Just like the goddess Durga defeats all things evil with her mighty ‘dishoom’ of a blow similarly you can prepare yourself some dishoom of dishes during the festivities of Durga Puja to defeat the evils of hunger that keep haunting you as you hop from one mandap to another. Luchi, kosha mangsho and payesh are your must have must eat dishes to keep the empty stomachs at bay. This trio dishes of Luchi, Kosha Mangsho and Payesh complement each other and add to the sounds, colours, rituals and fervours of the last day of Durga Puja known as Bijay Dashami celebrations perfectly with their tantalising flavours.
Let’s Make Luchi Now
Serves: 14 pieces
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients I Used: (I don’t measure when I cook, the measurement below are estimated)
2 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons milk + 2 teaspoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoons sugar
250ml sunflower oil (for deep frying)
Step one: In a large and deep mixing bowl, put the flour, and put a tablespoon oil, salt and sugar.
Step two: Mix the flour and oil by hand or with a whisker for a minute or so till everything is incorporated.
Step three: Add the milk a little at a time, add the water and keep kneading the flour till a firm, smooth, pliant dough is obtained.
Step four: Let the dough sit for 30 minutes.
Step five: Take a small portion of the dough, press them in the middle of your palm with both hands to make it a round and smooth portion, keep making more pieces until the dough is over.
Step six: On a greased countertop or a wooden board, use a rolling pin to roll the dough into an even sheet about 1/4″ thick. If you have a pasta roller, that can also be used.
Note: If you are not serving the Luchis immediately after frying, then drizzle a little oil over the small portions made and cover it with cling film in order to avoid the dough getting hard and crusty on top.
Step seven: Those of you are new in the kitchen, here is your cheat sheet- use a 3″ round cookie cutter to cut out as many discs of dough as possible. Knead up the remaining dough and repeat. I have been making them over 15 years now, so I don’t need it. It doesn’t have to be an exact round disc like the one you get with a cutter, a natural round-ish Luchi is enough to please your eyes, however, if you want to avoid creating maps of different countries and continents, a cookie cutter is your savior!
Step eight: In a deep wok or 8″ frying pan (round bottom is best), put at least 2 inches of some kind of light oil (canola or sunflower).
Step nine: When the oil is smoking hot, put the discs in one at a time, use a non-stick slotted spoon to push down and immerse the dough disc. It should start puffing in a few seconds. When fully puffed, turn it over, lightly brown the other side for a few seconds and take out onto a kitchen towel to drain the excess oil.
Note: The best way to check your oil is hot enough, is by dropping a little dough into the oil, if it pops up immediately, you know your oil is hot enough and ready to fry.
Now your Luchi are ready to eat! I have an ultimate chicken recipe to go with these puffy, soft Luchi. Because among the myriad renowned Bengali dishes is one dish that never fails to impress anyone. It’s the spicy Bengali Chicken/Mutton masala curry aka Kosha Mangsho! What bigger festival than Bijaya Dashami to enjoy a Nemontonno feasting on traditional, authentic Bengali cuisine. Keep scrolling down.
Let’s Cook Kosha Mangsho Now
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Ingredients I Used:
2 large/ 3 medium sized potatoes cut into equal halves (Optional)
1-2 tbsp of mustard oil to fry the potatoes (you can use vegetable/sunflower oil)
3-4 medium sized onions (chopped)
750 gm Chicken
To marinate the chicken
(Note: if you are using mutton, I recommend you marinate it in advance and leave it for a while, I used baby chicken, they get incorporated with spices faster and cook quickly, so I didn’t marinate in advance)
7-8 cloves of garlic + 1 ½ inch thick ginger(made into a fine paste)
1 tsp cumin powder + 1 tsp Garam masala powder
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 ½ tsp red pepper powder
1 ½ tsp coriander powder
1 ½ tsp salt
4 heaped tbsp of yogurt
2 red chillies (whole)
3 bay leaves
4 whole cardamoms
½ inch long cinnamon stick
1 tsp of sugar
½ cup mustard oil (you can use vegetable/sunflower oil)
Step one: Wash and clean the chicken.
Note: If you are using Mutton, Add to it the ingredients for the marinade – yogurt, turmeric powder, coriander powder, red pepper powder, some mustard oil, and half of the ginger/garlic/onion paste. Let it rest for about 2 hours. If you have time on your hands, let it rest overnight. Ensure that you prick the mutton with a fork so that it absorbs all the flavours.
Step two: Heat 2 tbsp mustard oil in a wok. Fry the potatoes till they turn golden brown. Keep them aside.
Step three: Add the remaining mustard oil in the same wok. Temper it with the dry red chillies, cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cloves, and cardamom.
Step four: Add the chopped onion and fry for about 3 minutes. Add the chicken pieces along with ginger-garlic paste. After 2 minutes, add the yoghurt to the chicken and keep stirring. You’ll notice the oil separating from the mixture.
Step five: Now add coriander powder, cumin powder, turmeric and red pepper powder, and mix them all together. Also add sugar to it. The sugar gives a nice red colour to the gravy and also contributes to the subtle sweetness of the spicy gravy. Cook at a low flame for about half and hour.
Step six: Add the 2 cups water (depending on how much gravy you want but let me warn you here -Kosha Mangsho is meant to be a thick dry-ish gravy mixture) and cover the wok. Let the chicken cook for at least half an hour now till the chicken becomes soft and succulent. All this while, ensure that the flame is at its lowest.
Step seven: Now, add the fried potatoes and garam masala, and give it good stir. Let it cool for sometime.
Serve hot with the maida (all-purpose flour) luchi we just made above. And we are not stopping here, following it up with Bengali dessert Payesh. Avoid distraction, come and let’s make a hearty bowl of Payesh now with me.
Let’s Cook Payesh Now
Cooking Time: 1 hour
Ingredients I used:
Milk – 1 litre
Basmati or Jeera rice – 1/3 cup (Use Gobindo bhog or Chini Atop for best taste- I used Chini Atop)
Sugar – 1/3 – 1/2 cup
Cardamom – 4 pods
Dry fruits – to garnish
Raisins – a few handful
Bayleaf – 2 leaves
Salt – A pinch
Step one: Wash the rice and soak it for 30 minutes.
Step two: Boil milk in a deep pan and when it starts to bubble up, add bay leaf and slightly crushed cardamom pods.
Step three: Add the rice to the milk. Allow it to boil in low to medium flame till rice gets cooked well but it should be firm & soft without losing its shape.Generally rice takes longer time to cook. So keep mixing every now and then and make sure it is not burnt in the bottom.
Step four: When the rice is almost cooked, remove bay leaf(optional) & add sugar, a pinch of salt & mix well. Let it boil till the mixture thickens slightly.
Step five: Add raisins (you can also add cashew nuts). Switch off the flame. Allow it to cool. If you prefer chilled, keep it in the fridge for a while and serve.
Note: This payesh would thicken as it cools down. So adjust the consistency by adding little hot boiled milk before serving !
Bon appetit and Shubho Bijaya!