Tuesday, 31 July 2018

BENGALI ROASTED EGGPLANT MASH & PEANUT MINT CHUTNEY



Aww there comes a phase in my life from time to time when I get lazier from an already lazy brat. I cook simple and easy.... else who would believe that I have not prepared a "shingara / samosa" in the last six months or a "patishapta / sweet crepe" in the recent past! The later will happen soon as Janmashtami is approaching near. On one such lethargic evening this platter of BENGALI ROASTED EGGPLANT MASH & PEANUT MINT CHUTNEY happened that was served with  methi / fenugreek paratha / flatbread! You can make out from the pictures that I was not so particular about the shapes and look of the parathas either! I was not happy with the photo shoot altogether, never thought of blogging on a "begun pora makha"...... Yesterday evening I felt like ok let me go ahead with this platter next .... people far off should know about our style of "baba ganoush"! This Bengali home prepares more of the Northern Indian "baingan bharta" than "begun pora makha"... because the husband is fond of egg plants but a bit allergic to it. He can have only when I cook it for a longer period! However, "begun pora makha" once in a while does not cause much of itching in him. To avoid this situation I try to select egg plant varieties with lesser seeds in them. For this particular dish,  the big, fleshy purple or the big, round, fleshy green ones are always the best! So, I scrolled for this not so much of a favourite picture yesterday evening! Wishing to be open to my readers always I must declare that I discovered the search option in Google photos when I am two years away from 48! Honesty does not pay us much these days but I also wished to share the below photos with my readers to let them know that I do a little amount of editing with my food photos these days! There is no harm. With the absence of natural light most of the time, lack of knowledge on photography, use of smart phone instead of a DSLR.... most of the time my food clicks do not seem what their colour actually is.... so I edit a little bit to make it look a bit better or as the original most of the time! This declaration may prove suicidal for me..... may be.... but I do not care.... I know my dishes taste well... else I will not blog on it! Those who have faith in me will not leave me.... this is true in all cases and at all times. Likewise you know a silly woman uploaded a few pictures of mine in Facebook where all my greys are visible.... I did not get angry.... I did not even bother about my looks during the prime period of my life. I never felt the urge to present myself as something I am not... if you find me worthy enough to be yours.... you will hold me tight and never leave! By the way, a castor oil massage on the head is getting me new hairs but all white.... haha!
Take a look at my 'badhakopir ghonto" picture that I updated recently with "little" amount of editing.... you cannot do much with a hand phone!




For a BENGALI ROASTED EGGPLANT MASH & PEANUT MINT CHUTNEY served with methi paratha, we do not have to sweat at all. If the eggplant is of good quality and fresh it takes few minutes to get roasted and the rest is assortment! The chutney too required assorting and to be done at one go. For the parathas just chop the leaves, wash mix together with other ingredients, roll out and do! Only the salad bowl is missing in the picture.... Cristine and ma'am surely had some.... there also had a meat dish for the rebels in all probability! I do love meat if its mutton..... chicken I am trying not to quit altogether .... I do grill them and have with salads for my lunches. When I go out for lunches in the vicinity I do make some love with fish. Then why cannot I reduce my weight? My exercise regime is not proportionate with my calorie intake. If not in a beast mode, we must push ourselves a bit which I do not.... no pain .... no gain. You are wise people .... you will do some strength trainings and eat clean!




I am not in a position to give much lecture on food and nutrition! What I conclude is that this platter of BENGALI ROASTED EGGPLANT MASH & PEANUT MINT CHUTNEY requires very less ingredients with minimal sweat, its healthy! We will chop some tomatoes, onion, green chillies and mix well with the mashed roasted eggplant. Then we will take all the ingredients of the chutney / condiment in a blender and blend for few minutes.... serve fresh. I missed to add the chopped coriander leaves to the eggplant mash, you must!

My vegetarian dish with cabbage, potato, peanut and tomato / "badhakopir ghonto" recipe gets updated with new pictures.... do have a look clicking the heading / link below! We enjoy it with both steamed rice & chapati!

BADHAKOPIR GHONTO




INGREDIENTS : [for the roasted eggplant mash]

Eggplant : 1big, fat, purple variety
Tomato : 1medium [wash, chop roughly]
Onion : 1medium [peel, wash, chop]
Green Chilli : 2 [chopped, washed]
Fresh Coriander leaves : 2tbsp {chopped, washed] [I missed but you must add]
Salt : As Required
Lemon Juice : 1tbsp
Mustard Oil [authentically] : 1tbsp + 2-3 drops

INGREDIENTS : [for the peanut-mint chutney]

Fresh Mint Leaves : 10-12 [washed]
Roasted Peanut : 2tbsp
Roasted Sesame Seed : 1tsp
Chopped Tomato : 1tbsp [washed]
Green Chilli : 1[washed]
Chopped Onion : 11/2tsp [washed]
Black Salt : As Required
Lemon Juice : 11/2tsp

PROCEDURE :

Let us prepare the peanut-mint chutney first!




Take all the ingredients mentioned under the label "peanut mint chutney" in a blender! Blend at high for 2-3 minutes with a pause after every one minute! 

We are done! Transfer to a bowl ready to be served!

For the "begun pora makha" / Bengali Roasted Eggplant mash / Bhuna hua baingan mishran, we will wash and pat dry the eggplant..... always choose the big, fleshy variety!

Rub the eggplant with 2-3 drops of oil and roast all the sides very well on stove top! Use tongs for this else you burn your palms.

Switch off gas burner and let it cool. 

Clear off the skin and the stem end.

Mash with your right palm well, discarding the water that has been released.

Add rest of the ingredients.... chopped tomato, green chillies, onion, coriander leaves, salt and oil, fold in well. 

