Friday, 18 August 2017

COCONUT CURRYPATTA TEMPERED GOBI



There are days when we wish to breakthrough from our regular 'fulkopi aloor dalna' or 'fulkopir rosha' and get a bit experimental. I usually pack vegetarian lunch box for my boys, hence I keep on trying my hands on some mix and matches, else both cooking and eating tends to be a boring affair. This was a day when I thought I will not use aloo / potato with the cauliflower and I had some store bought shredded coconut that required to be used up. Matar / motorshuti / green pea goes very well with cauliflower, so I added some green peas too ..... take a scissor, cut the packet and use.... as simple as that. Had the mother been here she would have definitely said .... 'motorshuti kiney eney chariye tatka khete parish na?.... eeijonyo cheledutor shorire mangsho lagena'..... can't you buy fresh ones and use them in cooking.... the reason why your men do not put on weight. Just because I continue to see the amount of effort she gives for her family, I accept that I am more of a casual homemaker compared to her.... I would not have taken it from her had she been sitting idle all day long and trying to dictate her terms on me .... I have already proved it to someone that I am a far better homemaker.... how much one had tried to prove and project it otherwise. Coming to the mother..... I keep on telling her move ahead towards a smart kitchen mani .... who listens to whom? we both are not in the habit of taking dictates when it concerns managing home. I would really tell her about this quick to make, regular dish of COCONUT CURRYPATTA TEMPERED GOBI.... all of us .... me, my men, Cristine loved this vegetarian sides bursting with flavours of curry leaves. After all the incidents that took place in the recent months and given her age .... I / We want the mother to go slow and relax...... I always talk about my mother .... the only one I have in this world..... but I have never spoken of one lady who gave me the feel of a mother ever since I stepped out of the comfort of my parent's home. She is my senior's eldest maternal uncle's wife ..... our very own 'boromami'..... each one of us should be like her who preaches and practise that there can only be one expression that suits your face 'smile'.... at any given situation. She is the one who gave a damn to any kind of protocol and embraced me with love on my first day in a strange home.... later too while the husband sailed for 6-8 months at a stretch and my prince was not born and till date. Unfortunately we did not stay in the same house and I am not jealous of her only daughter-in-law with whom she shares a wonderful, hearty relationship..... she has not much formal education but is wise enough to know the importance of building strong relationship bonds. When it comes to love and respect .... I hardly maintain protocol and give as I receive in most cases ..... for some it comes naturally though. This old lady called 'boromami'.... my eldest aunt-in-law lives in a township about 25-30 km away from Kolkata.... primitive in attire.... uber cool and modern in her thought process who made me believe formal education is not essential to learn wisdom.... the day she leaves .... her home that happens to be a joint family will turn into dark dome from an illuminated one.

I went for a get together yesterday and savoured an all Bengali scrumptious lunch fair at an elder sister like's  home. I ate too much and is unable to get over the food and adda..... yet I will not go Bengali today to commemorate it. I wish to go beyond region today with ingredients that can be identified beyond boundaries .... the essence has to be desi. A non-vegetarian dish is due for a long time though ..... before Ganesh ji arrives we have too ..... the regular non-vegetarian affair at home continues else my return ticket to Kolkata is confirmed you all know. Jokes apart, this quick and easy vegetarian side dish of shredded coconut, green pea and cauliflower tempered with cumin and mustard seeds, dry red chillies and curry leaves goes very well with paratha topped with some ghee or if paired with some dal / lentil curry and rice. Keep faith on me and try preparing it on an all vegetarian day or keep it as a vegetarian delight besides your non-vegetarian exotics..... both ways you are going to love it. The entire preparation and cooking process takes 40-45 minutes.



INGREDIENTS :
Cauliflower : 1medium
Green Pea : 1/4small cup
Shredded Coconut : 1small cup
Curry Leaves : 8-10
Dry Red Chilli : 2 [halved]
Green Chilli - 2-3 [slitted]
Mustard Seed : 1/4tsp
Cumin Seed : 2-3pinches
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp [optional]
Turmeric Powder : 1/4tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 2-tbsp
Ghee : 1tbsp

METHOD :

Cut the cauliflower into medium florets, wash thoroughly. Rub with some salt. Take a microwave bowl and fill it with water. Add the cauliflower florets. Microwave at high for 5-7 minutes. Let cool and discard the water.

Apply salt, turmeric powder and coriander powder to the par boiled cauliflower florets. Keep aside for 5 minutes.

Heat oil in a wok or pan. Temper with cumin seeds, mustard seeds, curry leaves and dry red chillies and give a stir. Add the shredded coconut and keep stirring till it turns golden brown.

Add the spice mixed cauliflower florets, stir and sprinkle some water. Stir again and cover. Let cook for 2 minutes. Open cover, sprinkle some more water and cover cook for another 2 minutes.

Open cover and add the slitted green chillies and green peas. Fold in well and let cook uncovered further for 2 minutes. Switch off gas.

Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy with handmade breads topped with butter or as an accompaniment with dal and rice.


