Friday, 2 November 2018

THORER GHONTO


As a kid, as a teen, in my youth I did not fancy any vegetable except for a "fulkopi aloor dalna" or few others done with smaller sized prawns or fish head.... I have mentioned it in this space a couple of times. However, it was after marriage did I start loving the very humble vegetarian dishes my mother used to cook, still does. The very authentic "Bangal Bari" that my parents' side is, a variety of vegetarian preparations are done .... yes with almost anything and everything around.... even with peels of vegetables. The husband's side of the the family are also from the other side of West Bengal but unfortunately they do not cook variety.... they fancy bigger sized fish & meat! I could not eat what their help cooked, so secretly visited the parental home after school.... that two-three hours of adulation by the mother used to get tears into my eyes because the mother-in-law did not or does not know how to speak softly.... her sole intention was to detach me from my mother.... I will be a mother-in-law in few years, why should I expect that my son's wife will be more friendly to me than her's... its so unnatural. Even if the expectation is there, we should not show it off or deploy any mean to achieve it.... it is unachievable!! Will my husband love my parents more than his or should I ask him to? Both ways it is wrong! There has to be a balance! Is my mother flawless? Nope... she wanted her married daughter to be treated the way a child is pampered.... she ate up my father's head.... "where have you send my daughter who cannot stay with her husband, neither is spoken to kindly, so harsh are the people at that home?".... What she did not notice or accepted that both her daughter's and her's expectations were high, that the daughter's husband always stood strong by his wife which is a bliss, though she accepts that the son-in-law has always stood by his wife's family in any emergency.... he even went with our father to the Ganges with the dead body of our Pomeranian Puppy Jenny when the brother was lying almost senseless on the floor mourning. One who has a pet will know what it means to have one. So, all the problem is with expectations.... the less it is, happier we are. I cannot expect another man / woman to treat me same as my parents.... there are rarest of the rare cases though.... in this case that is our father who was wise. He went into another world, yet the mother has to complain that without any labour, he got all accolades from the people around and at distance! To that I scold her, I say that my mother-in-law too looked after my son after his birth.... the entire period of January 2002, I was bleeding profusely from my stitch that got infected .... I missed attending a "high-profile marriage"..... then.... heard the story from the mother-in-law what a show-stopping event it was, total match leh! Off course she regrets her skeletal, tall son having an obese, short, almost blind wife.... so I do not allow anyone at that home to touch my heart except the skeletal being... he accepted me at a time when I felt very much deserted! What a miss was not attending the big event! .... I still regret.... I regret missing any "spread on a table".... The mother-in-law never ever looked at what I eat, how much I eat.... yet I could not be friends with her because she never made me feel loved! I love my grandmother way to much, yet cannot accept the way she dealt with her daughter-in-laws! She went out of the way and sweated for them and their kids.... Where was she wrong then? She should not have come in between them and their parents or their husbands! If her 70 year old daughter catches a train at 4:30 am in the morning every month to meet her, then her daughter-in-laws have every right to look after their parents! Am I right or wrong readers? The number of my readers have gone down for obvious reasons, but the amount of peace I got in return is unmatched! I went to the Indian Market yesterday without any hurry to be back home... no one said.... "S you have to promote your blog post!" I should not force myself to be what I am not! You see, the husband cannot coordinate the vegetables while buying them.... If I buy a hilsa, I have to buy a bottle gourd to cook with the head.... if I buy a bottle gourd, it has to be young enough! This island sells overgrown gourd family.... high breeds are not usually good in taste! The husband lost interest, Cristine became a necessity! The vegetables I got yesterday is half the number or variety I buy over the weekend because Cristine will be flying tonight or tomorrow! You should always buy vegetables from a wet market or a farmer's market..... look at the packeted pointed gourds from the super market.... all in different shapes & sizes.... I absolutely dislike it.... the reason why our mother does not allow her son to shop for raw materials and why I do not allow my man is same, haha!




