Monday, 27 March 2017

MASALA GRILLED CHICKEN



The fat old lady went for another half marathon yesterday, was among the last to finish, yet felt happy that she did not quit. It was proved again that nothing comes in a platter, we need hard work for that. I did not practice at all for the last two months, thought I will manage to keep my last time record intact and can finish somewhere between 3:30 hours to 3:40 hours. Then many a factor came in between.... not much of practice which is a must, it was an extreme humid early morning yesterday which was getting me slower, finally, it was a night run, my first night run and I was / am not a late night person. Early mornings work wonder for me, always. Yesterday, at certain points I felt like quitting , specially when I was passing through the metro stations or taxi stands. When I completed 10km, I could see people already at the finishing line, yes our trail was kind of spiral may be. At that point, I was almost into tears, then there were those nice co-runners, who said come on gear up with cheer. I made up my mind I should complete and spread the message, do not quit, whether you are a runner, soldier, writer, poet, singer... keep going, no amount of threats should stop you from doing what you believe in. The murder of Safdar Hashmi did not stop his wife and believers to carry forward his legacy till date. However, people laugh at Ramdev Baba [Indian Yoga Guru], his "pranayam" did help me at some point in life. Just opposite my Kolkata home, there is a retail outlet of his products, my mom uses.

On a lighter note, how much you make fun of this Alia Bhatt [Indian Actress], I like her.... a more or less natural actress, that no make up look, so bubbly and that morning glory like smile. I am totally opposite of that, giggles do not come naturally to me. Many years back I was told I am too melancholic a character to get along, even my extreme likings for Shabana Azmi was not taken kindly. I could not take any criticism against her, specially when my mind was engrossed on that particular scene from Mrinal Sen's Khandahar [The Ruins], .... Shabana standing alone amidst the ruins of her dilapidated house, realising Naseeruddin Shah would never come back to take her with him, the photographer visited only to explore the place, its ruins to take some wonderful shots and go back. I have watched the movie a number of times and felt.... I will always be me, love myself the way I am and always believed, the roads that are not meant to meet will never meet, not at any point in life. I am quiet, prefer to remain so does not mean that I do not like chirpy, smiling faces. I find them too adorable and say...... whatever you are, be it. My message to those who spread the virus of happiness..... "Beautiful Faces.... Keep Smiling."...... thats a good match. Monalisa is always a preferred choice and off course a need of the hour in a world in turmoil.

The day.... and the night before my half marathon, I was doing a lot of cooking when I was supposed to take ample rest. You know why? I was enjoying my senior scolding.... come out of the kitchen, take rest S, you need. Not always he is particular about praising his wife. During our courtship days, once he came back from sailing after as long as 6-8 months, I wished to meet him often.... he always said we do not need to... we are there for each other..... and this drama queen had to burst into tears and say... you do not love me enough.... the firmer him said we do not need to show it off.

I talk on anything but cooking na? Let us do that. My inbox has such comments that I am sharing a bit more non-vegetarian dishes these days. Well, today too I wish to go ahead with a non-vegetarian appetiser, may be a vegetarian dish on my next post. This is a very simple recipe of chicken legs marinated in Indian spices and grilled to perfection. I am not so fond of chicken, its my men's favourite.... specially my son's... he can have it in all three meals. I have chicken when in mood... if it is an oriental preparation or minced like in kebabs. I am a spice loving typical Bengali / Indian / South Asian who lives in a health freak island.... That is when the inspired me took to running / walking where people start outdoor exercise as early as 3 am. Hence this Masala Grilled Chicken can be a good balance of my love for spice yet staying healthy. This yummy starter was knocking at the door for quite sometime, also few posts around are an inspiration. Let us do it together absolutely hassle free while watching a television show or reading a favourite thriller.

INGREDIENTS :
Chicken Leg : 8 medium to big pieces
Vinegar : 2-3 tbsp
Garam Masala : 2tbsp [I use Everest]
Coriander Powder : 2tsp
Black Pepper : 2tsp [preferably freshly crushed]
Chaat Masala : 1tbsp
Lemon Juice: 1/2 small cup
Salt : As Required
Oil : 4-5 tbsp

METHOD :
Wash the chicken legs thoroughly under running water. Pat dry and prick all over with a fork. Marinate with vinegar and throw away the marinade after half an hour.

Now marinate with the spice powders, lemon juice, salt and oil. Rub and mix thoroughly. Keep marinated for an hour or two in a covered container.

Switch on microwave and place your grill [I do not have a griller]. Place your chicken pieces on a grill pan and pour half of the marinade on it. Grill for 12-15 minutes.

Take out and flip over, pour the rest of the marinade and grill for another 8-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the dip with mayonnaise, some plain yogurt and 2-3 pinches of black salt. Mix well and its ready to be served. Later, I felt some finely chopped cucumber and onion could be added to make it perfect.



Now take out the masala coated, juicy, tender grilled chicken legs, arrange them in a serving plate. Serve hot with the Mayo-Yogurt dip or any choice of your dip or chutney. Some salad too should be there.


Friday, 24 March 2017

MUMMA'S CHILLI-TOMATO SAUCE ALOO





This was the scenario yesterday morning. I woke up early, sitting idle and doing nothing. Early mornings are not to think about worldly matters, not for mad romantics like me. That is when Cristine says, we need to prepare for their lunch boxes and it was 7.15am already. The senior said not to pack his lunch box with noodles or pasta, they get cold and he is too lazy to use the office microwave. The son never said anything, he does not have microwave facility at school. I find sense in what he says and complied. You know why? He never demands anything from me.... not even packed lunch boxes. I do it as I love doing it. If I am not working outside, I must be a contributor at home. One cannot live a life as a non-contributor to the society. My mother started her career in a Government school some forty five years back. She had to leave because her daughter's daddy felt their kid was been neglected. I do not know whether I have the liberty to call my own daddy chauvinist or not. I asked my excellent homemaker mother.... do you regret? She always says... no she enjoys been at home.... doing household cores. I am her daughter and love too much staying indoors. I am in a better position than her with a Cristine always at service. So been in the kitchen is an absolute pleasure and fun. So, my roti on display are a part of my plating, and never a show off.... why should I?.... can I prepare an excel sheet as many of you? Neither is my roti the ultimate kind of, I just manage....

