Tuesday, 27 February 2018

ALOO NARKOL KUCHI DIYE GHUGNI



What was I doing the last two days? I was going through some expert comments on Sridevi and her character assassination , how karma served her etc. etc. I really could not digest the fact how people can be so cruel and heartless.... it was not even 48 hours that she died.... The dignified people quoted their mothers on how could and why Sridevi married a person who was already married! I am an illiterate and really do not understand how humans are expected to behave like robots, though I do not approve of a free society where we are at the liberty to go to extremes! That is when / where / why Pain is Sublime .... If you are me, you will turn pain into a pleasure and cook ALOO NARKOL KUCHI DIYE GHUGNI and have a big bowl of it. I do not claim my philosophy of life to be followed, but it feels extremely disgusted of people pointing fingers at the character of a deceased person within a day of her death as if they are flawless, God's own child on earth.... I sincerely hope these kind of elements are as caring towards their mothers in reality as much as they are vocal about their "mom" in social media.... Posting in a saree .... its my mom's gift as if the husband never gifted anything ever... come on write about the details of a saree following the group rules.... discuss on Sridevi's contribution to mainstream cinema.... of the ordeal of her two daughters at this moment..... of the mother in Sridevi who was so much excited about her daughter's debut next... Take lessons from her life that there is no wrong in looking like a 50 year old @ 55..... Then it is us... the fans who constantly pressurise our matinee idols to look slim, trim and perfect! You see I am no where near these dignified people dissecting a deceased person .... after 4-5 doses of vodka with lime over the weekends, I tell my boss at this home with eyes fixed on one Arjun Rampal may be on screen.... kya body hai yaar!... haha! Come on, keep your parents in the temple of your heart and scold them too! I scold the mother every now and then.... if your son cannot stop doing "maa maa" after six years of marriage.... how can you expect otherwise from people? How can you have best of both the world? She in turn still has to regret on why the daughter did not take up the part time teaching job she got in a college in a far off, remote place in Nadia district called Bagula.... 20-22 years back the place was a "gondo gram".... perfect to start with what I loved doing then.... Why I did not? I was too eager to marry .... some one was gifting me Chanel to Christian Dior to Swarovski to Swatch too much then... hihi! The mother had to lose the tug of war! Why the mother has to bring up something that makes me feel guilty now a days... that I forgot all about my subject! Why did I leave the job I was doing in this island?.... I strongly felt being used as a stop gap and assigned to take reading and spelling classes is kind of wrong which will not help me grow .... furthermore a Speech & Drama teacher should not be a dull and lazy character like me! Why do I respect the boss of this house?.... He tirelessly keeps on saying... S take a shift and go back to Pluto & Aristotle, I have downloaded for you! Why did I say the above lines! .... to warn the youngsters, do not be a "mistaken identity" like me.... even a "mediocre" can be "something" if they focus on the right things at the right time in life... we cannot rewind an entire life and start afresh! ..... So far as dissecting the people who  bring their mothers in social media too often out of the context..... they should know I am not jealous .... I am not that kind! Had I have a bit of self pride or competitiveness in me.... I would not have been such an worthless sitting at home! The DSLR is crying for some fresh air and I say.... Cristine lets take the picture just like that.... I am feeling tired after all the cooking! There goes my supremely tasty with poor picture quality Bengali chaat dish ALOO NARKOL KUCHI DIYE GHUGNI!

There must be other very similar recipes as this ALOO NARKOL KUCHI DIYE GHUGNI or Dried Yellow Pea Curry with potato and coconut pieces that you may come across Google search..... but as I say, we do not need to see each other's way of cooking when it comes to the authentic, heirloom recipes! They will be near similar one way or the other! Ghugni is something we eat either with luchi / poori or with pao or just as a chaat! It has to be topped with chopped green chillies, onions and coriander leaves! We do both the vegetarian and non vegetarian version of it! Authentically, we do ghugni with yellow matar / dried whole yellow peas? and the non vegetarian version was done strictly with minced mutton! Gradually with time, we started using minced chicken and kabuli chana / garbanzo beans too. Somewhere I read ghugni with mutton fat is very popular among Bengalis.... though it was not done in our family, neither the mother let us eat it from outside! The first thing I will do on my next visit to Kolkata is to buy some mutton fat and prepare pakora with it.... just craving for it! ..... Though the mother gets my home cleaned so that the daughter can enter there peacefully..... I do not run to the parental home the next day. I will first settle my home that was made with the husband's hard earned money. I always tell the mother .... one cannot build a strong home if they keep on doing "mummy-daddy" at all times after marriage.... every thing needs a balance... relationships too! I have seen broken homes because of such behaviour. One little sis... if reading my post will get severely upset to know that I accuse both of them for the unpleasant turn of an event.... I cannot help it.... I am not a people pleasure! What I can do is to share this ALOO NARKOL KUCHI DIYE GHUGNI for such "petuk".... foodie people.... and for everyone who love spice in their life... ohh! I meant food... haha.... Bowlfuls of this spicy bliss with generous amount of tamarind juice and dry roasted spice powder are also for those who are busy with character analysis of Sridevi.... instead take a look at her career graph.... the empire she built starting at childhood from nothing.... and do not tell me your hearts did not beat faster at the sight of any other men except for your husband or vice-versa ... not all lies are gullible!




INGREDIENTS : [for the dry roasted spice powder]

Cumin : 1tsp
Coriander : 1tsp
Fennel : 1tsp
Dry Red Chilli Powder : 4-5
Green Cardamom : 2-3
Clove : 3-4
Cinnamon Stick : 2-3 1inch stick
Bayleaf : 2small

INGREDIENTS : [for the ghugni / yellow pea curry]
Potato : 2medium : [washed, peeled and cubed]
Coconut Pieces : 1/2small cup [I used dried, packet ones]
Dried Yellow Pea : 2small cups
Onion : 2medium [peeled, washed, sliced] + 1small [peeled,washed,chopped]
Green Chilli : 2-3[washed, chopped]
Coriander Leaves : A sprig [washed, chopped]
Garlic Paste : 1tsp
Ginger Paste : 2tsp
Tamarind Juice : 1small cup
The dry roasted spice powder
Bayleaf : 1
Cumin Seed : 1/4tsp
Dry Red Chilli : 2-3 [halved]
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 3-4tbsp


THE PROCEDURE :

Take the dried yellow peas in a bowl and wash. Soak in hot water for at least 5-6 hours or overnight. You can boil it in two ways. Either pressure cook it at low heat up to one whistle adding one big cup water, salt and turmeric or boil in a vessel quite for sometime. I boiled them in a vessel this time until they were soft and not mashy.


Dry roast the spices required for the spices needed for the spice powder and dry grind them.




Prepare the tamarind juice too adding water to the tamarind, reserving it quite for sometime and passing through a strainer.



Heat oil in a wok and temper with cumin seeds, halved dry red chillies and a bay leaf! Add the sliced onions and fry.




Add the ginger and garlic paste and stir for 2 minutes or so. Add the cubed potato pieces rubbed with little amount of salt. Stir for a minute.


Add the coconut pieces now and stir for a minute. If you are using pieces of fresh coconut, they are to be fried and added later.



Add the boiled peas now to the wok and fold in well. Cover cook at low heat for 12-15 minutes. Add water in between if required.

Once done add the tamarind juice we have prepared and the spice powder too to the curry.




We will boil the curry further for 2-3 minutes and switch off gas. We will top it with chopped onions, green chillies, coriander leaves and serve with pao, luchi / poori or just like that!




