Monday, 17 June 2019

OVEN E SHEMAI ER BORA



Another error turned onto a superbly tasted vegetarian snack .... ain't I greattttt? you gotta right.. I am, but alas I cannot be a Greta Garbo... The father was a fan, perhaps so making their daughter physically fit was their dream. That obviously never came true and now the mother complains to the son-in-law how lazy and unfit I am till date, advices if I do ten laps in an hour, I can be hopeful about losing a kilo within a month. However, she is too indulgent about my wrong food habits. Mine is a sports enthusiast family, me being an exception ... food took over me just sometime after birth I think, else I would not have enjoyed tasting my brother's or the cousins' "Farex to Cerelac" later in life. No wonder, I would not discard the slightly over boiled rice vermicelli / shemai on that particular day, instead prepare this vegetarian snack OVEN E SHEMAI ER BORA. I have the belief that if you love food, you should be able to do justice to the ingredients you are using. Trial & Error definitely makes us more experienced. What can we learn from this error? We should roast vermicelli before boiling or we should get roasted vermicelli packets. I usually do either of the two, I do not know what went wrong on that particular day or it may be so even the almighty does not want me to quit fries and fritters. What I try these days is to use the bake or grill mode of our convection mode microwave just to avoid excess use of oil. That does not mean we do not eat deep fried pakora, on Saturday the mother prepared some "pui patar bora"...... having that along with deep fried "kechki maach" and mutton, the son is all smiles, but why is he smiling all the time?.. because when his mother was scolding him for some other reason, he heard the grandmother saying "that smile is worth millions".. However, he is not a sports lover, at least not a cricket lover, look whats happening here this morning. The cricket lover went to sleep last night before the match was over, so requested the son-in-law to tune in to the channel, there will be a recorded telecast around 11am. If it does not rain, I will take her for a river cruise late this afternoon. The weird grandson will not agree to accompany us.


I am not allowing her to cook much, asked her to be happy with my God's household and try to enjoy the different kinds I cook. Like she loved the 'kaon chaler payesh' I cooked yesterday not following the handsome chef Ranveer Brar's recipe but deriving the idea from him, feels thankful! She asked for another serving with her breakfast.

Very recently I noticed that there may be a politics with using tags too? As I always say that I did not do much homework before starting to blog, I do not study the surroundings, I was really surprised to see some big houses blocking me to post in their spaces in G + or may be in Face Book too few months back. I felt what could be the reason? racism? my non association with the big shots? me being a Bengali..... the ostracised community in India? that I vehemently refuse to join or entertain any kind of groupism? However, I continue to visit the MTR outlets and enjoy idli, utthapam, upma and do them at home too [crisply to the context]..... Then, I have a couple of good friends from different communities, I must stay strong with them and not count where they belong, the doctors in Vellore do miracles in Bengali bodies and give them new life too, no, doctors never do judge patients by their titles. I however get more firm on being an independent food blogger following a blogger friend Nava krishnan. I so like her stand in public. I fear mentioning names here either, I do not know who wants my association, who do not! Anyway, I must tell people how severely I dislike licking feet, I must make myself feel comfortable doing exactly what I want, politicised beings should also know I do not give in to anything that stinks... I will take the liberty to say that a famous, top listed blogger's food may not taste better than mine or my grandmother but yes they get an edge as they have the ability or will power to get into the "who's who groove", their intellect matters and I just cannot bake fabulous like some or do a designer "pitha" or click grand ..... but I will not cuddle you in the blog posts anymore because most of you are very much thankless in nature, absolutely so .... the famous shake hands with each other after eating a mango gifted from my garden shamelessly. My not so much of a friend mother-in-law always says "aamey-dudhe mish khai, pagar ati bhagarey jai".... I will go my way, doing so it may seem I have touched your hearts, so because I have no surveillance camera fitted in the brain, one need not get back to the minuscule me. Believe it if you may that I did not see "ghugu pakhir chobi" for a long time before my visit to the Lake Side Garden, so take it easy, I have no such interests..... the blog is just a space to pour in my heart..... Fame tastes good but I will not compromise for it, I may not have the necessary qualities to get it, I accept! Be you, I am not really seeking your attention, love, kisses. Again, as a blogger I will follow Nava Krishnan's footsteps..... we are independent candidates. All said and still not done, I gift you an amazingly tasty, vegetarian evening snack OVEN E SHEMAI ER BORA done in the microwave oven with rice vermicelli, boiled potatoes, chopped green chillies & coriander, onion, semolina, etc.

"nijer paye nijey kurul maro kikorey S? Bokara ormoni hoy zedi, lekhaporai dekhaley oboshyo kaajey dito! 'Pa..' asholey shototer protik chilen."

"Bangali ek atmaghati jati, shamashtitey bishash korena, jhar khabeyi united front der haathey.... Bollywood theke food world shob jaigai".... 'tarmodhya du ekta Bangalir naam ujjal dekhley kharap lagena amar.... tobey abhiman joma achey onek.... othabosha korer icchey nei tyamon.... agrohi der niye nachun, ami to achii ashe-pashey, nongrami chara shobeteyi achi"....




INGREDIENTS : 

RICE VERMICELLI : 200gm
POTATO : 1big
ONION : 1big 
GREEN CHILLI : 2-3
FRESH CORIANDER : a sprig or two
AAMCHUR POWDER : 1tbsp
SEMOLINA : 100-150gm
CHAAT MASALA : 1tsp
TURMERIC : 1/4tsp
SALT : As Required
OIL : 2tbsp [thats so true]

PROCEDURE :

Prepare a vessel full of hot water. Soak the un roasted vermicelli for not more than 3-4 minutes. Strain the water.




