Monday, 30 October 2017

TOMATO RICE



"Bhaat, Porota, Luchi"... Rice, Paratha, Poori ..... I am kind of addictive to these three storehouse of carbs .... Each day I swear on the gym, I will not eat these three things more than one or two days per week.... I simply fail to conform to that and end up tasting what I made for the family. It may not be in large quantity .... may be it is two to three table spoon of rice or not more than one paratha or two pooris .... yet it does not help in the weight loss process. Perhaps the missing link here is the uncountable number of fries and fritters that goes inside on a regular basis ..... My most loved comfort food is any kind of fritter, dal, rice, ghee, green chilli with a bit of salt. Sweets were never a priority for me until I was diagnosed with diabetes. There is so much truth in the 'forbidden' logic ....  one apple that created so much of stir.... haha..... same is with sweets in this house.... I get them or prepare more often for my men and end up tasting one or two while they say weekly one sweet is permissible for the diabetics. I have seen in the gym that a proper diet works better than only exercise. The problem with me is that I know it all but fail to follow the basic rules required to stay fit. Staying slim and fit is a necessity for me.... entirely for health reasons .... Obese since childhood with high power glasses and with a height of 4'10" .... I never did try or knew the tricks  to woo a boy .... going to the gym or spending hours in the beauty parlour..... whatever. Even as a teen, I always felt that to change the person I am to attract someone is the worst blow to my self honour ..... my eye kohl may smudge, face paint may wash away, waistline may double in size .... what then? One has to accept me as the person I am and the feelings has to be mutual ...... it applies to boys too .... this wooing thing only looks good in movies which is not real life. From then till now .... its been 30 long years.... with half century at the doorstep .... I was even unwilling to comb my hair on my special day that is when the senior scolded so hard.... however I am, I am his queen and he indeed treats me as a queen on my special day. We have two back to back celebrations at home... the autumn phenomenon .... on his day I cook everything from the cake to mains to sweet at home by my choice off course ..... On my day.... I do not go near the kitchen .... I get a royal treat.... going out and doing what I love.... eat... eat and eat more and not TOMATO RICE alone. Why my post smells so much of 'me' today?..... because I always wish people, rather real world people to know who or what I am ..... ferociously "tyara" haha .... that is stubborn and cold to anything I do not like....

When was it..... my day? May be yesterday, day before yesterday or whenever ..... that is not important.... what I strongly felt was that I am getting old .... a sense of lethargy gripped in so much so that I refused an invitation of a lunch fair at Marina Bay Sands or a buffet at Hyatt and said... call 'Food Panda'... let us enjoy at home.... this is the first time I did not step out for even five minutes ..... and I loved so much been with my own at home. These are all signs of aging when any kind of excess seems to be a baggage ..... and every inch of my body screams leave me at myself .... I find it very difficult to mingle with folks with different mindsets.... this is a quality I lack ..... a reason why I simply love seclusion .... more so when the world seems to be very much complicated compared to the pace of my brain activities.... better I do what I love .... go for long walks alone, sit down at a food court thereafter, take silly clicks now and then and eagerly wait for the men to come back home..... Evenings are the happiest moment in this family..... if only my little brother lived near..... Such a preface is not required to share a recipe of TOMATO RICE ..... but my readers know by now whatever talking I do, I do it here.... in my personal space.

As I always say my men love rice when it is fried with anything or everything with good seasoning and served with baked or grilled fish or meat or otherwise.... the salad and vegetables are obviously for me to enjoy ..... haha .... you see they are mine .... end of the day I have to give in to their wishes. This TOMATO RICE is often done in my kitchen though not during celebrations but I wished to share this humble dish of TOMATO RICE done with Basmati Rice, a freshly made spice paste along with a generous  amount of tomato.... what else? You will not see me anywhere near ghosts.... I am far from them since childhood.... but watched them all from "Hanabari" to "Bhoot Bangla" to "Kiley Ka Rahasya"..... thrillers with all scares of ghosts... God.... why on earth the angelic faces are to be painted as that I do not get but they can also question .... why do you have to get so mad during Holi? So let us respect each other's tradition and do not cross boundaries but gently avoid what is not me.... Who am I?.... ohh the very sight of Pumpkins all over the social media makes me drool and crave for some "gorom bhaatey kumro sheddo, kancha lanka aar shorsher tel" or "kumror chokka aar luchi"..... you bet I am that rustic, earthy soul till date who does not have any problem accepting an invitation over pumpkin spiced latte either.... I am not in the habit of breaking hearts, haha.... Coming to the island we stay.... we do not have to make any extra effort to stay rooted.... every 200 mt, there are shops selling "ankher rosh" or "tormujer shorbot".... sugarcane or watermelon juice. As of today, we will cook TOMATO RICE together which is a very quick, easy and simple recipe. Rest its another Monday made happier with a movie show tonight with a very understanding couple friend .... something I thoroughly enjoy.... from the company to the atmosphere of the hall...



INGREDIENTS:
Long Grained Basmati Rice : 1big cup
Tomato : 2big [washed and chopped]
Onion : 1big [peeled, washed and sliced]
Coriander Leaves : 2sprigs [washed and chopped]
Cumin Seeds : 1tsp +1/4tsp
Coriander Seeds : 1tsp
Fennel Seeds : 1/2tsp
Dry Red Chillies : 3-4 + 2
Dry Mango Powder : 1/2tsp
Green Chillies : 2-3 [slitted]
Mustard Seeds : 1/4tsp
Bayleaf : 1
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 3-4tbsp

METHOD :

Dry roast 1tsp of cumin seeds, 1tsp of coriander seeds, 1/4tsp of fennel seeds and 3 to 4 dry red chillies in a pan and add to the blender. Add the chopped tomatoes.



