Sunday, 30 September 2018

SHORSHE NARKOL KAKRA


If you say so our weekends are eventful too.... but in our own way... Its been three / four years now that we have stopped partying with friends every weekend!! I had never been a party animal though my friends had been visiting our home on a regular basis since my school days.... when we chatted till 10pm on some days.... Those were different kind of associations.... a different era... friends were family.... I visited only those homes where I could enter straight into the kitchen and ask the friend's mother .... "kakima... aaj ki ranna korley?".... haha... I am a born "petuk".... So, all those aunties had no other way but to treat me with "chingri maacher chop" or "kakroler pur bhaja" or "murgir jhol bhaat".... To visit a home, I had to feel comfortable enough... else the balcony of our rented home was good enough to house me... a book and the father's easy chair... He is not there... but the easy chair is still at our Barrackpore home.... after shifting to Barrackpore such "addas" lessened .... people would not travel 35 minutes in a train.... they were not "Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge" kind of train ride... ask any "daily passengers" there!! I try to give the same cosy feel to my guests .... feel comfortable, be free... do not look at the clock.... we are not in a hurry to close down early saying... if we eat fifteen minutes late today or sleep an hour less... our health suffers.... even our Cristine got seasoned and never complains. What we have done is lessened the number of such parties... we are growing old, we never had been that much of party animals but we love small scale chit-chats, the son has academic commitments.... and this couple needs some "us time".... we thoroughly enjoy sitting together and watching a movie or listening to music! Well, the senior is not that bad either... some days he keeps aside watching those finance / business shows.... and does play few of our favourite numbers... or we watch good movies on Netflix! Yesterday we watched back to back two Bengali movies.... Samantaral & Mayurakshi... just clicked few!


If not yesterday, I do cook few Bengali style crab curries at home occasionally... this SHORSHE NARKOL KAKRA is one with black mustard, green chilli and shredded coconut paste. Nothing but steamed rice goes with it!! Crab is something that this couple like... Cristine too but the son does not... so mumma has to keep a chicken curry for him.... the spinach boy has stopped eating spinach unless it is a spinach & cheese stuffed patties.... my readers know mumma's reaction to such things.... she feels a kind of severe identity crisis!... What if he does not marry a Bengali or his Bengali wife does not know what actually goes into a "potoler dalna or jhiri-jhiri potol or doi potol or potol shorshe posto".... in each case the combination of spices are different.... No, his mother is not proud, she has two holes in place of a nose... she thinks the daughter-in-law will know lot more things what she does not! Yet I keep above all those of my esteemed friends who are excellent in the kitchen and at office at the same time.... quality is a thing to be applauded....


Kakra / crab is not so much common in the Bengal market as it is here in this island. We get here excellent supply of crabs throughout the year of different varieties and sizes. I forgot when we actually used to get it back in Kolkata... is it during monsoon or winter? What I can remember is that the availability is seasonal in Bengal or Kolkata markets! People there prefer prawns to a crab... you can understand that looking at the difference in their prices. Here the size do matter... in fact in the entire South East Asia we get giant sized... live display... choose yours and they will cook for you .... I do not take the risk of trying those dishes at home.... I feel I cannot manage them... I have to buy smaller sized tongs, I do not even know if I can get the right tone of that overpowering flavour of black pepper & butter in black pepper crab... this couple love it sitting at the sea side.... while the son will have Kung Pao Chicken with those mini steamed buns & garlic tempered rice.... we South Asians always have to choose Oriental dishes carefully and adapt to them gradually.... we cannot have all of their dishes... So, I prefer to cook a crab curry like this SHORSHE NARKOL KAKRA at home with known spices. I love to cook what I have grown up eating, I cannot have the expertise of a chef who prepares a "temple pattern dosa or a crisp, big one"... "sushi / sashimi" or a "roomali roti"..... but I am a foodie who takes interest in cooking.... I absolutely hated the frozen naan I asked Cristine to bring yesterday.... that too after a year! I was feeling tired, the son had assignments to finish... no way left to go out... more so because I prepared a mutton curry in the afternoon {kuch idhar udhar karke, wish to blog on it}.... The naan felt like a piece of leather to me.... I decided that the trick I do with self-raising floor and yogurt is preferred than these stale stuffs.... I will do a photo feature, blog on it for my readers. I do not have my blogger friends' expertise... my slogan will always be like " CURRY AND SPICE offers you your everyday menu".... A sister like in the island messaged that she got a new help who is yet to learn cooking.... the non-Indian sister is working with two kids.... a 4 year old girl and a 2 year old boy.... she has no time to train her... she takes print outs of my recipes and gives to the help because the Bengali husband who is a citizen here wishes for Bengali food ... I was overjoyed to hear that they turn well .... So, I spare her husband from getting bashed by the women.... the kind of husband-wife jokes he sends me each and every day.... the Feminist world would tag him  what I do not know really... I cannot be that bad to him..... his mother was one of my dearest friend in Kolkata till her last breathe... His wife too turned to be my / our little sister in whose land coconut is used rampant.... While you keep guessing who she is, let me share with you the recipe of SHORSHE NARKOL KAKRA .... You may say that we use the same paste in different dishes .... yes we do but each one tastes different from the other because the main ingredients are different!!



