Thursday, 30 November 2017


Some days I wish to go back to the bygone days and rehearse few scenes..... how actually Sunday mornings had been.... how we got an extra hour to sleep, how we both siblings fought over trivial issues, how beautiful seemed the "khuntir awaj"... the noise coming from the kitchen. The concentration was never on the text books but in what is going to come for the breakfast.... the brother was never a foodie like his sister, but he loved his "didibhai" so much so that he took part in the discussion. I never took interest in the kitchen in those days and our mother too always had to say "rannar shomoy birokto korishna".... do not disturb while I am cooking.... Almost closing the text book, the sister used to ask ... "aaj porota na luchi korchey rey mani? Pa... ki anlo rey bazaar thekey.... jilipi na roshogolla? Ja na bhai rannaghor theke ekta luchi niye aai".... while the brother was totally engrossed in playing with his toy cars...... it is difficult to translate certain feelings and I will not. Saturday or Sunday mornings were never meant for chapatis, Sunday dinners were with hot chapatis and chicken / mutton though. Lunches were simple with less number of dishes as our mother's kids would not eat anything else when they got to smell meat... so lunch spread was rice, shaak [greens], chicken / mutton curry, chutney and off course Sherlock Holmes! I loved watching it as much as reading.... our Pa got me all the volumes by the time I was in middle school. If "Feluda" is our religion, Holmes was / is the temple where I would love to take refuge anytime of the day! Where does text books feature in here? There are people who read, write, cook, speak, work at the same frequency.... but I am always that average who never can multitask. Let us come back to food..... Saturday mornings were for fried rice with leftover rice from the last night, carrot, beet, eggs or a "phyana bhaat"... porridge kind of made with fragrant rice, to be had with boiled eggs, ghee, salt and a green chilli.... The other day I saw a Bengali Blogger had blogged on "maan kochu bata".... I loved it... and thought what the hell I am doing sitting here.... ain't I that Bengali who searches for "kharkol / ghatkol pata" throughout the island and laments... "kotodin kharkol pata bata khaini".... the reason someone got scared and  left many autumns back.....haha.... without even saying a goodbye, neither ever said "hi, whats up?"... perhaps out of the fear that this witch can do some "jadu tona" kind of black magic.... Anyways, I am living with a Captain Haddock for twenty years now who never lets me swim on a bucket of tears. Where was I?... ok, Sunday mornings, we had either "porota-begunbhaja- jilipi" or "luchi-aloor dom-sandesh" or something as this.... GHEETE BHAJA LUCHI O JHINGE KUMRO ALOOR TARKARI.... kalojeerey shuknolonka phoron diye. I keep on doing them for my happy go lucky men.

Sweets and desserts are a regular at our home. Roshogolla / Rasgulla is something I do often which gets near perfect some days and lefts me dissatisfied on some other day with their shapes, sizes and texture. .... Someday they will be perfect for ever..... Extremely poor at artistry.... I am trying to design an amriti / amaretti... on a piece of paper.... isn't doing some GHEETE BHAJA LUCHI O JHINGE KUMRO ALOOR TARKARI .... quicker and easier?... they are... by the time the rasgulla boils in syrup, I am done with the platter... Look at the hotchpotch sequence of the stages of rasgulla making at my kitchen and you will get an idea of my height of illiteracy....

Ghee luchi is not anything unique but the aroma you get is out of the world and it is crisper perhaps... Before dalda entered a Bengali kitchen, "nuchi" was always made with ghee and served with ... with.... tell me what not?.... from begun bhaja, aloo chocchori, domer aloo, murgir jhol to bonde, roshogolla and this simple, no spice dish of "jhinge kumro aloor torkari".... done with ridge gourd, pumpkin and potatoes. This platter is so much easy that I actually do it singing "bachna aai haseeno".... Such songs takes me to the early 90's... me and Chandrayee on way back to home from coaching classes.... all of a sudden, we would buy night show tickets for a Bollywood movie... Tanushree never joined in such ventures as she lived in that neighbourhood. At the interval.... I used to scream ..... Chandrayee... its 9:30 pm .... who will save us from our mothers?... Two girls leave the movie halfway, and run to catch a homebound bus.... did some boys say anything at the back?... yes "Hathibaganey akhono hathi paoa jai..." we both being fatso. Till date, we both fight apparently, we do not bother at all... I may suddenly call her one evening.... Chandreyee "tor buk folano dada ke money achey?".... there was one senior guy in our college who hardly mingled with anyone... he perhaps concentrated more on body building.... which was not so common in those days.... These two fat girls had to discuss him... sitting at "Basanta Cabin".... S just tore off a portion of "chicken kobiraji" and dipped it in "kashundi".... Chandrayee "shon, buk folano dada ki khai rey?.... chola bhejano?"..... This day I have a container full of "chola".... kala chana waiting to be soaked and eaten with greens... instead I call Cristine and discuss the dinner menu.... how about some butter naan, ghee rice and paneer tonight.... Ever since Rujuta Diwekar prescribed ghee as safe... I am literally taking a shower with ghee.... she does not know while at gym or at walk... I dream of food... To share this recipe of GHEETE BHAJA LUCHI O JHINGE KUMRO ALOOR TARKARI with my readers, I postponed my workouts. I  also have the plan to prepare some "Bonde" today.... why on earth "Bonde" is considered a typo error and lands down to Bond.... Ok, for all our James Bond movie ventures during college days, we had a particular childhood friend from school accompanying us to the movie halls to protect us from the "dushtu loks".... This guy married our classmate.... the Bollywood style while we were just 20.... that story some other day, if he permits! When the degree of nostalgia is such today, an authentic Bengali recipe is a must.