Blend the entire mix to a paste. We have already cooked the rice up to 60% to 70% and strained all the water.



Heat oil in a wok or a pan. Temper with 1/4tsp of mustard seeds, 1/4tsp of cumin seeds and a bayleaf. Stir once and add the sliced onion. Once they turn golden brown, add the spice paste with tomatoes.




Stir the spice paste for about 2-3 minutes.... add the turmeric powder, dry mango powder and salt as required.



Add the rice, slitted green chillies if using and half of the chopped coriander leaves.




Fold in gently and stir for 2-3 minutes. We have to be very careful at this stage so that the rice grains do not break.




Once done, we will transfer the entire content to a serving bowl and garnish with onion rings and the remaining chopped coriander leaves. Serve the TOMATO RICE hot and fresh with gravied / grilled / baked meat / fish or may be veggies too.


Friday, 27 October 2017

DESI STYLE POACHED EGG CURRY



.... it happened to be a special day yesterday.... some meat and fish dishes had to be cooked.... a simple cake had to be baked with "kompoman haath"... shivering hands and a sweet something to end  the meal... all went haywire with a phone call day before yesterday.... I was standing in front of  the meat shop calculating exactly what amount of mutton / goat meat to buy.... thats when the old, demon birthday boy called from office and said I have a flight to catch right at 5pm.... coming home in an hour.... The right thing to do was to call one of my boy friends spread island wise, sit by the sea with some black pepper crab which had to be paired with mini steamed buns and ahem... you know what else.... I am not friends with smoothies or soft drinks... Girl friends are equally welcome on such meets but not when you are craving badly for a revenge. Instead, I saved some money not buying the meat, rushed back home and stood at the doorstep with "cholo cholo chokh" Sandhya Ray style.... and bid a goodbye saying "dugga dugga".... The mind was at a boiling point so much so that I wished to employ a detective to find out why he travels to the capital of the neighbouring country so often .... but you know I do not earn so had to drop the idea and wait for his return with "duru duru bokkho"

The above lines speaks of a happy home which lives in the lines of sharing and caring..... but not all homes are such, cracking jokes on each other freely .... not all women are  so fortunate neither all men are so lucky as mine hihi.... off course I will take that credit .... one should love one's self that much. The man of this house does not usually complain about his wife but the wife does to only few trusted people... there is one person who always says S you can say this because you are in a happy environment, it never is a grave situation... my complaints ranges from he shouts to he is unromantic to he does not know the way to the kitchen or the market. The person here is one of the top creams of India with an exactly appropriate wife by his side... who I call a super woman. Both been in very very high profile jobs which is quite but natural and deserving for them. They have taught me how to be down to the earth, treat and take care of people with warmth.... and well if my mother has not taught me anything before marriage on how to handle a different home where people will not love you naturally but for your work.... I have learnt a major part of "ghar kanna" from this super woman post marriage who been in a high profile job, an university topper does cook dal-rice back from office, treats guests, in fact their home is abuzz with guests.... extended family, friends 24/7 right from their honey-moon days years back. If they say do not fake S, it is true..... I will take their name in an appropriate post not here in DESI STYLE POACHED EGG CURRY... I must.... they never discuss science, finance .... with me ever... areas where I am blank.... themselves been moving Encyclopaedia. Coming to "unfortunate women".... they off course are a majority.... while me or some of my friends are posing with all smiles with family in trips.... the news flashes in front of my eyes .... woman killed by the husband while travelling in a car .... did she ever thought about it ? This brings back some childhood horrified memories .... we were in lower level of school when the "Swarupa Guha?" murder case raised a stir .... she was killed probably by people who she trusted the most .... the case never got solved because it involved powerful people ..... did the conspirers only consist of men?.... no there were women too.... so male bashing is not the solution ..... need of the hour is to change the patriarch pattern of the society, neither should feminists run for the ladies sit in buses, trains and trams.... sits should be reserved only for senior citizens, children, handicaps and pregnant women. So long a mentally de-ranged pregnant woman lie naked on streets back there, women are vulnerable.... even cows have a better lives there.... but then its my roots, I was born there.... the love for that land is by default.... neither can I deny that a Nirbhaya case happens every other day there.... now I hear a little boy from a foreign land is been sexually assaulted for years.

Too much of lecture is boring.... I am too boring a company anyway because I cannot talk much in literal sense, always I keep wondering what to say next..... I do not need to bore you more. What I wished to share today was a fish / meat / sweet dish but I did not cook much these two days .... he is arriving tonight .... so I will cook properly tomorrow.... a birthday deserves some good food at this home.... if not shared immediately .... I do not wish to drag my readers to the family celebrations however open I am on what goes on a regular basis here. However, yesterday evening I used an ingredient he loves.... EGG.... anything for egg is perhaps his tagline. This DESI STYLE POACHED EGG CURRY is not a family recipe, neither do I know how authentic Bengali recipe it is but it is cooked in some known families. I have also seen recipes similar to DESI STYLE POACHED EGG CURRY in different food groups may be but I did not save any. I followed my own way of doing this non vegetarian, spice laden, tomato based gravy with eggs and potatoes. We had it with half and half rice and chapati... and "peyaj... lanka... achar".... I am not so fond of egg unless it is a duck egg curry but egg is always a better and wiser option when there is scarcity of tyangra, pabda, charapona..... problem is not with the frozen part but what comes here are too stale. So here is my recipe of DESI STYLE POACHED EGG CURRY which we will cook together now..... For middle class Bengalis like us .... sunny side ups are also poached eggs .... and I will seek some license here... hehe...




