Friday, 15 February 2019

SPICY SWEET POTATO STUFFED KACHORI


"kahan se shuru karein yaar, mann ma itna emoson jagey... aajkaal kuch jyada hi hai... buddhi jo ho rahi hoon... par duniyadari sikh li hai maine.... apne aap ko kudhich samhalna parta hai...".... Why Mumbai lingo all of a sudden? Yesterday, we watched the movie Gully Boy and were back home a little after midnight! I had always been a fan of a Zoya Akhtar style and immensely liked the message in the movie. If you have a dream, chase it. No one is here to rot in a drain.... it may not be as easy to achieve as in a movie, but lets give it a try. This SPICY SWEET POTATO STUFFED KACHORI and the movie going event was just a coincidence. Preparing a kachori and not a kochuri was on my plan for a week now. Look at the picture, last week when I was preparing a koraishutir kochuri for the family, the filling spilled from one or two... It happens with many of us... but I get too irritated. Whatever little I can do.... that should show enough of my love for it... else I am not happy. What I did was, moved away the rolling pin and base... and prepared the smaller ones... I smiled, I danced... my boy ... our Cristine enjoyed... the husband was on tour... the reason why I took up the project yesterday afternoon to have it as our dinner. I totally forgot that we had a movie plan .... around 7 pm the husband called up to say that he is stuck in a meeting, having dinner there... I got so pissed off, started shouting at him. That is when he told me about the night show plan... thereafter came Soumya's warning message that he wants us near the clubhouse sharp at 8:55pm... I feel very bad if we do not sit together and eat the family dinner... else I could have shed at least four kilos in two months. Thanks to the almighty that the filling of purple sweet potato and the semolina - refined flour dough was ready. I just cannot go out for merry making without arranging the dinner for A or P ... whatever you may call him or even for Cristine. On such a hurried situation, shaping the kachori / stuffed South Asian Bread in between your palms does help.... Cristine had to wash less utensils... Still wondering why Ipsita had to buy the tickets of Gully Boy, I made them in a jiffy with Cristine always ready to help and did that terrifying photo feature... poorer than what I do usually. However, the taste was awesome! Ipsita got a thumbs up at the end of the movie and Cristine was all praise of it this morning. That Phillippines will never issue me a visa is a different issue altogether! There is still some filling left which I should be able to use by Tuesday! I have reserved 'two ranga' aloo for some 'mishti.'



"Waise bandi ko na nature bahut pasand hai... to photu khichti rehti hai... accha ho ya bura... Yaha to shaher mein nature doondna parta hai!"....


I do not plan ahead a project properly, I am not good at it.... so with the South Asian stuffed fluffy breads SPICY SWEET POTATO STUFFED KACHORI, I could not arrange for any make ahead chutneys or sauces... served them with raita, salad, a siracha-mayo sauce ... we are loving the spiky chilli tone of it... they enjoy it on their sandwiches... "main thairi desi... de diye kachori ke saath".... Anyway, I thank our siblings and their spouses for all the fun messages they kept posting yesterday in Whatsapp.... and also thankful to one Mr. R... the champion of humour is a middle aged guy whose mother was a friend of mine. Had she being alive, she would have been 68.... she wished her boy and T to live in the same city.... why boudi is so late to call them R and M with their families? In that case, I have to plan the menu with diligence... one is a Bengali with a SriLankan wife, the other Maharashtrian... the common factor is fish... but not hilsa... "ilish yaar apunka area hai... pakka".... As of now, I can treat them virtually with this breakfast / evening tea / coffee time snack... they had been a big support for my blog!




