Friday, 17 August 2018

MUSHUR DAL ER SOUP



I am harbouring the wish to blog on this spicy red lentil soup.... MUSHUR DAL ER SOUP for a month now. Ever since I had it in Turkey and found its similarity with that of what we had at home rarely, I decided to blog on it. When the son was this little I used to prepare masoor dal wali soup for him sans the spices.... you bet the roasted spice powder makes all the difference... and it tasted nearly to what I had on the first day at Cappadocia... while the son and his father were enjoying a mixed meat kebab platter! I always order my lamb kebabs separately. The son is the subject of discussion today.... through him I have an important message to deliver to the teens around! So, the tailed creature at this home's 10th board result is declared.... its two days now.... the mother is writing a post means she is not dead out of sorrow.... he did fairly good but not excellent! According to the teachers, he was supposed to be among the top in the class.... but the wonder boy did not show much of wonder given that in the present day education system, it shower numbers! How did the son do? He got three A*s.... 94... 93... 91 "percentile" in mathematics, English Language, Physics respectively.... he managed to bag a B in Hindi with a 77 "percentile" while in the rest he secured an A grade with 81 in English Literature, 80 in Biology, 89 in History, 86 in Chemistry, 87 in Economics! So, you can see mumma is not that happy if not too sad.... because people got double the stars than the monkey at this home of whom my friend Piali Maitra's daughter is one! I am not comparing for I do not wish to die as Desdemona on this couch..... just saying! Last week they visited our home.... her grandmother told me that she does not comb her hair at times, goes out wearing an un-ironed dress but she relayed to all the uncles & aunties present there about the A lister universities around the world.... my senior had to say... "stop, stop I am unable to keep in track with you!".... Its not a boy vs a girl.... there are other boys who faired very well.... I know the monkey could have secured at least six stars. The sad mother messaged friends and family.... then thought of leaving this home because the father was rejoicing sitting in the neighbouring country.... it felt intolerable!.... I even thought of taking the next flight to Kolkata... head straight to the Dum Dum railway station and put an end to this life after writing a note to the brother "bhai protishod nish"! Then, I thought no.... I have to see the length & end to this life, how far it stretches! Then a Sanak Chottopadhay mildly scolds.... stop comparing kids S, a Kaushik Neogy writes... whatever boudi.... P proved he is the daddy's son... I cannot deny the truth but neither will blog on his favourite ilish or mutton today.... I sent a secret message to one Partha De... "shon all Bengali mothers want their son or daughter to score like a Partha De"..... They also wish for a daughter in law like "Chutu".... Partha outnumbered everyone around in the late 80's when getting a 90-95 % was rare... not so rampant as of now! He consoles.... stop it S.... numbers will be of less use in the future course, teach him human values!Thereafter, a Dibyendu Banerjee writes something that angers me, he is blind about T..... Now some of the veteran school teachers close to me like a Ratna Ganguly Biswas, Paramita Ghosal, Neeti Pal told he has done pretty well and this class ten's number will not count much... he has to score very well in IB 12th.... the rest of the friends congratulated and consoled that it does not decide how he succeed in his career! So, I stopped myself from committing suicide thinking "jak baba mathata mar moto hoy nai"..... I do not stop yelling at the husband.... my readers must know how romantic our relationship is... haha! I always say that this home is the worst example to follow!



I keep on yelling, no one bothers to answer.... see my position at this home! The last nail was hammered into all the remaining romanticism when I told.... "listen husband, next two years we will only talk about the son's academics!"

Anyway, if I have not lost the sense of humour..... I am in a good mood! This girl Piali was pissing me off.... "S, Tinni should have got a star in two more subjects"..... I was like about to scream.... Piali look at me... I am eating, writing posts, I am behaving normal. I could do because I know the parents at this home did not guide him a bit all these years. The entire credit of grooming our son goes to NPS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ..... if you have a Bangalore connection.... you will know the quality of education they impart, its a brand we believed in. I am grateful. I / We bow to one PAVAN SIR and CHITRA GUPTA ma'am.... Pavan Sir gave online tuitions to the son on Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics for an year!.... When he left this island we got skeptical.... but the son insisted that he wants online tuitions from Pavan Sir only. Chitra Gupta ma'am stays in this island and for many years now. An excellent Hindi teacher, this aged lady was my neighbour for 4 years. I credit our son's each number of the 77 percentile marks to her! He is scared of Hindi and took Spanish this time, else he would have continued with ma'am. Both of them give ONLINE TUITIONS, if you need their phone numbers, do message me, their students score way better than the tailed creature at this home! Rest of the subjects the son managed all alone without any help.... I cannot and the father was busy with his only love.... excusing himself saying that the son has to be an independent learner .... so I am not in a mood to romanticise with him.... Ipsita & Soumya Bhattacharya have seen it all! I will not blog on a mutton pulao today but this MUSHUR DAL ER SOUP. To those daddies and mommies who dedicate their entire being for their kids' academics... you are wow!.... I love you!.... To the teens.... do not follow our son.... use your full potential.... this is not the time to concentrate on other things that much.... you will get to when you build a career for yourself.... do not get distracted.... its not a wise idea.

All said and done, I do feel happy for the son that he did well without much help, if not excellent! I will go public with his progress report if he bags a place in an A lister University after two years and with a scholarship! So, you get to know his provisional report, the permanent one is awaited. My readers have perhaps known by now exactly where our toilet is located at this home..... haha! It is not so that I will blog on meat recipes after two years but as of now I will love myself! I had this spicy MUSHUR DAL ER SOUP in all the three cities we visited in Turkey.... I loved the South Asian touch in it! I do not know the exact recipe but I did it this way and really got the spicy kick of the one I had in Cappadocia! You will see in the stepwise pictures how I did it with a dry roasted powder mixture, tomato, garlic, chillies.... oh my tongue got celebrated man! You see, to say that the son did not inherit a smaller brain matter like me is self derogatory, but it is very true. You can go ahead with the truth when you know your men are nice people actually.... just that they are far from being normal.... You cannot fit them within a structured mould.... never try to.... you may die a Desdemona's death.... so I eat, pray, merry my way! The morons always will have some other items alongside to go with the breads.... Turkey serves it with Turkish bread and their signature rice pilaff!

