Summer is totally in here, perhaps in whole of South-East Asia and South Asia. In such places summer means more humidity, where you do not have the pleasure of peeping out of your thinner blanket and say... yay its summer .... no snow .... nah this lady is not jealous.... after six years of stay in the island she cannot even take that 12*C during December visits in Kolkata. I am jealous only when this Debarathi, Jayeeta, Roshni or Udita of Look Glamorous... Feel the Change showcase their saris and jewellery everyday and I am unable to buy them in bulk. I am thinking of blocking their pages. The wise man at home never gets wild, but says what will you do with so many. I have a patent answer.... all for your only daughter-in-law. He says our Olive Oyl will not wear sari. My answer is always.... do not be the reason of my heart attack bossy. Coming to summer sweat and summer under a thin blanket, I believe there are definitely my kind of primitive Bengali in other parts of the world too who jumps with joy at the sight of 'data', perhaps the overgrown stem of amaranth greens? The poor in English me never could translate 'Katwar data' even when a co worker requested me. Why do we need to translate 'Katwar Data' into English?.... my friends from West will not have it showing solidarity with my men.. Katwa is a small township in the Nadia district of West Bengal whose 'data' is available in Kolkata markets throughout summer, we make fish curries with potato and 'data'.... aah its a bliss. This island keeps me in touch with my roots in a couple of ways.... In the wet market, I stand in front of Osman or Haji meat shop and bargain this way... 'shushu har diyechen to?' totally forgetting I am in a different land, I am that Bengali who selects her lady's fingers.... each of same length, if required almost sitting on the ground as I did back home.... my Oriental fish, meat and vegetable guides do comply with me. No... he did not seek a divorce but stopped accompanying me to the market long back.... At times there is sudden flashbacks... sitting together we discussed.... 'Manifesto' once .... can we call it a drift from ideology? It is also true he funds my saris. Am I a double standard?.... may be....
Its a sunny morning today, feeling kind of nostalgic recapitulating my favourite Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay's 'Shataru O Jolkonya'..... which I read long back and then many a times .... I like his style so much, and also of some contemporary writers and poets. I felt like going very much Bengali in such a scenario, a vegetarian one.... he is a vegetarian, a very religious person yet lent his support to a fairly atheist co-worker when required. I so much love and respect this kinds.... who respects other's belief and do not behave like roadside rowdies. This daaler borar jhol.... a curry with freshly made lentil fritters is common in Bengali families. In both sides of my family, it is done with potato mainly on an all vegetarian day. Addition of few other vegetables like eggplant, ridge gourd and garnishing it with coriander leaves is my idea.... this way the Begun Aloo Jhinge Diye Daaler Borar Jhol gets more healthy and tasty.... mummum I will take that liberty however proud cook you are. Come let us prepare this summer cooling light vegetarian curry together.
INGREDIENTS :[FOR THE LENTIL FRITTERS]
Masoor / Mushurir Dal / Red Lentil : 1medium cup
Green Chilli : 2[chopped]
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/4tsp
Oil : 1medium cup
INGREDIENTS : [FOR THE CURRY]
Egg Plant / Begun : 2-3 small [washed, cubed]
Potato : 1big [peeled, washed, cubed]
Ridge Gourd [peeled, washed, cubed]
Ginger Paste : 2tsp
Cumin Seed : 1/4tsp
Bayleaf : 1
Dry Red Chilli : 2 [halved]
Cumin Powder : 1/2 tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder :1tsp
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1/2tsp [optional]
The Lentil Fritters
Coriander Leaves : 2tbsp [chopped]
Oil : Remaining oil after frying the fritters
Wash and soak the dal in hot water for an hour. Drain the water and grind to a coarse paste. Transfer to a bowl. Add sugar, salt, turmeric powder and chopped green chillies. Mix well.
Heat oil in a wok and fry the fritters in batches till light brown on both sides. Remember we will not fry them too brown as we will use them in a curry.
Once done, transfer them onto tissue paper to soak the excess oil.
Now, rub all the veggies with salt and turmeric and fry separately. Take out. We need only 2tbsp oil now, rest if any, take out.
Temper oil with cumin seeds, halved dry red chillies and the bayleaf.
Add the ginger paste and fry for a minute. Add cumin powder, red chilli powder, little salt and turmeric. Fry well and add a big cup of water.
Once it comes to boil, add the lightly fried potatoes first. Cover cook for 2 minutes. Open cover and add the lentil fritters, fried egg plants and ridge gourd. Cover cook for 2-3 minutes at low heat.
Open cover and add sugar, mix well and cook for half a minute. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves before serving.
Enjoy with piping hot steamed rice with a drizzle of lemon juice. We can try with chapati or paratha too.