Monday, 25 September 2017


Ashtamir Shokale jodi mon dei radhaballavi aar aloor dom e.... Nabami utshargokrito KABLICHOLAR KEEMA GHUGNI o trikon porotai..... and a Bengali has that ability to have this kind of heavy breakfast after a rigorous pandal hopping on Ashtami night... more so after gorging on a heavy meal of mutton biryani at Arsalan or mutton rara and kulcha at Azad Hind Dhaba or Hilsa at Taj Bengal or Kewpie and finally we must mention the flocks of crazy people running for their favourite Indo-Chinese at Park Street or China Town.... I really do not have any idea of the present day eating house scenario at Kolkata.... a once a year or twice visit is not enough to give a good account of it... We do not even get time for restaurant hopping as we did years before.... Back then the son was little, the man of the house came home every six months and we explored new and more of new eateries often.... at times thrice a week. If he was there during pooja, pandal hopping happened after midnight of the first one or two days of Durga Pooja with few friends.... rest at home or at our own neighbourhood pooja. If you ask me now how would you wish to spend the four days of Durga Pooja... I would say one or two days at the pooja venue and rest at home over a good read, good food and chat with like minded people. Then what will happen to my sarees? .... this time they are 25 in number but you need not make "golgol chokh"... they are mostly cottons... some gifts too. I will give you one example of how extravagant the pooja organisers at Kolkata can be.... at one pandal the saree of the Durga idol is weaved with gold.... crores of rupees are spent on each of the famous poojas from the costume to lighting while the flood affected areas do not get relief in time or not at all.... it is not always wise to point finger at the government.... how enlightened are we as citizens?.... I am not in a position to say anything beyond as I have made no contribution to the cause till date.

Let us be less critical today and talk about something I love and my readers wish to hear from me.... food..... come on this should be my last post till Bijoya Dashami... its Durga pooja and my nails are not done yet, hair not coloured.... the blog needs some rest. Coming to the post to be shared today, this garbanzo beans and minced chicken curry is usually had with paratha / porota or poori / luchi. Very authentically, the Bengalis do it with minced mutton and dried white pea. Bengalis must be eating Kabuli Chana.... kabli chola as we call it.. any mention of it reminds me of Tagore's famous short story Kabuliwala.... that heartrending conversation between the trader and the little girl Mini.... will remain etched in my mind / heart / memory forever........ and how the perfecto called Chobi Biswas immortalised that role of Kabuliwala in the movie with the same name..... In the early 20th century or may be earlier, these traders were seen in Kolkata selling dry fruits and lending money... which provided a rough plot to the poet to write it laced with finer layers of emotions between a little girl and a father like stranger who found his daughter who he left behind in that distant land for business in this little girl Mini. Each time I cook something with garbanzo beans..... kabuli wala overshadows my mind..... today I strongly feel I have to read it once more.... you can also watch the movie in youtube if it is there, cannot guarantee the print quality though. Forget about my "wetty eyes".... drama queens get so every now and then.... let us cook together KABLICHOLAR KEEMA GHUGNI and enjoy it with any kind of bread... yes I mean it... among Kolkata tea stalls' best selling items are "cha-tos-mumlet" .... that is tea, butter toast & omelette ..... and "cha, pauruti aar ghugni"..... tea, soft local bakery loaf bread and dried white pea curry.

INGREDIENTS : [for the dry roasted spice powder]
Cumin Seed : 1tsp
Coriander Seed : 1tsp
Dry Red Chilli : 2-3

INGREDIENTS : [for the kabli cholar keema ghugni ]
Garbanzo Beans : 200gm
Chicken : 250-300gm [minced]
Onion : 1big [sliced] + 1small [chopped]
Tomato : 1big [chopped]
Coriander Leaves : 2-4tbsp [chopped]
Green Chilli : 2 [chopped] + 3[slitted]
Ginger Paste : 1tbsp
Garlic Paste : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1/2tsp
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp
Tamarind Juice : 1/2small cup
Salt : As Required
Dry Red Chilli : 2-4
Bayleaf : 1
Cinnamon Stick : 2one inch size
Green Cardamom : 2
Clove : 2
Cumin Seed : 1/4tsp
Oil : 3-4tbsp


Heat a pan, dry roast the three spices meant for a dry roasted spice powder. Stir for 3-4 minutes, switch of as you get a nice aroma. Let cool and grind to a coarse powder with help of a grinder.

