Bengali cuisines has quite a few bhapa recipes, that is steamed fare:
(This one is for potato lovers!) Preparation time: 30 minutes, Serves 4 persons Ingredients: One and half kg potatoes; 2-3 whole red chilies; 5 g mustard paste; 50 g curd; 3 g turmeric powder; 5g green chili paste; 2 ml lime juice; 50 ml mustard oil; sugar to taste; salt to taste. Method: Peel potatoes and scoop out into small balls with a melon scooper. Parboil the balls in 200 ml of water, adding half tsp salt and a dash of turmeric to the water. Drain and keep covered. Heat one-third of the mustard oil in a pan and temper with dry chilies. As it starts to splutter, add the potatoes and cover the pan with a lid and cook for 8 minutes. In a bowl, add mustard paste, curd, turmeric powder, green chili paste, lime juice and mustard oil and mix well. Add the potatoes and keep for 30 minutes. To steam place the prepared potatoes over a banana leaf on a plate and cover with another leaf. Steam in a steamer for 6 to 8 minutes and serve. (Recipe courtesy ‘Oh! Calcutta Cookbook’ by Anjan Chatterjee)
(This is one of Home Chef Ajanta Burman’s much loved dishes, recipe is courtesy an article written by Sasha Klaatu. The ingredients are specific but one may use one’s own judgment!) Ingredients: Mustard oil, hilsa fish (but chonak and rohu is fine too); green chillies, onions, salt, mustard and poppy seed pastes; banana leaf and white string to tie up bundles of marinated fish for steaming. Method: Mix mustard paste and poppy seed paste together. Add chopped green chilies and onion to the mixed paste. Add a tsp of salt. Add two to four tsp of mustard oil to the mixed paste. Drizzle two or four tsps. of mustard oil on the fish pieces and sprinkle salt on it. Cover the fish in the marinade and leave it for at least 15minutes. Use a banana leaf, put it on a hot tava with half tsp of oil for a few minutes, this prevents leaf from breaking when wrapping up the fish later. Place the fish in a banana leaf and keep a white string handy for wrapping it up. Now place it on a hot pan and let it steam cook for at least 10 minutes. Your fish is now cooked and ready to serve.
How to make mishti doi…
Anyone familiar with Bengali cuisine will recognize mishti doi or sweet curd. It’s a most refreshing way to end a meal, a little matkena (terracotta vessel) of mishti doi preferably laced with noton gur or date jaggery syrup…it’s fairly easy to make and you’ll arrive at your own favorite version after a couple of times, a not too cloyingly sweet but tartish sweet misthi doi served cooled in the fridge is preferably to ice-cream any day. TAKE a liter of full cream milk and set it to boil in a heavy pan over medium flame, stir every now and again so that it doesn’t burn at bottom. When reduced to half the original size and you have thick creamy milk remove from fire and stir in half a cup of grated jaggery (date palm jaggery from Kolkatta makes for memorable flavor but you may also order a bottle of noton gur syrup from Amazon). When the milk is further cooled to blood temperature you may add in two tablespoons of curd, stir and set aside to set. Takes longer than normal curd to set, anything from nine to 12 hours, depending on the temperature. Tip: The best thing to do is to make a mildly sweet mishti doi and then ladle it out and serve topped just so with lovely date palm jaggery syrup. It looks like a bit of an inviting painting and is yummilicious! That’s how celebrity home chef Ajanta Burman serves it! Of course one may also set one’s mishti doi in a large terracotta pot and folk may serve themselves.