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The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles Dinner II {Review}

This is the second dinner I've cooked from Rinku Bhattacharya's new cookbook The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles from Hippocrene Books. I am so happy to have my own copy of this fabulous collection of recipes. And I am thrilled be giving away a copy of the book to one of my lucky readers. Enter the giveaway for your chance to win!

Today while the wind whipped trees mercilessly and cold rain battered my windows, I searched for something warm and comforting, thumbing my nose at my friend who jokingly said that I only cook uncomfortable food.

I decided on these...



Koftar Jhol
Curried Turkey Meatballs
adapted* from Rinku Bhattacharya's The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles

1 pound ground turkey
1 T grated fresh ginger
1 t garam masala
2 T Meyer lemon juice
2 T butter
5 cardamom pods
5 cloves
2 three-inch long cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
2 cloves of fresh garlic
2 large tomatoes
2 t curry powder
1 t freshly ground salt
1/2 C heavy cream
3 C fresh baby spinach

*I omitted the cayenne, onion, and the cilantro but added Meyer lemon juice, swapped light cream for heavy, increased the spices, and tossed in some fresh spinach and an extra tomato.

Mix the ground turkey, ginger, garam masala, and lime juice together in a mixing bowl. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Make walnut-sized meatballs and place them on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

In the meantime, heat the butter with a splash of olive oil in a large, flat-bottom skillet. Add the spices and cook until aromatic. Add the garlic and cook until softened. Stir in the tomatoes, curry powder, and salt and cook until a thick tomato sauce begins to form. Pour in 2 C organic chicken broth - or water - and bring to a simmer. Add the cooked meatballs to the sauce and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Add in the cream and cook until heated through. Mix in the baby spinach and stir until just wilted. Serve over rice.

Begun Pora
Mashed Smoked Eggplant
adapted* from Rinku Bhattacharya's The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles

1 eggplant
1 T olive oil
1 t ground cumin
freshly ground salt to taste

*I omitted the onions, green chiles, and cilantro, opting to highlight the wonderful smokiness of the eggplant. I only wish that I had had more eggplants in my fridge! I only had one....

Over my gas range, I charred the skin on my eggplant. I was so intrigued by the scent, I didn't want to dilute the flavor with many other ingredients. So I wrapped the eggplant in foil and roasted it for 15 minutes longer in a 375 degree oven. Then I let it cool in the foil, removed the skin, and mashed the flesh with oil, cumin, and salt to taste. Wow.

The Verdict on Dinner II...
Fabulous for a Fall evening! Warm and comforting, this was the perfect dinner for this chilly, soggy day. I am thrilled with The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles so far. I can't wait to delve into more of her recipes. Next week, I'm going to try my hand at a couple of Rinku's Bengali sweets. And tomorrow I'll give away a copy of the cookbook. Stick around!

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