Thursday, 10 May 2018


Yes, I will go Bengali today... its Tagore's birthday.... though Tagore is not an one day affair for us... just that the aura on and around his birthday is little more stronger.... If you say so there had been a number of poets, writers, lyricists, painters who followed him and deserve acclaim in their respective fields .... who had / has the versatility as him?.... who had / has a clear understanding of each of the human emotions?... who else did care so much for what is going on in our hearts.... and take the bigger responsibility of soothing it too!.... As they say, Tagore is a part of our life.... he exists so long as we do .... He is relevant at all times.... As of me and like many.... his words are kind of music to my ears.... "onar protita shobdoi jeno shurer murchona hoye kaney bajey"...That I am referring him as Tagore is giving me a feel of guilt.... he is "gurumoshai, gurudeb, thakurmoshai" to us!.... Since, English is the means of communication with my readers .... I compromise a bit but for the recipe... it has to be Bengali.... ok a sweet.... easy and with few ingredients.... BEET ER SANDESH.... I am a diabetic does not mean I will not prepare sweets and desserts for the family.... going further... it does not mean either that I will not taste one or two! So weight watchers & diabetics.... pick one or a maximum of two and enjoy.... old doctor Chang allows me to! Below are my home grown "togor phool".... they have a mild  scent though they do not bloom everyday.... I just clicked out of joy few days back.... let me pay him a tribute with it!

Our maternal grandmother had a "thoka togorer gach" just beside her "tulsi mancho".... that special variety of "togor" with a maddening mild fragrance was not seen anywhere in Kolkata... In this island, I perhaps spotted at one landed property on my walk... I dare not ask for a "dal".... branch... out of fear.... they may unleash their pets after me.... the sweating me looks terrible while at walk.... Anyway, coming to Tagore we have a long association.... the father got all his volumes once I was in the middle school... My brother used to read only "feluda"... and "Sayyid Mujtaba Ali".... what made him a fan of the later I do not remember .... Then, you see we went to a "Benglish" medium school.... so celebration on this particular day was mandatory! Many a memory is rewinding.... no, I do not wait for anyone's permission on what to write and what not to!.... Our classroom had 30-35 students and all memories are intertwined ... Did I mention the name Nabendu Saha on my previous post?... It was for the students like him or a Saubhik Sengupta that such dates are still relished... be it a recital or a play... they grabbed the lead roles in their own right... Saubhik left our school in class 7 .... let me spend few more words on Nabendu! He had been an actor per excellence... some of us thought he would follow that line... may be in the theatre world if not in films as such... such expressive he was... He perhaps was taking voice modulation lessons from Srabanti Majumder or Jaganaath Basu & Urmimala Basu.... This guy told me repeatedly... S stop singing with your high pitched voice.... it sounds horrible, it is not for songs... your voice suits for "Sruti Natok".... that my voice is not suitable for songs but for audio drama.... He so much insisted to take me to Srabanti Majumder for voice training classes and I refused.... wish I could go back in time and grab such offers! "Kolkata Ko er Bangla Natok".... "Kolkata Kho te khobor hoto na?".... They were a craze... now I do not go public with such tales.... some people are saying all these from years back.... if I repeat in public... I will be called a copy cat.... Let me compile here! Not all of my readers know that any "true heart Bong" have grown up on these.... There were no social media picture posting and all then.... listening to Jagannath Basu or a Soumitra Basu was soul stirring... I told mani... "I wish to meet the owner of these romantic voices." Anyway, we did not have an idea that Nabendu was learning magic tricks secretly until he owned a magic company... I did not even know till last year that his family owns the restaurant Kasturi at Free School Street... its his uncle's... that I was a part of a Bengali food group owned by his cousin who owns the Aami Bangali restaurant chain and now Nabendu himself has a fast food joint at Lake Town... forgot the name... You see, I lack the energy or desire to WhatsApp the brother... why did you like Sayyid Mujtaba Ali bhai?.... or ask Nabendu... what is the name of your food joint?... He gave us an open invitation and we are yet to visit... My Kolkata trips are too very busy!.... Just few years back, my friends Rupa and Kana would set out in the morning on this particular day to attend the special programmes on Tagore.... they would ask me to join... I was ready with my silly excuses... no my help will come after one hour.... I have to finish cooking before the son comes back from the school... etc. etc...... They would scold me hard... but I lived the life of a single mother then... I am yet to finish all of Tagore's volumes.... The mother keeps on saying.... take all the books the daddy got for you.... I read so less these days... got so slow.... why? Is there a lack of concentration? There was no dearth of love and attention in doing this less sugar sweet BEET ER SANDESH though!