If you are doing it for smaller kids, lessen the amount of the spices.
The amount used serve few small bowls!
It never tastes the same if not had fresh!


The men folks do love Bengali Khichuri with "begunbhaja and aloobhaja".... the picture got updated... here is the link... just click the heading for the full recipe! If you want more have it with hilsa fry or omelette... its heavenly...

KHICHURI..... BEGUN BHAJA O ALOOBHAJA




INGREDIENTS :

Masoor Dal / Split Red Lentil : 1medium cup
Tomato : 2medium [ washed, chopped roughly]
Garlic Cloves : 2 [peeled, washed]
Onion : 2 medium [peeled, washed, thinly sliced]
Lemon Juice : 2-3tbsp
Green Chilli : 1or 2
Butter : 2tsp
Dry Red Chilli : 2
Black Pepper : 5-6
Coriander Seed : 1/2tsp
Cumin Seed : 1/2tsp 
Salt : As Required
Turmeric Powder : 1/4tsp
Oil : 1tbsp

PROCEDURE :

Wash and soak the masoor dal for 1/2 an hour!




Take the dal, chopped tomato, green chilli, turmeric powder, garlic and salt as required in the pressure cooker! 




Add little water if required! Close the lid and pressure cook at lowest heat up to two whistles! Let it cool and open naturally!



Meanwhile, we will dry roast the dry red chillies, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, black pepper for a minute.... when slightly cool we will grind them to a coarsely ground powder!

Blend the boiled dal / lentil mixture to a paste.



Heat the oil in a wok and fry the onion till brown, take them out.

Add the dal paste to the wok and one medium cup warm water! Let it simmer for 1-11/2 minutes at minimal heat.



Now add the dry roasted powdered spice mixture, 1/3rd of the fried onions, the butter to the boiling dal soup. Let simmer for 1/2 a minute.

Switch off gas oven and add the lemon juice, stir.



Pour onto soup bowls and garnish with the rest of the onion fries and fresh coriander.

Enjoy with any kind of breads or rice. We had some luchi, rice and off course other sides!




Tuesday, 14 August 2018

ATTA MOROBBA CAKE


Kids of the 70's or 80's from Kolkata, do you remember 'Bapuji' cake? .... It was a long standing wish to replicate it! I mean, it is not possible to prepare the exact replica of it, but I tried with this ATTA MOROBBA CAKE. My version is dense, soft, moist and near to it in taste! A couple of my fellow bloggers would have done full justice to the photo feature too! Like they would have chosen a squared cake tin, cut them into squares and wrap them at least with butter paper if not with the signature printed wrapper of the 'Bapuji' cake producers. The 'New Howrah Bakery's' Bapuji cake has a red, yellow, blue, green wrapper... the famous tiffin cake for middle class homes in the 70's-80's Kolkata! At our home, it was not so much in practice, neither was Flurys! It was Shyambazaar Dutta Bakery's glass shaped plain cakes that the mother got for us until she got me a round, aluminium cake oven from Modern Variety Stores! Much later, when Monginis [now Mio Amore], Kathleen opened their outlets in every locality.... we had it from there! Flurys and the entire Park Street area was far from our suburbs.... by all means.... literal or real, ability wise! Tomorrow, on the 15th of August, you will see many a Kolkatan dining with family & friends in the "British... Ingrej para" of Kolkata! I do not find anything wrong in it, neither will I blog on a "chutney aloo & tomato poori" today..... the blog is another year older, me too.... we do pick up some lessons from the surrounding! India and its neighbours are still in the shackles of poverty, superstitions, extreme religious prejudices.... which stinks... unkind towards women with high degree of illiteracy.... freedom is yet to achieve! Developed cities are never a benchmark of a country's progress.... people in villages still do not have the basic facility of a toilet! I have a habit of giving big talks, sitting far off I should not when I have little contribution towards the development of the nation! The husband definitely is getting foreign currency for his nation! If Nawab Wajid Ali Shah got Biryani and Mughlai dishes on the plates of the Bengalis, cake definitely was brought by the colonial rulers... Till date when I visit the Esplanade area, I purposefully walk towards Park Street along Free School Street instead of taking an auto or a small distance cab ride.... I take the feel of the 19th-early 20th Century buildings still standing tall.... how long they will we do not know! The Anglo Indian Community born out of the colonisation also has contributed immensely with their own set of culture.... food culture! To comment or talk beyond this needs a lot of research which I do not do!.... but a bite on a Nahoum's cake or just getting down at Jaan bazaar and walking past Rani Rashmoni's home and YMCA building give you an old world charm.... These were possible for the father.... he was a regular at YMCA... I do not exactly remember why?... He took us to all the remotest alleys of the New Market area , later the mother took ..... till date I have to visit at least once on each visit! The places we stay now are only new developments.... they cannot give that feeling of an old world charm... The Anglo Indian Community could not mingle with the main stream Bengalis....  neither the Bengalis allowed them to! Much later I knew that the tall, old buildings in the Esplanade to Park Street areas that housed restaurants and clothing stores in the ground floor also had Bengali families living in them. A friend from college told me once that they stay in that locality and get bread from the New Market everyday.... I was like in an unbelieving situation.... "how do you mingle with 'them?'..... So, those "them" have migrated to different countries gradually... Australia, New Zealand... It is obvious that this primitive will not be able to prepare a rich fruit cake... she went to a "Benglish" school where we spoke Bengali most of the time except for those who were accustomed to a club culture by then and aspired desperately to move to a greener pasture... so they forced themselves to speak a heavily accented English... an indulgent friend would call it "kaidabaji".... How was I? Well, an Indirra Sengupta steps in when we were at class 9.... my "chokhs got gol gol" and I exclaimed "kya style hai"..... Do not get surprised at it.... among my near and distant relatives had been people who used to ask me "ingraji te katha koite parosh ni? shuna ektu".... Pretty sure about not being caught, I spoke in broken English... haha... Let me tell you all his six daughters [he aspired for a boy and got one... the 7th one] are well established now... school teachers to lawyers to police officers may be as our mother says.... Look at me I still struggle with English and a decent cake..... sitting idle at home.... I curse one Indirra for getting my hair cut at 15 under her indirect influence. That one thing I could boast of then... my long, dense hair! Now I so regret... its all gone due to the dysfunctional thyroid gland, diabetes. Anyway, I do not cheat my readers, neither they are gullible as my ignorant relative... so I give you a clear picture of what I am.... do a less amount of filter! I try to be honest in what I give you... this is the second time I am doing this ATTA MOROBBA CAKE. Last time the oil used was less, use of white, refined sugar did not give me the desired colour. I am poor at baking, so experiments are less in my kitchen on baking.... I cannot manage an oil free cake or one in a pressure cooker! I have to check my friends' streams for those!