Refined Flour : 2big cups
Salt : 1/4tsp
Sugar : 1tsp
Ghee : 11/2tbsp + 100-150ml to fry the luchi / poori
Water : As required for a soft, yet firm dough

Ridge Gourd : 2-3standard size
Pumpkin : 1/4 of a medium sized
Potato : 2big
Nigella Seed : 1/2tsp [kalonji / kalojeerey]
Dry Red Chilli : 2[halved]
Green Chilli : 2-3[slitted]
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Sugar : 1tsp
Oil : 2tbsp


Peel, wash and cut the potatoes, ridge gourd and pumpkin into cubes and wash thoroughly. Keep each of them in separate bowls and rub with salt and turmeric, let them rest for 6-8 minutes.

Heat oil in a wok and temper with the nigella seeds and halved dry red chillies. Add the marinated potato pieces, fold in well and cover. Let it cook at low heat for 2-3 minutes.

Open cover, add the marinated pumpkin and ridge gourd pieces along with the marinade. Fold in well and let it cook for 4-5 minutes at low heat.

Open cover and add the sugar and slitted green chillies. Fold in well and let it cook for another minute. We are done. Transfer to a serving bowl.

Now let us prepare the ghee the bhaja luchi.

For the luchi / refined flour poori, we need to take the refined flour in a wide mouthed bowl.... to it we will add 11/2tbsp ghee, salt and sugar.

We will rub all the ingredients for 2-3 minutes.

We will add warm / cold water little by little and keep kneading till a soft and smooth dough is formed. I did not have time to cover, but you can keep the dough covered for 15 minutes.

Take out small portions from the dough and smoothen between palms.

With help of rolling pin, roll out the balls into poori shapes.

Heat Ghee in a deep, round wok.

Gently place each luchi / poori at a time. Fry one side and flip over to fry the other side. The fluffiness of luchi / poori depends on how we control the temperature of our gas oven.

We will serve the combo meal of GHEETE BHAJA LUCHI O JHINGE KUMRO ALOOR TARKARI with any kind of sweets.... be it sandesh or roshogolla!

Tuesday, 28 November 2017


Aww it was last night... a Monday when we had this platter of PINEAPPLE PRAWN & GARLIC TEMPERED RICE at the dinner table. Have I stopped cooking till 4 pm on Saturday's?... not really, I have a rack full of "aloo diye murgir jhol, phoolkopir dalna, beulir dal, jhingey-kumro" in the refrigerator .... yes I cooked half the number of dishes than I usually do on Saturdays.... the men are refusing to have their meals with three-four items. Instead, if I serve some hot poori with the chicken and potato curry for the dinner.... they are more than happy. I should not have any problem with it if they had a bowl of salad and raita alongside. No, they are not even near to your spouses and kids and will not eat something they do not wish to. This lady cannot rely entirely on fish and meat proteins but wish to serve a wholesome meal end of the day. In such a scenario, a "phoolkopir dalna".... helps.... If served with hot chapatis... they will have it.... though I doubt whether a cauliflower gets justice in a Bengali / Indian / South Asian home or not.... after a "koshano with ada jirey lanka bata and a garnish with cinnamon and cardamom powder."... I do have sautéed cauliflower, broccoli and mushrooms at the food courts and in parties but cannot make it my religion. I did not make my birthday public.... you know why? I was too scared of my friends sharing a broccoli soup on that particular day .... I did not wish tears rolling down my "almost blind" eyes on my birthday.... the spicy mutton soup native of our neighbouring country is a hot favourite though. So no wonder, this lady will add some dry roasted red chilli powder to the pineapple prawn  of the combined platter of PINEAPPLE PRAWN & GARLIC TEMPERED RICE. Anyway, this miser finally got some Taiwan Cauliflower the other day at double the price than normal... they looked similar to the "deshi phoolkopi" that my grandfather grew in his garden and tasted similar too. Memories are not seasonal for me.... it is just there!

