Thursday, 25 May 2017

BORI NARCOL DIYE CHICHINGE



Bori Narcol Diye Chichinge / Snake Gourd with Lentil Fritters and Shredded Coconut ...... does not sound like a weekend kind of dish right? Come on I love my family.... there will obviously be a dal.... a fritter..... and a mutton curry or ilish / hilsa / salmon with chilli mustard paste or a baked or grilled fish kind of thing. Ahh now it sounds sane... right? Do you think my men will leave me if I feed them all vegetarian... they will send me back to Kolkata. However nicely they were treated by Cristine, they all missed me when I was away. The maa-in-law never accepts when people say your daughter-in-law cooks a lot but within the four walls of our home, she appreciates what and how I serve her. She is definitely not a critical examiner like my mother... oh that is a kind of relief. That is family.... it will never pull you down unless it has real devils in it. It is also true about 'actual friends.' We will have differences of opinion in social, political and religious matters, but we are friends at the end of the day. I am just unable to take any kind of false exhibition of love or unnecessary advices from people who I have stopped considering my friend. Then again my dearest of pals say stop reacting to everything and everyone.... just ignore. So far my virtual friends / counterparts are concerned... we are with each other with all our differences if only you can tolerate the whimsical me. Oh yes.... I must answer to a query.... I simply love going public with my life so long it is within "limits of decency." My life is an open book and I like to keep it as that. I take advice from people who mean and who follow what they advice or preach. Some are right when they ask me to ignore.

My brother is not visiting my space.... may be because I am not blogging on a mutton dish. I need some time for that. Let me get myself fully under control. My mother said you know in our last trip to Puri in February 2017.... your father got some mutton from the market and said I wished to have it. Every year in February they visit Puri as per my mother's wish and stay their for 15 days. My mother is not the kind who will eat outside for 15 days. What wonders me is that daddy was not having mutton much for a couple of years due to health reasons.... but he loved it... he would have two pieces whenever maa prepared ....... with roti / paratha. Puri is a place where you get a variety of fish.... and eat a lot. Do we feel before we leave our loved ones.They said it right that S you will see he will be with you all even more than before now onward. Each day I wake up and get entangled in flashback of memories with him. I am sure my family is going through the same. A 70 year old woman tells her near 50 daughter.... you know when I was cleaning him... there was no bad smell... how come so many things went wrong inside?.... The daughter whispers.... "love need not necessarily be dove... its far more deep.... intense." I am coming momma very soon. My brother has shifted from his political allegiance.... I am hurt... but do we stop loving each other... just not possible. They need me... more need is of my son... they will be happy to see him.

So, let us share a healthy, non-spicy vegetarian dish this weekend that is quick and easy to do and good to eat. I am fairly influenced by a recipe shared on a Bengali Food Magazine...." Hyangla Hneshel " for this recipe. They actually shared a similar dish with ridge gourd and I never clicked to check on the recipe. I had a look at the picture and went ahead with my own. At our home, snake gourd is cooked either with small prawns or a vegetarian one with a simple tempering of nigella seeds, dry red chilli and slitted green chilli. Come let us prepare this no frill, vegetarian side dish with snake gourd, shredded coconut and dried lentil fries. We usually have it with steamed rice but it should go well with South Asian Breads too.





INGREDIENTS :
Snake Gourd : 3-4
Shredded Coconut : 1medium cup
Dried Lentil Ball / Bori : 10-15
Green Chilli : 3-4 [slitted]
Dry Red Chilli : 2-3
Nigella seeds : 1/4tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Cumin Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1/4tsp
Oil : 3tbsp +2tbsp

METHOD :
Cut the two ends of each of the chichinge or snake gourd. We will carefully scratch of the skin with the back of a knife and never peel. Wash them.

Cut half and then further into smaller pieces. Add some salt and turmeric and keep aside for 10 minutes.

Heat 3tbsp oil in a wok and fry the dried lentil balls or bori as we call it. Take out and reserve.

Add 2tbsp oil as the lentil balls soak oil while frying. Once hot.... temper oil with nigella seeds, dry red chillies which should be halved.

Add the shredded coconut. Stir fry till they turn little brown. Squeeze the excess water from the snake gourd pieces and add to the wok. Fold in well. Fry at high heat for 2 minutes. Lower heat now. This helps retain the colour.

Add the rest of the salt [if required], turmeric powder, cumin powder. Fold in well and cover.

Open cover after 3-4 minutes. Give a stir. Add the sugar, fried lentil fritters and slitted green chillies. Stir gently and let cook for 2-3 minutes uncovered.... else it lose colour.

Serve hot with steamed rice or South Asian / Indian bread.