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

TOMATO POORI N CHUTNEY ALOO



When some of my friends are already saying this is an innovative idea, I decide not to take all the credits and admit that I have seen a couple of Tomato Poori recipes earlier.... perhaps in that largest food group of India last year or so ..... I really do not remember who it was .... there were a couple of such posts I remember but I forgot all about the ingredients ..... The chutney aloo has been done with a mixture of yogurt, garlic paste and a generous amount of fresh coriander leaves .... this perhaps I also have come across or I may not have .... I do not remember .... I prepare fish curries with green coriander chutney paste. I have not Google searched also as I was in such a hurry to prepare the combo meal and feed my hungry men a scrumptious Indian vegetarian meal. They will have a vegetarian meal without any noise if only there are hand made breads. Though a bit of hired idea, I prepared this meal of Tomato Poori and Chutney Aloo following my own recipe. At times forgetting is a boon, we get to know we too can do more than what we think we may. You can call it a forgetful mind's self-defence mechanism too. Enjoying the platter together I was just telling the senior .... you see I have never tried to raise my level of performance... so laid back I am.... I do not want the son to be like me. So when I praise my fellow bloggers or friends or family members on their achievement, I do it from the bottom of my heart. Would anyone believe if I say how scary I find this box called Computer till date .... and there was one mother who tried all kinds of therapy on the daughter to sharpen her grey matter from "Brahmi Shaak to Brahmi Amla Tel.".... hahaha my actions proves it all .... whimsical, stubborn to the core.... that one little girl of six who came down from the dance stage and never went back .... over a silly, trivial issue. Then she grew up on the lap of one Sister Merilyn, felt that touch of love in the arms of one Bengali teacher Iva Dutta Miss.... who told this fat old lady last month... can you arrange a get together with us S .... I wish to see some people.... then someone who said .... you can have a blog of your own .... and then a sister like native of this island .... can you teach me some Indian cooking .... finally the love and support of so many people .... irrespective of caste, creed, religion, nation and beyond that.

Isn't that what was taught to us .... sovereign , democratic, secular, republic nation. I still stick to the belief that whatever violence happens are mere stray incidents, yet that should not happen too. Let me take the example of Kolkata as I was born and brought up there. Every weekend you will see people heading towards China Town for a taste of Indo-Chinese, they will get their Biryani packets only from Arsalan or Aalia or Shiraz, for fairly good cakes and bakes, an average middle class like me still prefers the neighbourhood Kathleen... We die to have Sharma's Lassi .... or Balaram Mullick's roshogolla, doi, sandesh..... wherein lies the problem then? the power monger's aim holding onto power through divide and rule .... letting us commoners stay in harmony do not serve their purpose. Having religious beliefs or practicing it is not a crime, been overpowered by it like an addiction for opium is definitely not getting us anywhere near good .... in all cases. I specially love this island not because it provides us a five star comfort but because it is uber cosmopolitan, people of so many nationalities stay here .... no one is bothered who follows what religion .... people work and sweat hard the whole week and let their hair down in the weekend. Back there, when we are fighting over who are majority and who are minority.... kids die of lack of oxygen in the hospital, men and women of all ages needs to go out in an unearthly hour of the night to defecate with threats of snake bites, wells full of female foetus are discovered..... how come religion top them all? I definitely shall watch Toilet Ek Prem Katha to support the issue. Saffron and Green stand only for peace and thats how it should be. I remember just a few days before my delivery, the doctor doing an ultrasound could not believe me enough to tell the sex of the child.... it is illegal in India though.  I could not convince the doctor that we both were fighting over the name of the girl... he said it should be after his favourite character Sabrina.... while I said nooooooo it has to be Roopkatha... God sensed severe war at home front.... the boy made an early arrival in December while the due date was in first week of January.

There off course is a Janmashtami celebration at home today, just that the date is coinciding with a bigger event called Independence Day of secular India .... I am highlighting that for this year. I do not have any problem with my friends doing otherwise .... some of them are very intelligent and will understand me ..... some of them are quite indulgent about this dull, silly, stubborn me and love the way I am. Even our laddu Gopal's favourite food is sugar and butter, hahaha.... I am extremely busy today as Laddu Gopal is our family deity.... from the husband's side. The mother-in-law said you will not prepare anything salty, our family norm is to offer mishti and pithe - puli..... sweets, desserts, sweet meats? You all know how much time it takes to prepare luchi / poori, halwa, naru, patishapta, malpua, ladoo .... I am going for the common ones only while enjoying both the fusion and traditional  shares of my friends. I have Cristine to help as the men are only interested in the food. I mentioned her as she does it with so much of love and care. Since I have an agenda today and I will stick to that, I wish to share with you this vegetarian platter of Tomato Poori and Chutney Aloo served with a carrot raita. Come let us prepare them together and bring some colour to the plate on an all vegetarian day.



INGREDIENTS : [ for the Tomato Poori]
Ripe Tomato : 2big
Refined Flour : 2 Coffee Mug
Asafoetida : 2pinches
Nigella Seed : 1/4tsp
Salt : 2pinches
Red Chilli Powder : 1/4tsp
Oil : 2tbsp +150gm-200gm to deep fry the pooris individually

INGREDIENTS : [ for the Chutney Aloo]
Medium sized Potato : 6-8
Fresh Coriander Paste : 1small cup
Garlic Paste : 1tsp
Plain Yogurt : 1/2small cup
Turmeric Powder : 1/4tsp[can skip]
Green Chilli : 4-5
Bayleaf : 1
Fenugreek Seed : 1/4tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 3-4 tbsp 

METHOD :
Let us prepare the dough for the tomato poori first. Take refined flour in a wide mouthed bowl, add the asafoetida, nigella seeds, red chilli powder and salt, fold in well. Wash and cut half the tomatoes. Discard the seeds and chop further. Prepare a paste of them in a blender and add to the flour mix. Fold in well and keep kneading for 3-4 minutes without using water. Add the oil and knead further for 4-5 minutes. It is done and we will keep it to rest for 1/2 an hour covered with a moist cotton cloth.



