Tuesday, 30 January 2018

KAJU KISHMISH TIL BATA DIYE FULKOPI



This spice paste is often used at this home for fish, vegetables or meat when may be I do not wish to exhibit my love affair with chillies ..... that happens only when the pantry runs out of it... there goes a shrill note to Cristine "kancha lanka furiye geche amai bolbi na sheta?".... totally forgetting Cristine is a Filipino... How do I remember?.... She now eats ilish mach to begun-pora to paratha to nimki.... However, this less spicy, little sweet KAJU KISHMISH TIL BATA DIYE FULKOPI works well when we need a shift from our usual "fulkopi-aloo r dalna"..... Anyhow, the senior says chillies and oil  comes for free at this home, the wife has an instant answer to this...... "ami oshob aluni ranna kortey parbo na, mach-tarkari jhaley nuney thik thaktey hobey." I gave the junior the same food that we had once he was three years old. His paediatrician used to say even kids do have a taste bud, do not deny them of that pleasure. I have seen some of my friends' madness ..... feeding their 8-10 year old kids soupy fish & meat curries.... Come on, Indian stomach / taste bud is not built for soups on a regular basis and vice versa. The reason I am so fond of Bianca Castafiore is that she prepares awesome kebabs and curries, makes the perfect dosas and she has Indian friends who send her snacks during Diwali.... She might be a little high nose but she respects our culture..... She is the one to be kept close by! Coming to this family, people are a bit weird.... the son was only three months old when the paa-in-law made him taste ice-cream, roshogolla when he was only six months. One should not go to that extreme either! The boy who had his meals starting with a "shaak" and ending with a "chutney" does not fancy either of the two anymore.... how come Olive Oyl's husband does not eat spinach? The son's love for Bengali cuisine is limited to all kinds of fries and fritters, dal, meat curries, fish curry's fish has to be boneless or a prawn.... his love for vegetables is limited to "begun, fulkopi and aloo."..... Mumma feels so limited in the kitchen! The entire bunch of "lau shaak" was eaten by this lady and Cristine! This is not the case at my friend Paramita Ghosal's home... she trained her daughter so well. Why did I take her name?.... because she is among the very few expats who kept her kitchen very authentic... at large! Our temperament do not match, but I respect some of her qualities... she definitely is qualitatively high.... handling the IG level students the entire day.... coming back home and cooking for the family!  The major defect you will find in this blogger at CURRY AND SPICE is that she is very rigid, her likes and dislikes are very strong.... The man of this house scolds me hard, perspectives differ wifey.... why are you so judgemental? My defence is.... I do not bother people either .... I enjoy my me time may be with a bowl of fruits of my choice with butter toasted paneer added to it or gazing at the small patch of green amidst the cringy skyscrapers we live in.




Yet, the husband has to worry... you sit at home... you do not mingle! Arey, I cannot... I feel very misfit amidst a crowd and useless talks that ranges anything from how unfaithful the helps are, how poor performer or ill behaved are other's kids compared to one's own, the worst been comparing the husbands' salary and position in the company, whether he drives a Mercedes or not, who lives in a condo and who in a HDB? .... Few bonds I do adore from a distance, rest I have doubts..... As of me? better I spread my wings and sing "panchi banu udti phiru mast gagan mein, aaj main azad hoon duniya ke chaman mein"..... Cooking.... thy passion goes on .... this time a KAJU KISHMISH TIL BATA DIYE FULKOPI.... served with a chana dal and curry patta tempered rice and there had to have some chicken for the people who would not touch the salad!

KAJU KISHMISH TIL BATA DIYE FULKOPI is not a regular Bengali dish but I have seen this variation when guests were due at home, if not always at our home. It is a dry curry little sweet and tangy as the gravy has raisins and yogurt in it, creamy with the use of cashew nuts and melon seeds. My men would not have asked for the chicken if there had been poori or porota by the side... they simply love.... They love rice when the lady gets giant tiger prawns for them. The miser lady obviously does not do it often, neither she will stress herself with forcing her impossible to train men to eat what they do not like. They never demand me to cook what they love, but I cannot take it when they eat 1/4 of what they might have eaten if the food had been of their choice. I never take it as their trick, they will eat a plate full of rice if served with boiled potatoes and eggs, dollops of ghee or butter, salt.... the lady will take a big green chilli with it. The husband ate it as breakfast all five days of his school, still weighing at 54kg. The almighty had been very unkind to this diabetic lady.... she has to be kind of shameless to find the earth worth living. The son is having one after another pre-board examinations and the mother is cooking! What else could I do? If someone does not listen to any of your words with full support from the father, you will live your own life.... do what you enjoy doing ! When all the mummas will have beautiful status updates with pride after six months, this mumma will cry behind the closed doors. The husband and wife are going for the movie Padmavat too today night, "gokuley boro hote thakuk ekti bador"..... I look around and see how sincere kids of his age are.... specially the girls.... I will not go further with it, as he already complained to his teachers that mumma does not trust him enough. Mumma wishes to keep aside all tensions and do what she loves doing.... sharing her kitchen tales with her readers. This is again a "fakibaji ranna" that this lady's mother will not approve, why? she made a paste taking every thing together and did not do much of "koshano."