Tuesday, 23 May 2017

MUSHUR DALER BORA



Monsoon approaching back there... and in this tropical island... anytime... anyway we get it... as of my men or the entire family... anytime is a snacks... fries and fritters time.... and there is no limit to having tea but there is a major cut down on it by the demon wife. I do not always cook what they love. However I try to force feed them all kinds of vegetables.... they will stick to their love for meat and few fish. Their healthy eating gets into action when they get Sushi... Sashimi which their lady cannot prepare... not even following others. I do not even conform to their ultimate wish to have fries and fritters every night. I know they will leave aside everything and binge on that, specially my junior. Thats what happened on my India visit... my mashimoni.... mother's sister fed us fries and pakoras at every meal however I tried to tell her.... come on we are not for a picnic this time... we just need to fill our stomach. Moreover, it was very difficult for me to eat what my brother loves as he was surviving on fruits and tapioca pearls as per our rituals. The lady did not listen and was cooking all day long for so many of us... not allowing me to help. She did a lot for me when I was this small... enough reason to gift her a saree. She wished for a bag from the island.... off course I will.

Now what do you crave for the most with these fries and tea... a good read right.... I can introduce you to someone who recently published her work.... stays in this island... is such a good comparer, busy corporate honcho, complete with her big red bindi, uncountable number of sarees and yes a writer by now.... Does she require a recommendation from a peanut like me? Absolutely not... given the number of followers in her Facebook page... writing skills... wonderful PR skills she is a name by herself in the island. The very reclusive me never tried to publicise myself here, there or anywhere... I know her through some common friends... at any function we smile at each other and keep it to that. I just saw her at the launch party of her new  book or perhaps the first one and bought one direct from the writer. Come dear readers.... meet the author Ananya Mukherjee  and her book ARDH-SATYA.... The Half Truth & Other Stories.... I loved her writing style using choicest and simplest of words... just apt for readers like us who are not so literate. So beautifully she portrayed human emotions which need not be between two lovers or be an entangled love triangle.... She dealt with varied emotions in each of her stories. I specially loved the long story Neemesh.... of a young girl of Srinagar in 1947. How much I agree with her that if Raja Hari Singh could take decision in a more diligent way... if he could feel the pulse of his people better... bitterness and blood shed would have been less on both sides. She has her face book page in the same name if you may wish to check. You get her book at amazon.com perhaps.



Mind it... I do not get paid by her. I could have written it on my page.... oh my God! I do not want people jumping on oh... she is my friend.... who are you to poke your nose... she is my camp... you are my property..... this and that. There are so many reasons why I wish to be at home... its always a personal choice... I do not really understand protocols and camps. I know well I am 'too small a blogger' but 'self respecting' enough not to ask for any favour or mercy from big shots. If I visit their space that is because I respect their work and I do not want anything in return. If I have invaded someone's personal timeline to their utter dismay... I am sorry... it never meant to pave way into their lives or get into any kind of 'immoral act' either.... morality and immorality are always a matter of perspective. It is absolutely impossible for me to see who has a blue at the corner of their post... who has a red at top most left or a green just at right of the middle... Why do we have to measure all these? Now I know why daddy left this world so early. Had I have such abilities, do you think I would be sitting here as a small time blogger never to make it in the 'Hall of Fame'. Do not tell me I never wish so but I am kind of a person who knows her limitations well and too laid back to overcome her deficiencies. If I am been sarcastic I am hurting my father's soul... I know...... I am showing dishonour to my senior's choice too ... who said I married you because you are different.... Thats when I feel hopeless and helpless. I am again sorry.

So I prefer to praise talents here... uff how much I loved to flaunt my sarees.... now I have to upload those magician's beheaded ones in the forums... My next read is Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's "Before We Visit The Goddess".... so eager to... this creative writer who teaches creative writing in Houston University does not require my recommendation either. Our sister like friend Ujjaini Bhaduri who stays in Houston and so many times rejected my husband's proposal calling him a 'dramebaz' will surely get an autograph of the writer for me I know.... just as I crazily asked my friend Dipa of Denver for an autograph of Madhuri Dixit when I saw a  picture of them together in a private party few years back. I have such couple of dear people scattered over Houston, Denver, Illinois, my own cousin sister in Boston....who are quite deep into us within a reasonable comfort zone.



Before I proceed with this mushur daler bora or masoor dal vada, red lentil fritter.....  I must say this was / is common at every Bengali home. So I can proceed with it freely. I believe in transparency... last year I wished to blog on kochu shaker ghonto and then I saw Debjani Chaterjee Alam of Debjanir Rannaghar who is quite a name in the Kolkata circuit has it on her blog and our pictures resemble. I messaged her with my picture and she beautifully answered me giving a nod. I finally blogged on it. Whatever little guilt I have, that is looking at old Dr.Chang's worried face yesterday.... for the first time he was visibly worried with my result.... yet said its the India effect.... watch your diet.... do your exercise well. I was super elated to see the same worries  in someone calling from the neighbouring country. I said hi... I wish to be sick for ever.... the answer is instant.... 'dumbo drama queen'. You see still I am going ahead with his and our son's favourite fries and fritters. I am a self proclaimed 'good w-omen'.... that is what you must be thinking.... I do not mind eitherway so long the world economy do not crash doing so.... thats how Kareena Kapoor reacted when the entire country perhaps pounced on her when she and Shahid Kapoor broke up.... come on she was already going through trauma.... stop bothering her... let her be. By the way are you following Twinkle Khanna's page... she is so versatile and cooks too.... love her style so much. Here is the super simple recipe of hot, crisp, fresh from the wok Mushur Daler Bora that goes best with your evening cuppa. Now I am all set to prepare a mutton biryani tomorrow.... because it is a home coming day.... of whom?.... you can say an once best friend, now and always a father figure who does not discuss his wife with any one in the world.

