Sunday, 21 October 2018


So, a week long celebration comes to an end finally.... as all good things do! Durga Pooja for us is a cyclic celebration... the wait is little longer.... say for 365 days.... thats it! We totally enjoy the festival staying here far from home. In fact, I am scared now of the Kolkata Pooja.... I am definitely not in support of getting to see the mother's face as early as on Mahalaya neither am I comfortable with the idea of pandal hopping in the crowd. To park the car a mile away from each pandal and joining the queue seems scary to me now. I totally enjoy the ride in a personal chauffeur driven car here in this island, in return I cook good food for him and digest all the threats he showers on me.... What else can I expect from a person who told me this when we got engaged.... "T to what extent would you be romantic towards me, how happy do you feel getting to be with me?" Take a look at the answer.... he said.... "yes, I am happy... I can make slits on your body with a knife, rub some salt and enjoy watching your reaction.... I will tie you with a robe, hang you onto  a moving fan and enjoy watching it!" The clever person was testing the durability of my feelings.... I understood, did not express my fear .... You see that patience got me a good chauffeur for free.... so I cook ANARASHER SANDESH to 8-9 dishes on a Saturday. That really helps me you know. I will just make some parathas on a Monday morning, reheat the cauliflower-potato curry and pack their lunch boxes. Their short break boxes are usually packed with fruits and sweets or homemade cakes... even store bought cakes & sweets at times. I am not so happy with the quality of the Indian sweets here.... so I make my own sweets at home with the soft & supple paneer made at home.... Once I finish sharing the recipe of ANARASHER SANDESH with you, I will prepare some "luchi / poori".... take out the mutton kheema curry and serve hot their favourite lunch.... I would have been happier if they had some salad & raita in the platter. Mumma prepared both chicken & mutton within a span of 12 hours.... ask me why? The son is more like his father.... not in the habit of complaining usually. He was away from home during the entire week of Durga Pooja on an outbound trip from the school to Cambodia! Once back, he told that there were more vegetarian food in offer than meat, so he did not enjoy the food. Most of the students in Indian schools are vegetarian, hence our son will have problem and mumma has to cook chicken and mutton both for him! I could not manage the dried fish bharta yesterday.... both me and Cristine were feeling tired.... we had our lunch at 5pm and you can well imagine the husband's mood who says the priorities of my life are wrong.... He wishes to go out for a driving practice with me on a Sunday morning and I prefer to write a blog post. I mean I do not have the patience to learn anything.... its going to be 2 years ever since I have got a driving licence but cannot take the car out alone even in the neighbourhood.... the husband has to sit beside. I go for swimming classes down below.... while my partners learnt it in 5 classes, I am still struggling with a floater.... The brother is the same, lacks patience .... he will watch Formula1 and play car games over the weekends but will not go out with his wife for a driving session, he is a skilled driver. His mobile phone got pick pocketed while boarding a train last to last week..... he bought a bit expensive one not required to..... next day his wife transferred that big amount to his account as a pooja gift! You know why we siblings are like this? Our mother spoon fed us. However, I love to cook like her although she does not recommend eating stale food ever....

Even after cooking a couple of dishes, I forced myself to go for a walk in the dusk. I am scared now after eating beyond the limit for 5 long days.... Its not about the overweight factor, that I am a diabetic is a concern! Each day on my walk, I engage in some silly clicking... be it a "hanging dalim" or a "dedicated runner couple".... By the time I unlocked my cell phone, they surpassed me and went ahead.... Couple workouts are always fruitful.... At this home if I offer so.... the man's expression seems as if he is "ghost stricken".... look at what he is doing.... the one who can sleep 16 hours a day if given a chance. Post workout, I love some chilled coolers.... people were having their weekend dinner by then... I was observing the young couple in black..... so engrossed in themselves.... right associations can feel secluded amidst a crowd, they do not need dark corners! .... In one of those shoe box high rises lives a couple who are very good friends.... yet a she misses her best friend in him.... she wishes to let her hair down totally in his presence as she used to do in her teens.... Leave that, I click and wish to weave stories revolving my silly clicks .... I lack stock of words that can be called good literature. I loved that chilled drink... a mixture of milk tea and coffee. I had a chia seed banana sugar free dinner, while the rest had prawn, 'bhindi bhaja, dal'. If you reheat fried 'bhindi' in microwave, it gets crispy again. My problem is that I cannot stick to healthy eating, I will end up eating two 'luchi' for lunch!