For the very easy, tasty with fresh flavour of coriander chutney aloo, we will wash, cut half the potatoes first. We will par boil them in enough water. It may take 5-6 minutes. Be careful enough not to over boil them. Let cool.

Once cool discard the water and peel the skin of the boiled potatoes. Rub with salt and turmeric. Heat oil in a wok and lightly fry the potato pieces in batches till golden brown. Take them out and let them rest on a tissue paper for sometime.

Temper same oil with some fenugreek seeds, as you get a nice aroma take out all of them or you may keep. Add a bay leaf to the oil.

Add the garlic paste and stir for 1-2 minutes. Beat the plain yogurt and add to the garlic paste. Fold in well. The pre washed coriander leaves with stem and the green chillies are to be made into a paste in the blender. Discard the roots of the coriander.

Now add the potato pieces to the garlic and yogurt paste and fold in well. Add a small cup of water, stir gently and cover cook for 2-3 minutes at low heat.

Add the chilli coriander paste now and fold in well. We will cook the whole thing for another minute uncovered. Once done we will transfer the chutney aloo to a serving bowl.

Remove cover from the tomato poori dough. Tear out small portions and smoothen each one between your palms.

Dust each ball with some flour and roll out on your base with help of your rolling pin.



Simultaneously, we will heat oil in a wok and gently place an uncooked poori.



Sprinkle little oil from the sides atop the poori. We need to be very careful about the temperature, once burnt we cease to get the right colour for the tomato poori.


Once done we will serve the fresh, hot tomato poori with chutney aloo with a carrot and coriander raita alongside. Its that very common raita.... beating the plain yogurt with some black salt, ginger extract, little sugar and adding some grated carrot, chopped green chillies and coriander leaves to it.


Sunday, 13 August 2017

KHEJUR GUREY KHEER POTOL



From "Pabnar Bikhyato Kheer Potol"... that is from Pabna district of Bangladesh to Neha Mathur of Whiskaffair's or NishaMadhulika ji's kitchen...... "Kheer Potol" or "Meetha Parwal" did find a place I can see. So far as I am concerned, I tasted it back in the 90's from a shop in my T's neighbourhood. The already existing famous sweet shops in the locality we both lived in did not sell this particular sweet come dessert. I remember on my way back from his home, I stopped at this shop one day just to buy a few of these.... out of curiosity to try a new thing you can say.... ahh... now I remember the name of the shop... Madhuban .... the men at home do not even peep into my blog, otherwise the senior would have agreed and write a nice comment down below the post and say.... wifey yours meetha parwal / kheer potol / khoya stuffed pointed gourd tastes better than the Madhuban one ..... well have I started day dreaming?.... nothing new in that .... I am so at all times ..... with a kheer potol in my hand I was reading Rujuta Diwekar's post which says she would share with us some home exercises for weight loss and over all well being... I am already in a weight loss programme but so much unable to resist the sweet temptations specially when I prepare them.... I have to because my men love having them,  and the senior does tell his colleagues about my food blog. Yesterday, I had some  caramel custard and ilish-bhaat / hilsa and rice at Debarathi and Sounak's place.... the very sweet couple of Shaukh Creations Photography.Art.Designs. The lady owns a saree boutique in the island... my latest from her is a pink n ash combination  Khadi-Linen saree .... I had to grab it because I saw Vidya Balan doning a similar combination ... ahh what an epitome of grace she is. Coming to this boy Sounak Chaterjee .... he is multi talented.... excellent photographer, painter, designer.... in a word he has got an eye for art in general. This is a Sunday, instead of taking some lessons from him.... I am doing this but I love sharing with you all my food tales. You see I am not so bad .... this guy takes picture of his glammy and beautiful wife and our beautiful Nibedita or others..... not of this fat old lady..... yet I am all praises of him ..... he deserves that..... you know when you work with him and so many in the island indeed work with him. I am more happy with this boy these days because he got my man get up from his couch and walk into the tennis court .... I am waiting to see how long. After a scrumptious lunch at their home, I went to meet a lady ..... to a very health conscious, sincere to the core Noopur Somani with whom I am doing a 12km night run end of this month. We were to collect our race pack yesterday and with her I cannot have anything else but a cup of yogurt ..... I love that though. Running with her is not a matter of joke given how much effort she puts in her work. She is not Kanti Bakshi who will pat my back and say do not worry... take your time. With a very bad record last time and daddy's sudden departure, I was not willing to do a run sooner, then this sister like former colleague Noopur said I wish to do it together with you this time.... I loved the way she approached and complied. I have given immense importance to this thing in life .... treatment.