INGREDIENTS :
Egg : 4
Potato : 1big [peeled, washed, cut into 4 or 8 pieces
Tomato : 1medium [washed and chopped]
Onion : 1medium [peeled, washed, sliced]
Ginger Paste : 1tbsp
Garlic Paste : 1tsp
Asafoetida : 2pinches
Cumin Seed : 2pinches
Bayleaf : 1
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Cinnamon Powder : 1/4tsp
Cardamom Powder : 2-3pinches
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 2tbsp
Ghee : 1/4tsp for each egg
Sugar : 1/2tsp [optional]
Coriander Leaves : 1tbsp to garnish.... my most loved fresh herbs

METHOD :

Heat 1/4 tsp ghee in a pan for each of the sunny side ups and prepare them carefully, we will be careful to keep the yolk in tact.

Rub the potato pieces with salt and turmeric and keep aside for 5 minutes. Heat oil in a yolk and add the potato pieces. Fry them light brown and take out.

Temper remaining oil with asafoetida, cumin seeds and bayleaf. Add the onion slices and fry till brown.

Add the ginger and garlic paste and stir for 2 minutes. Add the chopped tomato, salt and turmeric. Fold in well and cover cook at low heat till it melts.

Now add the cumin, red chilli and coriander powders, stir and cook for a minute. Add one big cup of water, let it come to boil.

Add the fried potatoes and cover cook at low heat for 3-4 minutes. Open cover and add the cinnamon and cardamom powder, sugar and the leftover ghee from the pan or a tsp if you wish.

Arrange the sunny side ups in a serving bowl. Pour the gravy gently and garnish with fresh, chopped coriander leaves. We must allow the sunny side ups to soak in the gravy at least for 1/2 an hour before having it.







Tuesday, 24 October 2017

TAWA ALOO MACCHI



..... the hangover of 'Golmaal Again' last night continues. Once in a while watching such movies are relax-ing .... we do not have to think much .... just chill kind of.... I am not a kind of a person for whom smiles come naturally so I feel happy to see myself giggling all through for 21/2 hours .... there was a story line ... nothing special .... that same old cliched Bollywood stories of property swapping, love-betrayal-revenge. It was not a letdown because we did not go for a story but for some comic relief. Did we really need a talent called Tabu aka Tabassum Fatima Hashmi for that role?.... anyone could have done that.... well Bollywood seldom makes movies where an actress of her calibre suits in.... I am not for a blame game.... everyone is here to earn.... who can deny money is honey?... only if it could leave behind the associated malice and come clean in our lives.... only if we could look down / at people who are not so fortunate with a nose as flat as mine.... even my favourite mutton / hilsa costs 30-40 dollars per kilogram.... I used to eat them while dreaming of owning a kalashnikov rifle once and bring justice to an imbalanced society.... hypocrite ?... you have the right to call me.... even this boy.... the very talented singer, lyricist, film director .... Anindya Chatterjee was seen frequently with the "DSO" following "dadas and didis"at college, hanging out with them at College Street. Besides "Projapoti Biskut," we wish something else too from him.... something based on what he believed in.... As of me, I still take immense pleasure in both ..... eating biryani and reading Jhumpa's "The Lowland"..... who is right? those who stood strong against state atrocities or those who fled to different countries of wealth? Could there be something in between which could help people in need? Giving up tender lives is bad.... fleeing and forgetting all about your ideology is even worse unless you are funding a movement with a cause .... In such a situation, watching a 'Golmaal Again' helps.... also helpful is a plate of TAWA ALOO MACCHI served with tomato rice ..... trust me haha.....

This week is a week for celebration at this home .... there will be a lot of cooking, going out for movies or otherwise ..... What is a celebration without fish and meat for the carnivores in this family? This humble fish platter of spice coated potato and fish... "TAWA ALOO MACCHI was done few days back...... I do not blog on what I cook.... immediately.... I meant not often I do that.... moreover do my friends allow me to do so? With lesser amount of brain activity, I am unable to think beyond a limit. My brain cells do not allow me to analyse unless it is a good movie or a book ... my areas of interest.... so you are always welcome to call me 'Ms. Mistake'..... while I call myself 'Mistaken'.... both wise I am ok and will never give in for a correction. I myself do not know when there will be an emotional outbreak within me or should I go public with it?..... leave me at myself.... I cannot claim that either if I am making my feelings public. 'Analysis' is not my cuppa .... never at this moment.... the sky seems so bright.... with patches of green all over ..... amidst that the high rises and the peeping rooftop of the red and white themed 'homes' say ..... 'hum saath saath hai'...... Since I am a  package quite irritating, what best I can do for you is sharing this simple and yum recipe of spice marinated fish and potato cooked in less oil in a pan that was served with Tomato rice. Come let us cook together TAWA ALOO MACCHI which you can pair with any kind of rice preparation or enjoy as an appetiser.




INGREDIENTS :
Boneless Fish : 500-600gm [any firm white fish]
Potato : 1big [boiled]
Onion : 1medium [sliced]
Curry Leaf : 1-8
Cornflour : 1tbsp
Lemon Juice : 5tbsp + 2tbsp
Black Pepper Corn : 1tsp
Coriander Seeds : 1tsp
Cumin Seeds : 1 tsp
Dry Red Chilli : 2-3
Garam Masala Powder : 1/2tsp
Chaat Masala : 1/2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Cumin Powder : 1/4tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/4tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1/4tsp
Aamchur Powder : 1/4tsp [dry mango powder]
Salt : As Required
Oil : 4 tbsp +1tbsp

METHOD :

Wash the fish fillets thoroughly, marinate with 3 tbsp of lemon juice.

Dry roast and grind to a powder the following spices .... black peppercorns, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, dry red chillies.

Discard the excess water from the fish and add the freshly made spice powder, cornflour,1/3of turmeric powder, little salt, 2tbsp of lemon juice and garam masala powder to it. Keep aside for an hour.