So, I am trying to relive a nostalgia with this ATTA MOROBBA CAKE.... a nostalgia synonymous with Kolkata... early morning tea stalls beaming with customers sitting with over boiled, milk laden CTC tea and Bapuji tiffin cake, a banana may be there... in fact the banana was more with "cha, tos, mamlet" yet to be precise "cha, tos, dimsheddo, kola".... I so wish to take that feel but Kolkata / Bengal does not welcome the idea of a single woman sitting at a tea stall... I am not desperate either! Here in this island, you will see me sitting at the food courts on almost all week days... My first attempt to a replica of Bapuji cake failed, so I tried again... I was desperate to share it today... I do not know why? May be the more I retreat from the crowd around, the more I cherish people and varied relationships deep inside? What we have inside within the protected walls of our ribs is complicated! I am not a Subhash Ghai movie fan but I believe in how he protected himself from an array of criticism once... saying "choli ke pichey dil hai... bas"..... I defend my weird soul the same way.... "I do not know myself what goes in there"..... I very much wished to share this egg free, humble, few ingredients cake with wholewheat & ash gourd candies today... may be to say "we are... the world is one... at present"..... The ATTA MOROBBA CAKE is as desi as my "ankhon ka kajal".... My instagram followers are already in a shock looking at my no make up selfie avatar... they deserve some tea and cake treat... as rustic as this one. Do not expect sincere kind of plating from me with "kather pataton, tyap khaoa ketli, matir bhar".... had I not being a laid back character, I would have completed my MPhil in time, had been working in that college in the Nadia district instead of basking in the glory of the husband who made a big leap from an "asbestos roofed home to a 10th floor rented air-conditioned 1150sq.ft. flat in the world's most expensive nation" without any support, who feeds five stomachs without any complain..... wish he talked less amidst a crowd.... wish he understood his wife hates too much of talking when not required and unnecessary arguments! Wish his wife accepted  that no one is perfect in this world, she herself is far from being one, haha! It feels bad to have the cake without the man of the house who is so genuine at heart, but you can see big pieces of the cake went into the son's lunch box and mumma had one big piece with her morning coffee. Cristine didi has a habit of eating everything stale... she does not wish to be fat like ma'am.... either! The use of brown sugar gave me the desired brown colour which tasted almost like jaggery to me.... My readers or friends in India will not get a Spencer or Big Bazaar or Reliance Fresh in every locality..... so you can use jaggery instead! White sugar is ok if you have a proper OTG and you are not a pathetic baker like me! The measurements I took gave me 11/2 sized cake!



INGREDIENTS :

Wholewheat : 1coffee mug
Chal Kumror Morobba / Ash Gourd or Winter Melon Candy : 1small cup cut into cubes
Brown Sugar : 1/2coffee mug or little less [use jaggery if you wish]
Milk : 1/2 or little more of a coffee mug
Vinegar : 2tbsp
Baking Powder : 1tsp
Vanila Essence : 1tsp
Oil : 1/2 coffee mug or little more

PROCEDURE :

Baking a cake is never a cake walk for me, so I assort the ingredients to be used at first!



The measuring cup is below. I find coffee mugs or our big tea cups perfect!




I first took the atta / whole wheat flour and the baking powder in a bowl. Mixed both well, I do not sieve....




Then in a blender that I do not use for blending spices, I had taken together the brown sugar, vinegar & oil. Blended the mixture for a minute or little more.




At this stage I got sad looking at the mixture.... I was getting mentally prepared for another failure. I added the milk to this mixture and blended for 11/2 to 2 minutes pausing in between.




I got the above and felt hopeful. I poured the entire content to the flour mixture.




Now with a table spoon I kept beating for 5 minutes until the entire mixture was incorporated well. I added the vanilla essence at this stage.




Then I mixed the vanilla essence well and added the cubed petha, morobba, murabba, candies, stirred them in well.




Thereafter, we will grease the cake tin with few drops of oil.




We will pour in the egg free batter into the cake tin, this time it was a porcelain bowl.



Tap the bowl softly on the table or kitchen counter and level it well.

Preheat oven to 180*C. Mine is a convection mode microwave oven which I hear the "bahargaons" do not use.

So, I placed the low rack inside the oven and the batter filled bowl atop.




I baked it for 35-37 minutes at 180*C and had it too this morning!




You can refrigerate the cake up to 2 days once cool.... Before enjoying it with tea or coffee, you must bring it to room temperature!



