Think of West Bengal , and that brings Rabindra sangeet ,beautiful movies and the elegant Shantineketan bags 🙂 to my mind. I adore the women in crisp Bengal cotton sarees with a heavy bunch of keys on their back and the conch bangles jingling as the they move. Never been to Bengal but my Bengali friends tell me Kerala looks almost like their place. Well a significant similarity other than political ideology and the aesthetic taste would definitely be the love of rice and seafood delicacies.
Here is one such beautiful Bengali friend of mine bringing us a seafood dish She is Chitrangada of Color and Spices. A blogger who effortlessly cooks famous recipes and substantiates it with excellent photographs.
Chitrangada has a distinct style of writing very descriptive introduction to recipes. She emphasizes on sticking with the original, doing it from scratch and gives in depth detail on the scene with all when, how, why answers which interests me the most .Check out Macher Kaliya where she says about ‘Bong’ or Roganjoshhow about some Kerala crab curry with how to clean crab, does that bring a smile on ur face then let it stay there because there is whole lot of Bengali sweets .Most sweets are milk based , have a look and I promise u will be dying to have some so check out Misti doi, Chomchom,Sandesh and my favorite melt in the mouth Rasagullas with some trade secrets yum yumm..
Was it not a feast but wait Chitrangada runs a virtual baking section too.Focaccia, pizza then… then.. ok do one thing u guys do the choosing later.If there is any newbie blogger out there take a look at her pictures and you will notice that she puts so much attention to detail,.the images look so real and as if right in front of you.The food has a beautiful sheen which is well captured.She is definitely a blogger to look out for.
Over to Chitrangada
I’m Chitrangada. Before I start I want to thank Meena for giving me this opportunity to share my love and passion for cooking with you all. Thank you so much, it means a lot to me.
1. Tell me more about you…
I belong to a simple Bengali family. My love for food turned me a to self taught cook, who loves to experiment with different cuisine and new ingredients. Being a Bengali the regular dishes I cook are mostly Bengali and Indian. But I love Italian, Mediterranean, South-East Asian foods as well. To be frank I’m a foodie, if it tastes good then I’m game, such a foodie I’m. For last one year I have fallen for baking. There was a time I was really nervous about that, but now baking a fresh batch of cupcakes or a bread are a pleasure for me. My other passion is photography. I equally enjoy my phone camera as well as my DSLR. When I don’t cook or click I love reading, from cookbooks to fictions or watch a movie.
2. What type of food do you cook on weeknights?
Being a wife and mom I need to cook daily. We don’t need any special occasion to bake a cake or prepare some exotic dish, everyday is special for us when we are together. Friday nights are special after busy weekdays, when I bake a fresh pizza for us, or stir up a quick restaurant style sweet and sour chicken or healthy pita-hummus. Or a simple quick easy egg biryani fits our Friday night dinner perfectly.
I don’t plan much before I post. But I always make it a point before I post a recipe I try it for me and my family, I post only when I find it to be satisfactory. For the recipes I consult cookbooks, and of course Google. If it’s a traditional recipe I do call my mother and mom-in-law to discuss. I try to capture the steps of the cooking so it would be easier for the readers to re-create the dish in their kitchen. About styling the food I entirely follow my instinct. I use whatever limited props I have collected for last few years. I’m sure all of you will agree that props are never enough, we always want some more. Having some white plates and bowls and few wooden backgrounds are must for me. I prefer to shoot during daytime, for two reasons, to utilize the daylight, moreover during that time there is no one at home to disturb me. You may laugh at this, sometimes I spent more time to shoot a food than to cook it, but it’s true. Writing the recipe and taking the food photo are two things that take up my major time of blogging.
4.Which part of blogging do you enjoy most?
When someone appreciates and above all when others give me a feedback on how much they loved the dishes they made following my recipes.
5.Which are the best recipes your family and friends enjoy most that you would like the readers to try?
My little one loves the homemade cakes and breads for snack, and of course the chicken and fish dishes. The man loves sweets, so I make them often for him. A party at my place always have the tikka kebab on the menu. Traditional bengali dishes both vegetarian and non-vegetarian are also loved by all.
Thanks to Meena to giving this platform to share my story. Thanks for her patience to answer my silliest questions and continuously encouraging me to do this post. I was not sure about what to cook for this guest post, so I again poked Meena to help me to decide. And as she suggested some traditional Bengali dish I opted for something with fish. We Bongs are famous for our different fish dishes. So here is a very traditional Bengali dish for you all.
Fish Paturi is a traditional delicacy of Bengal. Paturi is essentially a piece of marinated fish wrapped in banana leaf and cooked to perfection. Mustard paste and green chilies are the main ingredients for the marination. And of course mustard oil is the other must to add ingredient in a paturi. Bhetki fish being fleshy, flavorful and easy to fillet, is the first choice for making paturi. Next in the line are Hilsa, rohu or other fishes.
My all time favorite is a traditional bhetki paturi. But unfortunately we don’t get fresh bhetki fillets here. So I tried my another favorite, prawn to make paturi.
Things needed to make Prawn Paturi:
Large prawns: 6
Black mustard paste: 1.5 tbsp
Yellow mustard paste: 1.5 tbsp
Poppy seed paste: 3 tbsp
Coconut paste: 6-8 tbsp
Green chilies: 6-8
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Mustard oil: 1/4 cup
Banana leaf to wrap the prawns
Steps of making Prawn Paturi:
1. Clean, devein and wash the prawn. Smear the prawn with salt and turmeric powder, keep aside for 15 min.
2. Prepare all the paste. While making the mustard paste add a pinch of salt and a green chili to the grinder, that will prevent the mustard paste taste bitter.
3. In a bowl mix all the paste, mustard, poppy, coconut add mustard oil, salt, turmeric powder, mix well. Marinate the prawns in this mixture for 30-40 min.
4. Cut and wash the banana leaves to required size. Banana leaves are very fragile, breaks easily if you fold them. To prevent that heat the leaves over medium flame, the leaves will change color to darker green and will be easily fold-able.
5. Place a banana leaf, put a prawn with some marinate on the leaf, drizzle a spoon full of mustard oil and a stilted green chili, wrap the leaf to cover the prawn, tie with a kitchen twine. Repeat the process for all other prawns.
6. Brush a heavy bottom pan with mustard oil, place the prawns wrapped in banana leaves in a single layer. Cook over medium heat for 15 min. Turn in between.
7.Take out from the pan and let rest for 5-6 min. Serve with hot steaming rice. And discard the banana leaf before eating.
Thank you so much Chitrangada . My Bengal ties are stronger now:). Wish your blog all the good luck.Hope you succeed in all your endeavors in the years to come.
I am sure my Malayali friends would be thinking the prawn paturi is the look alike of meen polichathu 🙂 except for the regional difference of using mustard and mustard oil instead of coconut products.So now you know why I visit the blog often 🙂
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