Wash and chop the green chillies and fresh coriander. Wash, peel and slice the onions. 

Wash the potato, prick all over with a fork. Microwave at high for 2 minutes. Peel and mash on cooling.

Take together the mashed potatoes, sliced onions, chopped green chillies & coriander, aamchur powder, salt, turmeric, the boiled vermicelli in a bowl and mix together well.

Take the semolina and the chaat masala in a plate, mix well. Grease a grill proof plate with 2tbsp oil.

Prepare decided shapes, bigger than pakoras and place nicely on the plate.








Mine is a convection mode microwave oven, so I placed the tray atop that stool. Then cooked one side for 10-12 minutes, turned over. The other side can be cooked for 8-10 minutes. For a dark brown look, cook more.




It should always be enjoyed hot and fresh with tea / coffee!






Friday, 14 June 2019

BORI ALOO DIYE TATKA RUI ER JHOL



I will be visiting Kolkata next month and what you see above was cooked at our Kolkata home last January. Once I reach there, I crave for what I grew up eating. I exactly try to recreate those heirloom Bengali dishes, when the mother is there she does the same. This time I think I will be going for fifteen days, while I will be busy with few more repair works, a bit of shopping.. the momci will cook and feed me stuffs similar to "laushak diye chara pona".. Some there ask me in an unbelieving tone .. "what is your work there?" Ok, on each visit I think I am done for two years now, then I get the report this and that has broken. I do not know how cyclone fenni could affect my locked home, a glass door which had to be repaired repeatedly lay shattered in an empty home, there are cracks all over the walls, even the concrete structures need love and care. The weird husband considers it a saleable property now, refuses to fund for its repair but to me its my home.... within limited funds, I keep repairing it. Kolkata is not a place where you get quick & proper service even after paying. I got some breezing updates from the brother and his wife though that Kolkata now has some apps for spring cleaning the homes etc. As of now, I will not deploy such agencies, so long I have a Khokon Sardar or Zahida, I will not.... I need to buy sarees too right? This time I have to settle all these, chimney cleaning services... this & that, I told my friends and relatives that I may not be able to arrange meets this time, next year again. I will give priority to meet my "mashimoni" who had undergone a life saving surgery hopefully, the loving "boromami" who lost her husband! While I will be busy making calls and pleading with a Khokon, Nirmal, Alam or the maintenance office, the mother will cook similar kinds of fish curries like this BORI ALOO DIYE TATKA RUI ER JHOL for us. Once I am on my way back to the airport, the brother will take her back to their no fancy palace. This is the plan as of now although I do not wish to make prior plans anymore.. I wanted to celebrate my parents' half century, get them together here one more time... all went haywire. Now, I think we should get the in-laws and our mother every alternate year. Although she is getting bored in the confinery, she is enjoying her stay, going out with me and did say that my "diabetic roshogolla" tasted like any neighbourhood sweet shop in Kolkata!


I am soon to share the recipe with you all. You will not even feel that this does not have sugar in it, stevia does a good job but please do not have it on a regular basis.


The situation is such that I cannot concentrate in the blog these days given the son is having holidays, the mother is here who should be given company although she is a happy loner. I so enjoy sharing my daily chores including what I cook that I cannot stay away from it for long. I do not have to spend long hours outside for some fruitful job, so better I engage myself in what I enjoy doing. Coming to the dish, I am going to share with you all the recipe of this non vegetarian fish curry BORI ALOO DIYE TATKA RUI ER JHOL.... an authentic Bengali dish with fresh Bengal Carp. I insist on the word tatka / fresh because it matters the most, you will not enjoy this curry prepared with frozen fish. We do get fresh carp here coming from the two different neighbouring countries, however I do not get the taste of Bengal in them. We did evolve ourselves now, increased the power of acceptability else there was a time Kolkata told "Andhra er chalani rui amra khaina".... Now Kolkata markets are flooded with carps from Andhra Pradesh, what else can you do if the water bodies are sold to promoters and we get to see tall constructions in them. A part of my family are still having fresh fish from the "Churni nodi ba Ganga".... I do not have time to visit most of my close relatives but the blood relation is an undeniable fact, there is a hidden wish to travel to the Barasat wet market at least once during my stay and get some fresh, farm produce .... we did not really grow up on "bherir maach"..... Anyway, you will not like the picture, my infrastructure at our Kolkata home has spoilt, Cristine is not there to assist. Few details are missing in the pictures, there had to be the "daler bati, lebu, lanka, peyaz". Yet, I wished to share the recipe using these pictures, they are precious.... the bori / dried lentil balls / dal vadi were given by the mother and I got a very good quality of fish that day.... the husband too travelled with me last December some of you may remember.... he is not fond of smaller variety of fish unless they are deep fried and served with a wine variety or "dal-bhaat." This particular authentic Bengali fish curry is to be served only with steamed rice. You can see we also had "gajor+aloo+peyazkoli bhaja" and the priceless "hansher dimer jhol" on that day.