Cut half the boiled potato and further into smaller pieces, cutting it lengthwise looks good. Marinate with 2 tsp lemon juice, salt, turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, aamchur powder. Keep aside for 1/2 an hour.

Heat 4tbsp oil in a pan. Gently place the marinated fish pieces discarding the excess marinade.



Cook for 4-5 minutes at low heat. Turn over and cook further till the outer layer is more or less crisp. Cooking at low heat is a must.



Take out the cooked fish and arrange in a serving plate. Add little oil to the pan if required. Once hot, add the curry leaves, stir and at once add the onion slices.

Stir for 2-3 minutes and add the spice marinated boiled potatoes, stir.



Let cook uncovered for 3-4 minutes at low heat stirring gently in between. We should be done.



Arrange them atop the fish pieces and it is ready to serve. We enjoyed the TAWA ALOO MACCHI with Tomato Rice. You can enjoy the dish with any kind of rice preparation or enjoy it as an appetiser.


Saturday, 21 October 2017

RAJMA CURRY WITH EGGS IN A YOGURT BASED GRAVY



The month long celebration is about to finish .... it is painful to even think of that ...... just the way I feel looking at the empty bowls / plates after lapping up all of the hilsa / prawn / mutton curry. Do celebrations really get over? .... so many cultures .... tradition .... celebration does go on in one way or the other .... Our home is always in a celebration mode ..... we are geared up with our movie going sessions after a month long gap starting with Golmaal Again .... we have not missed any of this series ..... my too much of a favourite 'Tabu'.... is featuring in it and for Ajay Devgan too.... this man proved looks are not the 'only' required thing in the industry or say in life .... but talent really matters ..... I lack both, so I totally adore both of them .... We are quite accommodating unless it hurts the eyes .... so we find pleasure in both Sonata and Golmaal Again. Following it .... there will be a series of movie going sessions ..... If the father and son duo have decided to follow '' lekhapora korey je garichapa porey shey"..... the mother will stop overthinking refusing to turn more grey and will indulge in merry making .... life is entertainment... entertainment.... entertainment. The son believes studying is a waste of time and the father supports that, so the mother will do whatever she wishes to. I am super elated to know that my son loves me so much so that he decided to follow my path.... "gharey boshey mumma r moto bhyarenda bhajo tobey"...... When the lady of a house gets this crazy with no one actually listening to her, she will talk as this without having a drop of alcohol. A major part of me is Bollywood.... all this while I was enjoying those Bollywood couples in gorgeous outfits attending parties and celebrating the "Festival of Light." However, I preferred to arrange a special prayer at home, visit the temple and did attend a dine out on few friends' request. In between there was some RAJMA CURRY WITH EGGS IN A YOGURT BASED GRAVY cooked at home. Now, I got some time to sit and share the recipe, though there is some cooking going on simultaneously.

The sailor men at home do like curries that suits fried rices and breads. This thick textured RAJMA CURRY WITH EGGS IN A YOGURT BASED GRAVY was made to bring a little variation in the usual Rajma Curry been made at home. Rajma Curry goes very well with any kind of South Asian Bread / Steamed Rice / Jeera Rice. On that particular day I served this RAJMA CURRY WITH EGGS IN A YOGURT BASED GRAVY with egg fried rice. The next morning, the gravy thickened more and we enjoyed it with some parathas. Our mother says her daughter-in-law prepares Rajma Curries very well, I had to blog on it and look for some appreciation .... it is my brother's bubly wife who shows all my food pictures to the mother. I am pretty sure the old lady will scream at me saying... "peyaz-roshun na shatley diye dili shob kichur sangey?".... but my smart readers are smarter enough to try it and agree we can try a spice paste taking together everything when in a hurry.... especially when  you are eager to complete a short story from the Maupassant's Collection. What we must do is to stir the spice paste for quite sometime. Ever since one of the master chefs have confused me on the usage of the word "saute" .... I am avoiding it, as I am not that much of a knowledgeable person. I will try to do a research on it once I complete reading the collection. I am always open to cooking with you all in between and sharing the recipe of RAJMA CURRY WITH EGGS IN A YOGURT BASED GRAVY.



INGREDIENTS :

Rajma [Red Kidney Beans] : 250gm
Eggs [boiled and halved] : 3-4
Plain Yogurt : 100-150gm
Onion : 1medium 
Coriander Seed : 1tbsp
Cumin Seed : 1tsp +2-3pinches
Dry Red Chilli : 4
Cinnamon Stick : 1-2two inch size
Green Cardamom : 2-3
Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp[for colour]
Garlic : 3-4 cloves[peeled and washed]
Ginger : 1two inch size [ peeled and washed]
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Bayleaf : 1
Salt : As Required
Oil : 4-5tbsp
Coriander Leaves [chopped] : 1small cup

METHOD :

Wash the red kidney beans well and soak in hot salted water for at least 5-6 hours. Pressure cook up to 4-5 whistles adding little turmeric powder and switch off. Let it cool till the lid opens by itself.

Take the plain yogurt, onion, green cardamoms, cinnamon sticks, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, dry red chillies, garlic cloves and ginger piece together in a blender.



Blend to a paste adding half small cup water.



Heat oil in a wok and temper with cumin seeds and a bay leaf. Add the spice paste and keep stirring till the oil separated from the spice mix. Add the Kashmiri red chilli powder, turmeric powder now. Fold in well and stir for a minute or so.



Add the boiled red kidney beans / Rajma without the water and stir for 3-4 minutes.



Add the remaining water from the pressure cooker and little more. Cover and simmer for about 12-15 minutes at minimal heat.



Open cover, add the already boiled, peeled and halved eggs and chopped coriander leaves. Gently fold in and take down.



Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy with a mains of your choice. On that particular day we thoroughly enjoyed it with egg fried rice.



Tuesday, 17 October 2017

PAN FLAVOURED RASMALAI



Tomorrow is Diwali.... we get to see an illuminated India and also at Indian homes worldwide.... My heart whispers.... "Let there be light"in your lives.... let it remain kindled all 365 days of the year. Each year during this time .... I can see a picture been circulated in social media on how India looks from space during Diwali / Deepavali. I do not know about its authenticity but I love watching it and never do get bored. Its been eight years now we miss this nationwide celebration but we live in a country which not only allots national holiday for Diwali but a month long Diwali Bazaar is held at two to three venues.... In specific Indian localities .... streets are decorated with lights..... earlier I have shared such pictures in different forums. In most of the condominiums with considerable amount of Indian population..... there is celebration and people are allowed to burn crackers in specific areas been allotted for the purpose. So we do not feel detached as such. I have preferred to stay away from the "cracker ban" issue that has caused a stir recently..... the three of us in the family are too very scared of crackers .... specially of the ones that make noise. My earliest memory of burning crackers during this period was at the maternal grandparents' place wearing jazzy, silk clothes and burning "tarabati, rongmashal, chorki"..... the sparkling, no noise ones. Does that sound very dangerous to you .... wearing silk / zaridar suits and playing with fire? Well .... this controversy's own child decided not to take sides on this matter ..... storing two to three gas cylinders in your balcony is equally dangerous .... my family does, friends too, even my empty home back in Kolkata has one spare in the balcony..... even after repeated warnings from my senior who handles the safety control issue of a couple of ships. I remember when I went on board ship, I used to cook for the 30-35 crew members on board as I wished so.... I was not supposed to by the rule book of this industry.... the master of the ship who happened to be my husband told both the chief and second cooks if this lady creates any mess I will throw her out of the ship and send report to the higher authorities against you. So you know what we wish is at most times backed by emotions..... which may not tally with what is right in all cases ..... let wiser people decide what is wrong and right if we are unable to. When my little brother spent hundreds to thousand rupees on "kalipotka, dodoma, rocket bomb".... the fiercest of the crackers .... I used to be too worried.

If it is Diwali for majority of the Indians, it is also Kali Pujo for the Bengalis.... we worship the Goddess of Power? with some "Shyama Sangeet" and "Pathar Mangsho"..... a special music genre as a tribute to the mother and rice, mutton, khichdi. How are we celebrating Diwali? Well tomorrow is Diwali, family is in holiday mood and I prefer home cooked food.... preparation is on for some mutton biryani and hilsa curry..... but when it comes to what I share on blog..... I have to think of what majority of my readers want or how they will be celebrating! Thursday is Kalipujo for us..... there will be a "chotto kore bhog".... I will cook and offer to my Gods and Goddesses..... evening is booked for the temple visit..... "doob de re mon kali boley"..... Each year the friends visit the nearest venue for Kali pujo .... done the Bengali way ..... its around midnight and I skip. This year we may go, the husband wishes to be with his friends......... Moreover, the person who sponsors this pooja hailing from "opar Bangla".... is an overly rich businessman yet outwardly down to earth human being who personally attends all the guests during both durga pooja and kali pooja .... I simply adore that humble tone in people though I was married to a "pot full of arrogance".... haha... I was hooked towards a genuinely honest person actually. What is a celebration without sweets? This time I felt this PAN FLAVOURED RASMALAI is just perfect for the occasion..... all three of them should be happy .... Maa Lakshmi .... Ganesh .... Maha Kali... Rasmalai is a very much loved sweet among the Indians. I do try them at home though not on a regular basis. I happened to taste this particular PAN FLAVOURED RASMALAI at a friend's place last month, instantly loved ..... yes this is the same shameless diabetic speaking whose sugar level goes beyond limit even after a test on fasting. What else? the son is not giving me any reason to smile and live .... two weeks of term break... he is either watching television or playing car games on his laptop..... repeating history? haha... better I do what I love.... cook and eat. My friend got frozen packets of these PAN FLAVOURED RASMALAI from the Indian super market here. One bite into it and I instantly decided I have to prepare this Indian dessert of super white rasgullas / roshogolla dunked in a very light milk syrup which has been flavoured with freshly made pan / betel leaf juice. Betel Leaves have a deep connection .... the grandmother's "pan er dabor" was like "podi pishir barmi baksho"..... the later is a classic by Leela Majumder for the young.... as a child we all were curious to know what was there in Podi Aunt's intricately designed Burmese box... I had similar curiosity for my grandma's betel leaf box.... that generation had to have a "pan" post lunch and the kids were barred from it. I craved for one whenever I was there with them. Her "paner dabor" had fresh betel leaves, betel nuts [shupuri], khoyer [catechu?], chun [lime powder?] roasted fennel seeds[bhaja mouri] and few other spices. I love my teeth, else I would have own that treasure box by now. So, no wonder I will love to do the PAN FLAVOURED RASMALAI and wish to share the recipe with you all on the occasion of Diwali. However, I do not know whether this dessert is done  this way or not. I have done it my way and did not follow any other recipe.



INGREDIENTS :
Milk : 1lt + 400ml
Lemon Juice : 1/2small cup
Ice Cube : 1small cup
Sugar : 11/2 medium cup 
Semolina : 1tsp
Baking Powder : 2-3pinches [optional]
Green Cardamom : 2-3
Betel Leaf : 7-8
Water : As Required
Rose Water : 2-4drops
Garnish as you wish
The amount yields about 10-12 rasgullas / roshogolla
METHOD :

Let us prepare the Paneer / Chena / Indian Cottage Cheese first. Take 1lt. of milk in a deep bottomed vessel. Put for boil. As it comes to boil, add the lemon juice, stir. The milk will curdle, switch off gas and add the ice cubes.