Sunday, 25 February 2018

DHONEPATA PUDINA BATA MAACH



This morning did not start just as well as it should ..... the yesteryear Bollywood diva Sridevi passed away last  night .... It is not that I am writhing in pain but its kind of a shock. Many years back I was diagnosed with a mental disorder that of fear of departure or death of dear ones .... Thanatophobia is it?.... I am not sure as I have lost all the prescriptions. I should not have because I know I am not cured. A Sridevi died at age 55 while attending a function in Dubai, the husband at this home is travelling again this morning and my behaviour does not seem normal. There will be a number of silly phone calls that irritates him, there will be phone calls to the mother .... mani ask bhai to drive slow, not to take up a fight on the road, ask him to cross the train lines carefully.... A Barrackpore resident will know the scenario at the "choddo number rail gate" in the evening! So, I know I am not cured till date.... yet very much unwilling to visit a counsellor.... I am against baring my soul entirely to a doctor and eat sedatives like "muri-murki"..... If my readers think I have bared 80% of my soul to them... they are wrong... no one can... I read and treat an autobiography as another novel... they are half-truths just like me! So, that is how I connect to a celebrity's untimely death and brood over .... is something going to happen to my own .... near and far?.... Not all concerns reach destinations... as I always say this world is smart, chic and not at all silly as me to think on my line.... that makes me a loner! Death is a sudden guest... but I was wondering what makes Sridevi get a massive heart attack at 55... they have a doctor assigned for each part of their body! She was naturally a bit plump even at the peak of her career... we liked her that way. Why she had to go so skinny later? Was the process scientific / health prone? Did she survive on food supplements? I am so much averse to health supplements ..... I do not think they are good for our body. I am not a Rujuta Diwekar to talk further on it but I like it when she says my favourite "nona ata" aka "Ram phal" has so many benefits or a Milind Soman says he does not eat biscuits but never say no to a dosa or idli  for breakfast just because they have rice in the batter. Some in the gym do tell me you are not getting the desired body shape because you eat rice, paratha, poori... you are to eat them once in a month! I am so unable to.... yesterday night I had 11/2 methi paratha with what?.... well.... soon to blog on the platter! For whom do I do all the cooking-shooking?.... One who just said shut up and do not call me unless required.... follow Sridevi quick! The jobless me has no where to go but to cook a DHONEPATA PUDINA BATA MAACH for such kinds you see! I had never been a jealous kind of a person .... so I feel happy to see couples who are otherwise.... haha! After the share today.... I may go for a chat with Tanushree.... we both were / are Bollywood fans unlike Chandrayee who did enjoy hindi movies but did not "live" in it! Tanushree.... the ardent Sridevi fan must be sad today! I do not like too rigid or snobs who frowns at fans mourning Sridevi's death!... We must have a "bit" of acceptance of everything around.... that makes me like my friend Dr. Nishi Pulugurtha so much... she teaches, she visits IIMs for lectures, travels a lot, watches Bergman and surely do not laugh at people watching Govinda movie either .... sends terrible jokes too in WhatsApp... handles two dementia patients at home and never ceases to smile! I do not know why I could not set her or my father as an example and smile at life! Anyway, I did hum Rupankar's "Chupi chupi raat neme ashe akashe, guti guti raat eshe pashe boshe... kane kane gaan shonai...guti guti tara joley othey abar.... Na janey kyun dil yun sataye.... Beetey hai raat par neend na aaye!" while cooking this superbly delicious fish curry DHONEPATA PUDINA BATA MAACH....  I know I am in full control of such recipes.... I grew up on them!

Authentically, in my side of the family who hail from Comilla district of Bangladesh.... cooking with coriander paste is very common during winter. Assorted vegetables like hyacinth beans, egg plant and radish is cooked in coriander leaves and green chilli paste with or without shrimps & dried fish.... fresh fish like " chara pona and aar" that is baby Bengal carps and long whiskered cat fish are cooked the same way too! Only two to three times I did get some fresh "aar and pabda" here in this island.... I simply do miss them! How do I manage with my test buds if I am unwilling to buy frozen "deshi maach" too often? I do drift a bit... get some fresh red snapper.... make use of my home grown mint leaves too in the green curry paste along with green chillies and fresh coriander and enjoy  with a humble serving of plain, steamed rice! Can I please our mother with it when she comes later this year.... No! She may hunt every corner of the island for "dishi charapona / bata" to please her daughter with a humble, authentic curry.. I agree 100% with the brother and his bubbly wife when they say it is so tough to get compliments from mani! How can she?... all her praises are reserved for the academically sound boys and girls.... they are the only angels on earth according to her may be.... The mother-in-law may praise my cooking ability within the four walls of our dining room but will not spare anyone who spends a single word on my praise... Only a "boromami" .... has the guts to love me  still enough and I am missing not meeting that ever smiling lady last winter.... she hails from a fish selling family... does it smell my darling folks? Anyway, I really love it when my brother's dear wife or people elsewhere are seen in a kissing-smooching scene spending some "us" time with their maa-in-laws.... That is how it should be.... I do not wish people to be like a big, bad, nasty me! For the modified version of a very authentic fish curry from my parental side, DHONEPATA PUDINA BATA MAACH.... I used fresh red snapper steaks, a freshly made paste of fresh coriander & mint, a bit of garlic and green chillies. It goes well only with piping hot steamed rice and the platter had some fulkopir bora / gobi pakora and aam dal / mango dal. The platter was loved by my not so Bengali men because snapper fish do not have bones. It could have been a total bliss for me if the fish had been a "chara pona, aar, pabda, koi, tyangra".... but its still ok.... people with broaden horizon unlike me will enjoy it!Life is good when there is adjustment... in all spheres so long as "possible"....

You may wish to have a look at my two authentic Bengali recipes.... Three Bengali seasonal dals and a green curry with fresh coriander and long whiskered cat fish!

AAR DHONEPATA BATA JHOL / FISH CORIANDER CURRY

THREE SEASONAL DAALS




INGREDIENTS :

Red Snapper[fillet or steak] : 6-7 pieces 
Mint Leaves : 10-15
Coriander Leaves : 20-25
Green Chillies : 4-5 [I love to be generous with them... you can choose yours]
Garlic Cloves : 2
Red Chilli Powder : 1/2tsp
Lemon Juice : 2-3tbsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Nigella Seeds : 1/4tsp[kalo jeera / kalonji]
Oil : 2tbsp [authentically mustard]

THE STEPS :

Wash the fish pieces thoroughly. Marinate with the lemon juice and very little salt. Keep aside for at least an hour or little more.

Wash the coriander and mint leaves, green chillies, peeled garlic cloves under running water and prepare a fine paste out of them.

After an hour or so, discard the marinade from the fish and wash each piece again thoroughly. Marinate with the red chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt and keep aside for at least 15 minutes.

Heat oil in a wok and temper with nigella seeds. Very gently add the fish pieces along with the marinade. Cover and cook at minimal heat for 3-4 minutes.

Open cover and very carefully turn over the fish pieces. Cover cook at minimal heat for another 3-4 minutes.

Open cover and add the fresh herbs paste. Add a coffee mug of water to the spice bowl and add to the wok... Let boil at medium to low heat for 3-4 minutes. Add a little salt about a minute before taking down from the gas oven.

We cannot think about any thing else but a big bowl of piping hot steamed rice to go with it!

Remember... this curry never works with frozen fish!