INGREDIENTS : 

Standard Sized Crab : 500-600gm
Black Mustard : 11/2tbsp
Yellow Mustard : 2tbsp
Garlic Clove : 2-3
Green Chilli : 6-7 [adjust yours]
Shredded Coconut : 1tbsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Ice Cube : 2-3
Nigella Seed : 1/4tsp [kalonji / kalo jeerey]
Oil : 4-5tbsp [We use mustard always]


PROCEDURE :

I always get the crabs cut by the sellers. They clean it for me and then I clean it further at home. Desis are very particular about cleaning shell food.

I wash each part of the crabs I get home under running water. Then I soak them in hot water for an hour adding little salt and a pinch of turmeric. Drain the water and wash again.

We will soak both types of the mustard seeds in a bowl filled with water. Half an hour should be fine!

Marinate the crab parts with 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder and salt. Keep aside for 1/2 an hour.

Heat oil in a wok, discard the marinade and fry the crab parts in batches, but not crisp. The main, middle portion takes a little longer time to fry! Take them out and store in a plate.

The oil already got tasty... our mothers never tasted the seasoning while cooking... but I do just with my finger.... never repeat before you wash that finger.... Once I saw a parent eating from the kids cup... that is unhygienic.... do not do!

While the crab parts are frying at low heat, we will strain the soaked mustard seeds through a strainer, peel and wash the garlic pods, wash the green chillies and take them in a blender along with the shredded coconut.

We will add the ice cubes and salt to it. Blend at high for 30 seconds. Open cover and add 1/4 small cup of water and blend again till smooth. The ice cubes and salt prevents the paste from turning bitter. The easter year ladies knew the technique to do it in a "shilnora"... the "jhaj" and taste depended on the technique of doing the paste. Spare me ok!

Take the paste in a bowl and add the remaining 1/2 tsp turmeric and some salt! Mix well.

Temper the same oil with nigella seeds when its pretty hot. Reduce the heat to the minimum and add the chilli-mustard seeds paste. Stir for 1/2 a minute, we do not over fry this particular spice mixture.

Add the fried crab pieces and fold in well. Stir for 2-3 minutes and add 2 medium cups of water.

Cover cook at low heat for 4-5 minutes till the gravy thickens. Check in between.

Take down and enjoy with steamed rice. You can see we had a chicken curry with raw papaya and potato & peanuts with red amaranth on that day!









Friday, 28 September 2018

FRESH HERBS & PEAS POROTA



Someone is back home after nearly a week this morning... so I have to blog on something the morons love... "roti-prata".... something like this FRESH HERBS & PEAS POROTA that is within my limits.... Unless and until I prepare a Dhakai Porota and blog on it.... I cannot claim myself to be a skilled "roti-prata" maker... Except for "radhaballavi"... "dalpuri" and "koraishutir kochuri" ... I am so lethargic about stuffed breads. Lazy cooks usually have such tendencies... they mix everything together, prepare a dough, do the breads... ask Cristine to get a "kalo orna".... then does a "jhopa jhop" photo session lacking an aesthetic sense. I compare it with that of finer people and curse myself... then defend my inability saying each one should have a distinct style. All of a sudden I get excited and send some secret messages to someone that may sound irrelevant... "arrey you were there... I know some award winning skilled people there with same interests or qualifications as you... hope you meet some day...".... "you are a skilled writer & photographer" Yes... I am that way.... I so wish the right people should meet each-other at some point in life ... exchange notes... learn from each other... growth assured. There are some people who stopped writing ever since I started praising people who are good in English... if so how do I learn language, nutrition and food history from you guys. Take the example of our style icon with immense "grace".... Indirra Sengupta, she is excellent in painting.... if you had seen her paintings on her grandma's old "trunks" aka aluminium boxes or wall hangings you will know.... she totally stopped sharing her work... I fail to recall her expertise during our school days, I remember I got C grade in SUPW... I had been a C category student throughout! If you ask me one should play a match game with the right people... haha! Where was I? OK, it gives me immense pleasure to see immature kids with not the correct kind of associations grow up and circled around with the right kind of people... finally. Me at peace! What is my take? I do not usually tread the same road I was forced back from once... lets explore new avenues. I absolutely hate it if people try to take advantage of my weaknesses, take pleasure in showing me pity just because I do not play hide & seek with my feelings! Yet... reasoning and the heart's call does not go hand in hand... pardon me if you cannot match my actions with what I preach.... in between there are a lot of factors... we are humans. There should not be any meat share in this space today.... if I am talking about uniting people... there should not be... in most of the cases I do not fake... let the family have the paratha / porota with "cholar dal"... "chana dal".... How am I doing? All fine.... surrounded by some positive vibes... what if the son does not use more than two words in a message for mumma... to him any display of emotion makes him less of a man... why so I do not know but as I say I explore new avenues... who will spare a thought for me... have some time to spend with the old aunty .... I enjoy my own company too, when I get bored with myself... I watch "Saifu" in a super white Aligarhi kurti-pajama with a black, silk scarf peeping out of his pocket.... mad fan for sure!


