Thursday, 27 July 2017

NARKEL ER BORA



We had watched Ranvir Kapoor starrer Jagga Jasoos last night and oh! I am wondering what genre I can tag it as .... extreme state of fantasy? then I could not handle it. Throughout the entire movie I could not keep track of what was happening and preferred to sleep. My man says it was experimental, an attempt at a musical one, I strongly felt whatever it is, it failed. We both are Ranvir Kapoor fans at home, yet he could not keep me up on my toes. I thought it would be a thriller, but there was total absence of a strong script in the movie. However, my craze for Bollywood continues and we enjoy our night outs with a dear couple friend. We are so much of movie buffs that we do not mind venturing out on weekday nights. What varies is my level of satisfaction, back from watching a really good movie I usually feel very happy and content which was missing yesterday. The senior jokingly said its good to watch such movies often where we do not have to think much ... fill it, shut it, forget it. I am a sit at home, good for nothing not so good 'wo-man', I have nothing much to do all day other than watching movies, cooking a bit or reading or listening to music, yet I reserve this 'watching movie' part to be had together with him, I enjoy his company though it has never been a running around the tree kind of relationship. I keep on telling my friends it is not so that my man will get angry if I go out with you all, but I still do not because he feels and understands me way too much.... which you may not. His mother was a champion in freaking out with her girlfriends, chatting, eating out, it is quite obvious she would not be happy with this quiet, dull, unsocial daughter-in-law. He learnt to respect women from his father who never stopped his wife from doing what she likes. I have complained about him to people but till date he has never talked negative about me to anyone.... he could have. He always says be happy in what you do. So I happily prepare all kinds of pakoras or fries over the weekend to enjoy with our joint 'drinking session'. The son loves fritters so much so that whatever combination it is, he will have a couple of them. The husband loves the non-vegetarian ones over the vegetarian ones.

Narkel er bora or Coconut Fritters was / is made frequently at my side of the family. My mother hated wastage of food. Whenever coconut milk was used to prepare any dish, mani would use the remaining shredded coconut to prepare bora or pakora. That perhaps was the scenario in every middle class home then. I take pride in saying that a major part of my life was spent in a two-roomed rented house, and a happy home indeed where the mother used to say 'dekhli tor baba amar ekta kothao shoney na'.... see your father does not listen to me at any time and the next moment I saw she was all set to prepare murir moya, chirer moya, naru for him and us.... they were worst examples of feminism and so am I. I have not even inherited 1/4 of the quality of my mother or grandmother, whatever little I have I use it doing it for the dear ones. You people may well call it as a weapon to hide my deficiencies, what to do I am such a shameless creature, there is no place to hide my parasitical being in my present 1100 sq ft flat either. So, I keep on bragging about my-self to the world ..... these are all attributes of an illiterate you know. Anyway, preparing narkel er bora was not so much of a quick and easy thing in those days.... moms had to buy a coconut, break it, shred it and then proceed with the process of preparing heavenly pakora with it. We do not have to go through such hassles, we get readymade shredded coconut at shops here, so I prepare it often. Let me tell you what kind of an extreme case my mother is ..... she never gets small fish or chicken cut by the seller, she gets whole and cuts them by herself, she just asks the seller to get the skin off from the chicken. She is miser enough to keep a gardening help, and does it all by herself, even at unearthly hours of the afternoon wearing a cap. I am no where near her.... so when I see my blogger friends sharing posts of hand pounded spices and elaborate recipes, I see my mother and grandmother in them or yesteryear ladies at large. Some of them have blogged on narkel er bora or coconut fritters too beautifully, I am adding mine following my mother's recipe of it. I either serve it with a Bengali style coriander chutney or we enjoy it with some rice and dal. Come let us prepare it together.



INGREDIENTS :
Shredded Coconut : 2big cups
Green Chilli : 2-3chopped
Rice Flour : 1/2small cup
Gram Flour : 1/2small cup
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1tsp [optional]
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Oil : 1medium cup to deep fry

METHOD :
Take the shredded coconut in a bowl. Add the chopped green chillies, rice flour, gram flour, salt, sugar and turmeric in it. Mix well. We will try not to add water because coconut itself releases water.



Prepare balls from the mix taking small portions and flatten little with help of your palms. They are ready to be fried.



Heat oil in a wok. Fry the narkel er bora at low to moderate heat in batches. We need to adjust heat from time to time. Too less heat breaks the fritters and too much of it burns them outside while the inside remains uncooked. Patience is required in cooking.



Take out the fritters already done and place on a tissue paper.



Transfer to a serving plate. At our home, mom used to prepare a coriander chutney / dhonepata bata with say a big cup of washed and chopped coriander leaves, 1/4tsp nigella seeds, 1green chilli, 1or 2 cloves of garlic. Blend to a paste, add little salt and mix well. We had it with piping hot steamed rice adding a little mustard oil to it.... a humble recipe from a humble household. It you are having it as an accompaniment to fries and fritters, skip using the mustard oil. Enjoy narkel er bora, crisp and hot with your loved ones.


