Sunday, 29 April 2018

STUFFED BITTER GOURD



There was a time when the mother had a tough time feeding me bitter gourd .... or say any kind of vegetables except for the ones which had some fish, fish heads or some small prawns! That the son of this house does not want to eat vegetables might be a trait inherited from his mother .... so I can be still hopeful about the son that in future his taste buds may adapt to having vegetables. With that hope this mother still mixes the veggies with the dal in such a way that he is not able to separate them from the dal and rice! Be it deboning a hilsa or turning the veggies to a paste for a sixteen year old is a tedious job referring to the boredom of doing it for so many years. Then I cannot stop doing it because I am my mother's daughter.... No, I do not agree to what our mother did for us .... spoon feeding..... however I fail to take lessons from her mistakes .... a comparison comes when I see a boy two years younger than mine so responsible and obedient! Mine till date leaves back his lunch box to water bottle to pencil box at school and never looks for them the next day.... Comparing two kids is not good but it saddens me at times! I remember my friend Rupa Roy once told me that one day she noticed that her son Deepro was not willing to share anything with them.... so for the next few days she got snacks and shared among other family members without giving anything to him. Deepro got the message and the lesson.... I call this wise parenting!.... This boy had / has that level of maturity that a forty year old may not have! Age and wisdom may not be inter-related, even at forty we may not learn how to behave and speak in public .... some do not even understand being gentle and nice to others is a quality .... it would remain the greatest regret of my life!.... Thinking of this I so much wish to constantly give vocal tonic to the son..... on how he should learn to behave and how he should treat a girl! I am planning such conversations post his examinations if only he allows me too! He also has to choose his associations wisely.... wrong associations do not help to grow good qualities in you..... he has to know how to deal with people.... we represent our family after all! We do not have a problem with our son having a girlfriend but he should know how to behave with her even when we are not watching!..... With all such speculations deep inside, I deboned hilsa for him even yesterday at 3 pm.... I could not serve them lunch before that.... I am a silly and foodie..... so could not wait till Cristine's return and headed to the Indian market on Thursday evening.... I got hilsa / ilish , alphonso, season's first potol / pointed gourd! From the pictures below you will know how desi I am .... and mind it those are not "morphed" pictures made and used to spread hatred and tension throughout the country.... some people have eye problem without having high powered glasses as mine! I have really made my circle very close.... what does not attract me or make me happy should be kept at a distance.... in public!  At the moment I am focussed on the son's future besides happy blogging.... With a literal high nose.... I do not want a mediocre life for him ..... I have a severe guilt of not been able to make my mother happy academically .... had I have listened to her I may not have reached heights but would have been a daily passenger to that college in Bagula everyday or may have managed a transfer towards Kolkata by now.... that I live in a nation with five star ambience has nothing to do with me.... its all the husband's credit ..... he is qualitatively much higher than me! Even his teen was hurtful .... he faced all challenges of being a poor father's son.... of not belonging to a pedigreed family..... of not abiding to the rules of looking like a "raj putra"..... what we call a handsome guy! His courage made him accept all odds and use them as a weapon to be an achiever.... sitting on his "choupaya" on their asbestos roofed rented home.... he told his friend and confidant "I will achieve everything for which I have been dejected"! That confidant saw the spark in his eyes and did not spare a second to target him as a potential suitor ..... bagged him sooner for she knew he will make it.... haha..... I should not go beyond this.... he will not like it ..... he does not like social media..... he does not even know when his profile pictures get changed! The problem is when the bond of friendship is so strong ..... romanticism takes a backseat ..... it is a problem .... more so when the wife is a Bollywood fan! So you know even if my man or men do not touch bitter gourd in any form .... not even a STUFFED BITTER GOURD..... I do not mind.... they know there will be a meat dish for their parathas.... bitter gourd comes for the wife and Cristine! Even Bollywood may not eat bharwa karela .... I keep Bollywood near to me.... it nourishes my dream world.... but it cannot be my friend.... "Tumhare paas gari hai, bungla hai, motor hai.... aur mere paas? ek motor hai nau saal purana.... aur ek kiraye ka makaan.... 3100 sing dollar bharna parta hai har mahine mein 1150 sqft ke liye...".... Jokes apart, to earn in crores requires hard work.... the ladder to go up was / is never easy! I remember I participated in a television contest back in Kolkata prior to a Durga Puja.... God! it was a total pain... they invaded my home with camera and full set up... took a preliminary interview... then I along with others had to shoot in a non AC studio which was a furnace! So boring was the long make up hours and takes and retakes.... I was losing and suddenly in the final round when we had to light the maximum number of lamps within a minute... I won and got the first prize... oh terrible.... 10,000 rupees was the prize money ..... after six months they gave us about 4-5 thousand deducting the taxes.... "S boudi jitey gyachen 10,000 takar prothom puroshker" had no more a thrill by then .... uff! Perhaps "Aajker Durga" was the title! So, you know you have to work hard to carry a "Harrods" ..... I do not mind and go and make negative comments when Times Of India shares a picture of Karina with a caption that her bag costs more than an average man's car.... she earned it!.... I will neither go and share a cheese cake with a cherry compote for her... I am a fan who will remember her as a "Chameli" or "Geet" in Jab We Met .... The later is a film I never get bored of.... I am happy when I buy stuffs for my home... be it "ilish, alphonso, mutton, katla or potol".... the ilish and katla were not pleasantry big.... but fresh! Look at the brothers of the mutton shop ..... I am happy here.... people do not batter each other in the name of religion! These guys complimented me.... "sister your voice is so sweet... as of a nightingale .... that of a school goer'.... I burst into laughter.... and said I loved when people told me this up to a certain stage.... now at 47 it embarrasses.... specially when I receive a call from a stranger.... "hand over the phone to any elder".... come on!