Yesterday, I updated the pictures of an old blog post.... MAACH TARKARIR JHOL ..... Now I wish to share this Bengali style sweet / sandesh recipe done with chena / paneer / Indian Cottage Cheese and Pineapple Paste! Here, we get very good quality readymade pineapple paste but I preferred to prepare it fresh. Those super sweet, smaller variety comes from Thailand! If your pineapple is not that sweet, use more sugar! This sweet really tasted good as we Bengalis prefer paneer more than mawa as the  base for a sweet! If you follow the stepwise pictures, you will know that this ANARASHER SANDESH is done with few ingredients. Come let us do this Bengali style sweet together!

An old blog post of a fish curry with few veggies gets updated with new pictures, do have a look!







Let us prepare the paneer / chena / Indian Cottage Cheese first. Take the milk in a heavy bottomed vessel and put for boil. As it comes to boil, add the lemon juice 1tbsp at a time while we keep stirring the content. 

Once the milk curdles, stop adding the lemon juice. Add the ice cubes immediately. We will not wait for the content to cool down.... the mistake I was doing all this while.

We will immediately pass it through a white, clean, cotton or muslin cloth. 

We will store the whey for a later use in curries or doughs, just refrigerate it. I saw my mother to use it curdle milk further... we had to have chena everyday.

Tie the cloth properly. I never wash the chena before tying the knot, I love the smell of fresh lemon.

Tie it tight to the kitchen tap and leave for 45 minutes or little more.

You can see how Cristine helps me in all my cooking adventures.

Meanwhile, we will peel, wash and chop the pineapple. We get the readymade, peeled one in the local fruit store and all over the island!

Take the chopped fruit pieces in a blender and blend at high for 2-3 minutes to get a paste. Pause in between. I spoilt two machines already.

After 45 minutes to 1 hour, take down and untie the knot... the paneer looks lucrative!

We will take it on a plate. Washing the cloth is Cristine's headache!

Now we will knead it for 5-7 minutes.... amazing palm exercising mechanism.

Heat a wok and add the pineapple paste, amount of sugar to be used and the green cardamom powder.

Stir for about 4-5 minutes at low heat. 

Add the kneaded chena / paneer / Indian cottage cheese.

Fold in well and keep stirring for 4-5 minutes. Add few drops of screw pine water at this stage.

Transfer the entire content to a plate. Let it cool a bit. We will knead it for 3-4 minutes while its still warm.

Take out small portions and use your palms to get desired shapes. The moulds I got from the Dakhineshwar Temple are not of good quality, moreover I am poor at anything that needs patience and artistry. I got to know we get good quality of sandesh moulds in the Chitpur area of Kolkata.... I do not visit that area although I crave for Royal er Biryani. I would request our good friend Joy Ghosh to get 3-4 shapes for me!

This sweet is best if eaten fresh, we can refrigerate it up to 2-3 days.