Saturday activities in the kitchen has to be lessened.... however unromantic the senior is.... he gets pissed off watching me busy in the kitchen till 4pm on a Saturday, that too wearing a worn out nightwear, messy haired, sweating profusely.... there he shouts... you are getting more & more unorganised S. I retaliate saying I refuse to sit and watch CNBC's "kochkochani".... if you promise me to take out for a long drive, sit at the cosy, dark corner of a restaurant and say only platinum suits my wife.... I can think and re-think about it.... Before he gives an answer in his signature style.... Cristine has to intervene.... "ma'am, the dal is boiling... shall I add the slitted green chillies?"... I run to the kitchen fearing she may add sugar to the 'mushurir dal' with a mood to tell her "jhogrer shomoy bagra dibina." In fear of gifting the wife Platinum Jewelry, the husband also lets the wife cook peacefully. I really have to stop cooking so much on a day.... two to three days in a week there are messages coming from the man... S, we have a conference with our "that" office, located in a place which starts functioning when it is time for us to go to bed. Each time I fail to see the messages in time , get to see them once the rice is done, dough gets ready, food taken out to be reheated. You can well understand the mood of this woman .... more so when she is approaching menopause... neither I am ill-tempered like his mother that I will throw all the food from the table to scare others present. No one wishes to see frowning faces after a hard day at office.... so such easy solutions like a combined platter of PINEAPPLE PRAWN & GARLIC TEMPERED RICE are welcome... always! The senior is not so fond of anything cooked with ketchups or a sweet and sour sauce to be precise.... where as the son's plate seems like squeaky clean without use of a dishwasher! What will the lady do? She will prepare some paratha tonight to go with the aloo-chicken and bring both the father and son in tune.... she herself will have a thin paratha with "boondi-raita" and salad... happily! Cooking is a pleasure for me so long people around are happy with the dishes I cook. This combined platter of PINEAPPLE PRAWN & GARLIC TEMPERED RICE takes only 11/2 hours to be done and we must have it fresh and hot. The pineapple used has to be really sweet and we are lucky to get it from a neighbouring country... Elephants like them or not, this baby elephant loves it just like that with some chaat masala and black salt. I / We love a very simple, burnt garlic rice at the beach side restaurants of our island and I try to do something similar. This platter has soya sauce, cornflour used... so what ?... I will not call it oriental... I do not have the required utensils for oriental cooking in the first place! It is something near to "Shyambazaar er morer chow chow".... flocks of people in queue to have a plate.... You too cannot stop at trying my recipe of PINEAPPLE PRAWN & GARLIC TEMPERED RICE only once!

Prawn : 500gm [cleaned, de shelled, washed]
Pineapple : 1medium cup [peeled, washed, cubed]
Capsicum : 1/2small cup [washed, cut in strips or cubed]
Red Bell Pepper : 1/2small cup [washed, cut in strips or cubed]
Onion : 1medium [peeled, washed and cubed]
Cornflour : 11/2tbsp
Black Pepper Powder : 1tsp
Tomato Sauce : 1/2medium cup
Light Soya Sauce : 2-3tbsp
Dry Red Chilli : 4-6 [dry roasted and coarsely ground]
Garlic : 1tbsp[minced]
Salt : As Required
Oil : 4tbsp

Pre Cooked Rice : 4 coffee mugs [I used Basmati]
Onion : 1large [sliced, washed]
Garlic : 2tbsp [minced]
Light Soya Sauce : 2-3tbsp 
Salt : As Required
Oil : 2-3tbsp

For the GARLIC TEMPERED RICE, take a wide mouthed wok, heat the oil. Add the sliced onion and fry till crisp. Take out and place on a tissue paper.

Add the minced garlic and stir at high heat for 30-40 seconds. Add the pre cooked rice and stir at high heat for two minutes. Add the required amount of salt and the light soya sauce. Stir again for a minute and switch off gas... we are done. Garnish with the crispy fried onions.

For the PINEAPPLE PRAWN, marinate the washed prawns with some salt and black pepper powder for 45 minutes-1hr.

Rub the bell peppers too with some salt and black pepper powder. Prepare a mixture taking the tomato sauce, light soya sauce and coarsely ground dry roasted red chillies.

Heat the oil in a wok, add the cornflour to the prawns, rub well and fry them lightly discarding the marinade.

Reserve rest of the oil for future use, keeping 1-11/2tbsp in the wok. Once hot, add the minced garlic and onion cubes, stir at high heat for a minute. Add the pineapple chunks and bell peppers without the marinade and stir at high heat for another minute. Add the sauce mixture and fold in well. Let cook for a minute.

Add the lightly fried prawns to the wok and fold the entire content very well at high heat. Switch of gas.