Sunday, 23 July 2017

AJWAINI FISH TIKKA



Its weekend, and we will gorge on some mouthwatering food .... be it an appetiser or main. These days I am giving in gradually to my men's wishes and cook what they love in most cases. As I always say, they are less demanding, hence there is no reason why I will not do that extra bit for them. You will always tend to serve the best way for your dear / loved ones unless they are real demons. Rising above self is so very required to build strong relationships. The two weird men are my pillars of strength and I take a lot of pride in saying so. I still have a major part of the world left to travel, you see I have to say this, haha. Jokes apart, I remember last year while touring Europe, we were at the Barcelona Football Ground, my men were engrossed at taking a look at everything minutely. Their girl was eager to get clicked with her men at every point, the senior hates to pose for clicks and the junior has to echo his father. Then came the severe blow..... S when will you grow up? S uses her last weapon.... she starts weeping, sobbing and declared she does not want any food for the day. The dad asks the son to get ready for some quick clicks. The son hugs mumma and says stop crying, see the pizzeria is calling us. The senior says, see you always say the son does not care for you as before, it is not so, we are just different. Oh, they are so much that, yet I never get on to them because the same person attends me with so much care when I throw out given my extreme condition of vertigo, motion sickness, whatever.

The sole intention of saying the above is that however self centric we are we must give genuinely to relationships that mean. I do not usually have any problem with the world unless anyone is taking an unnecessary dig at me. If someone does that.... well.... well... well I still cannot say I will see you.... even if I say so, I cannot do it really, I am not built that way. These days I am not entertaining such behaviours neither I am interested in cat fights. I have no time for all these, I have to cook and share, read more and more and get lost amidst nature. However you accuse me of been a cell phone addict , I would still defend myself.... so what if so.... I am not interested in unnecessary gossips or causing harm to others or whatever. With my zero observatory power, I may not be doing justice to you all, I mean to the world, and to me too.... be sure that is unintentional. My too intelligent boys stay with such a nut... and happily without a complaint..... shouldn't I prepare some hot curries and kebabs and tikka for them? I must. My junior was this small when he had gluten allergy and mamma fed him bland porridge and what not while watching Thomas The Tank Engine or Finding Nemo, Dora... the Explorer together. Its high time I prepare what he loves more often. In few years, he perhaps will leave mumma and step into a bigger world. I still do not know how to live then, but never mind lah, I am a champion in handling departures, severe blow and wow! insults too!... I call that GRACE! Gone are the days when the senior happened to be my best friend..... I used to run to his home whenever I felt heavy on heart, T ..... anything to say that makes me happy? I do not remember when I stopped asking him such silly questions, once we got engaged, he ceased to be my 'best friend'.... we are 'very good friends' because I am not at the liberty to pour in all of my heart to him. I lost my best friend for ever, so long he funds my sarees, I am happy. So, this week I say cheers to that bond with these easy and quick to make fish tikkas which has a predominant flavour of ajwain / carom seeds in it. Nonetheless, to mention we had some vodka martini to go with it, tea / coffee if you are a non-alcoholic. Live life to the fullest, in any given situation, life is precious, each one has to value our own because no one else will. Too much of 'fundas' need some tasty fillers as cover, let us come to that. These spice laden easy Fish Tikka I do prepare on a regular basis. Can we rock the weekend preparing it together?



INGREDIENTS :
Fish Fillet : 750gm [any white, firm, fish]
Carom Seed : 1tbsp
Red Chilli Powder : 11/2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Garam Masala Powder : 1tsp
Lemon Juice : 3-4tbsp
Refined Flour : 1tbsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 2-4tbsp [ I use mustard oil for colour, once I heard chef Harpal Singh Sokhi saying so]

METHOD :

Wash the fish fillets thoroughly and cut into smaller pieces. Marinate with lemon juice and little salt for sometime. Meanwhile, dry roast the carom seeds / ajwain and grind with a hand pounder or in a grinder.

Marinate the fish fillets with oil, carom seed powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala powder and keep aside for an hour. Add the refined flour to the marinated fish and arrange them in a grill plate. We need to grease the plate. We can always do the fish tikka in a pan on stove top. Time taken will be little more.



Place the high tool in the microwave and the grill plate atop. Grill it for 8-10 minutes.


Take out, we need to turn over and grill for another 5-6 minutes. Brush little oil if required, at this stage.




Once done, transfer to a serving plate alongside some salad. Have it hot, an appetiser too hard to resist.



