Thursday, 23 November 2017

FRESH HERBS TURMERIC RICE & CHANAR DALNA





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.


2 comments :

  1. What a perfect pairing. Let me have some please.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Navaneetham... on your way...

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