Serve the Pineapple Prawn immediately with the Garlic Tempered Rice which you may reheat once if required. Enjoy!

Sunday, 26 November 2017


"Aaj Dil Shayaranna, Shayaranna, Shayaranna, Shayaranna Lagta Hai,
Udta Firey Dil, Utarna Janey Na.....
Bigra Hua Dil, Samhalna Janey Na....."

This is exactly how I feel inside at the very sight of mutton and I have to buy a good amount, marinate overnight and tap my feet with the romantic Bollywood numbers in the entire period of cooking KOCHI PATHAR DOM.... that is Dum wale Mutton or an one pot spiced curry with mutton. My poet friends may get extremely angry with me being getting poetic over a plate of mutton but I cannot help it, such is my "Ishkiya" with mutton.... I was a six year old girl when my little brother's rice feeding ceremony was held... I was suffering from severe diarrhoea and ate up my mother's head until she secretly gave me two pieces asking me to seat at the corner of the kitchen. Thereafter both the siblings got addicted towards mutton and the love affair with it continues. None of such phrases like "motu mumma", "mumma is so fat"... could / can stop me from munching something or the other throughout the day. Yesterday, for the lunch... I had two "ghee te bhaja luchi" and two servings of shortbread raspberry ice-cream.... that too after a love-filled warning from Ipsita.... she called me for lunch on Friday over a wonderful bowl of Moroccan Chicken Soup with squash and potatoes... I loved that overpowering flavour of garlic in it... I was so engrossed in a chitchat and the soup that I forgot to ask her for the recipe.... I am sure she will not tell half and hide half like 'my mother'.... To make her accept that there is always a better someone than "me"... I keep on saying,"Mani jano oor barir patishaptar gaye ektao daag nei, tar barir malpoa thik didur moto... perfect shape... majhkhaan fola.... charidik pora pora"... haha . Now, yesterday I went for a music programme on Bollywood's selective songs starting from Saigal era to that forbidden song for the 80's kids 'rooptera mastana'.... to the foot tapping ones of the present.... This 'Rooptera Mastana.... Pyar Mera Diwana' was as usual banned to be watched or sung by my mother's daughter.... but I know she watched it when the daughter was not around. Our father had no problem with it as long as he got regular supply of "naru... nimki.... moya"..... Till date the late father, a wonderful human being, totally unromantic husband may be wondering why all problems in Bollywood starts with few drops of rain.... neither will the daughter of the erstwhile hero spare me if I say I was bowled over after watching your father in "Anand".... Twinkle Khanna may tell her action hero husband ... "yeh aaurat kaisi hai yaar .... character bolke koi chiz hai hi nehi"..... if her husband does some "dhishum dhushum" ... my 22 inch framed man cannot save me. In such a scenario, I would say it is not my fault, my friend, Chandrayee.... the teacher at a school who she considers her family keeps on telling me S.... you remember the eyebrows and the smile of the "kuch to log kahenge.... logo ka kam hai yeh kehna" hero?.... So let me sing "Roop Tera Mastana".... as I did last evening...... because the  mother was not around, because it was not raining..... hence there was no possibility of getting into any trouble... haha..... though my teen was sitting beside who said "mumma behave!"..... Mumma of this house will not behave and have her lunch today with a plateful of KOCHI PATHAR DOM with some hot chapati and rice. Tomorrow the fatso will go to the gym and tell the three happening trainers Kate, Liza, Linda..... I want a body as yours.... the inevitable answer is you need to check your diet too... its not magic.....

I must say cooking marinated mutton pieces in a dum method as this KOCHI PATHAR DOM is a pleasure in the kitchen.The finished product brings magical effect on your plate when served with rice, pulao, South Asian, Middle Eastern or Western Breads. I actually covered it with a heavy top, you can seal with a dough too. I did it to check the water content without stirring for once. If you marinate the mutton for at least five hours before cooking the way as stated below.... you need not stir either for once till the curry dries and the mutton is tender. This may take some 1hour - 11/2 hours.... does it really matter?... you can finish off all other works, sing, dance, do some push ups and planks too just to lessen the amount of guilt.... why?.... simply because you cannot stop at having two or three pieces of that KOCHI PATHAR DOM. I keep on telling my senior, boss get me a license so that I can supply chicken / mutton curry rice to different homes in the island.... The answer that comes seems to be a recorded one.... S.... for your silly ventures, I cannot risk my work permit!You know the government here.... the way you are advancing towards baldness.... your customers are surely to get some hairs on the meat curry... then what? The husband google maps for the kitchen and shampoos his hair perhaps once a fortnight.... so does not know something like plastic gloves, hair caps exist in the world. Do you find shadow of "Mrs. Funny Bones" in what I write today?.... Hihi... actually I was thinking if I discover a lice on my man's head... I may fly to Mumbai, take shelter at our corporate couple friend's home.... supply food to Mrs. Funny Bones' and her friends' homes... earn as much required to buy a flat at Andheri West and order the husband "tolpi-tolpa gutiye chole aai boss.".... He will... with our savings we can hardly manage to buy a three roomed flat in the remote end of Borivali perhaps.Yes, you are right.... I am that stupid, good-for-nothing dreamer. Yesterday evening, I felt good to meet a couple of my ex-colleagues and my favourite mentor Susan John ma'am at the event venue....such an excellent teacher she is... I have the feel... if I go back there... I may get a job. There is a but.... I have long forgotten appropriate use of English Grammar.... for that I have to do some homework instead of taking a dip into Maupassant's "Diamond Necklace" once again, again and again. So you see, I am that lazy brat till date who is only good at sharing recipes with you as this hassle free , spice laden, less oil dish of KOCHI PATHAR DOM.... Dum Wale Mutton cooked in a sealed or covered pot for quite sometime till tender and soft. Shall we sing, dance and do it?... We will....