Once cool, pass the entire mixture through a fine, white cloth and squeeze out as much water as you can.


Tie the cloth on your kitchen tap and leave like that for 45 minutes-1hour.



Take down, untie and place the paneer / chena / Indian cottage cheese on to a plate.



We will knead it now for about 15 minutes. We will add the semolina and baking powder now and knead further for 10 minutes.



We will prepare small balls from the dough. I do not have much expertise in rasgulla / roshogolla making, so they do not double in size while cooking but they taste like rasgulla ... hehe...


Simultaneously, we were preparing the sugar syrup with 11/2 medium cups of sugar and 2-3 big cups of water. Rasgulla syrup should never be allowed to be sticky. We will tear the green cardamoms a bit and add to the boiling syrup. Once it has boiled for about 7-8 minutes, we will gently add the cottage cheese balls.



We will cover cook it for about 15-18 minutes at medium heat and switch off gas. Meanwhile, wash the betel leaf, one by one thoroughly.



Tear from middle, discarding the stem. Prepare a juice in the blender adding little water. Strain and take in a bowl.



In a clean vessel, boil 400ml milk for 5 minutes. Add 1small cup of the sugar syrup from the vessel where the rasgullas are still swimming. You know I hate wastage.



After boiling it for another 7-8 minutes, we will gently add the rasgullas / roshogolla. Rasmalai's milk syrup is always light in texture and I like it that way. Let the rasgullas boil for 3-4 minutes before we switch off gas.



Let the entire thing cool down, add the betel leaf juice gently, rose water drops too. Gently stir. Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before serving. Do not forget to garnish as you wish either. Your dessert for any season is ready.


Sunday, 15 October 2017

COCONUT ALOO



These are Friday night scenarios at my home .... cooking fresh with left over raw ingredients in the pantry. I prefer cooking vegetarian meals on Friday, as the next two days will be too much of non-vegetarian fair...... and if it is vegetarian, I need to be extra cautious while cooking and pairing the mains with sides...... What goes inside my mind is that ..... there has to be smiling faces around when I serve the platter. I do get to see that when I prepare this kind of vegetarian food and not that kind that we grew up eating. I meant if there is a platter of "shaak, panchtorkari, daaler bora / beguni and dal".... that is a vegetarian platter of greens, mixed vegetables, lentil or eggplant fritters and lentil curry ....... the men at this home will eat the rice with lentil curry with a good number of fritters and totally skip the vegetables.... So, on days we are not eating out, I try to create that restaurant like ambience right at home whether I am cooking exotics or a platter as simple as this.... COCONUT ALOO which I served with herbed butter baby naan and dry fruit pulao. Just a little trick and it clicks.  Breads are so much loved at this home that they can have it just like that with dollops of butter or ghee. The lady of the house will not serve it that way but prepare a delicious sides with shredded coconut, potato and spices and name it COCONUT ALOO. I could have named it narkol aloo.... however I will put it this way.... I try to use Bengali name for authentic Bengali dishes.... I have some in line.....  will do as and when I feel like.

At the moment, I do not know what I am writing .... it is a Sunday and the man of this house has to play all variety of songs and movies on screen... he is a fan of Kapoor junior as much as I am.... finding it difficult to concentrate .... I can never multi task.... well he is just a little boy compared to the count of my grey strands..... the eye lashes and brows are also turning grey... I have stopped bothering ever since the "chote nawab" had chosen Kareena Kapoor over me... yes.... post Dil Chahta Hai I became an ardent fan of Saif Ali Khan ... the way he transformed and improved his acting skills is good enough reason to be so.... but he disowned me.... so I will not watch his latest.... CHEF.... where he plays the role of a chef.... I do not wish to see him love what I love .... on screen... in public .... neither should I show any interest in his personal likes and dislikes.... he is not mine .... Kareena must be taking care of that.... Come let us give a big shout out for Vidya's Tumhari Sulu, Irfan's Doob and Amir's Secret Superstar .... Well you are not an idiot like me and know it well if there is a Kareena and me to choose from ... the 'chote nawab' will always choose a Kareena .... You should watch them all .... do not worry lah... I still remain his fan because I do not allow negativity to breed within .... We should not harbour offence against people unless they make a serious attempt to insult  your 'self'...... Swelling of heart is an 'inside' thing and only we have to take care of our own... no one will really care. Come.... let us prepare this no onion, no garlic vegetarian delight called COCONUT ALOO instead..... "Saifina"... the glamorous Bollywood couple may not like it but my man smiled when I served it .... one who through all thick and thin is always beside me.... If I am getting filmy today, let me mention another film ... a Bengali box office success "Projapoti Biskut"...directed by an once upon a time friend from college, the very talented Anindya Chatterjee .... All this while I was watching how sincerely he was doing all the publicity for his baby .... the music of which is directed together by him and equally talented Anupam Roy ... Santanu Moitro and Prasen who I do not know... May be someday we get to see it... yet to be lucky enough to watch Aparna Sen's Sonata ... starring Shabana, Aparna and Lillete Dubey.... When actors of their calibre come together ... we have to watch it..... till date we have not missed a single movie directed by Aparna Sen .... too much of a favourite.... If you still have the energy to read my trash, thank you for tolerating this senile ... I get more so after a Saturday night fever.... I was unable to find the way to my home even through the basement yesterday midnight.... hahaha.... It feels good to be bad at times .... Coming to COCONUT ALOO...... it was Friday night... with hungry stomach growling... I could not manage stepwise pictures really ... the three dishes took me nearly three hours .... but it is worth it.... The stuffed red chilli pickle recipe needs to be shared soon ...