INGREDIENTS :
Cauliflower : 1medium sized
Cashew Nut : 7-8
Raisin : 9-10
Onion : 1 medium [peel, wash, roughly chop]
Green Chilli Paste : 2
Dry Ginger Powder : 1/2tsp [optional}
Melon Seed : 1/2tsp[char mogoj]
White Sesame Seed : 11/2tsp [til]
Turmeric Powder : 2-3pinches
Salt : As Required
Plain Yogurt : 3tbsp
Cinnamon Stick : 2one inch stick
Green Cardamom : 2-3
Clove : 2-3
Bay Leaf : 1
Dry Red Chilli : 2
Ghee : 2tsp[clarified butter]
Oil : 11/2tbsp

METHOD :

Cut the cauliflower into medium sized florets, wash and take in a microwave proof bowl. Add 11/2 coffee mug of water and microwave at high for 5-6 minutes adding a little salt to it.

Let cool and then drain the water. Add little more salt, rub well and keep aside for 20 minutes or so.

Take the raisins, cashew nuts, chopped onion, green chillies, melon seeds, sesame seeds and plain yogurt in a grinder and grind to a smooth paste. Add little water if required.



Heat the oil in a wok and temper with the cinnamon sticks, green cardamoms, cloves, bay leaf and dry red chillies. I forgot to add the dry red chillies and did it later but you will not do the mistake as you are not heading towards dementia for sure.



Add the spice paste and keep stirring for 2-3 minutes. You will see that the oil separates from the spice mixture. Add the turmeric powder and dry ginger powder and stir for a while.



Add the boiled cauliflower florets and fold in well.



Stir gently for 2-3 minutes. Add a small cup of water to your grinder to mix the residual spice mixture... we call it 'bati dhoya jol'.... add that water to the wok and fold in well. Cover cook for 3-4 minutes. We are done.

Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish with ghee. We enjoyed it with chana dal and curry leaves tempered rice and chicken. This KAJU KISHMISH TIL BATA DIYE FULKOPI goes very well with any South Asian / Middle Eastern Breads!


Sunday, 28 January 2018

MOCHAR CHOP



"Kahan se shuru karein? .... Baat to kabhi khatam huyehi nehi..... har ek Khwaishyein kabhi dafna diye the hamne, yun lagti hain kafan kuch zordar nehi the... sab kuch nikal parey mujhe be abroo karne ki josh mein...." ..... No the husband did not clap and say wah...wah... kya baat... kya baat! while taking a heavenly bite on that MOCHAR CHOP with his favourite Earl Grey tea.... I do not blame him either, neither of us know how many grammatical errors are there in those two lines. The man of this house in fact said .... "wife you feed your readers utter lies, you do not have a bit of romanticism in you"..... Why did he say so? Well, it was yesterday morning....  a Saturday morning indeed and I was juggling in the kitchen .... which vegetable to coordinate with what spice mix.... whether to cook the mutton with "ada roshun bata" or to follow a master chef's recipe, would that semi-frozen 'katla' go well with 'sheem and aloo'?..... It was 1pm when the husband had to call the wife by his side and say... lets go out this evening wifey.... I will treat you with a wine of your choice... The answer was an instant "no"..... I was then planning how to get a near perfect filling for the MOCHAR CHOP..... similar to what we get in the "Kolkatar Telebhajar Dokan"...... how could I say an yes.... and why should I? When I am in mood, me too call him at office and say "arey dil samhalta nehi kya karoon".... he says take a shower, go to sleep or go for some shopping.... and then hangs the phone without saying a bye! When it comes to some "fry-shry" as yum as this MOCHAR CHOP, we do sit together with exactly the platter you see in the picture and bond over a good movie. Now, if you see the lady of this house in the roads always with her headphone on, totally oblivion of the people's reaction watching her foot tapping on a Bollywood number, it is not her fault. The police in this beautiful island are generous enough not to send her to an asylum till date! Once I heard Shabana Azmi saying in an interview that her poet husband Zaved Akhtar ji has no romantic bones in his body, so I did not take any initiative to file a divorce against the man of this house. Before I take it on the senior, I need to settle score with the junior ..... It is a couple of months now that the son is getting a haircut that is bothering me too much.... one side of his head is shaven, the other side is wavy with too much of hair.... The mother gets him acne removal creams, he does not apply.... The mother gets on her nerves, the father is not bothered! The duo are actually up on speeding my way towards heaven.... I am such a good "o-men" you see, still frying "pakorey-shakorey".... fries, fritters, snacks for them, I had a little.... else they may feel bad... haha... thats a naughty girl you have come across.