Besides this STUFFED BITTER GOURD , I also have a wish to blog on my mother's recipe of "ucche chingrir chocchori" that she learnt from her mother! Be it a "macher tok with radhuni bata" or "ucche chingrir chocchori" .... I had it in our family.... did not see it in the husband's side of the family..... the mother-in-law did not have time for heirloom, time consuming dishes.... the lady with a literal high nose only gave importance to "aar, pabda, ilish, patha".... anyway by 12pm she had to lock her door and go to neighbourhood homes or restaurants! The paa-in-law's life was spent to meet ends till the son went to the sea to support him.... even after that he did not swim in luxury .... he is the one who never complained about his son and always felt his burden and tried to save his money! A father who polished his kid's shoes even when they were in high school..... got cigar packets for the son until a newly wed wife said this is wrong.... and she started getting it for her lazy moron... She was indulgent .... he visited home for four months in a year after a hard work.... These guys spend as long as 48 hours without sleeping on board.... money does not come for free.... that a mariner has a wife at very port has 1/4th truth in it.... I have not payed my tribute to "our" community.... the mariner's community as yet.... more on it and how a newly wed got a packet of cornflakes instead of a gold flake should come up later! This Indian vegetarian sides called STUFFED BITTER GOURD will be loved by my paa-in-law, my mother who loves "neem pata bhaja with ghee" and the late father.... I dedicate this dish to them.... No, my mother-in-law may not have it.... she only has... "raner patha, aar er lyaja, ilisher peti, rui-katlar gada o peti".... She told the newly wed me to keep all the boney fish pieces for me and the father-in-law and give the good ones to her and her son.... her daughter did not ever fancy food.... She categorically said that those who eat "charapona" builds an empire.... I answered that it is a quality to stay within limits and build empire with one's hard earned money..... Anyway, if a reader sees that I am going to blog on a vegetarian side STUFFED BITTER GOURD  and yet goes and hits the like button on an "ilish bhaja and khichuri"blogged on some three months back .... I consider it as an insult.... if you do not like my move .... stay away or you are at the liberty to unlike my page! Its high time that I emphasise that my blog comes first ..... and the profiles at different forums were created to promote the blog leaving the personal Facebook profile .... I strongly felt that a like on a food photograph is not helping my mission.... I am not a photographer with  qualitative photographic skills! Click the recipe link if you may  or stop doing anything that hurts! Unlike the page if you find CURRY AND SPICE unworthy of your likes.... Likes indeed bring joy but that should come from one's heart and for my recipes and not to be conjoined with any other issues.... I do not accept it! Anyway.... my beef eater men always have a meat sides on days of veggies like bharwa karela.... I just wonder people who love cows so much.... why they cannot respect other animals! Do cows and goats have pedigree and non pedigree issue.... I humbly ask as I am an illiterate! People have so much knowledge.... they only lack compassion..... wisdom.... at least in public! To please myself and the like minded people I got this "rajanigandha".... after many years.... the grand father used to grow.... Tell me what song comes forth with the sight of this flower?




"Rajanigandhi, kamini, hashnuhana"..... one fine evening... in the dark one snake fell on my mashimoni's head... they come where these flowers grow... they say! I was standing at the back else people would know by now that there was an S who died young! This is an easier way of stuffing a bitter gourd with the potato filling... I have cut them half. For the rest please follow the recipe! I know blogging on a "rogrogey pathar jhol" or adding the recipe link down there may stop some people  sharing nonsense on their stream or get me some 40-50 likes .... why should I? It gives me no high but irritation.... even if there are 2 likes.... it should be genuine! By the way, for the people of this island.... I had stuffed bitter gourd at Jessi's .... its somewhere in the Little India area and I simply loved it! May be I will ask for their recipe on my next visit!





INGREDIENTS : [for the potato filling]

Potato : 1big [wash, boiled, peeled, mashed]
Cumin Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1/2tsp
Dry Mango Powder : 1/4tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/4tsp
Cumin Seed : 1/3tsp
Green Chilli : 2 [washed, chopped]
Salt : As Required
Oil : 2-3tbsp

INGREDIENTS : [final product]

Bitter Gourd : 4-5 [cut two ends, half, wash]
Onion : 2big [peeled, washed, sliced]
Dry Red Chilli : 2
Cumin Seed : 1/4tsp
Fenugreek Seed : 2-3 pinches
Cumin Powder : 1/2tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Garam Masala Powder : 1/3tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
The Potato Filling
Oil : 2-3tbsp


PROCEDURE :

Scoop out the seeds and flesh of the halved bitter gourds and marinate them with salt and turmeric for about half an hour!

Heat oil in a wok and fry the halved, marinated bitter gourds in batches! Transfer them onto tissue papers 

Temper the same oil with cumin seeds! Add the chopped green chillies, stir 2-3 times!

Add the boiled potato, rest of the spice powders, salt as required.

Fold in well and stir cook for about 3-4 minutes. 

The filling is ready, transfer to a bowl!

Once cool,  fill the centre of the bitter gourds with a generous amount of potato filling!



Arrange them on a serving plate! 

Heat 2-3tbsp oil in a clean wok and temper oil with dry red chillies, fenugreek and cumin seeds! 

Add the sliced onion and stir fry them till golden brown. Add all the dry spice powders, the remaining turmeric powder and salt as required!





Cook at low heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously. Sprinkle little water, else the spice mixture will burn!




Once done, spread the spice mixture evenly atop the stuffed bitter gourd / karela. Enjoy it with flat breads or with a serving of dal & steamed rice!





Wednesday, 25 April 2018

GOTA SHEDDO




Tessa... Oh dear Tessa... the girl who is supporting me in our Cristine's absence is very nice but giving me a lot of tension... there comes her message ... ma'am coming today evening... after an hour... ok ma'am tomorrow afternoon... and maam's head turns into a hot furnace.... This home has two men... one of whom does not even understand that the mother is in a soup... entirely the mother's fault... this is not a wise mother so an inevitable comparison gets unavoidable.... Ipsita's 14 years old son cleans and cuts banana blossoms too for her... he so much likes authentic Bengali food that S aunty makes it a point to send him whenever she goes traditional and authentic... and asks for a feedback... he is a good cook in making I may tell you... the monkey at this home will not even take his fork and spoon from the kitchen... the not so much of a Bengali uses spoon and fork for a hilsa... a severe insult to the silver queen.... but you cannot do anything... here is an indulgent mother who spoilt her monkey... Amidst such a mess.... the husband who was on leave yesterday adds fuel to the hot furnace.... in his noble wish to help his loving wife he overloads the washing machine with shirts without opening the buttons, mixed white stuffs with coloured ones and I do not even know how much of detergent he added or how he had set the timer! The wife got on her nerves and screamed ..... you will not walk beyond the kitchen door ... Coming back home after a week, he did not really expect or deserved such a treatment... My readers know I do not like anyone poking in my way of managing home.... either you take my instructions or you stay away... Anyway, we made up everything over two cups of evening tea and some store bought chicken popcorns.... Yes, I can have chicken as small bites, in tikkis and in Oriental preparations... batter fry... toss in some sauce ... add some chopped spring onions and yum... such shares can wait... there are better people for this... Let me go ahead with a healthy, authentic Bengali one today as this GOTA SHEDDO ! This recipe calls for a dal and few selective vegetables cooked whole.... This is not our family recipe as we are from East Bengal [now Bangladesh] and this dish is authentic of West Bengal... I do not always understand the divide as my mother was born in this side of the border... I love 'posto' and do add a bit of sugar to veggie dishes! This is not the actual time for a GOTA SHEDDO .... it is a part of Saraswati Puja ritual among the people of West Bengal origin! Though it was never made in our family... it used to come from our neighbours a day after Saraswati Puja perhaps... Of all the dishes of GOTA SHEDDO I had.... I loved the one I had at our couple friends' home in Mumbai... the couple I was so willing to speak about.... my way of paying homage to a couple who did what very few can or will do! Meet Partha Dey & Madhuchanda Dey Ghosh.... a perfect example of how one can stay grounded being at the top! There is a Houston connection to this story which is unavoidable or avoiding which will be very very wrong! A GOTA SHEDDO is not a perfect share talking about all of them .... then the prime focus is on a Chutu / Madhuchanda Dey Ghosh... who played a mother hen to a group of bachelor guys and my husband.... what was my role?... of a "dhyarosh".... who could do nothing.... mind it we were all in the same age group....