Thursday, 22 February 2018

CARROT PISTA LADOO



"Bashonto esheche, Shimul.. Polash er Rongoli.... Dol Purnima- Holi Hai amar kachey aki artha .... Nirbhejal Anondo Prakash... Boshonto hariye jai onekeri... Bashanter Bilap thekei jai... "..... Do I have to translate?... the thought of it is feverish for someone who is not confident about the language. Its spring... time for some special blooms... Time for Bengal's "Dol Khela" and rest of India's Holi! I am not a part of this celebration.... for some reason or the other .... but I can play for you Tagore's "shei to boshonto firey elo... hridoyero boshonto kothaii" or can sing for you "rangeelarey tere rang mein yun ranga hai mera mann".... I really do not mind enjoying both or different kinds given what, when suits my mood. I do not categorise myself into a particular genre. I grew up enjoying a mix of quite a few kinds ..... light ghazals been the most favourite until the husband introduced me to a Kenny G and Elvis Presley .... What a bliss! The husband made the biggest blunder too! I do not allow anyone near me when I listen to Kenny G....  They go out to office and school.... I am in the right mood.... Cristine put the phone in mute mode... curtains on... give me that fat book... may be a Jane Austen... so what if I find solace in an Ashapoorna Debi or Jane Austen or Suchitra Bhattacharjee's Mitin Mashi series.... they all are good literature... Some do categorise or accuse some literature as "womanly".... that does not sound good to me.... Literature can be only good or bad. I am a Bengali.... I know I am so much of it that I had a plateful of rice with a blogger friend's lucrative "tyangra er jhol" last week.... it was maddening given I could not visit Kolkata last winter.... A big, orange salmon entered this house last week... yet I am craving for a "charapona / kajoli macher jhol".... So I do not have to show it off on a particular day .... The confident me went and had some chaat and dosa instead while humming a melodious Bollywood number .... This morning the son's lunch box was packed with "luchi o kalojeera phoron diye aloo chocchori" and mumma had to taste it with tea and Kenny G.... Lunch would be either a homemade tomato soup or I may go out for a "Bak tu teh".... Balance your meals... folks!





So you see I hear a Kenny G, an Anupam Roy or one "pot full of attitude" but with a God gifted voice Rupankar as and when I wish to! We go to any extent to watch a Srijit Mukherjee / Rituparno Ghosh / Anindya Chaterjee film.... but prefer to watch a Padman instead of a "Swapan Saha" movie! Its up to you whether to call me a Bengali or not.... while I tap my feet humming Suneeta Rao's "Pari hoon main... Mujhe Na Choona"..... Well, we do not leave a chance to attend the concerts of the Bengali singers coming here... from Lopamudra Mitra to Anupam Roy.... This lady takes over the entire stage once she is up there... such is her command over her voice that she uses very less hands and oh! her wits in between... Bengalis spread worldwide... do not miss to attend her programme if there is any! Coming to this guy Anupam Roy, I always have a special place for him on my mind.... the engineer left a highly paid job in Bangalore to pursue his passion.... music. Few years back, he came here for a concert and wow... me and the son were in the same flight with him from Kolkata as I could not afford to miss his programme. In the waiting lounge, I went up to him for a click... and... I liked him more... no airs at all... so gentle. The husband came to receive me at the airport... I had to say .... look at that handsome... we are going to attend his concert tonight... and he is so soft spoken unlike you! After all these, the husband did go to the concert.... he knows his birdwatcher wife does not spare guys half her age.... while the brother may still wonder... who is Anupam Roy didibhai pointed at? .... not my Kimi's competitor nor Jholmol Khan's gym mate .... let me have luchi, mutton and "chorbir bora" instead. You see my dear readers, so long I miss "chorbi in mutton"... that is the fat in the mutton we do not get here... I am very much a Bengali... wherein a Dol Poornima celebration will start with a sweet.... CARROT PISTA LADOO.... instead of a jibe goja.... that is also true about me!

However silly I am to write anything and everything that is not remotely near to the concerned recipe,  the end product of the dish I prepare is edible and good.... I cook many a things... but share those recipes that I confidently can say.... you can do and have them. I do pizzas  and pastas too.... why should people follow my recipe of pizza?.... Hey.... lovely people... got some "loti" and "lau" too yesterday.... I felt this time... let my men do not eat my kind of things... I will do them to celebrate my "self"..... I should.... else my stomach grumbles...



I will keep them happy with meat curries, homemade pizzas, different kinds of sweets including this CARROT PISTA LADOO.... At times, all of us will bond over mango desserts, middle-eastern breads & dips, vegetarian kofta, salmon, oriental sweet &sour preparations... dumplings, sashimi.. sushi.... Vietnamese / Thai spring rolls... the list of common food interest is big too.... Yes, I may not blog on my dumplings or pizzas as such but I will soon share the video link of a two ingredients pizza dough I came across and tried... too good! ..... and I cannot help but share that winter dal recipe in spring.... getting a bit more selfish and say... we are lucky enough to get every thing throughout the year.... except for fresh "aar, boyal, dhai, tyangra, kajoli".... sigh! Once a Bengali.... always so... no wrong in loving a black glutinous rice topped with ice-cream either. Anyway, let us kickstart the Holi celebration with this sweet.... CARROT PISTA LADOO made of freshly made carrot paste, sugar, ghee, green cardamom, chopped pistachio. I sincerely hope our "Radha-Krishna" would love to have this sweet .... we should also see that part... she had the guts to go public with her feelings... haha.... we do it and are called witches.... "paper mein sign kiya? gandegi fyal rahe ho... samaj mein... chchi!".... Rest of the world... this sweet tastes as good as a carrot pie filling or carrot squares topped with some cream... go ahead... you will love! Do not expect much innovations from me.... the mother could not help even after feeding the daughter "Brahmi Shaak"..... she still must be watching those topper boys & girls speaking and regret not feeding the daughter... files of brain booster "Brainolia" too! Buddhadeb Guha to Raj Kapoor / Yash Chopra / Maniratnam / Gulzar Saab... all are responsible.... I cannot even ask one Tina .... how could you be good in mathematics when I kept on wondering " tumhari mummy ko kamre ki chabi khona hi tha?"..... I passed in mathematics perhaps for the algebra part... Let my mother adopt those who study,sing, dance, play, cook, work et all with same pace.... while I cook and sing for you.... "eei sundor sharnali shandhyay.... aki bandhaney joralego bondhu"....

You may also wish to see few sweet / dessert recipes already on blog...

KOLKATAR LAAL MISHTI DOI

NOLEN GURER SANDESH / COTTAGE CHEESE JAGGERY FUDGE

CHOCOLATE SANDESH




INGREDIENTS :
Carrot : 4 
Sugar : 1/3small cup
Powder Milk : 1small cup
Full Cream Milk : 1/4small cup
Ghee : 3tbsp + 2tsp
Green Cardamom Powder : 1/2tsp
Green Cardamom : 2-3
Chopped Pistachio : 2tbsp 
Powdered Pistachio : 1tsp 

METHOD :

Cut and discard the two ends of the carrots. Peel off the skin and wash.

Shred the carrots and get a paste of it.

Take together the powdered milk, 2tsp ghee and the full cream milk together and mix well.

Microwave the mixture for 2-3 minutes stirring every 1 minute. Our instant khoya / solidified milk is ready.

Heat 3tbsp ghee in a wok and from 2-3 green cardamom to it... aroma matters.



Add the carrot paste and keep stirring till we do not get the raw smell of the carrot anymore.



Now add the sugar and green cardamom powder and keep stirring till the mixture come out clear from the sides of the wok and kind of dry... but moist.



Add the solidified milk / khoya and chopped pistachios... Fold in well and stir for just 1/2 a minute or so.




Transfer to a plate... let cool a bit.



Prepare ladoo from the mixture when it is still warm.





Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle powdered pistachio atop the CARROT PISTACHIO LADOO. They taste the best when served fresh.... I had to refrigerate though for the moron who is travelling.


