 

Heat up a paratha according to my previous post.

Meanwhile heat up a second non-stick pan over medium heat.  When the paratha is almost done, put some oil in the second pan and pour in about 1 egg’s worth into the center of the pan and do not touch it.  You’ll see the egg start to set. When that happens, put the cooked paratha on top of it.  Use a spatula to push the paratha down into the egg.  Then use the spatula to get under the egg and paratha in one go and flip it over (they’ll go together).  Then transfer the paratha, egg-up onto a work area.

Take the paratha/egg off the heat and add the filling.  (There is a litte too much egg on this one)

Take the paratha/egg off the heat and add the filling. (There is a litte too much egg on this one)

Top the paratha with meat, onions, sauce and cilantro.  Roll it up and secure it with some toothpicks.   Set that one aside and continue on making the rest of them the same way.  Arvind and I create an assembly line – he makes the parathas.  I do the egg and fill them.  It goes really fast, so that is why you want have everything all ready to go before you start.

The basic thing is paratha and egg with a little something else mixed in.  Have fun experimenting with flavors you like or leftovers you don’t know what to do with.  Think of it like I’m giving you the recipe for burritos.  Sure, this combo is good, but really, you can mix and match up stuff you like.

Post combinations below that you like so other people can enjoy your combinations.

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Keema with Peas (Peas optional)

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Keema seasoning mix is available in Indian grocery stores

Keema seasoning mix is available in Indian grocery stores

Today we are tackling keema.  It is a lovely flavored ground meat, onion and pea mixture that is super easy to pull together.  If you can brown hamburger, you can make this.  It is a total weeknight dish since all you chop is an onion and you make this all in one dish in less than 20 min.  I serve with with parathas and another vegetable.  Last week we had Arvind’s favorite baked “fried” eggplant.  But that is a recipe for another day.

Usually keema is made with ground lamb.  If that is not something you can get easily or enjoy, substitute it out for other ground meats.  I made it with turkey recently to keep it lean.  You might find that chicken or turkey take a little more seasoning because the meat is a little blander, whereas lamb, hamburger or meatloaf mix have a little more umphf to them.

Next week I will be covering Bengali egg rolls.  Unlike the Chinese food of the same name, these actually have eggs in them.  And you can use your leftover keema in your egg rolls.

For those of you who love kabobs, we’ll cover keema kabobs later.

My apologies that I don’t have pictures of the final dish today.  My photographer left for India today and has all sorts of pictures in his camera.  I will edit this later to include them, so check back later!

Olive oil
1 large onion, small dice
1 T ginger garlic paste (or ½ T minced garlic and ½ T minced ginger)
½-1 T keema seasoning (see picture)
1 pound ground lamb (or ground turkey, ground chicken, hamburger, pork or meatloaf mix)
1/2-1 c water
2 c frozen peas, optional
1 T cornstarch mixed into 3 T water, optional

Here is how I carve out a spot for heating up spices before mixing them into fried onions.  Heating the spices helps make them taste better.

Here is how I carve out a spot for heating up spices before mixing them into fried onions. Heating the spices helps make them taste better.

Heat oil in a skillet and mix in onions.  Cook until they are just starting to brown.  Pull the onions aside to make a small hole in the lowest part of your skillet.  (On my stove, it is off to the side because of my crooked house).  Add a pinch more oil, then add in the ginger garlic paste.  Mash the paste with a wooden spoon to get as much of it touching the skillet as possible.  Let the paste heat up a pinch.  Mix into onions.  Create a new free spot and add a pinch of oil.  Add in the keema mix.  You can go easy on this and add more later if you don’t add enough.  It can get spicy if you do a ton, so go light to start and you can always add more later.  Mix the keema spices and oil and let heat until you can smell the spices heating up.  Then mix into the onions.  Add in the ground meat.  Break up the meat with wood spoon to get small pieces, about the size of peas.  Brown the meat.

You can stop here if the meat is cooked all the way through.  Particularly with lamb, you’ll probably want to keep going because the meat will get more tender with more cooking.  Just test the dish to make sure you like how it tastes.  If it is too bland, add in more keema seasoning.

Add the water and cover.  Cook for 5 min.  Mix in peas and cover up again.  Cook for 5 more minutes.  Take the cover off of the pan.  Check to see if everything is cooked well.  If it is saucy with a thin sauce, mix up the cornstarch/water mixture and add that in as well.  The sauce will thicken up.  If it isn’t as thick as you’d like, add another round of cornstarch/water.  It should be the consistency of taco meat.  Taste it and see if you like how it tastes.  If it is too bland, add more keema spices.

Serve with parathas.  Keep the leftovers for egg rolls (coming next week).

Parathas

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Parathas nicely puffed up

Parathas nicely puffed up

Parathas.  For those of you who know what they are, you’re all sighing in contentment.  This easy bread is a great way to finish off cooking a meal without having to do any work.  And if you have an Indian husband lurking near your kitchen, you can probably put him to work “making” them for you.  I will be using them in other recipes, so I thought I’d dedicate a post to them today so you have the basics in what they are an how to make them.

What are they?  Parathas are an Indian bread that is similar to naan.  You can make them from scratch, but here in the States, pre-made frozen ones are very popular.  They are smaller than the naan you get in a restaurant.  The come in plain, whole wheat or stuffed.  You can heat some up to take the place of rice in different

Fresh out of the freezer, they are hard disks

Fresh out of the freezer, they are hard disks

meals.  Or, if you are Arvind, they are the meal.  The first meal he made me was parathas, Indian pickle (lime chutney, carrot chutney, etc) and shrikhand (a sweet, strained yogurt).  Yeah, he went all out.  But I was hooked.  The puffy consistency pulls you in and they have just enough flavor that they are good on their own, but can also go along with a ton of different dishes.  Arvind is a fan of Swedish meatballs and parathas.