INGREDIENTS : [FOR THE SWEET POTATO FILLING]

SWEET POTATO : 3 STANDARD SIZED [I CHOOSE PURPLE ONES]
CHOPPED ONION : 1/2COFFEE MUG
CHOPPED GREEN CHILLI : 3TBSP [ADJUST YOURS]
CHOPPED FRESH CORIANDER : 1MEDIUM TEA CUP
CUMIN SEED : 1/2TSP
CHAAT MASALA : 1TBSP
TURMERIC POWDER : 1/4TSP
SALT : AS REQUIRED
OIL : 2TBSP

INGREDIENTS : [FOR THE DOUGH]

REFINED FLOUR : 2COFFEE MUG
SEMOLINA : LITTLE LESS THAN HALF COFFEE MUG
SALT : 1/4TSP
GHEE : 1TBSP

INGREDIENTS : [SPICY SWEET POTATO STUFFED KACHORI]

THE FILLING
THE DOUGH
OIL : 100-150ML TO DEEP FRY

PROCEDURE :

For the filling, choose some fresh sweet potatoes. I got home the purple ones.


The miser me never buy the Australian ones. Sabji fresh honi chahiye.

Discard the two ends, peel and cut small. Wash and pressure cook at the lowest heat up to 2 whistles adding 2coffee mugs of water. Strain it.




Let it cool. Mash it. We have the chopped ingredients cut, washed and ready on the kitchen counter. The Chaat Masala is wow so yum!





Heat oil in a pan or wok and temper with cumin seeds. 



Add the sliced onion and stir for 2-3 minutes continuously at medium heat.



Add the chopped green chillies now and stir for another 2-3 minutes.




Add the boiled sweet potato, to it add some salt and the turmeric powder. Fold in well and keep stirring for 4-5 minutes.



Add the chat masala and chopped fresh coriander now. Fold in well and cook for 2 more minutes.




Once done, transfer to a plate and let it be like that for an hour or two. The drier it is, more hassle free.




Now the dough. Take the refined flour, semolina and salt in a bowl and mix well. Add the ghee or clarified butter and rub well for 2-3 minutes.

Now add water little by little and prepare a dough. The smooth dough takes some 10-12 minutes to prepare.

Cover it for 15 minutes. Open cover and tear off small balls.



Make a hollow space in each one of them, with a spoon fill in with the hot sweet potato mixture.




Bring together all the sides and close. Cristine does this step pretty well. 



Now, instead of using a rolling pin I just pressed lightly in-between my palms. Make sure that your palms are clean. Do not press with fingers... they may spoil. Do not press hard with the palm either.




Heat oil in a wok and fry them adjusting the heat constantly. Please do not hurry else the inner part may remain uncooked. 



Keep for sometime on a tissue paper before serving them with your choice of chutneys, salad, sauces and raita!



Wednesday, 13 February 2019

CHAL PATALI GURER HALWA




Does not look like a D-Day share... right? Who said I celebrate?... or may be it will be my 48th celebration .... haha! Each day is a celebration for me if only you let me do what I wish to... this trait is not so old a development... else our mother would have faced serious trouble bringing me up. I see the brother whose every step is a dictate of his mother and think I have got out of it long back.... courtesy... the husband... The fiercely independent human who had the ability to make queries to the doctors while he was almost @ his "..... bed"... a couple of times! Lying alone at a hospital in Rotterdam with his right palm cut into half almost , he had the strength to call his office and instruct not to inform his family and wife who may collapse. I went to the airport to receive an untimely visitor. I have to keep faith in the almighty who saved me from all the storms I have faced till date,  my men may not! However, I do not feel like creating a twosome post as I did some 3-4 years back.... and write absurd notes ... "I have never fancied or looked at any other girl, the entirety of my soul belongs to you... I have known that a rose is worth gifting only when my parents arranged my meeting with you"... and vice versa! I turn to the husband and say "yaar Boss... humlog to badmash thairiley... kitne ko ankh marte firte hai".... However, I quite enjoy when dear people share such silly posts ... do but be careful about the captions... it need not sound too absurd.... human mind is enveloped with layers of emotions... one need not hide it. The boss of this house prefers to avoid such special occasions saying that it all started as "Archies' Gimmick" to sell their Greetings Cards! I do not mind, I just  enjoy my stay on earth my way.... look at what I had for lunch yesterday... my favourite hot & spicy noodles which has a poached egg, minced pork, fried ikanbilis, sautéed greens in it.... too much of a love.... The thing is that Ipsita too gifted me the same book that I got from India.... okay, keeping the gift and may give away mine to people who love reading... a Piali Maitra or Namrata Majumder may be.... if only I like the read!