From 'Kheer Potol' to running... I am a poor story teller indeed .... one who looses track every now and then. Anyways, back there are a series of celebration and festival and at my home too..... so a sweet share was a natural choice. I would say try Kheer Potol or Meetha Parwal at home... it tastes better than the store bought ones. My personal experience say the store bought ones are overly sweet.... at least the ones I tasted from few of the Kolkata sweet shops. I found it to be very convenient and easy recipe as was told by my friend Tanushree.... so I got a rough idea from her about the recipe of kheer potol last year. Earlier she used to read my posts and say these are the mistakes I found, edit them. She is busy now may be stitching a quilt or a dress. Though I peeped into Neha Mathur of whiskaffair.com and Nisha ji of nishamadhulika.com, I did it my own way, using date palm jaggery instead of sugar for the khoya / kheer. I do not have the energy or patience of boiling milk for hours for the khoya kheer neither do I buy khoya blocks from the store. I prepare that same old instant khoya following a You Tube video.... it is soft in texture than the normal khoya that tastes awesome. The pointed gourd is required to be cooked properly in this recipe to get rid of the raw smell and the feel of a vegetable.... the stuffing can be done by your little girls or boys ..... not all of them see Google Map to find the way to the kitchen. At my home the junior visits kitchen to see what is new for him there in the refrigerator and the senior for beer cans.... they both love their girl's cooking. So, here is a make ahead festive sweet for you with khoya and pointed gourd which is done in an hour or little more than that.



INGREDIENTS : [for the instant khoya]
Milk Powder : 1/3medium cup
Milk : 1/2medium cup
Ghee : 4-5 tbsp
Cardamom Powder : 1tsp
Jaggery : 1/2small cup [I used Date Palm Jaggery] [usually sugar is used in this]

INGREDIENTS : [for the finished product]
Pointed Gourd : 6-8
Sugar : 1/3 Coffee Mug
Water : 11/2-2 Coffee Mug
Green Cardamom : 2-3
The jaggery khoya kheer as we get
Chopped Pistachio and almond for garnish... or of your choice

METHOD :
I had some date palm jaggery left in the refrigerator, so preferred using it instead of sugar. Take the mashed jaggery, milk, milk powder and ghee in a bowl and fold in well. Do not worry about the tiny pieces of jaggery if using, they melt once microwaved.



Micro wave at high for 3 minutes, stirring every 1 minute. What we get is this which also tastes great atop a pao or bread... try..


Let it cool, it thickens a bit. We will take about 2 big cups of water in a deep bottommed vessel and bring to boil. Meanwhile we will, peel, half and scoop out the flesh and seeds of the pointed gourds. We will wash them thoroughly.



As the water starts boiling, drop the halved potol / parwal / pointed gourds gently. Let boil for about 7-8 minutes, we need to get rid of the raw smell, it should not feel like a vegetable at all inside the mouth.



Once done, take them out and discard the water.



In a deep bottomed vessel, take 11/2 -2 coffee mug and 1/3 coffee mug water and set to boil.


Boil for 7-8 minutes and add the pointed gourds and green cardamoms.



Let boil for 5-6 minutes further. Switch off gas oven and let the pointed gourds remain soaked in the sugar syrup for 8-10 minutes.



Gently take out the pointed gourds and place in a plate. We can reserve the sugar syrup for other purpose.



We will stuff each potol / parwal / pointed gourd with the instant khoya we already prepared.



We will garnish them with chopped pistachios and almond and enjoy fresh or refrigerate to be had chilled. Enjoy with your family and friends.


Thursday, 10 August 2017

LEMONY NUTMEG BANANA EGGLESS CUPS



I perhaps have mentioned earlier that once I left school, the mother got me a round shaped baking gadget in which we could bake basic cakes and some basic biscuits. I remember besides some easy to make cakes, I  used to prepare some semolina biscuits with nigella seeds.... the famous 'cha er dokan er biskut' of Kolkata .... famous roadside stall biscuits of Kolkata ..... I do not know why I stopped doing them, perhaps after marriage. Then struggling with a little boy all alone for ten long years.... I cooked only that much as was required for the well being of my boy.... Eating out and travelling were what we waited for the father to come and take us to. Life was not so tough either with support from both sides of the family.... they were just a phone call away. I do wish to go back in that life when day and life revolved around my son, if only the senior stayed with us. I / We could not sail as much as compared to other mariner's wives.... for various reasons. My only concern was to take care of my son .... to get him all kinds of happiness so that he does not miss his father. Yesterday.... we were going out to meet a visiting friend and his daughter. They were in a short trip e route Kolkata from HongKong and said we wish to explore the place better we meet outside..... however I insisted them to come over at our place. I was gazing at the son once he was dressed up .... he grew up so fast .... that boy who knew nothing except for the mother's lap. I asked why do you have to wear black and white always?.... the son told his maternal uncle [ the only one he talks to] that his favourite colour is black .... perhaps so the mother too has developed a liking for black and white.... or it may date back further..... Anushree [Rumni] and Gargi if only you are reading this.... do you remember how your parents used to make fun of mani for her madness for black sarees..... and that particular incident at Nalli's, Chennai...... good old memories. My mother perhaps know only of two colours... black and red.... she wears white perhaps because she has to.