Friday, 12 October 2018


This home is totally into food coma since last week.... I mean this is a food-o-phobic home because the lady of the house worships food , during festivals the maniac gets even crazier.... the below whats app shot is the proof that her sugar level has stagnated at one point or ever increasing, yet she has to prepare a sweet by today and get her Bijoya Dashami post ready.... I am not going to cook at all next week... except for the husband's lunch box... that too most of the days Cristine may prepare a sandwich and egg fried rice for him... the wife will be busy selecting which saree to wear in the morning and which one in the evening! So let us eat totally... insanely unhealthy food this week. I am not ready to call Chicken Tahari unhealthy, its so wholesome .... just a diabetic should not have too much of it! If you have a plateful of Chicken Tahari on a Wednesday night at 10:30 pm and go for your Blood Sugar test at 10am on a Thursday morning.... you have to send such unromantic messages to your spouse .... "sugarta berey gechey"..... if your spouse is like mine.... does not love you.... he will not give any answer like "good husbands"... "oh baby... my sweetheart.... do not worry.... I love you the way you are... get up and go to the gym... I will come back early today and go for a night stroll together"..... Oh! that is a distant dream never going to be fulfilled.... someone calls me a hippopotamus to an idiot and questions the validity of the university which has conferred me a master's degree! Look at the wife, the husband wished for a biryani meal and she prepared a Chicken Tahari for him... It so happened that this guy called the husband was on leave last Tuesday... I had to go out with Cristine for some pre-pooja shopping, keeping his lunch plate of Lemon Rice and Egg Drop Curry inside the microwave.... not to worry, he can reheat his food! He perhaps wished to have Biryani, hence the message.... When I saw the message I was already on my way back inside the metro railway station.... so unwilling to tap the card and go out again.... I love spending "us time" with him at home watching a good movie or listening to music. I was feeling bad for he never demands anything for himself.... So, Wednesday dinner had to be a Chicken Tahari.... Biryani is not an instant thing at this home... it is a sacred dish .... it requires proper planning.... assorting ingredients if not 100 of them like in a Royal Kitchen.... I am totally against calling any flavoured rice dish as biryani... On Tuesday night I could manage this vegetarian dish of FULKOPI ALOO.......... A ROYAL TOUCH and served it with some Luchi. Try it anyone day of Durga Pooja as your breakfast! This morning the son had to go early to the school as they are to visit an industrial plant as part of their academic syllabi.... The daddy got an excuse to set out of home even earlier saying he has to drop the son.... they did not want a lunch and breakfast box.... I did not agree to that.... the husband expressed his second wish within a week's span... Bengali French Toast! I was feeling lazy and complied.... else this is a very unhealthy lunch box idea... it is to be done and eaten immediately and only once in 15 days.... All big talks at one place and my wishes sit in the opposite side of it.... I could not think of a chia seed breakfast and had it with tea. Okay, I promise my readers that I will have a sugar free Chia Seed Pudding for lunch and halloumi with greens for dinner. Halloumi seemed near to paneer to me.... I will always prefer a butter toasted paneer to a halloumi... though I specifically like halloumi and smoked cheese in the cheese family! So, there is a totally unhealthy fair going on at this home!

This vegetarian dish of FULKOPI O ALOO....... A ROYAL TOUCH is not an authentic Bengali recipe ... the idea just played on my mind!... I do use dry fruits and spices like mace, cloves, cardamom and cinnamon in my cooking often.... felt it can be had with Luchi-Poori on a festive morning or over the weekend. I am absolutely against what Kolkata is making out of Pooja... I could not believe my eyes when some of my friends had sent me some pictures of pandals all around Kolkata... I thought they are of the previous years! Then a dear friend, a wonderful human being Sanjib Ghosal, whose wife is an authentically Bengali cook teaching English in the secondary section of an Indian International school here, gives me the true scenario.... few Durga Pooja  committees made open "matri darshan" for public since Mahalaya.... refuting the age-old tradition of removing the mother's veil only on "shashti".... Sanjib and Paromita are flying to Kolkata wth their daughter to get the feel of pujo... they will again visit Kolkata in December... I can understand this but not what the pooja committees are doing over there.... killing the tradition .... or may be I am wrong who could not replace a Birendra Krishna Bhadra till this date!! So, a not so traditional or authentic Bengali vegetarian side of FULKOPI O ALOO............ A ROYAL TOUCH  is not so wrong to be shared! I am again getting nostalgic, going back to the 70's and 80's when pooja was spent at the maternal grandparents' home at my birth place .... "dadu" used to book rickshaws for us while he himself stayed back. The rickshaws took us from this pandal to that including that of the royal house... "rajbari".... Lets talk food..... this is a vegetarian dish but not satwik... it has onion-garlic in it... It was tasty but I am still wondering should I have skipped using turmeric and get a white coloured dish? By the way, do not eat a Bengali French Toast in the morning... it is causing severe indigestion to S at the moment... too heavy on the stomach.... its actually an evening snacks for us. Its sad to know that I am aging... the stomach rebels which boasted of an excellent digestion power even a decade back.... need to ask the husband about my insurance coverage.... That too is not a good idea... what if I have a fat amount of insurance coverage and then the man gets a "supari" to kill me? "Woman Power" is still a farce ... is love too? As the husband says that we love ourselves the most... so we do for those in relation for our own good! I do ask him ... " does too much of wealth kills our finer qualities?"... You remember those well defined eyes and lips... that resembled a Goddess?... she surely had a lot of pain beyond that smile.... whom the near ones used as a money laundering machine! Be like me, I went out yesterday and spent on me... who has seen a tomorrow? If my son celebrates his birthday within a month of my death, I will know I have raised  him wrong! I talk too much these days and irrelevant!! Don't I? Thats very much unlike me, perhaps it is a part of the aging process!


