Wednesday, 30 January 2019

TOFU JAGGERY SANDESH




"Shing na thekeo jodi naam shingho hotey parey tobey chana chara mishti keno sandesh hotey parey na?".... This is my kind of reasoning with the self.... "ami oto reason er dhar dhari na".... As you know I am not the kind who understands the basics of science, a reasonable person is not what I am.... so a fudge without paneer / Indian Cottage Cheese or kheer earns the name sandesh at this home. I could have named it a fudge, instead wished naming it TOFU JAGGERY SANDESH. What I "wish" is very important to me. We get it or not, it is very important to stay true to what we want in life. Like yesterday evening I was longing to taste dried fish and I did cook it until 9:30 pm and then had our dinner around 10 pm which is normal at this home.



What was surprising was the husband's face being seen at an "unearthly hour" ... @7:30 pm... which is unbelievable on a weekday. I was out to the mall opposite our home... buying some gifts, then ended up buying for myself. I never had the necessity to hide from the husband what I buy, so seeing him as I entered through the main door was not a shocker! Some of my friends do, some even used to hid their sarees in my wardrobe for a prolonged period. Ask me why? They are not in control when they shop.... I take pride in saying that I never lose control.... I so loved few high end sarees this time in India, was carrying my card too but I know how and when to keep a check. This is not a big deal for me who learnt to put shackles on her feet at a tender age of fifteen or sixteen .... I do not step in to preoccupied lands that give me the feel of dejection! Either I own what I want or keep a considerable distance, I hate to be anyone's subject of mercy .... that gets the wild out of me! I laugh at all kinds of "lectures" we give to each other.... In reality, we never can let go of the hurt , the bruises leave a permanent mark .... The wish for sole ownership of what we love is natural and evil at the same time. I have the courage to exhibit the evil in me, majority do not. What I did or do is, I never get the evil in me get out of control, neither will ever reconcile with those who encroached in the way of my life with nasty intentions.... For the rest of you, I have no issues! Till date life has been good, I do not know what tomorrow brings in.... so will never show the audacity of cursing others. Let us put the bitterness at bay and get some sweet for the majority around.... who happens to be well wishers!

Do you know that I love the Tom & Jerry Show and today is the birthday of my real life Jerry? This Jerry hates sweets and I had to go ahead with a vegetarian, sweet share TOFU JAGGERY SANDESH today, haha. Well, a picture of "maacher jhol, hansher dim er jhol, peyazkoli bhaja" went as a birthday wish in a private message. It was dear friend Swati's and may be others' marriage anniversary yesterday, dear Vijay Dinanath's elder daughter's birthday too .... We have a friend at every juncture and ocassions can be any.... why has it to be a personal celebration to be special?.... Yesterday Nishi Pulugurtha & Team's pictures on Dum Dum Rotary's Charitable work for the not so fortunate was what seemed like a celebration to my eyes! Not all celebrations are an eye sore to me... haha! I am villainous  that is true but I keep my intents open & clear always... I am a harmless being who does not wish to be involved in anything that causes her suffocation & yes, a feel of insult, failure! Rest, I always pray "Ishwar shokoler mangal koruk".... About the food share today, it all started with a packet of Tau Kwa I got home day before yesterday to add to my salads. Tofu is an acquired taste for us, we can have it after a good marination, batter fried with a garnish of different sauces. I strongly felt that I cannot have so much just like that only with a seasoning. So I went ahead with preparing a vegetarian sweet adding a good amount of powdered milk to it, while the jaggery powder was used as a sweetener. There was a bit of ghee and some dry fruits as garnish... green cardamom to flavour! I have seen earlier that a few of my known, esteemed bloggers using tofu to prepare a fudge! Question is that did the Tau Kwa remain a Tau Kwa at the end? I did not want it to be so either!




INGREDIENTS :

TOFU [not silken] : 250-300gm
MILK POWDER : 5tbsp + 3tbsp
POWDERED SUGAR : 2 tbsp
JAGGERY POWDER : 1/3 tbsp [I use a chemical free variety]
GREEN CARDAMOM POWDER : 11/2tsp [freshly made]
GHEE : 2tbsp
CHOPPED WALNUT & PISTACHIO TO GARNISH!

PROCEDURE : 

The TAU KWA packet!


Cut the packet and place the amount on a plate.


Break it until it gets a crumble like texture! I saved one block for a salad, I may turn it onto a gulab jamun... ease your heart from all that heaviness, emptiness and fill it with love.


Put the crumbled tau kwa in a blender and blend it to a paste.


Pour it on a plate and add 5 tbsp of powdered milk, powdered sugar.


Mash the entire amount well. Heat ghee on a wok.


Add the mashed content to it.


We have the jaggery ready on the kitchen counter, just measure and add.




Mix very well and continuously stir for 3-4 minutes. Now add the remaining of the powdered milk.


