Sunday, December 06, 2009

Indian Breakfasts - Bengal & Bangladesh

One Page Cookbooks
West Bengal & Bangladesh Breakfast – A Primer
All recipes copyrighted. No reproduction / commercial use without permission.

1.: Rice flakes with milk Take two handful of thin rice flakes. Mix in two pinches of sugar and a cup of milk.

Rice flakes Thin rice flakes mixed with milk are a popular breakfast cereal. Thicker flakes are briefly dunked in water and stir fried into the flavourful Chirer Pulao or the simpler Poha.

Plain Puffed rice is eaten by itself as a breakfast or mixed with a variety of additives into a tasty salad, the Jhal Muri and eaten as a breakfast or as a snack.

Fermented rice Cooked rice covered with water starts fermenting in an hour. Rice fermented for a few hours or even overnight is mixed with yogurt, salt, onion and chili is a popular (and mildly intoxicating) breakfast in rural Bengal and Orissa.

Rice – lentil porridge One pot meals cooked with rice and lentils are popular across India. Khichuri in Bengal can be simple or have elaborate flavorings and a medley of vegetables.

Skillet cooked flatbread The basic roti popular across north India is common in Bengal.

Layered flatbread The basic Roti is layered and shallow fried into parathas.

Fried flatbread Rotis normally use wholewheat flour. When deep fried, they are called Pooris. Bengal prefers refined wheat flour ( maida) for its fried breads, the Luchi. The stuffed version is the Kochuri.

Shopping List:
500 gms.(Atta (Wholewheat flour), Maida (refined wheat flour), thin Rice flakes, Thick rice flakes, Rice, Mung dal, Oil)
200 gms ( Carrot, Potato, Fresh Green peas, Cauliflower, Onion, Salt, Yogurt)
50 gms (Green chili, fennel, cinnamon, lemon, cilantro, turmeric powder, Chili powder, Roasted peanuts)

2.: Muri (Puffed rice salad ) (Jhal Muri) Take three handfuls of puffed rice. Mix in half a handful of crushed, roasted peanuts, three pinches of grated coconut, a chopped green chili, half a handful of chopped onion and a dash of mustard oil. Serve immediately.

3.: Poha (Simple stir fried rice flakes ) Heat a spoon of oil. Add a pinch of cumin, half a handful of chopped onions. Stir and cook till onions brown. Add half a handful of chopped & boiled potato, a pinch of turmeric powder, chili powder, two pinches of salt and two handfuls of washed and drained poha ( rice flakes). Sprinkle a bit of water. Stir and cook for 2 minutes. Mix in two pinches of chopped cilantro ( coriander leaves) and serve.

4.: Panta Bhat (Fermented rice ) To one cup of rice add two cups of water. Let soak for 30 minutes. Add to a pressure cooker and pressure cook for two whistles. Let cool. Add two cups of water and cover. Let ferment for 2-3 hours ( or overnight). Mix in two pinches of salt, half a handful of chopped onions, a finely chopped green chili and a dash of lemon juice / yogurt.

5.:. Chirer Pulao (Stir fried rice flakes with mixed vegetables) Heat a spoon of oil. Add a bit of cinnamon, a pinch of grated ginger. Add half a handful of roast and crushed peanuts, a slit green chili and half a handful of chopped and boiled vegetables (carrot / cauliflower / green peas / potatoes). Add a pinch of turmeric and two pinches of salt. Dunk two handfuls of rice flakes in water for a few seconds. Drain and add to pan. Stir and cook for a minute. Mix in a dash of lemon juice , two pinches of chopped cilantro and serve.

6.: Khichuri (Rice and lentil porridge) Take half a cup of rice and half cup of split mung dal ( or masoor dal).In a pressure cooker with the lid open, add two spoons of ghee. Add two pinches of cumin, a bay leaf and a bit of cinnamon. Add a cup of chopped vegetables (potatoes, cauliflower, carrot, green peas etc). Add four cups of water, a pinch of turmeric powder and three pinches of salt. Close cooker and pressure cook for 3 whistles. Wait for 10 minutes, open cooker and serve hot.

7.: Roti.(Unleavened flatbread ) To four handfuls of wholewheat flour ( atta), mix four pinches of salt, enough water, and knead to a non sticky dough. ( water needed is slightly over half the volume of flour) Rest for an hour. Take a lemon sized ball of dough. Roll out into a thin round. Cook both sides on a hot skillet. (The kneaded dough can be refrigerated for over a week).

8.:. Paratha (Layered, shallow fried flatbread) Take a lemon sized ball of dough. Roll out into a thin round. Brush all over with oil. Fold in half. Brush with oil and fold in half again to look like a triangle. Roll gently and cook both sides on a hot skillet, using ghee / oil.

9.: Luchi (Deep fried flatbread) To four handfuls of maida ( refined wheat flour), mix four pinches of salt, enough water, and knead to a non sticky dough. ( water needed is slightly over half the volume of flour) Rest for an hour. ( Can be refrigerated for up to a week). Pinch off a lemon sized ball of dough. Roll out into a thin round. Heat a cup of oil. Slide in the dough sheet and deep fry both sides till golden. .

10.: Kochuri ( Deep fried, stuffed flatbread) Koraishutir Kochuri Take a handful of fresh green peas. Blend to a paste with a green chili, a pinch each of fennel and two pinches of salt. Shape into small, marble sized balls. Pinch off a lemon sized ball of dough (that you have kneaded for luchi) and roll out into a disc. Place the ball of stuffing in the center. Gather the edges of the dough and pinch together, enclosing the stuffing. Flatten with palm and roll gently into a thin disc. Deep fry both sides in hot oil.

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