Friday, 31 May 2019

WHOLE WHEAT LENTIL ONION FLATBREAD


That was Afghani Fateer Pyazi I came across earlier this week on a FaceBook Page named SooperChef, thereafter wished to try it my way. After few tries, I should be able to create a ditto of it. Then why should I blog on something which perhaps hundreds of supremely crafted cooks have already done, why would people see my recipe of Afghani Fateer Pyazi? In case of authentic Bengali recipes, I do not mind adding 1001th post on "posto, begun, aloo, tomato, maach, mangsho".... all Bengali homes will have same take on the authentic ones. See I am unable to concentrate on the blog, people have to talk ..... I can understand that my mother does not understand what blogging is, that she has to tell her stories when I am writing, but I feel happy that she liked the WHOLE WHEAT LENTIL ONION FLAT BREAD I prepared the day before yesterday for our dinner. No, even after that she has not stopped calling me a lazy, she monitors my swimming speed, walking time and distance. Do not I remember how the saree clad, slim her tied a "gamcha" around her waist and swam in the Ganges with my cousins at Nabadwip? What was the daughter of a kabadi + khoko champion doing? She was crying out of fear. My family does not understand my passion for my blog, how much it means to me, only the brother told me "didibhai, I need to understand properly what blogging is and then can try to get it monetised." At least, he took some interest while the husband says "shokher sangey taka meshatey nei".... It was this brother of mine who had shown a lot of patience to teach me how to send emails some 16 years back. The husband has lot more patience than me or my brother but when it comes to helping me with the blog or any technicality he lacks the patience required. Once a blogger friend, now lost told me her husband helps her immensely with the blog, even suggests recipes to be shared. This home's husband does not even know the price of potato per kilogram. All of a sudden I remember of an incident from 1998, we were stationed at Mumbai at our couple friends Partha-Madhuchanda's home. Chutu told T... "S can send you mails while your stay in the ship".... at that time I did not know what an email is, it was new in the market and Chutu was a national scholarship holder who stood first or second in Economics at the Jadavpur University, I had the best "edeshio gotasheddo" in her hands. T thinks Chutu is a near perfect woman, I have no problem with that because I know her and believe it, I have no problem because T did not tell Chutu that his wife doesn't know what an email is as yet, instead he told yes, S can do it. This husband is a keep, we need not analyse always what else our heart yearns for. Those who say their wife or husband is the only moon in their life, they lie..... Human mind is complicated, to restrict us, the institution of marriage was introduced, thats it. Following certain rules makes us decent social beings. Coming back to the "email episode".... the husband did not expose my shortcoming in front of Chutu. I needed to learn mailing urgently because I hardly sailed with him. He specialised in oil tankers and worked in VLCCs, extra large oil carriers which stayed far away from the port, not even in the happening ports. In fear of getting bored and adding more to my weight issues, in fear of climbing  rope steps to board a ship or the inability to go out of the ship often, I did not sail with the husband except for once. No one actually questioned me on my integrity, I always had a "mashima" image in public. Moreover, my little prince charming kept me occupied most of the time. Oh! the mother-in-law always reserved the right to speak anything and everything about me because I stayed in a separate home, did not allow her to rule my life which definitely was a shocker to her kinds. Leave that!

You see my "boris" have almost dried. The shrunken hands that were once very glamorous are turning them over. The old lady is happy that I am taking ahead the family tradition.



We both are worried a bit about what we actually did with life. I tell her if she hadn't leave her job at school, she would have bring us up differently, tougher. She secured a job at Birnagar in a Govt. school where she did practice teaching to secure a BEd degree. Then we relocated to Kolkata. I wonder how I can remember her picking up "bokul, sheuli, jui phool" from the roadside trees at Birnagar, how pointed gourds, eggplants were bathed in chemical colours at the Pairadanga station. A big chunk of my childhood memories is stationed to and fro the Sealdah main line. I hear my 90 up old maternal grandmother still has to read Bengali newspaper everyday. I see our boy's paternal grandfather so concerned about his academics, I like to discuss with him about it, while some are there who till date never have asked how our son is doing at school. They would have been happy if I be their pet. I would have been concerned about their health or happiness had they been a little decent towards my own. On a lighter tone, I never had imagined that my husband can ever discuss Bollywood with his mother[in-law always]. The rest of us in the family giggled so much, a toast to that fun with this simplified, deshi flat bread WHOLE WHEAT LENTIL ONION FLATBREAD. I just tried to get a good meal idea for those who are not an expert with "mixture doughs".... doing so I used whole wheat flour, boiled moong dal, yeast, salt, red chilli, chopped green chilli + fresh coriander + fresh mint + sliced onion, ghee, salt, sugar. It was already 9:45 pm, so half of them I baked and half I prepared in tawa / griddle.... to me the tawa ones tasted better. The dip with siracha mayo & plain yogurt tasted superb.