Fold in well and keep stirring for 3-4 minutes. Add the freshly made green cardamom powder now and fold in well.


Mix well, stir for a minute and transfer to a plate.


While it is cooling, take some walnuts & pistachios in a bowl... either chop them or roughly grind in a mortar and pestle.



Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes while it is still warm!


Tear off small portions and shape as you wish.



Garnish with chopped dry fruits & nuts!


Monday, 28 January 2019

CHICKEN IN SPICY PRAWN PASTE



Those who are with me in Instagram already know what I cooked last Saturday.... I enjoy sharing my stories there although only some of my trusted friends are there with me besides few new, unknown! "yeh 'intu' aur 'pintu' bahut trouble deke rakkha hai".... However, I am not bothered, no point... I  enjoy sharing stories of my life... a major part of what concerns food! There are two aspects of this kind of an attitude. A laid back character cannot excel.... only fighters with self pride reaches somewhere... for that they might have to spend sleepless nights or chain smoke perfecting things. The rest are the mediocre us who day dream, dilly-dally with life, fear or refuse to take part in any race and someday meet the end  of their life in silence. I will never recommend my kind of a life to anyone but will say that we are one of a kind.... If you are an extreme case of a loner like me... you will be happy in your own company without the need to please every other person you do not require to. Yet, to get what we wish for, we must do something to nourish that what will yield for us! Look at my orchids! They got less productive last year and I was sad! That is when a gentleman in a nursery suggested me a spray specially meant for orchids... see they seem to reach heights now.... that makes me happy! If I want them to make me happy, I have to do something for them.


I really wish to plant few more variety of orchids, space is a problem. Can you see the ground floor flat on the other side? They come with bigger balconies in this island... I wish to rent one but the husband never will. We disagree in almost all matters. Among the very few things we agree upon... is our likeness for Netherlands. We wished to relocate there in a picturesque suburbs.... the husband frequented there as a bachelor on his trips.... Yesterday afternoon, we hammered a nail to that wish too. The rest of the story do I wish to share in Instagram sometime soon.... how much of a sick I got yesterday and why we agreed upon the fact that I need a Cristine 24/7 at this juncture of life, that he will not pay nearly two lac rupees of stamp duty to buy a flat here, that he will keep smoking knowing that I have a problem with it since childhood & I am concerned about his health, that I will keep enacting drama which he hates, that finally he has to get me a flat with a terrace garden in a condominium in the close vicinity of CC2 and Baguiati.... ahh! thats how this home works! Just when I am planning to prepare some "mushurir dal er bori".... I get jealous of the sprawling bungalows of the "bahargaon walas".... I keep wondering how they manage homes... cleaning part mainly.... when do they clean home, garden and then party every weekend! My good friend Sarnali has to say something about it.... S, every weekend there is a get together.... there has to be a minimum of fifteen dishes which the host family start cooking from Tuesday! I burst in to laughter, "dosh mile dur theke borof kete ashbey shob, korte to hobey... borofe energy barey naki rey? Tui ki ooi bhoyei paliye eli?".... Sarnali is a very nice girl... quiet, loves to read, does not like too much of talking, not a party animal somewhat similar to me... so please do not take it personally whoever is reading it.... each one of us are different...These days, I take invitations from homes where I can take few shots of drinks and go to sleep until the husband carries me back home. Yesterday noon, I drove 6-7 km and collapsed. This happens if you get almost everything at the opposite side of the road.... After buying his "shokher gari".... the husband is not leaving it to my hands at night time.... My reaction is like "ken aro shokher gari, bari nei ghar nei nijer... utko shokh joto".... However, I never get tired cooking what they love.... a CHICKEN IN SPICY PRAWN PASTE in this case!

My health condition and the diminishing energy level is what bothers me. May be energy is something I never had in me.... as the mother says that I had always been a lazy brat. The benefits of having a Cristine is this, with the leftover patishapta batter, she made those beautiful crepes.... did I train her well or not?



