Wednesday, 27 March 2019

PANCH PHORON MOURI GURO DIYE BHETKI



After a half day tour yesterday at the China Town, the lazy body is very much willing to be stationed  at home except for an 1 hour swimming session down below. Then there is that "ghar shongshar"... Cristine is there to remind me that I have to go out to get some fruits and look for "Amul" butter in the local minimarts... our 'desi' superstore is running out of it... Given the Indian mindset, butter is synonymous to "Amul" for us... I do not know what I would have done if stationed in Timbuktu or Iceland. Raw Food is something that I do not allow Cristine to get.... you know that no one at this home can satisfy me with the fruits and vegetables they buy... so they got away with the habit totally. Last to last Sunday, I just requested the husband to accompany me to the Indian market for Bael Fruits because the day next was Shivaratri... The readers will not believe how his temperament changed within an hour... his irritation was causing me pain... "arey holoholo korcho keno...kota jinish kini eshechi jokhon".... The hyper sensitive me will get wetty eyed in such a situation and keep cribbing ....  "go and see how the husbands accompany their wives everywhere, hold hands and express their 'eknishto prem' for their wives only"... the cool guy lights another cigarette within a gap of five minutes and says "dhop marey social media tey bou er bhoye".... Do you think I leave him? I also retaliate "tui aar tor maa miley besh kore nili amader opor".... I still remember how his mother partied with her friends and his father polished their shoes, stayed with the kids over the weekend... However, Shivaratri fasting is still not a forced practice for me, I lovingly do it praying for my loves. I have a writer cum painter cum good at cooking friend in Instagram whose note on a husband-wife relationship perfectly suits this home.... this couple and their monkey will always bond over such dishes like this non-vegetarian, fish curry... in fact "maacher jhol"... PANCH PHORON MOURI GURO DIYE BHETKI.

The family together had a "boro katlar jhol diye bhaat" yesterday night too... before that the senior was scolding me for turning the home into a zoo... not selecting a theme and then buying decorative stuffs.




He asked me how can a single wall  have two different themes and he does have a point. As I always tell  you all that I immensely love the PreeOccupied and the Hatkargha kind of homes or my husband's sister's home decor in Salt Lake. Her trekker husband collects artefacts from his travels, grows flowers and fruits in his small patch of green and cooks too. His wife is the rare kind who manages home and office equally well... You know what, while at middle school I saw her doing her home when her mother was away from home most of the time... so she can fold a mosquito net with an expertise of a trained hotel staff. I had to repeat these mentions... this guy Anirban may be closer to his mumma-in-law far more than me but he also says that "S di ... you cook the best in this family"... I find his mother's cooking too good... we both having our origin in Comilla, I like how his 75 year old mother, a 5'7-8" inch tall, former volley ball player in the national team may be representing Tripura cooks 5-6 course meal everyday. BTW, what if Anirban had been closer to me than his mother-in-law?... He would have been going to office wearing a Swatch by now or would be doning a Denizen instead of a Giordano or Bossini. Oh yes! I am that mean... However, I feel happy to see my brother's wife taking my mother to the top doctors in Kolkata.... else my side of the family was like buying medicines from the pharmacy asking the counter guys there... imagine! A dear family member is paying the price now for such negligencies. It is a regret that none from my side of the family have aesthetic sense.... what if the brother's wife had so?... She would have been unable to live in that home in Barrackpore that curate 30-40 years old furnitures.... my mumma madam did not allow me to ask the father to get some decent cupboards at her kitchen... she loves her vintage "jal deoa mitsafe" so much.... I shout at them "I will not stay here more than 4 days".... they say that they are happy with the grandson whose Kolkata visit means staying at "Dimma Bari".... going out with "nono & B aunty".... eating 'Bonde' and all the junk my brother orders online ... pizza, mac meals, KFC and yes... Dimma made 'murgir jhol' and her biryani.... not "dada boudir biryani".... However, he does like bhetki... okay seabass... done the mumma way with steamed rice... PANCH PHORON MOURI GURO DIYE BHETKI. Its his break time and he is getting on my nerves finishing 2litres of iced tea in two days, not letting us open the windows of his room resulting into severe cough and cold every month... "ato abadhyo ki bolbo".... its difficult to live with such kinds... its by inheritance but ... He watches shows on fencing classes while the mother wished him to learn a musical instrument. The mother wished to see his performance but he did not start until I left the venue... I do not even know if he is provided with proper guards or not.




So, my stress is to live with people who do not listen to me.... however, I find my own happiness in food... Yesterday night was totally Bengali with "begun diye aar maacher matha, kanchakola aloo diye katla, aam dal, laal shaak bhaja".... I do not like so big carps any more but the fish was really of good quality.... I have called few guests coming Saturday to clear off the big head and 25-26 pieces... the husband is travelling next week. The regret is not been able to send Sanak "katlar jhol"... he had "me" cooked food last to last week... I feel I should not take advantage of a very gentle Soumya or Cristine all the time and ask them to carry food packets to places... I had the biggest sized hilsa at Sanak's father's place while Sanak's immediate family prefers smaller sized "rui and chicken"... their teen prefers pasta and Northern India on the plate... I have a pasta recipe to share but at the right time! "katlar jhol" definitely went for Ipsita & Debarathi's family.... it will until we change this home... I wish for a bigger balcony to place my flowering pots and more of them. Day before yesterday it was "sabudana khichdi" for lunch.... Since, I do not like to prepare lunch for myself which I rarely have at home, Cristine does it and all this while she was feeding me "shabur jhal ghyat".... I had to take over and it was decent this time .... tapioca is high on starch and I should not have it often. I wish to blog on a Bengali "shabur khichuri".... I know two Bengali bloggers who have already blogged on it the way Chandrayee's mother used to do... it was not our family recipe... I must try it!




