Thursday, 16 November 2017

INSTANT POPS



This blog never had been kids friendly.... far from been a health blog either. That does not mean I do not or cannot do something for them given that I love them too much .... just that I always lack the patience to handle them ..... these wonder pieces of joy can really get mischievous and make you get wild, grey, bald whatever. On a positive note, in the process .... they help you slim down... haha... I remember when I wished to have a second child.... my friend Kana said S nine months is nothing but you know that you have to start from ABCD again... sit hours at one place for feeding the kid.... then there was this senior at home.... S I cannot take two years of leave from the ship again and then he takes out that horrendous piece of paper from the pocket and shows me some graphs which I never was interested in and there came out an inevitable shrill note... "rakho tomar chota".... haha chota is cheat paper in Bengali.... Now my readers know very well S gives big talks in public but she never ever had been a brave girl.... the nightmarish dreams of staying awake at night with an "in a play mood" child gave her shock waves ..... you are not silly as this fat old lady.... you are physically fit and still young and you will go for a second chance... prince or a princess is not your choice and you need not be bothered.... your family hopefully do not have "tarini jethu".... "ramakanta jomider" or "khenti pishi" who never had / have any idea of the functioning of the x and y chromosomes. The man of this house who brought up his child with a trained nurse's efficiency till he was 11/2 years old, going penniless in the process sitting at home for two long years is on a child's diet at the moment. He has developed an infection on the edge of his tongue. Come on he is a very nice human being.... the wife cannot even say... the more you scold your wife, more of such things will happen in your life. So the wife is cooking semi liquid stuffs for his lunch box while the son is taking either sandwiches or noodles... he does not like messy things to be carried to the school. See the scenario at the kitchen this morning....




Semi liquid upma... "maar bhaat"... kind of rice porridge with egg and potato is been cooked.... while Cristine cooked some noodles for the son. In between there was this INSTANT POPS as fillers. I feel really bad to prepare poori / paratha when the senior cannot have it.... they can wait..... Be sure readers.... yet he will not take the wife to a jewelry showroom and say choose.... you know the old demon is unromantic enough to say.... gold is bad investment. With 20 years under one roof, I can only say... boss you got spared marrying me... had it been other "wo...".... before I can finish.... prompt comes the answer... there is no one on earth who can conquer me.... The wife at this home has an open offer.... anyone please who can prove him wrong?.... I have got some ilish, puti, mutton yesterday to treat you guys and also to kiss you with some INSTANT POPS... Every Wednesday I go for music lessons in the heart of the Indian market.... how much to learn or whether to buy desi food stuffs is a question..... though both are a favourite.

So when the father of this house had to sail leaving his 11/2 year old baby, hell broke on his "dhyarosh"wife.... however favourite ladysfinger is for the Bengalis, it also refers to someone worthless. The wife did not even know how to feed the kid.... but since she loved her freedom and self respect.... she did not like asking the supreme power in a household .... what amount of rice is to be taken everyday just to prove I am a subordinate who needs to take permission for every move neither did I love to listen every now and then that my mother has not taught me anything.... So I had to prove my self worth sitting alone with a toddler in a 500 sq.ft. flat .... from feeding him, taking him to preschool all the way literally carrying him on my lap till we settled on "biplak kakur auto".... to carrying 5+5=10kg rice bags on my two strong hands. I was stubborn and wise enough to know that if I love my freedom, I must be able to do my work alone and do not bother the family for every other thing. I always had family support though. Eventually, I also had to prove I am a good homemaker.... though not great like "my mother." When life was this, husband sailing continuously to get ends meet.... wife struggling alone with a difficult child, we could not think of having a second issue but one should... what say?... you can always! For the aspiring and already parents... life is difficult but worth living and if you are a foodie like me... it is always worth to taste a variety of dishes, as much as possible and try them at home for your little munchkins .... it makes very much sense because maintaining hygiene and quality is a must when it comes to the kids. With so many posts on kids yesterday, the idea of preparing something for them and blog on it at earliest was what I wished. Innovations do not come naturally to me though the mother fed all kinds of brain boosting food since childhood.... Yesterday afternoon the idea of this sweet snack INSTANT POPS came in flashes... it took few minutes to assemble the idea and I did not spend much time to prepare them. We will need very few ingredients like dry roasted bread crumbs, little sugar and / or jaggery, mixed nuts / dry fruits like pistachio, cashew nut, almond, raisin, ghee and cardamom powder to prepare these kids to teen friendly INSTANT POPS.... nonetheless to say... we parents will also enjoy having them. My men are under weight... so I try to feed them dry fruits and nuts in various ways... in snacks, sweets, desserts, pulao ...... you can too.



INGREDIENTS :
Bread Crumb : 11/2medium cup
Sugar : 1tbsp
Jaggery Powder : 21/2tbsp
Green Cardamom Powder : 1/2tsp
Pistachio : 8-10
Almond : 11/2tsp
Cashew nuts : 12-14
Raisin : 14-15
Ghee : 1tbsp + 3tbsp
Toothpick : 1each for an Instant Pop

The amount yields about nine Instant Pops.