Friday, 21 July 2017

BAKED AAM DOI





I am just back from Kolkata and finding this tropical island cooler than what it is back there. Me and our friend Joy were sitting at the Indian Coffee House and was having a detailed discussion on the changing weather pattern and the demography of the city. I was feeling very uncomfortable in the environment that happened to be our favourite hotspot once. It has not changed a bit, I have changed perhaps. I strongly felt it needs a thorough renovation keeping the infrastructure same. It is managed by the coffee worker's union? perhaps and according to my friend they have enough fund to go ahead with the renovation ..... we got a sit after twenty minutes, that too we had to share the table with someone else, they came for the order after fifteen minutes and finally I could gorge on that heavenly Afghani Mutton Cutlet after half an hour since we have made the order ... I was still sweating profusely. As we were chatting together, I had a thorough brush up of the surrounding... the table wares needs to be changed, the fans to be cleaned and serviced, the floors need cleaning. Given that I am very particular about cleanliness, I felt that the old Kolkata needs a thorough brush up keeping its heritage intact. Though this is not the scenario all over the city, it is developing indeed but only the extended part. Has the main Kolkata really seen much development except for sudden growth of some malls and condominiums? Before you call me an anti-national, think what actually development means. For people like my part of the family living in the suburbs, we had to wait for the whole day for the specialised ambulance to reach and take our daddy to a decent hospital. So those of my close ones who get wild whenever I blog on a western dish or share similar something should know Kolkata is perfect if you have money going for fine dining in your AC cars or in Ola or Uber cabs. The commoners still commute in over crowded buses and eat fly inflicted aloo poori or mach bhaat if not the wife pack their lunch. Besides, we as food bloggers have to cater to different kind of readers and my own men are not essentially Bongs .... their taste buds are totally different. I usually cook and share what they love. We do not need to go out of the country to see development always. Back in 1999, I stayed in Mumbai for over a month and seen the difference. It is high time, we stop accusing the centre for a step motherly attitude and stop quoting Tagore every five minutes. I know there will be an array of protest posts till tomorrow in the social forums and I do not mind it. I will still say that an average Kolkatan and the major part of the city is still far from having a quality life. How nice it would have been if the suburbs / outskirts of Kolkata or Bengal at large had some decent health facilities instead of another quest mall. Call me an anti-national, I will stick to what I say. I get a decent meal at three dollars here, me and even the labour class ride AC buses. No, I am not trying to impress anyone, we are not aspiring for a citizenship here. We will go back some day, live in a condo, ride my own car, buy stuffs from Spencer and wow I will have three to four helpers and have an electrician, plumber just a phone call away.... be sure readers I still do not represent the average Kolkatan or represent Bengal at large. So, I will not mind if my son does not wish to go back, we never force him with his decisions. Doing so the son thingi will only be echoing someone so far my memory recalls. Howmuch I try to delete the memory button .... kambaqt jata nehi yaaron ..... it does not go. Idiots like me does have such attributes to their characters.

I sound very bitter this morning, I have to give a sweet treat to my readers. Moreover, the very happening singer from Kolkata Rupankar Bagchi is arriving tonight or tomorrow. We are going for his concert off course. I remember attending his concert back in 2013, he just stole our heart. He is going to rock this time too and I thank the Bengali Association of the island for keeping us grounded to our roots. Back to the track, Kolkata sweet shops are always a class apart when it comes to innovations .... the baked sandesh, roshogolla, ice-cream sandesh or sandesh with varied flavours. No wonder old Dr. Chang will be unhappy with me. However, this Baked Aam Doi is learnt from three ladies and I must mention their names before taking any credit. One is Ujjaini Mazumder..... she hails from Kolkata, now stays in Pennsylvania, an excellent cook and an academician by profession. We met in a group which claims to be the largest food group of India. She is one of the leading ladies there, yet stopped by my posts who was almost a non-entity there. You know I am too lethargic to communicate with people, more so in food groups, unless required. She calls me big sister and I like her, and wow..... we were in the same school once. About a decade younger than me, she is a calm, diligent woman. My friends Ipsita Bhattacharya and Nibedita Chottopadhay prepares this quick dessert wonderfully. You will get all 'quick meal' recipes from our Ipsita. Nibedita, the Kathak danseuse is presently touring USA and performed at the NABC held at Sanfrancisco. These people are kind of family and we prefer quiet meetings over good food.... with all our differences of opinion we are good friends. Come let us do some relaxed cooking while reading the newspaper or watching television. I am losing out on energy these days.






INGREDIENTS :
Ripe Mango : 2
Plain Yogurt : 200-250gm [I use homemade]
Sugar : 1/4small cup [alternatively artificial sweetener of same amount]
Yellow Food Colour : A pinch
Mango Essence : 1/2tsp [optional]
We can garnish with few saffron strands or not at all.

METHOD :
Wash and peel the mangoes and get the pulp. Add it to the blender and blend it to a smooth paste. Add the yogurt, sugar and the food colour if using and pulse for 1-2 minutes.



Take a bake proof tray and fill half with water. Pour the mango-yogurt mixture into ramekins or oven proof small bowls. Place the bowls on the water filled tray.



Place the tray gently atop the low tool and bake for 15-20 minutes at 170*C.