INGREDIENTS :

RUI / KATLA / BENGAL CARP : 5OOGM [gives you 8 standard sized pieces]
POTATO : 2MEDIUM SIZED
DAL ER BORI / DAL VADI / DRIED LENTIL DUMPLING : 8-10
GINGER PASTE : 11/2TSP
CUMIN POWDER : 11/2TSP
TURMERIC POWDER : 1TSP + 1/2TSP + 1/2TSP
RED CHILLI POWDER : 11/2TSP
GREEN CHILLI : 2-3 [SLITTED]
SALT : AS REQUIRED
CUMIN SEED : 1/4TSP [We can also use nigella seeds]
BAY LEAF : 1MEDIUM
OIL : 5-6TBSP [We use mustard oil always]

PROCEDURE :

Get the fish cut by the seller. Clean and discard the scales, wash 4-5 times under running water.

Drain all the water and rub well some salt and 1tsp of turmeric.

Keep aside for 10-15 minutes before we start to fry them.

Peel and cut the potatoes half. Cut smaller again lengthwise. If you are a diabetic, wash and prick the unpeeled skin of each with a fork. Take them on a plate and microwave at high for 2-3 minutes [should remain firm]. Once cold, peel off and cut into desired shapes.

We will wash and rub the potato pieces with some salt and 1/2tsp turmeric powder just 5 minutes before frying them, else they turn black.

Heat oil in a wok and fry the potatoes in batches. Take out once they are light brown.

Fry the dried lentil dumplings for a minute and take out.

Now fry the fish pieces in batches until light brown, do not deep fry.

Take 1/2tsp turmeric, salt, ginger paste, cumin powder, red chilli powder in a bowl, sprinkle a little water and mix well.

Temper the same oil with the cumin seeds and a bayleaf. Add the spice paste and stir for 2 minutes.

Add 2 coffee mugs of water, give a stir and bring to boil.

Add the fried pieces of potatoes and cover cook at low heat for 3-4 minutes.

Open cover, add the slitted green chillies and the fried fish pieces. Let boil at low heat for another 3-4 minutes uncovered.

Add the daler boris now and boil for a minute.

We should be done. Enjoy hot with piping hot plain rice.





Wednesday, 12 June 2019

MUTTON REZALA



From the picture itself, my loyal followers, readers, friends will know these clicks were done sometime last year. I did not even take any stepwise pictures very much unsure on whether to share it in the blog or not. My rezala recipes are not authentic as I use roasted white sesame seeds instead of poppy seed which is supposedly one of the main ingredients used in a Kolkata style rezala.... the yogurt & milk or cream based mutton or chicken gravy. Unfortunately, our island is yet to understand how indispensable posto / poppy seed can be even in a "Bangal's" life. To fill that void, I prepare "man kochu bata or til bata" often for myself.... the mother is here now so I got a partner. I think I can copy paste the ingredients list of my earlier blog post on CHICKEN REZALA, I have followed that recipe doing this one. So far I can remember, I followed a recipe of Times Food doing the dish with chicken. Two years back, I did not know how important it is to mention the recipe sources, so did not. We keep correcting our mistakes at different stages of our life which should not be a problem so long we are able to rectify our wrongs. Whose which wrong affects me how is a different issue, certain things are unacceptable to me, however, a non vegetarian side of MUTTON REZALA is at all times accepted at this home. Some of my friends may remember on my last visit to Kolkata I had it two times in the 20 days of span. On my visit next month, I may have it again or may be I will not get the time to.... I have piled up works to be done and the mother will not allow me to stay beyond 15 days as her grandson will not be travelling with us this time. From today his summer holidays starts and he is in front of the television early morning watching billions of stars and the planets. Neither mumma takes interest in what he enjoys nor he has any interest in assisting mumma & dimma to the nature park surrounded by water bodies they enjoyed to the fullest yesterday. Neither the mother nor me are the kinds who can enjoy the flowers in captivation at the Gardens by the Bay, I will take her there though!



The husband says that I must have taken interest in what the son likes, keep myself updated so that he can communicate with me on those matters. I know that is where I went wrong. I am still hopeful when I see mumma is required when there is a fly in his room, when he wants few dollars for a Mac or sushi treat, when there is a parent's call at school, when he wants a high quality gel pen.... so I can say we are connected.

Coming to the non vegetarian side with meat MUTTON REZALA, the plating you see in the pictures is not right. Kolkata loves to have it with rumali ruti , my inability to do it makes me serve it with a variety of porota, ruti, luchi. What you see in the pictures, "TIL NARKOL POTOLMAACHER ALOO PEYAZ CHOCCHORI" and whole urad dal is not to be served with it alongside rice. No rice variety goes with rezala, at least not in Bengal, just that I prepared all these on that particular day, thereafter all the tiredness grips me while clicking which is clear in the pictures you see. I miss so many details, the reason is same as in the case of my academics.. insincerity. I have not prepared rezala in the past few months, whenever I do it I make it sure to serve it with either naan, plain chapati, porota or luchi. "Mughlai Khana" as the Kolkatans call it is royal, too yum, heavy on your stomach.... all at the same time. So a "pati bangali" stomach should have it in gaps... Our good friend Joy Ghosh's cousin got married to a muslim guy who told him that their family's day starts with gulab jamun. Both Joy and me are foodies who had to sacrifice their love for health reasons. When we meet, we talk endlessly on food to our friend T's utter disgust. We do not bother, we continue to talk and dream of an afterlife when we can endlessly eat pantua, rezala-rumali ruti, doi-maach. I have an addition... "ek thala bhaat o shutki maach" which the mother is going to cook in an hour from now, the unfortunate me has to eat it with "2 tbsp of brown rice".... how disgusting is that for an obese since birth you know.... I cannot quit my kind of food altogether and survive on oats, quinoa and salad alone, neither can I spend lakhs on the gym or health sphere like Twinkle Khanna.... I like this lady.... she is different in an industry where showing off is a norm.... she carries herself well, so well read, writes [I like her Sunday Times columns more than I did her "Pyjamas Are Forgiving"... the former is crisp, sharp and fearless].... what do I look for in people? "Class"..... as defined by "me".. I followed my recipe of chicken rezala doing this mutton dish, the marination time was more, the cooking time too!