FRESH HERBS & PEAS POROTA has nothing to do with the ups and downs that is constant deep inside.... no one wants to know the weird, old woman's woes, worries.... its all created... she actually should not have any... idle brains create ruckus for themselves. I am a senile who will be 48 in a month... do not listen to our mother... she may tell you that the daughter will turn 35.... Lets talk food... my food preferences are as weird as me.... after a 6km brisk walk I had to have a "sugar free" black tea with "ice cream".... what a stupidity.... to have a scoop of ice cream in a black tea without sugar. Anyway brisk walks alone does not help you lose weight! With a bag full of guilt I ate two "porota" this morning... see how I trained Cristine... she makes mine... I do not feel like doing anything for myself... Cristine gets me facial kits, soap, etc. I only get charged up while gearing up for a fight with the senior... For a week I did not have to see piles of burnt cigars in the astray. There is no space in the cupboard to hold a single bottle... but the red & black packet has to come from the island's airport!





You see porota / paratha / flatbread with homegrown greens and green peas is no new idea... I have seen people blogging on "matar paratha" earlier! Even among us... if there is any left over filling from the "koraishutir kochuri"..... next morning it was / is used in "motorer pur bhora porota"... not mandatory though! I first tried to prepare "poori" with the dough! Then the carom seeds used in the dough did not allow all of them to puff up.... I was not comfortable with this turn of the event....


So, I changed my idea and prepared a "jhopajhop" mains with the dough..... FRESH HERBS & PEAS POROTA

My Cabbage Kofta recipe gets updated... do have a look clicking the link below!

CABBAGE KOFTA CURRY





INGREDIENTS :

Refined Flour : 11/2coffee mug
Wheat Flour : 2medium cup
Green Pea : 2small cup
Mint Leaf : 1/2small cup
Coriander Leaf : 1small cup
Green Chilli : 2-3
Plain Yogurt : 2tbsp
Carom Seed : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Ghee or Oil : 2tbsp + 1tsp for each porota / parantha

PROCEDURE :

Take the two flours, 2pinch of salt, carom seeds, 2tbsp ghee or oil in a wide mouthed bowl. Rub for a minute or so. 

Take the washed green peas, mint & coriander leaves, green chillies in a blender.




Blend at high for a minute or two with a pause. 

Add the yogurt and blend for 1/2 a minute.



Add to the flour mixture. If you find the paste dark in colour, add a pinch of green food colour.



Add water little by little and prepare a smooth dough kneading well. It may take some 7-8 minutes.

Cover the dough for 15 minutes. I am not always particular.

Open cover, tear out portions and smoothen between palms.




With help of a rolling pin or base, roll out small roundels.




Fold it from the top.




Fold once more from the side.




Now dust some flour and stretch with the rolling pin.



Heat a pan atop the gas stove. Add an uncooked paratha / porota / flat bread! Cook both sides till light brown. 




Add 1tsp ghee / clarified butter or oil, press with the ladle and cook well... both sides. We have to constantly adjust the heat!




We can have it with raita, salad, dal / lentil curry, vegetarian sides, meat curry... just do them and enjoy!!



