Wednesday, 8 May 2019


This is an intense love in the entirety of my life. Even if I am a diabetic, I cannot get parted with it. In all probability it will not leave me either for it will not get a better lover than me. Not five but if only you could give me one good reason why I should share a recipe on "breaded salmon fillet with siracha mayo"on the blog .... Yes, I do them for the notorious men at this home but I do not feel any urge to share them.... if you can give me at least one reason to do so, I definitely will. My Bengal, my Kolkata do not eat salmon in general... I mean the "class & category" I belong to or mingle with will not hesitate to buy an ilish priced at 2000 rupees per kilo, never mind... me or they will manage the month end with charapona, telapia, bhola, folui. Lansdown Market and the "hahutash for black pomfret and salmon" is not what defines Kolkata. If  you wish to know her, join me on a food trail to the Manicktala Bazaar, walk abruptly on the by lanes of "North Calcutta", watch a game of gully cricket at the maidan on a lazy winter afternoon. Ok, start your walk or run from Ruby hospital and go up to Dakshinapan.... on way back "Balaram Mallick e dariye charte kochuri merey bari dhukba". If your '30B or 202" bus gets stuck in a traffic jam, walk with me from the Lotus cinema hall up to New Market, then walk to Park Street via Free School Street or walk backwards to the Bentinck Street to buy shoes and further backwards to Wellington Square and buy some good quality tea leaves. An 'average' Kolkatan do not have quiche with tea at Flury's or look for "bideshi maach" sitting in Kolkata. Its a new, affluent emergent class that have surfaced in Kolkata, the former "classy beings" of Kolkata definitely hunted Flury's or Mocambo on a regular basis, got membership in Saturday Club but they are a minority community and we are the majority! In this case, I will always speak on behalf of the majority. I would have spoken outrageously about it if not an Indirra Sengupta or Madhuchanda Dey Ghosh be my friends .... well they are more and yet more of T's friends. Our present home in Kolkata is in the Eastern fringes of it, may be we will have a bigger flat on return, the humbug me wish for a terrace garden. You bet I will not change the rest of my life style. You will see the 60-65 year old lady going to the wet market in an auto rickshaw. Last winter while in Kolkata, T shouted at me "S look at you, you are sweating on a wintry midmorning with two heavy weight bazaar er tholi, lets go to Spencer and buy stuffs".... I asked him to shut up and watch television. Both of our childhoods were spent in the same locality, he used to stay in the better part of DumDum, me on the other side where "Talar Jol" did not reach. We lived amidst smugglers & wagon breakers in a rented space for 19 years may be because of its proximity to the DumDum Railway Station, for the convenience to commute to the rest of Kolkata and off course staying there was cheaper . Our daddy worked in a good position as compared to any middle class "chakurijibi" Bengali but was very much unwilling to upgrade the living standard. Those wagon breakers told my mother not to worry if I come back late after tuitions, they will look after it as they felt I am a "bhalo meye", they also complained my family when I was seen with "boy" friends often at college, stood strong by my mother..... the iron lady whenever my father had arthritic attacks. DumDum was a nostalgia and love very hard to leave. Same may not be the feelings of all the DumDum residents who left it after a long stay, whose one reason of not keeping in touch with me was my pedigree or may be they were not allowed to. They felt that they started to live a decent life only after their home got shifted to "South Khyalkhata" .... Much later, a strong message was conveyed to me in a very subtle manner that the family got related to a high flying family living in "Kolkata's first ever condo".... Oh is it? I do not know that area well, else you would have seen me roaming in the exteriors of the "marvellous condo".... taking selfies in front of it, doing some research.... "arey kouno log rehte hai rey andar? The gate keeper would say... larki tum soch bhi nehi sakte kitthey barey log hai yeh, baria sa naukri kartey honge, tabhi na yaha akey kharidey!  Suniye bhaisab! humko na idharke rehenewale ek ke shadi mein invitation mili thi... gaye nehi... himmat na mili... barey logan se mera kya matlab?" 