Besides all these.... I am on with my silly clicks! I did a 10k on Sunday evening at a moderate speed... After that I have not done any exercise till today.... I am sitting at the son's school and forcing my friend Piali Maitra.... to have fries and fritters.... Yesterday, I got some health food for her... we are having a good time at the school canteen.... we do not talk any excess.... if anyone talks too much to my ears, I go totally blank after five minutes .... I do not even get what the other person is saying... However, I do not get tired talking to the senior.... Once he is back home.... I have to relay everything and his reaction is like... "cut short S"! Do you think my men had "aloo chola?".... no they are not so "lokkhiti".... Cristine prepared their lunch today.... an Oriental kind of fried rice that they love! This girl Piali is doing a Ketogenic diet in this heat and at this time of tension... I am discouraging that.... so will take "luchi & aloor dom" for her today ..... I am kind of jealous towards beautiful women! I will buy some idly for myself from the canteen.... I hope you get the reason for my immeasurable midsection! Its pretty hot and I am craving for more and more fruits with high water content.... I am craving so much so that I clicked some unripe Chikku / Shobeda and Jamrul / Water or Java Apple.... and is in the thought of stealing some once they are ripe... haha... Oh my God... people here eat all that I grew up eating.... "jamrul, kamranga, shobeda, batabi lebu".... You say Goat Milk, Feta Cheese is healthier.... I drank goat milk in the mid 70's... There was a home in the neighbourhood of the maternal grandfather.... who had a big Java Apple tree and they domesticated goats... I drank the freshest milk of it.... In those days... the entire neighbourhood was like a big family... I remember who I called what... "tungtung dadu"... who played a guitar.... "chyangra dadu" who looked young.... "jamrul didu"..... would this generation value all these?

Have you seen so small fruit bearing trees?... both Chikku and Java Apple trees are big in general. I was surprised and they come to my notice only! Anyway, a BEET ER SANDESH does not require so many things... only some homemade chena / paneer .... beetroot juice, little of sugar and green cardamom powder. I added very little ghee too. You can garnish it with anything.... I used sliced almond! That sweet shop in Kolkata, The Hindustan Sweets makes offbeat sandesh / sweetmeat with beetroot, carrot or even brahmi shaak [hear say].... Its in South Kolkata.... so not possible to go and have.... I heard they do it in collaboration with the Jadavpur University! So, I really do not know how others prepare a BEET ER SANDESH.... I did not go through any recipe on it! You remember I prepared baked beetroot yogurt, I went ahead with these sweets with the excess of beetroot juice and absolutely followed my own idea on it! Below is how simply I did this vegetarian sweet. The senior and junior both love their lady's handmade sweets.... I remember, last month the husband was on his way to the neighbouring country when I packed these sweets for him .... He said he loved and his accompanying Australian colleague loved it too.... So, S is not that bad cook either!

Fine, when you can take out two hours from your valuable time.... try my recipe of BEET ER SANDESH.... If all of a sudden you have a crave for dessert?.... This Hangla Hneshel .... a Bengali food magazine  shared a quick dessert recipe from the "Thakurbarir Rannaghar".... The kitchen of Tagore household was / is well known... here goes the recipe... Mix together some sweetened yogurt and "Rabri".... break some "gulabjamun".... "roshogolla" and "sandesh" and add to the yogurt cup.... cook in the oven at grill option for ten minutes.... I mean I gave you a rough description as I forgot to save it ... I may do it and have only two spoons of it... it seems too sweet to me! Now, you decide which one to do when... No, sharing with you another recipe which adds no credit to me does not prove my innocence... I am not anymore... I felt it may help some though instead of keeping a variety of sweets in the refrigerator, I will prepare a fresh batch with few ingredients and less sweet.

INGREDIENTS : [for the chena / homemade paneer]

Fresh Milk : 2litre [ I use Meiji]
Lemon Juice :4-5tbsp
Ice Cube : 3-4

INGREDIENTS : [Final Assortment]

The freshly made chena / paneer
Beetroot Juice : 1small cup
Sugar : 1/4small cup
Ghee : 1/2tbsp + 1/2tbsp
Green Cardamom : 1/2tsp
Almond Slices to garnish or as you wish


Pour 2 litres of milk in a heavy bottomed vessel.... Switch on gas oven and bring the milk to boil.

Add the lemon juice, give a stir and switch off gas. The milk will curdle. Add the ice cubes immediately and cover till it cools down.

Take a thin, white cloth and place it on a bowl. Pass  the curdled milk through it! 

Tie the cloth on your kitchen tap. Let the excess whey pass through . We are not preparing roshogolla so we need not worry much. Look at me when I prepare roshogolla, the face seems same as it happened on my mathematics examination day... 

Anyway, after 45 minutes or so take down the chena / paneer / cottage cheese and mash for 5 minutes.

"Warm" 1/2tbsp ghee on a pan and add the paneer to it. Stir for 3-4 minutes and switch off gas.

In a clean wok add the sugar and beetroot juice ..... bring to boil. Boil till the amount reduces to 1/4th.

Add the cooked chena / paneer / cottage cheese and the green cardamom powder. 

Fold in well and stir cook for 7-8 minutes. Add the remaining ghee and fold in well.

Transfer to a plate sna let cool a bit. Knead well for 6-8 minutes.

Take out small portions and shape as you desire. I garnished with almonds.

It tastes best when had warm and fresh.... however we can refrigerate the BEET ER SANDESH up to 2 days!

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