INGREDIENTS :

MASOOR DAL / RED LENTIL : 1BIG CUP
NIGELLA SEED : 1/4TSP
ONION : 1SMALL CUP [CHOPPED]
GREEN CHILLI : 2-4 [CHOPPED]
CORIANDER LEAVES : 1MEDIUM CUP [CHOPPED]
TURMERIC POWDER : 1/2TSP
RICE FLOUR : 1-2TBSP
SUGAR : 2TSP
SALT : AS REQUIRED
OIL : 100-150ML

METHOD :

Wash the dal and drain the water. Soak in freshly taken water for an hour. Drain and blend to a paste. Try not to use water or use minimal.

Add nigella seed, rice flour, chopped onion, green chilli, coriander leaves, turmeric powder, sugar and salt. Mix well.

Heat oil in a wok. Prepare small balls from the batter and drop in the oil. We will do them in batches.

Fry them at low to medium heat till brown. Take out and place onto tissue paper before transferring into a serving bowl.

Enjoy with your favourite coffee or tea.






Sunday, 21 May 2017

POTATO PANEER N MUSHROOM CURRY



Can you see my signature green chilli peeping out  from most of my dishes. I love chillies in my food.... I need them at every meal... why not?... we are 'Opar Bangla' after all..... we hail from the other side of the undivided Bengal. I have heard so many stories about their love for chillies. The meat curries happened to be so hot that people had to sit with towels to wipe the rolling down tears. May I tell you this is not so much of an exaggeration.... I have seen something near similar in my family years back....  I am moderate who even use sugar in some of her dishes which is unlikely of 'Opar Bangla' cooking. People have a wrong notion that the locals of this island eat bland. It is not that way... they eat healthy accompanied by the dips that are too good to make me happy. The chilli padi won my heart the week I stepped in here. I will not go further as I have too little knowledge on food compared to my expert friends here. When I started this blog I thought I will compile some heirloom family / Bengali recipes  and quit. Then I see I made so many friends on the way that I cannot stop.... each day is a learning experience. Each one of us love our blog...... famous or infamous. Then I have a good friend here Padma Murali... a Tamilian and a citizen of the island. She says she had shown my picture to her mother who said about me.... her face reveals she is not a person to be in the social media... she will suffer. I so much agree to it. Nothing is as peaceful as lying on the sofa reading a book with the headphone on.

As I write today's post, I am listening to some favourite numbers of Yesudas.... I simply love his voice as much as I love Ilairaja and AR Rehman's compositions and Maniratnam's movies. Kamal Hassan, R Madhavan and all these South Indian beauties with mesmerising eyes.... ahh you make me happy. Music takes me to an another world where I indulge in a virtual conversation with someone... Hey Suhani... I have heard you are a foodie too... I do not know your preferences though.... there are far better experts to take care. Yet, I wish to treat you at least for once.... it may happen you have saved life of people I cared for. Rest whatever little I heard about you, you seem to be a good soul... bubbly and friendly just the one my mother-in-law wished to have..... hahaha... and remember I have never learnt to impress people, what I speak comes from within. Stay blessed with your loved ones.

Coming to today's dish of Potato... Paneer & Mushroom Curry, I call it 'khichdi' dish.... hotch potch dish.... which belongs to no particular region or place  but Indian or South Asian in essence. I used tomatoes and Kashmiri red chilli powder to get that red colour and there has to be a green chilli to top it. I need to quickly finish off the post and call someone who travelled to the neighbouring country yesterday. Before leaving, he said you know wifey, the one who manages my work there belong to your species.....yeah. I just asked why you have to go on a Saturday morning. That is when the wifey goes out to post a paneer recipe which is not much of his favourite. Rest I do not cook on Sundays as Cristine is on leave. This is the perfect day to be caught in a kissing.... hugging scene with my teen only if he allowed mumma to enter his room. I said give a smile at least.... answer is you will not get anything.... I know how to get it... well the special friend is so bubbly and sweet.... and I get as precious a gift as a smile. Lets go out for a lunch date?... no I do not wish to... he has his favourite prawn-potato curry though.... Always try to be friends with your kids... where else will they go for a support, some love, guidance?  Mumma will now prepare this simple, homemade spicy, no onion... no garlic curry with potato, mushroom and paneer together with all her readers while echoing Yesudas.... "Suraj na ban paye to.... banke dipak jalta chal..... phool miley ya angaree.... sach ki raho pe chalta chal....".

