Poila Baishakh celebration with Veg Pulao and Chicken KashaThursday, April 14, 2016
Today We are celebrating Bengali New Year. It usually falls on the 14th or 15th of April every year. First day of the month, Boishakh, is known as “Poila Boishakh” where Poila means the very first. Each Bengali living in Bengal or outside Bengal, celebrates this day with great gusto and fervor. This year it falls on 14th of April and it’ll be the Bengali year of 1423.
For me also this day is as special as for other Bengalis. Every Bengali waits for this day just like they wait for Durga Puja with similar excitement and enthusiasm. In past days, the preparation used to include cleaning and painting the house exterior, decorating the houses with a traditional alpona or rangoli and obviously a lavish spread to enjoy the day with family and friends. But in today’s busy lifestyle, painting or giving an alpona is not possible for many families, but cleaning was and still is an integral part of Bengali New Year celebration. Cleanliness not only brings wealth and prosperity to our home but also needed to maintain a healthy and hygienic life. Cleaning our home also includes our kitchen which obviously needs an extra attention. On the onset of summer, cockroaches tend to appear more and contaminate food and utensils which can cause food poisoning, diarrhea etc. Making kitchen cockroaches free is a dainty task as they tend to hide in dark and damp places like sink outlet pipe, under the cylinder, under the fridge and under the dustbins. To get rid of them, I use Godrej LAL HIT(red one), a product from Godrej, its deep reach nozzle helps to reach every nook and corner of my kitchen, even in places where cockroaches hide and make our kitchen dirty. Not only before the new year, I spray Godrej Lal Hit once a week to keep the cockroaches out of my kitchen forever. It's equally important for a healthy lifestyle just like having healthy food. Bengali New Year is just round the corner, so my cleaning spree is going on in full swing nowadays.
After cleaning the house, I decorate my house with earthen pots and diyas and with fresh flowers to give it a festive look. Visiting a nearby temple is must for me to start a new year with God’s blessings. It’s a tradition for Bengalis to wear a new cloth on this day and I make sure to gift a new cloth to my kids, husband, parents, parents-in-law and off course one for myself. Every year, I plan for a get-together with our close relatives in my home where each family brings a Bengali delicacy and together we enjoy a lavish spread and have a quality time together.
This year I planned to make a Bengali Vegetable Pulao and Kasha Murgir Mangsho(Chicken Kasha) for all. I’m going to share the recipe with you all.
Basmati Rice : 500 gm.
Mix Vegetable : carrots, green beans, capsicum, cauliflower etc.
Ginger : 1", grated
Cumin seed : 1 tsp.
Onion : 1, thinly sliced
Turmeric Powder : 1 tsp.
Salt and black pepper powder to tasteOil : 1 tblsp. + Ghee : 1 tblsp.
Bay leaves : 2
Cardamoms : 3-4 nos.
Cinnamon : 2 sticks
Cloves : 3-4 nos.
How To :
- In a big pan, add water and washed rice and put it on heat. Add 1 bay leaf, cardamoms, cinnamons and cloves. Add a pinch of salt and let it cook till rice are almost cooked. Drain all the water from rice and then spread it on a big plate.
- In a pan, add just a little oil and saute the mixed veggies till they are just done, but not over ccooked. Remove from hear and keep aside.
- In the same pan, add 1 tblsp oil and 1 tblsp. of ghee, temper with a bay leaf and cumin seeds, immediately add grated ginger and turmeric powder, add the fried vegetables and mix well. Now carefully add rice little by little in the pan and mix well with everything. Add a pinch of salt and then again add next portion of rice. Mix well everything. Lastly, season with black pepper powder to taste.
- Your Veg Pulao is ready to serve. garnish with fresh coriander leaves if possible.
Chicken Kasha or Kasha Murgir Mangsho
This is a dry type of Bengali style Chicken curry with potatoes where a thick gravy coats the chicken and potato pieces and it's a beloved chicken dish of Bengalis. This typ of chiekn curry perfectly pairs with any pulao or any kind of Indian flatbreads like paratha, naan or chapathi.
Chicken : 750 gms.
Yoghurt/curd : 1/2 cup
Onion : 2, medium, thinly sliced
Ginger-garlic paste : 2 heaped tblsp.
Green chilli paste of 2 chilles
Tomato ; 2, big, finely chopped
Turmeric powder : 2 tsp.
Red chilli powder : 2 tsp. or as per taste
Cumin powder : 2 tsp.
Coriander powder : 1 tsp.
Salt to taste
Oil : 2 tblsp.
Bay leaf : 1
Cardamom : 2-3 nos.
Cloves : 2-3 nos.
Cinnamon : 2 sticks(1")
Roasted Garam masala Powder : 1 tsp.( roast cardamoms, 3 cloves and 1 " stick of cinnamon on a hot tawa till fragnant and grind them to powder)
How To :
- Wash the chicken pieces and drain the water properly so there is no water left. In a big bowl, take curd, all the spice powders, 1 tblsp. ginger-garlic paste, green chilli paste and 1 tsp. salt, mix everything well. Marinate the chicken pieces in this spice paste for at least an hour.
- Heat oil in a pan, fry the potato pieces adding a pinch of salt and turmeric powder till they are golden brown, keep aside. In the same oil, add bay leaf, and cardamom, cinnamons and cloves, when they start to splutter, add sliced onion. Saute till they got transparent, add 1 tsp. of sugar and continue stirring till onions turn golden brown.
- Then add 1 tblsp. ginger-garlic paste and chopped tomatoes. Saute again till tomatoes turn soft. Add the marinated chicken and mix well with the onion-tomato paste. Chicken can release a little water at this moment. Cover the lid and let it cook till all water evaporates. continue stirring till oil seperates the masala.
- Add fried potato pieces in the curry. Add about 1 cup of warm water in there and cover the lid. let it cook till chicken and potatoes are cooked. Lastly, open the lid and add the garam masala in there and mix well. Cook till gravy dries up and nicely coats the chicken and potato pieces. Chicken kasha is ready to serve.
Wishing everyone visiting this space and to all my readers a very Happy Bengali New Year or Shubho Nababarsha
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