Love is also cooking a dessert as yummy as this CHAL PATALI GURER HALWA for the family, even if I do not get a solitaire finger ring on special days... Actually, until our last day we do not get to know ourselves in totality... who knows I want a gift at all or not and where I am when... may be I am busy digging the rubbles of memory... buying Archies' Cards from "kakur dokan"... despatching either from the Seth Bagan Post Office or from the Ghugudanga Post Office on days when I headed to Chandrayee's home for an Adda session in front of their's with T, MR, Sarajit, Joy, Sukanta, Ajay... at times Tukul and Shiddharta would just cross by! Good old days! Anyway, I was not hopeful about the future of the despatched cards... I had the feeling that they lay ash--tray! However, I have kept the cards I gifted to bossy and a total of 25 letters he wrote to me from different voyages at our present Kolkata home... They were mostly 3-4 liners, only one was of 20 pages ..... yes, he wrote that when I told him how to convince my family of bankers who are not familiar with a sailor's life? So, you know your search ends at a point when someone makes you feel too important .... says "I want you!".... but let your feelings flow to the direction it desires to, if you are me... you will not be calculative with them ....


The CHAL PATALI GURER HALWA was not a planned affair... it was in fact a by product of a faulty attempt... I spent an entire day to prepare some coarsely ground rice flour required for a "Dhupi Pitha".... store bought are fine powders. I failed at it which I later found  to be my fault. Whatever it is, I do not waste my food... I stored a major part of the homemade rice flour for more of "pithe-puli".... and prepared this dessert with the used one.




For this CHAL PATALI GURER HALWA, you can use store bought rice flour. You do not sit idle at home like me.... that should not stop you from enjoying the rest of the things you wish to either .... Do not turn your life in to machines... End of the day, when you carry your physical being to the burning ghat or step into your coffin.... you may find that you actually lived a life in captivation! I keep at least 4-5 flavours of tea bags at home and my recent love coffee! Yet, I so enjoy my Teh-o-Kosong at the open food courts. Those tea stall kind of cookies are a childhood favourite. I wish to have them every evening, my health condition does not permit. These open food courts remind me of "desher chaier dokans".... there I cannot sit alone on a roadside tea stall, here I can with ease... no one bothers you... I take a sip and watch another mundane day moving towards an end?.... nope ... to another one.... the baton has to be passed on until we leave for the eternity!


That red packet has "mushurir dal".... with Indian Minimarts around, we need not go to the Super Market always! About this halwa, I will do it for you the way as it should be done from the scratch hoping that your "dhupi pitha" turns into exactly what you wish to! We are using only few ingredients for this yum dessert.... Our boy, who does not like halwa.... had two bowlful, may be  because it tasted more like pudding.




INGREDIENTS :

RICE FLOUR : 1COFFEE MUG
GRATED DATE PALM JAGGERY : 1SMALL TEA CUP
KHOYA KHEER : 1/2SMALL TEA CUP [SEMI SOLIDIFIED MILK AT THIS HOME]
MILK : 2COFFEE MUG [BOILED & SLIGHTLY THICKENED]
GREEN CARDAMOM POWDER : 1/3TSP [MAKE IT FRESH]
GHEE : 2TBSP
DRY FRUITS & NUTS OF YOUR CHOICE TO GARNISH
LOVE : KEEP SHOWERING ONCE YOU ENTER THE KITCHEN

PROCEDURE :

There actually should not be any procedure of cooking... just the ingredients, ideas and love should be well coordinated to get the fruits of labour. In my case, if I do not have the freedom, I cannot deliver!