INGREDIENTS :
Button Mushroom : 200gm
Paneer : 100gm
Potato : 2medium
Tomato Paste : 1small cup
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Cumin Powder : 2tsp
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
Kashmiri Chilli Powder : 1tsp [I used Everest]
Chilli Padi Paste: 1/2 tsp [use red chilli paste]
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Green Chilli : 2-3 slitted
Cinnamon Powder : 2pinches
Cardamom Powder : 1pinch
Fenugreek Seed : 1/4tsp
Bayleaf : 1
Oil : 4-5tsp

METHOD :
Wash the mushrooms and soak in salted water for 10-15 minutes and drain the water. Peel and wash the potatoes. Cut them into cubes, rub with salt and turmeric powder. Rub little salt on the paneer pieces.

Heat oil in the wok. Lightly fry the paneer pieces and dip in warm salted water for 5 minutes and take out. This way they remain soft.

Fry the potatoes till they turn light brown. Take out. Temper oil with bayleaf and fenugreek seeds. You will love the aroma.

Add the ginger paste and saute for a minute. Add the tomato paste and chilli paste, saute till it separates from the oil. Add the turmeric, Kashmiri chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, salt and saute for a minute.

Add a big cup of water. As it comes to boil, add the fried potatoes. Let boil for 3 minutes or so.

Add the mushrooms and fried paneer pieces and let cook for about 2-3 minutes. Add the slitted green chillies, cinnamon and cardamom powder and let cook for a minute. Its done.

Enjoy hot and fresh with freshly made Indian / South Asian bread or with piping hot steamed rice.




Friday, 19 May 2017

CASHEWNUT CHOCOLATY ICECREAM



Do you find the colour scheme dull compared to what I say.... I love colours in my food. I mean a cashew nut- chocolaty ice-cream cannot have any other colour than this, but I could have made the surroundings a bit colourful. Then I am one whimsical, fat, old lady who gets on her own nerves quite often and refuses to behave normal. What to do I am never a good observant or a well thought person, I have a questionable amount of grey matter. I / We could not satisfy our mother's expectations in academics which made her sad. It is that now in frame smiling old man who used to comfort her saying.... we had been average or with normal i-Q level... leave them at themselves. She never could. She had to draw inference from elsewhere... you know their daughter got a doctorate and bagged an offer to teach in a well known university.... their son is an IIT-IIM alumnus. Our super cool daddy who never believed in imposing their wish on the kids... never echoed his wife. He perhaps did not know which class we were in ... haha. It is the mother who handled.... now I feel we could have made her little more happy in a small way if not big. Now she smiles a bit when her son gets the best performer award of the year in his company. The poor boy keeps the trophy beside the hospital bed expecting the father to wake up for once. I could not tell him bhai it is not going to work. I was wondering when my 'little brother' turned such a responsible family person. Gone are the days when the mother and the 'big sister' were worried with few of his ways. I was too worried when every six months he got a new picture off course of a girl and asked 'didibhai' do you like this. The over protective 'big sister' scolded him hard .... mend your ways bhai... no reasonably sane girl can be with you if you do not. He played cricket so well.... a couple of local clubs approached my mom..... but then most of the middle class families cannot take such risks. Now he plays for his company only. 'Big Sister' feels so good and relieved to see her footballer father's cricketer son turning onto such a responsible and caring family man.

So, I well know what most of the teenager boys look for in a girl... I never had any of the  attributes ever of which the very self-respecting me do not regret at this age. You see however painful a rejection is... it has to be accepted.... feelings can never be mutual in all cases. What pisses me off is when you are used wrongly.... well not everyone is as lucky as me when it comes to mentor... I got the best ones. Hyper sensitive, weak personalities like me are very much averse to fight out such situations... Readers look back to your teen hood days... you will find some self proclaimed beauties and leaders trying to control your lives.... there is less harm till you cause severe damage to a relationship brainwashing a considerably soft-hearted person wrongly, you should blame both though. In such a scenario... one person has to retreat backward till reaching the edge of the sea.... looking at the waves they might wish to say can you please take me along? Then you suddenly see a shadow and you turn around to say 'give me some sunshine, give me some rain.' Why so?... because "life is beautiful." Last year when I said a woman can attempt to destroy a woman's life... many of my friends got angry.... I never meant to generalise it but to say it does happen.