Monday, 19 February 2018

EASY EGG BIRYANI




There is one category of people around you..... though rare.... who have no fruitful contribution to the society as such.... they do not do anything the entire day but seems busy... without being busy.... take it from me... I fall in that category! What was  I / we doing the last four days? We had some friends at our place on the first day of CNY, we enjoyed to the fullest past midnight, thereafter I got tired and took some rest the entire Saturday morning. An ideal Saturday evening during CNY would have been to go out with the family for a mezze platter and kunefe accompanied by some Turkish tea as planned a week earlier but cancelled over a fight... why? The man at this home had holiday till today but he flew back again to the capital city of the neighbouring country yesterday evening... I am not a saint and could not keep my cool and had to fight... Who is your interest there that you have to spent half of the week in that place?.... was what I started with followed by a lot of drama.... with no one bothering at all. I turned to the son.... mumma wishes to go out with you on a lunch date tomorrow... hoping it may give the father a first degree burn at least.... but as I say, I stay with weird stuffs in the family.... the son has to say no to everything his mother wants him to do.... he supposedly finds it chivalric. Mumma travels back in time and misses those days when she took her soft, little toy for swimming / art / badminton classes..... this mother never thought of dumping her toy at home and go out and merry.... My neighbours back in Kolkata will agree 100 % to what I say... Weekday evenings S was with her son at home or at different clubs .... weekend evenings S was with her son @ 22, Camac Street until City Center 2 became our neighbour. Then I stepped into this island.... the father of the son felt I am abnormally attached to the son.... my attention needs to be diverted! The attention did not divert, mumma got more sad and craved for a girl child who might have been a friend to her by now and would not have given a deaf ear to whatever I say! Not all men are like mine... they do care for their lady I believe. Till my little brother got married, the entire Kolkata used to say... there you see a "didi's pet / mumma's boy".... Yes, I controlled my brother's life, he knows it well why I did so. The senior at this home is not jealous because my little brother is his so too by all means, only that my man thinks his son should not do mumma-mumma to that extent. In the process, I got lonelier as I just cannot party around with flocks of people ..... I love watching people doing so.... I love watching kids sing, dance, play and achieve... be it a boy or a girl! I will always fight and disagree with the senior over the son.... He thinks if the son does not love playing... he need not be forced.... if he loves sitting in front of the computer the entire day, let him be! I believe interests are to be grown in kids..... then we both agreed to disagree few decades back.... so I do not mind cooking some EASY EGG BIRYANI for the husband on a Friday night. My brother and son may start searching for some meat pieces on the plate... haha. The brother gets to eat meat biryani too often .... courtesy the mother and her homemade biryani spice mixture. The son prefers an egg biryani than a "rui macher jhol bhaat".... 2nd of May is his boards examination starting and he wasted an entire evening watching a movie on Hitler yesterday... he will not get to eat meat for the next 2-3 days. With two Hitlers in the family, why he needs to watch a movie on him?.... His mumma does not want another girl to be terrorised in future! To top all the tensions, there is one mother sitting there in Kolkata... She calls the daughter.... the daughter disconnects and calls back.... to hear what?... " T achey naki rey ashey pashey?" Is the son-in-law near you? If I say no, she starts .... "Bubun cheleke niye boro chinta amar.... lekha pora korena thik moto... kicchu shekhash na alada korey... sharadin ki korish? Ami koto dourechi chele niye... swimming club... cricket club..." If the son-in-law is not around, she has to pour in all her tensions concerning the grandson on her diabetic daughter with full knowledge of the fact that her daughter lives with two rebels who are impossible to manage. I have to stop her saying I may have 1/4th of your energy, but do you think I would not have run here and there for the son had he or the father listened to me a bit?.... Stop it and tell me what you cooked today... what new seeds you sowed, do not stay in the terrace for long... who listens? The brother had sent me a lot of pictures of their terrace garden yesterday..... a death in the family did not stop our mother to nurture her passion...

The true biryani lovers may call this EASY EGG BIRYANI a cheat, I do not mind! Even the very famous Bengali columnist Ranjan Bandopadhay once said Biryani means only those done with mutton / lamb / beef.... rest are not. My chicken loving friends may get hurt, they should not.... neither it was told to hurt any religious sentiment.... let us take it light heartedly! We must accept that the fat from the red meat along with the spices gets the taste of what is called biryani... rest are all pulao... Just following the present trend, I also named it EASY EGG BIRYANI. Last week I came across a post of Debjanir Rannaghar where her husband asks her to drink poison before cooking a no garlic, no onion biryani.... Oh my God.... the entire day I could not stop giggling .... really enjoyed! Some blogs I do visit for the history of a dish, some for its nutritive values, some for excellent food photography, some for the skilfully written life stories revolving around the heirloom recipes.... they add pleasure to a lazy life and I learn few things without much effort. That is how education should be.... fun to learn! Take the example of Mrs. Funny Bones.... did you read her Sunday column yesterday at Times of India? Hahaha.... "maaza aa gaya".... it was such a fun to know what goes at my home also happens at a celebrity home too.... I like her because she is a mom who drives her daughter and son to and fro from school and tuition classes and do not spend the entire day in front of the mirror! .... In all probability she is not lying... she is just another mother! For some favourites, I cannot just take names... I respect some areas always and will! My readers... you will see influence of such people on me .... my mother's perhaps the most. The poor lady does like her son-in-law, she knows him for ages... he had been visiting our parental home for over 3 decades now.... just that she is a very self-restraint kind of a person who is not comfortable beyond a point. What did the daughter tell her family decades back? Do not expect the son-in-law to chaat and giggle and call you every other day and ask your whereabouts.... he will be there when you need him.... I did not have peace on our marriage day.... ask me why? On my marriage my quiet husband got sidelined, Smita Banerjee's moron husband got famous... why? my aunts and mother till date says... "Dibyendu amar maa key koto ador korlo... ki hashi-khushi chele".... Our mom is 70.... the grandmother is 90... the former is a mumma's daughter till date! The man of this house gets egg dishes regularly.... also a cheat biryani as this EASY EGG BIRYANI.... just because he had been my best friend once... now the closest one if not the best...  this space is not enough to write about him! Just one example.... after marriage, we went for the first time to our grand parent's home.... My grandmother had been famous for force feeding during her rule.... and it was royal. What she forgot was that there was a gap of few decades between her eldest son-in-law and my husband and more when it came to dealing with elderlies. After a meal with prawn, hilsa, mutton and aar mach / cat fish may be... she was forcing my husband to have a bowl of warm milk boiled to half of the original amount for a thick layer of malai.... at 10:30 pm. My heartbeat multiplied anticipating the consequence.... Ultimately the unwanted situation could not be avoided.... the husband had to revolt and say... "gorur dudh manusher proyojoney lagey na... raatey to khaoai uchit na"... that cow milk is not required by humans and should not be consumed at night.... then he had to smoke in front of my grandfather too. He said he cannot pretend what he is not. Anyway, my side of the family does like him.... and the uncles did tell my mother something very precious at our father's funeral watching my man in action.... though the mother and grandmother still raves about one Dibyendu Banerjee who still spends sleepless night together with my man when they meet... oh yes that makes me jealous! A friend is a friend is a friend... be it a boy or a girl! The man of this house had been a wonderful friend till date and an EASY EGG BIRYANI does happen on week day nights instead of the wife's favourite "dal o panchmeshali tarkari".... He already said .... feed mixed vegetables to your friends and readers and not us. The final stage of this quick egg biryani was made in the microwave... say the "dum" part... it saved some time... I did not use saffron / zafran either. The idea was to prepare a wholesome meal with few ingredients for my chopsticks. The husband loves raita alongside, both will not touch the salad... all for me and our Cristine. The miser me did not throw away the spices I boiled the rice with.... I made a paste of them and used it in the egg curry.