You know what? Tomorrow I will be going to the Bangladeshi shop, the guys at home will have to eat what ever "deshi" I cook.... at least when the eternal storm inside gets a little more vigorous. It  is raining outside with strong winds. I purposefully do not let the storm inside die, the hurt keeps me going and it should not bother anyone. A little sister would again convey a message, "get the negativity out of you"... My silent answer would always be "no, never will I, its my junoon." 

Yes, I can make tortilla wraps if not so perfectly, but do not find any good reason to try and share the recipe of a Mexican wrap stuffed with tofu... my kinds do not go by reason, we go by our hearts. So, you guys better go ahead with whatever suits your beloved's taste buds, let me share with you a family Bengali sweet condiment recipe CHALTAR ACHAR, sweet pickle with jaggery, few spices and elephant apple. I am a bit sad, because of me and Cristine's callousness another blooming bud of an orchid broke day before yesterday. When soft and supples are torn, they do bleed, we cannot see it, we have no idea how deep the wound is. An orchid cannot be vengeful but venting out should be everyone's right.  Then, I have a lunch invitation to attend now, feels good.... more for the food I get to eat, the "adda session" is secondary but it is always good to be able to meet your friends.

Take it from me, for an Indian, deshi food suits the best! Be it grains or seeds, I buy mostly Indian and the miser me is not so keen on buying stuffs meant for different bodies. How I love having "sama chaler khichuri and upma"... Did I share these pictures with you earlier? Then consider this as a reminder.

 My men do enjoy having ripe papaya, my boy specially.... does he think it to be one kind of a mango? He does not speak to me unless required. If I try, he gives 1-2-3.... a total of 3 blows to me. He loved the spicy "nimki" mumma made a few days back.... I am hopeful, very much. "Naru, Nimki, Achar, Jam, Jelly" were all made at home in the bygone days. No wonder I will manage to pick a few from the roadside trees and prepare a CHALTAR ACHAR even if they are not sold anywhere in the island. Bengalis preferred sweet pickle in those days, our father was no exception. He had to have homemade pickle with his share of "maacher jhol o bhaat" everyday. The mother would prepare 3-4 types of pickles in their seasons and store until the next season. If I call myself her daughter and feel proud of it, I have to follow her footsteps to some extent.... its by default actually! For this authentic Bengali, condiment recipe I used Elephant Apple, Jaggery, a bit of salt and turmeric, dry roasted and ground "panch phoron"..... Do you use "multi grain atta?"... I do! I find it easier to buy it rather than buy all of them individually. Try the achar / pickle with multi grain porota and papad or fish curry and rice.... you will have no other option but to thank me!

Here are the recipe links to few more similar dishes : KANCHA AAM ER MISHTI ACHARTOMATO DATES CHUTNEY




We need chalta about 3-5 numbers of standard sizes.

 We need to tear each section, the papri or petals we can see and cut them lengthwise. We will discard the inner most sticky portion that comes alongside.

Cristine did it for me.

In a pestle and mortar, we need to take a little portion and crush lightly.

I remember, our mother used to place the "hamandista" on top of a folded, empty sack and do this job, I cannot even lift it.

We will wash it and apply the salt and turmeric. Keep aside for 1/2 an hour. Take the jaggery and 1 coffee mug of water in a wok.

Switch on the gas stove and bring to boil. Keep stirring continuously and throw away any visible scum.

Once the jaggery gets to get sticky, add the marinated and crushed chalta / elephant apple! Fold in well.

Let it cook in the lowest heat for sometime. Add a little water if only required and stir continuously.

Once the entire content gets sticky, transfer to a bowl.

Give it a sunbath everyday for a week. At night, keep it on a cool, dry place.

To prepare the spice powder, dry roast all the seeds and the dry red chillies on a clean wok stirring continuously for 2 minutes.

Let cool and dry grind to a spice powder. Let it be coarse.

Add and mix the spice powder very nicely to the pickle / achar. Give a sunbath for few more days before you transfer it to a sterilised bottle.

I do refrigerate it, I fear of it being spoiled in absence of enough sunlight!

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