Friday, 20 April 2018

MISHTI CHIREY BHAJA




There is a "big" news for my readers! .... Our "Cristine" is on leave for fifteen long days.... You can well imagine my condition!.... Cristine's ma'am is seeing "shorshe phool in chokh".... What else can you get from me other than a MISHTI CHIREY BHAJA which is done in minutes? I am so used to having a luxury called Cristine who happens to be the reason for about 3-4 kilos of weight gain since 2015! From water to the medicines to cups of tea and coffee.... all are "fed" practically... haha! Then it is her big brother's marriage and we had to arrange for her leave.... I cannot spend days with a help with frowns on her face.... especially if she is someone as nice as Cristine! It is because of her gestures that she got a leave on the eve of the son's board examinations! What is the husband's role in such a scenario? No role actually... he fled to the neighbouring country to spend quality time with his only love.... perhaps the fathers of the son's friends have taken leave by now to guide their teens! In such a situation, I am still not getting on my nerves.... one need not if one has friends cum sister likes as neighbours offering help! I said come on let me not forget that I do have two hands and two legs.... I did live ten long years with a tiny tot doing "mudi shodai to juto shelai" everything by myself..... but again there was a Saraswati and Dilip as helps! .... I was wondering what I have turned into... a lazy... spoilt... brat! Its a Thursday evening and finally I got a saviour sent by dear Ipsita... she is Tess and she says she will do pedicure and manicure for me too! Today I got some relief and sat to write a recipe post for my readers.... I do not have to sweep, mop, dust,  the 1150 sqft area and wash utensils..... no I cannot accept once or twice a week sweep and mop.... I am a "desi" .... our mother's daughter .... back in Kolkata our Rizia Mashi mopped my home twice a day.... when the entire world is doing some inventions, teaching a new thing to the kids.... I was busy cleaning every inch and corner of our home .... that too with a small kid... well I had a battalion of helps... Rizia Mashi to Khokon to Chotu! Is the very handsome Dr. Arup Bhaumik's wife... my friend Paramita reading this post? She was my confidant in all these madness, while a wisdom called Rupa or a Kana scolded me hard!.... I bathed my newborn with soap and water in such a way that he got severe fever within a week of his birth .... That newborn who has his 10th boards final examination in few days is having study leave now! How is he utilising his time?.... its simple....  watching television! Do you think I will blog on something he loves? I will not! He may not touch a MISHTI CHIREY BHAJA but his mother has grown up on this as an evening snacks... neither her brother had ever fancied it! When did I say I do not love myself? Why am I writing a post on a Thursday evening instead of a Friday morning?... I missed my workout today.... I had to shop... not an Ilish but frozen grouper fillets... not live prawns but frozen ones, not a bottle gourd but a squash... not a raw jackfruit or banana blossom but okra and ridge gourd which are loves too! So many loves got a no tag today!.... I am not our mother... I know when to act smart! Moreover, a saviour called Tess is doing up my home now.... the aroma of dettol is making me feel happier.... I can go ahead with an easy and quick share! I am that mother who used to wash her son's clothes with warm water and soap and then soaked in dettol before drying till he was 3-4 years... she did not like anyone touching her son in outside clothes.... then one day the husband came home from the sea and screamed ..... enough wife! You are destroying the immune system of the son! When will he come back home? I am missing him... who else can I scream at.... you can do it only at someone who cares, one who will not leave you at any cost.... If you really mean to someone.... that someone is unlikely to leave you ever! This WhatsApp fight is uninteresting... most of the time I am not answered, the moron is so busy with his love! Now that I fixed one Tess for the next few days.... he is expected to be back home this weekend.... Yes, my men are averse to and scared of household chores! 