I may not be happy with the size of my rented space, the cracked lines on the kitchen tiles but you will see me preparing "bori, achar, pithe-puli" in that given space! Its all about passion.... what you love doing! Another ten to twelve years of wait gets me a custom made kitchen by 'Veneta Cucine' but I prefer my home to be done by Nirmal Halder kinds who would listen to my instructions.... that 'Hathkargha' home of Dehradun fascinates me.... Handicrafts is something I love way too much! Here too the husband has to disagree saying 'S hand crafted items are hard to maintain... that too in your retired life.' Since, he has told that I can enjoy drinks prepared by one of my trusted boyfriend Sanjoy K Mondal sooner, he will safely drive me back home.... I served my boys' favourite chicken ... this time it is CHICKEN IN SPICY PRAWN PASTE with "atte-suji wale poori".... It will be called favouritism if I do not say that I simply love Sanjoy's wife Suparna's home decor ideas and the lively greens she grows. They might have gone nearer to the border to rent a 2000sq.ft. space, but every inch of that has her tasteful touch! I am just scared of her temperament as much as her two giant sized kids.... she will not think twice to show you the door if you call them pets! Their Duggu however is my champ ever since we met some eight years ago. So, I am busy this week planning what to take to their home, what to prepare for those visiting me! I talk so less of food here nah? I do not have much knowledge of it you know.... the weather is pretty fine... I was thinking of going out .... then I remember that I have to colour the shining silvers and call Ipsita to settle on the movie we will be going for tonight! What is the son doing I do not know... I see him going for volunteering works which is part of their IB Curricula, I growl at his choice to learn Fencing of all things.... I was in Kolkata when the men decided on it never bothering to ask me. Since the husband told not to interfere in his son's life... I call good friend Piali whenever in utter distress and say... "can you ask Tinni what actually is going on in school?".... There is a Parent Portal whose password I manage to forget each time I am furnished with... The son complains to his favourite Chitra Maam and Pavan Sir that his mother is always on the net.... What else can she do if one does not share with her anything? My mother perhaps knows the names of all of my brother's colleagues! Coming to the non vegetarian side dish with chicken, the idea popped in all of a sudden. I do taste different kinds of sambals but too unwilling to buy the readymade pastes or to prepare an authentic one at home. So went ahead with very few fresh prawns, dry red chilli, ginger, garlic and few more! As the family say, it was tasty... I had the poori with 'Priya's' very sour, South Indian Style whole, too young mango pickle... I may have a small piece of chicken tonight with brown rice. Yesterday, I felt like it is my last day on earth until I had a good sleep in the afternoon and went for swimming around 8pm! We should be thankful for each day of our stay here and at times a mere mortal seems like God... in my case it is the Swimming Coach Joe!



INGREDIENTS :

Chicken : 1kg [medium cut]
Fresh Prawn : 3-4 medium sized
Red Chilli : 6-8 [choose as per your preference]
Garlic Clove : 6-7 [de skin and wash]
Ginger : 2-3 inch 3-4 pieces [de skin, wash and cut small]
Onion : 2medium [de skin, discard ends, wash & slice]
Vinegar : 2-3tbsp +2tbsp
Tamarind Juice : 3-4tbsp
Mint Leaf : 12-15 or a handful
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp + 1/2tsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 4-5tbsp

PROCEDURE :

Wash the chicken pieces thoroughly and marinate with 2tbsp vinegar, turmeric & salt. Keep aside for 45 minutes.

Soak the washed dry red chillies and deveined, cleaned and washed prawns in 2-3tbsp vinegar mixed with water solution. [what kind of English is this? poor]... I cook well but... have some trust.



After a pretty 1/2 an hour, microwave it at high for 4-5 minutes.



Discard the shell of the boiled prawns. Take the chillies, prawns, boiled water, ginger pieces and the garlic cloves in a blender and blend them to a smooth paste.




With readymade tamarind packets available in the market, making a tamarind juice is not a problem.



Heat oil in a wok and add the sliced onion.



Once they are fried to golden brown, we will add the spicy prawn paste.



Then I forgot to click the next steps. Ok, keep stirring for 2-3 minutes. This magic wok requires less oil.

Add the chicken pieces, stir at high heat for 2-3 minutes. Add the marinade and cover cook at low heat for 15 minutes checking in between.

Open cover and add the washed mint leaves leaving some for garnish. Let cook for 5 minutes covered at low heat.

Add a coffee mug of water and let cook for 5 minutes at low heat. Open cover and add the tamarind water.




Let cook at low heat for another 3-4 minutes. We should be done.

Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy with steamed rice or roti, a dal which was "motor dal er tok" in our case and a vegetarian dish like this ridge gourd and potato with roasted white sesame seed paste [tilbata diye jhinge aloo]



Friday, 25 January 2019

KHOYA NARKOL ER PUR BHORA GUR ER PATISHAPTA



This is the kind of food I can never stop loving. My kitchen cannot transfer onto a soup & salad counter totally. Do not tell me that I can give these big talks as I am a sit at home worthless. My friend Paramita Ghosal teaches IG level English at an Indian International School and cooks Kochur Shaak to Echor er Dalna after a hard day at school. These days, private school teachers' work life no more remain easy as it had been earlier. Our kids are benefitted that is true but I find it absolutely unnecessary to over burden the Teachers with excessive paper work. Unlike Paramita, I am not too rigid about accepting different kinds. I am a good friend of a health enthusiast Ipsita too who makes awesome Asian salads. On her advice, I got that special cutter used in Thai salads.... enjoying my greens with raw radish & carrot cut in strips! I came across a you tube video recently on Kabuli Lamb Pulao that uses strips of carrot in it similar to Oshi Pulao.... waiting to prepare it sooner... happy to find a way to feed my men some carrot... haha! This home is not divided over food preferences in that extreme sense.... if the men eat broccoli hidden in layers of pasta & cheese, I would par boil the broccoli, fry some cubed potatoes and cook them in a "jomati shorshe-kancha lanka-narkol bata" and serve with "fulko ruti" or steamed rice. If you provoke me too much, "shutki diye broccoli redhe blog e jhuliye debo".... As I always say that I am not a rigid persona, so I will go up with something today that is Bengali in essence and can be enjoyed by a majority in the world... KHOYA NARKOL ER PUR BHORA GUR ER PATISHAPTA.