INGREDIENTS :[FOR THE MARINATION] :

Mutton : 1kg
Plain Yogurt : 400 gm
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Salt : As required


INGREDIENTS :[for the gravy]:

Cashew Nut : 8-10
Poppy Seeds : 1tbsp [those who stay in Singapore or Dubai, use white sesame seed of the same amount, I use roasted white sesame seeds]
Shredded Coconut : 1/2small cup
Onion Paste : 1 medium tea cup [of 2-3 medium sized]
Milk : 1/2 cup
Black Peppercorn :10
Whole Dried Red Chillies : 6-8
Cinnamon Stick : 3-4 one inch pieces
Green Cardamon : 4
Cloves : 4
Bay leaf : 1-2 medium sized
Kewra Water [attar] : 3-4 drops[ I substituted with Rose Water]
Sugar : 1tsp
Ghee [clarified Butter] :  4tbsp +2tsp
Hot Water : 2 medium tea cup



PROCEDURE :

Wash the mutton pieces thoroughly and marinate with beaten yogurt, salt, ginger paste. Keep covered at room temperature for about 3-4 hours, keeping refrigerated overnight is good but in this case I fear the change of colour to pale instead of the white.

Peel off and wash the onions and get a smooth paste out of it. Wash the poppy seeds or white sesame seeds through a strainer and get a paste along with the cashews and shredded coconut adding little water. [ In my case, I roasted the white sesame seeds]

Heat 4-5 tbsp ghee in a wok. Temper with a bay leaf, cinnamon,cardamom, black peppercorn, cloves. As they release the aroma, add the onion paste. Fry till the raw smell goes off. Wipe the marinade from the mutton pieces and add to the wok. Fry for 2-3 minutes at medium heat. Now add the marinade and lower the heat to minimum.

Stir and cover. Uncover and stir every 3 minutes, to avoid getting stuck to the bottom. When the mutton is half done, add 1/3rd of the poppyseed or roasted sesame seed - coconut- cashew nut paste and stir well. Let cook covered and at minimal heat for at least 40-45 minutes.  

Open cover and add the water . Cover for 2 more minutes. Open cover and add the remaining roasted sesame-coconut-cashewnuts paste. Let cook covered for not more than 5 minutes.

Now open the cover, add the milk, rose water and sugar. Stir and let cook for another 2 minutes. Add 1 tsp ghee and mix well. Switch off. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with whole dried red chillies.

Please note:
Since milk is used, it tends to spoil quickly, so eat it fresh.
Use rose water if you cannot take the strong smell of kewra water.
It has to be slow cooked all through and the gravy should be thicker.



Monday, 10 June 2019

MUSHROOM ALOOR DALNA


I was wondering what do I like more .... to cook or to read & write? I did not get a clear cut answer as yet but I know how I respect the writing prowess in others, I do not regret not knowing physics, chemistry, mathematics and rest of the text oriented knowledge, I very much regret not practising to write from a tender age. I was telling the mother about it, that it is the only thing I could be decent at if only I practiced more, I read a lot more because not everyone is God gifted. Its not even a week that I did not blog and ahh I missed it. I may be poor in quality but I discovered once again that I enjoy doing it! My brother's wife told me that I should make youtube videos of my recipes, people find them easier to access. My answer was "yes, recipe videos are easily accessible, but that does not allow me to express myself in words, I think I love that part more than jotting down the ingredients list." However, making a video needs that technical acumen that I severely lack, one needs a technically furnished kitchen? may be and someone to help definitely. I so lack that technical acumen and yes, the necessary help from the family members. I do not regret much not being able to do a recipe video as much as I regret kicking hard two big opportunities in life .... getting an MPhil. degree from Jadavpur University and taking up that job at "Bagula" college. Oh yes! if you have your mother like mine with you, you are bound to remember all the mistakes you did in life concerning your academics. Then, if you live with two ferociously freedom loving men, you have to warn the grandmother or the mother-in-law every minute not to bother them much. The grandson not sitting to study in a routined manner is her biggest concern now. Tell me readers how to ease her in this matter... what she knows about my men, you too know. She severely lacks sense of humour, else I would have told her how I wished to change the husband until the son's college admission. She has to tell me stories of excellent academics by the most studious and sincerest of the boys & girls she hears of, I am like "tell me whatever you wish to but not in front of T please".... You people know that I am a peace loving person and how T hates comparing kids, pushing them with studies. Me too does not like forcing but a bit of push is required I believe. The past two weeks were fun ..... we ate, merry, relaxed and of the not so fancy dishes I cooked, this vegetarian curry with button mushrooms and potato MUSHROOM ALOOR DALNA  earned some accolades.


I did it in Bengali lines using our regular spices and tomatoes just as we use in all our 'dalna' recipes, so giving it a Bengali name is not much of a sin.