Wash the garbanzo beans / kabuli chana and soak in hot water for at least 5-6 hours or overnight in cold water. Pressure cook them adding little salt and turmeric in enough water up to 4-5 whistles at low heat. Let cool completely before we open the cover.

We will wash the minced chicken and marinate it with little salt, turmeric powder, lemon juice and the red chilli powder.

Heat oil in a wok and temper with cumin seeds, dry red chillies, bayleaf, green cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon sticks.

Add the onion slices and fold in well.

Keep stirring till they turn golden brown. Add the ginger-garlic paste and keep stirring for a minute or two at medium heat. Add the remaining turmeric powder and little salt.

Add the chopped tomatoes to the wok and fold in well.

Once they melt, the spice mix looks as below. We will now add the minced chicken along with the marinade. Mix well and cook covered for 10-12 minutes.

The boiled garbanzo beans can be added now along with the slitted green chillies. Fold in well.

Cover and simmer for about 14-16 minutes. Little water can be added in between if required. Open cover and add 1/2 of the chopped coriander leaves, rest of the lemon juice, tamarind juice and the dry roasted coarse spice powder. Fold in well and simmer for a minute or two.

Once done, we will transfer it to a serving bowl and garnish with chopped onion and green chillies and rest of the chopped coriander leaves. Enjoy with your choice of bread.... hot and fresh. There has to have some sandesh or roshogolla, tea or coffee with this platter.

Saturday, 23 September 2017


Our week long celebration started with the kind of food that makes my boys ..... specially the junior.... happy..... some dry kind of sides and meaty dishes with bhaat bhaja.... rice fried with any thing makes rice acceptable to them. I have become kind of "let go... what can be done?"..... There is a Bengali in essence or essentially so mother at this home who is ready to serve a 3-5 course typical Bengali meal to her family from shaak..... shukto to rui / katlar jhol.... but there is a son who chooses salmon over ilish ..... chicken / mutton over dim bhora khal-biler koi. Off course it hurts me but as a mother / wife you will always want to see your family happy, at the dining table too. If you are like me you will take a midway and will not do away with 'desi khana' entirely and cook something like MACHER PUR BHORA MOSHOLA DIM. I will not stop cooking ilish / hilsa either and be in a happy conversation as this " Rehman bhai.... Ganga / Padma r ilish aaise ni... toi ekta dyan.... Burma r ilish gosaiben na amarey... ilisher namey kolonko ogulan"..... and this mother will sit and de bone ilish for her 15 year old son with the hope that some day he will adapt to the taste of it. There is less reason to be sad when the kid of your neighbourhood friend do lap up all the rice with the mulo chechki or pui chocchori you have sent with love.... that is hope enough to know that generation next may not forget the roots.... the son eats four rasgullas at one go at least. It is perhaps the failure of the mother of this house not been able to make her son continue with reading and writing in Bengali.... a punch of "Ghanada".... "Feluda".... and religiously "Upendra Kishore" would have set him on the right track.... Unfortunately they are all breathing feebly in a locked, dark room back in Kolkata. This time of the year, our biggest attraction were the "pujo barshiki"..... our newspaper dealer Bhola Kaku got them on the first day of publication. However, while taking a lazy stroll at the by lanes of College Street on my last visit to Kolkata with our friend Joy Ghosh.... he said they do not remain as attractive as before..... this guy is one of the species who spends 80% of his limited resources buying books and so I have to believe him. However poor I am in science or say in academics, Professor Shanku was an all time favourite. My friend Swati does reserve them for me though.