Cauliflower Florets : 2coffee mugs [of a standard sized cauliflower]
Potato : 2-3 medium sized
Onion Paste : 2-3tbsp [of 1 big sized]
Tomato Paste : 3-4tbsp [of 1 medium sized]
Garlic Paste : 2tsp
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Caraway Seed : 1/4tsp
Mace : 2
Clove : 3-4
Green Cardamom :3-4
Cinnamon Stick : 2-3 two inch stick
Black Peppercorns : 1/4tsp
Dry Red Chilli : 2-3
Raw Almond Slices : 1/2tsp 
Raw Cashew Nut : 5-6
Star Anise : 1
Melon Seed : 1/2tsp
Raisin : 10-12
Bayleaf : 1
Warm Milk : 1/2small cup
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp +1/2tsp+1/4tsp [the 1/4th tsp used in the spice mixture can be skipped]
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1tsp
Ghee : 1tbsp
Oil : 5-6tbsp


Wash the cauliflower florets under running water and microwave at high for 5 minutes adding 2 cups of water. Discard the water and wash again. Marinate with little salt and 1/2tsp turmeric. Keep aside for 10 minutes.

Peel and cut 1/2 each potato and wash under running water. Marinate with 1/2tsp turmeric powder and little salt.

Heat oil in a wok and fry the cauliflower florets and potato pieces separately in batches. Switch off gas for the time being.

Chop the tomato and wash the pieces under running water. Get a paste on your blender. Get the ginger-garlic and onion pastes ready on your work station.

Dry roast the mace, caraway seeds, cloves, cinnamon sticks, green cardamoms, almonds, cashew nuts, dry red chillies, the star anise for 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.

Take the milk in a bowl and microwave at low for a minute.

Take all the dry roasted spices in a blender... add the melon seeds and the warm milk. Blend to a sooth paste. Sprinkle little water if required. We should always pause in between the grinding or the blending process. I have spoilt two blenders earlier not doing it!

Reheat the used oil. Temper with a bayleaf and add the ginger garlic paste. Stir for 1-2 minutes.

Add the onion paste and fry for 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste now and stir cook further for 2-3 minutes. Add some salt and 1/4 tsp turmeric if using.

Add the roasted spice paste and keep stirring till most of the water has dried.

Add 2 coffee mugs of water. Bring to boil and add the fried cauliflower and potatoes. Let cook covered for 5 minutes at low heat.

Once you feel that the cauliflower and potatoes are done, adjust the salt, add the sugar, raisins and 1tbsp of ghee! Cook for a minute and switch off!

Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy with any kind of breads! I served it with "luchi"... the royal Bengali puffed bread!

