Saturday, 23 September 2017


Our week long celebration started with the kind of food that makes my boys ..... specially the junior.... happy..... some dry kind of sides and meaty dishes with bhaat bhaja.... rice fried with any thing makes rice acceptable to them. I have become kind of "let go... what can be done?"..... There is a Bengali in essence or essentially so mother at this home who is ready to serve a 3-5 course typical Bengali meal to her family from shaak..... shukto to rui / katlar jhol.... but there is a son who chooses salmon over ilish ..... chicken / mutton over dim bhora khal-biler koi. Off course it hurts me but as a mother / wife you will always want to see your family happy, at the dining table too. If you are like me you will take a midway and will not do away with 'desi khana' entirely and cook something like MACHER PUR BHORA MOSHOLA DIM. I will not stop cooking ilish / hilsa either and be in a happy conversation as this " Rehman bhai.... Ganga / Padma r ilish aaise ni... toi ekta dyan.... Burma r ilish gosaiben na amarey... ilisher namey kolonko ogulan"..... and this mother will sit and de bone ilish for her 15 year old son with the hope that some day he will adapt to the taste of it. There is less reason to be sad when the kid of your neighbourhood friend do lap up all the rice with the mulo chechki or pui chocchori you have sent with love.... that is hope enough to know that generation next may not forget the roots.... the son eats four rasgullas at one go at least. It is perhaps the failure of the mother of this house not been able to make her son continue with reading and writing in Bengali.... a punch of "Ghanada".... "Feluda".... and religiously "Upendra Kishore" would have set him on the right track.... Unfortunately they are all breathing feebly in a locked, dark room back in Kolkata. This time of the year, our biggest attraction were the "pujo barshiki"..... our newspaper dealer Bhola Kaku got them on the first day of publication. However, while taking a lazy stroll at the by lanes of College Street on my last visit to Kolkata with our friend Joy Ghosh.... he said they do not remain as attractive as before..... this guy is one of the species who spends 80% of his limited resources buying books and so I have to believe him. However poor I am in science or say in academics, Professor Shanku was an all time favourite. My friend Swati does reserve them for me though.

I do not cook at all on the four main days of Durga Puja.... I do not stay at home either. Mornings I will visit the Ramakrishna Mission and evenings are spent at the puja venues followed by eating out with friends. So next few days will be some kind of cooking that we love as a family. There could have been a Bengali style dimer devil but I had some boneless fish resting in the freezer and I had to use it.... there will not be much shopping for the kitchen this week, just using up the remaining..... so there was this last night.... MACHER PUR BHORA MOSHOLA DIM served with some meatball ghee rice done with minced chicken, the recipe of which will be shared later. The recipe of this fish stuffed egg whites is super easy and yes, loaded with spices. As I happily cook it in my temple called the kitchen, I indulge in an imaginary conversation with an elder cousin whose daughter got relocated to the West recently. I can feel the father who have not studied beyond school, a majority of my extended family have not tasted even a college life but brought up their kids beautifully.... I love it.... On both sides of our family, we are perhaps the first generation who got to see "bahar gaon".. "foren"..... I was wondering what he must be thinking.... " Mezda.... oto bhaibyo na... hai shob paibo Bangali mass-torkari.... shun bon hyaira ki khai ri? ogo dyashe moshola khai na.... moshla sara zhul randhey ... orey koi soup... dimer debbil randhe ogo moto koira... shiddo kushum tarey maikha piper modhya dhukaiya dimer shadai bhoira khai.... moshola nai, bhazeo na amago moto.... he asks... tui khaisot ni itan? Khaisi... barite randhi na... lanka tipya bhaat na khailey amar pyato bish lagey.... arey oto bhaibyo na amago dyasher koto manush thakey....amagor moto bhaat, rutir h-utel er abhab nai.... ami zei dyasho thaki moza paiba.... kamraranga, batabi lebu, kot bel o paoya zai.... bhabtey partaso? ooi dyasheo paoa zai hoyto... zigai nai bondhugo"..... I really cannot translate this conversation.... if there is any expat like me who are always charged / overloaded with nostalgia besides enjoying all the fruits of living in a developed nation.... they will understand by themselves, they will feel what I mean. Eggs are too much of a love for my husband who had even 3-4 a day once.... for me egg is good when there is a duck egg curry with rice or a paratha. All of us loved the spicy minced fish filling on it though and we will do it together with help of few pictures. The yolk can be refrigerated and later used in a salad... what do you say? The left over fish filling is kept for some fish kachori... who can stop me from gaining 4kg weight in the next week?