It has to be enjoyed fresh! We usually have it with steamed rice.... this family like having it with flatbreads too like this methi paratha!



Sunday, 29 July 2018

MUTTON WITH RAW PAPAYA & POTATO



I am not happy with this picture.... one of the few reasons is the colour... we do not use much red chilli powder in this particular curry with mutton.... but use more of slitted green chillies and black pepper powder! This particular curry of mutton with raw papaya and potato is considered as a light curry among the carnivorous Bengalis ..... so it is done without using much spices. Just back from Turkey, I also know how heavenly a lamb curry may taste which has been simmered for long in just few aromatic spices! Lamb Shorba and Mutton Kambing can be on my family menu list on a regular basis.... just need to hunt my fellow-bloggers' spaces! Then look at the potato pieces as compared to  that of the mutton.... they are not proportionate! Here, if you do not ask the meat seller beforehand to keep the pieces of the meat big.... they chop it small. Potato pieces in meat has to be big among us.... so I find the dish as not so good looking but it is tasty for sure. I did it some two months back and then not anymore till today though it is a very Bengali recipe! As I always say.... the mutton quality here does not please me.... if you are from India or to be precise from Kolkata / Rajasthan / Bihar, you have grown up on a different breed of mutton which hardly has an equal.... soft, melt in the mouth pieces. Whenever I go ahead for a light meat curry as this MUTTON WITH RAW PAPAYA & POTATO or a mutton stew, I do use a pressure cooker at the last step! It gives a light soupy character to the curry I feel. If you do not have a Cristine, do the entire cooking from start in the cooker and at the last step close the lid and cook up to one whistle! I am really lucky to have a Cristine like help with us... whenever we have guests... she dedicates her entire being to work double.... her ma'am shouts at her often because the later is not so happy with her way of dusting and cleaning! Yet, she serves the best portions of food to my son and husband even in my absence, gets cigar packets for sir around 10:30 pm at the night time, does not refuse when ma'am forces her to eat "chanar payesh".... hihi! Why is she so nice to us?.... because she knows her sir gives ma'am tightly left and right if the later shouts on her.... she understands what sir says in Bengali... "meyeta sharadin kaaj korchey aar tumi chyachaccho"..... Cristine knows that ma'am cries after that "amar theke Cristiner proti tomar beshi doya"..... Cristine also observes that even after that ma'am goes out with her and shares food with her, gets a taxi on way back so that she does not have to carry a heavier stroller back home! Why I do this?.... I saw one old man supporting every other person as against our mother in public.... hihi.... You should not be like that old man or the senior of the two rebels at this home and be at the side of your girls by all means! Even if your woman is not like me cooking this yummy mutton curry MUTTON WITH RAW PAPAYA & POTATO for her notorious men, you will still be nice to them.... haha!


We had some guests at our home yesterday, if your guests make you feel being very much appreciated you will never feel tired! In fact, I never get tired cooking.... why should I? I am passionate about it, I have a help like Cristine, I do not go out for work! I know I can earn from it.... if only the senior gave me a nod.... if only the government of this island was little less of strict! What if they come to know that I had picked up a "chapa phooler dal" from the roadside yesterday? Lets see if it survives. I am sad that I cannot grow veggies as a white, salt like fungus kills them.... so I am leaning more on flowering or non flowering "patabahar". So, whoever grows veggies and fruits or use their culinary skills to earn makes me happy.... money is honey.... it flies.... you need proper hands to catch it! The lazy lady giving big talks spends her time having iced milo too post her walks. You see, people here protect their fruits and veggies just the way our grandfather used to.... or farmers in India do! That makes me feel very much at home.... 




I only feel jealous of their slim and trim body.... after an entire day of chicken rice, seafood rice, saucy meat dishes, crispy fried fish.... they are as light weight as a bird's feather.... they know how to carry a dress of any length with grace.... imitating is not a wise habit.... specially when one have wrong intents inside! Your soul is reflected on what you do in public.... I am nearing half century.... I select people to be around strictly! Lets stop the regular "gyan mantra" here today.... we are looking forward to a nice meet this evening! Once I share this recipe of a less spicy mutton curry with raw papaya and potato MUTTON WITH RAW PAPAYA & POTATO, what will I do? Nothing! I have rice to few left over food everything.... I will not cook till Tuesday!

I am trying to update all the photos that I feel horrible from my earlier blogposts but within my limited ability! This may take a year or so! The men at this home are not interested in my blog! The senior still helps if I am in trouble like hitting a wrong button and is about to delete an entire post, Oh! God! This man all of a sudden asked me on how many posts do I have till now, that I can think about e-books! The laid back me as usual say ... "dur char to.... eshob parina ami"..... but I was happy that he enquired and proposed.... 'patha to khetei hobey shobai miley'.... By the way the pictures of my "dhokar dalna" post .... that is lentil cakes in gravy gets updated.... click the below heading / link for an yum vegetarian option! My friend Dr. Nishi Pulugurtha is travelling Scotland now attending a conference.... She is a vegetarian, by birth an Andhraite, rest every bit of her is Bengali, I am enjoying the very good photographer's shares... even her co-associates' traditional dresses along with her's.... I believe it is difficult for her to survive on pastries and sandwiches alone... if she ventures out for rice, dosa, idly when does she read her paper?


Very recently I learnt that too big URLs are not good, there may be some like me who are not keen on an alternative.... so the best way is to select a name majority understands! Whats in a name!





