Monday, 6 May 2019

DAL ER BORA DIYE MOCHAR GHONTO


Of the few authentic Bengali recipes with "mocha" / banana blossom, this is one done with lentil fritters, coconut and the regular Bengali spices we use. Or we can put it this way, Bengal may have few other ways of having Banana Blossom but I have grown up eating these few. I can see a "mochar paturi" recipe doing the rounds, I wish to try it. The thing is that I have to take up the project not on a Saturday morning, neither on a week day evening but on a quiet week day morning after the two go out for the school and office. Following all the steps and then that extra step of wrapping in banana leaf and slow cooking further requires time and concentration.... more so because you will be following someone else's recipe which feels tiring to me. I was not satisfied with the picture above, it was an afternoon but raining, the light above the dining table is too bright and the pictures look so unnatural. It is not possible to use my kitchen counter for photography on a Saturday until 6 pm, its so messed up! If you follow our mother in the kitchen, you would be wondering how she manages to keep the kitchen so clean even when she is totally into cooking. This I wished to but could not learn from her. I did not wish to learn few other things from her.... like she is coming in two weeks, after a day or two of rest, she will start keeping a bird's watch on all the activities... whether Cristine changes her clothes after her visits to the toilet and before touching anything in the kitchen, then complaining "jamakapor rode na shukoley suddha hoyna"..... I have seen her spoiling so many branded clothes of my brother and the late father just drying them in the open terrace. I tell her "see mani, my tiny ledge has few plants, they will spoil if I dry wet clothes there. In some countries they dry clothes in a drier, what would you have done then? 'roj ghar porjonto mochey na'... so?" Those who know our mother and her mother, they also know that she would have woken up at 5am, swipe your courtyard to gate as the first ritual along with the entire home however big it is, then wipe the kitchen, then water the plants, then take shower, then do the morning prayer, then cook 4-5 items and clean and wipe the kitchen again, then wipe the entire home, then take shower again, do the afternoon prayer, then she has to have piping hot food, then she has to start her newspaper reading session, then switch on the television and sleep, then wake up and swipe the home again, do "sandhya pooja," then sleep again switching on the television until the dinner time arrives. If you have a son who wants "aloo bhaja" at 10 pm in the night, you will see her with a "boti and aloo around 10 pm cutting and frying mota aloo bhaja in the kitchen".... What would your mothers do in that time? They may do some cooking, visit your friends's place or the museum or the mall and definitely would not move the mountain on her concern on the son-in-law not taking shower before the lunch time [I am wiser, shono mani, jiboney onek kichu apochonder jinish meney nitey hoy, shanti agey] .... My mother warned me already ... "amai karo bari jete bolbi na".... she will visit the wet markets with her daughter, visit RKM, sit on a not so pricy but squeaky clean eatery enjoying a dosa or idli, ask me "dillir moto tandoori ruti paoa jai ekhaney?".... will also have "Kolkata-Chinese".... the only one we have here serving.... I never can have a foot in this island .... I found their batter fried chicken and fish not rightly cooked... the chicken smelled raw which cannot happen if it is marinated properly and deep fried for the right time period, so I cannot go gaga about their food, neither will I cook sambal ikan with sea fish and try for a name here! Do not ask me to mingle with my community here, I prefer to buy a ticket to India at regular intervals instead. I cannot be a famous food blogger because I am not a good observer, pleasing every other person is a waste of time for me. I do not have a book to my credit which I  think requires quality and is not everyone's cuppa. Being a versatile cook is a blissful quality too but may not be a requirement to be famous... "chomok-dhomok lokeder sange othabosha chai".... One can get publicity instantly endorsing famous brands, its collaborative actually. I do not know to photograph properly what I cook which is again a quality. Since I lack diligence, I fail to know the right way to promote myself or my dishes to be precise.  I may lack all the above qualities, but I take 11/2 hours to cook DAL ER BORA DIYE MOCHAR GHONTO and its authentic to the core. What I have learnt in these years is that the virtual world have not tasted my dishes, so they cannot trust me unless I have a famous tag attached to me. However, I will always insist that when it comes to family recipes, I cannot go wrong, I am the daughter of one of the best certified Bengali cook of her times.... who used to attend 30-40 heads serving them "fulko luchi" continuously, never cooked them beforehand. I still remember the teen me carrying "Kashmiri Aloor Dom" for a Subhro Mukherjee's father or "Chingri Diye Kharkon Pata Bata" for Chandrayee's father, now the brother's wife carries "shutkir bhorta" for her father... they enjoyed / enjoy besides their wive's cooking. This guy Subhro is no more in my contacts, his mother fed me, Tanushree and him from one plate on days we went for English tuition at their home after the school. I tolerated his mischiefs to a certain extent, saved him being almost caught by the police during one Durga Pooja.... but when he crossed all the limits of decency [in my eyes, may not be in yours], I had to severe ties. He hails from one of the "bonedi baris" of Shobha Bazaar, father being the cousin of the iconic Uttam Kumar & Tarun Kumar. At one point in life, one must learn to rein in the devil we all have inside us. Anyway, Subhra is just symbolic, as a childhood friend I should not have discussed the dark side of him. I cannot fake, it is better than hugging in presence and then dissecting in absence.... I see both is done in public! Subhro visits me often these days, the son who is desperate to go to some other land without his parents is forcing me into all kinds of sickening thoughts. However, mumma feels good that he eats "mocha - echor" these days. Mumma does not mind deboning the "bhola maach" and mixing the mochar ghonto she cooked last Saturday with some rice, squeeze some lemon juice atop. He swims in dal too, actually I found dal to be a quicker way to go down my toddler's food pipe years back.


