Time for a Dasara feast

Be it Goddess Durga killing Mahishasur or Lord Ram'’s win over demon king Raavan, Dasara is all about the triumph of good over evil. One of the most important festivals for Hindus across the nation, Dasara is celebrated with much pomp and fervour. And where there is festivity, there is food. While most people commemorate the day with pure vegetarian food, there are also a few states where non-vegetarian delicacies are served on Dasara.

People from Telangana and West Bengal in particular enjoy chicken, mutton and fish delicacies served mainly with rice. Here are a few non-vegetarian recipes for you to enjoy with your family this Dasara.

Bagara Rice

Long Grain Rice: 200 gms
Onion: 1
Mint leaves: 10
Oil: 3 tsp
Green chillies: 4
Bay Leaves: 3
Cloves: 6
Cardamoms: 4
Cinnamon: 3 small pieces
Shahjeera: 1 tsp
Ginger garlic paste: 1 tsp
Salt as required

Method: Wash and soak the rice for 30 minutes to one hour.
Heat oil and ghee together in a pan and add chopped onions, slit green chillies and mint leaves. Fry till they are all soft and add cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and shahjeera, ginger garlic paste and fry a little.
Now add water in the ratio of rice 1: 1½ . Add salt as required and let it boil. Once the water is boiling, add the soaked rice. When the rice is ¾ cooked, reduce the heat to low. Cover with a lid and let it simmer for 3 minutes and remove from heat.
Tip: Always use old rice to make bagara rice.

Mutton Curry

Mutton: ½ kg
Onion: 2
Green chillies: 2
Curry leaves: 2 sprigs
Coriander leaves chopped
Ginger garlic paste: 2 tsp
Tamarind pulp: 3 tsp
Turmeric powder: ¼  tsp
Red chilli powder: 1½  tsp
Coriander powder: 2 tsp
Garam masala: ½ tsp
Oil: 4 tbsp

Method: Clean the mutton. Heat oil in a pan and add chopped onions and slit green chillies. Fry till they are light brown color. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, ginger garlic paste, coriander powder and fry for two minutes.
Now add mutton pieces and salt as required and cover it. Let it cook in its own water.

When the mutton pieces are soft and water is all evaporated, add tamarind pulp, 2 cups water and let it cook on medium heat till the mutton is well cooked and oil floats on top.

Add garam masala powder and chopped coriander leaves for garnish.

Chicken Curry


Chicken: 1 kg
Onion: 2
Green chillies: 4
Ginger garlic paste: 2 tsp
Coriander powder: 2 tsp
Garam masala powder: ½ tsp
Coconut powder: 3 tbsp
Turmeric powder: ¼ tsp
Tomatoes: 3
Salt as required
Coriander leaves: 3 tsp
Oil: 5 tbsp

Method: Cut and clean the chicken.  Take a heavy based vessel or kadai and heat the oil. Add chopped onions, slit green chillies and fry till light brown. Add ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and fry for two minutes. Now add chicken pieces, salt as required and mix well. Cover and let it simmer for ten minutes.

When half cooked, add chopped tomato, coconut powder, garam masala and mix well. Cover with a lid and let it cook till done. If you want a gravy, you can add a cup of water and let it cook till the oil floats on top.
Tip: The cooking should be on slow heat.

Sandesh- Bengali Sweet


1 ltr milk
250 gm sugar
1 tsp ghee

Method: Take a kadai and add milk in it. Boil milk till it gets reduced to half.
Add sugar and stir until it becomes thick and sticky.
Switch off the flame.
Take a spoon of thickened milk in a steel plate and rub over the surface of the plate again and again with the help of spoon till its stickiness is gone. (if stickiness remains, heat little more). Do it for each spoon of milk.
Glaze the moulds with ghee.
Put the milk on the moulds to get different designs.
Serve after 3 minutes.

Prawns with pumpkin leaves

Pumpkin leaves: 10
Prawns or shrimp: 500 g
Grated coconut: 1/2 cup
Mustard seeds: 5 gm
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp
Sugar: 1/4 tsp
Green chillies: 4
Slit green chillies: 8
Mustard oil: 6 tbsp

Method: Marinate the prawns with 1 tbsp salt and set aside for 10 minutes. The prawns will release water after 10 minutes, so strain the water and keep them in a separate colander.
Grind the mustard seeds, grated coconut and 4 green chillies to a smooth paste by adding 1/2 cup of water.
Transfer the paste to a large mixing bowl. To this, add sugar, salt, turmeric powder and 4 tbsp of mustard oil and mix all the ingredients.
Now add prawns and green chillies to the mixture above and mix very well. Cover the prawn mix and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
Wash the pumpkin leaves with warm water and set aside.
Take a leaf, put one spoon of prawn mix in the middle of the leaf and wrap from sides of the leaf to make a packet. Tie the packet with a thread. Make around 6-7 packets.
Heat a griddle and spread 2 tbsp of oil. Reduce the heat.
Place 4 to 6 packets on the griddle. Cover the pan. Cook on low flame for 6 to 8 minutes on both sides.
The fried shrimp packets are now ready to serve with steamed rice.

Recipe by Purabi Sarkar, home chef

Steamed hilsa fish or bhapa ilish

500 gms hilsa fish
4 tsp black mustard seeds for paste (soaked in lukewarm water)
1 tsp turmeric powder
4-6 green chillies
½ tsp red chilli powder
7 tbsp mustard oil
Salt to taste

Method: Make a thick paste of black mustard, 1 green chilli and 1/2 tsp of salt in grinder. Keep it aside.
Rub fish pieces in a mixture of ½ tsp salt and ½ tsp turmeric powder and leave for 10 minutes.
Now take a bowl and add mustard paste, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and 6 tsp of mustard oil and mix well. Add salt to the mixture as per taste. Also add 1 cup of water to this mixture.
Steamed hilsa or bhapa ilish can be prepared using a double boiler steamer, microwave or in a pressure cooker.
Take a stainless steel container or a microwave oven safe container with a tight lid and rub some oil in the container. Now spread half of the previously prepared paste in the container and put 2-3 slit green chillies. Place fish pieces over it and finally put the balance paste over the fish. Pour 1 tsp of mustard oil on the top. Also place the rest of the slit green chillies. Cover the lid tightly.
Steam fish using a steamer, a pressure cooker or a microwave. If using pressure cooker, wait for 1 whistle and remove from the flame after the steam comes out of the cooker. In case of microwave, put the container containing fish in the steamer, and cook at high temperature for 5 minutes and then at low temperature for around 25 minutes.
Steamed hilsa or bhapa ilish is ready to be served with steamed rice.


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