I am God fearing.... though not the excess of it... So I am at the liberty to do this GOTA SHEDDO at anytime and I find it to be  a very healthy option that can be had with or without rice.... The way I "masalatised" it.... one can have it with rotis too! I really do not know what these two sets of couples eat at present... Does the Houston part eat cured salmon with grilled asparagus? I have to ask.... so far as I believe nothing ... not even a Houston environment & weather can make an Amit Bhaduri leave "pathar mangsho and Foster Beer" ever... this Geologist... ex-Presidency & Mumbai IIT pass out cannot get away with his love for mutton.... the big thing is that the person who did not know how to pour a glass of water from a bottle, grills chicken in his backyard... Do not expect anything more from him.... his wife ..... the sister like Ujjayini Bhaduri... is a spoiler like me.... till date I could not understand why this girl.... a Clinical Psychologist from the Calcutta University never went to work but dedicated her entire being to build a happy home... she does not love her S didi much but a better homemaker than her S didi .... The hospitality I received on my 2009 visit to Houston proves it all.... they themselves were new there then ..... that too after a "rajoshik" life in Mumbai, Libya and Balik Papan .... pampered by 4-5 helps.... Now they seem to be happy there with a daughter.... a year older than our monkey and a younger son! This Amit Bhaduri and a wonder called Partha Dey had been friends in school, high school and then stayed together for few years in Mumbai... How does T feature here? Well, Partha was in our school for a year and then shifted to another school.... Somehow T and Partha developed an unbreakable bond ..... and later T did his high school with these two guys.... There are many each year who top from the IITs... not all of them can be a Partha Dey... the first in batch both in IIT and IIM Kolkata sits high up in a ladder... but do not look down at anyone... does he lack self pride? Nope.... he told me once... you know S... I am overly qualified for my job.... this guy is born with a natural talent.... he did not have to acquire anything.... He will not brag around saying that Sundar Pichai was his roommate... who did not gel well with him and eventually changed his room in the second year... A Partha Dey who received my unnecessary calls even when he was in a meeting with the likes of KV Kamath or Chanda Kocchar.... no we are not in a relationship... haha... that high profile person is a ferociously go getter and focussed... else one cannot reach there where only about 100 Indians within India reach! He has a wife... Madhuchanda Dey Ghosh ..... how do I introduce her? Well, she is a born mother.... guardian.... she perhaps used a lipstick and eye-kohl only once in her life ..... on her marriage day.... yet she knows which one is how and gifted me my first Revlon lipstick! She does not touch alcohol but knows about all flavours of spritzers... she is accommodating to some extent.... So immediately after her marriage she played the mother to the bachelor boys like Amit and gang and as and when my husband visited.... without any irritation.... she is a near perfectionist in whatever she does... Each year... some one or the other tops the university and goes abroad on National Scholarship but not all of them can be a Madhuchanda! .... The couple hates it if my husband is in Mumbai and stay put in a hotel... The not at all romantic husband T got stationed at home for 21/2 years as soon as his wife got pregnant.... so you know I selected a good host body for myself! So after 21/2 years of homestay... we were in a soup... besides a Sanak Chottopadhay, a Dibyendu Banerjee or our father .... this couple called Partha and Madhuchanda literally gave shelter to my husband for 3 long months saving him from having vada pao everyday... No this high profile couple do not go to club or play golf ... they cannot digest food... most of them.... they love to travel... Chutu is attached to a couple of charitable organisations and does not wish to speak on it... They are God fearing... donates and gifted us a book on Sri Aurobindo! I could not repay 1/4 of what they have done for us.... They are blessed with a daughter 11/2 years younger than our monkey! Where did Partha inherit his down to the earth nature?... I believe from his mother.... Kakima is a short, frail lady who gave birth to three jewels... yet never boast of it.... she does not know the meaning of the word bragging! Its more than a year now I have not met her... have to! Partha's big brother stays somewhere there in the other side of the river in the East Coast... that green zone I hear... there... haha... his big sister was my neighbour for a couple of years... if Partha says that his didi was the best in mathematics among the siblings.... she is a jewel too... Chutu does not wear a makeup but walks for 10 hours to reach home in the Mumbai flood.... walks down from level 22 to reach office when the lift does not work... changes five autos on way to office .... although in a high profile job.... she maintains her own car though .... nose matters! Yet T says Chutu sacrificed her career for a Partha Dey.... she worships her home.... the people around!


This space is yet small to speak on people with such persona.... On my month long stay at their Mumbai home two times within a year... I saw how well organised Chutu was when I knew nothing.... I learnt gradually but I have a brother who is still spoon fed.... when he craves for phuchka.... the wife has to go and get it while he watches Formula1.... all because of the mother.... Anyway, I loved Chutu's family recipe of GOTA SHEDDO which has a bit of spices too! It perhaps uses skinned urad dal.... but I used green moong... In fact I used whatever ingredients were available locally.... hence the use of snow peas instead of "motorshuti".... in supermarkets we do get peas in a pod... but frozen... so I bought some snow peas... No I am not trying to imitate anyone.... two Bengali bloggers will have some similarities... most of the time I even miss who is posting what.... I see after posting mine.... no way do I regret that.... For a person like me who refuses to think... it is impossible to know the pulse of the readers.... so I will post what I have decided for the Day.... and not look here and there! Whoever clicks the link and takes a look at the blog post is my potential customer... haha... I do not earn a penny from my blog... something is wrong with my pin... cannot install Google Adsense .... no point doing so either... if not you are a big name.... so I consider my blog a passion.... better than starting to give "gyan" since morning till midnight! I used green moong, medium sized potatoes, spinach, eggplants, snow peas and hyacinth beans.... few spices, green chillies, mustard oil to drizzle.... it does not remain a GOTA SHEDDO right? haha... the tongue is worshipped here!






INGREDIENTS :
Green Moong Bean : 1small cup
Spinach : 3-4stalks [palak]
Snow Pea :7-8
Hyacinth Bean : 6-7 [sheem]
Potato : 3-4 medium
Egg Plant : 3-4small
Green Chilli : 2-3 [optional]
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 2-3tbsp to drizzle on top [mustard oil for us]

PROCEDURE :

Below are the ingredients I used.





Wash and soak the green moong beans in hot water for 45 minute to 1 hour. Wash the rest of the vegetables thoroughly... specially the roots of the spinach. Though we are not supposed to cut the vegetables.... we can discard the roots of the spinach stalks.

Add the green lentil along with the water and whole potatoes in a pressure cooker.... add some salt...




Close the lid and pressure cook at low heat up to one whistle! Let the lid open naturally.




Take a deep bottomed vessel.... add the boiled dal and potatoes, hyacinth beans, snow peas, spinach stalks, eggplants, all the spices, green chillies, turmeric and some salt to it. Add 1 coffee mug of water.





Cover with a lid... keeping it little crack open. Slow cook until done! This may take some 1/2 an hour to 35 minutes. Check in between... Keep the heat at lowest.




Once done transfer the entire content to a serving bowl and drizzle some mustard oil atop.

Enjoy with or without rice!