Come let us do an EASY EGG BIRYANI together..... I hope you will also be willing to have a look at the following recipes already there on the blog... Just click on the headings :

CABBAGE PULAO

MURG PULAO

MACH PULAO / FISH PULAO





INGREDIENTS : [for the making of rice]

Basmati Rice : 1coffee mug [fragrant, long grained rice]
Cinnamon Stick : 2-3 two inch sticks
Green Cardamom : 4
Cloves : 4-5
Caraway Seed : 1tsp
Mace : 2
Star Anise : 1
Salt : 1tbsp
Water : As Required

INGREDIENTS : [for the egg curry]
Egg : 6-7
Potato : 2 [washed, boiled, peeled and cut each into 4 pieces]
Onion Paste : 2tbsp
A paste made of the cinnamon sticks, green cardamoms, cloves, caraway seeds, mace, star anise that we used to prepare the rice.
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Garlic Paste : 1tbsp
Ginger Paste : 1tsp
Green Chilli Paste : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 2tbsp
Ghee : 2tsp

INGREDIENTS : [FINAL STAGE]
The Cooked Rice
The Cooked Egg Curry
Shredded Khoya : 1small cup[solidified milk] [can skip]
Mint Leaf : 8-10 [chopped]
Kewra or Rose water : 2-4 drops
Ghee : 4-5tbsp [clarified butter]

METHOD :

Let us prepare the rice first . Take enough water in a heavy bottomed vessel and bring to boil. Add salt as required.

Take a clean piece of cloth, place the cinnamon sticks, green cardamoms, cloves, mace, caraway seeds on it. Tie the cloth and drop on the boiling water.

Once the water has boiled for 7-8 minutes, add the pre-cooked rice. Let it cook up to 60% done. Drain the water.

Prepare a paste of all the spices that are tied in the cloth. Marinate the boiled potatoes and eggs with salt.

Heat oil in a wok.... half fry the potatoes, take out.

Add the onion paste and fry for 2 minutes. Add the ginger - garlic paste and fry for another 2 minutes.

Add the red chilli powder, green chilli paste, the spice paste, turmeric powder and salt to the wok. Fold in well and fry for 1 minute. Sprinkle some water if required.

Now add the potatoes, mix well and stir for a minute. Add the eggs and a small cup of water. Cover cook for 5 minutes. Add the ghee, fold in well.

Take a microwave proof bowl. Place some rice and half of the eggs and potatoes with curry. Add 2tbsp ghee, chopped mint leaves, and some of the grated khoya. Repeat again, the top layer should be the rest of the rice, ghee, shredded khoya, chopped mint leaves and kewra / rose water!

Cover with a microwave proof plate. Microwave at high for not more than 5-6 minutes.

If you are doing it on gas stove top, place all of the things in the same way as above but in a deep bottomed metal vessel, seal the sides of the cover. Place a frying pan atop gas stove. Place the sealed vessel on it. Cook at low to medium heat for 40-45 minutes.

We had it with salad and mint-yogurt raita!







Thursday, 15 February 2018

PINEAPPLE JAM WITH CHILLI FLAKES





The entire island is in a holiday mood right from today till Monday! Post afternoon most of the shops will get closed, people will just go out in flocks and indulge in Merry making.... The environment is similar to a Durga Puja or Christmas or an Eid celebration. Though we are not in to the mainstream of the island, the merriment touches our hearts too! As I or my man always say, whichever place we live in, is our home. When I travel to Kolkata, I am definitely happy but after three weeks I long to be back here... not for the high speed internet or the other comforts it provides us but because it is my home now.  I indeed called my mom more frequently last December to get our Kolkata home cleaned since I could not go this time ..... The senior corrects me saying that this 1150 sq.ft., rented space is your home now. Our family members reading this post may get sad, but the truth is that we thoroughly enjoy our stay here.   One cannot stay at one place and go gaga about another place all the time. One must have a sense of belonging to the place he or she lives in. Let me give an example of how I adjust here.... It is been quite sometime I do not enjoy having chicken here except for some particular oriental preparations or some minced meat in tikka or kebab or say cutlet! While in India, I still can have one or two bony pieces from the curry! I did not lament over it and started trying and testing on what is going wrong. Finally realised..... it is the "Kampong" variety of chicken that matches my taste bud here.... though mutton remains a favourite. If we compare all the time we cannot feel that belongingness. To use a place just as a source of earning dollars is very wrong.... I feel before going elsewhere or back, we must need to show some love to the place we are in . If it is a CNY celebration here, we will very much be a part of it and enjoy sharing a recipe of PINEAPPLE JAM WITH CHILLI FLAKES with my readers. Any festival is enjoyed with a sweet something, thats what we believe.

My readers believe it or not, both of us siblings grew up on jams made at home. Our mother did not know how to bake cakes or pastries or pies.... her expertise revolves around Bengali cooking that she inherited from her mother. The only "foreign" thing she used to make was mango, pineapple and guava jam. She had / has a daughter with a giant sized stomach which once could digest anything and everything. In those days, such terms like "body shaming" and all were not much there.... not at all among friends. I cannot recall that my friends had ever called me a fatso.... hence I kept on eating! What does it say of my nature?.... that I prioritised food more than the attention of a boy or may be I put across a message.... accept me the way I am if you can or quit. What is wrong in the way I thought? Well, "body shaming" is wrong but there is no pride in being obese and invite all sorts of diseases at an early age. The garland of diseases I wear today is all because of the wrong food habits. Not that I turned into a wise person but I try to balance my diet a bit. This morning I packed the husband's lunch box with some leftover chicken kofta curry and paratha.... it cannot happen that I will not have one paratha with my morning tea. What will be my lunch like?... some stir fry mushrooms & veggies with no rice at all.... some fruits to have too! Dinner may be 1/2 small cup of rice.... This is not an ideal diet plan... so I could manage to shed only 10-12 kilos in the past few years and look just like me instead of a Shobha De .... I am just unable to go for clean eating and rigorous physical training. At times, the trainers at the gym knocks me asking are you ok S? I might have lost then somewhere else in between workout sessions.... It is my nature... may be early signs of dementia too... who knows? No I do not eat breads with this PINEAPPLE JAM WITH CHILLI FLAKES often, neither did I follow our mother's recipe of it . She might have forgotten the recipes of jams altogether. She stopped cooking variety once I got married because the brother never fancied variety in his food. She cooks what he loves... biryani, pulao, meat.... after a lunch with these he can enter a KFC for a giant chicken leg, Pizza Hut for a pizza but never a Mac meal.... silly boy! The junior at this home indeed loves all the simple spreads and jams I prepare.... just like his mother used to some 30-40 years back on cream cracker and marie biscuits... 10-15 per day.... paying for it hard now. A diabetic foodie is the worst combination to happen in this world. I am still not clear about the difference between spread, jam and jelly..... I just do a jam like something with fresh fruits and with few other ingredients readily available at home. I do not use pectin / any kinds of artificial preservatives on jams given my shallow knowledge on food. So... if you call my PINEAPPLE JAM WITH CHILLI FLAKES .... anarosher mishti achar... I do not mind.... it still tastes great! I stick to the idea of adding chilli flakes to jams deriving it from one of the jam recipe of scratchingcanvas.com ... it rocks! Those who are celebrating CNY can try it after the celebration, rest of you can try it tomorrow itself... what you need is a good quality, juicy... ripe pineapple.... with which I have a long association... the grandfather grew it... not so sweet as we get here. The mother spoilt her kids serving it cubed, tossed in black salt and pepper on weekends post lunch when the lazy daughter was engrossed in a story book and the naughty son was on an experimentation mode inserting a "kuler bichi" .... an Indian berry seed inside his nose! Enjoy this PINEAPPLE JAM WITH CHILLI FLAKES on biscuit, bread, poori, paratha / porota. The first item that went into the lunch box of the junior were two tiny luchi rolled with jam spread on it... it should work at your home too!