Egg : 4-6 [boiled and halved]
Boneless Fish : 250-300gm
Onion : 1 medium [chopped] 
Green Chilli : 2-3 [chopped]
Coriander Leaves : 2-3tbsp [chopped]
Cumin Seeds : 1/4tsp
Asafoetida : 2pinches
Cumin Powder : 1/3tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Cinnamon Powder : 1/4tsp
Cardamom Powder : 1/4tsp
Aamchur Powder : 1/4tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Lemon Juice : 4-5 tbsp
Refined Flour : 1tbsp [optional]
Minced Garlic : 1tbsp
Minced Ginger : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 1/2 medium cup

Boil the eggs... Once cool, de shell and wash under cold water. Half them and take out the yolk. We will use them later in another dish.

Marinate the boiled egg whites with salt, little of cumin, coriander, red chilli, turmeric powders, a  tbsp of lemon juice and the aamchur powder. Keep aside for 1/2 an hour.

After 1/2 an hour we will deep fry them till golden brown and crisp.

We will rest them on tissue papers and set to prepare the fish filling. We have already washed the cubed fish pieces and marinated them with salt, turmeric powder and 2tbsp lemon juice.

We will heat 2tbsp oil in a wok or a pan. Temper oil with cumin seeds and asafoetida. Add the minced garlic and ginger, chopped onion and green chillies.

Once the onion turn brown, add the fish with the marination, cumin, coriander, turmeric, red chilli powders too.

Fold in well, cover cook for about 8-10 minutes.

Open cover, add the cinnamon and cardamom powder, chopped coriander leaves to the wok.

Fold in well and cook for 1-2 minutes, uncovered. Add the refined flour.

Fold in well and cook for a minute or so, our filling is done.

Once cold, we will fill the pockets of the boiled and fried egg whites with the mouthwatering, spicy, aromatic fish filling.

Arrange them well in a serving plate and we enjoyed them with some minced chicken meatball rice and salad. Our Durga Puja celebration starts with a bang.

Thursday, 21 September 2017


Have you ever had dinner and appetiser at the same time? We did it last night. Do we really have any time for enjoying appetisers on weekdays? We do not have ..... not at our home where some one finds it really difficult to leave his first love and come back to his wife and kid ..... more so when the kid has his major examination knocking the door..... at least this is the scenario at this home. It is absolutely unnecessary to listen to a worried wife saying please sit with the son at least for an hour now. The knowledge level of the mother of this particular house is questionable and limited to "H2O maney jol.... O2 maney oxygen"...."eei prithibi je amai oxygen nitey dicchey akhono dhakka merey joley feley deini eei onek bhagyo amar" ..... what she can do to keep herself engaged? She makes some plan and calls for Cristine ..... come let us do some"mukhorochok".... may be a "fry.. shry" this time. Ideally the fry had to have some kheema or fish stuffing inside because it is the eve of our biggest festival. Then it is also the start of a fasting week for many in India, abroad and yes.... perhaps for majority of my readers .... I definitely will take care of their sentiments.... I also need to see the Bengalis do not use their sticks on me.... come on MIXED VEGETABLE & DRY FRUIT FINGERS is a good option to have before setting out for your pandal hopping on Panchami.... Phuchka may have been a better option but I do not know if chaat is welcome during fast or not. Even on "Shasthi".... Bengalis of the West Bengal side keep fast or do not eat rice. In my side of the family, all four days are painstakingly vegetarian as the daddy's extended family still perform Durgotshob at their Bangladesh home. Before her marriage, the daughter of the house then would run to her now in-law's place or to one of her dearest Chandrayee's place for a taste of fish and meat. At times my little brother would also accompany me though he was never a foodie like his didibhai.

Before we dive into some "jomiye ekta pathar jhol" or "chingrir jyamon tyamon".... let us share something that would say ..... fast can be a feast too. A couple of my friends in this island, back in India and elsewhere shall be keeping fast from today I know.... my small way to say.... you mean. I also felt this kind of food can appeal to the Western world too if you can take the heat of my RAW MANGO-GREEN CHILLI DIP.... just take a look at the number of chillies I used.... hahaha .... no worries, choose yours. I simply loved it and the man who tells his friends oil and chillies come for free in our house loved the platter..... we had some rice, narkol diye cholar dal and choto chingri diye aloo-potol to complete the dinner ..... while J Lo must be having her dinner with an assorted vegetables and seeds salad and a low-fat Greek yogurt..... To my defence I will say so long I have a saree to hide my tummy.... "go as you like more often.... zindegi do pal ki"..... Keeping in mind my followers and friends who are keeping fast today, I kept this appetiser and the dip.... MIXED VEGETABLE & MIXED FRUIT FINGERS WITH RAW MANGO-GREEN CHILLI DIP totally free of onion and garlic. Earlier, I never used semolina as a coating, I found it really awesome to get that crisp, hard coating which does not allow the fries to get soggy for a long time.... You can reheat them after few hours and still feel its fresh and crisp. The fingers may look fat than usual..... what else do you expect from this fat, old lady... her fingers are never artistic enough to be a poet's fancy. Haha..... actually it was too late yesterday and we preferred 13 medium sized fritters than 18-20 beautifully shaped ones.... I can guarantee you taste but perfectionist I am not ..... "doi er modhya shosha dubey gelo, kheyali nei.... chobi tola hoye gelo"..... the cucumber pieces are not arranged properly in the yogurt salad bowl.... I did not even notice and clicked. I am a lost case.... diagnosed and it is true. Forget that, prepare the fries along with me and enjoy the heavenly bites. Do not forget to have your favourite beverage with it either.