The husband who is otherwise a wonderful human being always says that I will be the worst mother-in-law of the world and he will not allow us to stay together. I retaliate saying that how could they think that I will. I will "visit" the son's home.... if greeted well, will visit again, else will see! I have the strength not to knock at the doors that has been shut straight on my face, neither do I visit people or do something for personal interest.... its either love or duty on call! The husband or his son will not get a chicken curry share for them today, the lady celebrates her taste buds with something similar to THORER GHONTO whenever she feels low in spirit! Does the lack of readers bothering you S? Nope, S has sustained deeper injuries in life and is happily alive, she is very much unwilling to be a part of few things.... let people make fun of her failures.... hug and kiss among themselves.... she would do whatever she wishes to! How are you spending your days S? Why.... Youtube is no more in the air? Instagram does not allow a five minutes video or may be I do not know how to upload, else I would have sung for you "jab deep jale ana, jab sham dhale ana" or "sarakti jaye rukh se naqab.... ahista ahista".... in my own style .... "koi Ghalib se to nehi pucha ke aapko kahan se milta hai har roj yeh labze..... hamse bhi mat pucha karo kaise guzarte ho din ya raat... shabd-lay-taal hai saath mein zigri dost ki tarha".... I enjoy life in my own way.... not bothered anymore what you think of me.... "kuch to log kahenge, logo ka kam hai yeh kehna.... choro bekar ki baaton mein kahin beet na jaye raina".... While I enjoy reading, writing, music and filling my tummy with my choice of food, I do cook for my men their favourites.... if you click the link of this BENGALI STYLE LIGHT CHICKEN CURRY... you get to see I prepared a "pata bata" alongside ... a leaf paste with Chye Shim... belongs to the mustard family? This way I balance life.... The platter you see in today's post of THORER GHONTO is my favourite, how can I have it without cooking a meat or fish curry for the men.... "I am because they are".... I do not need to show it off at all times. THORER GHONTO is a non spicy, humble, a bit time consuming recipe with banana stem! The few stepwise pictures and descriptions will let you know how to do it. It is in fact a very common recipe at Bengali homes.... I wished to go ahead with something today that both the family adults enjoy.... yes, including the mother-in-law... she never can complain that I do not cook for her or serve her nicely.... after all she entertained me with the story of a mermaid and her prince while I was bedridden, haha .... nonetheless to say my "prince" was a month old then.... he will leave me / us for a better future soon.... its the dearest childhood buddy who will stay back to tolerate my tantrums.... we have not sung together "there's only you in my life" but we have sailed together in the rough sea... that says it all....



INGREDIENTS :

BANANA STEM : 2-3 [1FOOT LENGTH]
TURMERIC POWDER : 1/2TSP
NIGELLA SEED : 1/4TSP
GREEN CHILLI : 3-4 SLITTED
DRY RED CHILLI : 2 HALVED
SALT : AS REQUIRED

PROCEDURE :

We get the banana stem sold as seen below... be it in India or here in this island!




This is one vegetable which is not recommended to refrigerate in this form. I prefer cutting it within a day! Cristine does help me in this matter. I feel the need to do it more often if only the son had a similar taste bud as of Ipsita's .... I make it a point to pack and send any heirloom, Bengali dish to their home.... Ipsita too sends roasted chicken for the monkey here! This girl or the couple know how to maintain relationship and respect others' space.... in the process they go out of their way to be accommodative.... what seems  impossible to me!

Anyway, let us start with the cutting process!

The first thing to do is to cut off the two ends.

Then we will discard the outer cover and select the young, white middle section of the stem piece to cut and cook.

Cut each piece of stem into 4 halves. Start cutting each piece into tiny slices. As you cut each slice, you can see thread like fibre on the skin.... use your fingers to discard those.



Once we are done with removing the thread like fibres from each of the slices, we will start chopping them into thinner strips. Take them in a colander and wash thoroughly.



Once washed, transfer to a bowl. Add salt as required. Now squeeze and break them with your right palm and leave like that for 15-20 minutes. Whenever I miss this step.... the cooking time gets longer!

Heat oil in a wok, temper with black seeds, halved dry red chillies.



Add the cut banana stem to the wok discarding the water. Add the turmeric and fold in well. I disagree with the yesteryear ladies who steam the banana flower stem in water before frying it. All the vitamins and iron goes away with the discarded water I feel. Learned people can say better!



Cover cook at lowest heat for 15-20 minutes. In between open cover, use your ladle to stir and break further the content. Cover again. If cooking it as this in Bengali Style, it takes pretty good time.

Remove cover and add the slitted green chillies. Fold in well.


Cover cook again for 12-13 minutes at lowest heat. It should be done by now. Take down and enjoy with piping hot steamed rice. It should go well with ruti / chapati too! We also had skin on black gram dal and raw jackfruit curry that day. Off course there was a meat or fish curry alongside!


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