While this small, my son had gluten allergy, for two-three years he was on a diet of rice, pediasure, puffed rice and pressed rice with sugar & water and off course fish and chicken, few vegetables. No wonder so, I did not have my expert friends to provide me a list of suitable recipes in such a scenario. When the son got admitted in a High School, the doctor said now start with wheat flour, milk, refined flour slowly and watch. That was when I learnt to prepare roti, paratha, poori. I learnt it from a fear too... I am too possessive of my man and do not wish him to say...... that aunty makes nice poori, that friend's wife makes best pulao.... before hearing that I have to prepare a five course meal for him. See I am so naughty. I could never learn excel because I find this box like thing so fearful. See I am such a stupid. I do not even know how to manage a blog, I am doing it with support of few beautiful people around.

Why are you so much in a hurry to post within a day? Well, all of us food bloggers have one passion in common.... to cook and we can post every hour. The main reason today is my way to say.... "I value relationship and respect it." Relationships are sacred to me, where we can bond and spend some quality time over coffee / tea, few snacks or even over a humble plate of chapati / roti / ruti / paratha / porota / puri / luchi and this super simple and quick potato curry done with boiled potato and tomato chilli sauce. I will definitely not give a Bengali name to it as my mother too has learnt it elsewhere, it is not authentic Bengali. I made it even more quicker by boiling the potatoes in the microwave. I had no time to take stepwise pictures, may be later I will add some though it is too simple to require the same. Come let us prepare this no-spice potato dry curry using tomato chilli sauce together.

INGREDIENTS :
Potato : 2 big
Onion : 1 big
Tomato Chilli Sauce : 1/2 medium cup [ I use Maggi ]
Green Chilli : 4-5
Sugar : 1/2tsp
Nigella Seed : 1/4tsp [kalonji]
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 3tbsp

METHOD :
Wash the potatoes thoroughly and pat dry. Use a fork to prick all over their body. Take in a plate and microwave at high for 5 minutes.

Peel, wash and cut the onion into smaller cubes. Slit the green chillies.

Take out, if you are too much in a hurry take the boiled potatoes in a bowl and hold under running water for 2-3 minutes.

Peel off the skin and cut into smaller cubes. Apply salt and turmeric. Heat oil in a wok and fry the potato pieces till light brown. Take out.

Temper same oil with nigella seeds. Add the cubed onions and fry till translucent. Add the fried potato pieces and slitted green chillies. Fold in well.

Add the tomato chilli sauce and fold in well. Let cook at low heat for 2-3 minutes, add the sugar. Fold in well and cook for another minute.

Transfer to a sewing bowl and enjoy this sweet and sour potato dry curry with Indian / South Asian breads or even with your choice of bread.







Thursday, 23 March 2017

TOMATO DIYE CHINGRIR PATLA JHOL



I am a "Bangal" Bengali and I have no fights with "Edeshio, Ghoti" Bengali. It is going over the head of many of my readers I know. Let me explain in short, The "Bangal" Bengalis migrated to West Bengal mainly, from East Bengal, now Bangladesh. Obviously there would be some differences in food habits and otherwise. Till our previous generation it was an issue.... though  apparent, I found it very silly. I think we are already free from the tussle. Even if there is any, it is for fun, I hope. I am ok when someone says "tora to lota pata shobi khash", meaning you eat any stem, leaves or anything peeping out of the soil. I am not ok when someone says "lota pata manushe khai?".... meaning do / should humans eat all that grows on soil? Hurting the sentiments of others is never my cuppa, so I could never get along with certain people while the society demanded doing so. This soft, calm yet rigid untamed horse never really gave into society's definition of relationship. It is us who should orchestrate our own life, wherein articulation is a major part. If one cannot be respectful to others, I cannot lend my shoulder to them. Hence, I may not be a good example of society's definition of a good family person or otherwise. To many I am kind of nice more or less, some of them are showering me with sentimental posts since yesterday morning, getting into their skin, I could only justify their emotions. I felt let me go ahead today with this simple recipe of prawns cooked in a generous amount of tomatoes using very less spices.

Prawns / Shrimps are found in so many varieties and sizes in this island and they are.... oh so fresh! I remember those days back in the 90's when my sailor senior's ships were harboured in the island often. He used to say you know we had this big prawns or even bigger lobster at affordable price. By then price of prawn started soaring high in Kolkata, going out of reach for the middle class Bengalis. The very common fight between the Bangal and Ghoti is on prawns and hilsa.... the former is more into hilsa / shad and the later are more fond of chingri / prawn. I am that Bangal who loves both, hilsa little more..... a Bangal who drools over 'topshe masher pur bhaja'..... batter fried mango fish?.... I am that Bangal who can cook 'shorshe-narcol loti' ..... yam stems with mustard paste and coconut.... to shake hands with her Ghoti counter parts... and a very spicy 'begun-tomato shutki'.... dried fish with egg plant and tomato to kiss my Bangal friend.... not all Bangals are fond of dried fish though, majority are. I am that Bangal who loves adding tomato and coriander leaves to her dishes .... mind it tomato was 'bilati begun' .... foreign eggplant to us less than a century back.

Call me a true heart Bangal when I blog on 'loitta shutkir bhorta'.... dried bombay duck bharta.Till then I am half of it who loves to add little sugar in her vegetarian dishes [unlikey of Bangals], I thing adding little sugar specially in mixed-veggies  enhances the taste. For now let us enjoy together doing a quick recipe with fresh shrimps / prawn with tomato. We will use very less spices here, hence we can call it healthy. Please do not go by the colour, the colour effect is for using a particular brand of chilli powder... which is rich in colour but not so hot. I do not always get my favourite Everest brand of Kashmiri Mirch here, I keep my alternatives ready.  I have not fried the fish too, my mom and grand mom will not approve of it.... the later will say 'itan khaina'... we don't eat this way, but they have also not met old man Dr. Chang who always says, why you people fry the fish and drain away all the nutrients I do not understand. Our conversation... I love biryani.... me too Sir.... I love to eat... me too Sir... I love fish.... and a 'lifetime bond' is created.