Raw Mango - 1[shredded]
Green Chilli - 3-4 [choose yours]
Ginger Extract : 1tsp
Jaggery : 2tsp [shredded]
Black Salt : 2pinches
Water : 2tbsp
You can add little olive oil atop the dip, I did not.... the difference between chutney and dip is not always clear to me..... "likhtey icche holo like dilam..... diiipp"

INGREDIENTS : [for the batter]
Corn Flour : 3tbsp [I do not know if we can use this for fast]
Black Pepper Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : Little [rock or black salt as alternative]
Water : 1/2small cup or little more

Cauliflower Florets : 1coffee mug
Potato : 2medium
Carrot : 2medium
Beet Root : 1
Raw Mango : 2tbsp [shredded]
Green Pea : 2tbsp
Coriander Leaves : 1small cup [chopped]
Green Chilli : 2 [chopped]
Raisin : 11/2tbsp
Pistachio : 2tsp [chopped]
Cashew nuts : 11/2tbsp [chopped]
Asafoetida : 2pinches
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
Fennel Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Cinnamon Powder : 1/4tsp
Cardamom Powder : 1/4tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required [rock or black salt as alternative]
Corn Flour : 2tbsp
Semolina : 11/2medium cup
Oil : 100-150ml for deep frying

Let us prepare the RAW MANGO-GREEN CHILLI DIP first and refrigerate till the fries are done.

Take the peeled, washed and shredded raw mango leaving 2tbsp for the fries, shredded jaggery, black salt, ginger extract and 4 green chillies in a grinder....

Grind to a paste adding the water. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate till we are done with the fries.

Peel, wash and cube the potatoes, carrots and beet root. Pressure cook them along with the cauliflower florets in enough water adding little salt and turmeric up to 2 whistles . Let cool, take down, open cover and strain all the water.

Take the vegetables in a wide mouthed bowl, mash adding salt and turmeric powder.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok. Temper with asafoetida. Immediately add the green peas and fry for a minute or two. Add the chopped green chillies and stir.

Add the mashed vegetables to the wok and fold in well. Add all the remaining powdered spices to the wok and fold in very well. Keep stirring for 3-4 minutes till the water dries up.

Now add the corn flour, chopped coriander leaves, raisins, chopped cashew nuts and pistachio to the mixture.

Fold in very well and stir for a minute. We are done, we will transfer the mixture to a plate and let cool for sometime.

Add the shredded mango and little semolina to the mixed vegetable and dry fruit mixture and mix well.

Take out small portion and prepare finger like shapes and roll on to the semolina.

Once done, we will refrigerate them for sometime.

Prepare a batter with black pepper, salt, water and cornflour.... mix well. Keep the semolina, batter and fingers ready on your gas table. Dip the fingers in the batter, coat with semolina well, they are now ready to fry. Heat oil in a wok for deep frying the veg fingers.

Deep fry the vegetable and dry fruit fingers at medium to low heat in batches.

Once they turn golden brown, transfer them onto tissue paper for the excess oil to soak.

Arrange the MIXED VEGETABLE & DRY FRUIT FINGERS in a nice plate and serve with the cool, RAW MANGO-GREEN CHILLI DIP along with some salad.... It still remains incomplete if you do not have your favourite beverage with this superbly delicious platter.

Monday, 18 September 2017


It was Viswakarma[the God of Engineering?] Pujo yesterday and I do not have a bit of him within me, "ekta chotto pronam sherey palai baba." It is Mahalaya tomorrow.... end of Pitripokkho / Pitripaksh and the beginning of Debipaksh / Debipokkho .... We are all set to welcome Maa Durga and her kids .... in few days she will be on her Royal entourage of the earth   ..... her yearly ritual with her kids leaving behind her husband for few days.... according to the Hindu Mythology. With every passing year I am getting little older ..... not been a J Lo you see. Each year such occasions takes me back  to those days when pujo meant a month long celebration..... starting from going out with parents to buy 'notun jama.'.... new dresses on a sunny Saturday morning. Kids today will never understand the amount of joy it had.... they get stuffs throughout the year. Once I cleared class twelve, I became richer than many in my age group... I started giving home tuitions and earned 1200-1500 rupees per month, back in 1989. My parents never asked me to, it was by choice. It was during Durga puja, Bengali New Year I loved gifting my own with that amount.... My banker father opened an account in my name and said do not spend all of the amount, save some. My mother still have the semi-precious pearl set I gifted her with my first salary as a teacher in a school. The father used to scold whenever I gifted him something.... save... save mamoni... you waste too much. The actual scenario was different.... he used to wear it the next day and tell his friends see my daughter has gifted.... this was the scenario till March 2017. There were gifts for my now husband too with my tuition fees and later with my salary however meagre it was.... a shirt or a T-shirt... I could not afford a trouser along with it. Our priceless gift to each other.... our son off course, a daughter never happened.... an Olive Oyl will happen. Coming to the fact that once upon a time I was quite active..... I do not know why I  am sitting idle at home, I can always go back to my first job.... giving home tuitions.... For that one needs to be communicative which I have lost interest in. I am perhaps more communicative with the virtual world than real except for few people and with no regrets. I can feel I am back into my actual nature of been a happy loner.... all the "in-between" years were actually trying to fit in at my in-laws house.... who are of warm and friendly nature. I am a mixed bag inheritor of my parents... self-centric like the mother.... happy go lucky "Uncle Podger" like the father..... failing to be a person like him with warmth and excellent communication skills.