Sunday, 12 August 2018

TIL SHORSHE BATA BHINDI




I wished to go very rustic today.... with this Bengali vegetarian dish of TIL SHORSHE BATA BHINDI .... I mean I often wish to serve myself a lunch just the way an unfortunate woman back there would have alongside a dal and "bhajabhuji".... I have seen such examples you know.... they would visit the local markets in Kolkata around 11-11:30 am... and buy the left over portion of a fish or few rot veggies at half the price. We will not laugh at them.... we never know what struggle they are doing to feed their family .... What we must accept is that they too have the right to have a "fish meal"..... even the price of the humble egg and chicken has gone so high in India! I cannot prove how it affects my mind because people will always say "bandi fek rahi hai... image jo banani hai"..... I cannot get angry at positive criticism.... not when I get scared to board a crowded bus or train back in Kolkata! That we must feel and do for the not so fortunate in this world was learnt from the type of books the father got me and yes, from our Bengali teacher Iva Miss.... Be it while teaching "Abhagir Swargo" or other pieces.... she would always reveal her political leanings and an indoctrination happened in some of us.... while some other sitting across my bench did not get affected by all these.... they were religiously dreaming of getting a greener future, a life partner like Liz Harley with facial features as that of Saira Banu.... A Pricila always supersedes an Abhagi you know.... People waited for lunch breaks as a hot stuff has just joined our school in another class, more wait was for the last bell of the day to ring.... because it was time for the Steffi & Chris of Kolkata to be seen at the tennis court! Me, the born foodie might have been busy then buying some minced mutton samosa from their Club's canteen before leading towards home.... I would eat mine and then ask a share from the brother! The pimpled faced, 4'11" girl with high powered glasses wondered what must be happening inside the club.... oh! those girls look so flawless.... they might not be eating plateful of rice as me! Now, a near old lady hates such environment.... she gets suffocated in a crowd .... she enjoys analysing Mahabharata through the eyes of Draupadi while having "jhal noon diye peyara".... that is Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's! I read too much of Bengali literature in my youth, hence English literature remained a weak part and largely unexplored!.... else Calcutta University would not have denied me a degree in Journalism post my graduation! All my love for Bengali literature was in return for the indulgence Iva miss had showered on me.... I could not pay back her dues.... I should have majored in Bengali but scored miserably in the boards. I am not saying this to get clicked in social media with an "once upon a time friend" now a Bengali celebrity Anindya Chaterjee.... but I am happy that he is directing a film based on my favourite author's story "monojder adbhoot bari".... I may have to enjoy the "leggy lasses" on someone's insistence but my heart is entangled in a "shataru o jolkonya"..... Once Aparna Sen expressed her wish to make a movie on it in an interview.... never did! Leave that part, how much of jealous I am of the happening girls, I cannot be one.... early morning I prepared "dhokla" for myself to go with coffee.... I usually have black coffee.... at times I hire a sachet from Cristine.... then my mouth turns unwelcoming sweet, so Cristine prepares a spicy vermicelli upma for me, I taught her!.... Thereafter, I eat mutton with a small paratha for lunch... all within a 24 hours  span .... how do I reduce an inch from my stomach?








So, we conclude food comes forth in my life rather than mending a "hurt" Bollywood style.... like losing 20 kilos, doing a nose job, face lifts, earning so much so that I could get clicked in front of my newly bought BMW.... aww the poor husband leaves home on a weekend eve to get a basic modelled Mercedes of his dream! Haha! To the teens.... both boys & girls.... I am happy if you are among my readers but I would suggest you not to follow my life courses... Do not be a silly emotional, seize the moment! Do not waste your time when you require to build your career... the monkey at home does not listen to me, you should. That he does eat when it is a "begun pora or bharta" or this TIL SHORSHE BATA BHINDI or an okra / bhindi in any form.... makes me happy! His father enjoys boiled bhindi along with me.... there must be some reason for not getting a divorce till date!

Authentically, this TIL SHORSHE BATA BHINDI....  is okra done with poppyseed, green chilli and mustard seed paste. Absence of poppyseed here in this island makes me use til / sesame seed a lot! Bengalis do use sesame seed in cooking. I remember when at school, mani.... the mother used to massage the head with "til tel".... sesame seed oil. It has a cooling effect ... By now you all know our mother applied it for what... for a better hair growth or for a decent score in mathematics & science! Oh! the poor lady still laments as to why her kids do not have a beeline of degrees shining after their names. I have not told her the date of the son's board results... she has a tendency towards lowered  pressure. I do have the guilt of not been able to make her happy with academics but I can do her some honour serving her this TIL SHORSHE BATA BHINDI with piping hot steamed rice! When we meet, we can have a "rui / katlar matha... ilisher peti... aar er lyaza".... For this humble, tasty vegetarian Bengali dish, we need very few ingredients like fresh, green lady's fingers, roasted sesame seeds, green chillies, black mustard seeds.

My Egg Maharani [why did I even name it so?] post is updated with new pictures.... do have a look clicking the title / link below!

EGG MAHARANI






INGREDIENTS : 

OKRA / BHINDI / DHYAROSH / LADYS FINGER : 12-15
DRY ROASTED SESAME SEED : 2TSP
MUSTARD SEED : 11/2TBSP [I USE BLACK, THEY SAY THE YELLOW VARIETY IS BETTER]
GREEN CHILLI : 5-7 [I AM GENEROUS, CHOOSE YOURS ACCORDINGLY]
TURMERIC POWDER : 1/2TSP + 1/4TSP
GARLIC : 2CLOVES
SALT : AS REQUIRED
NIGELLA SEED : 1/4TSP
OIL : 2TBSP [I ALWAYS USE MUSTARD OIL]
BAKING POWDER : 1OR 2 PICH HELP RETAIN THE COLOUR OF THE OKRA


PROCEDURE :

Wash the lady's fingers thoroughly. Boil them for 3-4 minutes in a water filled container adding little salt. We will add them only when the water is boiling, we want them al dente!

Once done drain the water and pat them dry. Cut off the root ends. Add 1/2tsp turmeric powder & salt. Rub well.