Mutton / Lamb : 1kg
Raw Papaya Paste or Shredded : 4-5tbsp
Yogurt : 150-200gm
Cumin Seed : 1tsp
Coriander Seed : 2tsp
Dry Red Chilli : 7-8 [adjust as per your taste]
Cinnamon Stick : 2-3 two inch sticks
Green Cardamom : 3-5Clove : 4-5
Onion Paste : 2-3tbsp
Garlic Paste : 2tbsp
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 3-4tbsp [I use mustard]

Wash the medium cut mutton pieces very well. Add some salt and turmeric and keep aside for sometime. 

Dry roast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, dry red chillies, cinnamon sticks, cloves and green cardamoms for about 2 minutes. Let cool, dry grind together to a powder and add to the mutton.

Add the raw papaya paste, beaten yogurt, oil, onion paste, garlic paste, ginger paste and the remaining salt and turmeric. 

Rub and mix all the ingredients together very well.

Once done, we will transfer the entire content with the marinade in an airtight container. I usually refrigerate overnight, you should do it for 5 hours at least.

Take out the marinated mutton an hour before cooking. Transfer the entire content to a heavy bottomed vessel.

Switch on gas stove and place the vessel on it and cover with a heavy top.

Let the mutton cook at very slow heat. After 45-50 minutes, the content looks as this. We need not uncover and see from time to time. Do not let air to go inside much.

The entire cooking time may range between 1:15 minutes to 1:30 minutes and will look as below.
The cooking must be done at lowest heat. The raw papaya paste is a wonderful meat tenderiser.

Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy hot with rice, pulao, paratha, poori, phulka or toasted breads.

Thursday, 23 November 2017


Aww this happened to be our "phool sajjar din".... reception day 20 years back.... what was my first thought early morning?.... what is the lunch menu? .... the scary thought of "I perhaps have to eat less as I am a notun bou... newly wed" was getting me sweat late November ..... haha.... I can only be romantically involved with food perhaps.... Instead of yearning to see my mate's sun-kissed face who was supposed to spend the "kal ratri"... in a different home, I feared "shobar seshe khabo, ekta ilisher tukro o pabona".... as a newly wed I have to eat at last and will not get a single piece of Hilsa... haha... My greatest regret is not been able to have the Mutton Biryani peacefully on that night because of the ruckus caused by "Shyama Poka".... Diwali Bugs. My husband's side of the family are like kings when it comes to food and there was everything of my favourite.... do you think I missed anything... I had them all and licked my fingers. What is "kalratri?".... well for that I have to tell you the story of "Behula-Lakhinder".... in short.... on the day between your marriage and reception, the bride and the groom will not see each other after the sunset till next morning. Anyway, the pain of not  getting to have a plateful of mutton biryani & thereafter a large piece of ice-cream cake got me so upset that I was in no mood to create a Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam moment ..... and this Smita's old, devilish, excellent photographer, good cook husband was insisting us to give him romantic poses @ 2:30 am... imagine .... the moron changed his profile picture last night .... who's work it is? his or her?.... having a joint social media account is confusing and not romantic at all.... What were the other friends and the man's cousins doing?..... banging the doors and windows of our room at 3am till the paa-in-law intervened and scolded them hard.... I preferred to shelf all of the romanticism and sleep on the husband's lap saying I am missing my brother and parents.... the same me told my mother after few years... mani do not expect me to go and stay with you for long... your son-in-law cannot cook. 20 years later, this morning when I said, today all roads should lead not to Rome ..... but to Malabar Golds / our very own MC..... my dear "Humdard"..... What did he say?.... My "Sir dard" please do not remind me, I am already in a "Shorosojja" for 20 years..... Haha.... but the day before yesterday someone barged into our home around 1:15 pm without any notification and took me out for a lunch.... the spread had black pepper crab, batter fried fish, sambal kangkong, hot & sour Sichuan soup, steamed buns.....