Friday, 20 April 2018

MISHTI CHIREY BHAJA




There is a "big" news for my readers! .... Our "Cristine" is on leave for fifteen long days.... You can well imagine my condition!.... Cristine's ma'am is seeing "shorshe phool in chokh".... What else can you get from me other than a MISHTI CHIREY BHAJA which is done in minutes? I am so used to having a luxury called Cristine who happens to be the reason for about 3-4 kilos of weight gain since 2015! From water to the medicines to cups of tea and coffee.... all are "fed" practically... haha! Then it is her big brother's marriage and we had to arrange for her leave.... I cannot spend days with a help with frowns on her face.... especially if she is someone as nice as Cristine! It is because of her gestures that she got a leave on the eve of the son's board examinations! What is the husband's role in such a scenario? No role actually... he fled to the neighbouring country to spend quality time with his only love.... perhaps the fathers of the son's friends have taken leave by now to guide their teens! In such a situation, I am still not getting on my nerves.... one need not if one has friends cum sister likes as neighbours offering help! I said come on let me not forget that I do have two hands and two legs.... I did live ten long years with a tiny tot doing "mudi shodai to juto shelai" everything by myself..... but again there was a Saraswati and Dilip as helps! .... I was wondering what I have turned into... a lazy... spoilt... brat! Its a Thursday evening and finally I got a saviour sent by dear Ipsita... she is Tess and she says she will do pedicure and manicure for me too! Today I got some relief and sat to write a recipe post for my readers.... I do not have to sweep, mop, dust,  the 1150 sqft area and wash utensils..... no I cannot accept once or twice a week sweep and mop.... I am a "desi" .... our mother's daughter .... back in Kolkata our Rizia Mashi mopped my home twice a day.... when the entire world is doing some inventions, teaching a new thing to the kids.... I was busy cleaning every inch and corner of our home .... that too with a small kid... well I had a battalion of helps... Rizia Mashi to Khokon to Chotu! Is the very handsome Dr. Arup Bhaumik's wife... my friend Paramita reading this post? She was my confidant in all these madness, while a wisdom called Rupa or a Kana scolded me hard!.... I bathed my newborn with soap and water in such a way that he got severe fever within a week of his birth .... That newborn who has his 10th boards final examination in few days is having study leave now! How is he utilising his time?.... its simple....  watching television! Do you think I will blog on something he loves? I will not! He may not touch a MISHTI CHIREY BHAJA but his mother has grown up on this as an evening snacks... neither her brother had ever fancied it! When did I say I do not love myself? Why am I writing a post on a Thursday evening instead of a Friday morning?... I missed my workout today.... I had to shop... not an Ilish but frozen grouper fillets... not live prawns but frozen ones, not a bottle gourd but a squash... not a raw jackfruit or banana blossom but okra and ridge gourd which are loves too! So many loves got a no tag today!.... I am not our mother... I know when to act smart! Moreover, a saviour called Tess is doing up my home now.... the aroma of dettol is making me feel happier.... I can go ahead with an easy and quick share! I am that mother who used to wash her son's clothes with warm water and soap and then soaked in dettol before drying till he was 3-4 years... she did not like anyone touching her son in outside clothes.... then one day the husband came home from the sea and screamed ..... enough wife! You are destroying the immune system of the son! When will he come back home? I am missing him... who else can I scream at.... you can do it only at someone who cares, one who will not leave you at any cost.... If you really mean to someone.... that someone is unlikely to leave you ever! This WhatsApp fight is uninteresting... most of the time I am not answered, the moron is so busy with his love! Now that I fixed one Tess for the next few days.... he is expected to be back home this weekend.... Yes, my men are averse to and scared of household chores! 

Above I wished to tell you that it is good to be clean and maintain hygiene but not the excess of it .... though I have not taken any lesson till date. Early morning you may be setting out for various serious ventures.... strategising how fruitfully you can utilise the day.... what is this lady doing? She had no lunch box to prepare this week.... so she is going out for her walks as soon as the sun is seen peeping out the eastern sky... and thereafter doing all silly things which she should not! A biscuit, A chee-cheong-fun, A dosa.... all diabetic unfriendly stuffs... huh? so why not a MISHTI CHIREY BHAJA.... I get philosophical each time I fail to control myself.... someday we all have to die!.... and see that is teh-o-kosong... sugar free, no milk tea!... and chee-cheong-fun perhaps has plum sugar or jaggery in that sauce... haha! You all know I lack wisdom.... I do not measure or calculate my steps... else would I have ever looked back? .... a major portion of the past that has nothing to give me or to make me feel good.... except some hurtful memories or truths... Feelings cannot be calculative but when truth confronts you... you feel miserable !.... Anyway, when one feels very much left out... one should and must treat oneself with whatever one prefers... like this done within minutes evening snacks with chirey / flattened or beaten rice ..... so long the son gets his meat curries he is fine! There I am... me and my humble places to sit and relax with myself!






What else am I doing?... I washed Cristine's clothes with ours, I cleaned her toilet... well these are some practical exercises that a hypocrite like me should practice! I never did really romance with the husband as our definition of romanticism differs... he had always been a great teacher to me... a father figure though a year younger! After marriage, when I had been teaching Indian democracy in a high school.... the husband said do you believe in what you teach wifey?.... You maintain separate cups, plates, glasses for your help! Tell me when do I romance? Yet I never seize to romance with food and when I feel low I make it sure to pamper myself with what I love... I will not look at what is happening around... I will only love myself so much so that I force myself to close my eyes at anything or anyone who makes me feel unloved! I do not drag the virtual world in all these.... we do not know each other! I do not feel sorry if I am not sharing what you wish from me.... Time and again I have emphasised the fact and I will always say so that the CURRY AND SPICE blog is not a healthy, child friendly, informative space to follow! It is what the lady behind it have grown up eating with an apparent note on her life and surroundings! This MISHTI CHIREY BHAJA is one such.... you cannot imagine how relaxed I feel to blog on an authentic, family recipe! Then why did not I share an authentic recipe on Bengali New Year? Day after tomorrow will be just one year that our father left us... last year when I came back after completing all the rituals.... three girls came to meet me and share the pain.... they are not Bengali nor all of them are non-vegetarian.... if I cannot forget people who gifted me nothing but barrels of pain & dejection ... how can I forget people with such nice gestures?... the baked yogurt was a perfect share! However disturbed I am.... do not try to find reason.... I am melancholic in nature and not a sensible person.... Amidst a messed up mind ... there is something to cherish too! I do not mingle in groups... I know I cannot maintain it tactfully or wisely... I only respond to those who still tolerate me and stop by my shares.... doing so I suddenly discovered yesterday that the noted food critic, blogger, quite famous in her role stopped by my yogurt share in a group and liked it.... I will not look for any reason.... I will just be overwhelmed with joy! ... Its a She.... PN.... if you are in the food world you need not guess for long... I end it here... you will never see me hog around the famous and known.... unless required for their benefit.... no I am not an angel... I am just me... I do not like limelight and I have a severe stage fear! Then who does not like recognition? I only wish to share what I eat... get some readers to the blog... thats it! The MISHTI CHIREY BHAJA that our mother used to prepare was deep fried and served garnished with roasted peanuts, shredded coconut and sugar! Alternatively you can use cashew nuts and raisins too!  Be it "muri.... chirey.... khoi"... I love having them with grated coconut and sugar... just that I have to skip the sugar part these days!