METHOD :

Heat a frying pan on stove. Add the bread crumbs to it and roast well.



Let cool and transfer to a grinder.... which definitely you do not use to grind spices.... coffee grinder makes sense.



The the pistachios, cashew nuts, almonds in a bowl and microwave at low power for 11/2 minute stirring in between.



Add the mixed nuts, 1tbsp ghee, sugar, jaggery powder, green cardamom powder too to the grinder.



Grind to a powder which may take 2-3 minutes, pause in between. Transfer to a plate, add the raisins and 1tbsp ghee at a time. We are using the ghee for binding the pops and to add flavour.



Prepare tennis ball size roundels.



Gently insert a tooth pick into each one of the Instant Pops.



Refrigerate for 1/2 an hour before serving or let the kids help themselves whenever they wish to.


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

FRESH HERBS ALOO PAKORA



Its raining .... raining..... raining again since last night and we are quite used to enjoying monsoon at this time of the year for a couple of years now. I simply love watching the downpour early morning and can spend hours doing so..... there comes our Cristine's inevitable call .... ma'am its 7:15am already.... when will you prepare their lunch box?.... All possibilities of a "wedding with monsoon" within had to be kept aside and I had to say good bye to the favourite corner of my couch .... I have to because the old demon senior always looks for a reason not to carry a lunch box to the office.... he does because I insist. This island has no dearth of food outlets offering the healthiest choice of food at a cleanliest ambience at reasonable rate where the government decides what amount of salt is to be used in a dish. Though my senior is a demon, packing his lunch box is perhaps from the feeling that ok I too have some contribution at home. There is off course some kind of guilt inside that I have a grown up teen at home, no elderly people to look after, I do not earn a penny.... yet there is a full time help always at service.... who supplies cups of coffee when we savour some FRESH HERBS ALOO PAKORA on a rain drenched evening. Then you see there is a reason for such indulgence.... I could never train my men well and household work seems to be nightmarish to them.... the question is can they be trained? that it is impossible to train them and the source of been so.... will be agreed upon by my father-in-law too... not in public though... haha.... There are three people in this family who if they say.... Sun rises in the west and sets in the north-east... no one on earth can correct it. I always have an open offer for all.... if anyone can train the trio... I give a considerable amount to them from my savings. Come on lah... I am never a victim.... they are nice people who do not set rules for you either. The senior deserves a roast chicken and pulao in the lunch box prepared early morning... you know why readers? Few winters back when I came down from the confession box uttering the truth.... and nothing but truth... he offered me a glass of port wine instead of breaking the cut glass on my head saying.... "Pushpa yeh tumney kya bola... dur ho jao meri nazroon se." If you are inquisitive enough to know what I said, I cannot comply.... few things in life are so personal .... neither am I a Bollywood queen that my life story will sell like hot cake. What best I can do for you is treating you with some crisp, hot fries / fritters / pakora as good as this FRESH HERBS ALOO PAKORA done with the most common Indian herbs and the universal aloo / potato.

Hi S, you boast of your island so much.... yet you hardly share a local dish on your blog. To that I would say its not a child's play given I am so lethargic / allergic to research and miser enough to buy seven sauces and ten herbs for a dish .... better we enjoy that outside because there are right people for doing it rather than me. I have a plan to share the Bengali style noodles that our mothers used to do in the early 80's if only my oriental friends guarantee that they will not shoot me at point blank range at the sight of it. I may not ever blog on "mushroom diye dal".... if anyone does it I do not have a problem either. I do have a wonderful recipe of a winter special heirloom Bengali dal recipe to be shared soon. For majority, pakora / fry / fritter is welcome at any season unless you are an extreme case of health freakiness. In that case I am not so much of your friend, I have stopped talking to Ipsita ever since she said S whenever you have cravings for carbs.... eat corns... Gosh! I mean I failed to even react! .... I am that shameless diabetic who eats salad adding some ripe mango pieces to it .... Ipsita survives on salads and soups, knows about 50 kinds of it and sends me every week... giving me tremendous complex wearing body hugging clothes at the same time. Girls .... if you are so keen on wearing some happening dresses.... do some bench press, leg curls, push ups or whatever. Let me work peacefully on perfecting these FRESH HERBS PAKORA and treat you  and family with some along with my favourite cup of coffee. Once I please my tummy, I can go out looking for some dresses with a guarantee of 80% coverage of all the extras on my arms, tummy.... Of late I realised all solutions lies in going for a surgery of my tongue. If you are ready with your "hata-khunti"..... we can proceed with FRESH HERBS ALOO PAKORA done with fresh Indian herbs like mint-coriander-curry leaves, potatoes and few spices.




