Sunday, 9 September 2018

CHAL ALOO POTOL



Aww feeling too lethargic to start with today, Yesterday evening I had been part of a musical sojourn reminiscing the late musician par excellence Sachin Dev Burman... any of my Indian readers will know the depth of his music sense... and the programme took me back to my teen hood when I used to hum all the favourite numbers created by him and they were many! "Gaata Rahe Mera Dil" .... and yours too! ... While I was thinking what can I post today to relive the magical moments created by "Sachin Kotta", I discovered that it is "Asha Tai's" birthday today or yesterday it was may be and Mrs. Funny Bone's "he man" husband's too! Ashaji has grown old, hardly has any interest in food may be, does Mrs. Funny Bones and her husband eat anything beyond salad & soup? I will not mess with and get "dhishum-dhushum" in return... moreover my plans to get her books got delayed... I prefer to get them from Kolkata in December at a very good price... all three of her's and I will... she does not give big talks like me but does a lot of charity... used to make candles along with her sister and mother at an age when her peer group went to clubs, here-there to party! I am an ardent fan of her mother in this regard too! "Sachin Kotta" has some "deshowali" connection as he was a prince of the Tripura Royal Family hailing from Comilla.... my ancestors' land! The cook with limitations in me got utterly confused and decided to blog on something I love, a very Bengali Family recipe CHAL ALOO POTOL! My small brain does not allow me to think beyond a point, forces me to settle on something at par with my convenience... thats what I do always! These programmes get me to meet some ex-colleagues too! If its someone like a mentor Susan John ma'am sitting right near you... you feel happy and shaky at the same time.... I never ever added her in any of my social media accounts.... I respect her teaching skills to a great extent.... Its very shocking to hear that she left her job.... an immense loss for the students and the concern where she worked! She belongs to that category of a teacher who does not use a book in class, on so many occasions her students told me that Susan ma'am does not "teach" History.... she tells stories of / from around the world.... so I had to tell her... "ma'am you just cannot sit at home".... A teacher's ability should be treated based on the account of the students.... they are the best judge! So, I say a cheers to a Tamilian Shankari Saravanan ma'am or a Keralite Susan John ma'am this way.... with some rice on the main dish itself.... two of the few excellent teachers I have come across in my life! Besides, there was a Ratnashree di... this daughter of a British mother and Bengali father proved that one can deny a career move for the love of her concern and stagnate at one place! Who am I to judge what is the right thing to do?

Many Bengali families might have CHAL ALOO POTOL in their family dishes list.... actually it is the vegetarian version of the more common "maacher matha diye muro ghonto".... There was a time when I would not have traded a "muro ghonto" for CHAL ALOO POTOL .... never!  I do not know whose influence I am under, haha! According to my son, I am a "mota pet".... mumma is fat! So, I am fond of some "mota pets" ....[read males... haha]....who seem so oblivion about their physical being.... of getting perfect in the eyes of girls.... believe me I feel very comfortable in the presence of such people.... I get to talk food with them only if they keep science or academics at bay for sometime ... uggh! "amayik manushyobar.... prithibi sundor rakhtey paro tomrai"... Anyway, the bottomline is that big, oily fish heads are not friends with me that much any more! As I write the recipe of this pointed gourd and potato cooked with some rice, I am humming "khayi hai rey humne kasam sang rehne ki" with the students' favourite music teacher Anand Hargovind Dhamelia Sir.... haha! Jokes apart, his better half Urja Chavda Dhamelia got the stage on fire yesterday. I fail to understand why an engineering graduate is wasting her time and energy not working in her field.... its an insult to her degree, know that an expat's life is not all good as you see from far off! It was fun watching a Sudeshna [Euphonies] seducing us with "raat akele hai, bujh gaye diye".... haha! she is such a calm persona! Little brother Sounak did a wonderful job as the official photographer which you get to see in the organising team's official page or Sounak's! Each one of the performers was sincerely trying to entertain us... the audience.... even the Keralite couple duo Sarita & Sreenivas ji's proficiency in Hindi amazes me... perhaps because they were born and brought up in Mumbai. Can you imagine a Keralite couple singing or talking in Hindi to each other? They were doing so and thats why I love Mumbai... its cosmopolitan environment!... I do not know each of their name or their food preferences, so I prefer to blog on my favourite vegetarian dish with pointed gourd, potato, onion, fragrant rice and few aromatic spices. Shall we proceed? We will, though a question keeps / will keep disturbing me for life may be .... "hum jisey gunguna nehi sakte, waqt ne aisa geet kyon gaya?"




INGREDIENTS :

Potol / Pointed Gourd : 8-10 
Potato : 2medium sized
Gobindo Bhog / Chinigura / Kalijeera Chal : 1/4small cup [any small grained, fragrant rice]
Onion : 1big
Ginger Paste : 1tbsp
Cumin Powder : 2tsp
Coriander Powder : 1tsp
Red Chilli Powder : 11/2tbsp
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp + 1/2tsp
Cinnamon Powder : 1/4tsp
Green Cardamom Powder : 1/4tsp
Cloves Powder : 2pinch
Cumin Seed : 1/4tsp
Bay Leaf : 1
Slitted Green Chilli : 2
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 11/2tsp [adjust non Bengali speakers]
Ghee / Clarified Butter : 1-2tbsp
Oil : 6-7tbsp

PROCEDURE :

Cut the potol / pointed gourd as Bengali homes do. Cut and discard the two ends. Peel the skin thinly keeping a gap... do not peel off the entire skin. Cut half each one! Wash and apply half of 1tsp turmeric and some salt. Keep aside for ten minutes.

Peel the potatoes. Cut half lengthwise and then each half into four pieces widthwise! Wash and rub with half of 1tsp of turmeric and some salt. Keep aside not more than five minutes, else they turn back.

Wash and soak the rice for an hour. Drain the water after that.

Heat oil in a wok. Fry the potato pieces in batches and take out, draining the oil in the wok as much as possible.

Fry the pointed gourd pieces in batches and take out, draining the excess oil as much as possible.

Add little oil to the wok if required! Once hot, temper with cumin seeds and bay leaf! Add the onion which we have peeled, discarded the two ends, cut half, sliced and washed earlier. Fry till caramelised. Add the rice now and stir at high heat for 2 minutes.

Reduce heat to minimal, add the ginger paste and stir cook for a minute. Add the cumin and coriander powder, red chilli powder, 1/2tsp turmeric powder, salt to it and stir for half a minute. Sprinkle some water it required!

Add two coffee mugs of water. Cover cook at low till the rice is half done. Open cover and add the fried potatoes and pointed gourds. Fold in well, add more water if required and cover cook at minimal heat for another 5-6 minutes. 

Open cover, add the cinnamon... cardamom .... cloves powder and sugar. Fold in well and cover cook at minimal heat for another minute or so. 

Open cover, garnish with ghee and serve fresh with steamed rice.

We also had some "tinde aloo ki sabzi" and "ucche kumro bhaja" alongside which can be enjoyed with roti / paratha too!







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