Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Bhapa Aloo Recipe / Steamed Potatoes In Mustard Coconut Sauce Recipe ~ Just Recipes


Bhapa is the Bengali word used for steamed. Bhapa Mach or Steamed Fish is a Bengali delicacy which finds its way to many a Bengali Feast Menu. Everytime we had a lunch or dinner gathering at my home, Ma or Thakuma (paternal grandmother) would inevitably dish out these lovely looking green parcels with a large fish fillet doused in a pungent yet aromatic concoction of mustard and coconut sauce infused with mustard oil and green chilli paste. This would not only be polished off the plate in no time but often there would be a demand for more servings of these flavour laden green parcels. Unfortunately my vegetarian friends would always miss out on this ubiquitous Bengali meal offering and would only have to do with the explanation of how these parcels came into being.

So this post is an ode to all my vegetarian friends and readers who have often only been visually intrigued by Bhapa Mach but have never tasted that powerhouse of flavour thick sauce which roll out with a hint of fragrant mustard oil, the moment the threads of the banana leaf parcel is opened. In this dish fish has been replaced with baby potatoes and a few other ingredients have been added to dress the potatoes in a never before curry with all the Bengali nuances intact, resulting in a potato curry which is so yum that you cannot do with only one helping.


A very simple recipe Bhapa Aloo involves very little cooking yet is a food connoisseurs delight. In this dish mustard seeds, green chillies and coconut are ground together into a paste and the potatoes are coated with this paste and steamed in Banana leaves. The quintessential Bengali Panch Phoron finds its way into this gravy to enhance the enigmatic aroma. If you are not much of a mustard lover double the amount of coconut in the thick gravy of the Bhapa Aloo.


Let's quickly take a look at the ingredients and then let's together cook the delicious and fragrant Bhapa Aloo.

Dear Readers and friends this post is a part of the monthly Blog Hop of Culinary Hoppers so do check out the posts of my dear friend bloggers (right at the bottom of this page) who shall as usual amaze you with their delectable dishes with Potato as the star ingredient.

BHAPA ALOO RECIPE ~

AUTHOR ~ PIYALI MUTHA
SERVES ~ 4
CUISINE ~ INDIAN / BENGALI
TYPE ~ CURRY / MAIN COURSE
TIME ~ 15 MINUTES PREPARATION + 25 MINUTES COOKING

INGREDIENTS ~

1) 12 ~ 16 Baby Potatoes
2) 1/2 Tbsp Mustard Oil
3) 1 ~ 1 1/2 Tbsp Mustard Seeds (Use brown colour bigger mustard seeds to avoid any bitterness in your gravy)
4) 1 ~ 1 1/2 Tbsp Coconut grated fresh or Frozen (Use 2 ~ 3 Tbsp grated coconut to get a milder tasting gravy)
5) 2 ~3 Green Chillies
6) 1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder
7) 1/2 Tsp Salt
8) 2 ~ 3 Tbsp Water for grinding
9) Additional 1 Tsp Turmeric and 1 Tsp Salt required during Par Boiling of Potatoes
10) 1Tbsp (Thick / Hung) Yogurt / Curd
11) 1/2 Tsp Lime Juice
12) 2 Banana Leaves
13) Salt for seasoning

FOR TEMPERING ~

1) 1 ~ 1 1/2 Tbsp Mustard Oil
2) 2~3 Dry Red Chillies
3) 1 Tsp Panch Phoron (Store bought or make your own. To make your own Panch Phoron take a bowl. Add 1 Tsp of Cumin seeds, 1Tsp Fennel seeds, 1 Tsp Nigella Seeds, 1 Tsp Mustard Seeds and A pinch of Fenugreek Seeds. Mix and store for future use.)


COOK WITH ME IN EASY STEPS ~

1) Wash the Potatoes thoroughly.

  • Peel the potatoes. Keep a bowl full of water ready so that you can put the peeled potatoes in that bowl to avoid them from browning.
2) Once all the potatoes are peeled, drain out the water and transfer the potatoes into a pressure cooker or deep pan. Cover the potatoes with water. Add salt and turmeric. Cook till potatoes are partly boiled.
NOTE ~ If you are using a pressure cooker one whistle is enough and if cooking in a deep pan 10  ~ 15 minutes should be enough.

3) While the potatoes are cooking, soak the mustard seeds in water for 10 minutes. Grate the coconut if you are using fresh coconut.