INGREDIENT :

Pineapple : 1standard size
Lemon Juice : 1/2small cup
Dry Red Chilli : 2-3
Sugar : 1medium cup
Water : 11/2coffee mug

METHOD :

Cut the two ends of the pineapple, peel the skin. Cut half and then further into 4 pieces. We will discard the hard pineapple core / woody centre too.

Now cut the remaining pineapple into cubes and grind to a paste. Use a grinder and not a juicer.

Take the pineapple paste on a heavy bottomed vessel and add 11/2 coffee mug of water to it.

Put on gas stove and bring to boil. Let boil for about 10-12 minutes. Now add 1 medium cup of sugar and stir.




When it has boiled for about 12-14 minutes, add the lemon juice and yellow food colour. Stir.




Let the mixture boil at low heat further. Heat a clean wok and dry roast the dry red chillies just for a minute. Take off, let cool. Crush roughly with your hand. Wash your hands several times with soap before you touch any part of your body. I hope you are not a forgetful mind like me.

Once you see the boiling mixture getting sticky, add the chilli flakes and fold in well. Switch off gas stove.





Once cool, transfer to a sterilised bottle. Refrigerate for its longevity and enjoy atop bread, poori, paratha as and when required!


Tuesday, 13 February 2018

TOMATO DHONEPATA DIYE DIMER KANCHA JHOL



I got the idea of cooking an egg curry this way some 18 years ago and from whom?..... I keep on talking about a wonder woman who has an equally / superbly talented husband.... from him. No, you will not find him anywhere near the kitchen. In fact he is the one who says I google map for the kitchen and this copy cat's antenna caught it immediately. If I tell my husband.... you know I highlighted this or that today on my blog... he would say.... S you are stealing my ideas.... Isn't it so we learn each day from the surrounding and apply those in our lives whenever required? Anyway, coming to the recipe of this Bengali style Egg Curry TOMATO DHONEPATA DIYE DIMER KANCHA JHOL, I could not replicate the actual recipe as heard so many years back. Am I no more in touch with that person that I could not ask for the recipe? That cannot happen ever.... certain relationships are unbreakable, they are meant to stay forever ..... It is for this couple that my husband stayed in the comfort and warmth of a home in a situation when he may have had to stay in a boy's hostel and survive on vada pao. Such relationships I keep at the top, consider sacred! Then why did not I send a message to him for the recipe? I felt shy really to bother a person who is busy and has to keep many delicate affairs on his head. If I ask him about the recipe, he has to call his mother and sister in Kolkata for it.... that seems so silly. I message him on lazy Sundays to complain about the senior, he stops me saying you are married to a very genuine person S, do not complain.... he does not miss the chance to play pranks on my man either... haha. There is another reason too.... he used to say this recipe of TOMATO DHONEPATA DIYE DIMER KANCHA JHOL is his family recipe who hail from East Bengal..... Chutu... his wife's family is of West Bengal origin.... Chutu's mother is an excellent cook.... my husband swears on her Tandoori Chicken.... while Chutu's husband's mother cooked the best "Thorer Ghonto"according to our another friend from school, Subhra. So better I rely on my memory for this dish of TOMATO DHONEPATA DIYE DIMER KANCHA JHOL. This Mumbaikar couple hailing from Kolkata are very private person, they may not like me going public about them but I will. The genius never had the habit of bragging, we know he was the roommate of the present Google CEO for a year. He never said "we were so good friends you know T & S".... instead he said "we did not gel well actually". We believe he need not brag either... he is no less in quality. Each year there are toppers from each department of the IIT or elsewhere who flourish.... What makes him so different? The man at this home says... he is humble, down to the earth to the core and far beyond any kind of text books... a living Encyclopaedia.... but like Sherlock Holmes... only in his areas of interest. I dedicate this dish to a couple who did not behave like Valentines even after their marriage, never craved for privacy but were true guardians to some bachelor dears and to a flying, touch the ground and go friend like my T. I am emotionally indebted to the couple who are blessed with a daughter.

Imagine a pot of boiling water and you throw in few spices, slitted green chillies, chopped tomatoes, chopped coriander, boiled eggs and it gets cooked.... this was what he told me so far I can remember. Why did I not disclose his name  today? I will do it when I share his wife's recipe one day..... it is she who cooked and fed my husband for days, months..... I indeed believe family is not only blood. You will not see us attending parties every other day but we have some really good ones around the world! This dish of an yum, Bengali style egg curry TOMATO DHONEPATA DIYE DIMER KANCHA JHOL is not a Valentine's Day kind of, nor a Maha Shivratri special one! Indeed I am fasting without water and will break fast only at night after offering the dancing Lord "dudh... jol.... shabu-kola"..... Its ok to say Valentine's Day is not a part of Indian culture, even rape is not! If some are more interested in booking people peacefully celebrating Valentine's Day instead of booking the rapists / honour killers .... stubborns like me will not share "shorbot" recipe either, neither place a heart shaped sandesh on a plate and share. There is indeed a CNY special recipe to be shared next day that everyone can prepare in their kitchen. Since I forgot the detailed recipe of it, I went ahead with my version of this quick, easy scrumptious egg curry and served it with cumin / jeera flavoured turmeric rice and some salad. Egg is a favourite with the husband, the son too have it without complain, this lady too prefers an egg curry than those too frozen "desher mach".... if only the egg was duck egg.... the yolk of duck eggs tastes heavenly in Indian curries.... chicken eggs are to have boiled, fried, poaches, omelettes.....

You may click the below headings for few of my other Egg Recipes already shared on blog!

BENGAL EGG CURRY

KOLHAPURI DRY EGG CURRY

OMELETTE WRAPPED FRIED RICE

I am sincerely thankful to the extremely well crafted, the versatile blogger friend Navaneetham Krishnan... who blogs at nava-k.com for helping me out with the process of  adding links of different recipes on blog!





INGREDIENTS :

Egg : 5-7
Tomato : 1medium [washed, chopped]
Coriander Leaves : 1 small cup [wash, root removed, chopped]
Green Chilli : 2-3 [washed, slitted]
Onion : 1 medium [peeled, washed, sliced]
Cumin Seed : 2-3 pinch
Cumin Powder : 1/3tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 11/2tsp
Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder : 1/3tsp
Cinnamon Powder : 2-3pinch
Green Cardamom Powder : 2-3pinch
Cloves Powder : A pinch
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Bay Leaf : 1
Salt : As Required
Oil : 2tbsp

METHOD :

Wash the eggs carefully and boil in enough water adding little salt. Once cool, de shell... wash again and apply some salt.

We have the boiled eggs, sliced onion, chopped corianders, cubed tomatoes and slitted green chillies ready on the kitchen top.




Heat oil in a wok and temper with cumin seeds and the bay leaf. Add the sliced onion to the wok and stir fry for sometime till golden brown.



Add 11/2 coffee mug of water to the wok. Add salt, turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder, both kinds of red chilli powders and tomatoes to it and stir. Cover and bring to boil.



Let the curry boil at low heat till the tomato pieces are tender.... we will not allow the gravy to dry. Add more water if required.