Above I wished to tell you that it is good to be clean and maintain hygiene but not the excess of it .... though I have not taken any lesson till date. Early morning you may be setting out for various serious ventures.... strategising how fruitfully you can utilise the day.... what is this lady doing? She had no lunch box to prepare this week.... so she is going out for her walks as soon as the sun is seen peeping out the eastern sky... and thereafter doing all silly things which she should not! A biscuit, A chee-cheong-fun, A dosa.... all diabetic unfriendly stuffs... huh? so why not a MISHTI CHIREY BHAJA.... I get philosophical each time I fail to control myself.... someday we all have to die!.... and see that is teh-o-kosong... sugar free, no milk tea!... and chee-cheong-fun perhaps has plum sugar or jaggery in that sauce... haha! You all know I lack wisdom.... I do not measure or calculate my steps... else would I have ever looked back? .... a major portion of the past that has nothing to give me or to make me feel good.... except some hurtful memories or truths... Feelings cannot be calculative but when truth confronts you... you feel miserable !.... Anyway, when one feels very much left out... one should and must treat oneself with whatever one prefers... like this done within minutes evening snacks with chirey / flattened or beaten rice ..... so long the son gets his meat curries he is fine! There I am... me and my humble places to sit and relax with myself!






What else am I doing?... I washed Cristine's clothes with ours, I cleaned her toilet... well these are some practical exercises that a hypocrite like me should practice! I never did really romance with the husband as our definition of romanticism differs... he had always been a great teacher to me... a father figure though a year younger! After marriage, when I had been teaching Indian democracy in a high school.... the husband said do you believe in what you teach wifey?.... You maintain separate cups, plates, glasses for your help! Tell me when do I romance? Yet I never seize to romance with food and when I feel low I make it sure to pamper myself with what I love... I will not look at what is happening around... I will only love myself so much so that I force myself to close my eyes at anything or anyone who makes me feel unloved! I do not drag the virtual world in all these.... we do not know each other! I do not feel sorry if I am not sharing what you wish from me.... Time and again I have emphasised the fact and I will always say so that the CURRY AND SPICE blog is not a healthy, child friendly, informative space to follow! It is what the lady behind it have grown up eating with an apparent note on her life and surroundings! This MISHTI CHIREY BHAJA is one such.... you cannot imagine how relaxed I feel to blog on an authentic, family recipe! Then why did not I share an authentic recipe on Bengali New Year? Day after tomorrow will be just one year that our father left us... last year when I came back after completing all the rituals.... three girls came to meet me and share the pain.... they are not Bengali nor all of them are non-vegetarian.... if I cannot forget people who gifted me nothing but barrels of pain & dejection ... how can I forget people with such nice gestures?... the baked yogurt was a perfect share! However disturbed I am.... do not try to find reason.... I am melancholic in nature and not a sensible person.... Amidst a messed up mind ... there is something to cherish too! I do not mingle in groups... I know I cannot maintain it tactfully or wisely... I only respond to those who still tolerate me and stop by my shares.... doing so I suddenly discovered yesterday that the noted food critic, blogger, quite famous in her role stopped by my yogurt share in a group and liked it.... I will not look for any reason.... I will just be overwhelmed with joy! ... Its a She.... PN.... if you are in the food world you need not guess for long... I end it here... you will never see me hog around the famous and known.... unless required for their benefit.... no I am not an angel... I am just me... I do not like limelight and I have a severe stage fear! Then who does not like recognition? I only wish to share what I eat... get some readers to the blog... thats it! The MISHTI CHIREY BHAJA that our mother used to prepare was deep fried and served garnished with roasted peanuts, shredded coconut and sugar! Alternatively you can use cashew nuts and raisins too!  Be it "muri.... chirey.... khoi"... I love having them with grated coconut and sugar... just that I have to skip the sugar part these days!




INGREDIENTS :
Beaten or Flattened Rice : 1coffee mug [serves two...the brown variety can be used]
Shredded Coconut : 1small cup
Roasted Peanut : 1tbsp
Sugar : 2tsp
Oil : 1small cup [to deep fry... left over can be reserved for later use]


PROCEDURE :

Heat oil in a wok. Once hot, lower the heat to minimum.

Add some flattened rice little at a time. They will fluff up immediately and we need to take out at once and place on tissue papers to get rid of the excess oil.

Serve while its still hot garnished with shredded coconut, sugar and roasted peanuts.