INGREDIENTS :
Beaten or Flattened Rice : 1coffee mug [serves two...the brown variety can be used]
Shredded Coconut : 1small cup
Roasted Peanut : 1tbsp
Sugar : 2tsp
Oil : 1small cup [to deep fry... left over can be reserved for later use]


PROCEDURE :

Heat oil in a wok. Once hot, lower the heat to minimum.

Add some flattened rice little at a time. They will fluff up immediately and we need to take out at once and place on tissue papers to get rid of the excess oil.

Serve while its still hot garnished with shredded coconut, sugar and roasted peanuts.

Do not forget to accompany it with tea or coffee.




Monday, 16 April 2018

KECHKI MAACH DIYE ALOO PEYAZKOLI



Authentically, this particular combination of onion flower and potato if cooked non-vegetarian, is done with "tyangra maach".... a small variety of cat fish? I hardly get fresh tyangra here unless I go to some specific stores on a Wednesday evening, so I do it to my convenience with available ingredients and call it KECHKI MAACH DIYE ALOO PEYAZKOLI. I would have gone to any length to maintain authenticity and happily but my men are not so much of a Bengali... The senior is a Bengali when it is a "hilsa, aar, katla, boyal, chingri, pabdar jhol" or a meat curry .... the son is a Bengali when its "luchi-porota"... meat curries, "bhajabhuji".... and yes this deep fried "kechki maach".... Indian River Sprat! Well.... the not at all a fish called prawn or a salmon is the only acceptable non-vegetarian alternative to meat for the junior of the morons! I am so very averse to feeding them prawn every other day.... I have seen the prawn loving brother developing allergy from prawns all of a sudden ..... we do love prawns and crabs but I am scared of having them too often. How I loved "golda chingri" which was brought once or twice a month during our growing up period ... its always pricey.... I eat but I do not crave for it anymore.... you know why?.... I feel may be because I  have the ability to have giant sized prawns every weekend now! Few things in life should remain beyond reach .... "shob peley jibon noshto" is rightly said!.... I take a look at the landed homes in this island and, and, and.... oh God! grapes are truly sour! Coming to food...... I have remained that same old primitive foodie....... there is someone who told me a year or two back... you Know S..... my kids love "macher teler bora".... I got kind of "akash theke pora".... then the entire period of my way back from South to North Kolkata is spent on equating a "macher teler bora and mushurir dal" with a "high nose".... it was decided, it has been proved over decades that my likes & preferences cannot match with some people in this lifetime.... if so it will be something like watching snowfall in this island!These kind of foods like "macher teler bora o mushurir dal" are essentially for my kinds, we know how to eat them?... techniques matter man!.... sit on the floor .... hold the steel plate with your left hand... break the piping hot rice with your right hand fingers.... take some sliced onion and a green chilli, add some salt and dal to the rice.... then "borai ekta kamor, ek gorash bhaat, tarpor peyaz -lankai chootto kamor".... Yes, I am turning a senile truly.... the way I am taking advantage of some people's "apparent" silence !.... Let us leave it at that as of now and accept the fact that it was really surprising for me to discover that the son loves deep fried Indian River Sprat!


This dish of KECHKI MAACH DIYE ALOO PEYAZKOLI is usually a winter treat because peyazkoli.... i.e. onion flower is available only during winter in India?.... I know about Kolkata, though not about the rest of India.... which states of India eat it, which does not! Come on I am S and not the famous "S Ginni".... I know few family food history and nevertheless the history of Bengali food or otherwise! The only pride I can take and  fight over a fact is that I  do not see much variety in the cooking of my husband's side of the family as compared to mine. All the delicate, heirloom, low cost dishes I have seen is being cooked in my side of the family.... "kechki maach mixed with lots of spices and sliced onion, wrapped in bottle gourd or pumpkin leaves and slow cooked in pan" or "ash gourds cut in half moon shapes, stuffed with mustard-coconut paste and batter fried".... all these are learnt from my family.... Unfortunately, my men do not fancy them.... so I do not do them often ..... I know I should blog on them ..... but how many will accept it?.... cook one dish for 1-2 hours? My "chomma"... the Jaya Prada look alike who stays in Assam.... daddy's brother's wife prepares a yam fry.... wherein the yam stretches like a spring after being fried.... the technique is in the cut .... "two hands and a boti".... thats it!Even our mother could not adapt it.... we call it kochur spring bhaja.... I used to lament why the distance between Nowgong and Sealdah / Howrah is so long! This Jaya Prada look alike's husband could eat 35 rasgullas and 1kg of mutton at one go.... haha! There is not a bit of exaggeration saying so, there was a time when "Hiru dakat earned kolshi bhorti mohor after screaming hareyreyrey, while the looted zaminder babu still could eat like a demon the next day"..... I belong to a family where some had "demonic diet".... so I cannot survive on salad.... I have to have my bowl of rice and "tel gorgorey pathar kosha".... Where was I? Well.... I am a bit late with this recipe.... Do not worry.... even if we do not get onion flower or peyazkoli now.... go ahead with spring onions .... I know we get it in India most of the time, at least in the super markets! This Kechki mach or Indian River Sprat is among the very few frozen fish I buy from the selective Asian stores! This is more or less found in "good condition".... but you will buy if only you or your family fancy it! If you are totally against any kind of frozen fish, use any small variety of fish. This Indian River Sprat has become a regular at this home .... its favourite with all of us.... its so easy to cook it.... we only need to wash it... no need to clean the stomach or the scales! For this particular non vegetarian side dish we do not need any spice either .... just a tempering of nigella seeds, cloves of garlic and yes.... chillies... both dry and green.... We also had palonger dal / dal palak and crispy fried Indian River Sprat alongside! The main item KECHKI MAACH DIYE ALOO PEYAZKOLI is to be had with steamed  rice while you can prepare some hot phulkas for the palak dal!

Try this recipe of the basic sandesh, the first share on my blog.... do not look at the picture, the taste is guaranteed!

SANDESH







INGREDIENTS :

Kechki Maach / Indian River Sprat : 200gm
Peyazkoli / Onion Flower : 12-15 sticks [alternatively spring onion]
Potato : 1big
Green Chilli : 2-3 slitted
Dry Red Chilli : 2 halved
Nigella Seed : 1/4tsp
Garlic : 2 cloves chopped
Turmeric Power : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1/2tsp [optional]
Oil : 3-4 tbsp


PROCEDURE :

Wash the fish thoroughly about 4-5 times under running water. It is a very soft fish, so be very careful.

Add little salt and turmeric to the fish and keep aside.

Peel, wash and cube the potatoes. Rub salt and turmeric.

Discard two ends of the onion flowers. Chop lengthwise .... each should be about 2-3 inch in length. Wash thoroughly and rub with salt and turmeric.

Heat oil in a wok.... preferably mustard oil.

Temper oil with nigella seeds, chopped garlic and halved dry red chillies.

Add the fish discarding the marinade totally. While they are half fried, add the potato cubes. Stir gently and cover cook till the potatoes are half done.

Add the peyazkoli / onion flower now, discard any water / marinade.... we need to retain the colour of it. Gently stir and cover for 2-3 minutes.