INGREDIENTS :
Coriander Leaves : 11/2coffee mug [roughly chopped]
Mint Leaves : 1medium Cup [roughly chopped]
Curry Leaves : 1small cup
Potato : 1big
Green Chillies : 2-3chopped
Rice flour : 4tbsp
Gram flour : 21/2tbsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1/2tsp
Asafoetida : A pinch
Nigella Seeds : 1tsp
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp
Sugar : 1tsp [optional]
Salt : As Required
Oil : 50ml [strain and store the extra for later use]

The entire amount fetched 12 fresh herbs aloo pakora.

METHOD :

Take all tree chopped herbs in a strainer and wash throughly. Wait till all the water drains away.

Wash the potato, prick all over. Take on a plate and microwave at high for 21/2 to 3 minutes. Let cool.

Transfer the chopped herbs and green chillies to a big bowl. Peel the boiled potato and add to the fresh herbs.




Mix the content well.




Add the lemon juice, turmeric and chilli powders, asafoetida, salt, sugar and nigella seeds to the herbs and potato mixture.



Fold in the entire content very well.



Prepare tennis size balls taking out small portions and then flatten with your palm. Refrigerate for 1/2 an hour.



Take out the tray from the refrigerator. Heat oil in a wok and fry the fresh herbs aloo pakoras in batches constantly switching between medium to low heat.



Once done, transfer the pakoras on to tissue papers to get rid of any excess oil.



Serve the crisp, hot FRESH HERBS ALOO PAKORA on a tray with chilli tomato sauce, spiced yogurt and off course to have some steaming hot coffee with it.


Sunday, 12 November 2017

MANGSHER KHICHURI




It was last Friday that we had this for dinner .... the season here is such that it is licensed to rain though each day can be a rainy day here in the island..... there is heavy down pour since morning.... here is the proof....



All my photographs are taken with my smart phone which does not show any proof of date, but I have a couple of blogger friends from this island ..... far far more known in the food world than me by their own right.... they will agree with me that it is raining right now and is the right time to share a bowlful of MANGSHER KHICHURI ..... khichdi or rice and  dal hotchpotch done with mutton this time. I was wondering why we guys have not met over some coffee or tea a single day ..... Then I know myself well .... I am never so friendly, communicative creature in the vast, unknown social media world and definitely lack the brain to promote myself..... Hence, I just share what I cook and then take refuge to my own world ... capturing those pearl drops and do some "goongoon"..... humming "lagi lagan pati sakhi sang." To all newbies in the food world.... newer than me ..... I am never a good example to follow in any matter.... one who fails to promote herself.... should not be expected to be helpful for others much.... though willing to genuinely. I cannot multi task but at this moment I am writing my food post and at the same time cannot take my eyes off from the television set. I am watching CNN.... S when did you start lying?... trust me I am not..... CNN is featuring an Old Delhi food walk.... and I simply cannot take my eyes off from the paranthe wale gali and the end number of chaats they have to offer. My taste buds have become such that I can have chaats all day through.... Smog or whatever.... at the moment I feel like taking the earliest flight there and savour some goodies, explore same old places of history again with  the same excitement as of a first timer, Delhi Haat is a must for home decors and a humble visit to Sarojini Nagar goes without saying... I do carry "Coach" bags but those are the senior's gifts .... The other day I got a ten dollars shoes on discount for which the senior threatened of filing a divorce.... the one whose torn "kurti" got me fall for him many summers back. Come on this hypocrite is not trying to prove anything, while booking for tours.... she has to have the best facilities in a resort or hotel. I wonder what are we?.... what we have turned to actually?.... my very this man was heavily in to a particular political belief, worked sincerely for it alternatively wearing 2-3 shirts that his father could afford. As I always say.... romance never got us together .... but some qualities of him made the parasitical, cunning fox like me believe I can have a peaceful life with him.... You see it is quite normal that such a khichdi home with a confused ideology will have MANGSHER KHICURI more often on their dining table. Moreover my meat-o-phobic little brother is responding to all my shares he does not like... sweets... prawns... he deserves mutton today though I always tell him social media is not the place to show personal relationships too often..... however we are humans and fail to be politically right always.