On a bit serious note, the veteran Bengali actress Supriya Debi left for the heavenly abode day before yesterday. So many of her movies I have grown up watching.... be it "Meghe Dhaka Tara" or "Chowringhee" ..... She was a good cook, I was a teen may be or in the early 90's, she used to feature in cookery shows or her recipes were seen in the Bengali magazine "Sananda" with the caption "Tomader Dada Eta Bhalobashten"..... Dada here refers to the the iconic Bengali actor Uttam Kumar.... I liked the way how she referred his name while showcasing each of her creations... No, they were not a married couple, they lived in together... later split too.... That should not be my concern, they gave us master pieces / good amount of entertainment .... Yesterday, I saw the Bengali celebrity chef Rongon Neogi's obituary note on her and liked it .... he says just few days back she was with him judging a cookery contest.... She was old, sick but active till death.... that is how life should be.... A Bengali recipe is a must today! In fact, as I take a look at my Google photo library, 90% of the food photos are Bengali... except for some homemade jams and simple cakes.... Why on earth should I go for a three layered cheese cake topped with raspberry compote.... when I know I cannot manage it... "sref dhyarabo".... when there is a Bengawan Solo to Icing Room just opposite our home, when a "shorshe-narkol bata diye loti" cries for some recognition ...... Yesterday, someone called and said we did not talk quite for sometime S.... I said you fall in that bracket who I /we need not talk or be formal every other day.... we are just there for each other... Now I do not wish to mention names always... because it gets me to something I am averse to..... profile updates with swim suits on ... truly! Some of my friends have already blogged on MOCHAR CHOP earlier, I did not take a look at theirs before trying it yesterday.... This tongue has tasted this bliss innumerable times till date, she should be able to do full justice to it. If you can consider the picture quality and the slightly distorted outer finish.... you will agree that I could get the "choper dokaner" taste. MOCHAR CHOP is a Bengali style savoury snack sold at every neighbourhood back in Kolkata. It is made with a filling prepared with chopped and boiled banana blossom, boiled and mashed potato, fried peanuts, ginger paste, roasted.... dry grind spice mix. It is then dipped in a batter made from gram flour and refined flour, coated with semolina and deep fried to perfection till crisp. If you are a miser like me, you will not buy per piece for 5-8 rupees, that too made with a negligible amount of banana blossom. If you are an "only soups and salads".... kind of a person, this blog is never your destination!




INGREDIENTS :
Chopped Banana Blossom : 1coffee mug 
Potato : 2medium [peel, boil, mash]
Peanut : 2tsp [halved]
Green Chilli : 2[chopped]
Ginger Paste : 1tbsp
Cumin Seed : 1tsp + 1/4tsp
Coriander Seed : 1tsp
Fennel Seed : 1/2tsp
Cinnamon Stick : 2one inch size
Green Cardamom : 2-3
Clove : 3-4
Dry Red Chilli : 3-4
Turmeric Powder : 1/3tsp
Semolina : 1medium cup
Dry Red Chilli Powder : 1/2tsp
Chaat Masala : 1/2tsp
Refined Flour : 1/2small cup
Gram Flour : 1/2small cup
Sugar : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Ghee : 2tsp [clarified butter... optional]
Oil : Enough to deep fry

METHOD :

Wash the already chopped banana blossoms taking it in a strainer. Pressure cook it adding 11/2 coffee mug of water, little salt and turmeric. Let cool and then drain the water. Reserve it in a bowl.




We have the boiled and mashed potato ready in the counter.




Dry roast 1tsp of cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cinnamon sticks, green cardamoms, cloves, dry red chillies and coarsely grind them.



Heat oil in a wok, temper with 1/4tsp of cumin seeds. Add the halved peanuts and stir for a minute.




Add the ginger paste, salt, turmeric powder and stir for 2 minutes at low heat. Add the boiled banana blossoms and fold in well. Cover cook for 3-4 minutes.




Add the boiled potato.





Fold in very well, add the chopped green chillies and little more than half of the ground spice mixture or as you wish.




Fold in very well, and stir for 2-3 minutes. Add the sugar and stir further for a minute or two.





Our filling for Mochar Chop is ready and we will transfer it to a plate. Let cool. Make shapes of your choice.

Prepare a thick batter with the refined flour, gram flour, water and salt.

Take the dry red chilli powder, chaat masala and semolina in a plate and mix well.

Dip the yet to fry MOCHAR CHOP in to the batter.





Coat each well with the semolina mix. Repeat same with all of them.



Refrigerate for an hour. Take out.




Heat oil in a wok. Deep fry each side very well till brown.




Take out and keep onto tissue paper before you serve while still hot.




We enjoyed MOCHAR CHOP with Muri-Lanka, "shosha-peyaj kuchi"... that is a salad with cucumber and onion, Dates-Tamarind Chutney and with Tea / Coffee!



