Wednesday, 14 November 2018

BAKED MALAI



Today, I really wished to share an old post and jump onto a cleaning spree, Cristine has turned this 1150 sq.feet. space into a dumping ground.... torn, discarded clothes, towels, utensils.... I am weeping and cleaning one room at a time. Then there is a husband shouting at you saying it is not Cristine's fault, it is the lack of proper instructions on my part. Really it is, I see myself busy getting hundreds & thousands of viewers to the blog when my home turned into a garbage bin. Now that I am back in to track, I am just confused where to start from... Harpic has spoilt my hands, but the toilets are shining... happy I am! I cannot blame the husband.... it is me who told him that I do not want money, I do not want you to sit at one place and stagnate! Saying so, I just wish to put through a message to some beautiful people that if you want the husband to have dinner with you everyday at 7pm -8pm, accompany you to the supermarket whenever you wish to, follow the routine of dining with you in a restaurant every weekend, you are restricting him from moving ahead... his career gets a setback. Well, every home has its own priorities and I should not poke my flat nose always, I do not earn a penny as almost all of you do! Grapes are sour you know... the husband is not there at home most of the time, since I am not a social being I do miss his presence! When he is there we do enjoy time together, with "jhalmuri & cha".... wife gets bitter gourd chips for herself and he has to crack jokes on that.... yes every Saturday & Sunday is his "finer drinking days".... weekdays are for "beer".... the wife has to get it from the shop. He totally lost interest in two things .... Photography and Shopping .... specially of raw materials. He bought his first camera spending few hundred dollars long back... that got spoilt... then this present DSLR which made a tour of Turkey without being used. Every day he carried it as a paper weight and did not use saying... "wifey you are clicking... that is enough"..... Arey wifey cannot take photographs man, she just aims and clicks.... Then she has to keep many things in her head before a click.... "Boss wait wait.... delete that photograph where I am sitting under the tree.... Why wifey, you are looking good.... Arey nahi yaar.... you have to have certain qualifications to get clicked in that pose".... I did not go for further clarifications, no point, he hates social media.... opens it only on his birthday at one time.... did not even say a thank you to few good people who wished him late including his dear friend... Madhuchanda.... I told him that from next year he should open it a day later and say thanks to all... that is decency! You see even if I divulge few secrets to him, he will not hurl abuses at me.... ours was not a marriage of convenience, neither that of romance but two good friends who came together taking one damn chance to get back into life and build a happy home. Doing so, I cook a family dessert like this BAKED MALAI, besides eating together "jhalmuri, cha" and watching "Sanju" in Netflix! The couple at this home  is a Ranbir Kapoor fan and the husband says that he is going to rule. It is not the movie that you will miss if you do not watch .... but I liked always how in real life Sunil Dutt tried hard to get his "gone wrong" son back in track, how his sisters stood strong beside him all through and how his present wife made him a calmer, homely person. A strong family bond saves a life for sure! I loved the last scene where he tells his son and daughter that they should make their grandfather their idol and not their father. When I used to stay alone with my toddler for months, I watched his "Munnabhai" series to keep myself cherry-merry.... Sanjay Dutt & Arshad Warsi make an amazing pair...




Coming to BAKED MALAI, it was again a failed attempt which dumbos like me usually make. I was actually trying to prepare a "sandesh".... sweet that is very authentic of my place of birth. I am 4yrs into blogging and yet not delivered an ode to my birth place! The problem is that there is no clear recipe of it in the internet, except for a vague one. I requested my veteran, family members to ask the oldest sweet shop there for the recipe.... the family is getting its sweet from that shop for 50-55 years now. They say that they will never share the secrets of the recipe. All my cousins are scattered in different parts of India and abroad, the old people does not even know what a food blog is, how dear it is to my heart!From the vague hint I got, we are to boil the milk, collect the "shor".... malai / cream from the top and bake. The thing was not clear to me. Only the son drinks milk at this home, that too chilled.... I thought may be trying with fresh cream will help.... It did not work but we ended up into a soft, creamy dessert BAKED MALAI that has to be eaten chilled. What did I learn from this fault of mine? Not always does a short cut method gets us what we wish... working hard matters! However, the family and few guests liked it! If you are looking for a vegetarian combo meal to be served before this yummy, vegetarian dessert BAKED MALAI, my earlier blog post on SWEET PULAO WITH SPICED POTATO  is just perfect! Eat everything first, you can feel the guilt afterwards.... I usually do that.... there is only one life!! You see the CURRY AND SPICE Blog is not meant for all these, I am yet to share "kanchakolar khosha bata" or "chingri-kumror bati chochori".... "kabhi kabhi karna parta hai".... certain commitments are made without applying any condition!