Wednesday, 10 October 2018


 Life is good so long I retain the energy to carry on with the time consuming process of an ILISH PATURI ....  a "bong's" sweetheart! Bengalis who do not eat ilish are aliens to me.... we surely are not in speaking terms.... I am as surprised to hear some Bengalis' aversion towards Hilsa, its as surprising as watching the alien supremo Hrithik Roshan jumping from the 22nd floor and not hurting himself.... haha!! I hear some people are diehard fan of him....  they should have spent more time on the internet searching for some remedies for hair growth .... We do watch Hrithik movies, his alien avatar during the feeding sessions with my toddler helped me a lot.... however, the memories of those nightmarish feeding sessions did not let me have the courage to have one more kid.... a wrong decision altogether. Anyway, though I watched almost all the movies of Roshan junior, I perhaps liked only one.... Guzaarish... where his six packs did not supersede his acting capability! Ilish / Hilsa is just that to me... over use of spices in it spoils it! I love a variety of fresh water fish but hilsa has no equal... Within the periphery of Bengal... no other fish can supersede it... talking about both sides of Bengal! My health conditions does not permit me to have rice as much as I wish to... else I would have rice meals at least three times a day.... breakfast would have been "begunbhaja, aloobhaja, rui / katla bhaja... ghee / makhon bhaat, kanchalanka"..... lunch would have been "ilish bhaja o tel, ilisher patla jhol, ilisher matha diye lau ghonto".... dinner would have been "fulkopi-aloo diye aar maach, choto tyangrer peyaz chocchori, patla mushur dal, lebu-lanka-peyaz being a constant"..... The Almighty could have been a little more kind to me! You see I cannot work hard towards a well-built body, such is my food habit or preferences, I just cannot switch totally to what the world calls "healthy food"..... I belong to families to whom Bengali Food is the ultimate! So, to be able to continue with my bowls of "maach bhaat"... I got a packet of Chia Seed yesterday and had it for the first time in life an hour back! Honestly, I liked it... if only I get to eat it with my choice of fruits like banana, mango, jackfruit, etc. Very young guava [dasha peyara] and watermelon do I keep to eat entirely as a fruit! What about having a lunch today with watermelon, guava and an egg white omelette?.... All for having two tablespoon rice with "gathikochu-chingrir dalna".... for dinner! You see of the "palak chicken" and "dal palak".... I prepared for a dear someone last Saturday, I could have only the palak gravy and a neck piece, neither the mutton quality here is satisfying.... the senior wishes me to switch over to lamb totally.... which lacks the fat... "ahh chorbir bora khaini kotodin"..... I am just waiting for my December visit to Kolkata.... to have "kochi patha to choto tyangra-kajoli to bata maach" everything that is quintessentially Bengali! After 20 days, while sitting on the return flight... I realise that I could not spend quality time with my family! People there see me loitering at CityCentre2 all day, what they do not see is me buying piles of medicines, taking the son for titenus doses, scaling of his teeth or getting him new spectacles or buying dozens of under garments for the husband and son, getting the house repaired, running to get the pressure cooker repaired and lot more, make a grocery list and send to the shop outside our back gate! What does your husband do S? Oh yes, a lot... watches television, accompany me to the bank and flies back within 12 days without enquiring who the wife is talking to so much over phone, asking if there is any problem or not ... the wife makes frantic calls to the maintenance... send the plumber, electrician... nothing is working... "Alam, why is the cable connection not working? .... dada cannot watch cricket, football, news"..... Then if you have a stupid kind of sibling, he would irritate you further cribbing that didibhai does not stay enough in Barrackpore.... aww, who will set the things in my humble 1400 sq.ft. if I go and stay in their no fancy palace?... Then, I hear people land at the airport, get a readymade bed, wifi connection, have scrumptious breakfast, lunch, dinner.... click "chashi mashi selling lau, kumro, shaak".... and dive straight into Bengali Hearts diligently... some will visit the Kolkata Museum .... take a horse ride around the maidan... tell the kids "I was born in this city but cannot think of staying here for more than two weeks".... then make a trip to Bangalore and Goa, Mumbai and Pune, Delhi-Shelli .... stay in Hyatt and Taj ... then would ask me ... "I own 3-4 homes / landed property here and there, 2-3 cars for me and my happening spouse... next the silence on the other side means asking me what I have... Instead of saying we just have a decent flat in Kolkata and some savings for the kid's education, that the husband did not even pay for my nose correction surgery, never agreed to pay for the bills of a slimming centre or for some skin rejuvenation.... you know the kinds I had been jealous of since age 12... I preferred hanging up the phone... thereafter, I never did enquire about the increasing number of cars and property of that person ... whats the point... we do not have! "Cristine, get my "chai-pakora" dear"... I am full of contradictions with a pot full of ego inside ... just like that combination of chia pudding and "chai pakora" on the same table... haha...