INGREDIENTS :
Prawn / Shrimp : 500gm [medium sized, any variety]
Tomato : 2big
Garlic Clove : 2
Red Chilli Powder : 2tsp[I use Selvi's... not so hot, gives wonderful colour]
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Bengali Panchphoron : 1/4tsp [a mix of fennel, cumin, nigella, fenugreek and wild celery seeds]
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 2tbsp

METHOD :
Do not discard the heads of the prawn, they add more taste to the curry. I have to do it because the son thing throws away. What I do is cut the heads into smaller pieces, add chopped onion, green chilli, coriander leaves, salt, turmeric, rice flour, gram flour, mix well and fry in oil. That he will eat. The world is not in a position to waste food.

As of now de shell and de vein the prawns. Wash thoroughly under running water. Marinate with lemon juice, some turmeric powder and salt. Keep aside for half an hour.

Wash the tomatoes and chop roughly. Peel the skin of the garlic cloves and wash. Blend them to a paste. Put through a strainer and collect the paste in a bowl. Add little water if you find it difficult.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with panchphoron. Your kitchen will fill with an aroma, before I go offtrack again, let us add the tomato paste to it. Keep stirring till the oil separates from it. Add the cumin, coriander, turmeric powders and the required amount of salt. Stir for a minute.

Drain the marinade and add the prawns. Stir and saute at low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add 1 coffee mug of water and cover cook for 3-4 minutes. It is done.

Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy hot. Though not a fish, those who love it, they have it as a fish.... can we deny?




Monday, 20 March 2017

KOCHI PATHAR KOSHA



What is that? Pardon.... who asked me that? Then you may not know much about our community hailing from the eastern part of India and also Bangladesh. Whichever part ..of the world we are in.... we will cherish a plate of piping hot rice and freshly made mutton curry.... but it definitely tastes best the next day. Happy my 'little brother'? Why do I call him little..... because he enjoys been treated as so.... the mamma's boy loves to be his sister's pet however I try to make him understand that you need to change your priorities with time.... so there is no reason why I should not love my sis-in-law for her patience and diligence. Do you think my brother will visit the page today.... no... he is too possessive about his sister. I am angry with him for so many reasons... not taking his studies and career seriously, inspite of having the potential, getting too much involved  in Formula1 races and  computer games and getting my son too much involved in it. The twosome share a strong bond. He was so good in athletics and cricket but never pursued. Mutton curries and biryani are his ultimate love, he could hardly get out of poori-paratha with meat curries and biryani till date. His wife loves Indo-Chinese, so he eats now. I must mention his craziness over KFC Chicken, however firmly I oppose to that..... and however "up on arms" I get on him, he reaches the airport an hour before his sister reaches.

Yesterday, I enjoyed a colourful evening with few friends watching a dance show organised by Nritya Chanda.... love child of my very beautiful, Kathak dancer friend... Nibedita Chottopadhay.... she is not so fond of mutton as much as of chicken.... I may not have gone ahead with a mutton dish if she had kept my request.... ask me what? ... of choreographing and performing "Maar Dala" from the movie Devdas or "Mohe Rang Do Laal" from Baji Rao Mastani just for me.... At times I feel had I given music a serious thought long back... I would have lend my voice to her performance of the "Diwani Mastani" song from Baji Rao Mastani again..... how beautiful it is when two friends sing and dance for each other. Any young hearts who wish to do it for this old soul? Coming to Nibedita aka Bobby, her husband it a wonderful cook and human being but today I will not talk about him...... I do not want another call around midnight from her asking.... 'whom do you love more.... me or my husband?.... you have to love me more'.... I always tell her I have never measured it... We do not always agree upon each other's ways but I must say there are very less giving and clean heart as hers.

Yesterday, today there are a series of events.... most of my dear ones love mutton.... some with all smiles on their face, ask me .... can you go authentic Bengali for us today? Ok done.... rest who are up with slogans against red meat... I cannot give you much love because I will have a hot bowl of mutton soup at lunch before closing my eyes forever. Now you well know that a plate of rice and mutton kosha is a bliss for us. This dish of Kochi Pathar Kosha is done with young goat / lamb meat
without using water. The tender pieces of meat is cooked in its own juice and the marinade, covered and in slow fire. So, you can well understand how hassle free it is. This is kind of reading a book... listening to music and cooking kind of thing... help yourself with some salad for a guilt free eating. Come let us prepare Kochi Pathar Kosha together.

INGREDIENTS :
Young Goat / Lamb : 1kg
Plain Yogurt : 1 small cup
Grated Raw Papaya : 1/2 small cup
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp
Sliced Onion : 1/2 small cup
Coriander Powder : 2tsp
Cumin Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tbsp [I like it hot, you may adjust]
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Cinnamon Powder : 1/4tsp
Green Cardamom Powder : 3pinches
Cloves Powder : 2pinches
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Garlic Paste : 2tbsp
Bayleaf : 1
Oil : 3tbsp + 2tbsp [preferably mustard]

METHOD :
We are preferably using fat free meat for this particular dish. Wash the medium sized meat pieces thoroughly. Marinate with the grated papaya, plain yogurt, lemon juice, coriander, cumin, red chilli and turmeric powders, salt and oil. Mix well.

Close tight with lid and refrigerate for 3-4 hours. Take out I hour before cooking. Heat oil in a wok. Temper with a bayleaf. Add the sliced onion and fry till brown.

Add the ginger garlic paste, little turmeric powder and salt. Fry for about 2-3 minutes. Add the meat pieces without the marinade, we will add it later.

Fry at high heat for 2-3 minutes. Lower heat to minimum. Add the marinade, fold in well and cover. The heat should be at minimum throughout the cooking process.

Open cover and stir every five minutes. A lot of water will release and the dish is done only when all the water dries up. Add the cinnamon, green cardamom and cloves powder. Stir well, let cook for two minutes. It is done.

Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy with rice, South Asian / Indian Breads or any kind of toasted bread.






Saturday, 18 March 2017

ALOO GOBI STUFFED BUTTER TOAST WITH INSTANT TAMARIND CHUTNEY



It is weekend .... you all must be in a mode to throw away all the leftovers and cook fresh. Would you spare a moment and stop by me? No, I will not bore with the story of how we ate stale food and managed to grew up as healthy kids. The now old lady always cooked fresh for us. I am no more a working woman, yet I do a lot of cooking over the weekend because I do not wish to engage myself all the time in the kitchen..... I have other areas of interest.... I am that little Alice who loves to dream and often ask "How long is forever?".... may be a second or a lifetime. So, it is quite possible that the gravy of my aloo phoolkopir dalna [aloo gobi / potato cauliflower curry] may get dry and taste little more salty. The kind of person I am I will not serve it to my small eater men, neither can I have a big bowl of cauliflower potato curry alone nor will I throw it. I am not in the habit of wasting food. Looking back I can see mom buying 25grams each of cashew nuts and raisins every fortnight to prepare pulao for her kids. That time I so much craved for these dry fruits having which regularly was beyond my parent's reach. We have come a long way wherein cashew nuts are always in store. Problem is I do not find them that tasty as they seemed to be then. I remember the happy me when daddy got us a packet of salted cashew nuts on way back from Digha or a big packet of walnut while touring Kashmir. That makes me tell my senior we may not be fair example of "good parenting".... specially when the son thing says I will not sit in the food court. Hope is when he does not say a no to
a five dollar Mac meal or say mumma give me half of the pocket money.... I have some left from last month.

Hey S, stop giving big talks, we bet you have not forgotten the way to Jayeeta's home.... hey come on do not target my weaknesses. Though the daddy thing fed me on Bolshevik Revolution at a tender age, I knew what living in a commune is, long back, also understood it is hard to put such a noble concept into reality. I prefer to call myself a liberal, social, democrat or in a
word..... a humanist. Yes, I get weak on my knees at the sight of sarees but hardly go beyond a certain price range.... I have a very good understanding with this lady who tolerates my tantrums the way no one would perhaps. I choose her range on Facebook, she holds them for 3-6 months, I step in to Kolkata, call her, visit, discard all of them and buy entirely a new range. I run out of cash, she says no worries, sends her assistant to my house for the same while the happy me grabs all the packets without paying for all and go home changing three auto rickshaws. Yes, I buy sarees and refuse to ride taxi unless my little brother comes for rescue with his red sweetheart. He is not visiting my page as I am not posting a mutton curry.... will do it soon stupid. By the way who is Jayeeta?... the very happening and enterprising Jayeeta Dasgupta of My D - Sign.... SAREES with Aesthetics.... dive into her page to get further details. It is not so she needs me to speak for her but it is my small way to say.... thank you for tolerating all the trouble I give you....

Today is Saturday, not the right day for me to spend so much time on writing in details how I made my phoolkopi aloor dalna salty and how I turned it into a yummy filling for a crispy snacker. I find it easier to do it for you with fresh ingredients available at home. Below is how I made a butter toasted snacker with a super tasty filling and how we enjoyed it with an instant tamarind chutney. Come let us prepare the Aloo Gobi Stuffed Butter Toast and enjoy with an Instant Tamarind Chutney.

INGREDIENTS :
Bread Slice : 6-8
Potato : 2 big
Cauliflower : 1 big
Onion : 1 medium [sliced]
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
Aamchur Powder : 1/2tsp [dry mango powder]
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Cumin Seed : 1/2tsp
Coriander Leaves : 1/2 small cup [chopped]
Green Chilli : 2-3 [chopped]
Tamarind Strip : 1/2 small cup
Sugar : 1tsp
Jaggery : 1/2 small cup [grated]
Salt : As Required
Chaat Masala : 1/4 tsp
Butter : 1 tsp for two slices of bread
Oil : 3tbsp

METHOD :
Let us prepare the instant tamarind chutney and refrigerate for sometime.




Discard the seeds of the tamarinds, take in a bowl and add 1/2 small cup of water. Mix well, squeeze and throw remaining seeds or deposits if any. We get a smooth paste. Mash further the grated jaggery. Add sugar, jaggery, chaat masala, little salt, some chopped coriander leaves and green chilli, mix well. Refrigerate and take out while serving with the toasts.

For the filling... peel, wash and half the potatoes. Make small florets of the cauliflower, wash. Take both in a microwave proof bowl, add water, little salt and microwave at high for 10-12 minutes. Once cool, discard the water and mash them both using hand.

Heat oil in a wok, temper with cumin seeds, add the onion slices and fry till golden brown. Add the mashed potato and cauliflower. Fold in well.

Add the cumin, coriander, aamchur, turmeric powder and salt, fold in well. Stir for 2-3 minutes. Add chopped coriander and green chillies. Fold in well and transfer to a bowl.



Heat a pan, add 1 tsp butter and place 2 slices of bread on it. Cook both sides till crisp.



Transfer to a plate, cut off the sides.



Apply a thick layer of filling and spread.



Place another toasted slice over it.



Cut diagonally before serving. Enjoy fresh  dipping into the tamarind chutney.