That son who grew up so fast and his father both love homemade basic cakes, what to do their girl fears to go beyond her limit. When it comes to baking.... oh I have made / make so many mistakes.... but I love baking small goodies for my men..... I pack them along with their lunch boxes.... the junior has something like short break in their school, while the senior refuses to eat any breakfast .... I do pack his breakfast too though there are severe fights on this issue. You cannot give in either if the waist size remains same for 35 years.... So the miser wife does not do any misery on feeding them ghee, butter or cheese.... I do tell the senior if you have followed the diet plan I made for you in the past years you would not have to lament for not having a girl friend. As usual the answer is get lost. I do not mind, rather get myself engaged in preparing this lemon and nutmeg flavoured banana cup cakes which they liked very much. There was a time when my brother, mom and father loved the cakes I made.... that is the only thing the mother allowed me to do.... at least I could do something for them. For the LEMONY NUTMEG BANANA EGGLESS CUPS we need very less ingredients. Come let us follow the easy steps carefully and prepare these basic cup cakes full of natural flavours together for our loved ones. These cup cakes goes very well as a tea time goodie or to be packed in your kid's snack box.

INGREDIENTS :
Cake Flour : 1 coffee mug [If you use plain flour, amount is same]
Baking Soda : 1/4 tsp [ If you use plain flour, baking soda should be 1/2tsp, baking powder 1/3tsp]
Nutmeg Powder : 1/2-1/3tsp
Lemon Zest / shredded skin : 2tsp
Banana : 1[ripened enough]
Plain Yogurt : 1/2 medium cup
Condensed Milk : 1/2 small cup
Sugar : 1/4 medium cup
Milk : 1/2 small cup
Vinegar : 1tsp
Oil : 1/2 small cup
Butter [melted] : 4-5 tbsp [ if not increase the amount of oil to 1/3 small cup]

METHOD :
Take the flour, baking soda and nutmeg powder and mix well.

In another bowl, take the sugar, oil, butter and beat well for 3-4 minutes. Add condensed milk, milk, vinegar, a mashed banana, plain vinegar and fold in well. Beat for about 3-4 minutes until we see bubbles forming atop and the texture is lighter. Add the mixture to the flour mix. Add the lemon zest too. Fold in just roughly and not to a smooth batter. Our batter for the LEMONY NUTMEG BANANA EGGLESS CUPS is ready.



Pre heat oven to 180*C. Fill some muffin cups with the batter until half or little less than that. Arrange them on a baking tray.



Place the rack inside the microwave and atop it the baking tray with cake cups. Bake at 180* for 15-18 minutes or adjust according to your machine. They should be done. Once cool they look as below.



I am as novice a baker as a child who is learning to speak, so my cakes may not look as perfect as that, but they taste well. Enjoy them as your tea time goodies or pack your kid's school box with these quick to make cup cakes.


Tuesday, 8 August 2017

TIL BADAMBATA ALOO



Sesame seed or Til is quite in use among us Bengalis though not so much in our family except for during the period between Bijoya Dashami to Lokkhi Pujo .... Grandma, maa, aunties preparing 'Tiler Naru'... Sesame Ladoos.... and a greedy little girl trying to steal some at once. I use the word steal because we were not supposed to have before offering them to the Goddess. I am yet not successful with tiler naru... though it is just a two ingredient sweet with roasted sesame seed and jaggery.... the trick is in properly cooking the jaggery mix.... with Janmashtami approaching I am so much willing to prepare them. Then I land in this island and see both varieties of sesame seed is so much in use here. To add more joy to the soul.... so good quality tiler naru is available in the shops here. These are the little things that helps me feel connected. I am not saying this because the island celebrates its National Day tomorrow, its a gut feeling for sure. I should have gone for an authentic dish of this place today, but you know though I have adapted a taste for couple of their dishes, I rarely try them at home. You need to buy a couple of ingredients for that.... and the confused me gets more confused standing in front of the sauce section of NTUC or Cold Storage or Giant .... you will always see me taking a lazy afternoon stroll in these stores after a healthy lunch of Yong Tau Foo or a dumpling soup or a fish soup.  One major reason of identifying myself with this place quickly is that their staple [if I can take the liberty to say that] and ours is rice and fish. This may not be an authentic Bengali dish but I have given a Bengali touch to it.

Coming back to til or sesame seed... it is quite in use at my home these days as an alternative to posto or poppyseed. Wish I / we could convince the higher authorities here that 'postor moto mahargo bostu hoyna, bhalo ghumo hoy'.... poppyseed is good to have and I hear it helps to sleep well.... if it has come out from the mouth of a 'Bangal'.... there is truth in it. That very good quality Tiler Naru is I think a Southern Indian influence in the culture. I do not wish to emphasise such things as that requires a good amount of research..... but there can always be such telephonic conversations with the mom .... 'mani jano South Indian der sangey amader khabarer mil achey.... narkel dudh diye mach bolo ba onno besh kichu... oder pithe-pulir sangey amader mil achey'..... there are similarities between South Indian and Bengali cooking.... their Kozhukattai and our doilla pithe is almost same. Anyway, if I cannot prepare a local dish for the occasion, I will at least use some ingredients that are common here and understandable to a majority. Whether the dish is suitable to symbolise an Indian living happily in the island or not is for the readers to decide. It was 8pm yesterday when I told Cristine... let us prepare a quick fix vegetarian dish... so that in the next morning I need to prepare only the parathas.... So this TIL BADAMBATA ALOO with Paratha went into their lunch boxes today. I need to write more about Cristine soon... last Saturday I went to attend a programme... she prepared a  dessert for us with cornflour, coconut milk, sugar and sweetcorn kernels and calls it Maja Blanca... I really liked it.... I think I have to recreate it using dry fruits for my men..... my chopsticks are naughty enough to consider sweetcorn as an ingredient for salad unless it is used for some corn and cheese fritters. So at 8 pm on a weekday, you or rather a lazy me will not go for any elaborate cooking but for a quick, simple one as this TIL BADAMBATA ALOO. I am not happy with the pictures either but the taste is guaranteed. For that you need to cook together with me TIL BADAMBATA ALOO. If poppyseed is not banned at your place, you can use a bit of it's paste too. A fish curry and rice  dish was so much apt for the occasion but then what about the friends and readers who are keeping fast for the rest of the month or thereafter?

