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When the world was trying to recover from the grip of COVID, few home chefs from the city of Kolkata took up the pain to ensure that we get home-cooked, sanitized food without stepping outside. For Srabani Mukherjee, cooking is a passion. She spent most of her life in a 5-star hotel, is well versed with various cuisines, and now a founder of Ma’s Soul Kitchen. My long-fetched plan was to try her culinary skills in the comfort of my home while spending quality time with family during the festive days.
For Bongs, no festivity can commence without taking a bite of Kolkata Bhetki Fry. The gigantic fillets of silky bhetki fillets marinated in lemon juice and spicy green paste of onion, ginger, garlic, green chili, and cilantro. The top coating of breadcrumb post an egg wash gives a golden color from deep fry in mustard oil. I prefer to have a smaller but thicker fillet with a uniform layer of breadcrumbs to give it a fleshy bite.
Similarly, she prepares Chicken Cutlet, but with a filling of minced chicken. The minced chicken mix with spices and vegetables tastes exquisite. Relish both with our favorite mustard sauce – kasundi.
Mutton Yakhni Pulao is mutton and long-grained basmati rice cooked in mutton stock and a carefully selected blend of whole aromatic spices. The humongous mutton pieces are cooked till the meat almost fell off the bone. The enticing fragrance will perfume your entire house. The best yakhni pulao sign is perfectly cooked rice grains, not sticking to each other and coated evenly with the mutton broth and ghee. The birista topping gives a touch of sweetness with every bite.
Dhakai Morog Pulao is a very famous preparation from Bangladesh. The dish is prepared with morog (rooster) with long grain rice. There is not much use of spices, but it is still very aromatic and rich in taste. Both the rice and chicken are cooked in milk. It has a sweet taste from birista. Here desi chicken is used in place of the rooster. The whole preparation is made in ghee. I was expecting the rice with non-sticky and fluffy life yakhni.
Chicken Rezala is a quintessential fragrant thin white gravy. It’s slightly on the sweeter side, subtly rich and somewhat creamy. That gravy is prepared with cashew and poppy seeds, onion paste, ginger, and garlic with an undertone of kewra water. Only dry red chilies are added to increase the spice quotient slightly. The quality of the meat is so good and tender.
Golda Chingri Malai Curry is a classic Bengali preparation with golda chingri (lobster) and coconut milk. The lobster’s head adds a whole new dimension to the dish, and coconut milk introduces creaminess in the gravy. The light sauce is perfumed with whole garam masala, flavored with ginger, fresh green chili, and virgin mustard oil.
If it’s pujo or festivity, the spread is incomplete without sweets. Rasamalai is a heavenly Bengali dessert that is prepared using milk. Roundels of soft and spongy flattened balls are made by curdling the milk. The balls are dipped in thickened full cream milk. The flavor of the milk gets elevated with cardamon and garnished with kesar, pistachios, and almonds. The roundels should have dipped for hours, so the taste of the milk gets soaked inside.
Khir er Malpua is Bengal’s version of the pancake. Instead, it is almost like making pancakes only deep-fried. The batter is prepared with thick full cream milk, flour, semolina, sugar, and cardamom powder. The cake is drenched in sugar syrup, and best served hot. Love the perfect extension of sweetness and moisture retained inside the pancake.
Chicken Cutlet, Mutton Yakhni Pulao, Chicken Rezala, and Khir er Malpua
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