This ever smiling man full of warmth who happened to be my daddy did perform the ritual of paying homage to the ancestors on this day every year since his father's death in 1985. Waking up early morning and going to the Ganges and performing all the required rituals. The "pujo pujo feel" started right from Mahalaya. This year he is no more, there is an awkwardly low feeling deep inside.... yet I will wear my new sarees, get clicked and share some too because words like depression, sorrows were not in his dictionary. There is perhaps no tomorrow, do it now.... live the moment.This island gives you the opportunity to flaunt all you have on this occasion of Durga Pujo, that "baroyari pujo feel" with five pujos at different venues happening islandwide..... its an island mind it..... It is also Navaratri for many but I cannot go with full vegetarian shares for two long weeks prior to Durga Pujo.... it is that time of the year Bengalis will eat Chingri Malaikari for lunch.... and then Pathar Kosha or Murgir Chap with Roomali Ruti at 3am after pandal hopping.... with no antacid either.... some of my readers may get upset with some of my shares next two weeks, hahaha. Trying to stay in your good book, my share on this auspicious day is a not so authentic Bengali sweet..... but a makeover to our very own naru..... KAJU KISHMISH BHORA SUJI NARKOL ER NARU..... Cashew nuts and Raisins stuffed Coconut and Semolina Balls / Ladoos. This sweet is easy to do if we can have the patience to boil the milk for a longer period to get the right consistency. You need not boil that amount of milk as mine, I was actually preparing another dessert with milk and vermicelli simultaneously with this KAJU KISHMISH BHORA SUJI NARKOL ER NARU..... an irresistible sweet meat option for you this festive season. It became an instant hit with my family..... Come let us prepare this sweet together and bring smile to our loved one's faces.

Coconut : 2big cups [shredded]
Semolina : 11/4big cup
Dudh er Kheer : 1big cup [milk thickened over prolonged boiling]
Sugar : 11/2medium cup
Green Cardamom Powder : 1/2tsp
Raisins : 2tbsp
Cashew Nuts : 2-3tbsp [chopped]
Ghee : 3tbsp

Take the milk in a heavy bottomed vessel. I have taken about 2 lt. of milk as I was cooking another dessert simultaneously. You will take about 500ml of milk and keep boiling at low heat. Keep boiling till it becomes thick and reduces to about 200ml.

Heat a pan and add the ghee to it. Add the semolina and roast it till it turns brown at medium to low heat. Ahh you will love the aroma.

Transfer the semolina / suji to a plate . Place the same pan on the gas oven, no need to wash. Add the shredded coconut and sugar to the pan. Sprinkle little water. Fold in well and keep stirring.

After about 8-10 minutes, add the roasted semolina, green cardamom powder and fold in well. 

Add the dudh er kheer / thickened milk little by little and keep stirring. We will do this for 5-7 minutes.

Our naru mixture is ready, we will transfer them to a plate and let cool a bit.

Chop the cashew nuts, wash the raisins and get them ready at your work station.

Take small portions of the coconut-semolina mixture and flatten between your palms. Place some raisins and chopped cashew nuts atop.

Take little more of the mixture and place over the dry fruits, slowly and carefully bring in to the shape of a naru / ladoo.

You can see they are done and ready to eat. The happy souls at my home got happier having them. They will be done in large amount after Durga Puja and sent to the senior's office, for visiting guests. You too can try this KAJU KISHMIISH BHORA SUJI NARKOL ER NARU this festive season and see happy faces around. They can be stored in a refrigerator for a week.