Coming to the DAL ER BORA DIYE MOCHAR GHONTO, it is vegan, a perfect side to steamed rice and can be had with chapati. The lentil fritters are usually done with matar dal, I did it with masoor / red lentil because it soaks up quickly and I was in a hurry. Else red lentil fritters taste best with chopped onions and green chillies added to it! This is one of the authentic Bengali dish I have learnt from the family, innovations can be many. This week will see some of my family favourites and I will stick to my decision. One need not know Trigonometry to prepare this dish, love for the family traditions and the urge to maintain it works the best here.

Here are few more recipes with Banana Blossom on my Blog that you can browse : MOCHAR GHONTOMOCHAR BORA O ADA DIYE MOONG ER DALMOCHAR CHOP





INGREDIENTS FOR THE DALER BORA / LENTIL FRITTERS :

MUSHURIR DAL / MASOOR DAL : 1SMALL TEA CUP
SALT : AS REQUIRED
SUGAR : 1/2TSP
TURMERIC : A PINCH
OIL : 4TBSP TO FRY

INGREDIENTS FOR THE FINAL DISH :

BANANA BLOSSOM : 1 STANDARD SIZE OR 2 SMALL SIZED
SHREDDED COCONUT : 1SMALL TEA CUP
THE LENTIL FRITTERS
SLITTED GREEN CHILLI : 3-4
GINGER PASTE : 2TSP
CUMIN POWDER : 1TSP
TURMERIC POWDER : 1TSP
CUMIN SEED : 1/4TSP
DRY RED CHILLI : 2-3
BAYLEAF : 1
CINNAMON POWDER : 1/4TSP
GREEN CARDAMOM POWDER : 1/4TSP
CLOVES POWDER : 2-3PINCH
GHEE / CLARIFIED BUTTER : 1TBSP
SUGAR : 2TSP
SALT : AS REQUIRED
OIL : 3-4 TBSP [preferably mustard]

PROCEDURE :

Soak the dal in enough water for an hour. Drain the water and blend it to a paste, sprinkle water if required. Doing it in a "shil-nora" gives you the right consistency. I cannot use it.

Discard the brown coverage of the veggie. Take out the transparent case and the hardest stigma from each one. Do not forget to rub oil on both of your palms before starting with it.

Now chop them thin taking a bunch together. Soak in a container full of water for sometime, wash well. Pressure cook at the lowest heat up to 4-5 whistles adding enough water, salt and turmeric.

Once cool, drain the water. Squeeze the boiled veggie with your hand, it reduces cooking time.




Now add the salt, sugar and turmeric. Beat with your hand for 3-4 minutes.

Heat oil and add small portions to it. Fry both sides well until the top is light brown.




Add more oil to the existing one. Temper it with a bay leaf, cumin seeds, dry red chillies when hot.

Add the ginger paste and stir for 2 minutes at low heat. Add the turmeric & cumin powders, shredded coconut and stir for 1/2 a minute. 




Add the boiled banana blossoms now, stir well. Cover cook at the lowest heat for 10 minutes.

Open cover and add the slitted green chillies. Add 1/2 coffee mug of water it required.



Cover cook at the lowest heat for 5-6 minutes. Open cover and add the lentil fritters. 

Cook uncovered at low heat for 5-6 minutes stirring gently.


Now add the cinnamon + cardamom + cloves powder to wok, the sugar too. Fold in well and let cook for 2-3 minutes more.



Add the ghee, gently mix and take down.




We had it with rice, bitter gourd dal [kancha moong diye tetor dal], methi aloo [fenugreek leaves with potato]. Add your choice of fish and meat. Banana Blossom is rich in iron, so eat it often.





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