Do not forget to accompany it with tea or coffee.




Monday, 16 April 2018

KECHKI MAACH DIYE ALOO PEYAZKOLI



Authentically, this particular combination of onion flower and potato if cooked non-vegetarian, is done with "tyangra maach".... a small variety of cat fish? I hardly get fresh tyangra here unless I go to some specific stores on a Wednesday evening, so I do it to my convenience with available ingredients and call it KECHKI MAACH DIYE ALOO PEYAZKOLI. I would have gone to any length to maintain authenticity and happily but my men are not so much of a Bengali... The senior is a Bengali when it is a "hilsa, aar, katla, boyal, chingri, pabdar jhol" or a meat curry .... the son is a Bengali when its "luchi-porota"... meat curries, "bhajabhuji".... and yes this deep fried "kechki maach".... Indian River Sprat! Well.... the not at all a fish called prawn or a salmon is the only acceptable non-vegetarian alternative to meat for the junior of the morons! I am so very averse to feeding them prawn every other day.... I have seen the prawn loving brother developing allergy from prawns all of a sudden ..... we do love prawns and crabs but I am scared of having them too often. How I loved "golda chingri" which was brought once or twice a month during our growing up period ... its always pricey.... I eat but I do not crave for it anymore.... you know why?.... I feel may be because I  have the ability to have giant sized prawns every weekend now! Few things in life should remain beyond reach .... "shob peley jibon noshto" is rightly said!.... I take a look at the landed homes in this island and, and, and.... oh God! grapes are truly sour! Coming to food...... I have remained that same old primitive foodie....... there is someone who told me a year or two back... you Know S..... my kids love "macher teler bora".... I got kind of "akash theke pora".... then the entire period of my way back from South to North Kolkata is spent on equating a "macher teler bora and mushurir dal" with a "high nose".... it was decided, it has been proved over decades that my likes & preferences cannot match with some people in this lifetime.... if so it will be something like watching snowfall in this island!These kind of foods like "macher teler bora o mushurir dal" are essentially for my kinds, we know how to eat them?... techniques matter man!.... sit on the floor .... hold the steel plate with your left hand... break the piping hot rice with your right hand fingers.... take some sliced onion and a green chilli, add some salt and dal to the rice.... then "borai ekta kamor, ek gorash bhaat, tarpor peyaz -lankai chootto kamor".... Yes, I am turning a senile truly.... the way I am taking advantage of some people's "apparent" silence !.... Let us leave it at that as of now and accept the fact that it was really surprising for me to discover that the son loves deep fried Indian River Sprat!


This dish of KECHKI MAACH DIYE ALOO PEYAZKOLI is usually a winter treat because peyazkoli.... i.e. onion flower is available only during winter in India?.... I know about Kolkata, though not about the rest of India.... which states of India eat it, which does not! Come on I am S and not the famous "S Ginni".... I know few family food history and nevertheless the history of Bengali food or otherwise! The only pride I can take and  fight over a fact is that I  do not see much variety in the cooking of my husband's side of the family as compared to mine. All the delicate, heirloom, low cost dishes I have seen is being cooked in my side of the family.... "kechki maach mixed with lots of spices and sliced onion, wrapped in bottle gourd or pumpkin leaves and slow cooked in pan" or "ash gourds cut in half moon shapes, stuffed with mustard-coconut paste and batter fried".... all these are learnt from my family.... Unfortunately, my men do not fancy them.... so I do not do them often ..... I know I should blog on them ..... but how many will accept it?.... cook one dish for 1-2 hours? My "chomma"... the Jaya Prada look alike who stays in Assam.... daddy's brother's wife prepares a yam fry.... wherein the yam stretches like a spring after being fried.... the technique is in the cut .... "two hands and a boti".... thats it!Even our mother could not adapt it.... we call it kochur spring bhaja.... I used to lament why the distance between Nowgong and Sealdah / Howrah is so long! This Jaya Prada look alike's husband could eat 35 rasgullas and 1kg of mutton at one go.... haha! There is not a bit of exaggeration saying so, there was a time when "Hiru dakat earned kolshi bhorti mohor after screaming hareyreyrey, while the looted zaminder babu still could eat like a demon the next day"..... I belong to a family where some had "demonic diet".... so I cannot survive on salad.... I have to have my bowl of rice and "tel gorgorey pathar kosha".... Where was I? Well.... I am a bit late with this recipe.... Do not worry.... even if we do not get onion flower or peyazkoli now.... go ahead with spring onions .... I know we get it in India most of the time, at least in the super markets! This Kechki mach or Indian River Sprat is among the very few frozen fish I buy from the selective Asian stores! This is more or less found in "good condition".... but you will buy if only you or your family fancy it! If you are totally against any kind of frozen fish, use any small variety of fish. This Indian River Sprat has become a regular at this home .... its favourite with all of us.... its so easy to cook it.... we only need to wash it... no need to clean the stomach or the scales! For this particular non vegetarian side dish we do not need any spice either .... just a tempering of nigella seeds, cloves of garlic and yes.... chillies... both dry and green.... We also had palonger dal / dal palak and crispy fried Indian River Sprat alongside! The main item KECHKI MAACH DIYE ALOO PEYAZKOLI is to be had with steamed  rice while you can prepare some hot phulkas for the palak dal!