Friday, 15 September 2017


I was thinking let me bother less about food for 3-4 days and just relax and watch the activities of my friends from different spheres, I was busy too planning something for the occasion of Mahalaya and Navaratri.... end of pitripaksh and the beginning of Debipaksh. The on going rain too added to my laziness and that silly billy thing inside said lets be merry.... "Mon meteche mon moyurir  ki khelay .... Naam na jana phool fotanor eei belay"..... today I literally got caught in the rain and let myself drench.... that is when I felt like a peacock deep inside and sang this.... the best thing of this place is that no one is bothered what you are doing unless you are causing any harm to anyone. This is a famous yester year Bengali song sung by the legendary Asha Bhosle who had her birthday 2-3 days back.... No Mulo Chechki is not something what Asha ji eats or would love to.... it is this music lover at this home who has grown up eating it. I do not think these legends are ever bothered about what they eat.... they are so dedicated to their religion.... music. Last to last year while she was performing in this island, the news of one of her son or daughter's demise reached..... she did not leave the stage, completed her programme and flew back the next day to attend the funeral.... can you imagine the amount of dedication? Nearer the Mahalaya day is approaching, more I am missing my father who would go to the Ganges early morning to pay homage to his ancestors, now my little brother will carry forward the ritual from next year. When the heart is this heavy, I try to remain calm thinking of  such stories that there are also people who has to attend their kid's funeral ..... my sorrows get less. When  the mind is this disturbed, do take refuge to your hobbies .... music or any kind of arts and entertainment .... wonderful therapy, trust me!

Mulo Chechki is not something my men would eat happily either.... do not worry lah.... I have not stopped loving them. There are some chicken legs been marinated, to be coated in a buttermilk-cornflour batter, deep fried and served with dinner rolls tonight. Some fresh lamb pieces have been marinated to be cooked tomorrow for lunch..You will hardly see me blogging on such recipes like batter fried KFC style chicken..... I have specific friends doing that ..... each one of us are doing our job. I always wished to maintain a certain kind of authenticity while sharing my food posts .... though I failed to be purely so.  When it comes to saree, I do try to showcase what I adore.... handloom wear.... most of them I get from government emporiums or few of my trusted friends who know my taste and ability by now. I so much wish to buy a Cheongsam .... ethnic wear of the people of this island ..... why I have not? Come on I do not want to look like a nine months pregnant woman wearing them.... you need a fabulous body as them to fit in. I am thinking of totally shifting to saree..... this is again not any kind of a dig at anyone.... I can see quite a number of beautiful people on the heavier side carrying themselves pretty well in such dresses .... I always blame my lack of confidence and tremendous love for sarees for what I say and I mean it for myself only.... no hard feeling yeah.... How come the people of this island manage to remain so slim after having so much of my love .... Rice... that brings tears to my eyes.... similar to a heart break at your teens... hahaha.... On a serious note, I feel natives here eat healthy, lots of medicinal herbs, finish dinner by 6:30 pm and its genetic too.

We get radish throughout the year here. Mulo or radish is a favourite and was / is cooked in so many ways in the family.... mulor shaak, ghonto, chechki, with dried fish, shrimps, nonetheless to say the famous winter curry with it..... mulo, begun, sheem, aloo diye macher jhol..... My today's share is a very authentic, humble, non-spicy dish from Bengal Kitchen MULO CHECHKI.... that is an almost no-spice  dish of radish tempered with nigella seeds and dry red chilli and garnished with chopped coriander leaves. Below is exactly how it is done in our family .... authentically we have it with steamed rice.... it should go well with chapati, poori or paratha. Shall we do it together? The pictures are not so attractive right? The dish is far more accepting I bet ..... you get another yummy vegetarian option for sure.

Radish : 2big or 4medium
Coriander Leaves : 2tbsp [chopped]
Green Chilli : 2 [slitted]
Dry Red Chilli : 2 [halved]
Nigella Seeds : 1/4tsp
Salt : As Required
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Sugar : 1/4tsp [optional]
Oil : 2tbsp


Cut the two ends of the radish and peel them. Now wash and shred each one of them. Add little salt and turmeric, mix well and keep aside for half an hour, covered.

Open cover squeeze the water from the shredded radish, discard the water. My mother steam the radish before adding to the oil but I do not.

Heat oil in a wok and temper with nigella seeds and halved dry red chillies. Add the shredded radish and fold in well. Cover cook for about 8-10 minutes. Open cover every 3-4 minutes to check, we cannot allow it to burn. Sprinkle little water from time to time.

Open cover, add remaining water, slitted green chillies, salt and turmeric powder. Fold in well and cover cook for another 6-8 minutes.

Open cover, add sugar and chopped coriander leaves. Fold in well and allow to cook for a minute or two. We are done. The entire cooking should be done at low heat.

We have it with steamed rice, you can enjoy it with poori, paratha or roti!