Well, we will soak the mustard seeds for 1/2 an hour in hot water. We will dry roast the white sesame seeds and take both in a strainer to wash. Take the washed white sesame seed, black mustard seeds, green chillies and two cloves of skinned and washed garlic cloves in a blender. Add some salt, little water and 2-3 ice cubes [your mustard seeds paste will never turn bitter! They say yellow mustard is safer but it never gives me the spicy kick. "bland shorshe bata" is not my cuppa.

Heat oil in a wok and temper with nigella seeds. Add the spice paste, 1/4tsp turmeric powder and little salt. Stir at low heat for 1/2 a minute.

Add the marinated bhindi and the baking powder, fold in well. Cover cook at low heat for 2 minutes. We will add a small cup of water but not at a time... that may spoil the colour. Uncover every minute and sprinkle little water at a time. We have to do this for 5-6 minutes. 

Our main concern is to avoid burning, retain the green colour and get it cooked too!

Enjoy with steamed rice / roti / paratha!



Wednesday, 8 August 2018

LEMON GRASS FLAVOURED CORIANDER CHICKEN


I will take the liberty to call it a "Thai Inspired" Chicken Green Curry! As I always say I hardly cook authentic when it comes to cuisines of other cultures! I lack that energy or sincerity to get all the ingredients at one place and then proceed with the recipe.... misery is one more reason... haha! I am only particular about anything that belong to the Kitchen of Bengal.... like I will never garnish a "kanchakola diye rui maacher jhol" with coriander leaves.... Rohu / Bengal Carp was / is cooked with raw banana and potato when we had been / are sick.... coriander leaves would definitely not be used when your stomach is weak and not in a position to digest it! Rujuta Diwekar is not so wrong either when she says that our grandparents knew a bit without acquiring a MBBS degree..... there must be reason why so many big shots rely on her for maintaining their health! I keep taking her name or Milind Soman's not because they have deployed me in exchange of fat pay checks per month.... I just find very sensible what they say or may be they are more active in the social media.... there is one more reason.... Rujuta allows me to eat "ghee te bhaja luchi-porota".... oh how thankful I am to learn from the different food forums that adding some semolina while preparing your luchi / poori dough keeps them fluffy for a longer period.... I love discussing here the people who keep me inspiring in one way or the other! There are so many writers who we read.... [am I reading these days at all?] but I keep taking name of this Twinkle Khanna frequently for one simple reason.... she being in an environment which prioritise dresses and accessories and make up at all times, did not give in to that totally! She developed a fan following for herself who like her for her finer skills of writing, speaking and taking actions on socially relevant issues! My boy friends should not be jealous of Akshay Kumar's physique alone .... know that a "churake dil mera goriya chali" to "Padman" is a long, sweaty journey... in that transformation.... a spouse has a big role to play! Excuse me if I have caused fire at your home... My home is always at burning point, I will not leave you! We must admit that a "churake dil mera" got him fame, fat amounts in the bank, a qualitatively high profile wife! So we will not take a dig at how one gets up there... if its hard work and not theft, robbery or treachery.... its no worry! Wish I was wise enough to accept that what I do not like need not be wrong! Haha! I am learning... what? No, not to accept what I dislike but to close my eyes to anything that does not attract me! At present, my eyes are stuck onto a black saree of Vidya Balan.... those who follow her page must have seen it posted last week... I simply adore her for she proved that you do not need to have a perfect BMI or to pose in minimal clothes to get scripts written revolving you.... sheer talent shines bright even in a male dominated industry! I follow all these people to keep me going.... without any expectation.... I do not expect from people in my friend's list either.... We should do what we wish to! This morning I woke up to a very beautiful post of a Bengali poet I follow.... Srijato Bandhopadyay... read what he wrote yesterday and that is so true about Kolkata.... or say Indians.... all the ruckus is created for petty, motivated, destructive interests! To give due respect to his post I had to go Bengali today but I wished to share this South East Asian inspired chicken dish instead .... LEMONGRASS FLAVOURED CORIANDER CHICKEN!

Chicken or say a meat curry solves a lot of problem at this home.... the mumma does not have to debone a fish... the wife either prepares fried rice, pulao or puffed or flat breads to go with a meat curry! This LEMONGRASS FLAVOURED CORIANDER CHICKEN makes things even easier for me... it goes best with steamed rice.... to be precise with sticky rice! The senior at this home will stick to his love for Basmati.... son and Cristine are ok with all varieties, I serve them Basmati! I prepare my own bowl of red rice and store it for 2-3 days! In between... if I crave for some rice during lunch, I take a little amount and mix with my salad! It is a good idea.... my ideas are not always a trash... you can follow! The son's result day is approaching nearer, so you will see me very unorganised now.... more than I am usually! At this home the father is not bothered about the son's academics.... he wants him to pursue what he wishes.... so the son chose English, Spanish, Mathematics, World History & Political Administration kind of, Business Analytics, Environmental System..... the mother has nothing to say... its patriarchy at its best! They decided without even asking me! All this while I heard the teachers saying that the tailed creature is so good in Physics and Chemistry! Ok fine I will confine myself to the kitchen. I am disturbed indeed without expecting the son to make me happy with numbers! They do not wish to make me happy! Till date I could not sit with the son and have some talk! Off course, I have that much literacy in me to give him some important lessons of life ..... I will prove it in right time that it is very indecent to call a new comer girl in the family fat, dwarf, aged looking as compared to the son of the house.... further asking her to keep her mouth shut when "family members" are talking! I do not wish to get nasty but memories betray, the Scorpio traits in me betray .... the belief strengthens that women do cause women harm. So, it feels good to see when some women lift other women... its definitely a quality to adore! I am already off track as always! Let us do a quick brush up with the ingredients for this chicken curry, I have few guests tomorrow coming for lunch.... its a holiday here.... I have to cook from today, it relaxes me! My kind of LEMONGRASS FLAVOURED CORIANDER CHICKEN has lemon grass, lemon leaf, coconut milk, green chilli paste, black pepper powder, fresh coriander paste in it as the main ingredients! We also had a light fish curry, ridge gourd curry and dal / lentil curry in the platter on that day! Not every day I am lucky enough to get "tyangra and pabda" in the market! I still have doubts if it is "pabda or bacha".... I will cook it tomorrow, have it and then can confirm!