Now add the boiled eggs, chopped corianders, slitted green chillies, cinnamon... green cardamom and cloves powders to the boiling curry. Give a stir and let boil for another 2 minutes.




Once done, transfer to a serving bowl. We had it fresh and hot with Jeera Rice and salad!




Sunday, 11 February 2018

CHINGRI ALOO PEPER DALNA





This ├╝ber delicious Bengali style CHINGRI ALOO PEPER DALNA was due for sometime now. This raw papaya, potato and shrimps dry curry is a regular at our home and it was / is so in my side of the family. I do have a vegetarian version of a similar recipe already on blog.... and it seems to be the most viewed recipe of mine so far haha... I did cook it at my in-laws place too after marriage .... the paa-in-law indeed liked the very authentic, heirloom recipes I cooked but was not at the liberty to go public with the appraisal... be it protocol or to avoid unwanted storm in the household... haha... I do not know why Bengalis fight over "Epar Bangla Opar Bangla"..... East Bengal - West Bengal.... Both sides of my family hails from East Bengal but I do not find much similarities between the two families.... Two women's cooking style from the husband's side of the family mesmerises me... one was of his mother's deceased big sister ... "mashi's" cooking and the paa-in-law's younger brother's wife's.... "choto kakima's"..... Now I did not care about any protocol in my life and naturally became a cause of irritation to the tigress mother-in-law.... I did not see her taking much interest in cooking... she was too busy with social work, chatting and restaurant hopping. She got angry and more angry with me when I praised my man's sister's maa-in-law breaking all protocol... because I always feel what I do not have in me should be appreciated in others! Do you know the tall, slim mother of two athlete boys played in the national Volley Ball Team representing Tripura... I could not hide my excitement when I first visited their home and saw a photograph with her team .... no doubt her younger son will be a cricket coach in Salt Lake and the elder a trekker. Our mother-in-law always regret that none of her kid's spouses hail from Dhaka and have origin in Comilla and bases in Tripura..... but remember.... a son-in-law is always dearer than a daughter-in-law... you bet.... at least in our society! Anyway, I do not care about all these sitting far from home... in another home.... where people do not fight over "chingri-ilish"..... "football-cricket"..... "allah-bhagaban-god"..... people are busy earning a livelihood.... strategising life and savings.... living / life is expensive here.... worthless, sit-at-home people like me are very rare here. So I have enough time to cook elaborate, heirloom recipes as this CHINGRI ALOO PEPER DALNA often.

CHINGRI ALOO PEPER DALNA is a Bengali style, semi-dry dish done with shrimps, raw papaya and potato in addition to few regular spices. We always have it with steamed rice but it should go well with hot chapati or paratha. Cooking this semi-dry, non-vegetarian curry does not take much time  in my kitchen as I do not fry the potatoes and raw papaya pieces separately unlike the mother. The idea is to retain the goodness of the veggies used, if at all after using a generous amount of spices. Bengali cooking is not health prone.... they have a platter of "shorshe bata diye Golda Chingri, Pathar Kosha, Pulao, Sweet Chutney, Pantua and then a bowl of gorom, mota shor pora dudh".... what after?.... complaining of "gola, buk jwala, ambal"..... one may faint  at the sight of our food platter and we have to complain of acidity after having it.... There are exceptions these days for those who live abroad for a long time.... Saying so, I am trying to avoid any kind of argument because I hate it. How much I dislike it, I am living with a man who loves to argue at all times. Just like parents warn their kids how to behave in a party, I keep on repeating and urging the husband to keep his mouth shut in a gathering.... but in vein... he inherited it! We are born with our both parents' genes. I think why people have to be vocal about their opinion at all gatherings, he things otherwise.... best is to stop bothering and sit at a corner with a favourite drink.... that is what I enjoy.... "manly chat, womanly chat, talking too much over phone" does not give me any high ..... I do not even know what to do with me.... that teen girl is back within me who loved to lie down on the easy chair in their balcony with a book and eat, eat, eat. The brother still may be making fun of his lazy, fat elder sister who never went out for playing and always walked in slow motion... according to him.... Anyway.... it is CNY celebration here in a week.... I wished to share with the prawn / shrimp loving nation a heirloom recipe from the Bengal kitchen with smaller shrimps, potato and raw-papaya. There are right people to share recipes that matches Valentine Day celebrations, I do not find myself motivated enough however. With cholesterol crossing over the danger level, not really in the mood to draw and design heart shapes.... I am miserable in that area... fine artistry! Here is the recipe of CHINGRI ALOO PEPER DALNA.... which should be had with steamed rice or say flat breads.





INGREDIENTS :

Raw Papaya : 1medium 
Potato : 1big
Tomato Paste : 1/2small cup
Shrimp : 300-350gm
Ginger Paste : 11/2tbsp
Cumin Powder : 11/2tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 2tsp
Cinnamon Powder : 1/4tsp
Green Cardamom Powder : 1/4tsp
Cloves Powder : 2-3pinch
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp +1/2tsp +1/2tsp + 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Cumin Seed : 3-4pinch
Bayleaf : 1
Ghee : 1tsp [clarified butter]
Sugar : 1tsp [optional]
Oil : 2tbsp [We use mustard oil]

METHOD :

De shell, clean and wash the shrimps / smaller prawns thoroughly. Marinate with salt and 1tsp turmeric powder.

Peel the skin of the raw papaya discarding the two ends. Also peel off the inner layer having the seeds    after we have cut the raw papaya into 4 halves. My poor English does not allow me to use the correct terms at times... sorry readers.... You can still rely on my recipes though.

Now cut the peeled raw papaya further into smaller cubes. Wash and apply 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and salt.

Peel the potato, cut into 8 pieces. Wash and rub with 1/2tsp turmeric powder and salt.

Keep all three marinated for 15 minutes or so.

Heat oil in a wok. Fry the shrimps lightly and take out.

Temper oil with a bayleaf and the  cumin seeds.

Take the ginger paste, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder, 1/2tsp turmeric powder and some salt in a bowl. Sprinkle some water and mix well.

Add the spice mixture to the tempered oil and stir for a minute. Add the tomato paste and stir further for a minute.

Now add the cubed raw papaya pieces, fold in well and stir for 2-3 minutes. Add the potato pieces and stir further for 2 minutes all at medium heat.

Add one coffee mug of water, lower heat to minimum and cover cook for 3-4 minutes.

Open cover and add the lightly fried shrimps. Fold in well and let cook at low heat for 2 minutes or so.

Now add the cinnamon, green cardamom, cloves powder, ghee and sugar to the already semi-dry curry and let cook for a minute. We are done!

Enjoy the aromatic, spicy curry either with steamed rice or flat breads!