Once done, let rest for 3-4 minutes inside the oven and then take out.



We are done. Take out the bowl, let cool completely. Refrigerate for an hour or two before serving.




Tuesday, 18 July 2017

PEPPERY MANGO JAM



I was this small since when I had been watching mom preparing jam and jelly at home ...... mainly of guava and mango. I remember my favourite pastime was to apply a thick layer of those homemade jam atop cream cracker biscuit .... sit with my favourite author and take small pleasure bites. Now when I ask the mother the recipe.... she says she forgot where she learnt from, how she made. Once I got married she stopped cooking variety because my brother never took interest in varied dishes .... he sticks to his love for biryani and meat curries with pulao and South Asian Breads and Hilsa off course. For the son, my mother learnt to prepare biryani at home with her secret spice mix, a plate of Biryani with a single piece of meat, potato and egg costs around two hundred rupees in Kolkata. I call it 'secret' spice because she never shares the actual recipe with the daughter or anyone.... hahaha .... this is her habit since ages. So long my brother and son are happy with her recipe of biryani, I am at peace too. Ain't siblings very special ? They so much are, they are always ready to go that extra mile for you. It is so nightmarish to think my son will be alone when we are not there in this world, what if our 'Olive Oyl' is not so much friendly with her 'him.' I do not know why my senior's sister and my brother are stick to their decision of not having kids, multiplying my worries.

Did I say I love kids?..... yes I mean it.... these angels on earth do not know how to pretend or to dramatise an event or situation. They just bring in fresh air wherever they go. How much I love kids... I perhaps do not have the patience of handling them.... these bunch of fresh flowers are more fond of my man. He says you must treat the kids as another human being S and not as your play doll.... stop cuddling and kissing them every now and then.... it irritates them .... give them your time, attention and be playful. He is so good at handling kids even when he was in his twenties. In the Indian or the Subcontinental context, we really do not think of the kids much ..... how many movies are done just for the kids? or books written of quality is not that much as is required. Kids should not grow up reading Harry Potter alone. This old lady still gets goosebumps when she thinks of the Adventures of the Sailor Sindbad, Shamaresh Basu's 'Gogol' series or Sunil Gangopadhay's 'Kakababu O Shantu.' I am thankful to my father in so many ways .... Did I wish to go for a kid friendly recipe today? Yes I indeed felt so..... why I do not know. Do not try to find logic in my actions, mad people do not think logically, they are just instant with their actions .... good .... bad or whatever.

Since my mother forgot how she made her jams and jellies which she stopped making some 20 years back, I had to scrawl through Google for some ideas. I loved the spiced mango jam recipe from the blog Scratching Canvas and wished to go ahead with my own version of a mango jam with a dash of coarsely ground black pepper powder done fresh. It was done about two months back in bulk, my son  loves it with his bread, your kids will love it too. The recipe is really simple with few ingredients, homemade from scratch. Come let us do it together or you may engage your kids to do it.

Recipe Idea - Scratching Canvas Blog!



INGREDIENTS :
Ripe Mango - 4-6
Sugar : 1 small-medium cup
Coarsely Ground Black Pepper : 11/2tsp
Lemon Juice : 1/2 medium cup
Water : 1/3 Coffee Mug

METHOD :
Wash and peel the mangoes. Chop the pulp roughly into smaller pieces and discard the seeds.

Take the mango pieces in a heavy bottomed vessel. Add the water and put on gas.

Let it boil at medium to low heat for 5 minutes. Add the sugar and let simmer for 3-4 minutes. Stir every 1-2 minutes.

Add the lemon juice and simmer furthermore for few minutes till the jam gets little stickier.

Add the freshly ground coarse black pepper powder and give a quick stir. Switch of gas.

Once cool transfer to a clean, sterilised  glass container. It stays for month if refrigerated.




Sunday, 16 July 2017

DIM POROTA / ANDA PARATHA



My men's favourite Indian food.... any kind of South Asian Bread but again not only with Raita and Achar / Pickle.... there has to have a chicken or lamb curry. You bet there always is because the fat old lady is very much concerned about her chopsticks. The senior would have raita as a second sides with his favourites as this anda paratha or keema paratha but the junior will not even touch yogurt. It is not his fault, the mother fed him so much of yogurt as a child that he got averse to yogurt now. Same with the senior, he got apple and banana everyday to school and now the sight of them irritates him. The one who sat beside him then can say better.... hahaha. However, I realised sitting beside or say sitting together within a classroom does not make one each other's friend, friendship is an altogether different equation. I conclude that in a classroom of say thirty people, all cannot be your friend... some are friends..... rest are just classmates. I may be wrong.... given my lack of wisdom. My known circle can blame the idiotic me as reason for my husband getting distant with some people, or is it like what is to happen will happen? As of me I am so averse to certain attributes of some that I do not want any kind of renewed relationship with them, they did no good to me however innocent they pretend to be to the world. However, by God's grace nothing bad has happened to me till date..... I do not know about future. Heartbreaks are ok for me, rejections too because each person is different... hence their choices too ..... what I cannot stand is exploitation because the present me hates to be that user friendly that I had been earlier. So whoever is trying to get me play match-match game I do not want to be part of .... is only irritating me.... I am late to understand but when I realise all these I simply get pissed off. Since I cannot plead innocent like some who were actually not at all so ..... I have to vent it out and I prefer to compile everything on my blog which is also my 'Life Tales.' I sincerely hope people do not force me to bare open my heart totally and publicly.... let us stay away from each other maintaining a respectable distance. If your sole intention is to irritate me then go ahead, I will set my own track. Rest... the colour of a saree, dress, lipstick does not matter, most of the time I forget who wore what the last evening.... the forgetful me is so occupied in her own world.