INGREDIENTS :

Mutton or Lamb : 1kg medium cut [lamb will take less time to cook]
Raw Papaya : 1/2of a medium sized
Potato : 4-5 medium sized
Onion : 1big [peeled, washed, sliced]
Ginger Paste : 11/2tbsp
Minced Garlic Paste : 11/2tbsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Black Pepper Powder : 1tsp
Green Chilli : 3-4 slitted
Green Cardamom : 2-3
Cinnamon Stick : 2-3 two inch length
Bay Leaf : 1
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp + 1/2tsp
Lemon Juice : 5-6tbsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 5tbsp

PROCEDURE :

Wash the meat pieces thoroughly under running water getting rid of any amount of skin and traces of hair.

Marinate the mutton pieces with salt, turmeric powder and lemon juice.

Refrigerate for 4-5 hours... we are using pressure cooker at the final stage!

Take out 1 hour before cooking.

Heat oil in a wok, temper with a bay leaf, green cardamom, cinnamon stick and cloves. Add the minced garlic.




Fry till light brown and fragrant. Add the sliced onion now. 





Fry till golden brown and add the mutton pieces without the marinade. Fold in well and stir the entire thing at high heat for 5 minutes.




Reduce heat to minimum and cover cook for 15 minutes or so.

Open cover and add the ginger paste, red chilli powder, black pepper powder, salt and rest of the turmeric powder.

You can add the red chilli powder and black pepper powder at the time of marination too!





While its cover cooking at minimal heat, we will peel and cut the vegetables, wash them and rub some salt and turmeric. We cannot keep marinated potatoes for long, they turn black.

After another 10 minutes, open cover and add the raw papaya and potato pieces. Give a stir.




Let it cook for about 5 minutes, covered!

Now transfer the entire amount to a pressure cooker.




Add 1 coffee mug of water and the slitted green chillies, close the lid.

Cook at low heat unto 1 whistle. Switch off gas and wait to open normally.

We are done.




We enjoy it with steamed rice and ruti / chapati! Get some salad with it! We also had some dal, "palong er ghonto" and "chingri diye panchmeshali" on that day!



Thursday, 26 July 2018

AAM KHUBANI SHRIKHAND





Mind was set for a quick share today and why not go ahead with something that is a family favourite.... yummy "dessert".... Believe it or not I had Shrikhand for the first time in life in 1999 at Partha-Chutu's place in Mumbai. Kolkata definitely had been selling shrikhand long before it but we were residents of Dum Dum dominated by Bengalis.... more so of Bengalis from "purba bangla".... who did not even consider "Mother Diary's Mishti Doi" as "doi".... that shrikhand will not be found in its vicinity was quite natural! The wonder woman, a rare breed of perfection, honesty, intellect, owner of extreme degree of motherly instinct called Chutu introduced me to "khakra, shrikhand-poori"..... Since she is a near perfect woman she had to stock for me my entire day's food... a "bhabi" would deliver my lunch "dabba" and I got introduced to "dal palak", "malai kofta", "chana methi sabzi"..... Do not ask me about the "South Indian Thalis".... we two were not enough to finish one thali! In the evening time Chutu would come back from office and cook for all of us. I feel very ashamed of myself thinking of that period. I did not know cooking and she did not allow me to do other household works. I did not like their "Mangala's" way of mopping and dusting.... One day I did it and got scolded by the couple! Off course people can make out the difference between my way of cleaning and of others.... I will always take that pride. A dear friend of mine who also does not colour her greys caught hold of me in Kolkata once and battered "why do you have to spend your holidays cleaning a house you do not stay?".... I only smiled because she is one among the few who I allow to scold me.... why? Surprisingly, she speaks so much like T and they have never met.... will they ever?... "jot pakano samporkos 😊".... We rarely meet but how does it matter if you gel well in some areas! Some should spare me if I am unable to maintain the hierarchy of relationship in certain cases! Anyway, my coriander chicken and "dhonepata bata tyangra" got some applause by the not to disclose relationships .... but such occasions are rare.... So intelligent people should not take any offence... I try not to cross boundaries.... I did not even know when a tiny food blog CURRY AND SPICE was caught in the radar of a certain section of people! Leave that complicated part, know that Chutu's Mangala gave me a picture of Mumbai "chawal patti".... "life in train".... etc. I loved shrikhand then but now after 8 years of stay in this island I find the store bought ones too sweet! So, preparing  an AAM KHUBANI SHRIKHAND at home is a natural choice! I have picked up one characteristic feature from our mother and Chutu, I get confused and disturbed in the presence of others in my kitchen... it sounds rude but I always say please let me handle if anyone ask if I need any help.... What I do is I cook simple recipes when guests come... likewise you can bookmark this AAM KHUBANI SHRIKHAND recipe for your next get together. When I say one Partha Dey is down to the earth to the core given his calibre, I mean it! There was a video call from their Mumbai home last Saturday morning... there definitely will be because the couple Ujjaini & Amit Bhaduri stopped over on their way back to Houston from Kolkata with their two kids! A Chutu urf Madhuchanda Dey Ghosh had to feed them a seven day menu in two days... going by her nature. So my husband's first question to Amit was "ki khacchish?".... everything from mutton to koraishutir kochuri to kalia. I could not take the entire list as you know my condition on a Saturday morning to afternoon! A Partha Dey knows it well that his wife rarely has an equal but he has to be nice to others.... he asked "S what are you busy at? You know Amit S cooked 16 dishes for me when I visited last year!" This may be an exaggeration but 10-12 is normal because he came for a day only.... comes once in a blue moon. They know I am far from them in academics... they will never make me feel awkward... Then a bachelor called Amit was like a foster son to the newly wed Chutu years back just is Sanak Chottopadhay to me! .... So they have to stopover at Mumbai as and when possible! What did I like the most in the video talk? I was not willing to be seen given my sweaty self.... but had to when Amit-Ujjaini's daughter appeared on the screen and asked "kemon acho? ki korcho?" in proper Bengali and with such warmth! Oh my God! We last met some 9 years back when we were in Kolkata! Just 1 year older to my son, she is so different in approach, I loved it and felt like packing food boxed and dresses and courier... That we can do when the husband visits his Houston office because they are unwilling to get their tickets through this island! The daughter of that house was away from home to write her examination! Note that there is no problem created in a home which has both an examinee and guests at the same time! Always appreciate those who deserve, the ability to appreciate is a virtue not everyone possess! What is sad is that last to last Sunday Partha was having lunch with "ucche sheddo, tilapia r jhol and shukto".... the couple's stomach betrayed them ever since they were young... so they spend on travel what they earn.... Antartica is their next venture during Diwali...