I do not cook at all on the four main days of Durga Puja.... I do not stay at home either. Mornings I will visit the Ramakrishna Mission and evenings are spent at the puja venues followed by eating out with friends. So next few days will be some kind of cooking that we love as a family. There could have been a Bengali style dimer devil but I had some boneless fish resting in the freezer and I had to use it.... there will not be much shopping for the kitchen this week, just using up the remaining..... so there was this last night.... MACHER PUR BHORA MOSHOLA DIM served with some meatball ghee rice done with minced chicken, the recipe of which will be shared later. The recipe of this fish stuffed egg whites is super easy and yes, loaded with spices. As I happily cook it in my temple called the kitchen, I indulge in an imaginary conversation with an elder cousin whose daughter got relocated to the West recently. I can feel the father who have not studied beyond school, a majority of my extended family have not tasted even a college life but brought up their kids beautifully.... I love it.... On both sides of our family, we are perhaps the first generation who got to see "bahar gaon".. "foren"..... I was wondering what he must be thinking.... " Mezda.... oto bhaibyo na... hai shob paibo Bangali mass-torkari.... shun bon hyaira ki khai ri? ogo dyashe moshola khai na.... moshla sara zhul randhey ... orey koi soup... dimer debbil randhe ogo moto koira... shiddo kushum tarey maikha piper modhya dhukaiya dimer shadai bhoira khai.... moshola nai, bhazeo na amago moto.... he asks... tui khaisot ni itan? Khaisi... barite randhi na... lanka tipya bhaat na khailey amar pyato bish lagey.... arey oto bhaibyo na amago dyasher koto manush thakey....amagor moto bhaat, rutir h-utel er abhab nai.... ami zei dyasho thaki moza paiba.... kamraranga, batabi lebu, kot bel o paoya zai.... bhabtey partaso? ooi dyasheo paoa zai hoyto... zigai nai bondhugo"..... I really cannot translate this conversation.... if there is any expat like me who are always charged / overloaded with nostalgia besides enjoying all the fruits of living in a developed nation.... they will understand by themselves, they will feel what I mean. Eggs are too much of a love for my husband who had even 3-4 a day once.... for me egg is good when there is a duck egg curry with rice or a paratha. All of us loved the spicy minced fish filling on it though and we will do it together with help of few pictures. The yolk can be refrigerated and later used in a salad... what do you say? The left over fish filling is kept for some fish kachori... who can stop me from gaining 4kg weight in the next week?

Egg : 4-6 [boiled and halved]
Boneless Fish : 250-300gm
Onion : 1 medium [chopped] 
Green Chilli : 2-3 [chopped]
Coriander Leaves : 2-3tbsp [chopped]
Cumin Seeds : 1/4tsp
Asafoetida : 2pinches
Cumin Powder : 1/3tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Cinnamon Powder : 1/4tsp
Cardamom Powder : 1/4tsp
Aamchur Powder : 1/4tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Lemon Juice : 4-5 tbsp
Refined Flour : 1tbsp [optional]
Minced Garlic : 1tbsp
Minced Ginger : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 1/2 medium cup

Boil the eggs... Once cool, de shell and wash under cold water. Half them and take out the yolk. We will use them later in another dish.

Marinate the boiled egg whites with salt, little of cumin, coriander, red chilli, turmeric powders, a  tbsp of lemon juice and the aamchur powder. Keep aside for 1/2 an hour.

After 1/2 an hour we will deep fry them till golden brown and crisp.

We will rest them on tissue papers and set to prepare the fish filling. We have already washed the cubed fish pieces and marinated them with salt, turmeric powder and 2tbsp lemon juice.

We will heat 2tbsp oil in a wok or a pan. Temper oil with cumin seeds and asafoetida. Add the minced garlic and ginger, chopped onion and green chillies.

Once the onion turn brown, add the fish with the marination, cumin, coriander, turmeric, red chilli powders too.

Fold in well, cover cook for about 8-10 minutes.

Open cover, add the cinnamon and cardamom powder, chopped coriander leaves to the wok.

Fold in well and cook for 1-2 minutes, uncovered. Add the refined flour.

Fold in well and cook for a minute or so, our filling is done.

Once cold, we will fill the pockets of the boiled and fried egg whites with the mouthwatering, spicy, aromatic fish filling.

Arrange them well in a serving plate and we enjoyed them with some minced chicken meatball rice and salad. Our Durga Puja celebration starts with a bang.