Try this recipe of the basic sandesh, the first share on my blog.... do not look at the picture, the taste is guaranteed!

SANDESH







INGREDIENTS :

Kechki Maach / Indian River Sprat : 200gm
Peyazkoli / Onion Flower : 12-15 sticks [alternatively spring onion]
Potato : 1big
Green Chilli : 2-3 slitted
Dry Red Chilli : 2 halved
Nigella Seed : 1/4tsp
Garlic : 2 cloves chopped
Turmeric Power : 1tsp
Salt : As Required
Sugar : 1/2tsp [optional]
Oil : 3-4 tbsp


PROCEDURE :

Wash the fish thoroughly about 4-5 times under running water. It is a very soft fish, so be very careful.

Add little salt and turmeric to the fish and keep aside.

Peel, wash and cube the potatoes. Rub salt and turmeric.

Discard two ends of the onion flowers. Chop lengthwise .... each should be about 2-3 inch in length. Wash thoroughly and rub with salt and turmeric.

Heat oil in a wok.... preferably mustard oil.

Temper oil with nigella seeds, chopped garlic and halved dry red chillies.

Add the fish discarding the marinade totally. While they are half fried, add the potato cubes. Stir gently and cover cook till the potatoes are half done.

Add the peyazkoli / onion flower now, discard any water / marinade.... we need to retain the colour of it. Gently stir and cover for 2-3 minutes.

Open cover, add the slitted green chillies, salt if required, sugar and give a gentle stir. Cook for another 3-4 minutes. I garnished with few fried fish.

A dal is a must with this dish. We had crispy fried kechki maach, palong er dal alongside.... Nothing but steamed rice goes with it!




