Wednesday, 11 April 2018


Well its POILA BOISHAKH for us .... Bengali New Years Day and I can take the liberty to be little more selfish and a bit regional! Two times of the year I take this liberty and I will... though on Friday... a day before "Noboborsho"... I may not go so very authentic.... sharing something everyone can eat! "Friendship" is a sacred term to me unless you get really nasty towards me. Today it has to be an ilish / hilsa day ..... I have not gone Bengali for a while and the craving is at work now.... There is another reason too.... Ilish is a family favourite on both sides of the family and the best member of both the families .... our father left us about a year ago! Yesterday we performed the yearly ritual ..... though the actual date is 21st April.... He loved ilish. No, the daughter was not crying the entire day..... she uploaded her picture in various forums.... totally oblivious of the day which perhaps happened to be the master of the master chefs of India's birthday too ..... then I do not really have a mind to take everything into account .... I do what and when I wish to ..... Come on it was not a full made up face either ..... had I been a beauty queen I would not have done this much too.... I like it nude .... I mean the make up!.... So, I was  satisfied and happy to hide my strands of grey, the impossible to measure width of the waistline & nose in my "Poila Boishakh" special picture .... in a simple "tant base with multi-coloured appliqué on it'..... then I was free to cook for my "paa..."..... No, I was not sad ... negativity or depression was not in his dictionary, we inherited those traits from our mother! I cooked and served him "some" of his loves... some were missing like ripe jackfruit and a fish curry!.... He specially loved banana, mango, chutney, pickle, eggplant, bitter gourd, luchi, payesh, pulao. That is him in a blue T-shirt.... the daughter's click at her home on 7th January 2017 and her last meeting with him. If you are lucky enough to have your parents around you.... take good care of them... if they are thin.... ask them not to take too much stress.... if they are overweight.... be strict with their diet... The next two pictures you see are the rituals performed by the brother at their terrace.... Our mother is territorial about her landed property so much so that her son has to run each day to catch "atta poneror Barrackpore local".... a morning train to reach Camac Street and her daughter-in-law sets off even earlier at 6:30 am to reach to that school which is about 3km interior of the road beside that seven or five star Hotel now. It was just a plot of land with a placard when we admitted our son there back in 2005.... Can we call it development?.... all the farmlands in that area has big buildings now. Anyway, I have a brother who did not leave his mother for a flat in Kolkata neither she will agree to sell it!.... It is this brother about whom his sister always complained to her father .... bhai uttered 3 bad words today and played with those who I told not to ! .... Some of his friends were / are very dear to me.... they complained... "didi, Sohan left us and is mingling with others which you will not like"..... the mother started mourning and the sister got stricter.... there is my brother who never left his parents.... several of his marriage proposals were broken when at the final stage he told the prospective bride... I love my mother the most and can never leave my parents.... finally this mathematics teacher agreed! His T dada and big sister thinks.... he got used to his "paa..." ironing his trousers and "mani" feeding him on  his way to office.... haha....  A well knit family matters.... so ROSHUN KANCHA LANKA NARKOL DIYE ILISH should happen today!.... Again, I did not cry or mourn yesterday.... only memories haunted.... how I tied rubber bands on his chest hairs once he was back from office .... plucked the whites from his eyebrow even after marriage.... Teens.... a player, dancer, singer, painter are you taking care of your parents? Cook and feed them often when they are alive.... No our Prince [of the monkey clan] does not do it, mumma de bones his ilish .... after all he is the prime in my life! She has to cook some chicken too for the non-ilish lover! I think I am just scaring away all the Olive Oyls from the monkey's life.... Not to worry girls..... you are at the liberty to stay far off ... the boss of this house will make sure you do.... only one request.... do not feed my son "pauruti" everyday.... yes, that is patriarchy in full form.... all big talks end here!

You can see the size of the ilish was not so big, neither did I get it from my favourite shops run by my brothers from Bangladesh ..... In a super market here we get something very similar to ilish / hilsa.... they call it Chinese Gizzard Shad... I cannot differentiate between the two.... I was really very skeptical while buying this particular one, they asked only 15 sing dollars for a near 900gm one when they take nothing less than 30 - 35 sing dollars per kilo. I checked the "kanko".... gills.... it seemed fresh.... I felt let me try it with minimal spices .... I am not in support of overdosing a beauty queen with loads of makeup... in this case ilish is the queen.... spices used can be minimal. No, you will not expect innovations from this small brain.... most of the time I do "idhar ka mal udhar, udhar ka mal idhar"..... For this ROSHUN KANCHA LANKA NARKOL DIYE ILISH,  I marinated the fish pieces with a generous amount of mustard oil, green chilli-garlic paste, salt, turmeric, shredded coconut.... and microwaved.... you can do it on stovetop too! Do it with love, take good care of ilish.... else I cannot be happy with you.... Imagine a scene.... I am in the final round of KAUN BANEGA CROREPATI, the organisers or the Big B is desperate to get me to help the boss to buy a decent home for us in the world's most expensive island, the final question.... Give a synonym of "ilish".... I take one second... "mohabbat"... "jaan-e-jigar" 'ishkiya".... Thats where the dream ends each night! I had a daddy who did not like his daughter wearing a saree, he got so many dresses for her, I hear he had a special tailor to stitch my dresses in our short span of stay in Asansol ..... he started with his job at State Bank Of India, Asansol! He loved girl child and proved that a daughter-in-law can be given a status of a daughter.... a rare ability! You saw me wearing a saree yesterday .... which means I inherited "ghar tyarami" from my father! None of us are good or bad alone, but a mixture!

You see I value the people around, so here is the link for the Aloo Chicken recipe too!



Hilsa / Ilish : 6-8 pieces [preferably fresh]
Garlic Paste : 11/2tbsp
Green Chilli Paste : 3-4tbsp [I am generous]
Salt : As Required
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Shredded Coconut : 1small cup
Lemon Juice : 2-3tbsp [for those who find ilish smelly, excuse me if we cannot be best of friends]
Green Chilli : 2-3 [slitted]
Oil : 1/3small cup without any thought [strictly mustard for us]


I feel very happy with this kind of hassle-free cooking these days, so long that excellent photographer-food blogger, electronic engineer cum HRD Head of the family business do not come back, I can carry on with "fakibaji ranna".....

Wash the fish pieces carefully which means do not get rid of the natural oil doing so!

Marinate will all the ingredients including the slitted green chillies, I forgot. If you find ilish smelly, marinate with lemon juice for 1/2 an hour and wash again before the final marination.

Keep marinated for an hour.

If you want, you can paste the shredded coconut before marination, I did not.

After an hour or so, microwave for 13-14 minutes at 300*C. I cooked it uncovered, so cooking at low heat is a necessity for the fish to stay soft even after cooking.

Each machine differs, so try and test yours to know the correct temperature.

If you are doing on a stove top, place the marinated fish gently on a heated wok. Cover cook till done. If required, sprinkle little water!

In this particular recipe, I found it tastes better if we eat at least 4-5 hours after cooking.

Only piping hot steamed rice is required to enjoy it. The platter also had "badam diye laal shaaker ghonto".... red amaranth with peanuts, "beulir dal".... split black gram dal .... and chicken with tomatoes & potatoes! The breads and salad is not in the picture, do add them the non-ilish lovers!

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