I talk, talk, talk so much of life and people and so less on food! I lack knowledge on food so these are fillers! Anyway, we had bowls of AAM KHUBANI SHRIKHAND and the man and his son's favourite Japanese food too... Well, I like sushi, some of the soups and desserts too but sashimi needs a strong heart for a desi to adapt to! What I love the most is the marinated slices of ginger.... lovely "achar" kind! I very much enjoy these precious moments with the duo... who knows what next? Besides this healthy, yum dessert with mango, yogurt and apricot, I have another dish with mango to share to  complete the "aam quota" of this year! Doing so am I being a little selfish to India I know! Actually we get raw and ripe mango throughout the year. You can see it and I do not wish to store the pictures and scroll next year!




Kolkata or West Bengal may not be keen on having Apricot / khubani but if you buy two packets at a time you may wish to try some on halwa or this AAM KHUBANI SHRIKHAND! Yep, the beef eater son had it.... mumma will grill some chicken legs this afternoon as a reward! If you go by this foodie girl Debjani of Debjanir Rannaghar, Kolkata might have adapted to such kinds besides "Biryani, Moglai Porota, Ilish, Patha and Indo-Chinese".... See I am a nice woman... she is pissing me off with pictures of "aar maacher jhol" and I am mentioning her name here, she does not require my recommendation though! I like that girl who dared to go for an inter faith marriage... anything for love... haha!.... Will I try to be friends with them if I am back in Kolkata? Nope! I am not that kind! So CURRY AND SPICE will remain as tiny as it is! I did not even approach a single restaurant here for a nice deal and get some name for myself! When do I click the below then? I repeat again I know nothing about photography!



I just use this space to write what shrouds my mind and soul, to share what we eat at home.... thats it! I do get upset if I do not get the expected viewership, that too is going off because the "thoka togor" is growing, because I am enjoying "jol keli" in the night time 😀.... so there has to be proper distribution of time in a day! By the way, does Kolkata follow Manzilat's named Facebook page? You should though she does not share her recipes. Kolkatans can sit there and enjoy authentic Awadhi Cuisine! She must be doing justice to her dishes.... her father is the grandson of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah.... She draws her lineage from the Nawab family, is a Master's in English with a degree in law and must be a great cook .... no her biryani does not have mushroom.... the later is meant for fried rices I have here or in soups! Hihihi sometimes I get loggerheads with some dears! I am yet to inform my meat-o-phobic, biryani-holic family in Kolkata about her... soon to! The begum is not my benefactor but how does it matter!





INGREDIENTS :

Ripe Mango : 2-3 standard sized
Fresh Apricot : 6-8
Plain Yogurt : 1-11/2litre 
Sugar : 1/4small cup
Green Cardamom Powder : 1tsp [freshly made preferred]
Chopped pistachios & saffron strands to garnish!

PROCEDURE :

Take the yogurt on a white, clean piece of cloth placed atop a bowl.



Tie it to a kitchen tap!



Keep like this for 5-6 hours or some more time.... all the water from the yogurt has to drain!



Wash and chop the apricots discarding the stone, peel the mangoes washing them thoroughly.

Take the yogurt, mango pulp, chopped apricot, green cardamom powder and the sugar in a blender bowl that we do not use to prepare spice powders or pastes!



Blend at medium speed for 3 minutes pausing in between.

Transfer to a bowl, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Take out and garnish with saffron strands & chopped pistachios before serving!