INGREDIENTS : 

FRESH CREAM : 4TIN [I always buy Nestle, Bulla is better?]
SUGAR : 11/2TBSP
BLACK CARDAMOM SEED : 1/3TSP
DRY FRUITS & NUTS TO GARNISH

PROCEDURE :

After I failed in my attempt, I felt there definitely have chena / paneer in the sweet. Like my baked sandesh recipe is somewhat near to what I was trying to get on that day!

Anyway, the tins were cut... haha!




Now, pour all the content on a big bowl. Add the sugar and cardamom seeds, stir & mix. 





Pour the entire content on a bake proof bowl. Tap lightly on the kitchen counter and use the back of your spoon to level atop. Show your power of banging on your husband if he refuses to gift you jewelry and saree!




I preheated my convection mode microwave at 200*C.

I placed the low stool inside and placed the bowl atop.

I baked for 12-15 minutes at 200*C.




I did not get what I wished for, but this was very good something that is not to be regretted! We liked the thin crust outside and the soft creamy texture below it. Once cold I set it to chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. 

I took out the bowl and garnished with chopped pistachios.



Monday, 12 November 2018

BEET GAJAR ALOOR PUR BHORA POROTA



Such humble platters are catching my fancy these days.... with unavailability of my kind of fish here in this island.... I am perhaps leaning towards vegetarian food. That does not make me less of a fish lover, just waiting for the India visit coming December... I have to feed myself and the husband 'hasher dimer jhol', 'kochi pathar jhol', 'aar, boyal, dhai, koi, tyangra'... 'kajoli & charapona' for myself... The son goes to Barrackpore, plays car games and 'dimma, nono, Bidisha Aunty' take good care of his food... No romantic liaison does happen with the husband during the  holiday.... I have no time.... "Pradip Bonya dir bari theke amai ekta gas cylinder ene dao na, kuri taka debo cha khete".... "Nirmal ekta mistiri pathao bhai dorjar kobja bhengeche".... "then there is a Khokon.... who promises now and comes after two days".... One can see the wife cleaning the floors with a mixture of oxalic powder and surf.... the husband shouting why one has to do all these when one makes a six monthly or yearly visit. I do not know what to say to this... I mean I cannot stay in filth for 20 days .... come on. The mother sets it for us to get in and then it is solely my responsibility! I am not a single child, the child like brother is heavily dependent on his mother! Only the father-in-law and the mother understand my ordeal because they sweat it out for the family! These girls Bonya & Paramita help me a lot. There are 4-5 eye surgeons including my friend Dr. Monalisa Pramanik and the fatherly figure Dr. Debashis Roychoudhuri da within our condominium, the reason for going to Arup da are two... one is that my entire family goes to him ever since we had shifted to Barrackpore. If you visit Disha Eye Hospital at Barrackpore, you will know about his fame... his name features just after the founder Dr. Debasish Bhattacharya.... Secondly, he always gives some kind of vocal tonic & moral boost to the son that his father does not! I very much wish to arrange a get together with these 5-6 families, specially when T is there... but so unable to.... I work with few spices there... there is no stroller system ... Spencer is 200mt. from our main gate but how to carry stuffs back home? We do not even have a free car service! Wise people will understand my inability to socialise there anymore. The few school friends who are there do I call home because they are very few in number, rest are located elsewhere! So, you see Life of an Expat on holiday may not be the same! Misunderstandings should be cleared.... there had been complaints why a food blogger gives a treat outside... this is the reason.... I can just go, talk over phone and come back.... but friends matter to us.... we make it a point to meet! The man has to spend a night with one Joy Ghosh and visit a car & bike showroom in Shyambazaar... that bald headed guy ... Peerless head SK Roy's nephew... 45 years of relationship you know ... I do not poke my flat nose into that! Anyway, life seems hopeful when a Madhuchanda Dey Ghosh consoles saying that T still helps a lot, Partha Dey does not even know anything on how a home is run.... The conditions he set before marriage were clear.... "I have to remain focussed to reach the top, my career comes first." One of the top honchos of a leading bank in India, he could be at Sundar Pichai's place but luck does matter.... I do believe it is a factor! Look at my ruti / chapati this morning.... I am not this lucky everyday.... I do not do a ruti the right way, while rolling, it should move by itself and form a circle. I have to touch it and change position while rolling. They love it so much that I had to learn making it finally at age 35. Fluffing up of a chapati depends on the correct heating of the pan. I packed their lunch boxes with "ruti o kumror tarkari" today.