I am really not in the comfort zone, will not be until next year August. The son of the house has some very good qualities that we know, the foremost is that he is not so demanding, he is a no fancy stuff.... he suggested his father to buy the simplest of the cars when we changed it last year, he refused to take high end gifts from his 'mamujaan' the couple of days they went out, my impressed brother told us how our son refused to spend from his pocket. I am happy, after all he is the child of parents with middle class values. Then he does not want his mother to relax. Just when I was a bit at ease with his marks, he gets uncanny scores in few core subjects this time and I really cannot think of cooking or writing a complex recipe today, this vegetarian side MUSHROOM ALOOR DALNA seems perfect. Our son lacks consistency, his 90% in mathematics may come down to 65-70% within two months and again will go up after I do some "halla bol" at home, I do it shamelessly, because I make life miserable at home for the husband that is when he goes and pushes the son a bit, only in such a situation he gets scared of me... he is more of a peace loving than me. Besides my mother, I visit a particular home in Kolkata to derive this strength, where I sit with a veteran not to discuss people, not to complain about whose daughter-in-law did what to the mother-in-law, whose son gifted an out of the world "gari-bangla-motor" to his mother, whose son admits his mother at Columbia Asia each time she gets ill, whose daughter-in-law kisses her mother-in-law's feet each morning... no.... I meet that person for a reason, I do not want to loose focus on what I want from life. If someone had worn 200 rupees cotton wears in the prime of life, denounced any damn kind of pleasures to bring up the kids, it made up to a lot of sacrifices. I may not be this sacrificial but I respect it, I have the same wishes concerning my son. Had the weird son listened to me, each one of his report cards would have been bejewelled. The sad me arranges for her own breathers.




I will cook, eat, merry but stay focussed on what I want from the son. If I do too much of talking on the do's and do nots, he closes the door of his room, his father shouts at me "stop interfering in our lives".... yet I repeat, I have to! The teachers say "A is not using his full potential" and I see my husband changing his facial expressions. Now, you know the reason of my restlessness, I live with volcanoes ..... I really find it amazing how the wives ask their husbands to shoot them or their food, they comply and vice-versa. Anyway, I thank God that I am not the wife of a husband who wants to keep their wives under their arms [at all times], do they ever ask her if she wants it or not... do not they have two separate "public" lives? Same irritating is the vice-versa. So nonsensical it seems to me even if my own does it! May be because my husband is such a liberated soul that I dislike the chauvinistic traits in others.... its 21years and going, else you would have seen me turning into a vivacious volcano and be a spinster again.... I know I always have a job offer in Barasat! I know a husband in our closer circle who gives big talks in public on liberating the society but imposed his likes and dislikes on his wife from the second day of their marriage. I do not give any "patta to their fundas" you know.




INGREDIENTS :

POTATO : 4-5 MEDIUM SIZED
BUTTON MUSHROOM : 250-300GM
TOMATO : 1BIG
GINGER PASTE : 1TBSP
CUMIN SEED : 1/4TSP
CORIANDER POWDER : 1/2TSP
CUMIN POWDER : 1TSP
RED CHILLI POWDER : 2TSP [I LOVE USING EVEREST KUTTI LAL]
TURMERIC POWDER : 1TSP
CINNAMON POWDER : 1/4TSP
GREEN CARDAMOM POWDER : 1/4TSP
BAYLEAF : 1
SALT : AS REQUIRED
SUGAR : 1TSP
CHOPPED CORIANDER : 2TBSP
OIL : 2-3TBSP


PROCEDURE :

I used medium to smaller sized potatoes. Peel off the skin and half the potatoes.

Wash and rub little salt on them but only 5 minutes before you add them to the wok, else they may turn black.

Wash the button mushrooms, cut half and rub with some salt and turmeric.

Wash and chop the tomatoes and fresh coriander.

Prepare a paste with the ginger paste, rest of the turmeric, cumin + coriander + red chilli powders, little salt.

Heat the oil in a wok and temper with cumin seeds and a bay leaf.

Add the spice paste to the wok, stir for 2-3 minutes at low heat. Add the chopped tomatoes now.

Stir at low heat until the tomato pieces melt and the oil separates from the spice paste.

Add the potato pieces and stir for a minute. You can fry the potato pieces prior to adding too but I did not.

Add 2 coffee mugs of water, fold in well and cover cook at the lowest heat for 5-6 minutes.

Open cover and add the marinated mushrooms. Simmer for 2-3 minutes all covered.

Open cover, add the chopped coriander, cinnamon + cardamom powders, sugar and mix well.

Cook for 1 more minute and we are done.



Enjoy hot and fresh with piping hot steamed rice or fresh, hot chapattis.




Wednesday, 5 June 2019

PISTACHIO PHIRNI WITH BLUEBERRY COMPOTE


A lot of factors were swimming inside that led me to prepare this delish, easy, quick dessert few days back..... I wished to convey my heartiest greetings with it saying  Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri / Ramjan Mubarak / Ramadan Kareem, I wished to prepare a quality dessert to serve my immediate & visiting family,  I do not want to do away with my love for desserts at any stage of my life.... I have to find out suitable sugar free options. The natural sweetening with fresh fruits is quite appealing, using stevia occasionally is fine.... regular use is never recommended. Phirni ..... the rice based dessert is a love ever since I tasted it first around age 18. What I ate and what I prepare has a difference.... authentically phirni is creamier, has to be done very delicately using may be particular varieties of rice, I used store bought rice flour this time. What we get is a slightly different texture from the original. Mine was fluffier, more like pudding than kheer. In the Kolkata context, mine was more like the phirni of Arsalan rather than Aminia's which is creamier sans being too much of sugary.  Authentic Bengali desserts are no more in my top favourite lists unless I prepare them with less amount of sugar. My PISTACHIO PHIRNI WITH BLUEBERRY COMPOTE is a light, sugar free, easy vegetarian dessert one can whip up any day, any time to satiate their dessert cravings.