Thursday, 16 March 2017

SPICED MANGO-BANANA FROZEN YOGURT



A fruit a day makes you a healthy and wealthy one and that necessarily need not be an apple..... I used to tell my toddler then. None of us then were fruit lovers so much. It was not so that we have to have fruits everyday. Fruits were bought in bulk during special prayers at home. I can say my senior's side of the family were more loyal to fruits than mine. My man's lunch box had either apple or banana everyday .... let me not take the liberty of going public with what fun we friends did with the banana eater and how he reacted. Friends will make fun but they never make you feel low and take hold of you whenever required. After stepping into this island, I gradually adopted the habit of having fruits regularly. There is a problem again there..... of coordination. The junior loves apple, the senior loves grapes, I can survive on watermelon for days, but we all love mango. Do you think coordination is a difficult task for me ? Nay, if a hopelessly romantic fool like me is living under one roof with a dreadfully practical person for about two decades, coordination is just as comforting as peeling and chopping the fruits, pulse 1... 2... 3, pour in a glass.... add ice cubes and drink. If a wife lovingly calls her man to ask whether he had his lunch in time or not, and the answer is ..... please do not start with your "main our meri tanhai", I am in a meeting.... you need a lot of healthy smoothies to keep your cool. The crispy, savoury snacks can wait for the weekend to arrive, when I can take the pleasure of at least sitting together. If not singing together " Tera saath hai to mujhe kya kami hai, Andhero se bhi mil rahi roshni hai", we love sipping together something hot or at times cold..... not Bournvita off course. Our choice of "coolers" also match at times... he jokingly tells his friends.... James Bond loves vodka martini and my wifey too.

It was back in 1988 or '89.... Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak just released, four of us dear friends went to watch... me, my senior, Chandrayee and Tanushree. Just when Aamir way dying, my man said do not cry S, there is still a song left.... I still wonder how the two girls let me tie the knot with him. I hope my loving readers know by now why I prepare so much of sweets and desserts at home. I eat them too, then go for brisk walks.... hence calorie added and spent remain same. I have stopped bothering and continue wandering alone singing, at times, one of my favourite numbers.... "Hum tum dono jab mil jayenge, ek naya itihaas banayenge.... Aur agar hum na mil paye to bhi ek naya itihaas banayenge".... though the movie did not end in a positive way, we need to be so.... the world needs each one of us.... so wear your boots / lipstick / eye kohl and shine through.... Do I sound top to bottom film-y ? I am so.... my friend Bianca Castafiore too like Bollywood .... I will talk about her later.

I love to prepare sweet or dessert often..... the junior wishes to have once  back from school and the nocturnal senior at midnight. Yesterday I saw a similar post on frozen yogurt by Tastemade or Tasty may be, I found it to be healthy. I modified it with few additions and trust me it was awesome. Very few ingredients, little effort, less time and loads of taste. I prepared this instant dessert with fruits we love mango, banana, plain yogurt and few spices. Banana and yogurt is considered very auspicious among us.... our mother never forgot to put a dot with yogurt on our examination days. We are in this island for quite sometime, and I love frozen yogurt from Ilao Ilao.... later we may prepare more adding different seeds too.... Today, let us stick to this Spiced Mango-Banana Frozen Yogurt.

Recipe Inspiration : Tastemade / Tasty

INGREDIENTS :

Ripe Mango : 2 [I used Thai Honey]
Banana : 2 [small]
Plain Yogurt : 1/2 coffee mug
Sugar : 1tbsp [optional]
Nutmeg Powder : 1/2tsp
Cinnamon Powder : 1/4tsp
Cardamom Powder : 2-3 pinches

METHOD :
Peel and wash the mango and banana. Cut into smaller pieces. Few pieces of mangoes need to be chopped further for the garnish.



Add rest of the fruits to your mixer. Add the sugar, spices and yogurt.



Put on the lid, pulse for 1-2 minutes. Open lid and check.



It is done. Pour into desired cups.



Cover with cling wraps.



Freeze for about 1-2 hours. Take out and top with chopped mangoes.



Enjoy chilled with family and friends.








Tuesday, 14 March 2017

CHAALE DAALE MURGI



Well this is a modified version of a rice-lentil-chicken-vegetables hotch potch that I used to prepare for my son back then as I did not wish to be Cerelac dependent for long. This modified version is just perfect on a week day night, we get every thing on a plate that is required for our body..... essential nutrients from dal, rice, chicken and good veggies. Yesterday, I was too lazy to cook a three to five course meal, moreover I was eager to have a "telepathic" conversation with someone, then I see quite a few number of "someones" who deserve accolades one way or the other... rose, orchid,  lily, marigold, sunflower ..... all together giggling in that cut glass vase. Around 3 pm I feel an urge for an afternoon nap, that is by default been a Bengali. Just then, someone appeared and said .... I use Johnson, do you? I was totally floored, you know why?... come on that was how Imran Khan asked in the Cinthol ad "I use Cinthol, do you? That was in the 80's and you know well my answer. So, I said .... for you I can buy a box full of Johnson..... happy? yes, it will make you feel nearer to me. I asked, how come your parents let you travel all along alone to me?.... Well, they went out on a romantic movie date and said... you can go and spend some time with the old lady. You know you are no so old as they say.... Is it? What else do they say?.... that you have a habit of intruding in other's home... I say if we knock a door with a good purpose, it is called treaty, building relationship and not intrusion. I have not come alone, some of my friends have come too.... they sing, dance, cook, paint. Come in angels... the old lady says.... They say .... the strands of silver make you look graceful... do not worry. Smiling at them I say, however good you are to me, there will be no hunky... junky party today... let us have something wholesome..... and we all dance and play together..... " sarey ke sarey... gama ko lekar gaate chaale"......

That is when I woke up, while the Johnson-y- smell lingered on. This dish of rice-dal-meat-veggie was learnt from a friend.... sweet and sleek Smita Banerjee.... wife of a bad, old, demon.... but he cooks well. Smita is a certified Rabindra Sangeet singer... their daughter Ditsha Banerjee paints and cook too..... she said she will never marry my son who used to beat her so much then. This makes my senior sad as his eyes are always stuck on Smita's bank locker. As of me, I will go with my son's wish.... this again I have learnt from my man .... we are here to guide our kids and not decide their life. Let me stop talking too much and cook together with you a wholesome plate of Chaale Daale Murgi. Yesterday, it happened to be my parent's marriage anniversary too, they are rice eaters, hence a toast to them. I had it with yogurt and salad... you may too....