What is up with the different types?  Plain and whole wheat parathas are the basics.  they’ll go with anything.  But they do make them stuffed with potatoes, cauliflower, onion, or my new favorite – fenugreek (methi).  The stuffed ones are a bit more substantial and can be coordinated with your other dishes.

A plain one (in back) and whole wheat one (in front) just starting to cook

A plain one (in back) and whole wheat one (in front) just starting to cook

How do I make them?  This is the easiest part.  You will need a non-stick pan.  We use a 2-burner griddle (aka “the paratha pan” in our house).  That is it.  No oil, butter or ghee.  Just a pan and some heat.  The parathas come in 5 in a pack (or multiple 5-packs in a larger bag).  They gave sheets of plastic between them.  You take out as many as you want while heating up your pan over medium-high heat.  I usually am too impatient for the pan to heat up and as soon as it is warm, I toss on the parathas.  They will look like a frozen tortilla.  Using thongs, a spatula or wooden spoon, flip the paratha frequently as it melts and then starts to cook.  As it gets closer to being done, you’ll see brown spots on it.  When it puffs up and has some nice brown spots, you’re done.  You can make the next one.  We keep them in a tortilla warmer to keep on the table because you want to keep them nice and warm.  They aren’t great reheated.

As thaw, they get almost opaque

As thaw, they get almost opaque

Of course they come from the Indian grocery store.  They are in the freezer section.  Our freezer section has a bewildering array of them, but the nice thing is that they are pretty risk-free in trying out different flavors, but definitely start with the plain ones to get a feel for them.

Click on pictures to make them bigger. Enjoy!

They start cooking after they thaw

They start cooking after they thaw

Nearly there! Brown spots are starting to form and they are getting puffier

Nearly there! Brown spots are starting to form and they are getting puffier

 

Done! You can see the plain one (in back) is puffier than the whole wheat one

Done! You can see the plain one (in back) is puffier than the whole wheat one

You can find parathas in the freezer section of the Indian grocery store, or larger Asian grocery stores

You can find parathas in the freezer section of the Indian grocery store, or larger Asian grocery stores

Chaat/Fuchka

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Fuchka for 2! Our meal of fuchka, potato/veggie filling, chaat masala water, various chutneys and toppings and then samosa and polish sausage on the side

Fuchka for 2! Our meal of fuchka, potato/veggie filling, chaat masala water, various chutneys and toppings and then samosa and polish sausage on the side

I am putting out a teaser recipe to get the blog rolling.  This is an Indian street food that I think is almost hearty enough to make  a meal.  In our usual fusion sort of way, we enjoy this with Polish sausage or kielbasa.  For some reason, Arvind says that it wasn’t a common partner to this dish on the streets of Calcutta!

The dish is made of three parts: a crunchy “fuchka” which is a hollow, fried ball, mashed potatoes with veggies mixed in and a room-temperature broth.  You make a hole in the fuchka, fill it with the mashed potatoes, dip it all in the broth and eat.

This will require a trip to the Indian grocery store.  There are no 2 ways around it.  But to take the terror out of that process, I have taken pictures of all the things you need to buy.  You can even show the pictures from this blog on your phone to the shopkeeper if you don’t see them.  Since this is a really common dish, they’ll have it on hand.  I promise.

Fuchka come in clear packages or in a boxed set with some extra sauces and little crunchies. I prefer the box.

Fuchka come in clear packages or in a boxed set with some extra sauces and little crunchies. I prefer the box.

Fuchka/Pani Puri*
2 tsp (or more to taste) + 1 tsp per person chaat masala *(see picture)
3 medium potatoes
Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1.5 c frozen mixed vegetables

Wash the potatoes and stab them with a fork.  Microwave them until they are soft.

Meanwhile sauté the onion in a little oil.  Once the onion starts to soften, clear a spot in the pan make sure there is little oil there.  Add in 1 tsp of chaat masala.  Let it sit for a few seconds until you can smell the spices heating up.  Once you start smelling them, mix it in with the onions.  Then add  in the frozen veggies.  If they are still frozen, cover and let them cook through.

Mash the potatoes in a mixing bowl.  Add in a little chaat masala and a little oil.  Keep mashing until almost the consistency of regular mashed potatoes.  Mix in the onion and veggies.  Taste it.  Does it need more chaat masala?  Add more if needed  Put in a serving bowl.

Chaat Masala is in the aisle with all the boxes that look like this

Chaat Masala is in the aisle with all the boxes that look like this

Fill a bowl for each person with water and add 1 tsp of chaat masala to the water and stir until mixed. If you got the kit with all the little sauces put those in little bowls.  Put the pani puri in a bowl as well.

To eat, take a pani puri.  Push with your thumb on one side.  One of side will give easily, the other will not.  Break a hole with your thumb.  Take some potato mixture and fill the pani puri.  If you have the extras, top the potato filling with those.  Give

the chaat masala water a little stir, then dip the whole thing in the water and eat immediately.  If you got the set set with the extra sauces and fried chickpeas, you can add those in different combos.  Warning – I’m not a fan of their “broth mix”, steer clear – spicy and odd tasting.

It makes for a fun, interactive dinner.  I would think if you could get it to the table without kids noticing they don’t recognize it, they would like it (or maybe make them some without the spices to be more palatable to them).  The fun of stuffing and dipping makes it a very happy meal!