Open cover, add the slitted green chillies, salt if required, sugar and give a gentle stir. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. I garnished with few fried fish.

A dal is a must with this dish. We had crispy fried kechki maach, palong er dal alongside.... Nothing but steamed rice goes with it!




Saturday, 14 April 2018

BAKED BEET ER DOI



I prepared this baked beetroot yogurt ...... BAKED BEET ER DOI very happily and thought I will blog on it on the occasion of Poila Baishakh.... that is Bengali New Year! Till day before yesterday it was ok except for the fact that I did not like the image.... which seemed very much imposed and loud to me! It was an immediate reaction, yet I did not do any thing about it but let it be! I wished to put through a message that I may not like shines and too much of colours but I do not have a problem with people who like it otherwise.... How can I when I come from a family where people cannot think beyond red, yellow, green, blue! On my each visit, I cancel at least ten of the mother's sarees and say you will not wear this kinds.... now she is in track more or less! I have not followed protocol much in my life and that gets  me in to trouble! I have a childhood friend Sukanta Saha, whose mother... our Mira Mashi's choice of saree I loved since our school days. I never hesitated to tell our mom.... "mani.... I like mashi's choice of saree... off beat, matt finish, ethnic!"..... Till date I do not get what is so wrong in that? I find a singer from a different state of Eastern India very classic, I do not go public with it avoiding further controversies! So, many like mine may not find the images of BAKED BEET ER DOI appealing .... As of me, I adore two kinds of food photography.... appropriate props and the subject.... wherein the picture itself weaves a story.... there is another kind that is plain and simple focussing on the food! This particular picture does not conform to any and not suitable for a Bengali New Year Day! I can guarantee you the taste though, I do have a recipe of baked doi / yogurt blogged on earlier.... this time use of the fresh cream made it so much easier for me! The discomfort of going ahead with this dessert today lies elsewhere! For the past two days, two doe eyes on a blue-yellow dress is haunting me, pelting stones at my "glass heaven".... that I am a "hypocrite" is established even stronger! I am not supposed to keep trays of fresh & dry fruits on display when India is fighting for a cause.... a genuine cause! Two Kashmiri Pandits leading a team to get justice for a muslim girl is a ray of hope denoting integrity but we should not focus on this aspect... never! It is humanity that stood up against barbarism ..... in the history of the country the alternative do / did happen.... so religion is not important here... but the crime.... the grievous truth that the woman tribe is vulnerable! Then I am just a food blogger.... not a versatile cook either.... I do not have 25 different dishes to choose from! Here is a small time blogger struggling to get some readers! Had I been able to create a niche for myself in these few years, would You have seen me doing "ghanta pujo" in different groups? never.... Moreover, I wish to treat my personal Facebook stream and the Facebook page as two different identities![in self defence again!]

Anyway, we can say that baked doi has become a craze sort of in the entire Kolkata, if not in West Bengal! Correct me if I am wrong, I am not an well informed person... not a part of the Kolkata food scenario for a long time now.... There was a time when it took me one spoonful to differentiate  the quality of food between Grain of Salt at 22, Camac Street and the one that came up in its place after few months! Me and the Boss kept wondering for a long time why Grain of Salt could not sustain in the Kolkata food scenario.... See how self centric I have become.... majority there cannot afford even a normal Park Street restaurant on a regular basis, leave alone a boutique restaurant!.... I am feeling lack of love towards myself these days!.... Coming to the point, we truly loved the food served at  Grain of Salt..... saying so without any prejudice, the master will not train me for free on different cuisines, praising the master will not make me famous overnight!.... Once our mother said.... mamoni.... watch the fingers at work.... they are so much at ease making cooking easier for you using few ingredients most of the time! She seemed happy if she did not have to buy creams to mixed nuts for a dish. Each time I use "mutho mutho badam".... the guilt is on.... my middle class values will not set me free... neither should it! So, the point is it is Bengali New Year tomorrow.... I wished for a vegetarian share, global as far as possible considering all my friends around...... trying to remain apolitical. The doe eyed girl along with her likes are not going to leave me sooner, I kept fast yesterday not alone for my son but for them too.... Standing right at the present, I do not find it necessary to share the picture which I like doing.... the daughters are in distress... my prince will remain my prince... The mother of a prince was a girl child too and a victim of #metoo, however protective the mother had been ..... If you have given birth, be a caring parent.... getting boxes of chocolates and dresses for the kids is not good parenting.... a considerable part of our time and life is to be given to them! This BAKED BEET ER DOI is a very quick and simple recipe done with few ingredients like plain yogurt, cream, condensed milk, green cardamom powder, rose water and kewra water.... the raw smell of the beetroot juice had to be hidden. We can have this superbly yum dessert just like that or you have these choice of toppings to add! Go as you like it!





INGREDIENTS :

Plain Yogurt : 400-500gm
Beetroot Juice : 11/2medium cup
Fresh Cream : 150-200gm [I used a Nestle 170gm tin]
Condensed Milk : 1/3small cup [I used 1/2 of a Milkmaid 329gm tin]
Green Cardamom Powder : 1/2tsp
Kewra Essence : 2-3drops [screw pine essence]
Rose Water : 3-4 drops
A Convection mode Microwave oven : Using oven may be bad but our owner will not allow traditional manual ones, neither do I have the time, energy or patience to go back to basics .... so cheers to technology! I hear some "bahargaons" do not use microwaves, we use!

PROCEDURE :

Below are the ingredients we will be using to prepare BAKED BEET ER DOI.





We have prepared the beet root juice in a juicer using very little water. We are not using the entire content of all the ingredients, follow the amount mentioned in the ingredients list!

Whisk together everything very well!





Pour into bake proof ramekins or cups.... I am the owner of a frill free kitchen and home.... I use coffee cups / soup bowls and anything for everything!




Cover them with aluminium foils!




Fill a bake proof tray with some water so that the ramekins immerse 1/2 in the water. Place the low rack with water filled baking tray and preheat oven to 200*C. Do not look at my baking tray, I am my mother's daughter.... not in the habit of throwing away things!

Place some of the ramekins filled with the yogurt mixture on the baking tray!

Bake for 13-14 minutes at 200*C..... Exactly the time taken in my machine!





Rest for few minutes before you take out the finished product and set on the second batch!




Let the BAKED BEET ER DOI cool down completely before you refrigerate them!




Always enjoy this sinful dessert chilled!