Saturday, 14 April 2018

BAKED BEET ER DOI



I prepared this baked beetroot yogurt ...... BAKED BEET ER DOI very happily and thought I will blog on it on the occasion of Poila Baishakh.... that is Bengali New Year! Till day before yesterday it was ok except for the fact that I did not like the image.... which seemed very much imposed and loud to me! It was an immediate reaction, yet I did not do any thing about it but let it be! I wished to put through a message that I may not like shines and too much of colours but I do not have a problem with people who like it otherwise.... How can I when I come from a family where people cannot think beyond red, yellow, green, blue! On my each visit, I cancel at least ten of the mother's sarees and say you will not wear this kinds.... now she is in track more or less! I have not followed protocol much in my life and that gets  me in to trouble! I have a childhood friend Sukanta Saha, whose mother... our Mira Mashi's choice of saree I loved since our school days. I never hesitated to tell our mom.... "mani.... I like mashi's choice of saree... off beat, matt finish, ethnic!"..... Till date I do not get what is so wrong in that? I find a singer from a different state of Eastern India very classic, I do not go public with it avoiding further controversies! So, many like mine may not find the images of BAKED BEET ER DOI appealing .... As of me, I adore two kinds of food photography.... appropriate props and the subject.... wherein the picture itself weaves a story.... there is another kind that is plain and simple focussing on the food! This particular picture does not conform to any and not suitable for a Bengali New Year Day! I can guarantee you the taste though, I do have a recipe of baked doi / yogurt blogged on earlier.... this time use of the fresh cream made it so much easier for me! The discomfort of going ahead with this dessert today lies elsewhere! For the past two days, two doe eyes on a blue-yellow dress is haunting me, pelting stones at my "glass heaven".... that I am a "hypocrite" is established even stronger! I am not supposed to keep trays of fresh & dry fruits on display when India is fighting for a cause.... a genuine cause! Two Kashmiri Pandits leading a team to get justice for a muslim girl is a ray of hope denoting integrity but we should not focus on this aspect... never! It is humanity that stood up against barbarism ..... in the history of the country the alternative do / did happen.... so religion is not important here... but the crime.... the grievous truth that the woman tribe is vulnerable! Then I am just a food blogger.... not a versatile cook either.... I do not have 25 different dishes to choose from! Here is a small time blogger struggling to get some readers! Had I been able to create a niche for myself in these few years, would You have seen me doing "ghanta pujo" in different groups? never.... Moreover, I wish to treat my personal Facebook stream and the Facebook page as two different identities![in self defence again!]

Anyway, we can say that baked doi has become a craze sort of in the entire Kolkata, if not in West Bengal! Correct me if I am wrong, I am not an well informed person... not a part of the Kolkata food scenario for a long time now.... There was a time when it took me one spoonful to differentiate  the quality of food between Grain of Salt at 22, Camac Street and the one that came up in its place after few months! Me and the Boss kept wondering for a long time why Grain of Salt could not sustain in the Kolkata food scenario.... See how self centric I have become.... majority there cannot afford even a normal Park Street restaurant on a regular basis, leave alone a boutique restaurant!.... I am feeling lack of love towards myself these days!.... Coming to the point, we truly loved the food served at  Grain of Salt..... saying so without any prejudice, the master will not train me for free on different cuisines, praising the master will not make me famous overnight!.... Once our mother said.... mamoni.... watch the fingers at work.... they are so much at ease making cooking easier for you using few ingredients most of the time! She seemed happy if she did not have to buy creams to mixed nuts for a dish. Each time I use "mutho mutho badam".... the guilt is on.... my middle class values will not set me free... neither should it! So, the point is it is Bengali New Year tomorrow.... I wished for a vegetarian share, global as far as possible considering all my friends around...... trying to remain apolitical. The doe eyed girl along with her likes are not going to leave me sooner, I kept fast yesterday not alone for my son but for them too.... Standing right at the present, I do not find it necessary to share the picture which I like doing.... the daughters are in distress... my prince will remain my prince... The mother of a prince was a girl child too and a victim of #metoo, however protective the mother had been ..... If you have given birth, be a caring parent.... getting boxes of chocolates and dresses for the kids is not good parenting.... a considerable part of our time and life is to be given to them! This BAKED BEET ER DOI is a very quick and simple recipe done with few ingredients like plain yogurt, cream, condensed milk, green cardamom powder, rose water and kewra water.... the raw smell of the beetroot juice had to be hidden. We can have this superbly yum dessert just like that or you have these choice of toppings to add! Go as you like it!





INGREDIENTS :

Plain Yogurt : 400-500gm
Beetroot Juice : 11/2medium cup
Fresh Cream : 150-200gm [I used a Nestle 170gm tin]
Condensed Milk : 1/3small cup [I used 1/2 of a Milkmaid 329gm tin]
Green Cardamom Powder : 1/2tsp
Kewra Essence : 2-3drops [screw pine essence]
Rose Water : 3-4 drops
A Convection mode Microwave oven : Using oven may be bad but our owner will not allow traditional manual ones, neither do I have the time, energy or patience to go back to basics .... so cheers to technology! I hear some "bahargaons" do not use microwaves, we use!