Thursday, 25 January 2018

DIM PATURI



Egg ..... there was a time when the boss of this home had 3-4 eggs per day ..... I wondered how the thin framed guy would digest it! I used to scream.... you will not eat more than one or two eggs in a day..... After marriage, I stopped giving him more than two eggs in a day, limited his tea intakes to 2-3-4 cups per day.... Who is the boss then? There is a very good understanding between us in this matter.... I am the boss at home, he looks after the rest of the things.... the illiterate wife can sign papers only .... he says "ekhaney sign koro".... I do. It will not be an exaggeration to say that till date I do not understand how a bank operates. I go there and say you discuss with my husband and decide what is to be done. When I say this, I do not take any pride.... I love girls who are unlike me.... fiercely independent! I always admit that I am an "achal poisha".... In a world that needs women to be supremely active and street smart.... this lady continues to be Ashapoorna Debi's protege / subject! Some of my friends say she is of a particular genre.... but I love that genre! Have I had 1/4th of the capability of an Ashapoorna Debi or say Alolika Mukhopadhyay .... you would have seen my signature on a "Mon Bilashinir Podaboli".... "Firey Dekha" or on a collection of short stories "Ekti Mithya Premer Golpo O Onanyo"..... I told someone that when you travel to that land, get me an autograph of Alolika Mukhopadhyay... I had been reading her ever since she started writing in "Desh Patrika?" Wiki says "Dainik Bartaman"... memory says Desh..... Till date I did not get it because the person forgets to tell the concerned people may be for the work to be done, I can always remind in emails but I do not.... One who dreamt about Liz Taylor 24/7 once would hardly take any interest in getting an autograph of Alolika Mukhopadhyay.... that too for me.... a woman who mastered "witchcraft"...... who spreads poison.... not worth the effort.... etc. etc. Anyway, it is this time of the year that I miss Kolkata a lot.... its been 8 long years I did not visit Kolkata "Boi Mela"..... I met so many who's who there once.... Mrinal Sen, Sunil Gangyopadhay to Javed Akhtar and lot more! Once there was a hilarious situation! The boss of this house is never much into Bengali literature or say not into fiction as much like me... We always went to the Book Fair together.... once Poet "Joy Goswami" was standing outside the "Ananda" stall... without giving me any chance to stop him, boss ran to him to get an autograph on a novel written by "Harsha Dutta."..... The boss reads journals, non-fictions and insists me too.... those are not my cuppa.... My cuppa goes well with a Sunil's "Hotath Nirar Jonya"...... A Sunil Gangyopadhay had the right to take pride in saying "ami to madhyomik e third division e pash korechilam".... that he passed 10th board with an average score .... and now post doctoral students of Bengali Literature do research on his works. An average in all matters like me  should have taken a little more interest in studies. It feels good to see that there is a writer in the family, does not matter if not in so much of fame. The brother's Paa-in-Law writes in different magazines, Kaku is a wonderful human being who will be travelling to Delhi next week to participate in a literary summit may be. Both kaku and kakima are a very good example of how to raise kids, they brought up their two daughters beautifully with education and manners  in extremely hard conditions. My little brother never took interest in fictions, non-fictions..... he was totally into sports and 'Jholmol Khan'..... now that his wife has cleaned the walls of his room which was crowded with Khan's stickers .... he says he only has Kimi Raikkonen in his mind ... if there is a Formula1 race in Delhi or anywhere in India, he will go..... He had been far better in academics than me, though not in the top brass..... "fairly" placed in a mutual fund company ..... fairly because his sister thinks he had the potential to be better placed in life, his parents and sister were too worried of his tendency towards wrong associations till a certain age! His sister is very fond of the owner of his company ... Anil Ambani.... haha.... not because he is handsome and rich.... but because he was ready to leave his father's wealth and legacy for one Tina Munim.... You see the brother's sister also has a tendency towards wrong reasonings. There is another Tina.... creating raves at the Oxford University for a good cause.... I will publicly clap for her and team at the right time. Coming to the point why I call the senior my boss..... ok, may be because that wonder woman Chutu calls her husband so.... she is a first class first or second in Economics from Jadavpur University who did her MPhil from University of Glasgow on a national scholarship.... she is an economist whose interviews I see in money control.com without getting a bit of it.... She never found it against woman's lib to cook for her husband after office.... a fiercely independent woman who dragged me into an auto rickshaw around 12am in Mumbai back in 1999, the husband's were in another auto.... I was in the verge of tears out of fear because the mother did not let me out of her lap ever.... More about this couple may be when I post her family recipe of what people of West Bengal origin ate last Tuesday... there is a strong Houston connection too in this bond which will be very wrong to avoid.... lets see.... I call him boss because he does all the paperworks for my meagre savings, does the work of a plumber, electrician in a land where "Babu and Sujon" is not a phone call away, long back I told him promise me not to leave me ever however flawed I am.... he kept his promise!.... Love has different forms and I respect each.....  "ek egg dish banti hai unke naam".... however pathetic my Hindi is, this Bengali recipe of EGG PATURI is something you will love!

Paturi is a very Bengali thing, near similar to steamed dishes prepared in other Indian states or in South Asia, South East Asia or say the entire Asia. I always admit my knowledge on food or anything is very much negligible! Research is very important in life.... Even a Jhumpa Lahiri had to do extensive research on the Naxalite Movement before writing "The Lowland" or a Sunil Gongyopadhay spent days after days at the Kolkata National Library before writing "Shei Shomoy" or "Prothom Alo".... Literature is also a science of research I believe.... "kobita.... tobey ki sudhu tumii adi, akritrim, monoshij?] .... I wonder if poem is the only thing that is delivered straight from the soul ... just like true love! If you ever see my name in print media, it will be "bat talar Swapna Kumari".... this is a Bengali term used for any publish that is not anywhere near to literature.... Once I did read books by a male counter part of this Swapna Kumari to the utter disgust of our father.... the paa-in-law has terrible jokes in his kitty on this guy who wrote horrible detective stories! I love the father, do not wish the paa-in-law to leave us either soon.... Swapna Kumari need not happen, she should keep herself busy cooking when she is not into walking or music.... Egg happens often at this house given we do not get fresh pabda, aar, boyal, kajoli, tyangra, koi or dhai! During this time of the year you get the best quality Aar, Boyal, Dhai, Koi in Kolkata... slurp! I prefer variety in the kitchen! So there has to have different kinds of egg curries happening, a spicy DIM PATURI is welcome anytime.... You see I cannot survive on soups and salads alone.... After a long walk I love  to have some fried wantons with Teh O Kosong and I am super elated to get that bundle of lau shaak in the Asian store yesterday... They are air flown from the land of my forefathers! Our mother cooks "lau er doga diye charaponar patla jhol or a laushaak diye posto"..... the daughter loves them till date ....