The eight years of stay in this island have made me a bit liberated when it comes to food..... within my limits though.... but you remember my friend Paromita Ghosal?... the excellent cook and teacher will find it very upsetting when I am caught having a dumpling soup or bak chor mee or my favourite yong tau fong.... I have to comfort her saying that last Wednesday I waited two hours in one particular Asian store which is the only to sell "tatka tyangra"... that too only on Wednesdays between 3-5pm.... She has trained her daughter well who eats full Bengali meals. What is the scene at my home?.... the son did not touch tyangra... he wants baked Salmon. He is into Bengali food only when it is chicken and mutton curry or chingrir malaikari. I feel awkward when I see my men ordering beef steak... instructing the waiter on whether it has to have less or more blood.... I am that much liberated to accept it and think that other people also feel bad when I cook shutki / hudkir bharta that is fermented fish in my kitchen. May I share a secret?... my not so Bengali men loves shutkir bharta .... haha... you see there has to have a thin thread of attachment to your roots..... and if you are like me you will cook khichdi dishes like shorshe salmon or tandoori mosholai grilled bhetki.... but this MANGSHER KHICHURI of mine is done in the most authentic Bengali way.... doing so I have not followed anyone.... rather would say I did it my way with Bengali spices. I need to finish my post quickly and message Paromita about the tatka tyangra. Mangsher Khichuri is not so common at Bengali homes as is the vegetarian version that we strictly do with cauliflower, potato and green peas or the "bhoger bhuna khichuri" using ghee, kaju, kishmish. I remember once I shared a picture of vegetarian khichuri recipe with carrots and my friend from college Andy.... Aindrila Dutta commented "gajor deoa khichuri" khabona... haha... and she lives in Illinois since 1991! Saying so I am not taking a dig at anyone.... my northern Indian friends can say how come you add so much of sugar on a peas pulao?... just as my southern Indian friends may scream .... S you are adding fruit salt to a khichdi mixture, calling it instant idli and burst into tears... hihi.... the friends from west may vehemently protest when I add all available spices to the fish or chicken fillets and bake them.... you see the island still allows me here even when I cook the very healthy tofu or mushrooms with "jirey ada lonka bata" ..... so spare me of your sticks.... its all for the sake of the food-o-phobics at home. I should stop doing all the silly talks now and share my recipe of MANGSHER KHICHURI ..... a rice, dal and mutton hotchpotch wherein I cooked the mutton and rice-dal separately, mixed together later and simmered for sometime and finished adding a tempering. I was too lazy to take the stepwise pictures. The papad and chutney are missing in the picture because I was running out of them..... you are not bad as me and would have them. I compensated with an "aloo fulkopir dalna" and "raita."



INGREDIENTS :
Rice : 1medium cup of Fragrant Basmati or Gobindobhog [I used kalijeera]
Moong Dal : 1/3 medium cup split green gram
Mutton : 500gm medium to small cut
Onion : 2 [peeled, washed, sliced]
Tomato : 1medium [washed and chopped]
Green Chilli : 4slitted
Lemon Juice : 1/4small cup
Bayleaf : 1+1
Dry Red Chilli : 2-3halved
Cumin Seed : 1/4tsp
Cumin Powder : 1/2+1/2tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 11/2tsp [or as you require]
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp + 1tsp + 1/2tsp
Ginger Paste : 1tsp + 11/2tsp
Garlic Paste : 2tsp
Sugar : 2tsp [optional]
Salt : As Required
Ghee : 3-4tbsp
Oil : 4tbsp +2tbsp [authentically mustard]

METHOD :
Wash the mutton and marinate with cumin powder, half of red chilli powder, coriander powder, little turmeric and salt, lemon juice. Mix well and refrigerate in an airtight container at least for 4-5 hours. Take out an hour before cooking.

Heat 4tbsp oil in a wok and temper with a bayleaf. Add the sliced onion and fry till crisp and brown. Take out some to garnish the mangsher khichuri later.

Add 1tsp ginger paste and the garlic paste and stir for 2 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and let it melt. Add the 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1tsp chilli powder, salt and stir for a minute. Add the marinated mutton pieces along with the marinade. Fold in well and cover.

We will cook the mutton at low heat till all the water dries up and the mutton is tender. Add the cinnamon and cardamom powder and mix well. Cook for 2-3 minutes more and switch off gas.

Dry roast the moong dal and wash 2-3 times. Soak in hot water for 2 hours. Pour in a deep, heavy  bottomed vessel and add some more water. Put on gas for boil and cover. Wash and soak the rice in enough water at normal temparature.

Once it is about half boiled which may take about 20-25 minutes, add the washed rice and some more water. Keep adding water, little at a time if required.

Add 1tsp turmeric powder and salt, stir. Once the rice and dal mixture is 80% done, add the cooked mutton with all its juices, sugar if using and the slitted green chillies.

Fold in well and simmer for sometime. At no point we will allow the khichdi mixture to burn or get too dry, so the entire cooking is to be done at low heat and to be stirred often. Once done switch off.

Heat 2tbsp oil in a pan and temper with cumin seeds, halved dry red chillies and a bayleaf. Add the ginger paste, salt, 1/2tsp cumin and turmeric powder. Stir for 2 minutes and add to the mangsher khichuri.

Transfer to a serving bowl and add the ghee, garnish with crispy fried onion slices. Serve hot with a veggie sides, chutney, raita, papad.