Tuesday, 25 September 2018

STUFFED TIL ALOO PITIKA


I hardly have blogged on recipes from the other states of India. As you know I either blog on authentic Bengali family recipes or I take ideas from around... add mine and do something with the available ingredients... This particular recipe of mashed potato and black sesame seeds I came across the day before yesterday.... I wished to blog on something in the fond memory of my favourite director Kalpana Lajmi who died a day before. She may not be an Assamese but her life and work included a major part of it.... may be because she was the manager or the live-in-partner of another legend Dr. Bhupen Hazarika!! So I zeroed in on this recipe of STUFFED TIL ALOO PITIKA... to pay a tribute.... the stuffing part is my contribution! She had been amongst the top listed favourites of mine.... since 1988 when her TV Serial Lohit Kinare was launched .... oh I did not miss any of the episode.... it had Tanvi Azmi as one of the main performers ... how could I? Did Tanvi had perfect features? No, she was "dhrupadi".... classic.... I have hardly seen any eyes so expressive & shining... a smile so natural & refreshening! Neither did I miss a single episode of the serial Life Line where Tanvi played the role of a doctor! Later it was very difficult for me to sit and watch through the decaying trend of TV Serials.... both Hindi & Bengali.... the father brewed a certain taste within for art & literature... the husband enhanced it! Some of my friends had been into these TV Serials... they should not take it personally! Bengali tele films were better than the serials where people wake up in the morning with piles of make up  and "jhokjhoke shonali butir saree"..... spare me the ordeal! Thereafter, Kalpana Lajmi stepped into the world of parallel cinema and gifted us Ek Pal, Rudali, Daman, Chingarey kind of movies. She was that category of a director who could make a Raveena Tandon deliver that power house performance ... how can I bypass this name? The husband ate up my head once praising Raveena... she is such an unconventional beauty S... we share our birthday together! .... This poor lady is still planning what to prepare on his D-Day this year! Will there be social media mentions on our birthdays, anniversary? Nope, I wished him on our 20th in public, will again go public on our 25th. Anyway, Kalpana Lajmi could not direct much films... she had commitments in her personal life! I wish her soul to rest in peace.... thinking to prepare myself for a bigger blow... Gulzar Saab how are you doing?

Today is another beautiful morning! My cooking enthusiast friend Swati Bhattacharya's daughter became a doctor... and we .... all of her friends from college are happy... very happy for her! She should show the way to ours'! Come on we are not that old either... Swati got married just after finishing college. Our girl loves to bake too.... she might get disappointed to see aunty blogging on a STUFFED TIL ALOO PITIKA today. Then aunty loves herself the most perhaps, celebrates her taste bud often making separate arrangements for her beloved men. She is not so keen on show offs just as she is not friendly with the reptile family.... Is she herself a double standard? Does she spills out the hidden venom within her in public? Leave that part.... my "friends"... I keep the word within inverted comma for a reason... they say all good things about me and I so disagree.... the Scorpio traits in me are very active, I fail to understand who actually I am! Let us talk food that does not leave me for a moment. Usually I do not have rice grain for lunch, I had to have yesterday to taste the STUFFED TIL ALOO PITIKA! Yesterday I had rice three times and this morning I am having those semolina idly with my morning tea! I took three but could have only two... they were so soft, fluffy and filling! I should proceed with the recipe... I have two of my friends coming over for lunch tomorrow... I will treat them with all homemade food... I wish to make my guests feel comfortable and wanted at our home, else I should not call at all! Will surely share the menu on my business pages!




Yes, we use "apel" products at this home and eat "shutki maach" to "bati chocchori" everything... any problem? We belong to families who are still "matir kachakachi".... who own small time business houses selling "chirey muri".... have "tant kol"where a saree is woven.... "kath er gudam".... where wood logs are sold at wholesale rates.... do you feel like puking? Feel free sweetheart / sweethearts!! Each of us reserve / deserve the right to caress our own likes & dislikes.... I accept that and prefer to remain formal with people who I do not wish to sit together and eat from the same plate... they never had or will move a step forward for me... I keep warning myself... do not cross over the fence that was built right in front of you! Coming to the brown rice, it is a style statement these days.... not like standing in a long queue at the ration shop.... we were a bit more fortunate and saw our mother giving her quota of "rationer chal" to our helps!!

The recipe is heavily inspired by a YouTube video of THE ASSAMESE KITCHEN & a FaceBook Page named ASSAMESE CUISINE AND RECIPES

The idea of peanut stuffing is mine!




INGREDIENTS : [for the stuffing]

Peanut : 4-5tbsp
Dry Red Chilli : 3-4
Lemon Juice : 3-4tbsp
Black Salt : 2-3pinch

INGREDIENTS : [Final Stage]

Boiled & Mashed Potato : 1coffee mug [of two big sized potato]
Black Sesame Seed : 1/2medium cup [dry roasted and powdered]
Chopped Coriander : 1/2small cup [discard the root end, wash]
Chopped Green Chilli : 1tbsp [washed]
Chopped Onion : 1/2small cup
Salt : As Required
Mustard oil : 2tbsp [can use butter or ghee]


PROCEDURE :

We know how to boil potatoes, let cool, peel off the skin and mash. We will not go into the details and follow the same.

We will dry roast the black sesame seeds / kalo til for 2 minutes.




We will let it cool before grinding it to a powder.




We will chop and wash the onion, coriander leaves and green chillies while the roasted til is cooling.




We will add the boiled and mashed potato to the plate, add the mustard oil and salt as required.




Mix together everything too well and mash!




Add the black sesame powder to the potato mixture and mix well.




Now roast the skinless peanuts on gas stove along with dry red chillies for a minute, let cool.




Add them to the grinder. Add the lemon juice and the black salt.



Grind it for a minute or two. Take in a bowl. Make round balls with the til-aloo pita mixture... make space in the middle, add some peanut filling. 




Close it with your fingers and smoothen between your palms to form balls.