The oats will go for ladoo, to be tried in poori or pakora or halwa.... you bet that will not cause any harm to my relationship with that beautiful Bianca Castafiore or say that cook cum painter cum photographer.... we are matured enough to respect each other's role here! So far Liz Taylor fan / fans are concerned, there are better people to balance  with a "lau shaak diye moong dal,".... I believe what gets lost, is lost forever.... we only can "preserve" memories! EGG PATURI is not a unique something but is done with the same, old, common spice mix for paturi ..... mustard seeds, green chilli and coconut paste. You may not paste the shredded coconut, it is up to you!






INGREDIENTS :
EGG : 5-6 [boiled, peeled, slightly slitted, rubbed with little salt]
Mustard Seed : 11/2tbsp [black or yellow]
Shredded Coconut : 1/2small cup
Green Chilli : 5-6 [adjust]
Garlic Clove : 2 [peeled]
Turmeric powder : 1/4tsp
Salt : As Required
Mustard Oil : 3tbsp +2tbsp [A must for us in this kind of dishes]
Banana Leaf : Squared, big enough to wrap each egg and tied with a thread

METHOD :

Marinate the boiled eggs with little salt for 15 minutes.

Prepare a paste with the washed mustard seeds, shredded coconut, green chillies, salt and garlic cloves.



Add the turmeric powder to the paste and mix well. Pour on to the eggs, add 3tbsp oil too.



Coat each egg nicely with the spice mix, fold in the entire thing well.


Let it rest for 1/2 an hour! Take a piece of banana leaf.... place one egg in the middle, pour some spice mix atop.



Fold from all sides, tie with a thread. Repeat same with all the eggs.



Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan. Place the banana leaf wrapped eggs atop it.



Cook at low heat for 12-13 minutes on one side. Turn over and cook for another 7-9 minute. We are done.



A little of spice mix may spill over, do not worry. Once done, let rest for 5 minutes. Enjoy with piping hot steamed rice.... you can try with hot chapatis too.



Tuesday, 23 January 2018

BHINDI BEGUN JIREY KANCHA LANKA BATA DIYE ILISH ER PATLA JHOL



About 40 years back, this day was a Saraswati Puja day.... I did not get a wake up call from the parents around 5 am in the morning, neither did I hear the tinkling sound of someone's bangles busy in the kitchen preparing a paste of "kancha holud and neempata".... fresh turmeric and neem leaves paste to which mustard oil is mixed and  is a must to massage all over the body on this particular day.... if you do it five times a week you may get a skin like Cleopatra .... if you are trying to recommend me a neem leaves juice every morning, you are not my friend.... The mother did try all such things on me but in vein. I love watching others all decked up, not really applicable to me at all times.... "abhimaan?.... ta boltey paro tomra"... or may be self respect! Had I have a little bit of this self respect in our physics teacher Rakhal Sir's class... I would not be this idle brain today.... He made it a point to ask me questions in almost every physics class and I stood staring at him with a blank face....shamelessness for sure.... Self pride occured only when a comparison with a Nikhita, Punita or say Pricilla happened.... To be precise, till age sixteen I fought with the mother on why she applies so much of oil on my hair that barred me to be someone near to Pricilla.... Once I was 16, I felt otherwise.... let me be myself .... a vouch taken while strolling aimlessly at the DumDum railway station one afternoon.... we stayed 19 long years in DumDum. What you see in social media is a much done up face with a double layer of make up, that reminds that Xmas is over for long and I need to change the Facebook profile picture! Let us go back there from where we started.... That particular morning, the seven years old girl could not find her mother wondering where can she go on a Saraswati Puja day.... then our Paa and the neighbourhood aunties said God has sent a beautiful gift to you, a living toy.... That evening, the daddy took me to the RG Kar Medical hospital.... and wow what is that on my lap.... who else but my little brother ! As he grew older, history repeated.... every six months new names poured into my ears..... Babita, Nilanjana or may be a Konica ..... I had to deal it with patience while his "T dada" said you are looking for a Videocon washing machine.... not possible.... Then we got someone for him who is not a Sonam Kapoor who the birthday boy dreamt of but someone who got mad with the demise of her paa-in-law.... assembles all his financial papers at one place and does the needful .... forcefully includes my name as the joint owner of the daddy's home even after repeated denial from our side.... the Almighty deserves several thanks from me... truly! Coming to Pricilla, Nikhita, Punita, I could not think otherwise but to be a facilitator.... before I close my eyes I would definitely wish to hold one collar and say... listen, I had a mind too, but I lost the address of the person a couple of decades back! So far Babita, Nilanjana, Konica are concerned, well I had to play the role of a strict elder sister. Yet the food blogger sister has to give her little brother a treat.... may be with a BHINDI BEGUN JIREY KANCHA LANKA BATA DIYE ILISH ER PATLA JHOL! Let me tell you, the above discussed people do not have any connections whatever ..... when I speak of the mother and that 'another woman," I definitely do not wish to connect them as such, they have hardly met few times in life! ..... I do not believe in forced matches ..... I wish to compile tales of people who I met at different stages of my life..... the only common factor hence is "me"...... There is another celebration back home too.... the senior's sister is celebrating their 12th Marriage Anniversary at Puri now.... the duo are ardent travellers who travel at least 3-4 times per year.... trekking mostly! This girl had always given me the place of an elder sister, love my parents, a good friend to my brother..... her trekker husband is a wonderful cook too...... a mutton dish would have been great but they equally love ilish .... so a BHINDI BEGUN JIREY KANCHA LANKA BATA DIYE ILISH ER PATLA JHOL for their long life. This society approves  only of things that has been made legal..... birthdays of dear ones, marriage anniversary, friend anniversary, baby shower.... let us keep the rest of the "do nots" confined to Bollywood, "I likes it".... There is a mind.... a soul in each one of us... and it reserves the right to celebrate anything within it.... a rain, a bloom or whatever.... no one stops.... As of me, I celebrate mango, mutton and ilish anytime.... haha....