I so wished to gift something worthy on this special day for the muslims, my kinds will always try to unify the mankind, doing so I do not care if my own think differently.... I stand strong with my belief and have the ability to say straight on face that one is wrong when they take resort to hate theory. I do not support any kind of "appeasement theory" .... I believe in giving due respect to mankind, I think that earned me a secured life till date. An hour back anything could happen. I was prescribed to have a clove of garlic every morning in empty stomach, an hour back I did it totally oblivious of the fact that the garlic cloves are gigantic in size here. It got stuck in the food pipe, I got choked for 2-3 minutes. Cristine woke up the husband and the mother, the husband asked "can you breathe S?" I still could, I still bothered for the husband's hard earned money, so took a last ditch chance and forcefully drank a glass full of warm water.... you can see I am here to share with you a scrumptious vegetarian dessert recipe PISTACHIO PHIRNI WITH BLUEBERRY COMPOTE  as part of the Eid celebration.... may we stay strong together, may we live for each other..... I will stick to loving humanity, the father taught me to be so.... how can I deviate from the principles I believe in.... yes, I do not like certain traits in some of my very own.... you really cannot change anyone but you can always express your displeasure.... I do not mind going public with it.... "ami chalti haoai ga bhashai na".... I just cannot go ahead with more today, the fear of death has grippled me! Let us proceed with the vegetarian, yummy dessert recipe. Compote will not be thick like jam or jelly in texture.



INGREDIENTS FOR THE BLUEBERRY COMPOTE :

BLUEBERRY : 150-200 GM
STEVIA POWDER : 1TBSP [YOU CAN USE SAME AMOUNT OF SUGAR]
LEMON JUICE : 2TBSP
WATER : 1COFFEE MUG

INGREDIENTS FOR THE FINISHED DESSERT DISH

THE BLUEBERRY COMPOTE
RICE FLOUR : 1/2 SMALL TEA CUP [I USED STORE BOUGHT]
FULL CREAM MILK : 1LITRE + 1MEDIUM CUP
STEVIA POWDER : 1/2 MEDIUM SIZED TEA CUP [YOU CAN USE SAME AMOUNT OF SUGAR]
CHOPPED PISTACHIO : 2-3TBSP
MITTHA ATTAR : 3-4DROP [MADE FROM BOTANIC EXTRACTS & CONCENTRATED OIL, ALTERNATIVELY USE ROSE WATER OR GREEN CARDAMOM POWDER]

PROCEDURE :

Let us prepare the Blueberry Compote first to be used later.

Wash the blueberries under running water, drain. Take them in a heavy bottomed vessel.

Add the water, 1tbsp stevia powder or sugar, lemon juice. Stir and switch on the gas.

Bring to boil and let boil for 5-6 minutes at medium heat. Take down.





Take 1 litre of full cream milk in a heavy bottomed vessel. Put for boil.




In a blender take the rice powder and 1 medium cup of milk, blend to mix.




While the milk is boiling, take the pistachios in a bowl and microwave at low for a minute. Crush or chop them.





When the milk has boiled for 10-12 minutes, add the rice flour and milk mixture.



Add the stevia powder, meetha attar & half of the chopped pistachios. Start whisking immediately after, else lumps will form. This is the most important part of the otherwise easy recipe.




Transfer to a serving bowl, let cool. Pour the blueberry compote, garnish with chopped pistachio.



Monday, 3 June 2019

TOMATOR TOK


Going Bengali after quite sometime, do not even know if it can be called authentic Bengali or not. The recipe source.. our mother says that she has drawn the inspiration from "tenga".... that famous Assamese light curry base with tomato. I have told you earlier that a major portion from my father's side left Comilla to settle in Assam, while the mother's side in Nadia and Bardwan districts of West Bengal. When the family veterans learnt some heirloom Assamese steamed "pithas", Burdwan got us the best quality "shitabhog and mihidana"..... Bengalis in Bengal do not really try making sweets at home, there is a sweet shop at every corner of the lanes & streets, at major junctions. Pitha is a homemade speciality and till date my side of the family do not buy it from a sweet shop. Last January, I got so pissed off when the mother-in-law asked the paa-in-law to get store bought "patishapta" for their visiting son. I felt like what is this? One may get this amount of lazy and sit idle all day long but she used to make very good "patishapta" once, for the sake of it she should not buy it from a store. The wish to feed your visiting kid is natural, there are a lot of other things to feed. I am personally  very much against commercialising "pithe-puli".. in the pages of "foodonomy," they should remain to be known as "traditionally exclusive stuffs." I have visited Assam only 3-4 times, what I loved most there is their traditional homes. Even in the crowded township of Nagaon, they built homes with asbestos roofs surrounded by greens. If you are in a quaint Assamese neighbourhood, you will enjoy the trail. That was in 2003, really do not know about the developments now. In the year 2003, I felt the city of Guwahati was more developed than Kolkata. Now, the situation may be different. I actually liked Shillong, what a lovely place. Well, Kolkata is a nostalgia I am unwilling to go back and settle down at the moment, on retirement we have to go back because it would still be one of the cheapest places in India. You all know na I lack drama in me, I hate lies unless required.... so you will not see me speaking ill of those who chose never to go back.... there I bond with our childhood buddy Debopam Raha, else I tread in the path of 'Bibhutibhusan' while he sails in neutron, proton, this.. that. I asked him once why he came back from America during his prime, obviously not because of "mitti ki pukar".... He explained me clearly the reasons, he does not repent on a decision just like T, he does not accuse people who have different plans just like T, I am their perfect friend, the failure me have the ability to appreciate those who are successful. You bet, who unnecessarily show too much of "desh bhakti" might have some unfulfilled wishes hidden inside. That is not wrong unless and until you take unnecessary digs at others who have reached where they wished to, you are doing a very wrong thing which I cannot be supportive of. People achieve what  they wish for after a lot of hard work, we must respect that. I was unwilling to celebrate a "kobir bhabona" kind of who recently have lost respect in my eyes for such actions, then I had to make a come back with what I love..... sharing family recipes in the blog.... here is one summer friendly, light curry with ripe tomatoes TOMATOR TOK

