Recipes from July 25th class

These samosas are special because we toasted and grinded all of our own spices for the potatoes, that were first boiled with turmeric root. Then we shucked fresh English peas from the farmers market for the filling. We toasted and ground garam masala spices:
brown cardamom
kashmiri chilies

Chicken Kofta
Infamous snack at Chez Mook

Steamed Mustard Halibut [BhapaMaachBhaturi]

Dal Bhora

Jharna's Eggplant Curry

Kerala Lemon Coconut Rice
This dish is a combination of two dishes I learned in India. One was lemon rice from Freida, a great South Indian cook. And the other was Kerala coconut rice from a top chef in Goa from Kerala named Wilson. Here is a picture of his coconut rice with one of his spicy meat curries.

Panch Phoran Sprouted Moong Dal
Remember panch phoran is a Bengali five spice mix of cumin seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, nigella and fenugreek seeds.

And while we were preparing the Panch Phoran for the sprouted Moong Dal, we discovered that kalonji aka nigella was a new spice for most of the participants. So we prepared a batch of Kalonji rice. I learned this recipe from a student of mine at the Academy of Culinary Education in Goa. Pretem is a young Bengali chef in training who grew up in Asam. Here is a picture of Pretem in the kitchen. He was very interested in all Indian cuisine as well as Chinese cuisine. He would often cook great Bengali meals for our lunch. Here is a picture of Pretem's kalonji rice.
Kalonji Rice

2 cups basmati rice, soaked in cool water for ½ hour
2 ¾ cup water
3 Tablespoons kalonji [aka nigella]
2 teaspoons ginger, grated or minced
3 Tablespoons ghee

Rinse the rice three times before soaking to remove any excess starch on the outside of the grains. This creates more individual grains as they steam. Soak in cool water for ½ hour. Drain water and add new water. 2 ¾ cups water for 2 cups of rice.

Steam in a rice cooker or bring to a boil in a heavy sauce pan that has a tight fitting lid. When rice begins to boil reduce heat to low and cover with lid. Cook over very low heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered for an additional 15 minutes to continue steaming.

Fry kalonji seeds in a ghee for 2 minutes over medium heat add ginger and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring for another 2 minutes. Add a teaspoon or two of salt to the kalonji ghee and then add to the steamed basmati. Lightly mix the kalonji into the rice by “fluffing” the ingredients together.
*interesting facts about kalonji:
A paste of the seed is applied to skin to relieve scorpion stings.
The seeds can be scattered between folds in clothes as insect repelent.
It is considered a stimulant.


  1. Hi,
    The first fact about Kalonji was unknown to me, thanks for sharing. I have a blog ( mainly dealing Bengali food. I love the preparation with kalonji. One more interesting fact about kalonji - put it in a thin cloth and try smelling it as an inhaler, it relieves blocked and/or running nose.

  2. That was a new information.
    I did not know it has medicinal benifits.
    Thanks for sharing it.