We are done! We will enjoy it with piping hot rice or chapati. To use it as a spread or sandwich filler is up to you.






Sunday, 23 September 2018

GHEE GOLMORICH MURGI



My readers already know that a not at all authentic Bengali Recipe too gets a Bengali name whenever I wish to... My tendency towards blogging on recipes not authentic of any place is also known by now. I am confident without any worry of using the word authentic only when it is Bengali Family recipes.... I do not have to search for them and then get confused to decide which one to choose from the rest.... finally to step out for spices Bengalis usually do not use... like "dalimer shukna bichi".... dried pomegranate seeds.... However, one has to be hopeful about my kinds.... at least I use dry mango powder, dried coconut in my cooking instead of "jirey adabatar jhol" all the time! I just remember I am yet to try the Ottoman spices I got from Turkey.... ok when I use them I will surely share my experience with my readers on my business pages... a business that does not fetch me a single Sing dollar but I love the journey! Unlikely to blog on them because all my readers will not source an Ottoman meat spice packet from Turkey.... I really wish my readers to try the recipes I share.... that gives immense satisfaction! Just as you see me trying the Egg Drop Curry I had at Roshni's place last week... the lady @ Gahonaz .... the silver jewelry line... Earlier I had seen a number of Egg Drop Curry recipes in the internet, never did it. It was yesterday when I did it for the first time.... Its really is wow for my kinds who are not so fond of the white of an egg ... I liked it soft in the egg drop curry or in an omelette with it. I just cannot have eggs the way the husband eats them scrambled in breakfast while on trips .... if any Bengali has said ever that it is so bland to a South Asian's taste bud... I totally agree... Neither can I stand the sight of the son's plate while on tours... piles of bacon, sausages and a bun or two may be! At home they have to eat GHEE GOLMORICH MURGI or similar kinds with homemade breads or with any kind of pulao! You can really trust me on its flavour, the light texture of the curry that we get from using less spices. The west too can have it if you are like our friend Bianca who makes awesome naan bread & dosa! So what If I cannot have sausages & bacon, I love the vegetarian breads the West offers... the most loved is the Danish breads. I know if I can sacrifice bread, rice, wheat, potato, sugar five days a week.... I can lose 2kg in two weeks.... then thinking of quitting them have become a mental block.... Yesterday we visited a friend's home where I ate two big jacket potatoes stuffed with meat & cheese, chicken satays... lost the count how many.... did not skip a plate of rice and ilish either.... that too at midnight! Even the good examples of motivated souls cannot inspire me to start with.... such a food addict I am... So I defend myself saying that my husband does not take any pleasure clicking my pictures, he blatantly refuses too... so I will be what I am... and eat... merry.... drink with a sugar level reaching at 200!






To blog on a GHEE GOLMORICH MURGI does not require so much of talking .... then people at this home does not have time for me while I wish to do some hugging and cuddling stuffs with them over the weekend! Who listens? One headed to the airport half an hour back and the other too has no time to sit with mumma.... I have a couple of friends with whom I can really go out often... then I am too dull a company... to sit with someone needs you to smile and talk.... I will eat and then feel sleepy, then I will discover that I am not the right person to continue with a chat... I am a good listener within a group who has the ability to sit with her food & drinks quietly amidst 10-20 people and then sleep in front of them because our parties continue till 1-2am. I can afford to behave this awkwardly in front of few near ones, not with all! Better is a quiet sunny morning when I sit with my tea / coffee and chat with my readers in written. Even my very quiet friend Piali Maitra told me two months back that S... you are more expressive when you write.... you are not good at oration.... she saw me talking to the front office girls of the son's school... they are so outwardly smart! So, I enjoy sitting alone at a coffee shop or roaming around aimlessly! To share with you the recipe of such non vegetarian sides with chicken..... GHEE GOLMORICH MURGI is always a pleasure be it on a Sunday or at anytime of the week!




INGREDIENTS : 

Chicken : 1kg medium cut, skin off
Plain Yogurt : 1medium cup beaten
Minced Garlic : 2tbsp
Garlic Extract : 1tbsp
Ginger Extract : 1tbsp
Sliced Onion : 1small cup [of 2 medium sized]
Slitted Green Chilli : 6-8 [adjust]
Black Pepper : 2tsp + 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp +1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Lemon Juice : 2tbsp
Bayleaf :1
Ghee / Clarified Butter : 5-6tbsp

PROCEDURE :

Wash the chicken pieces thoroughly and pat dry. Marinate it well with the garlic & ginger extracts, beaten yogurt, 1tsp turmeric, 1tsp black pepper, coriander powder, salt as required. Keep aside for 1-2 hrs, no need for refrigeration.

Heat ghee / clarified butter in a wok. Take out the chicken pieces from the marinade and fry in the ghee until each side is little brown... take out.