PROCEDURE :

Below are the ingredients we will be using to prepare BAKED BEET ER DOI.





We have prepared the beet root juice in a juicer using very little water. We are not using the entire content of all the ingredients, follow the amount mentioned in the ingredients list!

Whisk together everything very well!





Pour into bake proof ramekins or cups.... I am the owner of a frill free kitchen and home.... I use coffee cups / soup bowls and anything for everything!




Cover them with aluminium foils!




Fill a bake proof tray with some water so that the ramekins immerse 1/2 in the water. Place the low rack with water filled baking tray and preheat oven to 200*C. Do not look at my baking tray, I am my mother's daughter.... not in the habit of throwing away things!

Place some of the ramekins filled with the yogurt mixture on the baking tray!

Bake for 13-14 minutes at 200*C..... Exactly the time taken in my machine!





Rest for few minutes before you take out the finished product and set on the second batch!




Let the BAKED BEET ER DOI cool down completely before you refrigerate them!




Always enjoy this sinful dessert chilled!




Wednesday, 11 April 2018

ROSHUN KANCHA LANKA NARKOL DIYE ILISH



Well its POILA BOISHAKH for us .... Bengali New Years Day and I can take the liberty to be little more selfish and a bit regional! Two times of the year I take this liberty and I will... though on Friday... a day before "Noboborsho"... I may not go so very authentic.... sharing something everyone can eat! "Friendship" is a sacred term to me unless you get really nasty towards me. Today it has to be an ilish / hilsa day ..... I have not gone Bengali for a while and the craving is at work now.... There is another reason too.... Ilish is a family favourite on both sides of the family and the best member of both the families .... our father left us about a year ago! Yesterday we performed the yearly ritual ..... though the actual date is 21st April.... He loved ilish. No, the daughter was not crying the entire day..... she uploaded her picture in various forums.... totally oblivious of the day which perhaps happened to be the master of the master chefs of India's birthday too ..... then I do not really have a mind to take everything into account .... I do what and when I wish to ..... Come on it was not a full made up face either ..... had I been a beauty queen I would not have done this much too.... I like it nude .... I mean the make up!.... So, I was  satisfied and happy to hide my strands of grey, the impossible to measure width of the waistline & nose in my "Poila Boishakh" special picture .... in a simple "tant base with multi-coloured appliqué on it'..... then I was free to cook for my "paa..."..... No, I was not sad ... negativity or depression was not in his dictionary, we inherited those traits from our mother! I cooked and served him "some" of his loves... some were missing like ripe jackfruit and a fish curry!.... He specially loved banana, mango, chutney, pickle, eggplant, bitter gourd, luchi, payesh, pulao. That is him in a blue T-shirt.... the daughter's click at her home on 7th January 2017 and her last meeting with him. If you are lucky enough to have your parents around you.... take good care of them... if they are thin.... ask them not to take too much stress.... if they are overweight.... be strict with their diet... The next two pictures you see are the rituals performed by the brother at their terrace.... Our mother is territorial about her landed property so much so that her son has to run each day to catch "atta poneror Barrackpore local".... a morning train to reach Camac Street and her daughter-in-law sets off even earlier at 6:30 am to reach to that school which is about 3km interior of the road beside that seven or five star Hotel now. It was just a plot of land with a placard when we admitted our son there back in 2005.... Can we call it development?.... all the farmlands in that area has big buildings now. Anyway, I have a brother who did not leave his mother for a flat in Kolkata neither she will agree to sell it!.... It is this brother about whom his sister always complained to her father .... bhai uttered 3 bad words today and played with those who I told not to ! .... Some of his friends were / are very dear to me.... they complained... "didi, Sohan left us and is mingling with others which you will not like"..... the mother started mourning and the sister got stricter.... there is my brother who never left his parents.... several of his marriage proposals were broken when at the final stage he told the prospective bride... I love my mother the most and can never leave my parents.... finally this mathematics teacher agreed! His T dada and big sister thinks.... he got used to his "paa..." ironing his trousers and "mani" feeding him on  his way to office.... haha....  A well knit family matters.... so ROSHUN KANCHA LANKA NARKOL DIYE ILISH should happen today!.... Again, I did not cry or mourn yesterday.... only memories haunted.... how I tied rubber bands on his chest hairs once he was back from office .... plucked the whites from his eyebrow even after marriage.... Teens.... a player, dancer, singer, painter are you taking care of your parents? Cook and feed them often when they are alive.... No our Prince [of the monkey clan] does not do it, mumma de bones his ilish .... after all he is the prime in my life! She has to cook some chicken too for the non-ilish lover! I think I am just scaring away all the Olive Oyls from the monkey's life.... Not to worry girls..... you are at the liberty to stay far off ... the boss of this house will make sure you do.... only one request.... do not feed my son "pauruti" everyday.... yes, that is patriarchy in full form.... all big talks end here!






