Sunday, April 24, 2011

Begun Posto

Last night my husband and I hosted a dinner party for a few good friends. We had a couple families over and everyone had such a great time! The kids loved playing with their friends and the grown-ups enjoyed great food and conversation along with a few bottles of great wine. It took me back to my childhood when my parents and their friends would have dinner parties. The children would get to stay up late playing or watching movies and the parents would play cards. It’s a very fond memory for me and I hope to be able to give my boys the same feelings of camaraderie and friendship. Through these dinner parties, my parents have forged life-long friends and I hope that my children and I can do the same.

One of the dishes I made for the party was a take on one of my mother-in-law's amazing eggplant dishes, Begun Posto, eggplant with poppy seeds. Unless you are familiar with traditional Bengali cuisine, this dish is nothing like you've ever had. My first experience with it was when my mother-in-law made it for me and it was the first time that I ever liked an eggplant dish. The one change I made from the original recipe is rather than deep frying the eggplant, I roast it with a light coating of olive oil. My husband says that even with the change, its as good as his mom's, which is a HUGE success in my book! No matter who the cook is, it is always hard to live up to someone's childhood foods…and all the more difficult when you're comparing yourself to someone who has spent a few years perfecting her dishes. I hope you all enjoy!!

1/2 c. Poppy Seeds
1 lg Eggplant, cubed
2 Tb Oil
1 tsp Nigella Seeds (Kalonji)
2 Bay Leaves
2 Dry Red Chile
1/4 tsp. Turmeric
1/4 tsp. Red Chile Powder
1 c. Peas
Salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 F. Roast eggplant on a greased cookie sheet for about 35-45 minutes, until tender.

Meanwhile, grind the poppy seeds, and add water to make a paste.

Heat the oil in a kadai or non-stick wok and add the nigella seeds, bay leaves, and dry red chiles. When they are toasted, add the poppy seeds. Add turmeric, red chile powder, and peas and cook for a few minutes.

Then add eggplant and salt. Cook until eggplant is well incorporated and flavors have had a chance to marry.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Powa Bateta

Wow! Has it really been 10 months since my last post?! I hope I've gotten to a place now where I can start making weekly posts. The past year has truly been a whirlwind! It's been filled with lots of laughs, smiles, and tears (both baby and mommy!), but I can't believe it's been a year now since little brother joined our family! It seems like I was just pregnant with him, but at the same time it seems so long ago when I was carrying him all hours of the day and night trying to sooth him.

Today I am going to share with you a dish from my childhood, Powa Bateta. Rice flakes with potatoes and onions with a great balance of flavors. It's something that my mom used to make for me and I now make for my family. Both my boys and hubby love this dish! It makes a great lunch or snack…my parents often have it for breakfast too! Recently my older son had an international luncheon at his preschool, and I sent this with him. All his friends loved it! I hope you enjoy!

2 c. Thick Powa (Rice Flakes found at an Indian Grocer)
2 sm. Potatoes, diced in 1/4" pieces
4 Tb Oil
1/4 tsp. Cumin Seeds
5-6 Curry Leaves
1 med. Onion, diced
1/4 tsp. Grated Ginger
1/8 tsp Turmeric
1/4 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1/2 Lime, juiced
1 tsp. Sugar
1/4 c. Chopped Cilantro
Salt, to taste

Thoroughly rinse powa in a strainer and let drain.

Heat oil in a kadai and add cumin seeds. When cumin sizzles, add curry leaves. Then add onions. Sauté until tender.

Meanwhile, put potatoes in a microwave safe bowl and cover with water. Cook in microwave for 8 minutes, stirring midway through.

Once potatoes are tender, drain and sauté briefly with onions. Stir in salt, ginger, turmeric. Add powa, red chilli powder, lime juice, sugar, and cilantro. Stir together and sauté briefly; adjust seasonings as needed.

Serve immediately.