Friday, 9 February 2018

SWEET POTATO & PEANUT SNACKER WITH MINT-PINEAPPLE-GARLIC CHUTNEY



The entire evening yesterday was spent doing this platter of SWEET POTATO & PEANUT SNACKER WITH MINT-PINEAPPLE-GARLIC CHUTNEY. This obviously is an evening teatime pleasure, but yesterday it was made as a part of dinner menu with some cumin / jeera rice and a quick egg curry, the recipe of which is to be shared later! What about the dal share S? Oh! it can wait for few more days.... back to back two dal shares do not sound great. Besides, I may not have promoted my blog at all in this island for the reason that I cannot cook the dishes that the natives here prefer and I am not so keen on being close to the people of my clan here except for the few known..... Then it is also true that there is a big upcoming event to be held in this island and we should well be a part of it. Why not use ingredients that people of this island and that of the country of my birth both eat, and with love? As of the rest of the vast world... I think most of them eat sweet potato or say peanut..... Well, I should think about them too and this platter should appeal to a majority! My exposure to the world beyond Bengal was only through few books for a long period..... and they were not necessarily on culinary art... at large. Had I knew that I have a natural passion for cooking... I would have pursued it after my 12th and would not be scared to go for recipe contests judged by the master chefs! Oh! I have a general apathy towards any kind of examinations and competitions.... If in a contest.. the judge asks me to prepare a "jilipi".... I will simply start shivering like "Jalebi Bai".... I have no qualms in admitting my shortcomings.... that makes me an "average brat".... One should have some amount of confidence and self pride in them to move ahead in life! I go back in time and see I have a so called master's degree in a subject I never loved.... I could have done something if I studied Archaeology, Anthropology, Sociology or Psychology or say even this Culinary Arts! The pain of choosing a wrong subject and the failure of trying to get crisp "jilipi or amriti" gets me to prepare something that majority of the people will love. I however have the feel that maximum of the people love fries and fritters. Moreover, when I have the feel that people are trying to bind me within a particular region, I prefer to take a shift and will definitely not conform to their wish. So, all the effort that took to this divine platter of SWEET POTATO & PEANUT SNACKER WITH MINT-PINEAPPLE-GARLIC CHUTNEY  is worth!

Bengalis use Sweet Potato / Ranga Aloo in "pithe-puli" usually... The Hindi-speaking belt back in India use it for a Shakarkhandi Chaat? may be.... and I know the Southern India eat it often. Sweet Potato / Ranga Aloo / Shakarkhandi.... this root vegetable is very much loved by the people of this island. They even eat its leaves which I never got home. I ate it outside may be in a soup or in a stir fry, did not find any distinct flavour or taste, it tastes like any other greens to me. Back in 2012, when our mother visited us here.... she jumped at the sight of the sweet potato leaves, she  mistook it for "kharkon / ghatkol pata".... a special kind of leaf we get during monsoon in Bengal and prepare a bharta of it with or without prawns.... it is perhaps a "Bangal" thing.... I so much crave for it and comb searched the island for it, never got! What I get here I do, from "loti to shorshe-narkol diye kochu bata"..... the rest in the family eats it or not. I am mentally prepared for such phone calls in future from one Olive Oyl... "mumma we had pasta with lots of greens n shrimps tonight, had some baked rice with roasted french beans yesterday"..... How much the senior says I will prove to be the worst mother-in-law.... I see myself giving a broad smile over the phone and say thats fine dear... have it hot and fresh.... She might be just back from her work unlike her useless mother-in-law and pretty tired. Come on this lady is not so horrible either, the only medal she got till date except for those race finisher ones is for Best Conduct back in school... haha.... The husband has to say something about it too!.... He says I am his wife and he knows me the best that it was a wrong selection, that our Bengali teacher Iva Dutta miss loved me too much, was partial towards me and the right candidate was sidelined.... I am partial too and make it a point to visit her every year.... The husband is always right... so why does he tag me to be the worst mom-in-law and says he will not allow the kids to stay with me for a single day after their marriage? Perhaps because I have rehearsed a several times by now what to say to my Olive Oil.... "Every little thing of mine is yours and only yours.... given my son features as prime in your life!"..... That sounds very much patriarch right?.... That is why I always say it is not the males alone who are patriarch.... we are prisoners of a system. Anyway, what I kept in mind while preparing this platter of SWEET POTATO & PEANUT SNACKER WITH MINT-PINEAPPLE-CHUTNEY are... people of this island should be able to have it now or later, I am an Indian who runs an Indian food blog... so the entire snack loving nation should be able to have it.... Today, the movie Padman releases.... it speaks of those needy women who cannot afford personal hygiene.... I wished to keep the ingredients low cost! We will watch it and Aiyaary both. I can see some people have already started criticising some associated with the movie as publicity stunts, pets of the ruling party. Come on, we should not associate religion and politics with everything.... focus on a particular issue.... So what if they earn money... they are spreading awareness for a right cause too... I have left leanings, even I did not allow my husband to waste his life in meetings, processions with party flag.... How much my dedicated party worker paa-in-law denies that during his party's rule.... the Calcutta University did not allow anyone through the back door.... in reality it definitely was in practice... may be less... His party removed English from the syllabus of West Bengal schools, while the party leader sent his own grand daughters to city convents and lived in a city mansion. I do not understand politics, but you all know that I give big talks... Marxism was part of my syllabi till the university level... isn't it a very good ideology that failed miserably in application. I am against the ruling parties both of India and in the state of West Bengal... they fuel the religious sentiments of the commoners, What is the opposition doing?... same thing... vote bank is all that matters.... We need not criticise every action of the ruling party once we lose the chair.... Selling pakoras will definitely not contribute to a country's economy, but it is always better to do something than sitting idle at home and curse. All separatist movements are fuelled, watered and nurtured to stay in power... who ever sits in the throne does it.... doing it since independence. How will the  arms industry function and flourish if not the civil wars are fuelled? The lady giving big talks will not go and work at the grass root level but will go to the parlour for pedicure, manicure and then selfies... why? because she is a coward... she does not want similar fate as of one Gauri Lankesh. Yet, we need not be too critical of the chair at all times.... to handle a diverse country with an exploding population is not an easy task..... specially if its citizens are selfish like me who is scared to take back her son to his roots.... where a son is stabbed in the name of honour killing.... a daughter is raped every hour. How can I call myself a "desh premi".... Anyway, I see a future for myself back there.... I have a quite big kitchen done up by our very own Godrej.... where I can prepare this superbly delish evening snacks with sweet potato, peanuts, onion, coriander leaves, few spices and supply to different homes.... here the government is so strict with its laws! The green chutney is made with pineapple-mint and garlic! Let us do the SWEET POTATO & PEANUT SNACKER WITH MINT-PINEAPPLE-GARLIC CHUTNEY following the stepwise pictures.



INGREDIENTS : [for the chutney]

Pineapple Cubes : 1medium cup
Mint Leaves : 12-15
Garlic Cloves : 2medium
Green Chilli : 2
Black Salt : 1/4tsp

Take the pre washed pineapple pieces, garlic cloves, mint leaves, green chillies and the black salt in a grinder.



Grind to a fine paste pausing in between... It may take 1-2 minutes.



Transfer to a serving bowl and refrigerate until the snackers are ready to be served with it.


INGREDIENTS : [for the snackers]

Sweet Potato : 4medium sized [peeled, halved and pressure cooked adding water unto 1 whistle]
Peanut : 1/2small cup [chopped]
Coriander Leaves : 1small cup [chopped]
Onion : 1big[sliced and fried lightly]
Green Chilli :2[chopped]
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tbsp
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Chaat Masala : 1tsp
Lemon Juice : 4-5tbsp
Semolina : 2tbsp
Refined Flour : 1tbsp
Salt : As Required [add little at a time]
Oil : 2-3 tbsp +1tsp

METHOD :

Take the boiled sweet potato pieces in a wide mouthed, big bowl.



Heat 1tsp oil in a wok and fry the onion slices lightly.



Add all of the spices, chopped coriander leaves and green chillies, chopped toasted peanuts, lemon juice and salt to the sweet potatoes.



Mash and mix very well. Add the fried onion slices, semolina and refined flour.



Mix well further. Prepare cutlet shapes from the mixture.



Once done, refrigerate them for about two hours.



Heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a pan. Take out the cutlets and gently place atop the oil. Remember, they are soft because we used lemon juice which is required to balance the sweet tone of the sweet potato.



Once one side is little crisp and brown, turn over and do the other side. Do at low heat to avoid burning.



Place them gently on  a serving plate along with the chutney, take some salad alongside and enjoy with tea / coffee!