Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles Dinner I {Review}

I am one of thirteen bloggers who has received copies of the Rinku Bhattacharya's new cookbook The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles from Hippocrene Books. Over the next few weeks, I'll be cooking from, reviewing, and giving away a copy of the book.

Tonight was my first dinner based on Rinku's recipes. The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles is a deceptively small volume, with less than 300 pages; once you crack the cover, however, you find yourself engulfed in fifteen chapters with multiple recipes per page. It was initially daunting, but my trepidation quickly transformed into giddy enthusiasm once I began to explore her recipes.

Rinku's prose is vivid and colorful. I could clearly imagine "heralding the morning with the sound of a conch shell blown by the mistress of the house." Wait...I am the mistress of the house and I do have a conch shell. Hmmmm....I'm not sure the boys would appreciate that kind of wake-up call!

And her recipes...let me just say that I had a difficult time choosing what to make for dinner. Tonight I settled on two of her recipes from Chapter 7, Vegetarian Entrees, serving them with side of steamed quinoa.

Kamala Shorshe Phulkopi
Golden Cauliflower in Orange Mustard Sauce
adapted* from Rinku Bhattacharya's The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into small to medium pieces
1 t turmeric
freshly ground salt
freshly ground pepper
olive oil
2 T yellow mustard
1/2 C water
juice from one Meyer lemon
2 clementines, peeled and segmented

*I omitted the cayenne and the cilantro but added Meyer lemon juice.

Rub the cauliflower pieces with turmeric. In a large, flat-bottom pan, heat your oil. Then cook the seasoned cauliflower until it is cooked through and golden in spots. In a large bowl, whisk together the mustard, water, and lemon juice. Pour that over the cauliflower, toss to coat completely, and cook until the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the clementine sections and cook for about a minute.

Badhakopir Misti Dalna
Sweet and Spice Curried Cabbage
adapted* from Rinku Bhattacharya's The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles

2 T olive oil
1 t brown mustard seeds
1 medium head green cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, shredded
1 t ground cumin
1 C coconut milk
1 t organic raw turbinado sugar
freshly ground salt

*I omitted the onions and the green chilies.

In a large, flat-bottom pan heat the oil and add the mustard seeds. Cook until they begin to sizzle and pop. Add the cabbage and carrots and mix well. Cook until the vegetables begin to soften, approximately 4 minutes. Add in the cumin powder, coconut milk, sugar, and salt to taste. Simmer until the coconut milk is absorbed.

The Verdict on Dinner I...
These dishes were easy to make, teeming with flavor, and rendered my family silent at the table. Amazing! They were too busy enjoying these exotic flavors to talk. And when they were finished, Dylan, my almost nine-year-old, declared the dinner 'red book worthy.' My red book is where all of our family favorites go. Rinku, that's high praise!

I am thrilled with The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles so far. I can't wait to delve into more of her recipes. Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Camilla, for this thoughtful post! I am excited that you tried the cauliflower dish as it is one of my husband's favorites.

    Rinku

    ReplyDelete

Share Buttons