When it comes to our loved ones... we do rise above self... so I strongly believed if someone had a strong family to take control just as we did for my brother.... one's life cannot go haywire with not so acceptable influences. So far your defeat is concerned.... leave it to the almighty. On a lighter tone, I definitely like the Bollywood style.... 'pati-patni-aur woh' kind of stories... if only they could stop citing one as a villain. In reality, each one is playing their role in the society. The pati / patni or the husband / wife need not worry until and unless the other two are caught holidaying in the Swiss Alps... hahaha...... the naughty me... In fact, if the 'woh'..... the other person is like me.... he or she would invite the legal partner and say 'do you fancy a vodka martini?' This blind Bollywood fan tells her man I wish to play with snow balls wearing a saree..... that only a Yash Chopra fan can say. The most unromantic, chopstick of the world said... S I need to travel this weekend, be a good girl and accept. I have noticed his tours increases when our son's examination is near. As of now, I wish to grow my hair and get a Smita Patil look..... haha idle brains are up to all these. I can feel a dire need to throw away my glasses and go back to my old days using my contact lenses... trust me I cannot as I have a perennial dry conjunctivitis condition. I loved to give a touch of green to all my pictures as way of showing gratitude to a vibrantly beautiful green to whom I owe this blog. I use red because my family loves it, because the identity of my second home... or this island is red.... which has given us safety and security knowing that we will earn here and go back.... it has taught me to pick up waste and throw in the dustbin. I love different shades of blue as all dreamers do. At times I wear sarees in non-Bengali style just to show some love to my loving non-Bengali friends in the island, in India or abroad or to some Bengali friends born and brought up outside Bengal. Now if few people weave stories around them I have to say no to it. I say no to be tied to any triangular, square, diagonal, hexagonal  relationships that I have left behind decades back. Coming to smiles.... it does not come naturally to me.... but I still do... you know why? some dears say smile S... you look good... and also to hide the fact... I have four fillings in the upper and lower jaw by now... still if you say I have a good setting of teeth ... I am super elated... hahaha... Remember... I wish to play match-match game only with people who have not caused harm to me... with those who did not rob me of my self-esteem or self respect. Do not expect this day dreamer to be a good observant either. One thing is sure.... not so good friends can be super moms... I wish and bless their kids to be successful in life and bring happiness to the family.... rest please spare me.

If you are still reading my rubbish... please do stop by for the recipe. I actually love jotting down 'my tryst' with life and philosophy in this space. This ice-cream made with cashew nut powder and chocolate chips is super yum and just perfect to end a delicious meal of spicy curries and mains. A very bubbly, smiling face said... aunty its good.... I like it. I think I need to take interest in different cuisines and get into more nightmarish dreams of whom to distribute my much loved sarees. I look at the face of my own and burst into tears... please do not get too deep into it.... do not expect too much from any relationship now..... be good friends and focus on studies..... be strong enough a fighter to overcome any hurdle & accept anything in life like your daddy... never be a fool like your mother. Rest I lock myself in the kitchen humming 'good choice baby' and prepare a big bowl of Cashewnut Chocolate Chips Ice-cream.... come let us do it together... I have eaten up your head already and wish to treat you with this yummy, 'homemade' frozen dessert.



INGREDIENTS :
Full Cream Milk : 500ml
Fresh Cream : 250ml
Cashew nut : 10-15
Chocolate : A medium sized bar
Sugar : 1/2medium cup

METHOD :
Take the full cream milk in a bowl and put for boil. Once it comes to a boil, add the sugar and boil at low heat till it reduces to about 200-250 ml. Let it cool.

Break the chocolate bar into pieces. Take both the cashew nuts and chocolate pieces in a grinder and grind to a coarse powder.

Add the boiled milk and fresh cream to the mixer. Pulse for about 2 minutes. Pour onto a bowl. Cover with cling wrap. Freeze it.

Take out after 1 hr and pour into the mixer, pulse for a minute and pour again to the bowl and cover with cling wrap.

Keep in the freezer for at least 5-6 hours. Take out and keep standing for 3-4 minutes. Dip the scoop in hot water and scoop out as much as you wish.



Tuesday, 16 May 2017

CHICKEN IN PICKLED OIL



Ahh, this morning I wake up to a very beautiful, fulfilling family picture.... merry cherry one. No intention of hitting at others, just a fun filled family picture. I loved.... does not matter whether I have any connection with them or not.... I have a weird habit of visiting pages of strangers and watching photos and posts and taking ideas.... with no wrong intentions though. I always give people the liberty to unfriend or block me. On the contrary, there are few in my 'so called' close vicinity who I do not wish to be with.... may be they have caused severe bruises to my soul at some point in life. My sincerest request to them is to spare me.... I have no problem if you keep the friendship among yourselves... I am happy with my gang and that is quite big.... both virtual and real. Am I hurting a few?..... may be but there is less harm in hurting people who plays with your emotions. Strangers.... I am honoured if you take interest in me.... I feel good but do it as an individual... I feel suffocated when tied wrongly. I have zero observation power.... in the process of learning it a bit, I get wild and feel like burning few of my most loved clothes. I am like my daddy... who had been less bothered about what is going around and was engrossed in his own world.