Thursday, 21 September 2017


Have you ever had dinner and appetiser at the same time? We did it last night. Do we really have any time for enjoying appetisers on weekdays? We do not have ..... not at our home where some one finds it really difficult to leave his first love and come back to his wife and kid ..... more so when the kid has his major examination knocking the door..... at least this is the scenario at this home. It is absolutely unnecessary to listen to a worried wife saying please sit with the son at least for an hour now. The knowledge level of the mother of this particular house is questionable and limited to "H2O maney jol.... O2 maney oxygen"...."eei prithibi je amai oxygen nitey dicchey akhono dhakka merey joley feley deini eei onek bhagyo amar" ..... what she can do to keep herself engaged? She makes some plan and calls for Cristine ..... come let us do some"mukhorochok".... may be a "fry.. shry" this time. Ideally the fry had to have some kheema or fish stuffing inside because it is the eve of our biggest festival. Then it is also the start of a fasting week for many in India, abroad and yes.... perhaps for majority of my readers .... I definitely will take care of their sentiments.... I also need to see the Bengalis do not use their sticks on me.... come on MIXED VEGETABLE & DRY FRUIT FINGERS is a good option to have before setting out for your pandal hopping on Panchami.... Phuchka may have been a better option but I do not know if chaat is welcome during fast or not. Even on "Shasthi".... Bengalis of the West Bengal side keep fast or do not eat rice. In my side of the family, all four days are painstakingly vegetarian as the daddy's extended family still perform Durgotshob at their Bangladesh home. Before her marriage, the daughter of the house then would run to her now in-law's place or to one of her dearest Chandrayee's place for a taste of fish and meat. At times my little brother would also accompany me though he was never a foodie like his didibhai.

Before we dive into some "jomiye ekta pathar jhol" or "chingrir jyamon tyamon".... let us share something that would say ..... fast can be a feast too. A couple of my friends in this island, back in India and elsewhere shall be keeping fast from today I know.... my small way to say.... you mean. I also felt this kind of food can appeal to the Western world too if you can take the heat of my RAW MANGO-GREEN CHILLI DIP.... just take a look at the number of chillies I used.... hahaha .... no worries, choose yours. I simply loved it and the man who tells his friends oil and chillies come for free in our house loved the platter..... we had some rice, narkol diye cholar dal and choto chingri diye aloo-potol to complete the dinner ..... while J Lo must be having her dinner with an assorted vegetables and seeds salad and a low-fat Greek yogurt..... To my defence I will say so long I have a saree to hide my tummy.... "go as you like more often.... zindegi do pal ki"..... Keeping in mind my followers and friends who are keeping fast today, I kept this appetiser and the dip.... MIXED VEGETABLE & MIXED FRUIT FINGERS WITH RAW MANGO-GREEN CHILLI DIP totally free of onion and garlic. Earlier, I never used semolina as a coating, I found it really awesome to get that crisp, hard coating which does not allow the fries to get soggy for a long time.... You can reheat them after few hours and still feel its fresh and crisp. The fingers may look fat than usual..... what else do you expect from this fat, old lady... her fingers are never artistic enough to be a poet's fancy. Haha..... actually it was too late yesterday and we preferred 13 medium sized fritters than 18-20 beautifully shaped ones.... I can guarantee you taste but perfectionist I am not ..... "doi er modhya shosha dubey gelo, kheyali nei.... chobi tola hoye gelo"..... the cucumber pieces are not arranged properly in the yogurt salad bowl.... I did not even notice and clicked. I am a lost case.... diagnosed and it is true. Forget that, prepare the fries along with me and enjoy the heavenly bites. Do not forget to have your favourite beverage with it either.

Raw Mango - 1[shredded]
Green Chilli - 3-4 [choose yours]
Ginger Extract : 1tsp
Jaggery : 2tsp [shredded]
Black Salt : 2pinches
Water : 2tbsp
You can add little olive oil atop the dip, I did not.... the difference between chutney and dip is not always clear to me..... "likhtey icche holo like dilam..... diiipp"

INGREDIENTS : [for the batter]
Corn Flour : 3tbsp [I do not know if we can use this for fast]
Black Pepper Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : Little [rock or black salt as alternative]
Water : 1/2small cup or little more