Is it a soup? We at home did not consider it so but you can well call it a "deshi tomato soup".... This was particularly done between the months of February and April. The tomato price used to go down by that time, the mother used to prepare it in bulk with good amount of tomatoes. Our parents used to have big bowls of it the entire summer. Okay, it was not as favourite as dal to the rest of us but these days I am loving it. In the picture, what you see is how this soupy, tomato curry was served with.... "maach bhaja mainly, then add as you wish.... "aloo bhaja, begun bhaja.... " the list can be bigger. In those days salad was not had in middle class families like us, it is a recent development. I can guarantee that any one who love soups and those who are not so fond of it both kinds would enjoy it. As a dish it is very healthy, not the accompaniments. Then, it is always up to you what you are having it with. Me or my family enjoy it with fish fry, potato or egg plant fry and rice and that is exactly how  I wished to share  the TOMATOR TOK in the blog! Our family uses radhuni / wild celery seeds for the tempering and a tea spoon of wild celery seed paste to be added towards the end for flavouring. Besides, we use slitted green chillies, halved dry red chillies and a bay leaf. The chopped, fresh coriander is my addition. Trust me, I give you a wonderful "deshi meal idea for summers".. If you have a problem to prepare a small amount of wild celery seed paste in absence of a "shilnora".. crush a teaspoon of it  in a mortar & pestle to a coarsely ground powder and add towards the end just as I do!



INGREDIENTS :

RIPE TOMATO : 500GM
SLITTED GREEN CHILLI : 3-4
HALVED DRY RED CHILLI : 2-3
WILD CELERY SEED : 1/2TSP + 1TSP
TURMERIC POWDER : 1/2TSP
CHOPPED CORIANDER : 2TBSP [OPTIONAL]
SALT : AS REQUIRED
SUGAR : 1TSP
OIL : 1TBSP

PROCEDURE :

Wash the tomatoes well and cut each into 4 halves.

Take the pieces in a pressure cooker, add 2 coffee mugs of water, 1/2 of the turmeric powder, little salt.

Close tight the lid and pressure cook at the lowest heat up to 1 whistle.

Let the lid open normally. Heat the oil in a wok, temper it with wild celery seeds, washed and halved dry red chillies and a bay leaf. Stir and add the boiled tomato mixture.

Add 2-3 coffee mugs of water, the rest of the turmeric and salt, washed & slitted green chillies. Cover and bring it to boil at very low  heat.

While it is simmering, prepare the paste with 1tsp of wild celery seeds, if it is a problem just crush it in a mortar & pestle. Add to the boiling tomato curry 2-3 minutes before switching off the gas.

Also add the sugar and the washed and chopped coriander before switching off the gas. 

My side of the family consider it as a side to plain rice.




Friday, 31 May 2019

WHOLE WHEAT LENTIL ONION FLATBREAD


That was Afghani Fateer Pyazi I came across earlier this week on a FaceBook Page named SooperChef, thereafter wished to try it my way. After few tries, I should be able to create a ditto of it. Then why should I blog on something which perhaps hundreds of supremely crafted cooks have already done, why would people see my recipe of Afghani Fateer Pyazi? In case of authentic Bengali recipes, I do not mind adding 1001th post on "posto, begun, aloo, tomato, maach, mangsho".... all Bengali homes will have same take on the authentic ones. See I am unable to concentrate on the blog, people have to talk ..... I can understand that my mother does not understand what blogging is, that she has to tell her stories when I am writing, but I feel happy that she liked the WHOLE WHEAT LENTIL ONION FLAT BREAD I prepared the day before yesterday for our dinner. No, even after that she has not stopped calling me a lazy, she monitors my swimming speed, walking time and distance. Do not I remember how the saree clad, slim her tied a "gamcha" around her waist and swam in the Ganges with my cousins at Nabadwip? What was the daughter of a kabadi + khoko champion doing? She was crying out of fear. My family does not understand my passion for my blog, how much it means to me, only the brother told me "didibhai, I need to understand properly what blogging is and then can try to get it monetised." At least, he took some interest while the husband says "shokher sangey taka meshatey nei".... It was this brother of mine who had shown a lot of patience to teach me how to send emails some 16 years back. The husband has lot more patience than me or my brother but when it comes to helping me with the blog or any technicality he lacks the patience required. Once a blogger friend, now lost told me her husband helps her immensely with the blog, even suggests recipes to be shared. This home's husband does not even know the price of potato per kilogram. All of a sudden I remember of an incident from 1998, we were stationed at Mumbai at our couple friends Partha-Madhuchanda's home. Chutu told T... "S can send you mails while your stay in the ship".... at that time I did not know what an email is, it was new in the market and Chutu was a national scholarship holder who stood first or second in Economics at the Jadavpur University, I had the best "edeshio gotasheddo" in her hands. T thinks Chutu is a near perfect woman, I have no problem with that because I know her and believe it, I have no problem because T did not tell Chutu that his wife doesn't know what an email is as yet, instead he told yes, S can do it. This husband is a keep, we need not analyse always what else our heart yearns for. Those who say their wife or husband is the only moon in their life, they lie..... Human mind is complicated, to restrict us, the institution of marriage was introduced, thats it. Following certain rules makes us decent social beings. Coming back to the "email episode".... the husband did not expose my shortcoming in front of Chutu. I needed to learn mailing urgently because I hardly sailed with him. He specialised in oil tankers and worked in VLCCs, extra large oil carriers which stayed far away from the port, not even in the happening ports. In fear of getting bored and adding more to my weight issues, in fear of climbing  rope steps to board a ship or the inability to go out of the ship often, I did not sail with the husband except for once. No one actually questioned me on my integrity, I always had a "mashima" image in public. Moreover, my little prince charming kept me occupied most of the time. Oh! the mother-in-law always reserved the right to speak anything and everything about me because I stayed in a separate home, did not allow her to rule my life which definitely was a shocker to her kinds. Leave that!