A Happy National Day to all who are celebrating, we stay or not... this island will continue to be one of the safest, cleanliest, disciplined country in the world map.... how will we spend the day tomorrow?... I will cook a jirey-kancha lanka bata diye Ilish beguner jhol - Hilsa with eggplants with a simple spice mix of cumin and green chilli paste.... authentically we use only slitted green chilli and nigella seeds for tempering if the fish is fresh and will not fry the fish too..... the brothersome store helps in the Asian stores say Apa, 'borofer hoileo maccc ta bhalo khaiben'... though frozen, you will enjoy it.... overjoyed at the sight of some gondhoraj lebu and jolpai too, their Apa uses the dialect of her forefathers.... ' jjjalpai diya cccchadni ki bhalo khaitam maa... didur haatey kon bhaijjan.... shidol / hidol shutki / hudki nimu ektun, kobey aaibo janayen'.... their Apa also takes pride in saying publicly that some of her and her senior's closest relatives live under moderate to extreme financial limitations and yet smile at any untimely visitors or guests and say 'ektu macccc bhaat na khaile jaitei dimuna'.... if you have come, you have to have some fish and rice before leaving.... and in the evening we are due to meet some special guests.



INGREDIENTS :
Potato : 6 to 8 medium [ I used Brastagi variety]
Onion : 1 big
Green Chilli : 3-4
Til / Sesame Seed : 1tbsp [roasted]
Cashew nut : 4-5 [raw]
Plain Yogurt : 2tbsp
Fennel Seed : 1/4tsp
Bay Leaf : 1
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 4 tbsp

METHOD :

Wash the potatoes and take in a microwave proof dish, make holes in each one with a fork. Microwave for 3-31/2 minutes.... we do not want them to over boil. Take out and hold under running water to cool if you are in a hurry.

Peel off the skin carefully and cut half. Add salt and turmeric.




Peel and wash the onion, cut into smaller pieces. Dry roast the sesame seeds till golden brown. Take the onion pieces, sesame seed, plain yogurt, green chillies and cashew nuts in a blender.



Blend to a smooth paste, use water if only required.



Heat the oil in a wok and fry the potato pieces till little brown.



Take out and keep aside. Temper same oil with with the bay leaf and fennel seeds. Add the paste, little salt and turmeric. Stir for not more than a minute, now add the fried potatoes and fold in well.



Add a medium cup of water and fold in well again.


We will cover cook for 3-4 minutes.


Open cover and see.... it should be done.


Ingredients like sesame seed or poppyseed pastes have a tendency to soak the gravy.... do not worry, it enhances the taste of the potatoes. Transfer the entire thing in a serving bowl and enjoy with either fried rice or paratha, poori, chapati or even bread.


Sunday, 6 August 2017

KOLKATAR LAAL MISHTI DOI




If 'Amrito' is far from me, I will bring it to my home.'Amrito' is a sweet shop in Northern Kolkata which is famous for its 'Laal Doi'.... sweetened red colour yogurt because of the use of jaggery and perhaps a bit of caramelised sugar in it. Having Amritor Laal Doi in a 100gm "bhar".... earthen pot is a ritual for me since childhood... and to be continued.... have you seen such a shameless diabetic.... you have not.... I am not even a good girl as my mother who eats 'neem pata bhaja without adding eggplant in it .... that is crispy fried young neem leaves with ghee.... I flatly denied to have and said.... spare me that... I am ok with bitter gourd, my men says no to that too.Those days are still not 'gone' when a Bengali's end of the meal dessert was inevitably  mishti doi and roshogolla or pantua. As we all know yogurt is considered very auspicious among us and is a must in any ritual or prayer meets. Nonetheless to mention, during our examinations, the mother would put a big 'doi er phota'.... a dot with yogurt on the forehead, on the mathematics examination day that dot was bigger on the daughter's forehead..... oh maa... how I regret not been able to fulfil your wishes. Coming to yogurt, both sides of my family love yogurt, specially my late daddy loved it too much .... it had to be served with roshogolla to him. As of my brother, these days he is not much into sweets and desserts, but he definitely loves his share of mishti doi. His didibhai, this fat, old lady sends him 'Rakhi'... every year....... a sacred thread to be tied around the wrist of brothers only? .... I do not believe in that.... sisters too should do that to each other, and friends too .... 30-35 years back, we did exactly that within the four walls of a classroom .... we used to exchange rakhi among us on the auspicious day of Rakhi Poornima. When I declared to my mother first that I have chosen T as my life partner, her shock was not that I chose it without letting them to decide for me but that... "mamoni... he is your Rakhi brother"..... I said no mani.... he is a dear friend.... not every person I meet is my brother or sister.... That is off course my belief.... once I came out of my mother's lap.