It is a Friday again, people in India are still basking in the winter sun .... West Bengal is having breakfast with "pithepuli".... so I wished to share a sweetmeat today that many of you may wish to try in your kitchen. I did them yesterday morning, not much time is required in the preparation because we are using instantly made khoya / semi solid milk & desiccated coconut as the stuffing! The son had set out for his school's Annual Day event around 1pm yesterday, the daddy is due home today, there was no elaborate lunch preparations yesterday as such.... mumma went out for a walk and had her lunch outside. What? Chicken and green vegetables without rice. The problem is that she ends up eating "pithe puli, bhaat" by night! Cristine cooked our dinner yesterday... "dimer jhol, mushur dal sheddo, ucche kumro bhaja for us & aloo sheddo for the son"... I need some rice with them! In the evening, Mumma went to watch the concert... Ipsita found it easier to drive her own car instead of guiding me every minute... S turn right and then left... now head straight! Well, Soumya too drove half way... each time he is on the driver's seat, I doubt if I can get to have my next meal or not! That pain of guiding me to drive will only be taken by the husband .... so a KHOYA NARKOL ER PUR BHORA GUR ER PATISHAPTA should await his arrival.






I am a Bollywood fan, I really did not get what that "Light Music" was, neither could see the son dancing in that dark. That is where the husband scolds .... S, you had been there to watch many a kids' performance... stop aiming your son alone and click. I too get irritated when he does not reach in time in any of the school's cultural events. We bond over "pithe-puli" though! Hence, prepared these egg free, Bengali pancakes using semolina, rice flour, refined flour, instantly made khoya kheer, desiccated coconut, sugar, date-palm jaggery! Let us do it!



INGREDIENTS [FOR THE INSTANTLY MADE SEMI SOLID MILK]

POWDERED MILK : 1COFFEE MUG
WHOLE MILK : 1/2 SMALL TEA CUP
GHEE / CLARIFIED BUTTER : 2TBSP

INGREDIENTS FOR THE BENGALI PANCAKE]

PATALI GUR / DATE PALM JAGGERY : 100-150GM [GRATED]
SEMOLINA : 2 MEDIUM SIZED TEA CUP
RICE FLOUR : 11/2 SMALL TEA CUP
REFINED FLOUR : 1/2 SMALL TEA CUP
WATER OR MILK : AS REQUIRED FOR A SEMI THICK BATTER

INGREDIENTS [FOR THE FINISHED PATISHAPTA]

THE SEMI SOLID MILK
THE PANCAKE BATTER
DESICCATED COCONUT : 1/3 OF A SMALL TEA CUP
SUGAR : 2TBSP [ADJUST AS PER PREFERENCE]
OIL : 3-4 DROPS + 2 DROPS FOR EVERY 4-5 PANCAKES WE DO!

PROCEDURE :

For the instantly made khoya / semi solid milk, take the powdered milk, whole milk and the ghee / clarified butter in a bigger than the content bowl. Mix well.

Microwave at high for a minute. Give a stir and microwave for another minute. Stir again and microwave for another 30 seconds.

Take out and let cool.




Once cool, add the desiccated coconut & sugar to the bowl and mix well.




While the khoya kheer was cooling, we soaked the semolina in water. Alternatively, you can use milk too. Let it rest for 40-45 minutes.



Now add the refined flour and rice flour, 3-4 drops of oil to the batter. Keep adding water or milk little by little if required. Mix well.

Add the patali gur / jaggery that we have already grated.



Keep mixing until we get a smooth, semi thick batter devoid of lumps.



We are ready for the final step lah!



For my convenience and to remain free of discrimination, I divide the khoya kheer & desiccated coconut filling in equal portions, haha!

Once the pan is hot, add 2 drops of oil to it and spread well. Wipe lightly with a clean cloth. We will do this after 4-5 patishapta being done.

Pour a big spoon of batter and spread immediately with the back it.

Let it cook for 1/2 a minute at the lowest heat.



Now place a portion of the stuffing just in the middle.



Fold in from both the sides and take out.



Have it warm with cups of black tea or coffee, a majority of Bengali would love to have it stale the next day!