Coming to Mother's Day, 'some' of my real world and virtual world friends really made beautiful posts posing with their moms or with their original write ups or posting their specialised dishes. What pissed me off is when some went to the extreme of saying that their 'only' identity is their mom.... haha... are you questioning your birth? The answer came as whats app messages.... some of the naughty boys in my brigade shared such a post.... Happy Mother's Day to all those Fathers who made it happen. It was such a relief hihi.

I know I have a single by now parent.... my mother back at home... who is taken good care of by my brother and his wife... I call mom at higher frequency. Calling Bidisha as sis-in-law will be a kind of hurling abuse given what she is doing for 'her' family now.... I look up to all those women who handle mamma's boys with a smile, it is a tough job indeed. In my last year's post on Mother's Day, I made it clear why I will not celebrate such days but I have no qualms when others, I mean my virtual and real world 'friends' come up with it.

Coming to the beautiful post I see today..... I wished to name my chicken dish... Achari Tele Murgi.... but then I have some wonderful friends down west who love spicy curries we make and she / they have a strong bond with people who love chicken. So why not keep the name universal? These days I feel I should remain loyal to people who shows some kind of love to me even it is from strangers. May be in the process of staying loyal to few particular people whose only intention is to hurt you... one day you will find you turned grey untimely, your under-eye bags look prominent and you suffer from acute mistrust... of every other person you meet and you master the art of licking your own blood.

By the way..... my debutant film maker, painter, voracious reader and not so good cook but a food connoisseur elder son is in Kolkata for a project. I am visiting Kolkata next month again and very eager to meet him. His mother... my poetess friend Rupa Roy happened to be my mentor and is more friends with my husband as their wavelengths match.... If I tell him you know Rupa echoed you... his answer is ... intelligent people think alike. I always knew I am a dumbo parasite who was looking for a dependable lap to take refuge. Some chopsticks are really naughty but caring. Rupa's husband is a multi talented person and is like our elder brother.

Ideally I wished to share a sweet something today that is good for health too.... then let me think of a nice one.... So, to all meat / chicken lovers.... here is a chicken dish marinated with dry roasted spice mix and achari / pickle oil and cooked till tenderly soft. It is a dish full of flavours and done without much hassle. Shall we do it together?... we must..



INGREDIENTS :
Chicken : 1kg
Cumin Seed : 1tsp
Coriander Seed : 1tsp
Fenugreek Seed : 1/2tsp
Dry Red Chillies : 4-5
Bayleaf : 1
Cinnamon Stick : 2one inch
Onion [sliced] : 1big
Garlic Paste : 2tsp
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Pickled Oil : 2tbsp + 3tbsp

METHOD :
Wash the chicken pieces well. Drain the water and marinate with lemon juice, turmeric powder and salt.

Dry roast the cumin seeds, coriander and fenugreek seeds, dry red chillies, bayleaf, cinnamon stick and get a little coarse powder.

Add the spice mix and 2tbsp of pickled oil to the marinated chicken and rub well. Keep aside for 1 hour.

Strain the remaining pickled oil and add to a heated wok. Add the sliced onion and fry till brown. Add the ginger and garlic paste and also the remaining spice pickle on the strainer. Saute till the oil separates from the spice mix.

Add the marinated chicken along with the marinade. Stir at high heat for 3-4 minutes. Lower heat to minimum and cover cook till all the water dries up stirring every 5 minutes. It may take about 30-35 minutes.

Enjoy with Rice or South Asian breads or any bread of your choice!





Sunday, 14 May 2017

ILISHER PEYAZ-TOMATO BATA PATURI



"Ganga Amar Maa.... Padma Amar Maa,
Oo Amar Dui Chokhey Dui Joler Dhara...
Meghna-Jamuna...

Aki Akash Aki Batash...
Ak Hridoye Aki Prakash
Doyel Koyel Pakhir Thote
Aki Murchona...
Oo Amar Dui Chokhey Dui Joler Dhara
Meghna Yamuna... [Dr. Bhupen Hazarika]

This was my pick for today's post... a planned one keeping in mind few aspects of my parent's lives. This smoked hilsa / shad is not authentic of Comilla, the place in Bangladesh from where both my parent's originated. I selected Ilish / Hilsa because it is a fish that almost all Bengalis swear by, both my parents love it, moreover my entire family on both sides is too much fond of it. I hear in my absence, my not so Bengali son ate ilish all by himself deboning it. I am pretty sure its his father's work in his mission to make him independent, my paa-in-law would have definitely debone it for his grandson if so allowed. When we both were in Kolkata , the grandfather checked the expiry date of every food product before it was served to the grandson.

So far choosing lines from the very famous Assamese lyricist and singer Dr. Bhupen Hazarika to start with... well my daddy's side of the family migrated to various parts of Tripura and Assam from Bangladesh and settled there. My paternal grandfather settled in Nowgong of Assam and all my uncles and aunts from daddy's side settled there. There is a bigger reason... daddy's political belief was similar to him and I was made to hear his numbers. I loved them which gave me goosebumps for sure. My maternal grandfather was also stationed at Guwahati, Assam for a considerable amount of time when my mother was a school goer. My grandma learnt a number of steamed pitha [kind of steamed cakes] from her Assamese friends. My mom.... the eldest of her kids followed her passion for cooking. The granddaughter/ daughter is far more liberal who thinks there is always a better someone than self.... and there is no harm / shame in learning.