Add the bayleaf and the minced garlic to the ghee. Stir till we get a nice aroma, add 2tsp of black peppers now. Give a stir.

Add the sliced onion to the wok and fry till they are brown. Add the fried chicken pieces and the marinade. Fold in well.

Cover cook at lowest heat for 7-8 minutes. Open cover and add the slitted green chillies and I coffee mug of water. Cover cook for another 5-6 minutes. We are done. It takes less time than normal as we have fried the chicken pieces earlier.

Add the lemon juice after transferring it to a serving bowl.

Serve fresh & hot with flat breads or rice pilaf.




Friday, 21 September 2018

LOTE MAACH ER JHURI O BORA



I dedicate this post LOTE MAACH ER JHURI O BORA to that deceased boy of Nalgoda district of Telangana in India who lost his life to one of the existing malice of the Indian society.... casteism... thinking of the plight of the unfortunate parents... of the surviving wife who is pregnant! The unborn child will never see the father, while giving birth did the boy's parents think that they have to lose their child so early and in this way? How can our own be so nasty? These are the things that bothers me, as a mother it should. I am not a wise soul... so I prefer our son to live as a second class citizen in a foreign country which provides safely & security to him instead of going back to a struggle every morning. I may sound very selfish, self centric which I am when it comes to my brother, my husband, my son! Not really in the mood today to crack some jokes though writing a blog post gives me immense pleasure, I am never forced to do it! Its relaxing! I continue to think when will the Indian parents learn to set free their kids at a certain stage?

Life is pretty busy attending guests at home, or we going out to attend one. It was such a pleasure to attend a family yesterday over dinner which included a visiting "kakima".... aunty from Kolkata! The mains had to be pure Bengali in essence because the starters & the dessert were not Bengali! She gifted me a saree which is too very beautiful! Some people so much know my taste... its a tie & dye kind in print .... I am fond of cotton bagru prints, tie& dyes, Jaipuri juti & kundans. There are reasons why I wish to visit Rajasthan & Gujarat once again.... only for the history of the places?... Nope! The husband says, we will tour India after retirement. The wife has few other demands to be met before that... I am all about "I want".... I want my final home with a terrace garden, a separate puja room, all corners of the flat to be decorated with chosen wooden & terracotta items from Mrignayani, Manjusha, Gurjari, Rajasthali! Last time I wished to, the husband did not allow saying that they are high maintenance and I cannot manage with a toddler, that we are to leave Kolkata in few years. How I disagree with his ideas of a home theatre at the wall... then a sofa, a dining table from steel junction..... they do not attract me! So I follow certain streams in Instagram to treat my eyes. Instagram is not for me, I am not good at photography neither do I know the tricks or have a luck to get one thousand likes for my not so worthy photographs!...  I specially like my friend Rupsha Chaterjee's interiors.... there was a time when Jayanta & Rupa Roy... the painter cum poet couple had so... So, for satisfying my eyes I follow Jaypore, hatkargha, whatmysisterwore, suta_bombay, aham_jewellery, desidrapes and few similar kinds! Oh yes! it goes without saying that I watch Bollywood in Instagram! haha! What is the scenario at the mother's home? When I first saw our new home at Barrackpore, I felt good for we lived in a two roomed rented home for 19 years, we were angry too as the deceased old man took us there without our consent. I wished for a nice decor but the father thought it to be a waste of money, the mother was only interested in her garden and cleaning & wiping her home four times a day! The brother too went after his parents... so you get to see 40 year old worn out pieces all over that home, a horrible concrete structure in the mid of the garden to house the brother's red car... a garden which could grow so many vegetables. Do not forget to visit our mother's terrace garden... her flowers are worth going for shows! The brother's wife too does not have any interest in beautifying her own home.... she could have else!..... She has / had the ability to take three aged people to Vellore alone some three years ago, getting them treated for three different kinds of ailments, getting a cab to Bangalore when Chennai got a flood and catch a next day flight! Well her husband booked the car, air tickets from Kolkata you know! She had the ability to night stay with her father-in-law in a nursing home cabin to attend him.... you must note that the father-in-law did not hurl abuses at her or her parents for a single day.... that matters definitely! Get back as you give! Anyway, when my both parents told me "mamoni you could not have done 1/10 of what Bidisha has done at Vellore, I did not get bitter towards her! I only regret why they have to keep repairing old furnitures when they have the ability for a better living... Beautification is a necessity if you can afford it! However, you may see S still lamenting after 10-15 years of not been able to get her own style of home decor... the husband would call me lazy, call the ethnic pattern high maintenance not worthy of an aged couple.... but we do bond over few things... take a look at our collection.... I do not mind... the extremely level headed husband never gets drunk!



Yes, life has made us very much indifferent. We lament at untoward incidents and eat, drink, merry too! Are we all getting to be armchair activists.... or we are only bothered of our own? The world will never go stress free... we have to live with it!