Okay, heat the ghee on a wok just a little. Add the rice flour. Now keep stirring continuously at the lowest heat  for 3-4 minutes. We will not allow it to burn, neither the raw smell should be there. Take is out and store for a later use.

Add 1 coffee mug of milk and the grated jaggery to the wok. Let the jaggery melt and the mixture come to boil. 

Add the rice flour, fold in well and stir continuously for 2-3 minutes.

Add the remaining 1 coffee mug of milk, grated khoya kheer and fold in well.

Let cook at the lowest heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the green cardamom powder and a spoonful of sugar if required!

Fold in well. After a minute or so... transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with dry fruits & nuts.




Monday, 11 February 2019

TIL TOMATO MURGI


How did you do yesterday, Sunday? Well, it was just like the other usual Sundays in our life except for the cooking part. I do not wish to engage in the kitchen on a Sunday... not because I have stopped loving to cook, but that aftermath I am so scared of.... the cleaning part! My men are not the kind who will eat the leftover prasadam the next day, who will make them believe how heavenly can be the taste of "bashi khichuri".... So, I cooked yesterday this non vegetarian meat dish TIL TOMATO MURGI, "Dhonepata Diye Mushurir Dal", "Sheem Aloo Diye Sultan Maacher Jhol"..... This Sultan fish is a good substitute for fresh, smaller or medium sized Rohu of Kolkata! It comes from the neighbouring state... caught fresh & delivered! In fact, the husband just started off for our neighbour but he is not the kind who will get his wife a dozen of "hansher dim or fresh tyangra" from there!.... However, the wife will hover around silly, negative thoughts for the next four hours, he is driving today. The husband had thrown away my sedatives many springs back and did not allow to have them thereafter. There was a time when he had to take me to the university for the evening shift BeD classes as the strong sedatives would not allow me to get down at the right stop... Then & there he told "you are your best counsellor S".... I am putting through this message to few parents who I know are just spoiling a bright future... I hope they are reading this! Anyway, at this home people cause me irritation all the time.... I cannot retaliate in fear of the neighbours, who may rush to our home anticipating a "marpit".... severe kind of chaos happening between the tiger and the deer.... thinking the latter might  lay bleeding. Things are not that serious either... look at what I made him eat for dinner yesterday. He did not notify me earlier that he will be going on a tour, more so he will be driving! I simply gave my dictate... you have to eat the "patali gurer payesh, nelekata" and the gulab jamun that I got for you before you leave home. He would not eat khichuri, payesh and sweetmeats together. Our fight carries on over all these you see below.... I am totally against offering guests hard drinks during special prayers... neither do our friends want. Since, the nonbeliever accepts me performing rituals at this home, he makes it a point to have them saying if he does not stop me doing what I like, I should not too! I look at my brother to learn more of the balancing act! You all should know by now that our mother did not raise "strong personalities".... so long we siblings get everything being done for us, we do not mind it either... haha! The world only belong to those who have a voice.... When this same world speaks against smoking, the man of this house gets new flavours... this one a cigarillo...