What does the above lyrics mean? .... that the Ganges and Padma... both are our mother... the sky above is same in both places... the birds chirp in the same manner in both sides of the border.... the tears that roll down my eyes as Meghna... Yamuna are same in texture and colour. You see my poor vocabulary makes me a poorer translator. I will go a bit further and echo my wise senior and say the whole world is our home.... My daddy visited Bangladesh in 2000 to see his ancestral home or may be for some other work too. He was overwhelmed by the hospitality of his old friends whose names need not be Anindya... Amal or Prabal... they were rather Azizul... Shiraz or Jallaluddin whose wives cooked mutton to fish to dried fish for my dad and he did come back alive to us hale and hearty. Few decades back, bloodshed happened on both sides... the migratory pain was terrible on both sides and the colour of blood was / is always red. There is no socio-political and geographical issue which cannot be solved over the years.... the truth is that they are not done to water vested political interests. In the process we... the commoners suffer.

Yesterday my dear friend from college Pampa Choudhury visited us with her hubby.... they are on an entourage of this island and of Bali. She stays in Bangalore and is the zonal or may be branch head of an NGO... Concern India Foundation. It is she who prescribed me to chant "Naam Myoho Renge Kyo"and trust me it helped me a lot. Now she says I need to go for group chanting.... we have a couple of Buddhist Monasteries here. She was telling me about transfer of soul and that 45 days period.... how we should pray for dad's peace. Her husband is an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and an extremely friendly person... we did not even notice when the clock struck 12. He authored two books so far, the first been Bali and the Ocean of Milk and takes interest in theatre too.They were like a cool breeze for the otherwise little sad me. As I said earlier, the chanting got rid of a considerable amount of negativity in me. Yet I prefer to choose as of whom I keep in my periphery. I wish to be with people who had been with me from the birth of my blog and before, who are with me in my journey so long, in fact..... in the virtual world I am interested in my counterparts or those who are reasonably decent. I am vehemently against tying any kind of knot with people who hurl abuses at the blink of an eye even at strangers about whom they know nothing. Their noses might be itching 24/7 to find stories in other's life. I am really not interested in such people who cause pain to others, neither do I have the habit of poking in other's lives.... or who are friends with whom. One thing of which I am pretty sure about is that such people cannot remain loyal to anyone in the world. Our minds remain beautifully green when we water it with good thoughts, good deeds and respect for others.

After I post this .... I will call up home and relay what Pampa said. I will try to give some comfort to mom who sobs and says I am cooking but one member is missing, one who used to crave for the morning newspaper to come and always used our mom's glasses for reading leaving his.... haha. I will later share some hilarious stories about him. So far this banana leaf wrapped ilish / hilsa / shad is concerned, mani... our mom does a near similar dish wherein she keeps the raw fish for a day without refrigeration, the next day marinating it with lots of spices except for the tomato paste, wrapped it in pumpkin leaves and seared in pan. I deviated a little from her original recipe and went ahead with this modified one .... Ilisher Peyaz-Tomato Bata Paturi. Come let us do it together and serve it to our loved ones.

INGREDIENTS :
Ilish / Hilsa / Shad : 6-8pieces
Onion Paste : 1/2small cup
Tomato Paste : 1small cup
Garlic Paste : 2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 11/2tbsp [or as per your taste]
Cumin Powder : 1/2tsp
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Mustard Oil : 2-3tbsp

METHOD :
Wash the hilsa pieces and the banana leaves thoroughly. Cut the leaves in sizes good enough to wrap each fish piece.

Take the hilsa pieces in a plate. Add all the ingredients number two to the last.



Rub in all the spices very carefully to the fish pieces. I do it just the way I used to massage oil to my toddler then.



Now we will wrap each one of them with banana leaves and tie with threads or banana leaves strings as we have done. 





Grease frying pan with little oil and place the wrapped fish pieces on pan.



We will now pan sear them at low heat. It may take an hour or some more. We will turnover each one of them from time to time so that each side is done properly. 


We will consider it done only when the banana leaves are almost burnt. Open each one of them and you can smell the nice aroma.



Have it with piping hot steamed rice. Please note... if you saute the spices in oil before marination, time taken is less. Yet I preferred to follow the traditional way. You can also try the recipe with fish fillets.