INGREDIENTS :
Potato : 4big
Shredded Coconut : 1medium cup
Ginger Paste : 2tsp
Asafoetida : 2pinches
Cumin Seeds : 1tsp
Coriander Seeds : 1tsp + 2pinches
Fennel Seeds : 1/2tsp
Urad Dal : 2tsp [split black lentil]
Black Pepper Corn : 1tsp
Dry Red Chilli : 4
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp
Bay Leaf : 1
Oil : 4tsp

METHOD :

Wash the potatoes and prick all over with a fork. Take them all in a plate, microwave at high for 2 minutes. Let cool, peel.

Cut each potato into 4 pieces. Rub with salt and half of the turmeric powder. Keep aside for 5-7 minutes.

Dry roast the cumin.... coriander..... fennel seeds, urad dal, black pepper corns, dry red chillies together and dry grind to a powder.

Heat oil in a pan.... fry the potatoes in batches till golden brown. Take out.

Temper oil with asafoetida, bay leaf and cumin seeds. Add the shredded coconut and fry till they are toasted well. Take out.

Add the ginger paste and fry for 2 minutes. Add the dry roasted spice powder and the toasted coconut together and fold in well. Stir for 1-2 minutes and add the fried potato pieces.

Fold in the entire mixture well and add 1 medium cup water. Cover cook for 7-8 minutes. Check in between.... if we require water we will sprinkle little. I wished for a dry potato dish.

Once done, add the lemon juice and fold in gently.

Transfer to a serving bowl. I served them with herbed baby butter naan and dry fruit pulao.




Thursday, 12 October 2017

MANGO HALWA


Isn't that the king of all fruits for many of my tribe?.... and what I see around is the versatile use of this magical fruit .... sweet... juicy... yellowish red in the kitchen of so many.... of certified chefs to self taught, homely cooks. I simply loved the idea of not having mango only as a fruit but using it to prepare a number of desserts... from cheese cakes to various desi sweets. Since, you already know that my fingers are not so friendly with bakes.... my kitchen is at most times filled with sweet aroma of desi desserts.... this time with a MANGO HALWA. There will be at least one dessert stored in the refrigerator for the day... I do so for the teen at home, my nocturnal senior and for any sudden guest given that there is no "doi mishtir dokan".... every 200 mts. here..... though there are malls every 1-3 km perhaps.... which has more food stores than clothing shops these days I see. It is so difficult for a foodie diabetic like me to practice self control. So we can always get something or the other for sudden guests within 15 minutes..... but  I have grown up in an environment / family where guests were always welcomed with food made with lots of love and care at home... from the drinks to mains to chutney to sweet. It was not the number of items that mattered but the warmth expressed doing so. In the grandmother's kitchen, there were two big clay ovens .... 'matir unan'.... I have never seen her frowning in irritation with arrival of guests at anytime.... there was always something or the other in her kitchen cabinet to treat people, no beggar went off from her gate without a coin or some food during her reign. The lady is nearing 90... cannot hear properly... still can look after herself without any help..... I love her.... I grew up in her lap.... I have very sweet memories with her to cherish.... and more so because she loved my father too much. When I see my friends doing everything in the kitchen from scratch ..... my hope gets alive that our lives indeed has not become 'bottled.'.... and the efforts of these yester year wonders will not be done away with entirely.

My brother has just called and conveyed me a very good news..... the elder sister who has always guarded him like a tigress is too very happy and wishes to treat her readers with some sweets ..... no there is no cliched statement like... oh you know our daddy is coming back in the family.... that way they are not giving any hope as of now, neither did he say didibhai... ok I will now match my political ideology with yours.... yet some 'mishti mukh' folks because some relations are perhaps not related to any calculation. Fresh Fruits are very much used in my kitchen both for desserts or in curries other than Bengali. We indeed treat Mango as the 'king' given we are still having it which ever variety we are getting coming from the neighbouring countries or elsewhere. This was the first time I have used freshly pureed mango to prepare a scrumptous dessert as this. The ingredients I have used for this MANGO HALWA are ripe mango pulp, semolina, pistachio, cashew nut, raisin, sugar, full cream milk, condensed milk, ghee. There might be similar recipes of MANGO HALWA already, I have not followed any. This dessert with mango, semolina and mixed dry fruits was part of an offering to God, hence I could not click pictures of the steps... we are not supposed to. Yet it will not stop us from doing together this yum laden MANGO HALWA which can very much be a part of your festive dessert menu.





INGREDIENTS :
Ripe Mango : 2-3big
Semolina : 11/2medium cup
Sugar : 1/4small cup
Condensed Milk : 2 -4 tbsp
Full Cream Milk : 1big cup
Cashew nut : 6-8halved
Pistachio : 4-5chopped
Raisin : 7-8
Green Cardamom : 2-3
Ghee : 4-5 tbsp

METHOD :

Wash the mangoes, peel and cut into small cubes. Add to a blender, blend for 2 minutes to get a paste / puree. Pour in a bowl.

Heat ghee in a pan / wok. Tear the green cardamoms lightly and add to the ghee. Your kitchen is filled with a magnetic aroma... haha...

Add the chopped pistachio and halved cashew nuts , stir. Add the semolina, fold in well and keep stirring till it is roasted well and turns little brown.

Add the mango puree and sugar. Mix well the entire thing. Add the condensed milk and again fold in well.

Let it cook while we constantly stir the mixture. Add the milk little by little and stir. Pour the entire content and let boil for sometime. Add the raisins too.

After 3-5 minutes it should be done.  Add more milk if required. Drizzle a tbsp ghee atop. Garnish as you wish.