What else were you doing S besides cooking and cleaning? Well, Cristine did tell me to keep the cleaning part for her to come back and do. I could not, you cannot imagine how much of a back up she gives to me on such days... she deserved that much needed Sunday break. I finally was done around 5 pm yesterday... I was not willing to get it ordered from outside... the husband has to eat outside for 3 days now! Thereafter, I needed a kind of coffee break, the way I like... I had it with a Japanese cake that Sanak got for us and the two ingredient bread I made with ice-cream and self rising flour.... you heard it right... I learnt it from Vijula Girish whose page Vijula's Kitchen has awesome baked recipes. I could have shared Vijula's page in public but before that I have to mention in public the names of at least 10-15 food bloggers for whom my blog is alive. Since, I am not a sincere observant or thinker, I refrain myself from all such activities. Where was I? Okay, white chocolate wrapped cake is not for me... the son will love.. the husband never has anything with tea... He does not run a kilometre but stopped having biscuits saying that the flavour of tea should be enjoyed alone.... sugar & milk makes tea flavoured milk drinks, not tea..... but that too is one opinion... there can be counter opinions. In between, I had my lunch around 3pm with "dal, shim aloo diye maacher jhol, TIL TOMATO MURGI".... The chicken curry was impromptu and tasted very well.... the fish curry and dal off course are authentic Bengali... Chicken lovers should not mind my dislike for it... I will always have a neck or a small, boney piece! The rest Cristine will eat little and to my convenience... the son will be immensely happy till tomorrow night to see mumma serving him chicken in almost all meals. The son took egg fried rice in his lunch box and mumma had to taste it early morning. At night yesterday, I should have skipped that paratha, why I had to eat it with "panchmeshali tarkari" and nectarine I do not know. For lunch today, I will have the "gota sheddo" that Ipsita has sent for me and a fruit bowl with nectarine and oranges. How I wish to add some cream atop the fruits, but will not! What is stopping me from starting with a decent diet plan? I know the reason... not feeling motivated enough.... I have lost the focus... but others should not! I find pleasure in food... a variety of... again... others should not!







I tread alone to no where,
You stop me.... despair...
A sudden Cyclone drops me...
On a chair... I rest my head on the T-able!
I eat...  for the soul seek pleasure...
I pick myself up and walk ... in utter dismal
.... for I have never learnt to...
fill in, shut it ... forget!

Besides cooking, cleaning and eating.... I had to do some soul cleansing activity too before retiring for the day with loads of unnecessary carbs inside... the reason why I ask people not to follow my footsteps.... neither will I take any kind of lectures from anyone... on do's and don'ts...



Yes, I did marinate the chicken in tandoori masala and then slow cooked it in roasted sesame seeds and tomato paste.



INGREDIENTS :

CHICKEN : 1KG [MEDIUM CUT]
WHITE SESAME SEED : 1-11/2TBSP [ROASTED]
TOMATO : 2BIG
SLICED ONION : 1 SMALL TEA CUP
GINGER PASTE : 2TSP
GARLIC PASTE : 11/2TBSP
TANDOORI MASALA : 1TBSP
TURMERIC : 1TSP
RED CHILLI POWDER : 2-3TBSP [ADJUST YOURS]
CINNAMON STICK : 2-3 TWO INCH STICK
GREEN CARDAMOM : 2-3
CLOVE : 3-4
STAR ANISE : 1
BAYLEAF : 1
LEMON JUICE : 3-4TBSP
SALT : AS REQUIRED
OIL : 1/3SMALL TEA CUP

PROCEDURE :

Wash the chicken pieces under running water. Drain all the water and marinate with the tandoori masala, turmeric powder, lemon juice and salt. Keep aside for an hour.

Dry roast the white sesame seeds at low heat for a minute, take out... keep aside and let cool.

Chop the tomatoes, slice the peeled onion.... wash them.

Once cool... prepare a paste with the dry roasted sesame seeds and tomato.

Take the ginger and garlic paste, salt as required, red chilli powder in a bowl, add 2tbsp water to it and mix well.

Heat oil in a wok and temper with the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, green cardamoms, clove and star anise. Give a stir.

Add the sliced onions and fry until brown in low heat ... but not burnt.

Add the ginger-garlic-red chilli powder mixture and fold in well. Stir for 2-21/2 minutes at low heat for the raw smell to go.

Add the white sesame seed and tomato paste now and keep stirring. This will take some time to get the desired consistency..... say 5-7 minutes.

Add the chicken pieces now, leaving the marinade.

Fold in well and keep stirring at high heat for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to minimal and add the marinade. Fold in well.

Cover cook at minimal heat for some 20-25 minutes stirring in between ... it should be done. If required add a cup of water while halfway done... its supposed to release water!

Have it with rice or flat breads .... of any kind.