Recipe Inspiration is drawn from the SooperChef page in FaceBook on Afghani Fateer Pyazi, you can see my take on it is adjusted to the requirement of Indian homes.




INGREDIENTS :

WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR : 21/2COFFEE MUG
BOILED LENTIL : 2 SMALL CUP [ANY, I USED ROASTED MOONG]
YEAST : 11/4TSP
SUGAR : 1TBSP
SALT : 1/2TSP [LESS IF THERE IS SALT IN THE BOILED DAL]
CHOPPED CORIANDER : 1MEDIUM TEA CUP
CHOPPED MINT : 1SMALL TEA CUP
CHOPPED GREEN CHILLI : 1TBSP
RED CHILLI FLAKES : 1TSP [IF YOU WISH]
GHEE / CLARIFIED BUTTER : A MEDIUM TEA CUP [ALTERNATIVELY OIL]
SLICED ONION : 2 SMALL TEA CUP

Please Note : The above amount yields 13 flatbreads!

PROCEDURE :

Take the whole wheat flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a bowl.


Mix well and then add the boiled dal and red chilli flakes. Mix well and prepare a smooth dough adding warm water little by little.




Add 2tbsp ghee and knead the dough again for 2-3 minutes.


Cover the dough with cling wrap. Keep in a warm place for an hour. Mine did not fluff up much this time because I used little less of yeast I think.



Meanwhile, we will get the other ingredients ready.


Now. remove the cling wrap, knead for 2-3 minutes and divide the dough into 13 equal parts. Smoothen in-between your palms.

Dust the base with flour and roll out the balls. Apply ghee all over.



Top with sliced onion, chopped green chillies + coriander + mint. Fold the way as shown.

At this stage, I completely deviated from the original recipe and took my own path of convenience.




I just turned them into balls and brushed ghee. We kept it standing for few minutes, Cristine helped me a lot at this stage, else I would have finished doing them around midnight.



What I did next was just greased a oven proof plate with ghee, placed the balls and flattened with my fingers.

The thing was that the plate could hold 3 breads at a time, imagine how much time 13 breads would take to cook.

So, I did some in the griddle / tawa too. My deshi tastebud enjoyed the tawa one.

I think I forgot to prick the body with a fork, that way they cook faster and get crisper. If you use boiled dal, your flatbreads will not be crisp.

For the ones I did in the convection mode of a microwave oven, I preheated it @ 200*C for 10 minutes.

I greased the plate with ghee, placed a ball and tapped with my fingers. I baked at 200*C for 15-16 minutes. They should be done.

For the tawa one, I used 1tsp ghee to cook each one placing a ball on my palm and flattening it.





For the dip, I whisked together plain yogurt and siracha mayo. The salad was normal!



Monday, 27 May 2019

COFFEE JAGGERY SEMOLINA CAKE


I consider this to be an easy share for today given I am pretty occupied with my visiting family these days. However, it may not be an appropriate share as it was the Bengal's rebel poet's birthday yesterday or the day before. Oh! Yes, I am a Shylock and study what people are unto and then decide my course of action.... some are exceptions.... I do not want to strike a deal with them unless they are seen closer to people who are.... ok who can never be in my "like" list? I have a blurred vision of this and I only know that I dislike that association, however people need not listen to me, its my war always. That discomfort though makes me fond of a brother like living across the continent or the "chorka buri" I have decided to keep in touch with. I still believe and will repeat time & again that these people have contributed a lot to deter a family member going wrong and eventually that makes me nothing but happy. In such a scenario, I will not think of my personal interest much, specially when I see someone at home greeting my own with so much of warmth. I remember a phone call few years back, an unhappy person trying to frustrate me without any instigation from my side, no wonder it was coming from a person who was always rude. I was told that the person on the other side of the phone was just the perfect match for one so and so. Because this so and so's family did not allow such an entry, I feel happy! I think catching an auto to Baguiati and then to Ultadanga, thereafter to Shobha Bazaar to catch the metro rail towards the southern part of Kolkata once or twice a year should be a ritual for me. What is surprising is to see people acting so innocent in public, changing the role all of a sudden to an "acting parent" can be anything but not an innocent act. I could not stop myself from asking a trusted friend, "what is this happening.... achanak mummy ban rahi hai kisiki?" If one gets on my nerves, I pay no heed to unmask them. Since I feel  involving the kids in a nonsensical, age-old fight is wrong, I need to check my anger in public and share the recipe of this vegetarian EGGLESS COFFEE JAGGERY SEMOLINA CAKE for everyone.