Thursday, 9 November 2017

FRESH FRUIT & CORNFLOUR HALWA WITH MIXED NUTS



Some mornings are little more pleasant than usual just as what I am feeling right now ..... why? I had a good sleep which of late has become an unusual affair for me ..... I had always been an early morning person which is a norm in my side of the family.... only after marriage I came to know people can sleep till 12pm also.... even they too laughed at me saying after 9pm... S switches off from the worldly being.... and the husband continues saying so to his friends. The school I worked in after marriage had a morning session for the senior section.... and the neighbourhood saw this almost newly wed walking towards the bus stop around 5:30 am in the morning.... that was no big deal for me... crossing the Dakshineshwar temple... Belur Math each morning was a pleasure.... what quite pricks me these days is .... once I taught high school students .... now I feel I cannot even guide a primary kid.... do I regret? .... not really.... there were two little hands hugging me tight .... "amar mumma chai".... the mother could not even go to the toilet when required.... only when the littler slept she could .... the helps I had were more interested in befriending strangers than looking after my son.... so I had to say goodbye to them... The man of the house is far from been chauvinist... he just said ... I will be sailing most of the time... if you too stay away from home all day long.... sensing the genuine worry in him... I thought I was not a professional, my report cards do not say that the world will be at loss if I stay at home.... so I happily complied and happy till date. Then why do I wake up as early as 4:30am or at 5am when 6-6:30 am is fair enough to prepare two lunch boxes? I think and realise that the littler has grown big .... so big that hugging mumma  seems a child like affair to him.... he has gone after his father and screams if I share a photograph of him in public... At this point I sincerely wish if they could behave a bit like others. So far my expectations are concerned .... one of my man's dearest pal, the old demon with a young wife ..... Dibyendu Banerjee told my husband long before .... do not you notice her abnormal attachment with the son? this is going to be a big trouble if you do not have one more, there has to be diversion of attention a bit.... Emotional Attachments kill you unless you are wise enough to make a fair distribution of it. I do have some confidants in this matter.... the first one is my mother whose son does not go to office without kissing her, my friend Kana Dasgupta.... a teacher now .... eight years back when I was leaving Kolkata.... she was weeping hard and said S how will I?.... our sons studied together since nursery.... two best friends now hardly talk when they meet... still friends though.... When it comes to sincerity, few people can match Kana.... once I had some work and could not go to the other side of the road to receive our son.... Kana's son.... my Mimo had a head injury.... he was bleeding.... courtesy Kolkata roads.... She made her bleeding son stand with our security.... got my toddler at my doorstep and then went to the hospital. Among her other qualities.... well she is a certified Rabindra Sangeet singer... too good at it and she never ever indulge in any kind of gossips.... always keeps herself busy with her school work, stitching, tuitions and Mimo. She hates cooking and eating but handed over to me the wonderful recipe of Posto Bandhakopi.... Cabbage with Poppyseed Paste..... What would have happened if we had stayed together till date ?...... we would have fought over that one number in Mathematics that either of our sons would get less than the other ... hihi.... "Kolkata Mother".... is phenomenal..... So meeting once or twice a year is a better idea... wherein you will see me clicking selfies with her husband in the morning while she still stands with her 10th grader Mimo at the gate waiting for the school bus. Does the father know which class his son is in?.... I doubt. Then there is that "another woman" I keep telling you about.... one who has a major contribution towards my abnormal behaviour concerning the son and the sleepless nights thereafter thinking about all negatives happening to him once he is out in the world.... What will you do with her name?.... The telephonic conversations goes as this .... S give up everything to bring up your son .... I know... I never saw any extravagance in you in those days and that endearing dedication towards bringing up your kids.... S ... I cannot sleep.... stop overthinking .... you have such a loving family... nothing will happen to them... chant Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. I hang up the phone and go to sleep.... wake up sweating .... I dreamt of the son crossing an unmanned street or falling from the bus or similar incidents concerning the husband, brother or the loved ones .... Yes, my readers I suffer from an anxiety disorder where I fear of losing dear ones, ever since early 90's perhaps after witnessing a train accident and was under treatment at different times .... I believe it is still there.... to get rid of all these one needs to be engaging... busy and I am way bit a lazy brat.

How come the above lines come while sharing a recipe on FRESH FRUIT & CORNFLOUR HALWA WITH MIXED NUTS.... Well I love unfolding my life and the people around however reluctant my readers are! You can always go straightaway to the recipe and the process of doing it. In this case, it is a sweet recipe done with fresh fruit juices of watermelon and oranges, cornflour and mixed nuts like pistachios, almonds and cashew nuts. This FRESH FRUIT & CORNFLOUR HALWA WITH MIXED NUTS is just a healthy twist to the very common desi sweet cornflour halwa. There are so many variety of halwa and I perhaps have tried only half of them. Hey.... fat, old diabetic why are you sharing sweet dishes one after another? Trust me there is no reason, this was done as part of the husband's birthday menu, it was easy and done in less time. Oh My! 11/2 table spoon of ghee and 1/4teaspoon of green cardamom powder can fill your home with such aroma!... amazing... the only thing we need to be cautious is to stir the entire mixture continuously while cooking, else lumps will form. Ok, the wonder called Mary Kom won a gold again and I am so much loving that.... I was never into sports ever.... the parents could not push me out of home. When the friends played badminton in the school courtyard... I was a silent watcher, yawning throughout.... I should never be an example to be set.... a sweet treat to anyone who makes a mark, a sweet to keep your calm after knowing that a teen kills a kid in the school toilet just to get the school examination postponed.... and you expect me to get cured of my anxiety disorder?.... it never will happen.... the reason why I like carefree, chirpy people.... the reason why I thank the almighty for not making my men like me!