Thursday, 11 May 2017

BHINDI PEYAZ



"Madhu Malati Daake Aay
Fulo-faguner e Khelay...
Juthi Kamini Koto Katha
Gopone Boley Moloyai
Modhu Malati Dake Aay..."..... Sandhya Mukhopadhyay [Bengali Singer]

Ever since I discovered an ear phone from daddy's room and learnt he was listening to this particular singer a lot, I am wondering which song of her he might be listening the most. This number is one of her best, my favourite and in all probability his too. Would you mind if I do not translate word to word for you? It is definitely a soft romantic using names of various flowers, cool breeze. Rest dive into you-tube for the melodious song or Google for its lyrics.... its worth it if you have interest in varied music.

He was otherwise not so romantic. According to my mother he was the most unromantic person in the world and her daughter echoes the same for her man. Both of my mom's and my man are "halooms".... tiger. So I never get surprised when mine threatens to throw me out of the window a couple of times a day. The only difference in the two households is that the daughter is too much of a romantic unlike the mother who is cool, practical and has unlimited patience. It was in the wake of dawn that daddy went into comatose in his sleep. My very early rising mom checked with him, saw that the whole body is stiff and he excreted on bed. The brother and his wife was not at home just for that night. She did not panic, called neighbours, doctors, ambulance, cleaned him and accompanied him to the nearest best nursing home from where my very responsible brother and his wife took him to the Institute of Neurosciences, Kolkata where he was treated under doctor Venugopal... one of the best in this area in India.

Why I am saying all these?... to assert few things... keeping our cool in grave situations is very important. We also must keep some kind of faith in the system we live within, criticism always does not help. Pointing fingers at the entire fraternity of doctors is not a wise thing to do knowing in what circumstances they work in a country like ours without even proper infrastructure. Doctor Venugopal was so honest to explain us patiently ... you see I get a good amount of fees doing a surgery, try to understand why I am refusing to go for it. He remained so cool even knowing that we requested our loving buddy Dr. Saubhik Sengupta who is associated with another renowned hospital of Kolkata named Medica to get a second opinion either from there or from Cleveland Clinic, Ohio he had worked for earlier. Saubhik echoed the same that no surgery is possible. We knew from day one that we cannot take our dad back home, but we did our utmost so that our mom does not think that we are not doing enough. Like I personally do not believe in feeding elaborately in such a ceremony..... yet we kept everything in the menu he loved... pulao, rice, poori, prawn, fish, chutney and others on both of the final ritual days just for our mother so that she does not misunderstand us. Besides, my wise man said we are not mourning his death but celebrating his life.

What is 'good marriage' or a 'perfect couple'? We should never generalise it. Every person is different, hence their equation too. My parents were not a romantic couple but when my dad got transferred to remote areas of Bengal, mom packed bags full of homemade food each time he visited us. Daddy forgot his own marriage anniversary date but never forgot to get the turmeric powder or mustard oil straight from the mill as my mom wished so. My man do not gift me flowers on my anniversary day but on every tour... when I suffer from extreme nausal condition and turn half dead, he cleans me, the surroundings with so much of care. He left his parents, son, office and rushed to Kolkata to be with us with all kinds of help. So we should not term any relationship as good or bad because the couple knows the best how to work on it. I am not a saint though, me too discuss people even if less but getting wiser with all the varied incidents happening around.

This recipe of bhindi / lady's finger with onion is a super simple, easy and quick one with no use of spices. Daddy had it in the canteen of his office and loved it. I remember he came back home one day and asked mom to prepare it. Maa used to prepare it as he narrated that went well with roti, paratha. Hence, I will not call it a family recipe or really do not know if it is an authentic Bengali recipe or not. Of late daddy was not allowed to have any vegetable with seed for health reasons. Me too prepare it often and love its aroma that we get from the crushed and tempered garlic, dry red chilli and nigella seeds. I remember this dish was part of a combined post of mine last year. I wished to share it again as a separate one with an updated picture and the trick on how to retain the original green colour of the bhindi even after boiling it without any hassle. Let me think of sharing an appropriate Mother's Day dish that both my parent's loved which definitely should have a Comilla connection. Come let us prepare together this healthy vegetarian dish within half an hour.

INGREDIENTS :

Lady's Finger : 250gm
Onion : 1medium[cubed]
Garlic : 1tbsp[minced]

Dry Red Chilli : 2[halved]
Nigella Seeds : 1/4tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As required
Green Chilli : 2[slitted]
Oil : 2tbsp

METHOD :
Wash the lady's fingers. Dry with a soft cotton cloth. Discard the two ends.Rub with salt. Keep aside for 10 minutes. Add a big cup of water and microwave at hight heat for 5 minutes. Once cool discard the water. Rub the bhindis with little salt and turmeric.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with nigella seeds, dry red chillies and the minced garlic. As they turn golden brown and give a nice aroma, add the cubed onions. Fry till golden brown.

Add the lady's fingers. Toss well. Cover and stir every 1 minute. Lower heat to minimum. After 2-3 minutes, add 1/4 small cup water . Stir carefully. Once the water dries up, its done.




Enjoy fresh and hot with any kind of Indian breads. The bhindis lose colour once refrigerated.