I am unable to concentrate on my post, people are complaining how to stay sitting idle for a month or two in this small flat. My expression is like "Mani, in some countries parents stay for six months, in all probability they do not complain of how they are missing khol pocha gondho, goborer chora, koler jol" right from the second day. She is too active to sit all day on a couch and both her kids are lazy to the core. It feels good to be able to fry luchi for the luchi specialist of "DumDum er Epar". I also must share the picture of what the paternal grandfather has sent for our son and his father. My not so much of a friend mother-in-law has sent her grandson's favourite "Dabur er Hajmola" which he carried to his school.



Coming to the cake, I prepared it on last Wednesday, a plain for my family and a bigger with pistachio & walnut for a couple friends' home. Our son loves plain cakes if mumma makes it, fancy cakes comes from outside as his mumma cannot prepare them. I will take the liberty of calling it a fortune cake, there were few pieces left for my family to have on a Sunday morning. It feels good to be able to share this COFFEE JAGGERY SEMOLINA CAKE made with everything available in our pantry at all times...... coffee, jaggery, semolina, yogurt, milk, vinegar, oil, baking powder, baking soda, a spoon full of sugar. I am unable to do much experiment with cakes, I fear wastage of ingredients.


The measuring cup for this particular cake is a standard small bowl, sorry my idea of lb, ml is vague.



INGREDIENTS :

SEMOLINA : 2 BOWL FULL OF THE ABOVE SIZED
JAGGERY POWDER : 4TBSP [I USE A CHEMICAL FREE VARIETY]
COFFEE POWDER : 2TBSP
SUGAR : 1TBSP
BAKING POWDER : 1TSP
BAKING SODA : 1/4TSP
OIL : 1/2 OF THE ABOVE BOWL [I USE A BLEND OF CANOLA & SUNFLOWER]
PLAIN YOGURT : 1/3 OF THE ABOVE BOWL
FULL CREAM MILK : 1/2 OF THE ABOVE BOWL
WHITE VINEGAR : 1TBSP
LEMON ZEST : 1TBSP
CINNAMON POWDER : 1TSP

NOTE : ALL MY BAKES ARE DONE IN A CONVECTION MODE MICROWAVE

PROCEDURE :

I took the semolina, jaggery, coffee powder, sugar  in a mixer grinder jar.


I pulsed it to mix the ingredients well. Transfer the mixture to a wide mouthed bowl.



Now we will add the baking powder and soda to the bowl and mix thoroughly. We will add the lemon zest too.




We will take the plain yogurt, oil, vinegar, milk in a blender and blend at high for a minute. 

We will pour the mixture to the semolina mixture.



Add the cinnamon powder and mix very well. 




Pour the batter to 2 aluminium foils, tap on the counter. 

I added few nuts to the one I took to a couple friends' home.




Preheat the oven to 180*C for 10 minutes and bake each cake for 25 minutes at 180*C. The time taken may vary from one oven to another.



Having it warm and fresh is the best idea but this home has to refrigerate them always.