Cauliflower Florets : 1coffee mug
Potato : 2medium
Carrot : 2medium
Beet Root : 1
Raw Mango : 2tbsp [shredded]
Green Pea : 2tbsp
Coriander Leaves : 1small cup [chopped]
Green Chilli : 2 [chopped]
Raisin : 11/2tbsp
Pistachio : 2tsp [chopped]
Cashew nuts : 11/2tbsp [chopped]
Asafoetida : 2pinches
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
Fennel Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Cinnamon Powder : 1/4tsp
Cardamom Powder : 1/4tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required [rock or black salt as alternative]
Corn Flour : 2tbsp
Semolina : 11/2medium cup
Oil : 100-150ml for deep frying

Let us prepare the RAW MANGO-GREEN CHILLI DIP first and refrigerate till the fries are done.

Take the peeled, washed and shredded raw mango leaving 2tbsp for the fries, shredded jaggery, black salt, ginger extract and 4 green chillies in a grinder....

Grind to a paste adding the water. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate till we are done with the fries.

Peel, wash and cube the potatoes, carrots and beet root. Pressure cook them along with the cauliflower florets in enough water adding little salt and turmeric up to 2 whistles . Let cool, take down, open cover and strain all the water.

Take the vegetables in a wide mouthed bowl, mash adding salt and turmeric powder.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok. Temper with asafoetida. Immediately add the green peas and fry for a minute or two. Add the chopped green chillies and stir.

Add the mashed vegetables to the wok and fold in well. Add all the remaining powdered spices to the wok and fold in very well. Keep stirring for 3-4 minutes till the water dries up.

Now add the corn flour, chopped coriander leaves, raisins, chopped cashew nuts and pistachio to the mixture.

Fold in very well and stir for a minute. We are done, we will transfer the mixture to a plate and let cool for sometime.

Add the shredded mango and little semolina to the mixed vegetable and dry fruit mixture and mix well.

Take out small portion and prepare finger like shapes and roll on to the semolina.

Once done, we will refrigerate them for sometime.

Prepare a batter with black pepper, salt, water and cornflour.... mix well. Keep the semolina, batter and fingers ready on your gas table. Dip the fingers in the batter, coat with semolina well, they are now ready to fry. Heat oil in a wok for deep frying the veg fingers.

Deep fry the vegetable and dry fruit fingers at medium to low heat in batches.

Once they turn golden brown, transfer them onto tissue paper for the excess oil to soak.

Arrange the MIXED VEGETABLE & DRY FRUIT FINGERS in a nice plate and serve with the cool, RAW MANGO-GREEN CHILLI DIP along with some salad.... It still remains incomplete if you do not have your favourite beverage with this superbly delicious platter.

Monday, 18 September 2017


It was Viswakarma[the God of Engineering?] Pujo yesterday and I do not have a bit of him within me, "ekta chotto pronam sherey palai baba." It is Mahalaya tomorrow.... end of Pitripokkho / Pitripaksh and the beginning of Debipaksh / Debipokkho .... We are all set to welcome Maa Durga and her kids .... in few days she will be on her Royal entourage of the earth   ..... her yearly ritual with her kids leaving behind her husband for few days.... according to the Hindu Mythology. With every passing year I am getting little older ..... not been a J Lo you see. Each year such occasions takes me back  to those days when pujo meant a month long celebration..... starting from going out with parents to buy 'notun jama.'.... new dresses on a sunny Saturday morning. Kids today will never understand the amount of joy it had.... they get stuffs throughout the year. Once I cleared class twelve, I became richer than many in my age group... I started giving home tuitions and earned 1200-1500 rupees per month, back in 1989. My parents never asked me to, it was by choice. It was during Durga puja, Bengali New Year I loved gifting my own with that amount.... My banker father opened an account in my name and said do not spend all of the amount, save some. My mother still have the semi-precious pearl set I gifted her with my first salary as a teacher in a school. The father used to scold whenever I gifted him something.... save... save mamoni... you waste too much. The actual scenario was different.... he used to wear it the next day and tell his friends see my daughter has gifted.... this was the scenario till March 2017. There were gifts for my now husband too with my tuition fees and later with my salary however meagre it was.... a shirt or a T-shirt... I could not afford a trouser along with it. Our priceless gift to each other.... our son off course, a daughter never happened.... an Olive Oyl will happen. Coming to the fact that once upon a time I was quite active..... I do not know why I  am sitting idle at home, I can always go back to my first job.... giving home tuitions.... For that one needs to be communicative which I have lost interest in. I am perhaps more communicative with the virtual world than real except for few people and with no regrets. I can feel I am back into my actual nature of been a happy loner.... all the "in-between" years were actually trying to fit in at my in-laws house.... who are of warm and friendly nature. I am a mixed bag inheritor of my parents... self-centric like the mother.... happy go lucky "Uncle Podger" like the father..... failing to be a person like him with warmth and excellent communication skills.