Today I really wished to go with something the family loves, which is not much elaborate. The son does have ilish these days, in fact prefers it fried, loves its eggs more, given the mother de bones it! There is a severe back pain that I have developed recently.... Folks.... be careful when you take weights in the gym.... it should match your capacity.... the last week had been too much for my stomach to take.... "pithe puli, ilish, mutton to khichuri, luchi, payesh, labra, naru!.... Oats is giving me acidity... sorry to say.... this giant sized stomach was not built to digest oats.... then some heavy weights in the gym did not help much but caused an injury perhaps..... You are not an idiot like me and should know how to take care of yourself! Long back I heard people of a particular district of West Bengal prepare ilish / Hilsa curry with bhindi / okra / dhyarosh.... may be with green chilli-mustard paste! Google search did not help me in this matter much..... so I prepared a very light curry with minimal spices, okra and eggplants .... and named it BHINDI BEGUN JIREY KANCHA LANKA BATA DIYE ILISHER PATLA JHOL. Like many other Bengali families, the senior's side of the family has the ritual of not having ilish with the last "dhaker awaz".... that is the last day of Durga Puja and resume again on the Saraswati Puja night...... the idea perhaps is to give them ample time to grow and breed. We hardly follow the ritual these days, I buy an ilish whenever I get to see one. Let me wish the people around  with a bowl full of BHINDI BEGUN JIREY KANCHA LANKA BATA DIYE ILISH ER PATLA JHOL and be a part of the celebration!




INGREDIENTS :
Ilish / Hilsa : 7-10 pieces
Eggplant : 3-5 small sized [wash, discard the stem end and cut half]
Bhindi : 7-8
Cumin Powder : 2tsp [preferably freshly ground]
Green Chilli Paste : 2tbsp [adjust if so wish]
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp+1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Nigella Seed : 1/2tsp
Green Chilli : 2-3 slitted
Oil : 2tbsp [Authentically Mustard Oil]

METHOD : 

Wash the hilsa / ilish pieces thoroughly. Rub with 1tsp of turmeric powder and salt as much required. Keep aside for 1/2 an hour.

Rub salt to the washed and halved small sized egg plants just 3-4 minutes before you drop them in the curry, else they turn black. Ideally, we will cut them just 3-4 minutes before any use.

Wash the bhindis / okra / dhyarosh, take in a microwave proof bowlful of water adding little salt. Microwave at high power for 3-4 minutes. Discard the water or reserve to drink when cold.

Once the semi boiled bhindis are cold, cut the stem end and rub with little salt.

Take the cumin powder, green chilli paste, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and little salt in a small bowl and mix well, sprinkle little water to get a paste like consistency.

Heat oil in a wok and temper with nigella seeds. Add the spice paste and stir for a minute at low heat.

Add one coffee mug of water. Let boil for 3 minutes. Gently add the marinated fish pieces and halved egg plants. Add the marinade too!

Let boil covered at minimal heat for 3-4 minutes. Open cover and add the semi-boiled okras and the slitted green chillies. Cover cook again for 2 minutes. We are done. Serve hot with piping hot steamed rice!