Wednesday, 11 April 2018

ROSHUN KANCHA LANKA NARKOL DIYE ILISH



Well its POILA BOISHAKH for us .... Bengali New Years Day and I can take the liberty to be little more selfish and a bit regional! Two times of the year I take this liberty and I will... though on Friday... a day before "Noboborsho"... I may not go so very authentic.... sharing something everyone can eat! "Friendship" is a sacred term to me unless you get really nasty towards me. Today it has to be an ilish / hilsa day ..... I have not gone Bengali for a while and the craving is at work now.... There is another reason too.... Ilish is a family favourite on both sides of the family and the best member of both the families .... our father left us about a year ago! Yesterday we performed the yearly ritual ..... though the actual date is 21st April.... He loved ilish. No, the daughter was not crying the entire day..... she uploaded her picture in various forums.... totally oblivious of the day which perhaps happened to be the master of the master chefs of India's birthday too ..... then I do not really have a mind to take everything into account .... I do what and when I wish to ..... Come on it was not a full made up face either ..... had I been a beauty queen I would not have done this much too.... I like it nude .... I mean the make up!.... So, I was  satisfied and happy to hide my strands of grey, the impossible to measure width of the waistline & nose in my "Poila Boishakh" special picture .... in a simple "tant base with multi-coloured appliqué on it'..... then I was free to cook for my "paa..."..... No, I was not sad ... negativity or depression was not in his dictionary, we inherited those traits from our mother! I cooked and served him "some" of his loves... some were missing like ripe jackfruit and a fish curry!.... He specially loved banana, mango, chutney, pickle, eggplant, bitter gourd, luchi, payesh, pulao. That is him in a blue T-shirt.... the daughter's click at her home on 7th January 2017 and her last meeting with him. If you are lucky enough to have your parents around you.... take good care of them... if they are thin.... ask them not to take too much stress.... if they are overweight.... be strict with their diet... The next two pictures you see are the rituals performed by the brother at their terrace.... Our mother is territorial about her landed property so much so that her son has to run each day to catch "atta poneror Barrackpore local".... a morning train to reach Camac Street and her daughter-in-law sets off even earlier at 6:30 am to reach to that school which is about 3km interior of the road beside that seven or five star Hotel now. It was just a plot of land with a placard when we admitted our son there back in 2005.... Can we call it development?.... all the farmlands in that area has big buildings now. Anyway, I have a brother who did not leave his mother for a flat in Kolkata neither she will agree to sell it!.... It is this brother about whom his sister always complained to her father .... bhai uttered 3 bad words today and played with those who I told not to ! .... Some of his friends were / are very dear to me.... they complained... "didi, Sohan left us and is mingling with others which you will not like"..... the mother started mourning and the sister got stricter.... there is my brother who never left his parents.... several of his marriage proposals were broken when at the final stage he told the prospective bride... I love my mother the most and can never leave my parents.... finally this mathematics teacher agreed! His T dada and big sister thinks.... he got used to his "paa..." ironing his trousers and "mani" feeding him on  his way to office.... haha....  A well knit family matters.... so ROSHUN KANCHA LANKA NARKOL DIYE ILISH should happen today!.... Again, I did not cry or mourn yesterday.... only memories haunted.... how I tied rubber bands on his chest hairs once he was back from office .... plucked the whites from his eyebrow even after marriage.... Teens.... a player, dancer, singer, painter are you taking care of your parents? Cook and feed them often when they are alive.... No our Prince [of the monkey clan] does not do it, mumma de bones his ilish .... after all he is the prime in my life! She has to cook some chicken too for the non-ilish lover! I think I am just scaring away all the Olive Oyls from the monkey's life.... Not to worry girls..... you are at the liberty to stay far off ... the boss of this house will make sure you do.... only one request.... do not feed my son "pauruti" everyday.... yes, that is patriarchy in full form.... all big talks end here!






You can see the size of the ilish was not so big, neither did I get it from my favourite shops run by my brothers from Bangladesh ..... In a super market here we get something very similar to ilish / hilsa.... they call it Chinese Gizzard Shad... I cannot differentiate between the two.... I was really very skeptical while buying this particular one, they asked only 15 sing dollars for a near 900gm one when they take nothing less than 30 - 35 sing dollars per kilo. I checked the "kanko".... gills.... it seemed fresh.... I felt let me try it with minimal spices .... I am not in support of overdosing a beauty queen with loads of makeup... in this case ilish is the queen.... spices used can be minimal. No, you will not expect innovations from this small brain.... most of the time I do "idhar ka mal udhar, udhar ka mal idhar"..... For this ROSHUN KANCHA LANKA NARKOL DIYE ILISH,  I marinated the fish pieces with a generous amount of mustard oil, green chilli-garlic paste, salt, turmeric, shredded coconut.... and microwaved.... you can do it on stovetop too! Do it with love, take good care of ilish.... else I cannot be happy with you.... Imagine a scene.... I am in the final round of KAUN BANEGA CROREPATI, the organisers or the Big B is desperate to get me to help the boss to buy a decent home for us in the world's most expensive island, the final question.... Give a synonym of "ilish".... I take one second... "mohabbat"... "jaan-e-jigar" 'ishkiya".... Thats where the dream ends each night! I had a daddy who did not like his daughter wearing a saree, he got so many dresses for her, I hear he had a special tailor to stitch my dresses in our short span of stay in Asansol ..... he started with his job at State Bank Of India, Asansol! He loved girl child and proved that a daughter-in-law can be given a status of a daughter.... a rare ability! You saw me wearing a saree yesterday .... which means I inherited "ghar tyarami" from my father! None of us are good or bad alone, but a mixture!

You see I value the people around, so here is the link for the Aloo Chicken recipe too!

ALOO CHICKEN





INGREDIENTS :

Hilsa / Ilish : 6-8 pieces [preferably fresh]
Garlic Paste : 11/2tbsp
Green Chilli Paste : 3-4tbsp [I am generous]
Salt : As Required
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Shredded Coconut : 1small cup
Lemon Juice : 2-3tbsp [for those who find ilish smelly, excuse me if we cannot be best of friends]
Green Chilli : 2-3 [slitted]
Oil : 1/3small cup without any thought [strictly mustard for us]


PROCEDURE :

I feel very happy with this kind of hassle-free cooking these days, so long that excellent photographer-food blogger, electronic engineer cum HRD Head of the family business do not come back, I can carry on with "fakibaji ranna".....

Wash the fish pieces carefully which means do not get rid of the natural oil doing so!

Marinate will all the ingredients including the slitted green chillies, I forgot. If you find ilish smelly, marinate with lemon juice for 1/2 an hour and wash again before the final marination.

Keep marinated for an hour.




If you want, you can paste the shredded coconut before marination, I did not.

After an hour or so, microwave for 13-14 minutes at 300*C. I cooked it uncovered, so cooking at low heat is a necessity for the fish to stay soft even after cooking.

Each machine differs, so try and test yours to know the correct temperature.

If you are doing on a stove top, place the marinated fish gently on a heated wok. Cover cook till done. If required, sprinkle little water!

In this particular recipe, I found it tastes better if we eat at least 4-5 hours after cooking.

Only piping hot steamed rice is required to enjoy it. The platter also had "badam diye laal shaaker ghonto".... red amaranth with peanuts, "beulir dal".... split black gram dal .... and chicken with tomatoes & potatoes! The breads and salad is not in the picture, do add them the non-ilish lovers!