INGREDIENTS :
Chicken : 8 pieces [medium cut]
Rice : 1/2 big cup
Chola / Chana Dal : 1/2 big cup [split Bengal Gram]
Potato : 2 medium
Broccoli : 4-6 floret [we can use cauliflower, carrot, long bean, french bean, green pea]
Onion : 2medium
Dry red Chilli : 3-4 [halved]
Green Cardamom : 3
Clove : 3-4
Cinnamon Stick : 3-4 one inch length
Bay Leaf : 2small
Cumin Seed : 1/4tsp
Cumin Powder : 1/2tsp
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1tsp[optional]
Lemon Juice : 3-4tbsp
Oil : 2tbsp
Ghee : 3tbsp + 2tbsp [clarified butter]
Garnish as you wish, I love doing with pomegranate kernels and chopped coriander

METHOD :
Wash the rice and cook till 60% done in enough water. Drain water, keep aside.

Soak the chana dal in hot water for 2 hours and pressure cook up to 1 whistle at low heat using one big cup water. Let cool.

The chicken pieces have to be marinated for 2 hrs in turmeric powder, salt and lemon juice.

Peel,wash and cut each potato into halves. Heat oil in a wok. Apply little salt in the potato pieces and fry till light brown.

While the potatoes are cooking, we will microwave the broccoli florets in some water for 5 minutes and drain the water.

Take out the potatoes. Temper oil with halved dry red chilli, cumin seeds, cinnamon sticks, green cardamoms, cloves and bay leaves.

Peel,wash and slice the onions and add to the wok, fry till golden brown. Add the ginger and garlic paste and fry for 2 minutes.

Add the cumin, coriander, salt, turmeric powders and fry for a minute. Add the marinated chicken pieces and stir at high heat for 2-3 minutes. Lower the heat and cover.

Open cover every 2 minutes and stir. After 10 minutes, add the potatoes and cook further for 8-10 minutes with cover.

Remove cover, add the parboiled broccoli and rice, fold in gently. add the boiled lentil and fold in gentler. Cover and cook at low heat for 2-3 minutes. Add sugar and rest of the ghee, stir gently.

Transfer to a plate, garnish as you wish and serve hot with raita and salad.





Sunday, 12 March 2017

ROSE SYRUP PUNCHED ZAFRANI ORANGE-POMEGRANATE BARAF GOLA TOPPED WITH CHOCO - VANILLA ICE-CREAM



Rose Syrup Punched Zafrani Flavoured Orange - Pomegranate Baraf Gola Topped with Choco-Vanilla Ice-cream .... uff so big a name but I bet you will enjoy doing it thoroughly because it is just one, two, three steps and done. Even my fingers are paining writing the name. Instead 'lau ghonto' that is a dish with bottle gourd  sounds so sleek..... but do not go by name. Today morning I did it which takes about 40-45 minutes to be done while this cooler took less than thirty minutes. Yes Bengalis are more into slow cooking at low heat rather than stir fries. I do not wish to get into any fight on which one is a healthier method, it is more of a habit. Our generation or the next or next to next may try to get healthier, like  at times I do not fry the cauliflower florets and potato pieces while doing a curry with it, they do taste good while so less oil is consumed. People like my mother or my grandmother will never accept it. They say "bheje, na koshaley kisher ranna".... if we do not fry and slow cook, it is not cooking. The more healthier me could never make her understand mani frying enhances the taste but may lose the necessary nutrients.... do not always go by "Dharmendra's way of jail mein chakki pissing pissing pissing" kind momci.... I do follow her when it comes to authentic Bengali cooking. When it comes to Bengali cooking she is too proud and believe she and her mother are the ultimate in Bengali cooking. I am a liberal who believe one cannot be a Jack of all trades.... each one of us have our own limitations.

It is a Sunday and I do not usually post ..... but today is Holi / Dol Poornima..... I may not play with colours except only with my ladoo Gopal. Thandai or Coolers are an integral part of Holi celebration and I tried to prepare a cooling drink that can be accepted globally paying due respect to a larger section of people. My coke-a-holic son did not touch it but I am sure it can be a healthy, happy and yum choice for the "only messiahs of the Almighty" on this earth. My senior indeed had a glass full of when I presented it singing "salam-e-ishk meri jaan jaara kabul kar lo".... he calls me drama queen but complies too at times. My rebel son is too vocal about his likes and dislikes and I am not the kind who can handle, really need a right kind of "Olive Oyl" for him.

Do you see a Piyali Muthha touch in this glass of Rose Syrup Punched Zafrani Flavoured Orange-Pomegranate Baraf Gola topped with Choco-Vanilla Ice-Cream? Yes, you are right because I do not accept mytrystwithfoodandtravel.com to take so long a break, she worships her blog. Summer is approaching, come let us pamper ourselves with this healthy baraf gola done with fresh fruit juices. Later when I do other flavours of baraf gola, I will associate some childhood memories with it.

INGREDIENTS : 
Orange : 2
Pomegranate : 1/2 of a medium sized
Rose Syrup : 1 small cup
Sugar : 2tsp
Black Salt : 1/4 tsp
Saffron : 8-10 strands
Ice Cubes : 2 big cups
Ice Cream : 1 scoop per glass. [I used store bought, use your choice of flavour]

METHOD :
Soak the saffron in warm water. My ingredients are ready to be used.





Peel the orange and pomegranate, wash the pips and get the juice in a juicer. Strain the juice through a strainer.  Add black salt, sugar and mix well. Take the ice cubes in a blender.



Blend to get a crushed form. It looks as below.



Arrange the glasses with crushed ice, top them with the juices, rose syrup, pour little of saffron infused water in each of them and  top each glass with a scoop of your favourite ice cream. It is ready to sip.


Friday, 10 March 2017

RONG BERONG ER BORFI / RANG BIRANGI BARFI



নিভন্ত প্রদীপে রঙের মেলা
রং নেবে গো ??
সুধায় কিশোরী....
উষা যায়, নিশা আসে,
বছর কাটে....
একাকী কিশোরী
রংমিলান্তি খেলে....
কে যেন ছুঁয়ে যায়,
হয়তো শ্বেতশুভ্র দাড়ি.... That is my take on life ... play along.....  if you do not have a company, play alone.... create a life of and for yourself and a colourful one. Rest, I do not wish to translate as I am not a poet .... I do not even know the number of errors in those lines ... I just express what I feel. 