Saturday, 20 January 2018

FRESH ORANGE JUICE & SEMOLINA HALWA





Oh I had something else on my mind for today's share, then I thought if someone is taking pride on one of their creation at the moment, let me not interfere.... we can share it later. Let us have some FRESH ORANGE JUICE & SEMOLINA HALWA instead. Anyway, we are "Bangal" hailing from the other side of Bengal, we do not have the ritual of "Sheetal Shashti" a day after the D-day.... Off course it is a big day for us tomorrow... its Saraswati Puja.... the Goddess of Art & Learning makes an yearly visit at our homes at this time of the year! At our home, the mother never missed it and is still going on with the ritual.... This year there is no puja happening at that home.... the father left us. I do not find any logic behind this.... he so much loved inviting his club associates for a "prasad" on such days. Anyway, since the daughter is married to another family, there is no hard and fast rule for her .... again there is a why so? here too but not in the right mood for any kinds of argument, so she will go ahead with all the Saraswati Puja rituals! This beautiful lady who plays the Beena / Veena had been very unkind to me till date, yet I go ahead with pleasing her to my best capability..... hoping the offspring should not turn in to a hopeless case like his mother. You can well imagine how busy I am today and tomorrow.... and what a bliss our Cristine is.... She fries the moong dal for the "Khichuri Bhog", continuously stirs the milk for the "rice kheer".... prepares the dough for "luchi" and her "naru" is more round than mine. The senior / junior does not know when the lady does the shopping for a special prayer meet, they are happy with the "naru".... one is glued into the computer screen and the other is back from the neighbouring country just yesterday night... The doubts are now turning into  belief .... I meant I was wondering at what point does official meetings gets so interesting .... haha... How much of busy I am, or distracted the mind is, I enjoy sharing my recipes with all.... a Saraswati Pujo at the doorstep and let me give you a very quick, easy and yum recipe that you can offer the Goddess with luchi / Poori.... I am doing some normal "cooking - shooking".... and writing this super simple recipe because I wished to..... I love my blog however minuscule it is just as I love the "me" though it is full of flaws and a way bit weird too.... When I am hurt, I go out and buy myself a small gift, wear it.... take a selfie with a big smile.... I make it a point to repeat and repeat again "stay away from me if I have said no to you long back.... I have my own reasons and I prefer to stick to that".... I am too possessive, too protective of certain feelings or people, too averse to certain behaviours. Did you call me silly?.... Oh yes, I am.... very much.... I am 47.... I still call one Chandrayee Dasgupta and say you will not be friends with that person or hit a like in their post.... haha... but I am selfish enough not to comply to her wishes most of the time.... Leave me.... I am not the kind to be in your thought, let me walk alone and sing "yeh zindegi hai ek jua... kabhi jeet bhi kabhi har bhi yahan".... another hit number from Madam M.... At different stages of my life, Madam Ms have ruled on me, no more but! I know majority of you get irritated with my irrelevance ..... I just wished to say ignore people who let you down, rest.... to lessen your irritation I have arranged for some "mishtimukh" today.... FRESH ORANGE JUICE & SEMOLINA HALWA.

Oranges are found in abundance here in the island and of different variety throughout the year.... be it the naval oranges from that "bahargaon" or mandarin ones.... they are available fresh, juicy and sweet in most cases. I am fond of citrus fruits, we were so pampered kids that the mother removed the skin, seeds and served it in a plate... she should not have! She then dried the skin, powdered and prepared face masks for the daughter but the daughter made it a point that she will marry someone who accepts her the way she is.... she just uploaded a make up free selfie of her in few forums just to flaunt her newly bought nose pin, to say I am just this ! She tries to smile even when she is not in the right mood! I do not share every little feeling with the family or you.... most of the time I do not speak of what goes on inside hoping those who wish will know it... too much of expectations... huh? I know, I know! Anyway, I love the hint of tart even in a very sweet orange, use them in cooking occasionally besides having it as a fruit ..... what about a glass of orange juice every morning for your coughing men S? Come on do not get on my nerves... you are irritating me now... this is a family of three untamed horses... so orange juice goes to an ORANGE & SEMOLINA HALWA at times, even to chicken curries. Trust me and try, you will love this sweet & tart, to be had fresh & warm dessert done with fresh orange juice, semolina, sugar, green cardamom powder, ghee and dry fruits. If you cannot do an elaborate arrangement on Vasant Panchami, offer Maa Saraswati a plate of ORANGE & SEMOLINA HALWA with luchi / poori.... She will be happy & your family too! Tomorrow also happens to be Bengal's Valentine's Day .... young boys & girls wearing yellow coloured panjabi & saree are seen in flocks at the corner of a puja pandal or in front of a movie theatre.... they meet perhaps never to meet in future again! Let us concentrate on the recipe... bright yellow / basanti is the colour theme of our Saraswati Puja... My son or his father is not the type to wear a yellow punjabi on this day on my say.... your people are not this stubborn.... make them wear.... I can still feel the touch of my mother's fingers helping the daughter donning her saree .....







INGREDIENTS :
Semolina / Suji : 1medium cup
Orange Juice : 1/3 coffee mug [I used fresh]
Sugar : 1/4medium cup
Green Cardamom : 2-3
Bay Leaf : 1
Green Cardamom Powder : 1/4tsp
Chopped Pistachio, Cashew Nut, Almond, Raisin : 1tbsp + 1tbsp
Ghee : 1/2 to 1/3 small cup
Water : As Required
Yellow Food Colour : A pinch [optional]

METHOD :

Heat ghee in a wok and temper with green cardamoms and a bay leaf.




Add the semolina, fold in well.




Stir quite for sometime until the semolina is roasted well. Add the sugar now.




Fold in well the entire mixture and stir for 2 minutes or so. Add the orange juice now.




Fold in well and keep stirring for 1-2 minutes. We have the chopped dry fruits ready at the Kitchen counter.




Add a small cup of water, yellow food colour and half of the chopped dry fruits. Stir cook for 2-3 minutes till the entire content gets a paste like consistency.




We are done and we will transfer it to a serving bowl, garnish with the rest of the dry fruits mixture. If not offering it to the almighty, have fresh and hot either as a dessert or accompanied with luchi / poori!