Someone knew that this lady will not go out in the evening as the son's unit test is going on.... so this sudden, untimely visit to the home.... the lady liked it immensely.... Since she is not so good at oriental cooking.... she prefers to share a combined platter of FRESH HERBS TURMERIC RICE & CHANAR DALNA which also had Baked Herbed Salmon....

Above was the account of how a girl feels in a different home on her initial days, but on a lighter tone. On a serious note, she misses her family badly ..... what should be the behaviour of the husband's family during the initial period.... specially of the maa-in-law? They or she should be little co-operative and receptive towards the newly wed girl.... give her ample time to adjust to the new home. I do not know about others, but my very social, of tremendously helpful nature, tigress mother-in-law was very insensitive and lacked empathy  towards her daughter -in-law..... On this day, at this time, she insisted that if I do not call her mother she will not have her breakfast ..... come on give me some time for that.... let it come from inside.... but no.... I was forced to. I do not accept my paa-in-law's attitude towards daughter-in-laws but he said do not force her, give her some time.... that is what I wished for.... definitely I would not have called them Mr. & Mrs. so and so. Not even a week passed after the marriage, she had to say my son looks so young compared to you.... had you been a little tall and less fat, things would have been better..... your mother did not teach you that you should not lick your fingers after eating? with a literal high nose she also had to say that their side of the sarees and dresses gifted were higher in quality than our side, everything was said and done in presence of the house helps.... you know S my wardrobe key was always kept in public.... I really could not get the purpose of showing off the hidden birth control items and some clothing.... I was categorically told you will not say anything about "our" family matters .... we will decide with "our" son .... I remember within a month of my marriage, I tried to surprise and impress my in-laws cooking something for them taking help of the whole timer .... "aai protima omelette  er jhol kori".... the mother-in-law went for a chat in a neighbourhood home, paa-in-law in office..... Little girl Protima said "Boumoni... maima ke jigasha na kore korbey?".... before cooking you must take permission from your mother-in-law.... I did not get it and was taken a back for a while.... At night, instead of getting some accolades from the family, I overheard some complaints made to my husband.... how dare she cooks something without asking me / us?.... Thank God, the husband said what is so wrong in that?.... how can you expect a 26 years old lady to take permission for trivial matters? Isn't she a part of the family?.... the reason why I respect my man so much.... but one fine morning I felt enough of it... if I am not allowed to take any decision  at "their" home, I am unwilling to call it "my home" and stay there. I refused to be in the role of playing "ice and spice" with their son or just as an attendant to "their" family.... I want a home of my own and eventually proved I manage it far better than my not much of a friend maa-"in-law".....Otherwise, the lady had done a lot of sacrifice for her husband's family, very giving towards her friends and family.... visited our home everyday for three long months to attend her newborn grandson. They still lack empathy towards me.... 24 hours after my father's death, they had to call me and say once you are done with the rituals come back immediately... we are lonely here.... they definitely were but the death happened suddenly. It was my father and I am not a robot! They had a Cristine and three family friends at their service, not for a single day did she had to cook a single meal for her grandson.... Cristine did everything.... I know what made them feel insecure .... that their son left them and was attending his wife's family..... If they had told me... S we are feeling awkward but it is a permanent loss for you and you should attend your family.... I would have kissed them.... I roared like a tigress and then cried in silence, felt extreme lovelessness again..... The "another woman" in my life told me S.... you mean T stayed for all 11 days?... I said yes.... I hanged the phone, felt a severe bout of depression and whispered I am pretty sure you will not be surprised when something happens to my in-laws and I stay there for a month or more, tell me why? the relationship is same!....... I longed to see you at least once by my side near the hospital bed or at the temple where I performed his last rites..... Was it "protocol" that stopped you?... ok fine... you will not see me again to hug you with one hand and clicking selfies with the other .... Lets be formal, if only life's lessons taught me how to be formal..... I am hurt but how does it affect the world? My expectations, my hyper sensitivity have always cost me dearly  ... Anyways, what did my wise man do? he stopped all communications between the in-laws and daughter-in-law saying both sides are in a vulnerable condition now, bought my return ticket few days after him so that my family do not break down again. I will always have the guilt of not having been able to love his family ever but I discharge my duties to the utmost.... Girls do the duty towards your husband's family always... if your husband is your own... we cannot shrug off his' own... can we? we cannot...There are alternative stories of torturing elderly in-laws too.... both are unwelcome!