Tuesday, 24 July 2018

BEULIR DALER BORI / DAL VADI / SUN DRIED LENTIL BALL



At the moment my heart goes out to those students of the Calcutta Medical College who just broke their fast after a couple of days! What was their agenda? Not a "gari, bangla, motar"... but a decent place in the college hostel! As you know, the distribution of seats in the medical colleges in West Bengal is merit wise perhaps... it was so long back! So, a boy or a girl from a remote township find themselves in a awkward situation stepping for the first time in the metro city! A designated room in the college hostel is their right, it can ease their initial tension in a big city! Yesterday, a video of the condition of the hostels was been circulated in social media! It is miserable.... even herds of cattle have better places to live in! I am not in a mood or never in a mood to take up a fight with the PETA or its benefactors! PETA will not fight on behalf of these youngsters.... we should.... everyone has their own role to play! When I got into tears looking at the college hostel I felt why these developed countries' health sector charges are so high! Be sure, other government sector buildings in the educational and health field have the same condition.... we have to admit that the condition of the other states of India is not this bad! So, what these boys and girls were fighting for was a decent place to stay for the next few years, their parents may not have the ability to send them to private colleges! I am a mother, I can feel the ordeal of the parents of Aniket who had been leading the protest move! I am a mother who as a young daughter was introduced to the world of Tolstoy & Maxim Gorky by someone who loved to talk about his ideology, how being the son of a rich father he arranged for the safe passage of his talented friend to that "bahargaon"during the Naxalite Movement! I know a couple of them forgot all about their past sitting in their plush, green backyard! Anyway, his wife was busy getting us siblings to and fro from school, managing home and asking her mother to send containers of BEULIR DALER BORI / DAL VADI / SUN DRIED LENTIL BALL! As my readers know I do not have a face / physical features to flaunt often, or the energy to play games in social media.... I keep focussing on issues that require to spread! My open declaration to people always is that if you play games with me, you lose me! I am all about I, Me, Myself, neither I am that much of a beneficiary factor to others... so I do not take time to change allegiance suiting my convenience! At the moment, how I wish to relay to the son about the courageous Aniket and his friends but he hardly can understand or feel it! The son is the prime focus of my life, no one comes in between but it definitely hurts me when he does not take interest in such real life stories.... How will he? How do I get the best of both the worlds? Its entirely my fault... I never did let him know what struggle is because I am my mother's daughter! Do not ask my brother why he never could come out of his mother's lap, he does not have the strength to defy his mother's indivertible attention! I am categorically told over phone to dedicate my entire being to bring up my boy and stop freaking around! Answer is "come on Mani, I do not freak, a little of here and there is ok! There are reasons why T does not bother about whats going on at home"! Had the son not being a rebel..... and listened to me, you would have seen him excelling in academics to the utmost.... he definitely has the material... he is his father's son that way but with no effort.... so my hairs are going grey at the fastest rate! There is an Ipsita aunty who understands this silly-billy mumma the most, how about gifting her a jar of "aam launji".... good idea... next week! Not only for me or T they do .... this fitness freak, very decent family of Ipsita & Soumya know the definition of loyalty the best, they know how to smile at people even when they are not willing to.... I say, sorry spare me of that ordeal.... I am an evil soul compared to your polite gestures!

So, the lady @ CURRY AND SPICE is a silly nut.... that she is.... extreme sensitivity is making her more of a loner! She loves engaging herself more in experimental cooking in her spare time! She also likes the kind of men and women she has idolised since childhood.... who possess intellect, reasoning, decency as defined by her, literati, works for the needy and so on.... Had I being wise I would have groomed myself to be one amidst them.... I did not... I only give big talks! I will always be weak on my knees for these types because my mother till date watches television shows featuring "state level, national level toppers in academics" and yes "cricket" hihi... How did I spend my day yesterday? I baked a biscuit like something for myself which is sugar free, I cooked "mushurir dal" yesterday night in a different way... "shob eksangey mekhey boshiye dao".... When I started a home independently after 31/2 years of marriage, Saraswati was my first help.... who served me with so much of loyalty.... she taught me this recipe of dal which she said she learnt from a "non-Bengali speaking bhabi".... more on Saraswati and her struggle to bring up her two kids in "kanchakolar khoshabata" post may be! This woman even dreaded severe rain to reach my home on certain mornings! Her younger kid was growing up with all virtues in a negative environment! "Pratik, bhaike ektu koley niye bosh, ami ektu bazzar theke ghurey ashi.... accha mami jao!".... I do not know how they are now.... the selfish self wonders where life is taking her to! The overly protective mother whispers "let the son stand on his feet first"....




Ipsita too sent a "kali dal" day before yesterday, we had it with "luchi".... simply loved! I do not like when she wears short pants however superbly toned her body is! If she is reading this she will visit my home in short pants tomorrow, yet I like her! She can read my mind and of others around I know! She is good to you unless you are rude towards her... and foremost, the couple are so very knowledgeable. When the trio sit together and talk on politics, sports even of the 60's, 70's.... I love serving them goodies! Then, I grab from such people whatever material is possible for this small brain and jot it down here! My biggest influencer is the husband.... yes, proud I am.... there is a but though... if only he listened to me on how many times a day should he brush his teeth or how important it is to do a scaling once a year, take shower & shave on holidays too, at what frequency to cut his nails and trim his hair or eat like a good boy whatever dish and amount his wife serves.... he could have been the world's best husband that would make all the women jealous of me... haha... so you know now you need not!... Had the world knew what amount of drama, tear drops went in or goes in to make those family tour albums.... you would have questioned my sanity... and declare that you would not have lived with such people.... how can I even go on tours with them? I would defend my action saying that no one can question their integrity... they will not leave me for anyone else.... well the daughter-in-law is an exception... she will be here to fill-in-the gap! She will get a royal treatment if only she possesses those qualities I adore... else they have the liberty to set up their own home far from me, I am not accommodative ! Yes, I am all about myself but the made easy recipe of BEULIR DALER BORI / DAL VADI / SUN DRIED LENTIL BALL is for all of you to do! If you have a high end blender, why should you buy the store bought ones which has 1/4th of dal and the rest is a mixture of atta & rice flour! I am not the kind who will try "goina bori".... but next on line are "mushurir dal er bori".... "moshola bori".... My men are not so bothered, but I love using these Bengali style lentil balls in curries and veggies! I treat one issue at a time, what seems most important to me at the moment! There are similar mothers just like me who find solace in dedicating their life for their home... Aniket and his friends had broken their fast now, they perhaps got allocated rooms in the hostel however poor condition they are in .... their mothers are sure to prepare a light, mixed vegetable curry like this  "Shukto" for them... or "bori bhaja diye palonger ghonto".... So... I felt like providing the recipe link of "shukto" in this post too!

The first dish I made  with the sun-dried lentil ball was a bowl of "shukto".... Do you wish to have a look at the very authentic recipe of this light, mixed vegetable curry? Just click the below link / heading!

SHUKTO


Please Note: If you stay in a humid climate, always try these sun dried lentil balls during winter! If you stay in drier climes... go ahead anytime but a sun bath often is required! There are "bori in microwave" recipes in Google ... but I am not the kind of a person who will use  2hrs of electric power doing bori in oven! This traditional way of doing dal vadi is for those who are my types!