Tuesday, 12 September 2017


This is exactly how I served dinner to my family last night ..... Narkol Kora Murgi.... that is chicken prepared with shredded coconut or say nariyel ke saath pakaye huye murg .... some rice, few fluffy poori and a bowl of basic salad which was off course for me. How about that hindi phrase... correct or not? Our Hindi speaking and writing ability is terrible. The son is managing.... courtesy... the school and his private tutor. Coming to the problem now, my supposedly happy clicks fails to make my expert  blogger cum photographer friends happy. I could not click the way I wished to, in the process my fluffy poori did not remain fluffy any more. This does not happen when I prepare luchi with refined flour. I have to learn the trick to keep poori fluffy for sometime from my friends around .... I think we need to add semolina to the wheat flour for that. Anyway, food was served fresh to my men with not so fluffy poori after reheating .... yet I got to see happy faces... why? there was chicken.... or say a meat on the plate gets sunshine reflect on my shoulder even at 9:30 pm at night. There was some achar / pickle too for me, my senior and yes for our Cristine too.... hahaha.... I have already trained her to eat everything Bengali / Indian.... She says ma'am it is hot but I enjoy.... only that she does not like our sweets that much. She prepares wonderful Oriental soups for my lunches.... I prefer my soups light and my beverages sugar free these days with no alternatives either. The mother of this home's eyes again got "golgol"... surprisingly watching the son secretly sipping from her bottle of green tea without sugar. I am indulgent and I love it when kids..... whosoever it is secretly opens the refrigerator door to look for food and drinks...... perhaps because I am a foodie since childhood.

This chicken dish with shredded coconut.... that is NARKOL KORA MURGI is not a family recipe. I have not seen it to be cooked in either side of the family. When my parents shifted to the outskirts of Kolkata back in 1995, a boy helped us with gardening, and other household works. This boy knew so many things construction work, cooking and what not. He said they are from Barisal district of the formerly undivided India and use coconut in cooking a lot. He was really a help for us in the new neighbourhood.... I remember the date of shifting .... 10th May, 1995. Why? We were having an uncanny feeling in the new house leaving behind a crowded neighbourhood where we lived for 19 years. It was 11pm at night, someone outside was calling my brother's name... who is that? The senior of my chopsticks whose ship reached the Kolkata Harbour that evening..... He came home, got to know we shifted that day, caught a train at 10pm and visited us.... next day he had to reach ship by 10am. I remember he told my father... you have achieved something, does not matter if it is late ..... while the mother and her kids were still lamenting over leaving behind the crowded, happening city. This guy took the last train towards home without knowing it was an express and will not stop at his place.... Later I heard he reached home at 3 am.... as I told you this is one of the few reasons why I never could think of not doing my duty towards my in-laws.... They had been very liberal about our relationship .... my height, length, breadth, looks were not so much of a concern for them or to their son who earned pretty well as a boy of say 23. Thanking the Almighty, I must come to the recipe now... my untold story will be unfolded at different times.... My readers are interested or not, I love narrating. Bengalis do use coconut in their cooking but not always like Southern India .... going beyond this will not be permitted by my level of knowledge or research. I had coconut chicken in Chennai and loved it.... ahh the spice and the flavour. After landing in this island, life really got "coconutty" and I love it too..... the taste and flavour both. Come let us cook together my way of Narkol Kora Murgi. This is exactly what I served my family last night. You can always choose your mains.

Chicken : 500gm
Onion : 1medium [sliced]
Coconut : 1small cup [shredded]
Lemon Juice : 3tbsp + 2tbsp
Ginger Paste : 1/2tsp
Garlic Paste : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Bayleaf : 1
Cinnamon Stick : 1one inch
Green Cardamom : 2-3
Clove : 2-3
Oil : 3tbsp

Wash the chicken pieces well and marinate with 3tbsp lemon juice, little turmeric powder and salt, coriander and red chilli powder. Keep covered for an hour.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with bayleaf, cinnamon stick, green cardamoms, cloves. Add the sliced onions and fry till it turns translucent. Add the shredded coconut and fry till both turn golden brown.

Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute or so. Add salt, turmeric and fold in well. Add the chicken pieces along with the marinade and fold in well. Cover cook for 10 minutes stirring every 3-4 minutes in between.

Open cover and add about half coffee mug of water. Fold in well and cook uncovered for 4-5 minutes. We are done. Add 2tbsp of lemon juice over the curry.

I served it with whole wheat poori, rice and a basic salad made of tomato, cucumber, onion and green chillies. You can always have it with your choice of mains.

Sunday, 10 September 2017


I am sad and not in the right mood to concentrate on sharing a recipe post with you all today..... Ask me why? The very graceful Indian actress Vidya Balan was in the island last evening and I did not even know though I follow her page just to see how beautifully she presents herself. There is some collaborative fare going on between the Government of the island and that of India... oh what a miss! Then yesterday was Akshay Kumar's birthday too and his multitalented wife Twinkle Khanna wished him so beautifully. Off course CHIREY BADAM BHAJA is not a kind of dish to wish happy birthday to the Bollywood hero, but it is something the couple of this humble home enjoys with tea or coffee on weekends while watching some good movies. The hero's wife did not follow her famous parent's footsteps and appeared in very few movies.... but wow.... she reads, writes, cooks, travel and makes those beautiful perfumed candles along with her mom and sister since childhood. When did I start liking her?.... when I read she told her husband we will not have a second child unless you do some meaningful cinema.... isn't that an inspiration enough to go and get the country's most prestigious award.... besides the sheer hard work? My co-blogger friends will be happy to know the glamorous Twinkle's husband and son cooks too... unlike me she has trained her boys well.... if only the world knew what material my boys are... impossible is the right word. Anyways, I know the couple are blessed with a daughter and their son studies in one of the prestigious IB schools of the island.... I definitely should not go public with the name of the school.