See how I lose track. Actually there were couple of birthdays yesterday and day before of dear people of whom all are not Bengali. This Dim Porota / Anda Paratha is not a birthday like post but wished to say Hi! I care! to all those who mean, for the rest do not get on my nerves, I am a scorpio..... though I know some take advantage knowing I cannot do wrong to people who mean. Anyways, as I say all kinds of Breads are favourite with my men.... Western, South Asian or Middle Eastern. At home, I preferably do some of the South Asian ones, rest I am scared to try thinking I cannot perfect them. I think I have to try soon. This egg parathas are really a joyful venture.... beat the egg.... roast and powder the spices, chop the onion, chillies and coriander leaves.... mix all and go ahead. I served it with a bowl of cucumber and onion raita and a store bought garlic pickle which is a favourite of mine. Come, let us do it together with help of few pictures.



INGREDIENTS :

Refined Flour : 1coffee mug
Wheat Flour : 1coffee mug
Egg : 3-4
Chopped Coriander : 2tbsp
Chopped Onion : 1/2small cup
Chopped Green Chilli : 1tbsp
Dry Red Chilli : 2-3
Coriander Seed : 1tsp
Cumin Seed : 1tsp
Fenugreek Seed : 1/2tsp
Salt : 1/4 tsp
Oil : 1tbsp + 2tsp for each paratha

METHOD :

Take the flours, salt together and mix well. Add the oil and fold in well again. Beat the eggs and get the chopped vegetables ready.




Dry roast the spices like cumin, carom, coriander seeds and dry red chilli and coarsely ground them.





Add the beaten egg mix, chopped coriander, onion, green chilli and freshly ground spices to the flour mix.



We will not use water to prepare the dough, the beaten eggs do a wonderful job to prepare a soft dough in 10 minutes.



Tear out tennis ball sized portions and make roundels with help of both palms.



Dust each roundel with flour and roll out round sized parathas with help of rolling pin.




Heat pan on gas top and place one paratha at a time. Cook both sides till they turn little brown. Add oil each tsp for each side.



Once done transfer to a plate. For the Raita beat plain yogurt with little black salt, yogurt and ginger juice. Add chopped cucumber, onion and green chillies. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and little red chilli powder. You can also serve the dim porota / anda paratha with some pickle of your choice.


ILISH SHORSHE POSTO








"O Hasina zulfon Wali, Janey Jahan...
Dhoondti Hai Kafir Aankhey Kiska Nishan...
Mehfil Mehfil, Yeh Shamaa, Firti Hon Kahan...
Wow Anjana Dhoondti Hoon...
Wow Diwaana Dhoonti Hoon..."

Whenever I get to see this silvery beauty Ilish / Hilsa, I get as mad as Shammi Kapoor on screen and echo Rafi Saab on her praise. As I always say I can have ilish every day at each meal only if its sky rocketing price could be managed. We can still afford it but there are many back in India who loves it but are unable to have it given the prices going really high .... a kilogram selling at 1200-1500 rupees. It is a pinch in the pocket for a middle class Bengali. Ilish weighing less than a kilogram will not give you the right taste. What to do? In my side of the family, my parents compromised and look at the price while buying ilish for the past few years which is a normal thing to do. My mom will never buy an Ilish for 1500-2000 rupees unless it is a special day like the son's birthday or Jamai Shashti [a special day for the son-in-law] or any other occassion. Rest of the days she will buy those 750-800-900 gm weight at a little lower price but the fresh ones. Let me tell you we do not get fresh supplies anymore .... most of them frozen for 3-6 months coming from Bangladesh. In our childhood, a Bengali would take pride in saying 'Ganga-Padma r Ilish chara khabona'.... we will buy or eat an Ilish caught from the Ganges or Padma. Now they do comprise and buy the supplies from Kolaghat... what else to do? We have to have Ilish during monsoon.... it is our religion you can say. On the contrary, my husband's side of the family would go out of their way while buying Ilish or any fish or in general, food. It was not so that they did it when the son of the house got good luck for the family. My paa-in-law did it all within his limited financial sources. They ate like kings. I do not know what is right or wrong, each family has its own way of dealing with it. I personally believe we should save 60% of our earning and spend 40% of it.