You will find few hundreds of recipe of cornflour halwa on the internet shared by trained chefs to home cooks. I have gone through a couple of them, of Sharmis Passion in particular and then went up doing it on my own with my version of this desi sweet that I named FRESH FRUIT & CORNFLOUR HALWA WITH MIXED NUTS. I did it listening to Ustad Mehdi Hassan ..... "kesariya balam.... aayo ni.... padharo mharey des rey".... it is that much hassle free ....You see I do not understand a bit of oriental language, but while in the supermarkets.... my feet gets tapped automatically listening to the background scores.... just as I am far from knowing the vast arena of local food.... I enjoy having them though.... but majority of my clan do not know what authentic oriental cooking / food is.... Let me take a midway and use fresh, too good quality local ingredients and go desi.... angry, sad, happy, merry, irritated?.... up to you....




INGREDIENTS :
Watermelon : 1/4 od a standard size
Orange : 2-3 medium sized [ I used 4-5 mandarins]
Cornflour : 3tbsp
Sugar : 1/2small cup
Green Cardamom Powder : 1/4tsp
Ghee : 11/2tbsp [clarified butter]
Water : 1coffee mug
Pistachio : 4-5
Almond : 4-5
Cashew nut : 6-7
Food Colour : 1/2pinch of yellow / red [optional]

METHOD :

Chop and keep the nuts in a plate.



Cut the watermelon into smaller cubes discarding the seeds and the cover. Oranges too we will discard the skin and deseed.



With help of a juicer, we will get the combined juice of both the fruits using little water.



We will strain any residual pulp and store the juice in a bowl.



Add the cornflour and food colour very nicely so that no lumps are found.



After adding the cornflour, the mixture looks as below.



Take the water and sugar in a vessel and switch on gas. Once the syrup come to boil, let it boil for 3-4 minutes at low heat.



Stir the fruit juice and cornflour mixture well enough again and pour on to the sugar syrup.



Keep stirring continuously till it tends to become thicker. Add the ghee and keep stirring.



As the mixture gets more thicker into a paste like consistency, add the green cardamom powder and the mixed nuts consisting of chopped pistachio, almond and cashew nuts. Stir for another minute.



Pour into any shape of container.... preferably square or rectangular.



Let cool for an hour, refrigerate furthermore for an hour. Take out, cut in to your desired shapes and
serve.


Tuesday, 7 November 2017

KHOI ER MURKI





Some mornings feel very auspicious... and you go back in time within a fraction of a second and wish to share this sweet snack recipe of KHOI ER MURKI ..... Well, my readers know by now I do not require any trigger to get my memories alive... they are very much a part of me.... and I so much love cuddling them. Let us start from mid 70's and there after. The little girl stayed mostly at her grandparent's place .... she was too attached to her maternal grandmother and loved watching her in action. Cooking, washing, cleaning... doing household chores without any complaint. Besides the normal household chores she had .... she also had some extra work to do which these ladies never considered as a work or a burden. There was a big courtyard in that house with two big "matir unan"... clay ovens at work.... She used to prepare "muri"... puffed rice or murmura, "khoi"... another variety of puffed rice with help of sand. I did not get the exact English of Khoi in Google search option.... I get it from an Indian grocery here, if not you can order for it. The religious order our grandparents followed had to have special prayer meets called "Upasana" held every weekend at different homes in turns. On this occasion, this KHOI ER MURKI was a must along with coconut ladoo "naru" and "batasha"... a kind of sweet?.... my knowledge and vocabulary of English is too poor which definitely is irritating to my readers but I can compensate your complaints with a very authentic Bengali sweet snack as this KHOI ER MURKI. So while the grandmother was busy preparing batches of khoi in her clay oven, we were busy making "kagojer thonga".... paper bags or pockets?.... Yes there was a time I knew making them.... I forgot all about it lah.... else could have supplied brown paper bags islandwide.... and earn some .... My friend Bianca also does not go out for work but takes good care of her farm ... run you may get some fresh duck eggs there. Yes, these are very much a part of my memories... ducks and hens laying eggs by the pond, buying super sweet litchis and mangoes from the vast gardens, boat rides , the grandfather had a milch cow too at his home... even the caterpillars hiding behind the drumstick leaves are fresh on my mind... Perhaps because I follow a page called Nomadic Weekends on Facebook that I feel like going to explore rural India / Bengal these days.... I was telling my man .... when can we?... the woods beckon by its own rights... The unforgettable aroma of dhoop sticks mixed with freshly cut fruits gets me awake at an unearthly hour of the night.... Yes... I am a religious soul who believes saffron looks best in sweets, pulao, desserts just as green in the woods, on your backyard or on my balcony. I do not have problem with people with a different stand... just that I do not wish to kiss each other on issues that does not match with my mindset..... when did I say I am not self centric?