Friday, 24 May 2019

POMFRET IN CURRY LEAF PASTE & YOGURT CORIANDER RICE




For the past few days my wish was to go with  a fish share over this weekend. As I get to know that some dear people do not eat fish, some others meat or egg, I try to keep something on the table for them too, saying you all mean. This may not be possible for all, I am not good at western food. I really do have two wonderful, frill free cake recipes to share, may be soon. I am unable to go ahead with a vegetarian share at the moment, will have to sooner that is true because I have no enmity with anyone unless you start stinking ..... be careful while playing a match game, it can happen that your post may be in bad taste. My little brother has really proved yesterday that he is my brother, he listened to what I taught him. Once I finish my post, I have to message the brother not to discuss Indian politics on the wine table for the next fifteen days. His wife is a teetotaler and has reservations in this area but we will adjust and enjoy these few days. We also have plans to send them to a quiet, nature friendly resort in Bintan or nearby, they have covered most part of this little island on their last visit. Then they need some time away from their mother, I can take care of mine.... I just asked them to get her diabetes medicines. You know my brother, on his trip to honeymoon he was about to book tickets for his parents too, I stopped him and the mother too did. The father almost packed his suitcase. Whenever there had been a cricket or a football match, our Pa used to watch it in the bigger screen of his son's room until the unearthly hours of the night. The brother's wife never frowned, she would massage our Pa's body who was not a millionaire. What do you say, do they deserve a beautiful, short holiday from us or not? Nope, the miser didi bhai will not fill their return bags with presents bought from the Orchard Malls, but cook some goodies like this fish and rice preparation POMFRET IN CURRY LEAF PASTE & YOGURT CORIANDER RICE. I definitely will gift them what I think is within my limit, never a show off. We have to fund the junior's education with not much aid in his choice of college.

I have to really wrap up quick today. I need to cook few dishes and thereafter visit a friend's home whose parents are here. Some elderlies are like our mother, refuse to visit other homes. To play a match game, I will not call either one of the living parents to our place. No meat is going to that home today, home made cake+fish+egg+store bought sweet.... yes going! I will continue to be me, still I will remain uncomfortable at the sight of glamorous, hot beings near to some. I request you all not to search reason in any corner of my body, I am weird, absurd, obsolete, not so open minded. I like these glam dolls however, they have not done any treachery with me.... for them and their family here is a rice and fish combo meal POMFRET IN CURRY LEAF PASTE & YOGURT CORIANDER RICE. I am not fond of pomfret, my family is. I could eat the way my mother did it, neither do I wish to leave it, so I keep on trying it and chicken with various combinations to check which one goes with my taste bud. There are days when you do not like cooking separately for you and your family. See, I really loved the cake I prepared yesterday. The son has chosen his list of colleges, the Counsellor ma'am has given us a very good picture of the pros and cons and our son has to lift up his score to get into his choice of college. The mumma's tea intake will increase until December or say until August 2020.... His school is doing a great job finding him a good college. No, our island is not in his chosen list. There are two reasons..... he is not willing to, he thinks he has seen Asia and now wish to explore new places. Secondly, he perhaps is deciding on Business Administration, so only one college is here which we prefer, it demands at list 43/ 45 in IB from a foreigner's kid.. hence. The bahargaon has a lot of options, both Piali and our kid have scored fair in their first attempt at SAT, the month of October seals their fate. My husband is a pragmatic person and so is the school, we do not think our son is in the category of scoring 1550 and get into an Ivy League College, neither our boy has selected those colleges.... I am no one to comment on Piali's daughter. She is sincere. What was surprising was to see our son so focussed at school yesterday, he has to increase his score to fulfil his dream, no point going to an average school. His present school is so helping the students in this area, none of the Indian Schools in this island are this organised.


Now, that I got a good combination for my tea, I can happily share the recipes of the fish and flavoured rice done with two of my favourite fresh herbs. I love the flavours of curry leaves and coriander leaves. You will love the two recipes for sure. I am happy also to get fresh "tyangra" a day before.





INGREDIENTS FOR THE POMFRET IN CURRY LEAF PASTE :

MEDIUM SIZED SILVER POMFRET : 4-6 
CURRY LEAF PASTE : 1SMALL TEA CUP
COARSELY GROUND BLACK PEPPER POWDER : 1/2TSP
GREEN CHILLI PASTE : 2TBSP
LEMON JUICE : 2-3TBSP
SALT : AS REQUIRED
OIL : 2-3TBSP

INGREDIENTS FOR THE YOGURT CORIANDER RICE :

FINE BASMATI OR ANY LONG GRAINED RICE : 1COFFEE MUG [SHOULD SERVE 4 HEADS]
PLAIN YOGURT : 1/2 SMALL TEA CUP
FRESH CORIANDER PASTE : 1SMALL TEA CUP
GREEN CHILLI PASTE : 1TBSP
CORIANDER SEED : 2TSP
CUMIN SEED : 1/2TSP
SALT : AS REQUIRED
OIL : 3-4TBSP

PROCEDURE :

Let us marinate the pomfrets first.