It is Holi / Dol Poornima / Boshontotsab for us .... the festival of colour. It is spring too .... the season of colours. Well, playing Holi is not so much of a pleasure for me. My mother did not allow me to play Holi as the neighbourhood we stayed in was not congenial for it. Much later when things were safe, I lost interest in it. After marriage I wished to play Dol / Holi with my tiger who had more apathy towards it. I remember his reaction the moment I tried to get romantic with him with laal.... nila.... peela colours. I was in tears and his mother had to intervene. Things are all same till date, yesterday night I asked him define me in a sentence..... the answer is I do not need a sentence, a word or two are enough .... Devilish is perfect. You cannot even retaliate back to your spouse saying "yanna rascala" in Rajnikant style..... haha, no offence meant, my friends down South.The son thing following his father says .... Mamma is so fat. Do you think I wish to play Holi with such people, never. These are showered on me exactly when I was struggling with preparing some momo which is not that much of an ease for me as of a patla macher jhol [light fish curry] or a pathar kosha [mutton dry curry]. 

When the situation is such, a dear couple friend allures me with their romantic photographs, smeared with colour all over .... playing dol at a favourite place ..... Shantiniketan. I am yet to visit Shantiniketan during Dol Purnima / Poush Mela , so you have every reason to question my Bangaliana . The couple I am talking about are Dr. Saubhik Sengupta and his wife Mousumi .... both love theatre more than themselves perhaps. Saubhik is a childhood buddy, scientist..... has published articles on oncology. His recital of "Africa " back in school still gives me goosebumps. He is a poet but the stupid fella is doing anything except writing. He is using his pen only for signing medical reports these days.... to me it is a waste of talent. You will see me often penning rubbish unless these guys take up the baton. His wife Mousumi is bubbly, ever smiling and promotes positivity. They are theatre practitioners.

What is শ্বেতশুভ্র দাড়ি? .... well white beard.... who had ? ... the man I am eternally in love with who perhaps understood women better than the rest of his clan. Shantiniketan is his abode of peace. If you are a wanderer, please do contact West Bengal Travel and Tourism Department .... help us acquaint you with the history of each place from Shantiniketan to Bishnupur, help us promote and save our small scale / cottage industry.

I am a contrast of colours, Dol / Holi for me is as much as of Bollywood as of Shantiniketan. Earlier I used to watch videos on how the Bollywood stars played Holi much to my father's disappointment. I still love to watch people playing with vibgyor ... does not matter whether it is Bollywood, Kollywood or Tollywood style. Boys... do not be silly enough to colour your woman only.... come on be smart ... take a little liberty to think "zara hatke".... otherwise. I will sing for all of you " holi ke din dil khil jatey hai, rango mein rang mil jatey hai." I am a back stage person, favourite colour been black, white and shades of pastel but love the "Basantis" around ..... warm and vibrant. Going for an exhibition today and sure to rob all colours from someone's face with my devilish acts.

Dol Poornima / Holi demands snacks / thandai [coolers] and sweets .... all three. I am going with sweet .... Here is a three layered barfi / sweet made with carrot, green pea and coconut. Flavoured with ghee and cardamom, topped with almond.... it is safe to have once or twice a month. No artificial colour is required, just few ingredients and you get to see all smiling faces of your loved ones. Come let us do this super tasty and colourful Rong Berong er Borfi / Rang Birangi Barfi together. 

INGREDIENTS : 
Carrot : 4-5 medium
Green Pea : 2 big cup
Coconut [shredded] : 2 big cup
Condensed Milk : 1/2 small cup
Milk Powder : 2-3 tbsp
Sugar : 1/3 small cup + 1/2 small cup + 2 tbsp
Cardamom Powder : 1 tsp + 1 tsp  + 1 tsp
Ghee [clarified butter] : 3 tbsp + 3 tbsp

METHOD :
Let us prepare the carrot layer first. Peel, wash, discard the two ends of the carrots. Shred and transfer to  a grinder.




Put on the cover and grind to a paste. It may take 2-3 minutes.





Heat 2tbsp ghee in a wok. Add the carrot paste, Saute at low heat till the raw smell goes. Add rest 1tbsp of the ghee and cardamom powder. Fold in well  and saute for another 3-4 minutes. Its done.




Let cool a bit, transfer to a foil box and spread evenly.




Heat a clean wok atop gas stove. Add 2 medium cup water. Add 1/3 small cup sugar. Bring to boil and keep boiling till it reaches a sticky consistency.





While the syrup is cooking, we will prepare a paste of the shredded coconut in the grinder sprinkling little water.



Add the coconut paste to the sticky syrup and fold in well.



We will saute quite for sometime till the whole thing gets sticky. Add the cardamom powder.  Fold in well.



Transfer to and spread atop the carrot layer. 



Wash the green peas and prepare a paste in the grinder. Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a clean wok. Add the green pea paste. Fold in well and saute till the raw smell goes. Add the milk powder,1 tbsp ghee and 1 tsp of cardamom powder. Fold in well and cook for another 2-3 minutes. 



Let cool a bit and spread atop the coconut paste layer. Refrigerate for an hour.



Take out and turn over on a plate.




Cut into your desired shapes, garnish with chopped almonds and enjoy fresh.






Wednesday, 8 March 2017

PATALI GURER MAKHA SANDESH



Should I have gone with a recipe today or kept my pen down ..... I was in a dilemma, then I thought I must keep up with my friends and express my deepest condolences on the sudden demise of the very young, talented Bengali folklore singer Kalikaprasad Bhattacharjee yesterday in a car accident. Have not heard him much in particular, but I have grown up in a household where Amar Pal, Nirmalendu  Choudhuri, Paul Robeson were regularly heard. " Amai dubaili rey, amai bhashaili rey, akul doriyar buji kul nai rey" ..... is what I am humming at the moment. So,  Hemanta, Lata, Kishore, Rafi, Asha, KennyG, Elton John, Abida Parveen, Farida Khanum stay peacefully at my home and my belief will always be reflected on my work, even if without a single support..... hahaha I can well see a six year old girl leaving the dance floor as a teacher "rebukes" her instead of scolding. I see a girl, who often visits me saying why should someone discuss me with someone else when I should be directly told that I am not worth keeping in touch. I always comfort her saying do not beg for what you deserve, walk ahead ....  but keep the love flowing for a river never stops doing so. Each time she falls, she gets up with vigour and I love her so much. There is a difference between "looking back" and "going back".... I do tell her.... we can look back but we cannot afford to go back as it disturbs / upsets the "ecology of relationship or society."