KHOI ER MURKI is  done among us during special prayers held at home.... mainly on Lakshmi or Saraswati Pooja.... Our grandmother did it on a regular basis and stored in those empty Britannia biscuit tins. I am still so fond of having it either with grated coconut or plain yogurt that I can have it everyday if only this diabetes thing would not have featured on life. This khoi that is another variant of puffed rice have some beneficial properties... it eases your bowel movement while had with little warm or may be chilled milk and banana... My paternal grandparents' dinner for the last 15-20 years of their life was this khoi with warm milk and a mashed banana and they had no physical complications as such. Please do not expect any note on its exact nutritional value, its contribution on reducing your BMI or the amount of carb in it.... as I say I do not research deep on a matter... I lack that patience. How this khoi is made?.... just as popcorns.... I remember, the grandmother used special kind of husked rice grains for the purpose.... once the sand got hot, the grains started blooming like white blossoms .... the most painful part was to separate the khoi from the husks. Now a days we do not even have to go through this long process .... we get easily digestible khoi in packets all cleaned for us.... do not buy too white ones... they are bleached... Its natural colour is brownish, very light weight with no taste of its own.... almost like popcorns. May we prepare together this childhood favourite sweet snack of mine called KHOI ER MURKI with this variant of puffed rice called Khoi, jaggery, cardamon powder and little camphor?... We should.... The cashew nuts and raisins are my addition for a richer taste.



INGREDIENTS :
Khoi : 500gm [another variant of puffed rice]
Jaggery : 100gm
Green Cardamom Powder : 4-5pinches
Camphor Tablet : 1/2of one ground to a powder
Water : 1big cup
Grated Coconut or plain yogurt as accompaniment

METHOD :
Take the khoi on a newspaper placed on the table... check carefully if any husk is present.... we need to remove them. Transfer the khoi in a bowl now.

Heat a wok. Add the water and the jaggery. Let it come to boil. If you see any dirt at the top, gently take out and throw. It is very important to buy a good quality jaggery.

Once the jaggery mixture starts getting sticky, add the green cardamom and the camphor powder and stir continuously till it reaches an one string consistency.

Switch of gas and immediately add the khoi and quickly fold in well for sometime.

Transfer to an airtight container.... but it tastes best when had fresh with either grated coconut or plain yogurt or as it is.



Sunday, 5 November 2017

CHOTO CHINGRI KUMRO ALOO BORBOTI DIYE BATI CHOCCHORI



Ahh... another Sunday morning.... no hurry and only merry... a refrigerator full of cooked food yet feels like going out for lunch .... either to the Arab Street joints or to Fish&Co. or to Sushi Tei or to one of the numerous restaurants serving the best Local Cuisine. No I do not have Biryani in any restaurants here ... they cannot make it ... what they serve is a dry meat curry with rice. It can also happen that I still do not know the address of the right places for a proper Biryani. I remember when I landed for the first time here, I was missing Kolkata food.... not home cooked ones though ... I do them pretty well. I heard people raving about a very popular Biryani joint here.... My eyes sparked and went there  with the senior..... what a let down! a messy surrounding, smelly mutton chunks on a bed of rice which was far from been long.... after that I never went back near it. I do not want to take the name of the shop but told the senior it is the lazy cooks who recommended the place, they cannot be food connoisseurs.  I do it my way with freshly ground spices, good quality ghee, Basmati rice.... marinating the mutton overnight and slow cooking it for two hours.... saying so I do not want to go into any fights with people doing otherwise.... arguments are healthy but I personally dislike it. As of mutton... I miss that juicy, fatty chunks as in Kolkata... haha .... neither do we get the giant crabs in Kolkata .... Our brother like childhood buddy from Gurgaon Sandip called me on my birthday and said yaar, I miss those giant chilli crabs we had sitting by the sea. I do not prepare Biryani like Arsalan or Royal in Kolkata, but if you are in the island you can visit our home for it or have a little better version at one of my dearest Sanak's home. We had it at their place last Friday but it lacked his touch... their help from Myanmar did it on his instruction... it was good as much as the little girl could do. You see, good cooking is how you hold the ladle and with what amount of love. Ohh, his beautiful wife Nibedita, the ace Kathak dancer prepared a frozen mango-yogurt dessert which was the show stealer. I am telling this from the bottom of my heart and also from a fear... if I do not she may go up with a profile picture on a swim suit tomorrow... haha.... I told her 1001times, the world mirror says you are beautiful and you do not need to upload photographs on social media everyday. May be I miss the fact that she is in the entertainment world and needs to.This girl is easily gullible and yes... many take full advantage of that. Where do I bond with her husband? .... when we both say... if you have so much of quality... why do you need to be so silly to give in to the stupidity of others... who are using you and will throw you into the dustbin in their own good time. As of my man, he is always throwing me out of the 10th floor window. I am still alive because I have to share this heirloom recipe from the Bengal Kitchen..... CHOTO CHINGRI KUMRO ALOO BORBOTI DIYE BATI CHOCCHORI ..... You see I clicked the morning sky sitting on my favourite couch .... ohh it is a necessity for me if 24/7 something like CNN / CNBC / NDTV is ought to damage my earbuds.