Friday, 8 February 2019

POSTO DIYE KANCHA TOMATO


Posto / Poppy Seed has become an yearly affair now.... if I visit Kolkata mid year, know that I day dreamt of 'posto' one summer afternoon and called the husband at office to buy me a ticket to Kolkata! Yes, Poppy Seed means that much to a Bengali. It is not that a Bengali in a foreign land do not get it, unfortunately it is banned in our island. The rule bound husband does not allow me to get even 100gm of it. I do not sit and cry... I have incorporated sesame seeds in our diet instead. You see, if you do not prepare the poppy seed paste in a "shil nora".... mortar & pestle... you will not get the right texture. I have noticed that a poppy seed paste and roasted white sesame seed paste tastes almost the same if done on a blender. I do not know what result would a food processor give. The truth is that when the grapes seem too high as compared to our reach, we get satisfied with the few lying on the ground! Posto / Poppy Seed was a regular at our home although not in that frequency as in a Bengali family of West Bengal origin. I do not understand this East Bengal-West Bengal divide when it comes to cuisine .... I do add sugar in the vegetarian dishes and love 'posto'. What I hear is that when a majority of the Bengalis migrated to West Bengal, they picked up the use of poppy seed in their cooking. Does it mean that the people of East Bengal never ate 'posto'? I have doubt in this theory. I never had discussions on this matter with the family veterans. Any such comment without a research would be unwelcome. This recipe of POSTO DIYE KANCHA TOMATO ... that is green, unripe tomatoes cooked with poppy seed paste shall be welcome at many of your homes.

This simple vegetarian dish has been learnt from my mother who in turn learnt it from somewhere else. The dish is very Bengali in essence, how authentic I do not know. I have never seen it been cooked at the grand parent's home or at the relative's. Green Tomatoes first entered our home when I was in High School. One day, the mother told that green tomatoes and poppy seeds paste make a good pair. From where she has learnt I do not remember... kancha tomato / green tomato was not at all a pricey stuff at Dum Dum Bazaar but the price of posto / poppy seeds had been spiralling always. I instantly loved the vegetarian item besides the dal and non vegetarian meat or fish dish being served. Thereafter, I have asked mani to prepare it a couple of times... but green tomato is seasonally available in Kolkata... not many sellers do keep it. I cannot be at Kolkata in all seasons to get the best of all. That is similar as in life... we cannot get everything we wish for... That is what my newly found friend and me failed at and ended up no where in life perhaps! I very much wish to meet the author just to ask who inspired him to sketch the main character and why he had to meet Mrinalini after 18 years and not 16-17-19-20! Coincidence and real gets jumbled up within but  the "mistress of spices" did add the right amount of salt in POSTO DIYE KANCHA TOMATO. That gives a feel of comfort... also the discovery that there are more of my kinds around... be it a fictional character.... that I have some amount of sanity left in me .... About the dish... my side of the family do not use chilli paste or turmeric in poppy seed dishes.... the husband's side do. I do it both ways.... this one has green chilli paste in it and turmeric too. You can use tomatillo for this dish if not my swallow knowledge on food is too wrong! What I only regret is the red chilli atop the dish... I usually do not associate an ingredient not eaten in this island to red.... they consider their prime colour! I was so excited to be able to eat 'posto' after a gap of 11/2 years that I overlooked it!



INGREDIENTS :

GREEN TOMATO : 4
POPPY SEED : 2-3TBSP [RESIDENTS OF SINGAPORE & DUBAI SHOULD USE ROASTED WHITE SESAME SEED]
GREEN CHILLI : 2
DRY RED CHILLI : 2
NIGELLA SEED : 2PINCH [KALONJI / KALOJEEREY]
TURMERIC POWDER : 1/4TSP
SALT : AS REQUIRED
SUGAR : 1/2TSP [OPTIONAL]
OIL : 2TBSP [WE ALWAYS USE MUSTARD OIL]

PROCEDURE :

Wash the kancha tomato / green tomatoes well and cut each into 4 pieces. Wash again and marinate then with little salt and a pinch of turmeric. Rub well and keep aside for 15-20 minutes.