I wished to stop here today.... then I remember this is a recipe blog, how can I stop without sharing one? Above was a more or less true reflection of South Asian homes. Coming to our share today FRESH HERBS TURMERIC RICE & CHANAR DALNA .... such is our week night dinner arrangements along with some meat or salmon, prawns, or fish fillets baked, in curries or nearly oriental preparations. Chanar Dalna is the Bengali way of doing a paneer curry preparing the paneer from scratch at home. The Fresh Herbs Turmeric Rice was done  using curry leaves, coriander leaves, mint leaves and parsley.... you can well imagine how flavourful it was. Come, let us do this yum platter of FRESH HERBS TURMERIC RICE & CHANAR DALNA with help of few pictures.... though I am yet to know the difference between paneer and chana... haha...

INGREDIENTS : [for the chanar dalna]
Milk : 2lt
Lemon Juice : 4-5tbsp
Potato : 1big [peeled, washed, cut into 8pieces]
Tomato : 1medium [washed and chopped]
Refined Flour : 1tsp
Baking Powder : 2-3pinches
Ginger Paste : 2tsp
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 11/2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Cinnamon Powder : 1/4tsp
Green Cardamom Powder : 2-3pinches
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1/2tsp
Cumin Seed :1/4tsp
Asafoetida :2pinches
Bayleaf : 1
Ghee : 1tsp
Oil : 5tbsp

INGREDIENTS : [for the fresh herbs turmeric rice]
Pre-Cooked Rice : 3-4 Coffee Mugs
Coriander Leaves: 3-4tbsp [chopped]
Curry Leaves : 10-15
Parsley : 2-3tbsp [chopped]
Mint Leaves : 10-12 [roughly torn]
Green Chillies : 3-4 [chopped]
Split Chickpea Dal : 1tbsp
Mustard Seed : 1/2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp [freshly ground if possible]
Salt : As Required
Oil : 2-3tbsp

Let us prepare the CHANAR DALNA first. For that I always make ahead the paneer / chena and refrigerate for a day.

Boil the milk in a heavy bottomed container. Let it boil for 2-3 minutes. Add the lemon juice, as it curdles switch of gas.

Once cool, drain the whey water and reserve to be later used in curries. Take the paneer we get in a clean cloth and tie to the kitchen tap for 40-45 minutes.

Take down, transfer to a plate. Mash for 2-3 minutes and transfer to a box, level properly. Refrigerate for a day and take out one hour before cooking.

Now, transfer the paneer / chena to a wide mouthed bowl.

Add the baking powder and refined flour mash well for a minute or so.

Add little of red chilli, cumin and coriander powders and salt, mash further for 1-2 minutes.

Take out small portions and shape as you wish.

Rub little salt and turmeric to the potato pieces.

Heat oil in a wok, fry the potato pieces and take out.

We will fry the paneer / chena balls too.

Once one side is done, we will turn over and fry the other side well too.

Keep the chopped tomatoes ready.

Heat oil in a wok and temper with cumin seeds, bayleaf, asafoetida.

Add the ginger paste.

Mix and stir for a minute. Add the tomatoes, potatoes, rest of the cumin... coriander.... red chilli powders and salt. Keep stirring for 2-3 minutes.

Once the tomato melts, add water and let boil.

Once the potatoes are almost done, add the paneer / chena balls. Let boil for 2 minutes.

Add the ghee, sugar, cinnamon and cardamom powders. Stir well.

Transfer to a serving bowl. Let us prepare the FRESH HERBS TURMERIC RICE now.

Heat oil in a wok and temper with split chickpea dal, mustard seeds, chopped green chillies, keep the temperature at lowest.

Add half of each of the herbs and the turmeric powder, stir and immediately add pre-cooked rice. Increase the heat, stir quickly with care, we do not want the rice to break.

Add the salt, rest of the fresh herbs and stir again. We are done, switch off gas.

Enjoy the combined platter of FRESH HERBS TURMERIC RICE & CHANAR DALNA fresh and hot. On that particular day, we had some island's favourite salmon... herb and lemon marinated, baked.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017