Sharing our very own, much loved 'laal mishti doi' was a natural choice today. I just wish to say try our 'laal mishti doi' and you got to get a wonderful chilled dessert option for life. On my last month's visit to Kolkata, I noticed most of the sweet shops are selling 'shada mishti doi' and not that much of 'laal mishti doi' alongside. To blog on sweetened red coloured yogurt became an urge. My senior loved it and gave me a thumbs up. The junior will not eat a tea spoon of yogurt, he does not have a sibling either..... on such particular occasions I feel that guilt of leaving him alone in this vast world.... so I compensate getting him his favourite Mac Meal or a Sushi Platter or a Pizza.... there is absolute harmony at my home.... just that they eat their beef outside, I eat my pork outside.... because I am fairly prejudiced and value the sentiments of my mother and my not so much of a friend maa-in-law. I have not sent a rakhi to my brother this year because we or to be precise he is not entitled to any celebration for a year, as if doing so makes him or us loving his father any less... my atheist men do not leave a single chance to take on me... you see darling / momci.... all the trouble in the world is because of religion.... look at us we do not react even when you guys shower us with not so acceptable adjectives. I really do not have anything to say.... he never has tried to impose his beliefs on me. Anyway, I hope you will love to prepare this no hassle, no pain, three ingredient chilled dessert... 'Kolkatar Laal Mishti Doi'..... sweetened red colour yogurt..... with milk, jaggery, plain yogurt.... I have used little caramelised sugar too. You definitely have to bear the setting time too.... that is somewhat between 8-10 hours... for me it takes that much. If you are in a hurry.... there is a baked option too which I have mentioned at the end of the post. Come let us enjoy preparing this Bengali chilled dessert together for our loved ones.

This was my 4th attempt at perfecting it and finally I could... I am immensely happy and satisfied. Wish you all who are celebrating this day a very HAPPY RAKSHA BANDHAN / SUBHA RAKHI POORNIMA...



INGREDIENTS :
Full Cream Milk : 1litre
Jaggery : 1/3medium cup [I used date palm jaggery]
Plain Yogurt : 1/2small cup [beaten well]
Sugar : 2tsp [to caramelise]

METHOD :

We will boil the milk first. Take the milk in a heavy bottomed vessel. Place it atop gas oven and switch on gas. Bring the milk to boil and keep boiling till it reduces to almost half and little creamy colour. We should not let the milk to burn below and stir often.

Meanwhile, we will break and mash the jaggery as much as is possible with our right palm. As the milk reaches to desired consistency, we will switch off gas. Add the jaggery and stir constantly so that both the jaggery and the milk get to mix well.

Take the sugar and 1/4 small cup water in a metal bowl and place atop gas. Switch on gas and stir constantly till the mixture turns dark brown. Pour it atop the milk and jaggery mixture and give a gentle stir.

Pour the entire mixture to a glass / earthen bowl, add the beaten yogurt and give a gentle stir. We must remember that at this stage the milk mixture has to be lukewarm.

Cover the bowl with a lid, place a big vessel upside down on it to cover it entirely. Wrap a thick towel around it. It will take 8-10 hours for the yogurt to set properly. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.

If you are in a hurry for this mouthwatering Bengali dessert, there is a QUICK, BAKED version, which is not authentic but the taste remains same. You will take some water in a bake proof tray. Place the milk mixture pot in the middle of it. Cover with aluminium foil. Preheat oven for 5 minutes at 180*C. Place the tray with pot inside the oven. Bake at 180*C for 25-30 minutes or adjust according to your oven settings. Once done take out, let cool and refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.




Thursday, 3 August 2017

SHOJNE PATAR BORA O BEULIR DAL


Before we indulge into some good, festive food for Rakhi Poornima / Raksha Bandhan and rest of the occasions to be had this month and next, let us have some comfort food. Do not expect much healthy fairs in this blog. This is one food blogger who jumped into blogging without doing any homework, hence will dare not try to write about the history of a dish or a detail of its nutritional value. The lazy me denies to read and learn because she is more interested in novels laced with melodrama..... what to do I grew up on 'Sarat Rachanabali'. Though the old me now believe the Indian women need not be that epitome of perfection at all given situations, I cannot deny the fact that I always marvelled his kind of writing, his description of 'Gram Bangla' is deep rooted within me. I read all of his volumes while at school, perhaps that was an influence enough to make me a silly, billy goat as this who feeds you made up stories from the past with a good amount of dramatisation. Eight years into this island, I am still that typical Bengali girl who told her senior 'T.... ami kanta chamoch dhortey janina'... when he took her for a dinner date for the first time at Trinca's, Park Street in the early 90's, 1992 to be precise. We lived in Kolkata but at our home there was no ritual of fine dining at restaurants. Eating out for us meant eating falooda-kulfi at Rally's or Indra Mahal and Roshogolla-Pantua from a decent sweet shop... the mother got us cutlets and fries though. The mother who always said 'tor baba amai to bairey khaoaini' was crying profusely day before yesterday.... your father could have lived a little more.... 'aar kota din thakte parto'. So, it is not always a blame game, the same father had subscription of end number of books, three to four bi-monthly magazines adorned the balcony of our two-roomed rented home, the brother got a computer set as early at a time when very few middle-class family thought of owning one. So, this Kolkata girl did not know that Park Street had so many restaurants and people can spend so much on eating out until my senior took me there. At their home, they did dine out once a month at least. The maa-in-law had beer with family but was not generous enough to accept that a daughter-in-law should be taken into consideration in any decision making process, that it may hurt the girl if you talk negative of her family, and that it is absolutely unnecessary for the daughter-in-law to ask each and everyday what amount of rice should be cooked just to prove and accept that the mother-in-law has the supreme command in the household. No this is not an attempt to assault my not so much of a friend maa-in-law.... I do not spare my mother too if she behaves otherwise. There must be a reason why the brother's wife loves me much... she said her colleagues and friends were impressed when they met me at our father's Shradh Ceremony.... they say I am quiet, reserved, calm ..... and the T da had to deny it quickly and say .... only I know what kind of a volcano I live with...... So he will get only shojne patar bora and dal and no mutton curry..... haha..... or may be there will be some.