We get Ilish in the island almost throughout the year that comes from Burma, caught from the Mandai river. Though they do not always satisfy my taste buds, they are just ok. They lack that oil that adds taste to an Hilsa Curry. Our very own kalojireey phoron diye Ilish Beguner Jhol... Raw pieces of Hilsa cooked with egg plants with a simple tempering of nigella seeds and slitted green chillies. It does not taste as heavenly here as it tasted back in Kolkata with Ilish from Ganga or Padma. I am still in a dilemma, should I blog on it... will it be an invasion on someone's identity.... with my limited grey matter I do not understand many of the things in the world .... unless my friends advice me what is wrong or right. I was not made to think, hahaha..... though everyone knows there are certain recipes that comes down on us for generations. Ilish Shorshe Posto or Hilsa cooked with mustard and poppyseed paste is not an unique recipe, its a common dish but its taste is out of the world. In my side of the family my mom does not mix posto with shorshe, this is my maa-in-law's recipe and I do it often while in Kolkata. The island is quite strict about Poppyseed and we cannot use it here. If you stay anywhere outside Singapore and Dubai, go ahead with this yum recipe of hilsa cooked with poppyseed-mustard seed-green chilli paste, else use only chilli-mustard paste or can we try some roasted sesame seed paste? This was also a part of a combined post done earlier that I wished to compile again as a separate post.






INGREDIENTS :
Ilish : 6 pieces
Black Mustard Seed : 2tsp
Poppy Seed : 1tsp[skip if you stay in Dubai or Singapore]
Green Chilli : 4-5[using generously enhances taste]
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Kalojeera[nigella seeds] : 2pinches
Mustard Oil : 1tbsp

METHOD :
Wash the poppy seeds , drain the water through a strainer and soak in hot water for 1 hour.

Wash the mustard seeds too. Blend together mustard seeds, poppy seeds, green chilli with little salt and 1/4small cup water.[the salt helps the paste not to turn bitter].

Apply salt and turmeric to the fish pieces and keep aside for 10 minutes.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with kalojeera. Add the paste and saute at low heat for 1/2 a minute.

Add little salt and turmeric. Add 1 small cup water. Let boil for 2 minutes.

Add the fish pieces. Let boil for 2-3 minutes. Flip over, let boil for another 2 minutes. Add slitted green chillies.

Serve hot with piping hot steamed rice.




Saturday, 15 July 2017

BORI DIYE LAU GHONTO




This is a very common Bengali vegetarian dish done with lau and bori.... that is bottle gourd and dried lentil balls. This dish too was a part of a combined post done earlier. I thought of sharing it as separate post with an updated picture. I am too poor in this area of taking pictures, I perhaps do not even have the required qualities to be a food blogger. While others use their high resolution DSLR and what not, our DSLR gets out of the cabinet when we go out on a tour. My men are least bothered with my blog that they will be interested in helping me with it and I am too lazy to learn and use it by myself. I use the shortcut method of aim and shoot with my cell phone. I keep on telling some of my blogger friends..... I really lack dedication of you guys. I mean I cook with all sincerity and the rest part is a happy go lucky thing ...... what in Bengali we call 'goyonggoccho bhab.' I am not happy with these pictures, yet I decided to use them. I have an excellent brother like photographer living within the same condominium. I feel too lethargic to visit him on Sundays and take some valuable lessons. Therein is my defeat. I never felt that urge to excel in what I do and remained a mediocre. Do not follow my footsteps..... youngsters.... you never can stand out.

However poor is the picture of my 'bori diye lau ghonto', its taste is guaranteed. You can go ahead with my recipe and enjoy it with some piping hot steamed rice. Lau or bottle gourd has a lot of beneficial factors which is consumed all over South Asia and South East Asia. It always had a top ranking place in the vegetable hierarchy made more popular by Baba Ramdev. However hilarious he is, his pranayam yoga is indeed helpful if we can do it correctly and have the tenacity to continue. I do not drink bottle gourd juice every morning but can share with you a very easy, simple and yum recipe with lau / bottle gourd. Come let us do it together.





INGREDIENTS :
Lau[bottle gourd] : 1medium
Bori[dried lentil balls] : 7-8 [you may skip or use dal pakora instead]
Green Chilli : 2[slitted]
Coriander Leaves : 3sprigs
Cumin Seed : 1/4tsp
Bayleaf : 1
Dry Red Chilli : 2[halved]
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 2tbsp

METHOD :
Peel and wash the the bottle gourd. Cut into smaller pieces and shred.

Heat oil in a wok and fry the lentil balls if at all. Keep aside. 

Temper oil with cumin seeds and bayleaf, dry red chillies.

Add the shredded bottle gourd. Add salt. Stir and cover. It will release a lot of water.

Once it is 60-70% done, add turmeric powder, slitted green chillies. Stir and cover again.