You see my "boris" have almost dried. The shrunken hands that were once very glamorous are turning them over. The old lady is happy that I am taking ahead the family tradition.



We both are worried a bit about what we actually did with life. I tell her if she hadn't leave her job at school, she would have bring us up differently, tougher. She secured a job at Birnagar in a Govt. school where she did practice teaching to secure a BEd degree. Then we relocated to Kolkata. I wonder how I can remember her picking up "bokul, sheuli, jui phool" from the roadside trees at Birnagar, how pointed gourds, eggplants were bathed in chemical colours at the Pairadanga station. A big chunk of my childhood memories is stationed to and fro the Sealdah main line. I hear my 90 up old maternal grandmother still has to read Bengali newspaper everyday. I see our boy's paternal grandfather so concerned about his academics, I like to discuss with him about it, while some are there who till date never have asked how our son is doing at school. They would have been happy if I be their pet. I would have been concerned about their health or happiness had they been a little decent towards my own. On a lighter tone, I never had imagined that my husband can ever discuss Bollywood with his mother[in-law always]. The rest of us in the family giggled so much, a toast to that fun with this simplified, deshi flat bread WHOLE WHEAT LENTIL ONION FLATBREAD. I just tried to get a good meal idea for those who are not an expert with "mixture doughs".... doing so I used whole wheat flour, boiled moong dal, yeast, salt, red chilli, chopped green chilli + fresh coriander + fresh mint + sliced onion, ghee, salt, sugar. It was already 9:45 pm, so half of them I baked and half I prepared in tawa / griddle.... to me the tawa ones tasted better. The dip with siracha mayo & plain yogurt tasted superb.

Recipe Inspiration is drawn from the SooperChef page in FaceBook on Afghani Fateer Pyazi, you can see my take on it is adjusted to the requirement of Indian homes.




INGREDIENTS :

WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR : 21/2COFFEE MUG
BOILED LENTIL : 2 SMALL CUP [ANY, I USED ROASTED MOONG]
YEAST : 11/4TSP
SUGAR : 1TBSP
SALT : 1/2TSP [LESS IF THERE IS SALT IN THE BOILED DAL]
CHOPPED CORIANDER : 1MEDIUM TEA CUP
CHOPPED MINT : 1SMALL TEA CUP
CHOPPED GREEN CHILLI : 1TBSP
RED CHILLI FLAKES : 1TSP [IF YOU WISH]
GHEE / CLARIFIED BUTTER : A MEDIUM TEA CUP [ALTERNATIVELY OIL]
SLICED ONION : 2 SMALL TEA CUP

Please Note : The above amount yields 13 flatbreads!

PROCEDURE :

Take the whole wheat flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a bowl.


Mix well and then add the boiled dal and red chilli flakes. Mix well and prepare a smooth dough adding warm water little by little.




Add 2tbsp ghee and knead the dough again for 2-3 minutes.


Cover the dough with cling wrap. Keep in a warm place for an hour. Mine did not fluff up much this time because I used little less of yeast I think.



Meanwhile, we will get the other ingredients ready.


Now. remove the cling wrap, knead for 2-3 minutes and divide the dough into 13 equal parts. Smoothen in-between your palms.

Dust the base with flour and roll out the balls. Apply ghee all over.



Top with sliced onion, chopped green chillies + coriander + mint. Fold the way as shown.

At this stage, I completely deviated from the original recipe and took my own path of convenience.




I just turned them into balls and brushed ghee. We kept it standing for few minutes, Cristine helped me a lot at this stage, else I would have finished doing them around midnight.



What I did next was just greased a oven proof plate with ghee, placed the balls and flattened with my fingers.

The thing was that the plate could hold 3 breads at a time, imagine how much time 13 breads would take to cook.

So, I did some in the griddle / tawa too. My deshi tastebud enjoyed the tawa one.

I think I forgot to prick the body with a fork, that way they cook faster and get crisper. If you use boiled dal, your flatbreads will not be crisp.

For the ones I did in the convection mode of a microwave oven, I preheated it @ 200*C for 10 minutes.

I greased the plate with ghee, placed a ball and tapped with my fingers. I baked at 200*C for 15-16 minutes. They should be done.

For the tawa one, I used 1tsp ghee to cook each one placing a ball on my palm and flattening it.





For the dip, I whisked together plain yogurt and siracha mayo. The salad was normal!