INGREDIENTS :

BEULIR DAL / SPLIT SKINLESS BLACK GRAM DAL : 11/2COFFEE MUG
NIGELLA SEED / KALONJEE / KALOJJEREY : 11/2TBSP
SALT : AS REQUIRED
WATER : AS REQUIRED FOR A SMOOTH PASTE


PROCEDURE :

Wash and soak the amount of dal mentioned in a bowl with enough water for 5-6 hours.




After 5-6 hours it looks as below!




Take half the amount in a blender, sprinkle little water at a time and blend to a smooth paste with intervals in between! Repeat the same for rest of the half!

Transfer to a wide mouthed bowl. Add the salt and nigella seeds.




Now comes the main part that requires some patience and "kobzir jor"....

We have to take the bowl on our lap, beat the lentil / dal mixture clockwise for 1/2 an hour to 40 minutes. It has to be light and fluffy... else the juice of the curry will not go in! Our Cristine did help in between.... wow she loves "bori" you know!




How do we know when the paste is ready? Well, take some water in another bowl. Add little of the paste. If it floats atop, the paste is ready to proceed with.... if it drowns.... we need to beat further!




I do not have "bori deoar jali" or "dadur dhuti chera".... so join me without any hesitation to use a big plastic tray with cookie sheet on it!




Try to keep under the sun for the entire day! Our island is not humid... so even if it rained, my lentil balls did not spoil.




After 5 days it looks as below!




After 10-15 days, when they play around as below, we know they are ready to be used. Store them in containers and refrigerate!




We are not in the grandmother's era.... they soaked and pasted kilos of dal, rice in a "mortar and pestle" without allowing any gym to flourish.... They dedicated their life and being for their kids and family in silence because there was no one to speak for them.... I / a couple of us will from time to time unfold the untold stories .... here in this space!



Sunday, 22 July 2018

SHEEM ALOO DIYE RUI MAACHER JHOL / FISH WITH BROAD BEAN & POTATO / SHEM ALOO MACCHI




Finally, something I can do with confidence, having since age 4-5, so no question of "haath kapa-kapi".... as happens to me while baking! I do wish to take forward the family recipes as often as possible in this space.... but unable to when I reach an extreme level of irritation caused by few! Then I felt this blog should consider only what it was meant for.... heirloom, family / Bengali recipes.... if not always but at large! On Bianca's birthday, if anyone expects me to blog on "charaponar jhol".... I will not even care! CURRY AND SPICE survives today mainly for few co-bloggers around... I feel like puking at some of my initial posts, I do not know how these people stopped by, spent few words of appreciation! I am thankful without any doubt but it may not be reflected in my actions at all times.... I am not a good observant.... to be precise I hate to spend a minute to think.... that too in social media! If I do so, when do I cook SHEEM ALOO DIYE RUI MAACHER JHOL / FISH WITH BROAD BEAN AND POTATO / SHEM ALOO MACCHI for the family and then take immense pleasure in blogging on it? A "tatka maacher jhol" is adorable to a Bengali.... My not so Bengali men also have it.... the mumma has to debone it which is not the case when its a salmon or prawns or sea bass! I do not mind this ordeal if the rui maach / Bengal carp is fresh.... we do get these smaller sized... 11/2-3 kg sized supplied from the neighbouring state! However, to be honest people of West Bengal and may be Bangladesh too prefer portions cut from a 7-8 kg weight rui / katla! My senior's side of the family prefers the later... with higher content of fish fat / oil! The half and half flesh and fat pieces from the stomach portion is favourite with the senior and his mother! Here in this island... you have to buy the entire 5-6 kg fish and that too frozen.... and then cook it with lots of garlic and onion! A family of four people take long to finish one and we do not like repeating same food often! The amount of taste fresh fish and vegetables will add to this curry cannot be had from frozen ones! My not so Bengali men are not bothered about maintaining authenticity of their roots.... in the entire tour if you had seen their diet... oh!.... Their breakfast table was filled with salami... sausage... and that "supremely bland scrambled egg"... among others ugh! I am not imitating anyone... it is the truth for the majority of Indians or South Asians! I share the same views as some around, I do not go public with them as I do not wish myself to be called an imitator! So there will be desi version of moussaka or falafel on this blog too! As of now it is a major concern when and how the spoon fed teen would learn to debone fish all of his own! It seems teens tend to get on my nerves at different stages of my life... haha!




My men' love for Bengali food is limited to "chingrir jhol / ruti mangsho / bhaja-bhuji".... 



SHEEM ALOO DIYE RUI MAACHER JHOL / FISH WITH BROAD BEAN AND POTATO / SHEM ALOO MACCHI was a winter treat during our childhood! It was only during winter that these vegetables like broad bean and fresh coriander leaves were available. The grandparents had this climber on the kitchen terrace... the green & purple one! I was given the task of picking them whenever I was there! Here in this island, we get everything round the year and do it often. The same curry is done with potol [pointed gourd], kancha kola [raw banana] which were done in summer while with cauliflower again in winter! The fish variety we use for these curries is Bengal Carp and "charapona"that is small sized carp!For this particular curry... we use "aar maach" that is long whiskered cat fish too! So, you can try this light, Bengali style fish curry with any variety of carp that suits your taste buds! If I buy a salmon, tiger prawns and lamb in one week, the next week is always a "rui / katla", chicken and sea bass smaller variety! Till date I could not buy cranberries from the super market... arey its "koromcha / karonda" that grew just like that in the neighbourhood... haha.... actually it was not had in our family though I have heard about fish curry with unripe cranberry! My curry leaves look pretty like a "karonda or koromcha or even jaam or jamun"..... Jamun does come from India but is pretty expensive.... Only this fruit natives here do not eat perhaps! I save that money for mangoes, litchi and jackfruit.... though the mother made us eat "jaam jhal noon diye" during its season!



