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Review: The Bengali Five Spice Cookbook

Several weeks ago I stumbled across a post on Cooking in Westchester through a friends share on Twitter. It’s an Indian cooking blog specifically focusing on Bengali cuisine. I am always drawn to blogs like my own, those who are living outside the country they blog about.  Although I’m not Moroccan I have found that cooking Moroccan food is a way to bring my children closer to their culture and also give MarocBaba a little less homesickness. I also happened to come to this new blog on a post talking about her new cookbook and desire to have bloggers participate in the launch by cooking from the new book and giving away a copy.  I jumped at the chance.

I love Indian food and although extremely reluctant for a long time MarocBaba has come to the dark side and now loves it too. The regional nature of the cookbook is what really spurred my interest.  I have one other Indian cookbook but have more or less stayed away from trying the foods at home. After I read several of Rinku’s recipes on her blog, I knew that the cookbook would be easy for me to manage.  I signed on the dotted line, and soon the cookbook arrived.  With an extra long holiday weekend I took advantage and cooked my heart out, including recipes from this book.

Lentil and Rice Risotto

For my menu I decided to make Lentil and Rice Risotto, Meatballs in Saffron Rice, and Crispy Potato Sticks.  I was worried I wouldn’t have all the spices I needed, but found so many of the spices similar to what I use in Moroccan cooking, there was really only a few extra things I had to get ahead of time. This risotto was made with yellow split lentils but  I think there was something wrong with the lentils I had. Well, maybe not wrong but not the same as traditional lentils.  They cooked way too fast, and well before the rice was done. I was afraid it was going to just be mush but it really turned out good. I cut back on the spicy factor but MarocBaba added it back into his and was happy as a clam.

Saffron Rice and Meatballs

This was my favorite dish and thankfully I still have some leftovers in the fridge. The meatballs in the recipe were made with ground chicken but I used ground turkey. The meatballs themselves are loaded with spices and are very tasty on their own.  The rice is cooked with ghee, onions, garlic, saffron and loads of other delicious spices. I have so far eaten this three times and when reheated it’s equally as great.  The final recipe I made, probably more of a side dish, was crispy potato sticks.  You can’t go wrong with matchstick potatoes that are fried and dusted with salt, pepper, and turmeric.

There are so many recipes in this book that I am looking forward to making.  I think next will be a shot at dessert and maybe a chutney. I wish that every single one of you could have a copy.  (Well technically you can if you pick one up here). But I do have one copy to give to a lucky reader. Follow the directions in the Rafflecopter form and you’ll be entered to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. My favorite from childhood is keema with pooris.

  2. My favorite Indian dish is samosas – I love ethnic foods and cooking – great giveaway! Thanks for posting at Cookbook Junkies!

  3. Renee Richardson says:

    I love Boti Kebab Masala. Thanks for the great giveaway :)

    fattybumpkins at yahoo dot com

  4. I’ve never tried Indian food let alone cooked it. I’d like to give it a shot.

  5. My favorite bengali dishes are rasgula (dessert), kichuri (for a rainy day), and machher jhol.

  6. FrenchtwistDC says:

    Always eager to learn new recipes ;-)

  7. Don’t enter me to win but OMG I am so amused, we both made the meatballs and saffron rice! Great minds think alike! And yes it was delicious!

  8. lamb biryani is my fave, with Chana masala coming in a close second

  9. Biryani.

  10. My favorite Indian dish is so hard to name but, for right now, it’s spicy dahl makhani with garlic naan and chai!

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