Monday, 6 February 2017


..... and I am frantically looking for ideas to get my junior love our most favourite staple rice and fish. Ever since we shifted to this neighbourhood which has a mall just opposite of our home, he is having Mac meals every now and then. The mamma thing is really really worried with his food habits. This island city is a food hub, we just cannot resist the alluring food fare at every corner. I will do injustice to my boy if I say he is fully into fast food. He does love soups, local style fried rice, sushi everything provided it is served in a restaurant like ambience. What concerns his mumma is his apathy towards typical Bengali dishes. I find it hard to accept the fact that he still could not adapt to the taste of our much loved Hilsa, the mumma learnt to debone fish at age six. Lots of thanks to my maternal grandfather who worked in Kolkata and lived with us from Monday to Friday. Back from the market, he would call me and made sure I touch and feel the fish, watch it breathe if it was a whole, living .... 'jyanto' fish. Weekends, he would travel all the way to his own home and do lot of gardening. I have grown up watching all these. I loved hearing stories of 'opar Bangla' now Bangladesh  from my father, who I lovingly call Papu. There is not a bit of exaggeration  when they say that they never bought mangoes or fish, everything was home grown. I could feel the pain from these repeated stories, the pain of leaving everything behind and migrating to a foreign land penniless. When grown up in such an environment, it is quite obvious that the mumma will be worried with his son not been rooted to his own culture much. My papu thing is a typical Bengali who prefers puffed rice, roti paratha more than bread any day but was a big fan of Sophia Loren. He would tell his daughter mamoni did you see how graceful the lady is, how expressive her eyes are, off course the oomph factor was not mentioned haha. So I do not bind myself to a particular place or belief either, the whole world is mine. The old man made me read Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay to Maupassant and I enjoyed all. I can relate to anything that talks about relationships, nature, environment, culinary art, you discuss science and technology with me, I make it sure you are talking to a five year old and wasting your energy. No wonder someone sitting beside will say darling I still wonder how you cleared your 10th boards, I say keep quite, life has other attributes too, I can identify some flowers from their smell, feel romantic watching a colour smitten butterfly, make love with those tiny droplets atop a leaf.... can you?

I am doing a lot of irrelevant talking I know, but I love this space and pour in my heart here. Can we fully do that? no we cannot... Coming back to food, My son hates plain rice unless it is served with chicken or mutton curry, he is totally averse to bony fish. If I can sacrifice my Bangaliana a bit and fry the rice with anything available in the kitchen and serve it with spice laden crispy or shallow fried fish, he will lap up the whole plate. For his happiness, anything. This red rice was prescribed by none other than my friend Ipsita, my health freak buddy, she said it has higher nutritious value. My doctor says it does not matter whether you are having red, brown or white rice, roti... chapati, what matters is the amount of intake. This red rice got favourite with me and my son, not so much with my senior who prefers long grained. As said my son loves fried rice in any form, be it an oriental one, peppery buttered one or biryani, I do not have any problem with that, only if they did not skip the salad and raita part.Such combo meals save a lot of time. This time I prepared a fried rice with this red rice and carrots, french beans and green peas, to accompany was succulent pieces of boneless fish, marinated in garam masala and lemon juice and fried till crisp. Ain't that a yum laden combo deal ? It definitely is, hence let us do this Fried Red Rice with Veggies and Pan Fried Masala Fish together.

INGREDIENTS : [for the fried rice]

Red Rice : 1big cup [should be ok for 4-6 heads]
French Bean : 1/2small cup [chopped]
Carrot : 1medium cup [chopped]
Green Pea : 1small cup
Onion : 1big [cubed]
Green Chilli : 2-3 [chopped]
Blackpepper : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Butter: 2-3tbsp

INGREDIENTS : [for the fried fish]
Any firm white fish fillet : 500gm [to feed 4 -5 heads]
Punjabi Garam Masala : 2-3tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Red Chilli powder : 1tsp
Onion : 1 [finely chopped]
Green Chilli : 1 [finely chopped]
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp
Refined Flour : 1tbsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 5-6tbsp to fry

Let us soak the rice in hot water for 2 hrs else for 4-5 hrs in normal one .

Drain and wash water and pressure cook adding 21/3 coffee mug water up to 2 whistles. Switch off gas and let cool. We prefer it little sticky.

Heat butter in a wok. Add the cubed onions and saute for a minute. Add the chopped green chillies, carrots and stir in high heat for a minute, add the green peas and stir for another minute. Add black pepper powder and salt. Stir and add the rice, mix well and stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Its done.

Wash and marinate the fish fillets with  salt and lemon juice for an hour. Drain the marinade. Take the garam masala, salt, red chilli powder, refined flour, finely chopped onion and green chilli in a bowl and mix well. Coat the fish fillets with it.

Heat oil in a pan, fry the fish pieces well at low heat. Drain excess oil and turn on to a serving plate.

Serve hot with the fried rice made with red rice and assorted vegetables accompanied by a salad.