This ever smiling man full of warmth who happened to be my daddy did perform the ritual of paying homage to the ancestors on this day every year since his father's death in 1985. Waking up early morning and going to the Ganges and performing all the required rituals. The "pujo pujo feel" started right from Mahalaya. This year he is no more, there is an awkwardly low feeling deep inside.... yet I will wear my new sarees, get clicked and share some too because words like depression, sorrows were not in his dictionary. There is perhaps no tomorrow, do it now.... live the moment.This island gives you the opportunity to flaunt all you have on this occasion of Durga Pujo, that "baroyari pujo feel" with five pujos at different venues happening islandwide..... its an island mind it..... It is also Navaratri for many but I cannot go with full vegetarian shares for two long weeks prior to Durga Pujo.... it is that time of the year Bengalis will eat Chingri Malaikari for lunch.... and then Pathar Kosha or Murgir Chap with Roomali Ruti at 3am after pandal hopping.... with no antacid either.... some of my readers may get upset with some of my shares next two weeks, hahaha. Trying to stay in your good book, my share on this auspicious day is a not so authentic Bengali sweet..... but a makeover to our very own naru..... KAJU KISHMISH BHORA SUJI NARKOL ER NARU..... Cashew nuts and Raisins stuffed Coconut and Semolina Balls / Ladoos. This sweet is easy to do if we can have the patience to boil the milk for a longer period to get the right consistency. You need not boil that amount of milk as mine, I was actually preparing another dessert with milk and vermicelli simultaneously with this KAJU KISHMISH BHORA SUJI NARKOL ER NARU..... an irresistible sweet meat option for you this festive season. It became an instant hit with my family..... Come let us prepare this sweet together and bring smile to our loved one's faces.

Coconut : 2big cups [shredded]
Semolina : 11/4big cup
Dudh er Kheer : 1big cup [milk thickened over prolonged boiling]
Sugar : 11/2medium cup
Green Cardamom Powder : 1/2tsp
Raisins : 2tbsp
Cashew Nuts : 2-3tbsp [chopped]
Ghee : 3tbsp

Take the milk in a heavy bottomed vessel. I have taken about 2 lt. of milk as I was cooking another dessert simultaneously. You will take about 500ml of milk and keep boiling at low heat. Keep boiling till it becomes thick and reduces to about 200ml.

Heat a pan and add the ghee to it. Add the semolina and roast it till it turns brown at medium to low heat. Ahh you will love the aroma.

Transfer the semolina / suji to a plate . Place the same pan on the gas oven, no need to wash. Add the shredded coconut and sugar to the pan. Sprinkle little water. Fold in well and keep stirring.

After about 8-10 minutes, add the roasted semolina, green cardamom powder and fold in well. 

Add the dudh er kheer / thickened milk little by little and keep stirring. We will do this for 5-7 minutes.

Our naru mixture is ready, we will transfer them to a plate and let cool a bit.

Chop the cashew nuts, wash the raisins and get them ready at your work station.

Take small portions of the coconut-semolina mixture and flatten between your palms. Place some raisins and chopped cashew nuts atop.

Take little more of the mixture and place over the dry fruits, slowly and carefully bring in to the shape of a naru / ladoo.

You can see they are done and ready to eat. The happy souls at my home got happier having them. They will be done in large amount after Durga Puja and sent to the senior's office, for visiting guests. You too can try this KAJU KISHMIISH BHORA SUJI NARKOL ER NARU this festive season and see happy faces around. They can be stored in a refrigerator for a week.