I try to seek his attention.... prompt answer is do not disturb now.... I get a little bolder .... I sing "Dil Ne Yeh Kaha Hai Dil Se".... immediate answer is.... if you wish to go for shopping, go alone ... I am into an important thing or I am waiting for an urgent call from ship. The son who once did not even allow his father to sit beside his mother will not even interfere. How do I keep my cool? ..... with cups of black coffee and tea  and some fresh bakes.... haha.... I indeed do them.... may be not as confidently as I do a CHOTO CHINGRI KUMRO ALOO BORBOTI DIYE BATI CHOCCHORI.

I wished to share this recipe today which has a rural, traditional Indian touch and Bengali in essence for a reason. I cooked this yesterday morning and was not sure whether to share it with you all today. It was yesterday night I decided to watch a movie.... while searching, I discovered I am yet to watch my favourite Nagesh Kukunoor's Lakshmi.... trust me I could not watch the movie full.... it was late night, my nocturnal man was sleeping somehow.... I was feeling sick..... such a raw and real depiction of the prevalent issue of child trafficking in India and her neighbours... I do not know about the rest. The ordeal of this rural girl of 14 made me think and rethink.... do we have the right to have a life we are enjoying so much?... why majority of us are so unaffected about our surroundings.... Till this date.... I have made no contribution to the mother earth but I have always wished to in my own small ways. Anytime is a good time to start a good work but I am that commoner who things big, does little. However, I wish to be with such organisations after son's 12th examinations..... who are working towards and for the emancipation of girls like Lakshmi who like many are brought to the slaughter houses at a tender age and tortured for life... each hour of the night. You see that "after son's 12th"... says it all about me... am I selfish?or may be too family oriented. Anyways, it takes a lot of mental preparation to enter society decided forbidden zones for weak hearts like me.... The first step towards it is to be able to complete watching the movie... Lakshmi.... which has torn me apart as did Chandni Bar years back... You have to accept the truths of life.... however tough it is.... I have left the movie as it is in a separate window and gathering the courage.... can I? can you ?.... then go to Youtube and type Lakshmi or search Google for an introduction. At some point, I must come back to what I am meant for, in this case it is food... a Bengali dish ....CHOTO CHINGRI KUMRO ALOO BORBOTI DIYE BATI CHOCCHORI..... I am so eager to share with you all.... Bati Chocchori is a way of cooking a dish wherein we marinate the vegetables with or without shrimps or other small fish variety with salt, turmeric powder, slitted green chillies and a generous amount of mustard oil and let it slow cook at low heat in its own juices. I lack or avoid details on my food shares because I do not do research.... I follow as is done in the family or in the surrounding. I made a bit of modification, I used little of cumin and red chilli powders and kalonji / nigella seeds tempered mustard oil in it. The pumpkin pieces should stay "gota gota" even after cooking.... that is they should not get mushy in this method.... The pumpkins in this island are buttery, sweet and release a lot of water.... I may not have uncovered the wok in time... you will excuse me because this way, the taste is enhanced... trust me... I used shrimps, pumpkin, long beans, potato, onion for this Bengali dish called CHOTO CHINGRI KUMRO ALOO BORBOTI DIYE BATI CHOCCHORI .... you can add egg plants to it too.... We usually have fish dishes with rice varieties.... this is a vegetable based semi-dry dish... so should go with luchi / poori / paratha too.



INGREDIENTS :
Shrimp : 250-300gm [de shelled, washed, keep head or do not]
Pumpkin : 1/4 of a medium sized [peeled, cubed and washed]
Long Bean : 3-5 [throw the two ends and cut lengthwise]
Potato : 1big [peeled, washed, cubed]
Onion : 1big [peeled, washed, cubed] [it is not always used in this dish]
Cumin Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1/2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Green Chilli : 3-4 [slitted]
Nigella Seed : 1/4tsp [kalongi]
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1/2-1tsp
Oil : 2tbsp + 1tsp [authentically mustard]

METHOD :

Take the washed vegetables and shrimps in a big bowl.



Add the cumin powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, 2tbsp oil and salt to them and mix well. Leave them marinated for 15-20 minutes.



Heat a wok well and gently add the veggies and toss gently. Cover.



Meanwhile in another burner, heat 1tsp oil in a pan and temper with nigella seeds. Switch off. After 5-6 minutes, open cover of the wok where the bati chocchori is cooking, add the kalonji tempered oil and the slitted green chillies. Gently stir just once, do not cover.



After 3-5 minutes, we will see the water released has dried. We will add the sugar if using. Stir just once. It is done.



Transfer to a serving bowl, enjoy hot and fresh with piping hot plain rice or luchi / porota / poori.