Sunday, 8 April 2018

TOFU POTATO BITES & MINT-GARLIC-TAMARIND CHUTNEY





Tofu in a soup .... yes, I do have it on a regular basis on my lunch dates with myself! When it comes to feeding tofu to my men and majority of my readers.... it has to have added spices and flavour enhancing herbs.... You bet only a Bengali / Indian has the ability to turn something as healthy as tofu to a flavourful, spice laden bliss called TOFU POTATO BITES & MINT-GARLIC-TAMARIND-CHUTNEY.... Yes a chutney or a dip is a must with such tongue teasers / snacks. There obviously was some non vegetarian items along side... I do not remember what, not bothered either!.... I wish to go ahead with a humble vegetarian share today, I will .... I do not want to go Bengali.... I will not.... though I know I have to go Bengali next... its our New Year at the doorstep! I am a Bengali and the major shares on my blog would be Bengali... that is natural..... What I find unnatural these days is some? people's wish to control me.... what they? have done throughout their? life .... considering me as their? pet.... At 47, I refuse to give in to that unnatural demand.... I am very open about who I am .... never a self proclaimed angel.... I am very poor at acting... though an ardent Bollywood fan. A couple of my friends have personally complained me about some? people's tendency to make me their? pet though they cannot go public with the truth ever! Till date I had given them a deaf ear on humanitarian grounds.... now no more.... even the husband never tried to control me, perhaps because he did not want to be a loser like his mother... haha.... I am not a material to be caged! There had been some people around who constantly were / are facilitating this unnatural demand of some? people's tendency of ruling over me, thinking me to be their personal property.... I got so very irritated that I had to unfriend some of them in social media though they have done a lot for me in real life.... I felt bad initially, then I consoled myself believing they did it because I am "my husband's wife" and not "their friend" actually! I wished so much to write about these "real helps" in this space but I will not unless they make me feel very happy.... off course I am self centric.... I accept it, some do not! By the way, some of my friends's complain of some? people's constant endeavour to consider me their? pet for decades is very true..... People have the liberty to think what they wish .... problem is they think I am a total nut.... I admit I am largely so .... not that much either that I do not understand anything! I adore transparency of hearts..... I was one, I lost it totally after joining the social media.... Our daddy was not in social media and hence died a hero, such people cannot sustain a made up world! Did I ever say he was a good bridge player and got prizes too? During his last years he tended to forget everything and could not play it properly. His partners got agitated... those partners who my brother invited cordially and treated with "mach, mangsho, roshogolla" at his funeral. Its a year now, do you think I will do the same on his yearly mourning? No I will cook for him which I hardly got a chance to, go to RKM and donate a little something! .... Did our mother  appreciate those accolades? No....... she said "tash khela bajey obhyash"... card games are bad! ..... Two incompatible people living under one roof did not make a hell out of every little thing which helped us grow up as normal, happy kids. Are you taking care of making your "home" a happy one?.... That is an exercise, rest comes next and very much next! In this matter, we can take some pride.... We together went to choose our furnitures, no sharing the pictures is not a show off... they are low cost.... we bought only when the husband got his yearly bonus! Below is how we struggled to create some space within a 1150 sq ft. area and make it look brighter.... Now the husband's part is done.... Cristine and her ma'am will have to work hard to get the white colour last. What was our lunch after the rearrangement? "Dim Sheddo Aloo Sheddo Bhaat"..... boiled eggs and potatoes with rice.... ghee for the men.... and what for the primitive?.... mustard oil and a green chilli...... she preferred to share the picture of her plate .... she is ok if you do not try to control her life! In the evening, the husband was in a happy mood and asked the wife to go to Clark Quay..... the wife had already gone ahead with the preparation of  "methi carrot thepla"..... He did not create a ruckus.... scolded the wife for been an unromantic.... called the available friends.... and all of us celebrated with a "champakoli" that the wife gifted two years back with "thepla".... "gujju" friends if any excuse us for this unusual pairing! How am I a bit ahead of my mother? I do not say a constant no to a husband's wish... so long he is not a drunkard, I do not mind. How is my  husband a bit ahead of my dad?.... He respects my wishes! Again some? people think I am that donkey who  believes whatever they say.... I am not "entirely a donkey" but "nearly so".... All this while I kept quiet trying to be decent!








How was our yesterday?.... as usual a Saturday is.... I cooked "thorer ghonto" to "kakrer jhal" to "illisher ektu onnorokom".... did photo session of six items.... all horrible.... will share but how can I if not someone from you translate for me "thorer aash gulokey angul diye joriye fele ditey hobey".... No, I do not have any problem admitting my shortcomings, in fact I doubt if I have any quality in me or not... The lack of confidence in me did not let me barge into the management's office and say why should I take reading classes when once I was chosen to teach at plus two level? Until here it is not wrong.... but when some? are up on lowering other's position at work or otherwise, it is an attack on their prestige, self pride! ..... I find it utterly wrong and a feeling of lovelessness occurs within! Well, so says the husband.... not everyone have the wisdom of the genius stationed at Mumbai.... a person who at age 35 became one of the top directors of a leading Indian bank ... now I do not even ask where he reached.... the husband says only few in India reaches there! That person  does not play golf but eat "phuchka" in and around Mumbai.... gifts my  husband a Hugo Boss though! The couples' only pleasure is going for foreign tours twice or once a year... they are "pet roga" cannot eat, do not fancy clothes if not required! Anyway, I do not know when I get to kiss them in public.... this TOFU POTATO BITES & MINT-GARLIC-TAMARIND CHUTNEY should help... its a less oil starter, appetiser and spices are not so bad for health... they say.... no I have no such quality to go on with its nutritive value or history .... you have to go to better people for it! I love food, cook it and share.... cover up my inability by filling in this space with my take on "life and people"....


If you wish for some other recipes blogged on  earlier, click the below headings....

CASHEW CHICKEN

MATAR MUSHROOM






INGREDIENTS :

Tofu : 300-350gm [plain, not silken]
Potato : 2big [washed, halved ,boiled, peeled]
Cumin Seed : 2tbsp + 1/4tsp
Coriander Seed : 1tbsp
Dry Red Chilli : 2-3
Fennel Seed : 1/2tsp
Green Chilli : 2 [washed, chopped]
Dry Mango Powder : 1tsp
Ginger Extract : 2tsp
Chaat Masala : To Sprinkle
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Coriander Leaf : 1small cup [chopped, washed]
Salt : As Required
Oil : 3tbsp + 2tbsp


PROCEDURE :

I wash my tofu, do you? Break and mash it just roughly. Mash the boiled potatoes smoothly and take both in a bowl. Add salt and turmeric and mix well.

Dry roast the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds and dry red chillies for 2 minutes at low heat.

Once cool, dry grind them till coarse.

Heat oil in a wok. Add the chopped green chillies and 1/4tsp cumin seeds, give a quick stir.

Add the potato and tofu mixture and fold in well.

Add the ginger extract and dry ground, coarse spice mixture. Fold in well.

Keep stirring for about 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped coriander leaves and the dry mango powder.

Fold in well and stir for a minute. Switch off gas, our appetiser mixture is ready.

Let it cool before you tear out small portions and shape as you desire.

Heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a pan. Place the tikkis, cook till brown at low heat. Turn over and repeat. It takes hardly 5-7 minute.

For the chutney soak 2tbsp seedless tamarind in half medium cup water for 1/2 an hour. Get the extract and transfer to a grinder. Add a medium cup of washed mint leaves, two cloves of garlic, a green chilli and 1/4 tsp of black salt. Grind to a paste.... sprinkle some water if required!

Before serving, sprinkle some chaat masala atop the tikkis.... enjoy! It indeed is a good snack idea!