Before talking about the woman or the couple for whom I am here today..... on this special day of ours, I wish to pay a special tribute to someone who showered me with immense love and made an abrupt exit.

MY FIRST TRIBUTE .... I was born in a small township of West Bengal which had a big church, a hospital, a school run by Missionaries of Charity. I started my schooling there. Of all the loving sisters, there was one Sister Marylyn ...... a Keralite Christian .... from whom I knew there  indeed can be a lot of love outside the family. She became a family friend and me possessive of her. At age six, I left for Kolkata, at age eight she lost her battle to cancer. So much loved she was that people took a round of the entire township with her so that everyone could pay their homage before the last rites. I learnt what love for mankind is and how a teacher should be. I still remember her smile and her precious gift .... a pendant with Mary n Jesus... which is still in my bank locker .

MY STRENGTH ..... Well both of my parents, but today I will talk about my mother only as it is our day. This is not space enough to write about her. My daddy had a chronic arthritic condition, he often fell sick and bedridden ... This lady took care of everything... going to the market, feeding us, taking us to school, looking after ailing daddy and taking his office files and keys to his office. A cleanliness freak that she was / is it was indeed an herculean job with a single part-time help. She is nearing 70 and is equally active and energetic in addition of taking care of anything between 50-70 floral tubs in terrace and a small garden. She inherited it from her mother who at 90 do not allow anyone to enter her prayer room, cleans it herself, a hercules of her time. I have not much to say about myself in such a scenario but to salute.

I AM THANKFUL TO..... Both of my in-laws who love our son, perhaps more than their son, but I will talk of the mother- in- law today. We are not good friends because our temperament do not match or we are not fond of each other's ways. I do not agree that a person can live a decent life only watching soaps and sleeping when I see courageous, more aged people in wheelchairs too. Yet, it is this lady who had shown undaunted love for her only grandson. Back in 2001 December someone arrived, till 2002 March, she came to our home everyday to assist her son to look after her grandson when I was bedridden with a septic on my stitch. They will be visiting next month and the weird grandson will irritate them to core, they will give an indulgent smile but gets sad, Deepro Roy needs to intervene with his wisdom. To both of you... love, responsibility and care need not be synonymous... you will always be taken care of, do not worry.

I MUST MENTION ..... My two sister-in-laws .... my brother's wife who takes good care of my parents, celebrates their birthdays and reminds me to wish them, took them to Chennai for treatment alone without any appointment, ran pillar to post to get everything done while caught in the Chennai flood with three elderly people. Big hugs dear B..... Bidisha, inspite of the differences which we can have.... though we are not 'J' for loving the same person too much, haha. Then comes my husband's sister, know her since she was six. You may not catch us kissing each other often but we had been good to each other. She never triggered her mother against me, but cooled her whenever required. In her family, she is nearer to me in nature.... Stay blessed Jhum.

MY SUPPORT SYSTEM ...... My girl friends, boy friends and some of their wives who are good friends too. I am well aware that some of these boys get 'J' when I show love to their wives... I feel happy to be loved so much. I cannot talk about so many today, but will do from time to time, in different ways.... I may not be there one day, but the blog with their names engraved in it will. Few of my lovely ladies are already up with their beautiful pictures on with lehenga choli and saree since yesterday night, I wish more by tonight.

MY WOMEN'S DAY GIFT .... Someone back from office last night said you are looking so pale.... whats wrong... go and get yourself done..... Once upon a time she said my hairs are greying fast, with such poor eyesight and insight.... are you ok with it? He said do you want me to powder my hair?.... and they held together tight without paying any attention to what others had to say about a girl of 26 marrying a boy of 25.... 'equation' is elsewhere.
Off course I am going to have some do ups on 10th March, at Bazaar to be held at Holiday Inn exhibiting creations of enterprising women .... two of them are sister like Roshni of Gahonaz and Debarathi of Shaukh.... showcasing their jewellery line and saree respectively.... You can keep an eye on their respective Facebook pages for details, they do shipping worldwide.

WHO AM I? ..... An unadulterated raw deal who gives utmost importance to a "life with / in Dignity."

Someone gifted me a nephew yesterday, who helped me a lot with my blog patiently, will talk about her later. Taking everything into account, I wish to share a quick, easy recipe of sweet using very few ingredients..... authentic of Bengal. Each day is our day, but today is special. We will off course not spend much time in the kitchen or our loving partners can even do it for us... sparing mine. Let us prepare this PATALI GURER MAKHA SANDESH together using grated date palm jaggery, homemade paneer and a bit of condensed milk.

INGREDIENTS :
Fresh Milk : 2 lt [ I use Meiji]
Lemon Juice : 4 tbsp
Ice cube : 1 small cup
Date Palm Jaggery : 1 small cup [grated]
Condensed Milk : 2-3 tbsp [ I use milkmaid]
Cardamom Powder : 1/2 tsp [not required if the jaggery is of good quality]
Raisin : 6-8 [to garnish]

METHOD :
Take the milk in a heavy bottomed vessel, put on gas and bring to boil. Add the lemon juice, as it curdles, immediately add the ice-cubes.

Once cool, strain the whey water through a white cloth. What remains is the cottage cheese or paneer. Tie the cloth to your kitchen tap and keep for about 45 minutes.

Grate the date palm jaggery block till you get a small cup full, mash it and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.

Untie and transfer the paneer to a plate and keep mashing for 10-12 minutes. Add the jaggery and condensed milk. Mash for 2-3 minutes. Add the cardamom powder and lightly mix. Garnish with raisins and enjoy fresh.