We have already soaked the poppy seeds in hot water for an hour or so. Drain the water through a strainer and add the poppy seeds to a blender. Add two washed green chillies and half a small tea cup of water. Blend pausing in between until we get a more or less smooth paste.

[I never get the right consistency of poppy seeds paste in a blender as in a "shil nora.... mine is either half done or a fine paste]

Anyway, heat oil in a pan or a wok and temper with the nigella seeds and 2 dry red chillies.

Add the poppy seeds paste and stir fry at low heat for 2 minutes or so.

Take out and store on a plate retaining as much of oil as possible in the wok or the pan.

Add the green tomatoes to the wok along with the marinade, add the rest of the turmeric powder. Give a stir and reduce the heat to the lowest.

Cover with a lid and let cook at the lowest heat for some 5-6 minutes. If a little of water has released we do not need to add water. If not, add 1/2 a small tea cup of water. Cover cook for 2-3 minutes at a very low heat.

Open cover and add the cooked poppy seeds paste, adjust the salt, add the sugar. Fold in well and cook uncovered at low heat for 2 minutes stirring constantly.

Transfer to a serving bowl, enjoy hot & fresh with any variety of rice.... brown, red, matta or with chapati! You can use tomatillo instead of green tomatoes... I have never tasted it in life!





Wednesday, 6 February 2019

CHALTAR DAL O BENGALI ALOO CHOKHA


The CNY fervour is still on... in fact many a shop will remain closed till Sunday.... However, I have to move on. Haven't I learnt from the wiser lot that we must touch hearts in turns? Not that I wish to be nice to people who purposefully take or had taken a dig at me, then more than a four decades of stay on this earth amidst a number of good humans have taught me to be calm to overcome stress, to ignore what hurts me to the core. The problem is that I have forgotten all the formulae of science & mathematics... never had learnt them actually but I cannot forget targetted attacks... made decades back or  recently! However, each dawn brings in some kind of happiness, today when I woke up to Master Chef Ranveer Brar's post shared last night, I got very happy and could not stop myself from commenting and liking it. Not always do I respond to what I like or unless & until anyone nourishes my ego! The Master Chefs have millions of fans, I am a negligible one.... but when he stands in the midst of an orchard and says... "I am a farmer's son, so will always enjoy being in a farm or an orchard".... I feel very much connected .... as if he is asking me... "Whats up? How are you doing?"..... Look at me, I am planning to visit the local Botanic Garden for two months now and yet could not... One fine morning will set out... I do not wish to bother the "uninterested" family members in this case. However, on request I was taken to the East Coast Park... some of my friends may remember a post I shared last year .... me "anonde atmahara" at the sight of four "chalta gaach"... Elephant Apple tree near the sea. Mine is not a husband who will go up a tree or help me to go up to get a few fresh ones. What I did was that I picked up some from the ground while the husband kept saying we needed to know if its legal or not. That pissed me off truly.... I am not selling it to Indian Homes or exporting the seeds to Kolkata. The natives here do not eat it, so they lie wasted.... Few Bengalis like me take them home for making pickle & dal. The "chaltar achar" I prepared is about to finish and I have not done a photo feature. Its time to visit to pick up some again.... before that I needed to share this Bengali, combo vegetarian dish of CHALTAR DAL O BENGALI ALOO CHOKHA that is very much of a favourite with me alongside some deep-fried "puti or ikanbilis" .... while my family will have it only if there is a meat or prawn curry in offer. The master chef's post did not allow me to think otherwise... after all he is quite handsome... haha! At times, I so want my jokes to be true, to become a light hearted soul not taking anything to heart, not allowing anyone to stay within to whom I am an object of fun... like a football... pleasure in each kick!

I refer to the master chef not in any personal interest, these days I prefer maintaining a distance more than before leaving few.... I am losing interest in many a thing neither ready for a 'banprastha'.... I just had seen his post from a different angle... there you are..... my perspective is very different from yours.