LOTE MAACH ER JHURI O BORA is not something our family had from the beginning. Fresh Bombay Duck it is which entered our home when I was in college may be. The mother had it at someone's place and tried. We particularly adapted to and like these two preparations. In fact, the mother cooks the jhuri / mishmash / bharta! The bora / pakora / fritters with fresh Bombay Duck is what I have learnt from elsewhere and do at times. You can have the fritters with your tea or coffee or with a simple serving of dal / lentil curry and rice. The bharta / jhuri / mishmash is to be made a bit spicy and to be had with steamed rice! Let us proceed with the two common Bengali recipes with Bombay Duck.... LOTE MAACH ER JHURI O BORA!



INGREDIENTS : [for the Bombay Duck Bharta / Lote Maach Er Bharta]

Fresh Bombay Duck : 1kg
Sliced Onion : 1medium cup [of 2big onions]
Slitted Green Chilli : 7-8 [adjust yours] 
Crushed Garlic Cloves : 12-15
Red Chilli Powder : 1tbsp
Nigella Seed : 1/4tsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp + 1/4tsp
Chopped Coriander : 1small cup
Salt : As Required
Oil : 3-4tbsp

INGREDIENTS : [for the Bombay Duck Fritters / Lote Maach Er Bora]

Fresh Bombay Duck : 500gm
Chopped or Thinly Sliced Onion : 1small cup
Chopped Green Chilli : 1-2tbsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 1tsp
Gram Flour : 3-4tbsp
Rice Flour : 1small cup
Chopped Coriander Leaf : 1/2small cup
Salt : As Required
Lemon Juice : 1/2small cup
Oil : 100-150ml to deep fry


PROCEDURE :

Let us prepare the Lote Maach Er Jhuri at first!



Cut off and throw the tail end and the head of each of the Bombay Duck Fish. Clean the stomach and cut off the fins too. Cut each fish into smaller pieces, a standard size will give 4 pieces. Wash thoroughly under running water.

Marinate with salt, 1/2 of the turmeric and keep aside for 15-20 minutes.

Heat oil in a wok. Temper with nigella seeds and the crushed garlic, stir. As you get a nice aroma and they turn brown, add the pre washed sliced onion. Fry them till golden brown.

Add the fish pieces discarding the marinade. Stir and cover cook at lowest heat for 7-8 minutes.

Open cover and add the rest of the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, slitted green chillies, adjust the salt! Stir and cover cook again at low heat until all the water that had released dries up 80%.

Break the very soft fish pieces and mash with your ladle. Add the chopped fresh coriander and mix well.

Let cook uncovered until all the water dries up and the content browns a little. Enjoy with steamed rice.


Now let us prepare the Lote Maach Er Bora!



We will need thickly cut Bombay Duck .... say of 3-4 inch thickness. We already know how to clean and wash them. We will marinate them with lemon juice for an hour. This is a must if we find sea fish smelly.

Prepare a paste like batter with the two flours, sliced onion, chopped green chillies and coriander leaves, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt as required. Add water little at a time.

After an hour, discard the marinade.... lemon water from the fish. Rub the fish pieces with some salt and turmeric. Let them rest for 10 minutes.

Dip and coat the fish pieces well with the batter and deep fry in the heated oil in batches. We will constantly adjust heat for any fritters / pakora... they should be crisp and well done inside / out.

Try the fritters with some salad, tea / coffee.... else they taste good with rice & dal too!




Wednesday, 19 September 2018

ROSHUN KALOJEERE PHORON ALOO



As promised CURRY AND SPICE remains to be a low cost, budget friendly food blog at large, mostly compiling family recipes as you know those yester year ladies did not know how to market their skills.... They however knew how to remain extremely patient while doing a "choshir payesh".... No, I am not taking a dig at our generation... Our blogger friend Indrani Sen teaches at a college in Mumbai, is a published author and does "choshir payesh" too during Poush Sankranti. Even I do it with Cristine's help though not with that much precision.... I wish to blog on it before going to Kolkata this December... however lethargic I got with time consuming cooking! The recipe may be almost same but you must know it will not be a copy from Indrani or from those who have already done it. Around 2015-16, I was even more silly.... got loggerheads with someone alleging that person to be a copy cat.... I started chanting "Nam Myoho Renge Kyo" for mental peace!.... I am not even too particular with it, yet I got tremendously benefitted from it. When I went through the internet, I found even I am blogging on Bengali recipes which some one has compiled some 6-7-8 years back.... You know I cannot take all names... "kuch personal sa 'emoson' wali baat hai".... Keep the content original, photographs your own and give due credit whenever required. If I blog on a "pahadi murg tikka"... I have to browse recipes because its not my family recipe or I have not done any course on cookery. Long back I did love it at the Amber restaurant in Kolkata... I remember it had yogurt and coriander in it, I am the kind who will use her own marination and name it "doi dhonepata bata diya murgir tikka".... Take the example of what happened in my kitchen last Saturday ... I wished for a rich chicken dish... Cristine told that we are running out of almond... I screamed at Cristine for five minutes which is mandatory.... then went ahead with something of my own... wish to blog on it coming Saturday.... Bengalis eat ROSHUN KALOJEERE PHORON ALOO for breakfast on a normal day, but not during Durga Puja... so some chicken, mutton, hilsa has to happen before mid October! I am not so keen on recreating recipes of the master chefs.... it takes time to go through a couple of recipes, select one, getting the ingredients ready at the work station, then throwing off the rest of some curry powders as I am a minimalist and a Bengali when it comes to spices or say cooking! ... I work with few Bengali spices! I do not have time either... so busy eating right from the morning, they took vermicelli upma today, I had to have my share.... I have to go for my walk, on way back I have to visit a nursery too on some days and drink a big glass of sugarcane juice.... no that is not apple juice! Sugarcane Juice is healthy but how much it is for a diabetic I doubt... sucrose content is so high! I do what gives me pleasure! I love potato, I eat it and the sugar level never goes down!