Their snack box had a left over pizza we ordered on Saturday evening and a banana -jaggery bread I made yesterday evening.




Look at me, what I am eating early morning! From where and how will I lose a pound?



Anyway, however poor I am with stuffed parathas, I do them twice or thrice a month for practice and get smile to the family.... this BEET GAJAR ALOOR PUR BHORA POROTA looks better in shape... isn't it?


Cristine may be on leave, but our movie going ventures at night continues. I am not so keen on  leaving the son alone for 3 hrs..... if not ghosts, he is scared of flies... "cockie & tiktik".... for the husband and the couple friends do I agree! Ipsita & T want kids to be independent. I know it is required.... but I am our mother's daughter, how to? Last Monday, we watched Saif Ali Khan's Bazaar.... the husband says its a remake of the movie Wall Street with an Indian twist.... I do not understand finance yet went for my favourite actor.... Today we will be going for Thugs of Hindustan.... the son does not say anything but I can sense the displeasure on his face.... he does not chat with mumma-babai but they have to stay around. Look who visited our home to deliver the food "ucche bhaja, kumro shaak aloo diye o sultan maacher patla jhol" that Ipsita had cooked... its their Kaizu.... he is a rescued pup that they adopted.... he loves me and do greet me licking my feet when I visit. The son did not eat Ipsita aunty's 'maacher jhol' because mumma cooked GOAN PRAWN CURRY at home. I did send it to them but they do not wish a prawn curry from me but a very authentic panchmeshali torkari or loti shorshe narkol or kochur shaak. Coming to the sultan fish, it tasted like rui maach... sweeter and oh! so fresh.... off course sourced from a Bangladeshi store. I will be asking Soumya tonight and visit there with my stroller on Thursday.... loved it! The son will get some meat and salmon or prawn! Problem solved! The husband or his mother is not in the habit of deboning fish.... to that I doubt whether they are truly Bengali or not, one who does not eat smaller sized "tyangra / pabda, charapona" cannot be called a Bengali.... those "bherir" farmed, big sized, fleshy 'tyangra / pabda' are not near to the taste of the real ones. To me farmed fish is so unwelcome. Well, you are right, at times I feel like retiring at a farm house in Hoogly, Nadia or Murshidabaad district. I wish few particular things these days.... like I do not have the guts to travel alone, else you would have seen me at Leh-Ladakh any day.... alone! No one will say... "akele akele kahan ja rahein ho... hamey bhi tumharein saath le jao.... akele... akele"..... anyone? haha! I wonder how my blogger friend Navanitham Krishnan travels alone... I can only say kudos to that! The husband does not wish to go to Leh Ladakh, I do not force.... when I broke down watching the film featuring the song "akele hai to kya gam hai" back in 1988... it was T who helped me stand straight and move ahead .... Leave that, he is good enough to have that BEET GAJAR ALOOR PUR BHORA POROTA with the pickle and yogurt, but the son? Nope, he needs something like this CASHEW MUTTON alongside.... but he does not mind having a stuffed paratha just like that.... he may eat the chapattis today without the veggies.... Then I do make good use of leftover vegetable dishes, will share later the idea. Anyway, the initial plan was to make vegetable cutlets, but again I got late and made these parathas.... was I good with the planning?