The primitive girl of the 80's-90's remains so till date.... Eight years into the island and she cannot use chopsticks neither knife and fork properly.... 'konta kon haathey je dhorbo chai bhule jai'.... I forget which one to hold in which hand... hihi.... Someone took a very wise decision of not walking along with such a primitive, that again is a bad joke based on an imaginative story. Anyway, I feel one should not come in the way of someone with an aspiring dream of going high up in the social and economic ladder, you definitely should not if you care. Coming to the point, in the first week after I stepped into the island... I went to the super market and saw something similar to 'murir moya'.... puffed rice balls kind of.... I could not hide my excitement and called the mother.... Mani... 'era murir moya khai..... shutki mach o khai'..... The mother visited in 2013, went back happy and told her mother, brothers and sisters, neighbours.... 'ranga aloo, shorshe shaak shobi paoa jai janish, shomudrer kekle, mourolao..... mamoni ke bolechi kekle mach diye mulo ghonto ta korish'.... in a word.... she was content and happy to know her daughter will not die of hunger and can do our kind of cooking in a foreign land that feels so much of home, each morning you get to see the 'Ranganer Jhar or Tagar Phooler Gach' as you walk along the road just the ones the mother grows, saree clad women every 200 mt. I love to see my friends cooking pies and pastries and so much appreciate it, but the purpose of this blog is to share what I grew up eating. Shojne Phooler Bora / pakora with drumstick flowers was more popular at our home with the onset of spring but this also is a much loved one.... especially my men love it... either with dal and rice or as a snack or an appetiser . You can trust my dishes full fledged, but do not believe in my stories.... they hardly have any truth in them.... all for fun. By the way, a small note or wish to some people concerned.... I do respect a struggling mother and to every child... a mother is a Goddess and thats the way it should be. I accept and respect that part... but please do not force unto me any kind of unwanted match-match... I am simply not interested. Friends who are taking part in such non-sensical game is only distancing me from them.... I know I am not a material to be kept, but you must respect people's wishes too.... as I said not all in a classroom needs to be taken along and treasured in memories.... Most important is.... I am yet to understand this game.... I am a very free willed person who refuses to think deep. To the rest of my readers who has faith on my recipes.... come let us enjoy cooking together Bengali style Urad Dal and Drumstick leaves pakora / fritters / bora.




We will prepare the Urad Dal / Beulir Dal first. Let us start with it.




BEULIR DAL / URAD DAL

INGREDIENTS :
Urad Dal : 1medium cup
Dry Red Chilli : 2 halved
Green Chilli : 2-3 slitted
Fennel Powder : 1tsp [preferably paste]
Ginger Paste : 2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Cumin Seed : 1/4tsp
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1tsp
Oil : 2tbsp [Authentically Mustard]

METHOD :

Place a wok on gas oven top and add the beulir dal. Stir till they turn little brown. Transfer to a bowl and wash thoroughly under running water.

Take the washed dal in a pressure cooker, add 2 big cups of water, little turmeric and salt. Close lid and pressure cook up to 2 whistles. Let cool.

Heat oil in a wok and temper with cumin seeds and halved dry red chillies. Add the ginger paste and stir for a minute. Add fennel powder and rest of the turmeric powder and salt. Fold in well and stir for a minute.

Open lid of the pressure cooker and add the boiled dal to the wok. Fold in well and add two big cups of water. Stir and cover cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the slitted green chillies and sugar. Let boil for another 2 minutes and it is done.



SHOJNE PATAR BORA :

INGREDIENTS :
Drumstick Leaves : 300-400gm
Onion : 1sliced [my addition]
Rice Flour : 1/2 medium cup
Gram Flour : 1/2small cup
Refined Flour : 1/4small cup
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1/3tsp
Oil : 100-150ml to deep fry

METHOD :

Tear and wash the tender, young leaves of drumstick . Prepare a batter with the rice flour, gram flour, refined flour, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt and sugar adding water little by little.

Add the washed drumstick leaves and sliced onions to the batter and fold in well. Make sure to drain all the water from the leaves.

Heat oil in a wok. Take out small portions of the mix and add gently to the oil. We will fry the shojne patar bora in batches while adjusting the heat from medium to low. Once done we will place them on tissue papers to get rid of any excess oil.

Serve the pakoras / shojne patar bora and beulir / urad dal with piping hot steamed rice.