Once the water dries up completely, add the sugar, chopped coriander leaves and the fried bori broken into halves. Stir and let cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Serve with steamed rice. It may go with South Asian Breads too.



DUDH BORI DIYE JHINGE BEGUNER JHOL





We have literally grown up eating these dishes. In my side of the family this is a very common dish that maa used to prepare. This was more of a summer treat when coriander leaves was pricey... yet she would manage to buy small amount just to prepare few of these dishes. Later when we shifted to our own house, mum started gardening and grew a variety of coriander leaf which was called 'biliti dhonepata.'..... meaning 'foreign coriander leaves.' It had broader leaves and had a stronger smell.... the mesmerising smell and flavour I still could not forget. I never could get the actual name of it because mani says she does not get it anymore from the small time veggie sellers who got products from the village. In this curry she also added 'shimer bichi'..... roasted broad bean seeds. Jackfruit seeds and broad bean seeds are commonly used in my side of the family.... they were dried, roasted and stored throughout the year and added to various dishes. I do not know whether it was typical of Comilla or of entire Bengal. Now I see my friends from other states of India sharing recipes with jackfruit seeds. I feel wow!

You can well understand I have very less knowledge of the food world. I am learning each day from the people around. I never did any homework before starting with the blog. You know I am always scared of / averse to constructive learning or research .... I know my drawbacks so well. Anyway, I already have a very similar recipe of 'Jhinge Beguner Jhol' which I did as a part of a combined post. So this recipe can be called a copy paste with little variation. For two reasons I am compiling it separately with few changes.... one is that some of my near ones use milk in couple of their light curries besides shukto .... trust me it enhances the taste. Secondly, I have recently learnt to prepare "Bori".... that is dried lentil balls.... that too in a country where the sun plays hide and seek game every now and then. So, I am too eager to share some recipes with bori. Come let us do together this simple yet tasty curry with bori, ridge gourd and egg plant with minimal use of spices.




INGREDIENTS :
Ridge Gourd[Jhinge] : 2
Egg Plant[Begun] : 1
BORI [DRIED LENTIL BALL] : 8-10
MILK : 1/2 SMALL CUPNigella Seeds[kalojeera] : 2pinches
Red Chilli Powder : 1/2tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil[authentically mustard] : 1tsp
Chopped Coriander Leaves : 1tbsp

METHOD :
Peel and cut the ridge gourds and eggplants lengthwise. Wash and rub with salt, turmeric and red chilli powder.

Heat oil in a wok. Fry the dried lentil balls which we call bori. Take out.

Temper the remaining oil with kalojeera. Add the veggies and stir at high heat.

Lower the heat and cover cook for 3-4 minutes. Uncover and add 1/2 small cup water.

Again cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Add 1/2 small cup cold milk, stir and let boil at lowest heat for 1 minute. 

Add the chopped coriander leaves and stir.

Switch off,its done. Do not over boil, else the milk will cause the curry to curdle.





Friday, 14 July 2017

AAM SANDESH




So many of my co-workers cum friends have blogged on Aam Sandesh at par their excellence, and then there is me all of a sudden yesterday planned three back to back recipes with ripe mango. The mango season in this part of the world is already over or going to be over. We though get a year wide supply of few varieties from Australia which are quite pricey. This miser lady will not buy one mango for five dollars, there are other variety of fruits to have. On my way back from walk I usually enter the mall or the wet market shops to sit and eat something, do some window shopping, buy this and that. I got some mangoes at a very good price a day before. The son thing too expects that the mumma will get something for him which he never expects from his father. The mumma does it ever since her boy was this small and the duo lived together happily waiting six to eight months for the father to come back from sailing. Every Friday and Saturday evening was the duo's outing day to either 22, Camac Street or Forum Mall or at Park Street. Ten - Twelve years back there were no malls or eateries within a kilometre from home as of now.

A Bengali's love for mango is by default I think.... in most cases. So I feel lucky to be in a country where we get a number of varieties, even few Indian ones like Alphonso, Dassera, Chausa, Baganpalli and wow Lyangra too! I am wondering what actually triggered my weight gain .... I think my inability  to resist Mango and Sweets. I prepare a variety of sweets, ice-creams at home. I look at my latest picture and see my cheeks got chubbier, waist line out of control. Even our Cristine says I have put on a considerable amount after clicking me yesterday.... ma'am I think you need to watch your diet she would say. I never get angry when she says so... she is a very genuine, pure at heart, innocent girl. I always see the intentions of people and react accordingly, some I have decided to ignore totally. I know I need to do something immediately but feels so lethargic.... age is catching up fast and I am back to that lazy teen whom her parents never could force to go out and play in the neighbourhood. Back from school she would love to immerse in the world of books of her choice. The other day me and our friend Joy was frantically looking for the prose version of Odyssey.... I read a Bengali translation while at school.... so was really interested this time. Dear readers if you find it please do write the source in comments section.