INGREDIENTS : [for the stuffing]

Beetroot : 1medium sized
Carrot : 1standard sized
Potato : 2medium sized
Chopped Coriander : 2-3tbsp
Chopped Green Chilli : 1tbsp
Sliced Onion : 1medium cup
Salt : As Required
Cumin Seed : 1/2tsp
Carom Seed : 1/2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/4tsp
Oil : 2-3tbsp

INGREDIENTS : [FINAL ASSORTMENT]

The Cooked Stuffing
Refined Flour : 1coffee mug
Wheat Flour : 1/2coffee mug
Salt : 2pinch
Ghee / Clarified Butter : 1tbsp + 2tsp for each paratha / porota

PROCEDURE :

At first, we will wash the beetroot, carrot and potatoes, peel them, cut further and pressure cook at low adding a coffee mug of water and little salt up to 2 whistles.

Once cold, open cover and take the content on a big bowl. No need to drain the water. Mash it well.

We have the washed chopped coriander & green chillies, sliced onions ready to be used. 

Heat oil in a wok and temper with cumin and carom seeds, add the chopped green chillies.





Add the sliced onions and fry till golden brown.





Add the boiled beetroot and potato to the wok and fold in well.



Cook until the content dries up. If required add 1tbsp of refined flour and mix well.

Once dried, add the chopped coriander to the wok and fold in well.

The stuffing is ready, let it cool on a plate.






Take both the flours, 1tbsp ghee, salt on a wide mouthed bowl.

Rub for 2-3 minutes.




Add water little by little to form a smooth dough that may take 5-7 minutes.

Tear out portions to make tennis ball sizes of it and make pockets.

Fill with the stuffing.

Close properly. 






In the preparation part, Cristine helps, my hands made 2-3 and her's the rest.... but rolling and frying is my job.... she can only do plain, triangular porota.

Dust your rolling base with some flour. Dust each stuffed balls and use the rolling pin softly on them to roll out roundels. Do not press hard.... else the stuffing comes out.



Heat a pan. Place an uncooked paratha and cook both side till 60% done. "sheka ingriji ta bhuley jacchi".... Add 1tsp ghee at a time to cook one side, then another tsp to cook the other.





I served it with Elephant Apple Pickle [chalter achar], Plain Yogurt with ginger juice and cumin & black salt sprinkled on it and salad!



Friday, 9 November 2018

ALOO PANEER CHINEBADAM TIKKI O DHONEPATA TETUL ER CHUTNEY




Okay, this was yesterday's dinner... off course ALOO PANEER CHINEBADAM TIKKI O DHONEPATA TETUL ER CHUTNEY is an appetiser but I finished them around 9:30 pm .... hence I had to make it a part of a dinner spread which was very simple yesterday.... this vegetarian tikki, lemon rice and "CHINGRI ALOO PEPER DALNA" ....  raw papaya & potato with smaller prawns ..... we also had this yum chutney with tamarind & coriander leaves.... a salad too. You see today is Bhai Phota / Bhai Duj..... I should have blogged on a family favourite mutton item.... but @ 48 I believe, if there is  a special day for a brother & sister... there has to be a special day for all brothers and all sisters too! For single child like ours, I can only hope that they learn to survive alone, if they are lucky enough then they get a loving spouse and trusted friends as a family! See, my brother sent me few pictures of their Diwali Celebration.... since I am not comfortable sharing family pictures in public, I could not share the right ones... I feel at peace to see the mother not alone.... My family lives some 25 km away from Kolkata in a not at all fancy, two-storied landed property.... they always show me off their terrace which has about 50-70 potted plants ... that old lady once loved to wear a variety of lipstick, nail polish and matching glass bangles with her saree... she is a saree aficionado.... so is her daughter! The father is omnipresent in that home, in this home too .... he however is not changing his blue t-shirt for quite sometime... and eat chocolates all day! What is the daughter having? Its raining hard.... I was craving for something very spicy.... so having this instant noodle bowl..... I will never ever recommend instant noodles to anyone but if your help is on leave and you hate cooking something for yourself, you have to keep such packs handy in your kitchen.... the miser me love these one dollar stuffs.... Now some will make those exotica posts on the interiors of a five star luxury hotel they just visited .... hihi, I never get angry.... I love them.... I try to keep myself humble because my extended family on both sides could not make it big in life.... they are nice, how can I show off in front of their nose? Today is a day very auspicious for us.... I remember the daddy going to the market early morning, the famous DumDum Bazaar it was, the mother cooking for 15-20 people.... later the number of guests lessened.... I carried on with the brother until I left for this island.... then continued in Skype... now feels it to be so stupid!







