1. Basanti pulav- Basanti pulav is a traditional rice recipe usually served on special occasions like weddings, festivals, and religious events. The word ‘Basanti’ refers to yellow, the main color of this dish. This sweet and fragrant rice dish is so called because it is made from saffron, which gives it a yellow color, and is flavored with various spices and nuts.
Recipe- Take 1 cup basmati rice, rinse with cold water and soak it for 30 minutes. Drain the water and set the rice aside. Heat 4 tablespoons clarified butter (ghee) in a pan and fry 2 tablespoons cashew, 2 tablespoons raisins and 2 tablespoons almonds until golden brown. Remove from the pan and keep aside. Add the rice to the same pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add 2 cups water and a pinch of saffron to the rice and bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat, cover the pan and cook the rice for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Heat 1/2 cup milk and 4 tablespoons sugar together in a separate saucepan, stirring constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add 1 teaspoon cardamom powder and a few drops of yellow food coloring to the milk and mix well. Pour the milk mixture over the rice and mix well. Mix in the fried cashews, raisins and almonds to the rice. Cover the pan and cook the rice over low heat for another 10-15 minutes. When the milk is absorbed and the rice becomes soft, turn off the heat and let the pulav rest for 5-10 minutes. Serve hot.
2. Kosha mangsho- Kosha Mangsho is a popular traditional Bengali dish in Eastern India, especially West Bengal. The word “kosha” denotes slow-cooking or caramelizing over low flame for a very long time and “mangsho” means meat. Thus, kosha mangsho is a rich brown savory meat preparation simmered in a thick sauce and seasoned with a variety of spices. It is served with plain steamed rice, pulao, roti or naan.
Recipe- Take 1 kg mutton (lamb or goat meat- either take the leg or ribs area), clean and cut it into medium-sized pieces. For the marinade, grind 100 gm onions, 4 cloves garlic, 100 gm yogurt, salt, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder and 1 teaspoon shahi garam masala (dry roasted and powdered green cardamom, black cardamom cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, mace, peppercorns, bay leaves, and dried red chillies) together. Mix the marinade with the mutton, massaging the mutton well. Cover and marinate the mutton for 4-8 hours in the fridge. Heat 1/2 cup mustard oil until it smokes lightly in a deep saucepan. Add 4 dried red chillies, 6 broken bay leaves, saute little. Now add 1 black cardamom, 5-7 green cardamom, 1 cinnamon, 8-10 cloves and temper for few minutes. Add 4 sliced onions, cover and fry until brown (almost 15 minutes). Add paste of 2 inch ginger, 4-5 green chillies, 4-5 cloves of garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add a spice mix (1 teaspoon cumin powder, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, 1 teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder dissolved in 100 gm water) and simmer for 10 minutes. Now add the marinated mutton, cook over high heat for 10 to15 minutes until the meat is browned on all sides, stir often. Lower the heat and add 150-200 gm beaten yogurt to the meat and again fry over high flame stirring continuously. Add salt and 1 tablespoon sugar. Add 30 ml hot water and cover cook over medium heat for 10 mins, stirring occasionally to avoid the gravy sticking to the pan. Add little hot water every time the gravy stick to the pan and cover cook to brown the mutton for over 1-2 hours. When you are happy with the colour, add as much hot water as you need for the gravy, mix well and let it come to a boil. Finally add some slitted green chillies and cover cook until the mutton is tender. Add 1 teaspoon clarified butter (ghee) and mix well. Switch off the heat and let it sit for few minutes. Serve hot.
3. Bengali dum aloo- It is a popular dish of Bengali cuisine, staple in every household. Sunday breakfast is incomplete without this recipe along with some pipping hot luchis. The dish is usually prepared by simmering small potatoes in an aromatic tomatosauce seasoned with fragrant spices such as cumin, coriander and garam masala. The dish is a great vegetarian alternative to meat dishes in Bengali cuisine for all those vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.
Recipe- Take 1 kg small or baby potatoes, deskin, wash, prick them with fork and boil with 1 liter water and salt until the potatoes are tender. Drain the water and leave the potatoes to cool. Heat the 3-4 tablespoons of mustard oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add 2 dried red chillies, 1 bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon cumin seed letit crackle for a few seconds. Add 2 chopped onion and sauté until translucent for 10 minutes over low flame. Add 1 teaspoon garlic paste, 1 teaspoon ginger paste and saute another 1 minute. Add 2-3 chopped tomatoes and cover cook for 10 minutes until tender.Add 1/2 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder, 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon cumin powder, 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder and salt and fry for 10 minute over low heat, stirring continuously. Add 5-6 chopped green chillies and cover cook until a creamy consistency is reached. Add 1 teaspoon sugar and mix well. Now add the boiled potatoes and mix well with the tomato sauce.Add 450 ml of water, cover the pot, and simmer the potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender and the broth has thickened. Add 1 teaspoon garam masala (spice mix of cinnamon, cardamom and cloves) powder and mix well. Serve hot.