By the way Girls, please stop taking pride in been obese.... been fat is not a good thing to be. People I am addressing might be much younger than me... start now before you become another me.... weak and lazy. My mom says my nature has always been lazy.... who loved her food and books .... not academics... by no means.... and mind it few of you guys and dolls.... I do not have a pokey nose... I am showing concern for you means I keep you near me.... for the rest my dear friends Ipsita Bhattacharya and Indirra Sengupta [formerly Bhattacharya] can help you with valuable tips... I have talked about Ipsita in a couple of posts.... Indirra is a friend from school.... more dear to my husband... Mid Eighties she was quite a fashion Icon when this primitive lady was more callous than now and looked at her in awe with her oil infused plaited braids. That does not mean she strayed.... she had been teaching in one of the leading schools in Delhi.... came back to Kolkata.... married and now teaching in one of the Birla run schools of Kolkata. Both of them worship their body and health and I love it. I am fond of Indira because she is carefree and much above and far from petty / cheap meanness.... she parties hard, very particular about her dresses and shoes but managed to admit her sons to the top in hierarchy school... St. Xaviers... Kolkata..... I never stop my man to love the right people.

Then there was one unique.... My Fair Lady who told straight on my face you know why you are rejected because you are so ugly and someone worships beauty..... look at me S .... every other boy in the class.... outside wants to marry me..... and God! same words repeated after 25 years, imagine readers what level of nonsense can it be! Oh my Sweetheart... I love you so much.... more than the handsome guys around, a kiss from me love.... muah..... hahaha. Life is not Bollywood.... that I will change myself after the well orchestrate insult showered on me and turn on to be a Priyanka Chopra or Katrina. Why should I change for someone either? I am still that dumbo after 30 long years but do not allow myself to be used anymore. I earn love and respect almost everywhere I go and learned to dump / ignore unwanted people from life.... who are very few in number though.

Coming to my nature and the decision to go up with a mango infused sweet....wow! My actual nature has revived... I had always been a loner... I cannot stand a crowd for long. I love my couch, to lie down there with a book, go to sleep wearing my glasses with the book lying on the chest. I am actually halfway of Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni's "Before We Visit the Goddess" and I am loving it. I can so much relate with Savitri ..... her teenage upheavals, coming to terms with it or may be never... whatever, fighting for the right cause on behalf of husband, and wow she started a sweet shop in the name of her mother Durga who prepared excellent sweets living in extreme poverty in a village. Didn't I start this blog to carry forward the legacy of my mom and grand mom? Then I broke my promise... 80% of my readers will not even understand what "kechki macher bora" is.... and I love  traffic on my blog... haha... I have already seen Savitri's death because the author is alternatively taking us back through flashbacks and then bringing us to the present. Savitri is all set to introduce a new sweet with mango puree, saffron, sugar and paneer in the 80's Kolkata and name it Durga Sandesh. I think the author herself takes interest in cooking too, I remember her sharing with us picture of Chocolate Sandesh last year on "Bijoya Dashami."I felt so much for Savitri that I cannot think of anything else than Aam Sandesh / Mango Sweet to be shared today. Very few ingredients like fresh mango puree, little sugar, cardamom powder, homemade paneer are what we require to go ahead with this simple recipe. Come let us do it with few stepwise pictures.



INGREDIENTS :
Fresh Milk : 2lt [tetra pack one does not help me while making chena / paneer]
Mango : 2
Sugar : 1/2small cup [or as per your preference]
Cardamom Powder : 1/4tsp
Yellow Food Colour : A Pinch [optional]
Chopped Pistachio : 1tbsp
Lemon Juice : 1/2small cup
Rose Water : 1tbsp

METHOD :
Pour the milk in a deep bottomed vessel and put on gas. Once it comes to boil, add the lemon juice while stirring continuously. Switch of gas as the milk curdles. Let cool.

Once cool strain it through a soft cloth and keep tied for 1/2 an hour. Unless I am making roshogolla, I am not so particular about straining or kneading part of paneer / chena. I do not wash it under running water either because I love the smell of fresh lemon always.

After half an hour or so take down the paneer and transfer it to a plate.




Keep on kneading the chena / paneer for about 10-12 minutes.



Wash, Peel and get the pulp of the mango. Transfer to a blender and pulse it for a minute or so. We get a smooth puree.



Heat a wok on gas stove. Add the paneer. Stir continuously. You will see all the water has evaporated after 10-12 minutes. Add sugar and stir for another 5 minutes.



Add the mango puree.



Fold in well and keep stirring till the whole thing is incorporated well.



Add the cardamom powder and rose water. Fold in well and stir for another minute or two. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Knead for 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a square shaped container thats surface has been greased with some ghee.



Refrigerate it for half an hour. Take out and turn over onto a plate. Garnish with chopped pistachios.



Cut the aam / mango sandesh into squares or diamond shapes. Serve hot and fresh to your loved ones.  Your can refrigerate the aam sandesh in covered containers up to 2 days.