I have marinated the pomfret fishes with all the mentioned ingredients after a thorough wash and slit on their body. I have refrigerated them for 5-6 hours. Do fill the stomachs with the marinade well.

We will take them out at least 45 minutes before we cook. I have taken them on a grill proof, greased plate and grilled one side for 10 minutes, the other side for 8 minutes. Do not over cook please.

I use the microwave grill mode that requires a high stool to be placed and the plate atop.






For the rice, we will wash and cook the rice in enough boiling water  until 70 % done and pour immediately on a big strainer. Let the water drain totally.



Then we will heat the oil in a wok and temper it with cumin seeds and coriander seeds.

As they splutter, add the beaten yogurt, coriander and green chilli paste. Stir well for 1/2 a minute.

Add the salt and give a stir. Add the rice now and gently stir and mix with two ladles until every thing is incorporated well.



Wednesday, 22 May 2019

STAR ANISE FLAVOURED PLUM PRESERVE


I think I was capable of clicking a better picture of it but I left it very casual just as a breakfast table would look like sans the butter pot and glasses filled with milk. Although having a proper breakfast is a necessity, this home is not in the habit of having elaborate breakfasts unless we are travelling. We usually go out of the hotel in the morning for the day and the breakfast is within the package. The husband is an expert getting the best hotel deals online. He keeps on teasing me that he would one day unmask me in public. Its nothing like that, I actually loved the kind of hotels we stayed in Shimla & Manali or Cappadocia. When the devastated me after 8 hours of continuous puking reached Shimla sometime after the sunset, I felt I am in a paradise. The wise husband knows exactly when I wish to be left alone. While he attended our little boy of seven, I soaked in the beauty of the nature that is in abundance there. It is in the hotel that we stayed in Manali where I tasted the best strawberry and mixed berry preserve in my life till date. When asked, the hotel staffs told me that it is locally made with home grown fruits. Perhaps that is also a reason for me not to use pectin on my jams and preserves. I cannot find the pictures of the dates & blueberry preserve I clicked few months back, they must be in hiding somewhere, I felt let me share the yum & easy recipe of STAR ANISE FLAVOURED PLUM PRESERVE today. I cook and click, then has to scroll back to get them.... some I miss, some I delete if I forget the recipe altogether or if the picture is too horrible. I deleted the family style Bengali Fish Stew recipe picture I so wished to share on Bianca's birthday. Do you know some of us have a heart to heart connection from the G Plus days... I feel that we really do not need to be very formal to each other, our connection goes beyond virtual. I left GPlus three times and a doe-eyed girl got me back there each time. Now it feels how silly I was and that forum was close to my heart. I feel so bad for those who really had a strong base there, I do worry to have lost a couple of connections I had there. Anyway, I keep all my sorrows at bay and find solace in food or anything related to it. I have regained all the fat I got rid off few years back, then who cares? .. I do not wish to live long, I just keep praying for my own. What made me happy early morning are those "Mushur Dal er Bori." I soaked the dal yesterday and then forgot all about it. I completed doing them this morning and then sat to write this recipe. Feels satisfied, the family is visiting in few days. I will be going to the Bangladeshi shop this evening because they just cannot have salmon, the brother is allergic to prawns, crab. On their earlier visit I served salmon and they could not. So, when we are not eating out, it will be typical Bengali food at this home.