There is no shame in being a bit miser! Money should not be spent according to your ability but spend 60-70% of your total income and save the rest.... that makes your future better.... For spendthrifts, the pleasure of retired life comes pretty late.... you work when your body needs rest! For women like me who do not share the burden of earning the livelihood  with the husband.... mind it being a spendthrift is something near to committing  a crime.... To glorify mothers is ok.... what about the fathers who sweat at the office? Lot of unnecessary talks cause irritation in others... in this case its my readers who will tend to unlove me.... So let me be a little wiser and share the recipe of SHEEM ALOO DIYE RUI MAACHER JHOL / FISH WITH BROAD BEAN AND POTATO / SHEM ALOO MACCHI asap!


My recipe of Fiery Chicken is updated with new pictures, do have a look clicking the below heading / link!






INGREDIENTS :

Bengal Carp / Any Carp : 8-10 pieces
Broad Bean / Sheem : 7-8 
Potato : 2medium
Red Chilli Powder : 11/2tbsp [freshly made paste is better]
Cumin Powder : 2tsp [freshly made paste is better]
Cumin Seed : 1/4tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp + 1tsp + 1/2tsp
Ginger Paste : 11/2tbsp
Salt : As Required
Green Chilli : 2-3 [washed and slitted]
Oil : 6-7tbsp [ our family uses mustard oil always]
Chopped Coriander leaves to garnish!

My blender does not do justice to a red chilli or cumin or coriander seeds even if I soak them overnight in water! So, I prefer using spice powders instead of complaining of "gola.. buk...jola...pete byatha".... stomach pain at an unearthly hour of the night! Trust me... it tastes good with powdered spices too.... my mother has to move forward a bit... 


PROCEDURE :

Clean and wash the fish pieces thoroughly under running water! Drain the water and marinate with 1tsp and salt very well! Keep aside for 15 minutes.

Peel the potatoes and cut half vertically and then each half horizontally into little thicker pieces. Apply 1/2tsp of turmeric powder and salt, rub well!

Take off the fibre from the side of the broad bean / sheem! Cut half each horizontally and wash. Apply 1/2tsp turmeric and salt to them, rub well! I had to provide picture of this step... will add later...

Heat oil in a wok. Fry the potato pieces at low heat and take out draining as much as of oil possible.

Now we will fry the fish pieces on both sides in batches draining the marinade! We will do it adjusting the heat from low to lowest. We will not deep fry as we will use them in a curry. Drain the oil while taking them out of the wok as much as possible.

Take the ginger paste, salt, 1/4tsp turmeric, cumin powder in a bowl and mix well. Sprinkle little water if required!

Temper the oil with cumin seeds. Add the spice paste and stir for 2 minutes at low heat. Add the broad bean / sheem pieces and stir for another 1 or 2 minutes. Some families fry the sheem too, so does our mother. I am a "retain the colour" freak so I do not.... its healthy too!

Now add 11/2 coffee mug of water and let boil at slow fire for 2 minutes. Add the fried fish pieces and potatoes. Cover cook at lowest heat for 3-4 minutes. Add the slitted green chillies and chopped fresh coriander leaves just 1-2 minutes before switching off gas!

We are done! Enjoy with piping hot steamed rice. At times I love dunking a ruti / chapati in the light curry too! I did so as a teen on weekday nights! We also had some "lau diye moong dal"... bottle gourd with split yellow moong bean and "laal shaak"... red amaranth in the platter!







Friday, 20 July 2018

EGGLESS WHOLEWHEAT LEMON FLAVOURED CHOCOLATE CAKE






I had seen earlier a couple of whole wheat cake recipes around done by some co-bloggers and even through Google search option... does Martha Stewart use whole wheat in her cakes? I will not research.... I am losing out on energy.... it is mental and a characteristic feature too! Our parents had been worrying since my childhood about my lazy, dilly-dally nature. I so love sitting at one place and gazing through the window or listen to favourite numbers or read! The last thing is not happening... if so how to gather some information about the world.... that is causing irritation in me! When I force myself to do something I do not wish to... I get irritated. In this case it is that "ghanta pooja" in different groups. Many in this field know it how the  rules of group posting has got tougher for us ..... Spending the entire day on such an useless activity is taking its toll on me, the poor in technology me does not even know where exactly we can enrol our blog so that we get visits automatically without wasting time. If one has not earned some fame for oneself... its hard to get the desired number of visits from one's own streams alone! In such a scenario, I will justify my irritation.... fools usually justify their actions always! So, I am not in a mood to bring forth my humorous self at the moment.... when I feel like going out for a coffee or a bowl of my choice of soup.... I see... ohh its time for a post in this or that group.... I feel myself to be imprisoned but I am hopeful.... Just the way I have overcome that silly urge to get social media likes.... the day I understood its another game altogether.... majority are not liking you as you... they are mad enough to play a silly match game.... A blogger doing it is ok, one has to do to get traffic to the blog / website.... but in personal stream? Thats so silly... how do you even remember who wore what when? Ever since, I discourage people around to stop by mine, very much unwilling to stop by others except for a few.... because I know its just a farce! Do you require me / us beside your hospital bed or in any other distress?.... just give a call. We will do our utmost! So, eventually the urge for number of blog visits will go, I will travel back to the initial days of blogging when I knew only few around and blogged just for personal satisfaction! As of now I keep myself happy with food and my family.... For a woman approaching menopause.... family support is very important which I get.... if only the men at home had been a little normal! Though the thought that they are different from the majority gives me a high but its tough to handle the weirds at home! How do I keep myself happy then? I eat what I wish to every two days of clean eating.... like this freshly made semolina cake with my morning cuppa! If you are aiming to have a healthy self.... you should not follow me! This EGGLESS WHOLEWHEAT LEMON FLAVOURED CAKE was made a couple of months ago... it was melt in the mouth soft. Though the son prefers a plain vanilla flavour in ice creams to cakes, he did love this chocolate one! Then we developed a love for semolina cakes as the one I had this morning.... mumma / wifey loves semolina cakes... it feels easier to make! I will not call anything healthy if it has white sugar in it!