Thursday, 18 January 2018

ATTA GUR MALPUA



Well Malpua does not require a season to be made at this home, it is done whenever this lady feels the duo had enough of fruits without much complaints, they deserve some "bhajabhuji." As is the system of the schools these days, there are two breaks... a short and a long one. I manage some fruits going down through the food track packing them for the junior's short break and for the senior's post lunch treat. Once a colleague of the senior told me.... you send two boxes full of food for your husband, most of the days he goes from this table to that table distributing a major part of them. He says the wife creates ruckus if I take them back home. It is not so that the tiger has suddenly stopped roaring but he hates to see the wife frowning after a hard day at work. Anyway, since then I pack his lunch box with few more parathas and pooris ..... sharing food is good.... we did it while at school, college and at the university level too. The husband continues to play tricks till date and remain severely underweight... 54 kg with a 5'11"height. How much our friends say he is lucky, the wife is worried and keeps on motivating him.... had you have listened to me, you could have a body like "Jholmol Khan" and would roam around with "Jhilmils" by your side you see. He seems to be too much involved with his present love who he spends maximum hours with, comes back home at 10 pm giving a deaf ear to the wife.... no one can stop me from frowning! Anyway, Lunch Box holds a special place in my heart... our mother set the standard for it ever since we were at school.... I try to follow her footsteps in my kitchen too.... hopefully successful because the son does not wish to eat from the school canteen in general .... Besides all these... that film Lunch Box is also treasured and is deeply rooted in this heart..... Few have crushed me under their feet a couple of times in this lifetime, I still cannot turn off the face... haha.... Life did not teach me to be calculative..... Calculus  was born to get me 54/100 in mathematics in our 10th board examination... we cannot be friends whatsoever.  Anyways, as I always say, I do not give any explanations to anyone on any of my actions as long as I do not find it necessary. On a lighter note, I make it a point to call the brother during his lunch hours... "ki khachish?".... The answer is an obvious "polao & doi macch".... "biryani" or "rajma / chana & luchi".... no wonder this boy will never wish to move out of Kolkata! The entire family's prime is Food and though Bengalis are more into preparing malpua with refined flour / rice flour / semolina.... an ATTA GUR MALPUA is also welcome at this home at times!

ATTA GUR MALPUA is perhaps the most basic of the variety of malpua Indians do. Among us Bengalis.... "kheer er malpoa" is more common done with refined flour, rice flour, semolina, thickened milk, sugar.... at times adding shredded coconut and a banana. The grandmother used to prepare malpua at this time of the year with rice flour and jaggery..... I simply loved that.... burnt at all corners and soft in the middle. I feel malpuas made with more amount of rice flour is crisper than the rest..... I keep on doing malpua in turns throughout the year, the most common sweet snack.... can we call it? Lying down on the couch with an Ashapurna Debi or a Shamsur Rahman or at times a Kafka or a Saadat Hasan Manto and having 4-5 malpua with tea is a pleasure for this old lady ever since she was a teen. I did read Samaresh Basu's "Bibar" while at school... then it was banned perhaps for a long time.... An item song played during Durga Puja may be nasty but not a Manto... I mean to me and perhaps to my kinds..... though my knowledge of him is negligible! Now if I start elaborating on my definition of "obscenity".... Google may not allow... Lets dive into the recipe of ATTA GUR MALPUA which I have done with whole wheat flour, jaggery, shredded coconut, banana..... deep fried in ghee and served garnished with pistachios. I have done malpua with whole wheat about three times, what I see is that they are very soft compared to the other varieties. I dare not add thickened milk in the batter, cannot manage.... yet they are good in taste. I am never happy with the shapes of these ATTA GUR MALPUA.... you can see that in the pictures... which proves I am not a cook with precision.... do not expect a "goina bori" from me either.... I am far from any kind of fine artistry ..... Enjoy my food shares, if not the photography...... I repeat again do not take me into your arms always.... I am by nature reclusive who loves seclusion most of the time, specially when she is hurt not knowing herself what is actually hurting her! You will definitely not like to be friend with such a confused person.... so keep a distance! Let me enjoy all of your posts, share with you my kitchen tales.... at times me, myself too.... I love flaunting my sarees, dresses, jewelry.... if you can accept me as that you will not be hurt.... most of the time I fail to see who wore what when and why.... this is not a composed brain you see! Come let us cook together ATTA GUR MALPUA and be happy!




INGREDIENTS :

Whole Wheat Flour : 1coffee mug
Grated Jaggery : 1medium Cup
Sugar : 2tbsp
Shredded Coconut : 1small cup
Banana : 1
Black Peppercorn : 1tbsp
Fennel Seed : 1tbsp
Ghee : 1small cup
Oil : 1/2small cup +1tsp
Baking Soda : A pinch
Pistachio : To Garnish

METHOD :

Take the whole wheat flour, grated jaggery, shredded coconut, sugar and banana in a bowl.




Mash the banana and mix together all the ingredients roughly. Add water little by little to prepare a thick batter. Add 1tsp oil, the black peppercorns and fennel seeds.




Mix everything very well and keep aside for an hour, covered. When it is ready to be fried, open cover and add the baking soda, mix well again.





Heat 1small cup ghee and 1/2 small cup oil in a pan or a wok [ accordingly you get the shapes flat or round]. Take a spoonful of the batter and gently pour on the hot oil. Adjust heat. Once the one side is brown, turn over and let fry the other side till brown. My first 2-3 malpuas are always a flop, so do not worry.... adjusting the heat is important.




Take out once fried and place on a tissue paper! Enjoy hot with tea or stale the next day!