Tuesday, 8 August 2017


Sesame seed or Til is quite in use among us Bengalis though not so much in our family except for during the period between Bijoya Dashami to Lokkhi Pujo .... Grandma, maa, aunties preparing 'Tiler Naru'... Sesame Ladoos.... and a greedy little girl trying to steal some at once. I use the word steal because we were not supposed to have before offering them to the Goddess. I am yet not successful with tiler naru... though it is just a two ingredient sweet with roasted sesame seed and jaggery.... the trick is in properly cooking the jaggery mix.... with Janmashtami approaching I am so much willing to prepare them. Then I land in this island and see both varieties of sesame seed is so much in use here. To add more joy to the soul.... so good quality tiler naru is available in the shops here. These are the little things that helps me feel connected. I am not saying this because the island celebrates its National Day tomorrow, its a gut feeling for sure. I should have gone for an authentic dish of this place today, but you know though I have adapted a taste for couple of their dishes, I rarely try them at home. You need to buy a couple of ingredients for that.... and the confused me gets more confused standing in front of the sauce section of NTUC or Cold Storage or Giant .... you will always see me taking a lazy afternoon stroll in these stores after a healthy lunch of Yong Tau Foo or a dumpling soup or a fish soup.  One major reason of identifying myself with this place quickly is that their staple [if I can take the liberty to say that] and ours is rice and fish. This may not be an authentic Bengali dish but I have given a Bengali touch to it.

Coming back to til or sesame seed... it is quite in use at my home these days as an alternative to posto or poppyseed. Wish I / we could convince the higher authorities here that 'postor moto mahargo bostu hoyna, bhalo ghumo hoy'.... poppyseed is good to have and I hear it helps to sleep well.... if it has come out from the mouth of a 'Bangal'.... there is truth in it. That very good quality Tiler Naru is I think a Southern Indian influence in the culture. I do not wish to emphasise such things as that requires a good amount of research..... but there can always be such telephonic conversations with the mom .... 'mani jano South Indian der sangey amader khabarer mil achey.... narkel dudh diye mach bolo ba onno besh kichu... oder pithe-pulir sangey amader mil achey'..... there are similarities between South Indian and Bengali cooking.... their Kozhukattai and our doilla pithe is almost same. Anyway, if I cannot prepare a local dish for the occasion, I will at least use some ingredients that are common here and understandable to a majority. Whether the dish is suitable to symbolise an Indian living happily in the island or not is for the readers to decide. It was 8pm yesterday when I told Cristine... let us prepare a quick fix vegetarian dish... so that in the next morning I need to prepare only the parathas.... So this TIL BADAMBATA ALOO with Paratha went into their lunch boxes today. I need to write more about Cristine soon... last Saturday I went to attend a programme... she prepared a  dessert for us with cornflour, coconut milk, sugar and sweetcorn kernels and calls it Maja Blanca... I really liked it.... I think I have to recreate it using dry fruits for my men..... my chopsticks are naughty enough to consider sweetcorn as an ingredient for salad unless it is used for some corn and cheese fritters. So at 8 pm on a weekday, you or rather a lazy me will not go for any elaborate cooking but for a quick, simple one as this TIL BADAMBATA ALOO. I am not happy with the pictures either but the taste is guaranteed. For that you need to cook together with me TIL BADAMBATA ALOO. If poppyseed is not banned at your place, you can use a bit of it's paste too. A fish curry and rice  dish was so much apt for the occasion but then what about the friends and readers who are keeping fast for the rest of the month or thereafter?

A Happy National Day to all who are celebrating, we stay or not... this island will continue to be one of the safest, cleanliest, disciplined country in the world map.... how will we spend the day tomorrow?... I will cook a jirey-kancha lanka bata diye Ilish beguner jhol - Hilsa with eggplants with a simple spice mix of cumin and green chilli paste.... authentically we use only slitted green chilli and nigella seeds for tempering if the fish is fresh and will not fry the fish too..... the brothersome store helps in the Asian stores say Apa, 'borofer hoileo maccc ta bhalo khaiben'... though frozen, you will enjoy it.... overjoyed at the sight of some gondhoraj lebu and jolpai too, their Apa uses the dialect of her forefathers.... ' jjjalpai diya cccchadni ki bhalo khaitam maa... didur haatey kon bhaijjan.... shidol / hidol shutki / hudki nimu ektun, kobey aaibo janayen'.... their Apa also takes pride in saying publicly that some of her and her senior's closest relatives live under moderate to extreme financial limitations and yet smile at any untimely visitors or guests and say 'ektu macccc bhaat na khaile jaitei dimuna'.... if you have come, you have to have some fish and rice before leaving.... and in the evening we are due to meet some special guests.

Potato : 6 to 8 medium [ I used Brastagi variety]
Onion : 1 big
Green Chilli : 3-4
Til / Sesame Seed : 1tbsp [roasted]
Cashew nut : 4-5 [raw]
Plain Yogurt : 2tbsp
Fennel Seed : 1/4tsp
Bay Leaf : 1
Turmeric Powder : 2-3 pinches
Salt : As Required
Oil : 4 tbsp


Wash the potatoes and take in a microwave proof dish, make holes in each one with a fork. Microwave for 3-31/2 minutes.... we do not want them to over boil. Take out and hold under running water to cool if you are in a hurry.

Peel off the skin carefully and cut half. Add salt and turmeric.

Peel and wash the onion, cut into smaller pieces. Dry roast the sesame seeds till golden brown. Take the onion pieces, sesame seed, plain yogurt, green chillies and cashew nuts in a blender.

Blend to a smooth paste, use water if only required.

Heat the oil in a wok and fry the potato pieces till little brown.

Take out and keep aside. Temper same oil with with the bay leaf and fennel seeds. Add the paste and little salt. Stir for not more than a minute, now add the fried potatoes and fold in well.

Add a medium cup of water and fold in well again.

We will cover cook for 3-4 minutes.

Open cover and see.... it should be done.

Ingredients like sesame seed or poppyseed pastes have a tendency to soak the gravy.... do not worry, it enhances the taste of the potatoes. Transfer the entire thing in a serving bowl and enjoy with either fried rice or paratha, poori, chapati or even bread.


  1. I like the idea of adding sesame seeds into this potato dish. Never done it, though sesame seeds are generally sprinkle of stir fries. Learn something new, a new recipe indeed.

    1. Bengalis do use sesame seed in cooking though not so common... but sesame seed ladoo is done in every home perhaps.

  2. Yes each region of Indian food is connected with the other region...may be the name is different...that's what I feel...If you take poha ---In Bengal chirer polao, In West Kandha Poha,In Middle India Indoori Poha...your Aloo dum is so perfect to go with any Indian flat bread

    1. You are so right Amrita... and thank you so much...

  3. I try to substitute mustard with sesame seeds often,it being such a healthy option.This seems to be a very nice way of using it