When I sincerely try to keep tradition rule at this home, the other family members are busy stocking their favourites before the shops closed for 3-4 days. The "patali gurer payesh" I prepared last Saturday was eaten yesterday night. I can give you 101 reasons of me turning grey so fast! No point shouting at him / them on why he wished Happy CNY to our Family Whatsapp group with the picture below while CURRY AND SPICE had a different agenda... The poor fellow does not understand social media, does not even know anyone there except for a few I talk about. Before some of you get either happy or sad, let me tell you that over the weekend, he plays Hemanta, Manna and is a fan of the below contemporary singer! There is no dearth of interest in me to cling onto tradition. Yesterday, I soaked some "kalijeera" rice, allowed to dry and then had grind them to a coarse powder. I have stored it to redo the "dhupi pitha" I failed to, some sheddo puli too! The failed "dhupi pitha" mixture was turned into a yum dessert.... did a silly photo feature! Will share later!









I was making repeated error at one point, right now I rectified it... Come on, if an Italian Grandma takes pride in preparing a pasta from scratch, a Bengali / Indian Grandma knows the tricks to perfect a "dhupi pitha" / steamed pitha! However, my share today is a simple, Bengali vegetarian combo meal of a sour lentil curry / tok er dal with chalta  and a boiled potato mashed & cooked / aloo chokha .... that is  CHALTAR DAL O BENGALI ALOO CHOKHA!




 INGREDIENTS : [ for the Chaltar Dal ]

Matar / Tur / Split Pigeon Pea Dal : 1medium cup
Elephant Apple : 1/4 of one standard size
Black Mustard Seed : 1/4tsp
Nigella Seed : 1/4tsp
Dry Red Chilli : 2-3
Bayleaf : 1medium sized
Slitted Green Chilli : 3-4
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp + 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1tsp
Oil : 2tbsp [We always use mustard]

INGREDIENTS : [ for the Bengali Aloo Chokha]

Boiled Potato : 2-3 [skinned, washed, mashed]
Roasted Peanut : 1tbsp
Chopped Fresh Coriander : 1medium cup [washed]
Nigella Seed : 1/2tsp
Dry Red Chilli : 2
Chopped Green Chilli : 1tbsp
Sliced Onion : 1small cup
Turmeric Powder : 1/4tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 2tbsp


PROCEDURE :

Let us prepare the sour lentil curry with elephant apple first.





Soak the tur dal / matar dal / split pigeon pea lentil in water for an hour.

Wash and drain the water 2-3 times. Pressure cook at the lowest heat up to 2 whistles adding 2 coffee mugs of water, salt as required and 1/2tsp turmeric water. Let cool.

Meanwhile, we have separated the petals of the chalta / elephant apple. I have cut it into smaller pieces. Wash and rub a little of salt & turmeric.

Heat & temper temper oil with the black mustard seeds, nigella seeds, little torn dry red chillies, bay leaf.

Add the marinated pieces of the elephant apple and stir at low heat for a minute.

Add the boiled dal and the rest of the turmeric powder. Cover cook at very low heat for 10-12 minutes.

Open cover and add the slitted green chillies, sugar, adjust the salt. Cook uncovered for 3-4 minutes.

We should be done.


Now the Bengali Aloo Chokha / mashed and cooked potato.





Mash the boiled potato with turmeric and salt.

Heat oil in a pan, add the nigella seeds, dry red chillies, peanuts and stir for a while.

Add the sliced onion and fry till brown at the lowest heat.

Add the chopped green chillies and stir for a while.

Add the mashed potato mixture and fold in well. Keep stirring continuously until the bottom turns little brown. We will cook until all sides turn brown.

Add the chopped fresh coriander, adjust the salt. Fold in well and stir for 2-3 minutes. We are done.

We will need a fish fry, meat or prawn curry alongside. You can use it as a sandwich filler or make aloo tikkis... also can have the potato with chapati but the sour dal will only go with steamed rice with "fish fry" as a bonus.