The casually taken above photographs are no filtered ones... what else do you expect from a cell phone operated by a "non-photographer"... everyone who clicks is not a photographer... that is a degree too... needs research, practice, patience... I lack all!

I thought of a light hilsa / ilish curry I did with a little twist last Saturday, then decided to go ahead with this non vegetarian, a little time consuming fish dish.... ILISH PATURI.... Am I naughty?.... it depends on my mood, not a bad soul either.... with a Cristine like help, I can cook wrapped stuffs everyday... I mean I do not have patience tying the knots. I myself do prefer a "shorshe narkol ilish" in the microwave more often than going through the process of wrapping.... I must tell you the two will not taste all the same.... a meat curry slow cooked in an earthen pot will taste different from the one cooked in a pressure cooker. If you have time, always go for the slow cooking method.... I totally agree with our mother in this matter... As I always say.... she may disown me and adopt the ones who prepare their own batches of ghee, pickle, spices in mortar & pestle, who work without helps and yes academically sound boys and girls! I still have to hear that I had been a born lazy.... how she wished her daughter to be a working woman.... she was all praise of me during the period when I was struggling alone with my toddler.... a struggle that feels too sweet these days.... I miss those days... someone does not have time to sit and talk to me anymore.... better to read, do some  walking, cook and go for coffee sessions to unwind myself as I did last Sunday! Once back, the husband told that instead of taking a train, I should have driven.... aha... that means he wished to be a part of the coffee session.... haha! To that I told that people should be given the time for ice-breaking.... if one starts doing too much of serious talks, people may get repulsive... all in good time with "luchi-porota-polao"... fresh and hot! As of now, I had to go ahead with this Durga Pooja goodie... I will not call it special... perhaps all Bengali bloggers have blogged on this very common fish dish by now! Its Navaratri going on.... I know the right people will do the needful. Get your green chilli-mustard paste, grated coconut ready and come with me to know what magic the fish oil and a good quality mustard oil does to this dish of hilsa wrapped in banana leaves ILISH PATURI!


Ilish / Hilsa : 5-6 pieces [from a fish weighing a little more than a kilogram]
Black Mustard Seed : 2tsp
Green Chilli : 6-7 [choose yours]
Garlic Clove : 1
Grated Coconut : 1/2small cup
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp + 1/4tsp
Salt : As Required
Ice Cubes : 2-3 [does not let the paste turn bitter]
Mustard Oil [must for this dish among us] : 3-4tbsp + 1tsp for each piece of the fish + 2tbsp


Wash the fish pieces thoroughly under running water after we get rid of any remaining scales.

Pat dry and apply 1tsp of turmeric powder and salt as required on them, rub well. Keep aside for 15 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, prepare a paste from the black mustard seeds that we had soaked for an hour and then strained, washed green chillies, garlic clove, little salt, 1/4th small cup water, ice cubes.

Add the spice paste, shredded coconut, 3-4tbsp mustard oil, 1/4tsp turmeric powder and little salt to the fish pieces. Fold in well and keep aside for 1/2 an hour!

Now, we will cut the banana leaves into medium sized squares, wash and pat them dry. Place 1 piece of hilsa atop each piece, just in the middle.... Cover with some marination... drizzle a tsp of oil.

Fold the banana leaf from all sides and tie either with cotton thread or with the thread like fibre of the banana leaf. The tying part was done by Cristine entirely. In her absence, I will.

Heat a frying pan atop a gas stove, grease with 2tbsp of oil... Place the wrapped pieces of fish on it. Reduce heat.

We will cook one side for 12-14 minutes .... then turn over and cook the other side for another 8-10 minutes at minimal to low heat.

Let them be for another 10 minutes after we have switched off. Now open cover and serve with piping hot steamed rice! We also had an "aloo-chicken curry" and "dal" served with chapati on that day!

We must be very careful while wrapping, the leaves should not tear... else the spices will spill.