Well I baked an egg free, very "desi" cake too.... soon to blog on it! Though Bengalis will head to Azad Hind Dhaba or Arsalan or for some Indo-Chinese during pujo, yet that cake should be up before pujo .... An "average" Bengali spends 60% of earning on food, will not hesitate to shell out 2000 rupees for a kilo of hilsa but may not be so keen on changing the set of bed spread until they are worn out! I am not interested in judging what is wrong or right today! I am in a happy mood... I will start cooking for the guests due tomorrow.... I had a wonderful bowl of egg drop curry and "ucche chocchori" at Roshni of Gahonaz's home yesterday!.... I am not among her top listed clients, I so much loved that personal touch of her! If you are not so fond of egg whites like me... egg drop curry is for you! Her light curry tasted amazing!

Our mother used to prepare this particular ROSHUN KALOJEERE PHORON ALOO ... a vegetarian side to go with ruti / porota / luchi when we had cough and cold. Whether it cured us or not, we enjoyed having it when the tongue felt dull and tasteless... Garlic does help to cure cough & cold! The mother was / is not fond of potatoes..... wishes to use very less in her cooking but her kids or may be the daughter-in-law loves it too.... so she is forced practically to cook potato! At this home... the father, son, Cristine everyone loves potato! I forget all about my medical condition, grab few pieces and eat. Some of my friends can notice that I have gained again what I had lost few years back .... compare my pictures of 2016 and those clicked recently... I just fail to get motivated such is my love for food and off course cooking... If I am sitting idle, I would just bake a cake or prepare an easy sweet... I was in high school or college, since when I am following some amazing master chefs & home cooks including Rukma Dakshi... simply love her way of draping a saree... so much wish to recreate her "Barishali Ilish" if only my grinder gave me a smooth paste of "kalojeere".... till then try our mother's recipe of ROSHUN KALOJEERE PHORON ALOO! Talks have got finalised with the brother on visiting Manjilat's coming December... I wish to see the difference between commercialised Biryani... korma... kebab and the Begum's personal touch.... I am where History / mystery is... haha... that reminds me of the grave mistakes I did with my academics... my subject of major should have been either History or Archeology or Anthropology or Psychology or Literature.... my mistakes does not allow me to influence the son's decision.... let him pursue what he wishes to!





INGREDIENTS :

POTATO : 3-4BIG
ONION : 1BIG
GARLIC CLOVE : 6-8
GREEN CHILLI : 3-4 SLITTED
DRY RED CHILLI : 2 HALVED
KALONJI / NIGELLA SEED / KALOJEERE : 1TSP
SALT : AS REQUIRED
SUGAR : 1TSP
TURMERIC POWDER : 1/2TSP
OIL : 2TBSP

PROCEDURE :

Peel the skin of the potatoes, wash them. Cut half lengthwise. Cut each half into 2 pieces lengthwise. Now cut each piece into smaller cubes widthwise!

Peel the skin of the onion, cut both end. Wash and cut into thick slices.

De skin each of the garlic cloves and wash. Slit and wash the green chillies.

Take the washed potato pieces, garlic cloves, onion slices in a bowl and temper with salt and turmeric! Keep aside for 5 minutes.

Heat oil in a wok and temper with the nigella seeds and halved dry red chillies. Add the marinated raw vegetables along with the marinade.

Give a quick stir and put the heat level at minimum. After 3-4 minutes, remove the cover and add a small cup of water and the slitted green chillies. Fold in well.

Cover cook at minimal heat for 2-3 minutes. Open cover and add the sugar. Stir once and let cook uncovered at minimal heat for a minute. We are done.

On that particular day I served the vegetable sides with round parathas.