MAWA TOAST.... quite in the lines of Shahi Tukra though not exactly the same... an hour back I had a brief look at google... oh it also refers to some toast biscuit kind of. I did not consult any of the youtube videos that offers a recipe of MAWA TOAST but I came across a post on it in a food group few months back .... got an idea and did not take a look at the recipe. Why should I when I grew up on "paurutir opor mota korey shorer pur o chini"..... yes thick layer of milk cream and sugar atop toasted bread was a childhood favourite. In those days, quality of milk was ascertained by the thickness of the malai / shor / milk cream that formed atop after boiling.... milk was obtained from a "khatal".... dairy farm..... the mother of mine is very displeased that I feed tetra pack milk to the junior. She never did consider it necessary to change with time though the father wished to. Hence, till date cooking oil means "ghanir tel"..... mustard oil coming from an oil mill.... milk has to be from  "Jhumri Mashir khatal".... from a neighbourhood diary farm owned by an aunt like lady named Jhumri.... Life is still very different at my parental home.... not at par with modern homes and it will remain so till my mother is alive. So blaming me for the reason of my men's thin frame is quite normal for her .... I refuse to change the system of the house.... if I ask Cristine to do a spice paste in "shil-nora" or say mortar and pestle, she will leave the job and go back home. I am not even 1/4 of my mother and cannot move the 'nora' of a 'shil'...... though knowing freshly made spice paste has no equal. I am lazy to that extent wherein someone is calling me to talk about a job offer and I am not calling back the person.... scaring "abar shaat shokaley chuttey hobey?"..... nonetheless to say the scare is more of this "complex box" called computer... "mouse maney idur.... idurey amar bhishon bhoy".... I am still stuck to that. Saying so I am in no way patting my back.... to a girl to be independent, she ought to be economically so first .... thank God the man of the house do not pinch me on this matter.... yet again that should not be taken for granted. Anyway, I found a very good home in him in the early 90's and felt..... with this guy I can get "blind in trust".... he will never compare me with "pasher barir boudi" and say S did you see how slim she is, how beautifully she dressed, she is a perfect blend of Lakshmi & Saraswati and look at you.... a total mess! .... and on this very day.... 20 years back we held each other tight and took some vows.... T... do not ever leave me alone please!... my tanned skin got darker.... black spots of acnes got lighter not as fast as the reducing thickness of my hairs.... body is still pear shaped.... yet he has not left me.... neither it has come to my knowledge that he told any third party .... you know I do not wish to keep any further contacts with this girl S, she does not fit in my frame and raised a toast to that. Come let us be in today and celebrate life on this special day with all the good shares of my friends, adding mine .... MAWA TOAST.... a dessert or a snack as you call it.

This MAWA TOAST was done yesterday evening for the son to have once back from the school. It is quite rich in taste and two should be enough for one person unless you are too hungry. The son had one, I am pretty sure had the toast been topped with minced meat, he would have had 3 slices. Two slices went to the senior's tiffin box this morning, trust me this diabetic had only half of one... that too I should not have I know. Then I do not blog on any dish without tasting a portion of it. Let me tell you, I made it last afternoon, refrigerated few, toasted lightly in the pan again this morning and they turned as crisp as fresh..... so you can do the same without any hesitation. We are definitely not celebrating our 20th with MAWA TOAST alone. If he is in town, we  go out for dinner and a movie may be. This year however, something inside is stopping me from a full-fledged celebration. May be the old man in frame stationed on our bed side table is the reason behind it.... 20 years back, on this very day he  fasted for the entire day to perform certain rituals to keep his daughter happy and merry for life. This is the first time he is not there to wish us.... or may be he has already... I need to concentrate and be sensible enough to receive it. Unwilling to go out, I am planning to cook a spread in the evening... few dishes we can enjoy as a family and dishes that do not require much sweating..... after all we need to sit together for a chit chat, do some leg pulling with the son..... His unit test is going on and the mother cannot think beyond food.... I have long lost the pride of being a "Kolkata Mother"..... so better is to share this easy recipe of a sweet snack or dessert called MAWA TOAST done with bread, ghee, instantly made mawa / khoya / reduced milk and a bit of sugar. It is quite rich in taste and we will do it together with help of few stepwise pictures. My readers should excuse my ignorance, till date I could not make out the difference between mawa and khoya.... so I treat them as same.

INGREDIENTS : [for the instantly made mawa / khoya]
Milk Powder : 11/2medium cup
Ghee : 4tbsp [clarified butter]
Full Cream Milk : 1/3small cup
Sugar : 2tbsp
Green Cardamom Powder : 1/2tsp

INGREDIENTS : [the finished snack]
Bread Slices : 5-7
Green Cardamom : 2-3
Ghee : 6tbsp
Chopped Pistachios, Almond, Saffron Strands to garnish

Let us prepare the instant mawa / khoya first. Take the milk powder, full cream milk, 4tbsp ghee, sugar in a bowl.

Mix it well and now it is ready to be microwaved.

Microwave at high for 3-4 minutes pausing every 30-40 seconds to stir well. Once done it looks as below.

Add the green cardamom powder, mix well and let cool the instant mawa. Place a bread slice on the chopping board. Take a round shaped cookie cutter and press on the slice of bread. I used a cap of a plastic container for the purpose.

Our bread slices are ready to be fried.

Heat 6tbsp ghee in a wok and tear 2-3 cardamoms a bit to add to the hot ghee.

Fry each slice of bread at a time, till both sides are crisp. This takes very less time.

Place on a tissue paper so that the excess of ghee gets rid off.

Top each fried piece of bread with the instantly made mawa and garnish with chopped pistachios, almonds, saffron strands.

Enjoy the crisp and ghee flavoured MAWA TOAST as an evening time sweet snack or as a dessert.