Tuesday, 10 October 2017

SEMOLINA & SPICE STUFFED KACHORI WITH SWEET TAMARIND CHUTNEY




This recipe demands a pretty long description  yet I decided to go ahead with it. I am really not in a mental state to even concentrate on anything at a stretch at the moment. Why so? The son's board examination starts today with his nightmare Hindi.... there will be another paper on Thursday.... then the rest will happen after a gap of five months. You can well understand I am having a nervous breakdown every half an hour with no one paying any such attention to it.... why? because the clever people around know it aggravates the condition. Obviously both of us went to the school to drop him off, the madam in charge understood my condition looking at my face, she even allowed me to go with the son up to his classroom, but he is not my mother's kids.... he blatantly said either you go off else I do not sit for the examination. I cannot make phone calls to the old people back there either.... they get on my nerves more..... " boro scale.. diyechish to? addh dozen pen dibi.... formalities gulo thik moto likhtey bolish barbar.... school canteen e boshey thakbi sharadin.... cheleter porikkhar shomoy phone ta to bondho rakhtey parish...." I am too tired to even spend a single word to convince them that I can spend the entire day at the school or keep blogging at bay for few days if only anyone listens to me at home. I get angry with the old people in the family in such situations.... their fingers are always targetted towards me knowing I deal with the most difficult duo of the world.... they are the master of their own will... well, to a certain extent me too...... However they are, they are mine .... End of the day they come home to me and we sit for dinner together. To top up all the tensions and worries within me.... there is another lady with similar anxiety disorder as mine ... she is not my family or may be yes.... is that important? what you may find hilarious is both of us think our kids are too vulnerable and the entire world is conspiring against them.... hahaha.... That is where the two ladies.... with a 25 years of age gap bonds..... wish I could ever tell you the story of her sacrifice for her kids.... if only I had been given the liberty to. Every mother or parent do sacrifice some thing or the other for their kids.... she did a bit more.... If you have seen that.... can feel that... you will definitely respect that ..... therein lies the reason for some of my life time connections inspite of having good amount of differences / distance .... in between.

If I have decided not to talk to the old people for any mental support... or if the son has decided not to allow mumma to sit at the school for the day..... what will mumma do except for something she loves doing ..... share her recipes with the world.... festivity continues for us.... To boost our festive spirit, we need a variety of sweets and snacks... For me whether it is a festival or a family get together or otherwise... food should be the ultimate... rest seems lifeless without it ... haha... I proudly admit I live to eat ..... Kachori  is stuffed poori or puffed bread and very much loved among us. The island I live in may not eat Kachori in particular.... but I strongly feel if a fair number of them can eat murtabak... a kind of stuffed paratha or even something similar to our samosa... a thin skinned variety of it.... my kachori stall can earn me a fair amount.... Oh God! my dear readers do not follow ever a person like me who sits and plan but never get out of the couch and try something fruitful. Kachori can be done with a variety of fillings... You just need to mix and match the ingredients from time to time... This time I tried kachori with a filling made with roasted semolina and freshly ground spices. I served it with an instantly made sweet tamarind chutney. Come let us do the SEMOLINA & SPICE STUFFED KACHORI together and serve them with a SWEET TAMARIND CHUTNEY. The platter definitely remain incomplete without hot chai / coffee.. masala or otherwise.



INGREDIENTS : [for the Sweet Tamarind Chutney]
Tamarind : 1/2small cup
Sugar : 1/22tbsp
Black Salt : 2-3pinches
Green Chilli : 1
Ginger Extract : 1/4tsp
Water : 1/2small cup

INGREDIENTS : [for the Semolina & Spice Stuffed Kachori]
Refined Flour : 2big cup
Baking Soda : 1/4tsp
Salt : 1/4tsp
Sugar : 11/2tsp
Semolina : 1medium cup
Cumin Seeds : 1tsp
Coriander Seeds : 11/2tsp
Fennel Seeds : 1/2tsp
Carrom Seeds : 1tsp
Dry Red Chilli : 2-3
Green Cardamom : 2
Cinnamon Stick : 2 one inch stick
Ghee : 3-4tbsp
Oil : 100-200ml [to deep fry]

METHOD :
Let us prepare the filling first. Heat oil in a wok / pan and dry roast the cumin... coriander... fennel.... carom seeds and the dry red chilli for a minute or two.



In the same wok, add 1tbsp ghee. Once hot, add the semolina and roast till it turns golden brown.



Once it is golden brown, add the dry roasted spice mixture and fold in well.



Add sugar and salt to it and stir for 3-4 minutes. Transfer the filling to a bowl and let cool.



For the dough, take the maida, baking soda, salt in a wide mouthed big bowl. Mix well. Add 3-4tbsp ghee.



Rub the entire thing well for 2-3 minutes.



Add water little by little, and keep kneading.



Once done, transfer the mixture to a plate and cover with cling wrap.



After 20 minutes to half an hour, remove cling wrap.... and knead again for another 5-6 minute. You will not get a better chance to practice your punching skills... trust me.



Tear out small portions from the dough and make pockets as below.



Add a good amount of filling right in the middle.



Close from all sides and flatten a bit to form kachori.



Heat oil in a wok and add the green cardamom & cinnamon.... this adds to the flavour of the kachoris.



Fry the kachoris in batches at medium to low heat.



Transfer them on to tissue papers.




For the Sweet Tamarind Chutney, take the  tamarind in a grinder discarding the seeds. Add sugar, black salt and the green chilli.... add water.



Grind to a paste. It looks as below.



Pass the entire mixture through a strainer.



The Sweet Tamarind Chutney looks as this.



We will have the fresh and hot SEMOLINA & SPICE STUFFED KACHORI with SWEET TAMARIND CHUTNEY. There have to have hot cups of tea or coffee to complete the platter.