As of now, let us have some easy and yum chicken curry with some rice, dal and veggies!




INGREDIENTS : 

Chicken : 1kg medium cut
Eggplant : 3-4small sized
Green Pea : 1/4small cup
Onion : 1medium [peeled, both ends discarded, sliced]
Minced Garlic : 1tbsp
Ginger Paste : 1tbsp
Black Pepper Powder : 1tsp
Green Chilli Paste : 1tsp
Fresh Coriander Paste : 2tbsp
Coconut Milk : 1medium cup
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp
Lemon Grass : 2stick
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Lemon Leaf : 2-3
Salt : As Required
Oil : 2-3tbsp

PROCEDURE :

Wash the already cut chicken thoroughly and drain the excess water.

Marinate the chicken with salt, black pepper powder, lemon juice and turmeric powder for an hour!

Cut the root end of the eggplants and then cut half each one. Wash and soak in water. Take out and add some salt only 2-3 minutes before we add them to the boiling curry.

Discard the outer layers of the lemon grass sticks and cut off the 2 ends. We will only use the inner core of it.... Chop and then crush them.

Prepare a paste of washed, roots discarded fresh coriander leaves and green chillies.

Heat oil in a pan and temper with lemon grass and minced garlic... stir.

Add the washed, sliced onions and fry till golden brown.

Add the ginger paste, stir for 2 minutes.

Add the marinated chicken and fold in well.

Cover cook for 12-13 minutes at minimal heat.

Open cover and add the washed lemon leaves.

Cover cook for another 6-7 minutes.

Open cover and add the egg plant pieces, fresh coriander paste, green chilli paste, coconut milk and salt as required.

Cook without cover now for 3-4 minutes. Add the green peas and cook further for 2-3 minutes.

We are done! Enjoy this chicken curry fresh with steamed rice!



Sunday, 5 August 2018

BENGALI STYLE MULLET CURRY & BITTER GOURD PUMPKIN FRY


A Sunday share of mine calls for a non-vegetarian item most of the time! Actually I cook the most on a Saturday morning.... I am busy on a Saturday morning to evening so much with cooking and clicking that I finally stopped doing "ghanta pujo" on this day.... that is promoting the tiny blog.... the most horrid activity of my life! Nobody asked me to carry on with something I dislike but I still do.... I wish to reach some more people with my recipes. I indeed prepared some "shingara / samosa" last Friday! They were crispy but needed to be flaky! The filling was just like a Bengali "shingara"... "mishti mishti... jhal jhal".... I did a photo shoot.... lets see whether to go ahead with it or do a fresh batch and then!





I updated the picture of chicken rezala.... which I blogged on way back in 2014! I may not call it an authentic chicken rezala as I use white sesame seeds instead of poppy seeds in rezala curries! There was a phase in my life when I used to hunt a specialised restaurant in Kolkata "Aminia" to have their Roomali Roti & Rezala.... mutton or chicken depended on the weight of our pocket! No one should take it personally but chicken is a gate crasher in such dishes like biryani or rezala.... the taste is mainly from the red meat! Aminia kind of restaurants were not visited for the ambience but for the food! Now we have a branch of Aminia, Arsalan within 200 metres of our Kolkata home and a Shiraz outside our condominium there! I hardly eat on my 20 days of stay there on each visit! Age is a factor.... and then that gripping fear a diabetic with higher degree of cholesterol have!Yet, one day I will have biryani as the brother gets it home.... and few days of home cooked mutton curry is unavoidable.... given its quality and taste in Kolkata! Rest is all "fishy" affair.... my tryst with the variety of fish I love! I am not as lucky as some of you.... I only get ready cooked food served with love the days I get to stay with the mother, rest of the days I cook for myself! My in-laws are not that bad either .... I can get readymade food there too, but I cannot have what their cook prepare neither do I like someone sitting and instructing an old man to get me tea, cutlet, this that.... I am not a guest in that home! I go there after a morning walk or may be on an evening when I am not out on a shopping spree or to meet a doctor. Hello people! do you value your freedom? Then you have to learn to stay alone... even if it is with your 21/2 year old kid.... You learn only when you do stuffs on your own! So, in the process of learning.... I knew a "parshe maach" tastes better in baby form rather than a full grown mullet or "bhangor"..... Kolkata is not fond of "bhangor maach".... I first had it when I visited Nowgong, Assam with our 21/2 year old son! I did not like the taste given we get the freshest of "katla, tyangra, rui, aar, dhai, boyal, pabda, koi, kajoli, khal-biler shing magur" in Kolkata.... the list is big and still on! Baby sized mullet "parshe" visited our home but less compared to the above mentioned! So, "begun aloo bori diye parshe maach" was not so common at my home as is / was "ucche kumro bhaja"..... May be because the bitter gourds here do not taste that bitter or may be age gets you wiser... I love it these days and prepare the very authentic Bengali dishes with it often for me and Cristine! I have no hope on the beef eaters at home in this matter .... they will not even have a minced chicken stuffed bitter gourd!

So, "begun aloo bori diye parshe maach" is medium sized mullets cooked with eggplants, potato, sun dried lentil fritter and "ucche kumro bhaja" is pumpkin and bitter gourd fry with some added goodness of eggplants! I wished to prepare and share a combined post this Sunday.... so here it is BENGALI STYLE MULLET CURRY & BITTER GOURD PUMPKIN FRY! We get very fresh mullets here.... I tried 2-3 times but we could not get along with the taste! For fairly smaller sized mullet called our "parshe maach"... I may have to run to the Indian market by 8am on a Saturday or Sunday! I am a very laid back kind of a person, weekend for me is to spend time with the men.... how much of "dushtu" they are, they are mine! I do all the shopping on weekday mornings when me and Cristine are alone.... I was lucky enough to get these smaller sized "parshe".... urff "teen aged mullet" in the local wet market last Friday! They looked so fresh that I thought let me try these with regular spices the very authentic Bengali way! The spices used are minimal with good dose of red chilli powder! The best part was that I did not have to soak them in vinegar to get rid of the smell! Today, after having a satisfying meal with this BENGALI STYLE MULLET CURRY & BITTER GOURD PUMPKIN FRY, I felt its a keep whenever I get them.... It has less bones, so the son had too without any fuss! He gets a chicken rezala as a reward in the dinner time! We have to be always there for our own! When mumma / wifey feels tired, the men do manage with store bought parathas without a noise.... Preparing a "shingara / samosa" is not a regular affair for us as is "maacher jhol ba mangsher jhol".... the later does not tire you!