I will miss the old man who was seen in the airport in a shocking red t-shirt sometime in 2013. The husband's sister would always say "mesho carries himself so well, looks so smart in his body hugging Ts".... Oh! yes, he indeed was called "little master's look alike" in our DumDum neighbourhood, played football, did yoga, was a member of the YMCA, ran from his hostel at Thonthonia Kali Bari to the Maidan to play football until arthritis crippled the sportsman in  him, he got his daughter dresses from "guys & dolls" just beside the Globe building and Rehmania too, her salwar suits were made by ace muslim tailors in the New Market area, till date I swear on one gentleman Meenaz if its tailor made. The daddy did not like me wearing sarees but I was unable to carry myself well and wished for a different image. May be not for maintaining an image, my taste was / is different.... I never agreed to my mother wearing a sleeveless blouse or doing a top knot, wear too big a bindi .... I wished to see her in ethnic wear, in soft colours. I never agreed to her stand about my father... he was different, carefree and she wanted something else from him.... doing household works with her, not to have friends, not to chat. I told her several times to let him be, no she had all kinds of weird complaints against him. Marriages are indeed prefixed but not really ideal at all times. Pictures are imagery, what is imagery is not always the truth. We try to build a home accepting and adjusting to each other's flaws. So, I think instead of researching the life history of my "choddo purush"and go public with it, I should do something fruitful..... like eating a "kora toast with the STAR ANISE FLAVOURED PLUM PRESERVE" in the morning, share the recipe with you, pray to the almighty to give us some sunlight for the next seven-eight days, prepare a list of "deshi" things to buy, praying that I get a good quality big katla / rui, standard sized ilish today. You will see me cooking "shukto, aloo tomato diye maacher jhol, murgi, patha, toker dal" over the weekend.

I do not like, never feel good taking a dig at others. If the brain, memory bank betrays, I enjoy battering those who act innocent without having a bit of it in them. I do not feel guilty doing so, I very much wish to unmask such kinds who find pleasure in hurting others. An evil lives within all of us but we control it instead of using our evil power on others. I avoid those who I know do not leave a chance to hit you without a reason and also those who lick the feet of these kinds. I have trimmed and chiseled my associations. I enjoy cooking and experimenting a lot, some fail and some I am so happy with that I share the recipe with you asap. Same is with my "non-Bengali Aam er Achar".... I am happy with its taste and clicks and wish to share soon. As of this vegetarian condiment, I did it very simply with hardly four ingredients, ripe plums / aloo bukhara, sugar, lemon juice, star anise to flavour. You can see in the unedited picture below how lovely it looks. Had I have not mixed some black coloured plums, the STAR ANISE FLAVOURED PLUM PRESERVE would have more beautiful hues of red. I am a diabetic and not a regular fan of plain bread is true, but at times I love an overly toasted bread with butter and jam together, taught by the husband while we were at Toshali Sands for our honeymoon.



I belonged to a home where bread entered when our mother had fever, while the husband had travelled different shores of the world by then. Toshali was nice at that time,  in Puri we stayed in "Nilachala Asoko" for 3 days on our 6-7 days of total tour, the 25 year old boy had to keep his wife in places better than those her father kept her. The banker father used to get travel allowances from the bank, his friends "kakus" chose decent places of stay for us. I could understand the emotions, ego  working inside that young boy but for an overweight, dwarf, almost blind woman who carried mostly sarees on her first tour with her husband? I was literally shaking while at stay in Toshali Sands, today I know what to serve Jack, Bianca or Liz if they visit me. Yet, who am I? That soul who thinks private beaches are an insult to the nature, the vast sea would feel claustrophobic if hotels and resorts start owning beaches privately. I belong to no one, amidst the green, beneath the age old banyan tree I sit alone and for hours, I flow and flow care free with the stream.... Anybody home? Yes, run quick, the reptile family is treading fast.




INGREDIENTS :

FRESH PLUM : 300-400-500GM [I USED THE RED AND BLACK VARIETY]
SUGAR : 1MEDIUM TEA CUP OR 150GM
LEMON JUICE : 5-6TBSP
STAR ANISE : 3-4
WATER : 1COFFEE MUG

PROCEDURE :

We will wash the fruits under running water thoroughly. Cut each into 4 pieces and throw away the seed.

Now take all of the cut pieces of plum / aloo bukhara, star anise, in a heavy bottomed vessel.

Switch on your gas stove and add the water and sugar.



Bring to boil. After 5-6 minutes, the fruit pieces will release water.


We will continue to simmer further after a stir. Adding the lemon juice, we will give a stir again. After about 7-8 minutes, it looks like below.


We will reduce the heat from medium-low to the lowest now and simmer until it gets sticky. Know that it will thicken more on cooling. So, we have to switch off the gas oven accordingly.



On cooling totally, transfer the plum fruit preserve to sterilised, glass bottles.