Neither my heart throb Vidya Balan nor the uber urban, happening Twinkle Khanna and her husband eats CHIREY BADAM BHAJA as their evening snacks .... our son will not even touch it. Then the mother will not share his favourite grilled chicken or spicy boneless fish or paneer tikka today, she is extremely unhappy since yesterday post the parent's teacher meet ..... the son had  always been favourite with his teachers because he was / is very well behaved at school and as they say he is fairly intelligent... No that is not making the mom happy....  she wants a consistent reflection of that in the report card.... in one test he is scoring full marks and then coming down in the next. The mom is getting panicky now with only six month left for his 10th board examination. Anyways my literature loving friends will be happy to know that his teachers say he writes very good English in spite of the mother been poor in both written and spoken and cleverly plays with few words given her limited vocabulary. Now to some, do not shower on me on this issue, we need to know English as it is the language of communication in the present day world. Not knowing it well is never a 'crime' but the 'need' to know it is undeniable. Coming to the point, why is the wife who is an angry bird towards the husband when it comes to strategise son's study plan goes ahead with the duo's favourite weekend evening snacks CHIREY BADAM BHAJA that her mother used to prepare for her kids? Well her man confessed to the teachers yesterday that the son went after him, overconfident enough to think I know everything and can do away with minimal studies....mistakes need not be repeated..... Oh finally! .... and yeah the teachers said the 10th board examination marks will be taken into consideration while seeking admission in college.... the father cannot say now.... S stop it.... marks do not matter so much in life! The son's mother does not want him to stray as his mother did. His mother was below average but could polish herself a little more if she had given some effort.

Coming back to food again, my mom used to prepare chirey bhaja or poha / chivda / flattened rice / beaten rice fry two ways.... one is this and another one was a sweetened one which will be shared later. This particular dish is done with flattened rice, peanuts, green pea, toasted coconut, dry red chilli flakes, chopped green chillies, cashew nuts, curry leaves, chopped coriander leaves, nigella seeds. This goes very well with your evening cuppa of tea and coffee.... Shall we do it together with all available ingredients in the kitchen and with a bit more of patience?.... that is required as we need to stir for sometime to get that crispiness... we are not deep frying it  in lot of oil. Life is short enjoy 'been together' and 'being in each other'.... both ways it is beautiful haha.... we do not need to kiss and smooch each other for that ... there are so many ways to show that but then that is a silly romantic , a dumbo saying so !

Flattened / Beaten Rice : 11/2coffee mug
Peanut : 1/2small cup
Cashew nut : 5-6halved
Green Pea : 2tbsp
Dry Red Chilli : 2
Shredded Coconut : 1/2small cup
Green Chilli : 1-2chopped
Onion : 1small chopped [optional]
Salt : As Required
Turmeric Powder : 2pinches
Nigella Seed : 1/4tsp
Curry Leaves : 7-8
Oil : 3tbsp
Chopped Coriander Leaves to garnish!

For this dish we will not wash the flattened rice but lightly seive it. Get all ingredients ready on your work station.

Heat oil in a wok or pan. Fry the dry red chillies for a while at low heat and take out... Once cold, we will lightly crush them with hand and keep aside to be added later. Fry the cashew nuts and  peanuts in batches and take out to be added later.

Temper oil with nigella seeds and add the shredded coconut to it ... keep stirring till it turns light brown. Add the curry leaves and the sliced onion and saute till the onion slices gets that caramelised colour.

Add the green peas and chopped green chillies and saute for a minute. Now add the beaten rice and the turmeric powder. Here is where we require some patience, we need to keep stirring continuously  as we want our chivda / poha / aval snacks to remain crisp for some hours.

Add salt to the mixture, keep stirring for another 4-5 minutes, add the crushed dry red chillies, fried cashew nuts and peanuts. Fold in well and we are done.

Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with coriander leaves, enjoy fresh with tea or coffee! If we skip the onion part we can store the beaten rice snack mixture in an air tight container for sometime without refrigeration!

Wednesday, 6 September 2017


There is some conspiracy going on in the household that the lady of the house has gone senile and should be sent to either a mental asylum or deep in to the forest, the biggest fear of going to either of the two for me is that there is no wifi connection at these places perhaps ..... According to my boys, I am doing too much of moral policing, developed a pokey nose, interfering in other's life.... oh the list is not so short. I definitely have something to say on my defence as every other individual do as we love ourselves the most. I cannot threat them either saying who will cook for you ?.... they are naughty enough to say .... yeah we are free now to order from the  fast food joints. On a serious note, the wise man at home always says we should not react to every other incident wife.... learn to take people at face value, stop judging. I do not have the wisdom or intelligence or whatever to act smart like him and  always let my heart bare to the world. I am too fragile and get disturbed at silly little things, specially if it is done by people who mean. Since I have not learnt to ignore, I get more confined to my own self.... knowing to overlook things is an art, the world will not act according to my wish. Perhaps that makes me loner seeking seclusion from the mankind itself.... since I love my blog too much.... I need to remain in the crowd... and the lack of grey matter causes rest of the stir .... "gondogol pakaoing."