A chicken rezala happened, a "shingara / samosa".... too but I preferred a fish curry share Bengali style this weekend along with a bitter gourd-pumpkin bhaji / fry! Both the recipes can be done within 11/2 hours.... with a serving of a dal / lentil curry, it makes for a yum lunch platter for me.... what about you?

If I have got a chance to update the pictures of Chicken Rezala, I will wish to share the post with my readers too! Do click the given heading / link for the recipe!

CHICKEN REZALA





INGREDIENTS : [for the mullet fish curry]

Smaller Sized Mullet Fish / Parshe : 6-8 [if bigger cut them smaller else it gets difficult to fry]
Potato : 1big
Egg Plant : 2-3small sized
Sun Dried Lentil Balls / Bori / Vadi : 6-7 [optional]
Ginger Paste : 2tbsp
Cumin Powder : 2tsp [freshly made paste preferred]
Red Chilli Powder : 2tsp [freshly made paste preferred]
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp + 1/2tsp 
Nigella Seed / kalojeera / kalonji : 1/4tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 6-7tbsp [for us its always mustard oil]



INGREDIENTS : [for the bitter gourd-pumpkin-egg plant fry]

Pumpkin : 1/2 of a smaller sized
Bitter Gourd : 2 medium sized
Egg Plant : 2-3smaller sized
Green Chilli : 2slitted
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp + 1/4tsp 
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1/2tsp
Nigella Seed : 3-4pinch
Dry Red Chilli : 2halved
Oil : 4-5tbsp [I use mustard oil]


PROCEDURE :




For the BITTER GOURD-PUMPKIN FRY, we have to cut the vegetables first. Peel the hard skin and inner layer of the pumpkin. Cut it into smaller cubes. Wash under running water thoroughly!

Make sure to drain all the water! Apply 1/2tsp turmeric powder and salt. Rub well and keep aside for 10 minutes.

Cut half each bitter gourd, discard the seeds. Cut further in half moon shape.... thinly sliced. Wash under running water, drain all the water and apply 1/4tsp turmeric powder & salt. Rub well and keep aside for 5 minutes.

Wash the egg plants and discard the two ends. Cut half each egg plant and cut further into smaller cubes. Wash under running water thoroughly.

Drain the water, apply and rub salt as much as required! Keep aside for 5 minutes. More time turns them black spotted.

Heat 2tsp oil in a wok and add the egg plant cubes discarding the marinade. Fry them till done and take out draining the excess oil as much as possible.

Add some more oil, as it get hot, fry the bitter gourd slices in batches.

Take out draining the excess oil.

Add the rest of the remaining oil meant for this dish! Temper the hot oil with nigella seeds and halved dry red chillies.

Add the pumpkin cubes discarding the marinade. Add the washed and slitted green chillies. Fold in well and cook till done. Add the sugar, stir in and cook for another 1 minute.

Now add the fried bitter gourd and egg plant cubes and stir in gently. Switch off gas after 1/2 a minute.

Transfer to a serving bowl and serve either with dal / lentil curry and steamed rice or with "ruti / chapati"....





For the mullet fish curry.... I have cut them into smaller pieces for convenience while frying them.... also it helps the gravy to be soaked in by the fish well.

Make sure you have cleaned the last piece of scale from the fish.... while cleaning the stomach, do not  throw away the fish oil... [peter tel... if lucky you get some egg too]

Wash them thoroughly under running water 3-4 times.

Drain the water. Apply 1tsp turmeric powder, salt as required. Rub well and keep aside for 15 minutes.

Peel and wash the potato. Cut further in to 8 pieces or so. Wash and apply

Cut half the egg plants discarding the two ends. Wash and cut further into medium sized cubes. Wash again and rub some salt.

Heat half of the required amount of oil in a wok. Lightly fry the sun-dried lentil balls and take out discarding the excess oil.

Fry the potato pieces till light brown discarding the marinade. Take out once done.

Add little oil to the wok and fry the egg plants till 60% done.... Take out!

Add the remaining oil, heat and fry the fish pieces lightly discarding the marinade.

Take out fish pieces once done, do not deep fry.

Temper oil with nigella seeds / kalonji / kalojeerey.

Take the ginger paste, salt, turmeric powder in a bowl.... sprinkle some water and mix well. Add to the wok. Stir at low heat for 11/2minute. 

Now add the cumin powder and red chilli powder. Stir at low heat for 1/2 a minute.

Add 11/2 coffee mug of water and bring to boil. Add the potato pieces and cover cook for 2 minutes.

Open cover and add the fish pieces gently, then the fried lentil balls. Cover cook at minimal heat for 3-4 minutes.

Open cover, add the fried egg plants.... Cook for 1-2 minutes. We are done. This fish curry needs to be thin gravy kind of, so add little water towards the end if required!

We enjoyed the platter alongside some "shukto".... the Bengali mixed vegetable curry and "dal".... lentil curry!