  • After 10 minutes of soaking, drain the mustard seeds using a strainer and transfer to a grinder jar. To this add 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp turmeric, green chillies and grated coconut. Using 1 Tbsp water at a time, grind the ingredients into a smooth paste.
  • Once done transfer the smooth paste into a bowl. 
  • To this add yogurt and mustard oil. 
  • Finally add lemon juice. Mix well. Keep aside ready to use.
4) By now the potatoes must be partly boiled. Remove them from the pressure or pan as is the case into the bowl in which you plan to steam them.

  • The bowl in which you will steam the potatoes with the freshly made paste should be lined with a banana leaf .
5) Next we will get the tempering ready. Take a pan. Heat 1 1/2 Tbsp of Mustard Oil. When hot add in the dry red chillies after tearing them into smaller pieces. Next goes in the Panch Phoron.

  • Let everything crackle and become aromatic.TAKE CARE NOT TO BURN or else you will ruin the dish. 
6) Pour the tempering over the potatoes in the bowl.

  • Next spoon in the paste which you made in step 3. 
  • Coat each potato nicely with this paste. Check for seasoning. Add salt if required. Cover the bowl with another banana leaf.

NOTE ~ there is a trick to make the banana leaves more flexible so as to easily mold them into the shape you want. Just hold them near your burner, a few seconds on each side. Don't go too close or the leaves will burn. By doing this you can fold the leaves easily without tearing them.

7) Place the bowl in the steamer and steam the potatoes with the sauce for 8~10 minutes.

  • By this time your paste must have cooked nicely and also the potatoes cooked completely.

Bhapa Aloo is ready to serve. Eat this dish with steaming rice , flat breads and enjoy this delectable Bengali dish.

I hope you do try this dish out and continue to have loads of fun and adventure in your kitchen.

STEP BY STEP PROCEDURE WITH PICTURES OF BHAPA ALOO RECIPE ~



1) Wash the Potatoes thoroughly.


Peel the potatoes. Keep a bowl full of water ready so that you can put the peeled potatoes in that bowl to avoid them from browning.


2) Once all the potatoes are peeled, drain out the water and transfer the potatoes into a pressure cooker or deep pan. Cover the potatoes with water. Add salt and turmeric. Cook till potatoes are partly boiled.
NOTE ~ If you are using a pressure cooker one whistle is enough and if cooking in a deep pan 10  ~ 15 minutes should be enough.



3) While the potatoes are cooking, soak the mustard seeds in water for 10 minutes. Grate the coconut if you are using fresh coconut.


After 10 minutes of soaking, drain the mustard seeds using a strainer and transfer to a grinder jar. To this add 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp turmeric, green chillies and grated coconut. Using 1 Tbsp water at a time, grind the ingredients into a smooth paste.


Once done transfer the smooth paste into a bowl. To this add mustard oil. 


Next add Yogurt / Curd. Finally add lemon juice. Mix well. Keep aside ready to use.



4) By now the potatoes must be partly boiled. Remove them from the pressure or pan as is the case into the bowl in which you plan to steam them. 



The bowl in which you will steam the potatoes with the freshly made paste should be lined with a banana leaf.



5) Next we will get the tempering ready. Take a pan. Heat 1 1/2 Tbsp of Mustard Oil. When hot add in the dry red chillies after tearing them into smaller pieces. Next goes in the Panch Phoron.


Let everything crackle and become aromatic.TAKE CARE NOT TO BURN or else you will ruin the dish. 



6) Pour the tempering over the potatoes in the bowl. 



Next spoon in the paste which you made in step 3. 



Coat each potato nicely with this paste. Check for seasoning. Add salt if required. Cover the bowl with another banana leaf.
NOTE ~ there is a trick to make the banana leaves more flexible so as to easily mold them into the shape you want. Just hold them near your burner, a few seconds on each side. Don't go too close or the leaves will burn. By doing this you can fold the leaves easily without tearing them. 



7) Place the bowl in the steamer and steam the potatoes with the sauce for 8~10 minutes. 



By this time your paste must have cooked nicely and also the potatoes cooked completely. 



Bhapa Aloo is ready to serve. Eat this dish with steaming rice , flat breads and enjoy this delectable Bengali dish. 



I hope you do try this dish out and continue to have loads of fun and adventure in your kitchen.


Reference ~