I am yet to read 1/4 of the book... so busy I am.... after about a week... a help just came in today.... I can go down with my floaters.... I do not know when I can go out for my walk... the knee injury will take sometime to heal... We indeed live in an upscale condominium but only in an 1150sq.ft. of rented property. The husband has a brother like junior colleague with whom I sailed.... This guy is a sailing Chief Officer now and got his wife & daughter from Dhaka to the neighbouring country. He was telling me that he rented a duplex or pent house within a condominium in the suburb there in just 600 Sing dollar.... Angry with that guy, I am not blogging on Ilish! However, I still prefer to stay here in this island which guarantees you safety and security if you are not among the unlucky 2%.... it is 98% crime free! This arm chair socialist prefers to stay in a first world country, haha!

How beautiful it feels to tear fresh curry leaves from your own green corner? Lemon rice is something I swear on... I had some leftover rice in the refrigerator, so decided to tear them and go ahead with the LEMON RICE recipe I already have on the blog. The mother says not to touch a plant after the sunset, they go to sleep at that time. I was feeling bad later.


I am such a forgetful mind that I forgot to click the pictures of all the steps of the ALOO PANEER CHINEBADAM TIKKI O DHONEPATA TETUL ER CHUTNEY .... Anyway, the initial plan was to use the filling for a "paneer er chop".... then you know I am using my minuscule brain matter to make things easier for myself. In the process, I ended up preparing something healthy... more or less so.... only 4tbsp oil has been used.... potato cannot be avoided at this home! Using few things we can prepare yummy appetisers... the brother and the family can be shown love later!! By the Way, the table mats you see is a gift from a dear someone.... very wisely chosen.... but I cannot go public with why I call it a "wise gift"....



INGREDIENTS : [FOR THE TIKKI]

POTATO : 3BIG SIZED
PANEER : 200GM
ROASTED PEANUT : 2TBSP
CHOPPED FRESH CORIANDER : 2-3TBSP
CHOPPED GREEN CHILLI : 2TBSP
CUMIN SEED : 1/4TSP
ASAFOETIDA : 2PINCH
CUMIN POWDER : 1TSP
CORIANDER POWDER : 1/2TSP
RED CHILLI POWDER : 11/2TSP
TURMERIC POWDER : 1/2TSP
SUGAR : 11/2TSP
SALT : AS REQUIRED
BUTTER : 1TBSP
OIL : 2TBSP+2TBSP

INGREDIENTS : [FOR THE CHUTNEY]

TAMARIND PULP : 2TBSP
CHOPPED FRESH CORIANDER : 1MEDIUM CUP
JAGGERY POWDER : 11/2TSP
GREEN CHILLI : 2
BLACK SALT : 1/2TSP


PROCEDURE :

For the chutney wash the chopped fresh coriander and the green chillies thoroughly first. Take all the ingredients mentioned under chutney category in a blender and blend at high for 2 minutes pausing in between!

I forgot to take the picture of it.... its totally yum!

For the potato-peanut & paneer tikki... pan seared vegetarian appetisers, wash the potatoes and prick all over with a fork.

Take on a plate and microwave at high for 5-6 minutes.



Once cool, peel off the skin and mash them well.




Roughly chop the fresh coriander & green chillies and wash thoroughly. If we are using frozen paneer, we need to soak it in hot, salted water for at least 2-3 hours.



Then we will strain the water. I have taken together all that is required in one place.



We will heat the butter in the wok and lightly toast the paneer on it.




After this I forgot to take the stepwise pictures, I was busy video shooting and very eager to sing and make public my horribly, untrained voice.... I love doing it but!

What we will do is that heat 2tbsp oil in the same wok and temper it with asafoetida, chopped green chillies and cumin seeds. 

We will add the mashed potato to it, then add the turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder and some salt. Fold in well and stir for 3-5 minutes.

We will add the roasted peanuts, chopped fresh coriander and the sugar now. We will keep stirring for another 2 minutes. 

Add the paneer pieces now and gently fold in.

The filling is ready. Once cool.... shape into medium sized ovals or roundels.




In a clean wok, heat 2tbsp oil. Place some of the tikki. Cook one side till brown and then turnover! Cook until the other side is brown! Done!

Serve with the chutney and some salad!