Friday, 3 August 2018

ALOO KABLI






This world is not always good to me you see, specially when some people swing "bok phooler bora" in front of my nose.... that too on a rainy day! This off course is a cruel act when people know even after a comb search in the "jhop-jhars"of this island .... that is in the bushes you will not get a single "bok phool" / agati flower! Why? For reasons unknown, the government here has to maintain a 7star ambience at every corner of the island.... all greens have to be manicured, no natural growth anywhere for they scare it may breed mosquitoes! Ahh! this is one reason you will see beeline of sneezing & coughing people at the doctors' chambers each & every day! Natives here do not know what struggle is except for the fact that they have to work till the age of 80-85 for a decent living even if they are provided with various incentives by the government! Yet, I enjoy every bit of my stay here... I find my little pleasures here... there everywhere on my walks.... if not a "bok phool".... but in a sudden discovery.... I mean did I locate a "koromcha" / "karonda" / cranberry tree yesterday? Unlikely to find a "bok phooler gach".... though.... that sent me to another level of depression yesterday! I indeed found few "akondo phooler gach".... once while I participated in a running event... we offer that flower to Lord Shiva! I did not make any extra effort to get that flower during "shivratri".... I am angry with him.... he made me spend my life with an unromantic, impossible kind of a guy! Depression & irritation double every now and then at this home! A phone call went to the neighbouring country yesterday evening with a wish to get a bit romantic and utter few lyrics..... "teri dhadkano ko meri dhadkane sunaye.... teri khwahison se meri khwahishein riha hain".... the answer was instant... "S, I am in a meeting now will call you back in 15 minutes".... that precious moment after 15 minutes never came in my life, not in the last 20 years! I do not have money to deploy a detective agency to find out who he was having a meeting with at 8:30 pm in the night! So, I will enjoy an ALOO KABLI.... kala chana & potato medley / chaat guilt free without him!



I strongly felt it was cranberry .... could not touch them as you know I have severe height issues! I have most of the issues with my men rather .... why they had to be so impossible for me to handle! Few days back I told the husband you know bhai [my brother] and the brother-in-laws hit love sign on their wive's pictures, poses intimately with their wives before taking selfies, writes beautifully ornate comments and anniversary-birthday wishes! The "talpatar shepai" was watching BBC or CNN or a Sports Channel may be.... sprang up all of a sudden and said "what... I have to go and like your pictures and wish you on your birthday in public? There was something in his voice that made me run and take refuge in the bedroom in fear of a slap! At that hour of the night I cannot go and ask for a shelter at our friends' home or call and ask the brother to file a case! I keep sharing such bedroom stories here so that any aspiring daughter-in-law, if at all any can step in without expecting anything normal.... I live with weird stuffs! What I can guarantee you is a genuine, loving paa-in-law.... my old man was so too! Our relationship is going to be sour because this home's paa-in-law will not support the wife against the son's woman.... The not so crafty, never a clever witch can only guarantee you good food... like this spicy & tangy bliss ALOO KABLI!

ALOO KABLI is a Bengali street food too famous and best made in Kolkata! Where does it taste the best? The uncle who stood with his box in front of our college gate made it the best... ahh! what a bliss was it! Now a days I am scared to even taste on my visits there... you know NRIs develop a nose even if they have a flat one. We always have all the ingredients for ALOO KABLI at home... Bengali Gram Black Chana, Potato, Fresh Coriander, Onion, Green Chilli, Tamarind Juice, Lemon, Chaat Masala, Black Salt, Red Chilli Flakes, Oil .... uff I am craving for one more plate today! Actually, I am trying to eat a bit healthy... doing so I felt let me get my salad a bit tastier!... I had a meat ball soup after a walk day before yesterday and then this chaat or salad or street food around 4:30 pm....


Then I have to do a blunder of having a short bread cookie at night which is suicidal if you are in a weight loss mission! Either you have to push yourself way bit while exercising or / and you have to be very strict with your diet! I cannot do either of the two and look like a football these days given my height! I immediately need to change a certain profile picture which is 3 years old.... I think my profile picture should reflect how I look now! All said and done I am thinking of making some "shingara" / samosa tonight.... to celebrate someone's homecoming for a "week"! The son is not fond of ALOO KABLI.... he is not bothered either when mumma cooks some meat for him to enjoy! I tried to prepare this famous Kolkata street food just the way as is done by the vendors there .... As I say that I did not have it from the vendors for a long time.... I remotely remember that they may not use cucumber in ALOO KABLI .... I added it to make it healthier.... I have to take into account my loving island if not always.... "bok phool" can wait until I meet the mother!

My Filipino Chicken Adobo recipe gets updated.... Please do click the heading / link for the recipe!

FILIPINO CHICKEN ADOBO





INGREDIENTS :

BLACK BENGAL GRAM / KALA CHANA : 1SMALL CUP
POTATO : 2BIG
ONION : 1MEDIUM
GREEN CHILLI : 2CHOPPED
FRESH CORIANDER : 2TBSP CHOPPED
CUCUMBER : 1/2OF ONE [OPTIONAL]
RED CHILLI FLAKES : 1TSP
LEMON JUICE : 1TBSP [I USED THE ROYAL BENGAL GONDHORAJ]
TAMARIND JUICE : 21/2TBSP
BLACK SALT : AS REQUIRED
CHAAT MASALA : 1/2TSP
OIL : 1TBSP

PROCEDURE :

Wash the black chana and soak in hot water for 2-3 hours!




Soak 1-2tbsp of tamarind in half small bowl of water!



Make slits on the washed potatoes on skin! Take them on a plate and microwave on high for 3 minutes! Let cool.

Peel the skin of each and and chop / slice roughly!





I used my home grown coriander leaves for this dish... it gave me a high! Chop the peeled and washed onion, washed fresh coriander and also the green chillies.





Now take the potato, chopped onion, black chana, chillies, black salt, chilli flakes in a bigger bowl.




Fold in well! 




Add the lemon juice! Mix well! Then strain as much as tamarind juice is required! I suggest to add it little at a time. 





I decided to add some chopped cucumber later! Add the oil and chopped, washed fresh coriander too!




Toss in everything very well and have it fresh! This is never to be refrigerated, it does not taste well if so!