There is nothing much to say about this Bengali style fish curry... I just tried it with a different combination of spices keeping in tact the Bengali essence. Doing so, I used very less spices like a bit of ginger extract, fennel powder, red chilli powder, lemon juice, turmeric powder, salt... later I felt that adding some slitted green chillies towards the end would have done more justice to the curry. Come on, such dishes do not require stepwise pictures, it needs a hot bowl of steamed rice, "toker dal aar peyaz diye mushur daal er bora".... Do not serve me cold food when I visit your home... I cannot have food if I do not feel the warmth of the hosts.... Yes, the mother's daughter has stopped serving fritters to a big gathering of guests as she fails to coordinate the chat sessions & adjusting the gas oven heat alternatively, Cristine's timing in accordance with my instructions and serving them crispy hot fritters... fritters lose their crispiness if reheated!





INGREDIENTS :

SEA BASS / BHETKI :  1 PIECE OF 700-800 GM
GINGER EXTRACT : 4TBSP
FENNEL POWDER : 11/2TBSP
RED CHILLI POWDER : 1TBSP
TURMERIC POWDER : 1TSP + 1/2TSP
LEMON JUICE : 3-4TBSP
BENGALI PANCH PHORON : 1/2TSP [A MIX OF WILD CELERY-CUMIN-FENNEL-BLACK MUSTARD-FENUGREEK-NIGELLA SEED]
SALT : AS REQUIRED
SLITTED GREEN CHILLI : 3-4
OIL : 6-8 TBSP

PROCEDURE :

I always get my fish cut by the fish sellers who I think are babies compared to their counter parts in Bengal. Since, I am the daughter of a mother who still does not allow fish and meat to be cut by the fish sellers back there except for very big ones.... I cannot cook anything that does not look good to my eyes. My cutting instructions cause irritation to them. I am that Bengali who is against cutting open the fish stomach or chopping off the tail end totally.

Clean the scales very well before washing them. I remember that I did not let Sushama or Dipa didi when my son was 1-2 years old to clean and wash the fish and meat. I got older and lethargic, so Cristine gets the liberty to get me puke behind closed doors of the toilet at times. After that what she gets is oral abuses not amounting to physical assaults. What I get is scolding from the husband. "you will not be abusive to the needy"... So, each time I give demo with at least one piece of fish or meat... which again does not meet my mother's standard of perfection.

Now, wash them thoroughly under running water. I do enjoy those village style cooking videos, feel jealous to see their lakhs of followers, promote mine which you never should because there is no mutual belongingness that happens... most of them are not keen to trust you enough and click the recipe link ... .... Although I enjoy watching the shows, I cannot agree to the idea of washing food stuffs in a colander. Yes, I am that hypocrite whose wish to live deep inside the woods is just a romantic dream... she lives in a no man's land actually .... may be alongside one single inhabitant... the protagonist of Labyrinth.

Washed already ya? Now drain the water and rub with some salt and 1tsp turmeric powder... Those who eat turmeric regularly  get less of skin cancer comparatively... turmeric has medicinal properties. Keep the fish pieces marinated for 20 minutes.

Heat oil in a wok, fry the fish pieces lightly. Take out and reserve for later use. Do not fry too much or at high heat. I had shown the door to one cook Julie within 6 months of appointing her for trying to play tricks with me doing 4 items within an hour. That was in 2009. Not knowing that cooking ability runs in my blood, she and her another "boudi" tried to give me a lot of lectures .... I learn from the right people, I do not entertain tricks and poor intents. I absolutely hated Julie's unprofessionalism when my that neighbour wooed and bought her with gifts... she could because every corner of her home has or had black money hidden... she could... I am not so rich. I sincerely hope my eye-surgeon's wife or my boy friend's wife Kana is not reading it... they cannot stop laughing for the entire day ... while a Rupa Roy will scold me for talking like this.

Okay, add the panch phoron to the wok and give a quick stir. Immediately add the ginger extract, dry red chilli, fennel and turmeric powders. Fold in well and stir at lowest heat for 1/2 a minute. Add the slitted green chillies and give a stir. Add 2 coffee mugs of water and  let boil for 5 minutes at low heat.

Gently add the fried fish pieces and simmer at low heat for not more than 3-4 minutes. Switch off the gas oven and add the lemon juice.

I gift you a very light, summer cool fish curry that you may enjoy with steamed rice. We also had some egg curry and green moong dal that day!

Do not get upset if I have talked way too much today, stay put with CURRY AND SPICE for more on simple recipes and her simpler takes on life. Thank You!




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