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Palak aloo bari
(Serves four)
225g spinach
225g potato
100g dal bari
10g ginger
few flakes of garlic
5g green chilli
5g chilli powder
few sprigs of coriander leaves
30g oil
10g salt
Peel and cut potatoes into quarters. Heat oil, fry potatoes and then remove. Grind together the chilli powder, garlic and ginger. Fry masala and green chilli whole and add washed and chopped spinach. Sauté and add potatoes and salt and cook covered on a slow fire until potatoes are tender. Garnish with dal bari and coriander leaves.

Subz bahar
(Serves four)
450g potatoes
115g carrots
115g beans
200g green peas
200g cream
5g green chilli
few flakes of garlic
5g ginger
115g onion
225g tomatoes
pinch of cumin
5g coriander
3g red chilli
pinch of turmeric powder
few sprigs of coriander leaves
Boil potatoes and vegetables. Prepare paneer with cream. In a pan, heat oil and fry sliced onions, then add spices. Fry well and add all vegetables except tomatoes. Add salt and water and cook. When vegetables are half done, add the tomatoes and cumin, coriander red chilli and turmeric. Cook till vegetables are tender and gravy is thick. Garnish with coriander sprigs.

Kasa aloo
(Serves four)
450g potatoes
225g onions
2g chilli powder
5g tamarind
60g oil
1 tbsp grated coconut
salt to taste
Boil, peel and cut potatoes into square pieces. Fry chopped onion in oil till light brown.
Add potatoes to fried onion and add salt. Grind chilli powder, tamarind, grated coconut to a fine paste using water. Add ground spices to potatoes and cook over a slow fire till gravy is thick. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Navarutun kofta
(Serves four)
115g paneer
60g Bengal gram flour
pinch of turmeric powder
¼ tsp chilli powder
ginger, cut into small pieces
10gm coriander powder
115gm onion
1tsp yoghurt
salt to taste
30g oil
Grind the turmeric, chilli and coriander powders together with a little water to form paste. Heat oil and add cumin, chopped onions, green chilli, ginger and sauté.

Add ground spices and fry. Add chopped tomatoes and salt to taste and let simmer adding a little water if necessary.

Cut paneer into cubes. Prepare a thick batter with gram flour, soda, salt and water.

Dip paneer in batter and deep fry. Drain and put into prepared curry. Cook for a few minutes. Add beaten yoghurt. Do not boil after adding yoghurt, but mix well. Serve hot.

Matar paneer
(Serves four)
450g fresh peas
115g cottage cheese
5g coriander powder
½ tsp chill powder
pinch of turmeric
pinch of garam masala
55g onions
30g oil
3 flakes of garlic
small piece of ginger
225g tomatoes
salt to taste
30g blanched almonds
Cashew nuts
30g yoghurt
few sprigs coriander leaves
Grind together onions, coriander powder, chilli powder, turmeric ginger and garlic to a fine paste. Grind almonds and cashew nuts separately.

Heat oil and fry paneer till light brown and remove. In the same oil fry spices, add peas and fry. Then add tomato pulp, salt and small quantity of water.

Cook till peas are soft. Add ground nuts and beaten yoghurt mix and bring to boil.
Serve hot, garnished with chopped coriander leaves.

Special thanks to Khazana for providing the special vegetarian recipes and helping with the photoshoot.

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

More Mumbai

The soul was not fully satisfied with the squids and fish in Mumbai. I wanted more. I know Mumbai has more to offer. But the constraint was time.

You see, I usually go to Mumbai on work. Only once, I had gone on a pleasure trip. Unfortunately, I was all of three years old at that time and blissfully oblivious of culinary delights. Apparently, my sole objective in Mumbai on that visit was to go to the thespian, Dev Anand's place. Don't ask me how I knew about him at that tender age. I just did. Or so I am told.

This time when I visited Mumbai, it was for twelve days. Although, by the standards of my previous visits, an eternity. One visit to Trishna was not going to be enough.

This wonderful colleague of mine, who I knew from my Dhaka days, happens to be a fellow foodie. As I was grumbling about guesthouse food one evening, she told me that she'd introduce me to this whole new cuisine called Gomantak. Basically, coastal Maharashtra food. A little background would not hurt.

I am very fond of food from the Malabar coast. The amalgamation of various spices, the judicious use of coconut milk, the enticing red colour, the abundance, nay dependence on sea food. All factors point to one direction. My stomach! So Gomantak really excited me and I was really hoping to end the day quickly so that we could head out as soon as possible.

Business for the day settled; my colleague and I set out in search of a suitable restaurant, which serves Gomantak. She, having lived in Mumbai for some time, had a fair idea of where to go. I do not argue with fellow foodies. We headed off to a place called <>Sayeeba<> (hope I am spelling this right!). The name does conjure up a different image. I thought of great biriyanis and chaap when I heard <>Sayeeba<>. But, nothing could be more different!

We arrived at the place. Smack on the main road, the place can easily be overlooked. Small entrance, manned by a person in soiled white uniform. Not the best of first impressions.

With no trepidation, I followed her inside. I was with a foodie and I knew I was in safe hands.

The inside was very interesting. A very small, cramped place, with as many tables as they could fit in. Tables are long and communal in nature. It is apparently very common there to share your table with complete strangers.

The soul focus was food, not the occupants of tables. The menu card came. There must have been at least two hundred items that were listed. And I was told that most are usually available on any given night.

Some promising stuff emerged. Mussels, crabs, clams, prawns, a peculiar fish called Bombay Duck, which has nothing to do with the bird!

I took my friend's advice. Started off with an order of fried Bombay Duck. Fish that resembles long strips of something appeared, crisp and piping hot. One bite and it melted in the mouth. I knew we are in for a good ride. Next was the curiously named special prawn masala. One could not be blamed if one expected a run of the mill, average curry with this name. What came was a delicious mix of various spices, in thick gravy redolent of tomatoes and onions.

We also ordered a fish curry. Very light, very pungent, very red, it came with a typical Mumbai fish called Rawas. Extremely fresh, the fish, which was not fried, almost tasted of the sea that was its domicile a while ago.

All this, with steamed rice! Washed down with kokum water. I was in heaven. It was very similar to the Malabar coast food I am so fond of. The only major difference that I could spot was the lack of coconut in the cooking. Satiated, we staggered out around midnight and headed for a scoop of all-natural seasonal fruit flavoured ice cream. But that story is for another day.



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