My dear friend Swati's father expired two days back. He would have completed 80 monsoons on this earth coming August or September! Had he been alive till then, his daughters Swati & Aditi would have celebrated the day with a decadent, yummy cake if not with my EGGLESS WHOLEWHEAT LEMON FLAVOURED CHOCOLATE CAKE! Swati is a good friend... I like her. She visited my father when he fell just in front of his home due to high blood pressure! She chatted for so long.... our daddy without knowing her ever talked, talked, talked! What was our mother doing? She sat with them for 5-10 minutes, said excuse me and retired to my bedroom! Two incompatible people did build a happy home and brought up their kids with love and happiness.... thats where they win! Swati was there with her husband in the hospital when our dad died, called me everyday, she does it for all the friends. When her father was in hospital, she was beside our friend Chanchal's death bed and in the burning ghat! I treasure such people truly! I really feel bad that I have to wait till December to visit Swati's home to meet her mother! Swati happens to be an excellent cook.... be it a "chapli kebab" or a "kaju badam bata pabda".... she does it with elan and feed us too! She was conducting a small scale home delivery unit from her flat when some in her society complained.... when we know Kolkata / West Bengal does not require permission for such a small unit, so many illegal, harmful things go on nationwide! People wished, they were jealous, so they did.... look at the other Indian communities.... they lift each other up in most cases! I will definitely blog on Bengali recipes soon but will always stick to my point, my belief, what I have grown up watching... we lack community feeling.... It is good to see if someone among us does it otherwise.... jealousy is not in my forte! If people have the ability to appreciate others, they definitely have stepped nearer towards humanity! I like it! What else I am enjoying? ..... to watch my micro-mini kitchen garden grow very slowly. The coriander leaves grew from seeds instead of roots! Look at the "thoka togor" plant... I had picked up a branch from the roadside.... hope it survives to keep my spirit up! I charge up instantly these days when I see people growing greens.... the mother so complained of her lazy daughter not taking a sneak-peek at her greens or helping her during a special prayer meet except for blowing the conch shell or eating the "proshad"..... Genes do work in some areas... I am not 1/4th of what they are has become a repeat statement and is so very true! The ninety year old grandmother does not allow anyone in her prayer room, washes her own clothes because they still live in an era where washing machine is considered "ashuddho"because she is a cleanliness freak and cannot align with other's sense of it!.... She is the owner of a small empire though.... gifts us more than we do! So, if not a full fledged garden, but few flowers and herbs should grow in my small, green space!




I had to pick up the branch of "thoka togor" from the road side because I could not get its English name as yet or had seen it in the nurseries I visit occasionally! For this EGGLESS WHOLEWHEAT LEMON FLAVOURED CHOCOLATE CAKE, I did not follow any recipe in particular.... may be a rough idea was already drawn from elsewhere and stored in the back of the mind! Since I am poor at baking, I select simple ingredients and have fixed a measurement for the basic ingredients! Lets start with the procedure that has used lemon zest, cocoa powder, condensed milk, dry fruits besides the rest! They say why do I make my life so open... if not 100% but 80% of it! I say I keep my intents clear just as we need to give a clear description of ingredients used in a recipe! Since I hate to observe and spend time on silly matters as someone's social media pictures, I make it clear to people.... better you do not stop by me.... do not expect anything from me either!

If you wish to have a look at my egg curry done in coconut milk and a selective blend of spices.... click the heading / link below.... its up there with updated pictures!

EGG CURRY IN COCONUT MILK





INGREDIENTS :

Atta / Wholewheat Flour : 11/2coffee mug
Baking Powder : 11/2tsp
Cocoa Powder : 1/3small cup
Condensed Milk : 1medium cup
Sugar : 4tbsp
Milk : 1/2medium cup
Vinegar : 1tbsp
Oil : 1/3small cup [I use canola, olive or sunflower]
Lemon Zest : 11/2tbsp
Chopped Mixed Nuts to garnish!

PROCEDURE :

Take the wheat flour, baking powder and cocoa powder in a wide mouthed bowl.




Mix well and add the lemon jest. Thereafter, mix well again.



Take the sugar, oil, milk and condensed milk, vinegar in a blender that we do not use for grinding or pasting spices.

Blend at high for 2 minutes until everything has incorporated well. Pause after 1 minute in between.




Add the mixture to the flour mix.





Fold in very well. I beat with a table spoon clockwise for about 3-5 minutes. The novice baker does have an archived electric blender! You are not a poor baker as me, so you will make a good use of it!

Pour the batter onto a cake tin. Level it by hitting softly on your kitchen table 2-3times.





Now, arrange the chopped nuts atop. You can also add them after 10-15 minutes of baking.... pausing your oven.




Preheat oven to 180*C. On my convection mode oven, I do it for 8-10 minutes.

Place the low rack inside the oven and place the cake tin atop.




Bake at 180*C for 35-40 minutes. Do check after 35 minutes inserting a fork in the middle of the cake.

Once done take out and let cool before you serve.





Enjoy it as a tea time pleasure or pack your family's lunch box... its wow both ways!