I was trying to follow the trail to the root cause of me been so unaccommodating. I reached to a short statured woman with two kids.... always at service of her kids and family.... who never felt that at some point she should untie the "pallu of her saree" and let her kids fend for themselves. The daughter took rounds with her man wearing the warmth of her mother's lap. Like the daughter, the mother too expected that her daughter will be treated the same way in the new home.... a bone of contention brewed.... "amar meyeta roz kotogulo dokaner kena cake mishti, fol niye chakri kortey jai, keu duto ruti porjonto kore deina.... school theke firey nijei jol niye khai... keu ektu shorbot porjonto korey deina".... I remember my mother lamenting of no-one packing her married daughter's lunch box at the in law's house with home cooked food .... never telling the daughter you must learn now to take care of yourself and the rest .... that is called blind in love... that is perhaps so my brother at mid thirty is seen kissing his mother five times a day and his wife gifting a latest model refrigerator to the mother-in-law even after that.... there must be a reason for that..... there must also be a reason for me to never failing to do my duty towards my not so much of a friend maa-in-law.... does not matter if there is less love in the relationship.... she was strict so I could learn everything we need to take care of a household. I learnt everything from scratch and self-centric enough not to allow anyone in my kitchen ..... I feel very disturbed if anyone does so.... every fork and spoon has my signature on it. I cannot be lazy to that extent where I allow my cook to use one kilogram flour to prepare poori for four people.... not asking her why you have to take so many to your home.... doing so one has to get off the couch leaving two Ts .... tea and television.... My point is if I am a sit at home woman, I should take care of my home. I will not exploit others and not get exploited. Do I regret for not having it otherwise.... never my readers.... The Almighty gently placed me on a very trusted, full of warmth lap right from my mother's .... only if I could sing with him "sawan barse tarse dil, kyun na nikle ghar se dil".... the island gives you lovely rain situations for romantic liaisons, if only your man's first lady love is not an air-conditioned room in a tall building.... so if this fat, old lady is talking about a Neellohit, she only means Sunil Gangopadhay's fictional character and not of any real life business minded or whatever..... mind it smiling, beautiful barbies.... a word is a word for this 4'10".... with progressive lens glasses wearing for 40 years now,  70% grey, obese since childhood ..... exactly four fillings at the inner jaws... no worries.... come let us learn the tricks and method of preparing ladoo without any pain ..... let the heart go on... it does not really disturb a routined life.... moreover, one's heart solely reserves the right to who it keeps and who it does not, does it ever listen to any reasoning??.... so silly this stupid thing is....

This festive sweet or ladoo does not require any pre-planning. Done with cashew nuts, sesame seeds, jaggery and ghee, this KAJU TIL GUR GHEE LADOO is something that will be loved by anyone from kids to adult..... This can well be a make ahead festive sweet or be made anytime to satisfy our taste buds.... more so if you have a sweet tooth.... One good thing about this ladoo is that you never have to struggle to bind it into a round shape even if we are not cooking it.... the magic is the use of ghee and the moisture released by the gur / jaggery... I think the oil from the cashew nuts and sesame seeds also has their contribution in this matter. Come let us see how we can do it together with the help of some pictures.

The recipe may resemble nearly with some other but I have not followed particularly anyone's for this. In fact I have drawn idea from a number of such posts on sweets by my friends at large.

Cashew Nut : 11/2 medium cup
Sesame Seed [white] : 1/3medium cup
Ghee[clarified butter] : 1/2 small cup or little more
Jaggery : 1small cup
Cardamom Powder : 1tsp

We will take the sesame seed and cashew nut in a pan and roast them till light brown at slow heat.

Once brown, we will switch off gas and let cool the sesame seeds and cashew nuts.

Take the jaggery in a hand pounder, ready to be ground.

We will grind the jaggery into smaller pieces.

Now we will take every thing... the jaggery, cashew nuts, sesame seeds and the cardamom powder in a electric mixture.

Grind them into a finer mixture pulsing it for about 3 minutes at intervals.

Transfer the mixture to a plate, you can feel it is warm.

Add the ghee little by little and keep kneading for about 7-8 minutes.

We will immediately start forming balls and smoothening between palms to give the shape of a ladoo.

.... and they are ready to eat.... We can also store them in airtight containers up to a week.... using ghee will not spoil them quickly. Do not add water at any time to shape the ladoo, if required use more ghee.