You can see the size of the ilish was not so big, neither did I get it from my favourite shops run by my brothers from Bangladesh ..... In a super market here we get something very similar to ilish / hilsa.... they call it Chinese Gizzard Shad... I cannot differentiate between the two.... I was really very skeptical while buying this particular one, they asked only 15 sing dollars for a near 900gm one when they take nothing less than 30 - 35 sing dollars per kilo. I checked the "kanko".... gills.... it seemed fresh.... I felt let me try it with minimal spices .... I am not in support of overdosing a beauty queen with loads of makeup... in this case ilish is the queen.... spices used can be minimal. No, you will not expect innovations from this small brain.... most of the time I do "idhar ka mal udhar, udhar ka mal idhar"..... For this ROSHUN KANCHA LANKA NARKOL DIYE ILISH,  I marinated the fish pieces with a generous amount of mustard oil, green chilli-garlic paste, salt, turmeric, shredded coconut.... and microwaved.... you can do it on stovetop too! Do it with love, take good care of ilish.... else I cannot be happy with you.... Imagine a scene.... I am in the final round of KAUN BANEGA CROREPATI, the organisers or the Big B is desperate to get me to help the boss to buy a decent home for us in the world's most expensive island, the final question.... Give a synonym of "ilish".... I take one second... "mohabbat"... "jaan-e-jigar" 'ishkiya".... Thats where the dream ends each night! I had a daddy who did not like his daughter wearing a saree, he got so many dresses for her, I hear he had a special tailor to stitch my dresses in our short span of stay in Asansol ..... he started with his job at State Bank Of India, Asansol! He loved girl child and proved that a daughter-in-law can be given a status of a daughter.... a rare ability! You saw me wearing a saree yesterday .... which means I inherited "ghar tyarami" from my father! None of us are good or bad alone, but a mixture!

You see I value the people around, so here is the link for the Aloo Chicken recipe too!

ALOO CHICKEN





INGREDIENTS :

Hilsa / Ilish : 6-8 pieces [preferably fresh]
Garlic Paste : 11/2tbsp
Green Chilli Paste : 3-4tbsp [I am generous]
Salt : As Required
Turmeric Powder : 1tsp
Shredded Coconut : 1small cup
Lemon Juice : 2-3tbsp [for those who find ilish smelly, excuse me if we cannot be best of friends]
Green Chilli : 2-3 [slitted]
Oil : 1/3small cup without any thought [strictly mustard for us]


PROCEDURE :

I feel very happy with this kind of hassle-free cooking these days, so long that excellent photographer-food blogger, electronic engineer cum HRD Head of the family business do not come back, I can carry on with "fakibaji ranna".....

Wash the fish pieces carefully which means do not get rid of the natural oil doing so!

Marinate will all the ingredients including the slitted green chillies, I forgot. If you find ilish smelly, marinate with lemon juice for 1/2 an hour and wash again before the final marination.

Keep marinated for an hour.




If you want, you can paste the shredded coconut before marination, I did not.

After an hour or so, microwave for 13-14 minutes at 300*C. I cooked it uncovered, so cooking at low heat is a necessity for the fish to stay soft even after cooking.

Each machine differs, so try and test yours to know the correct temperature.

If you are doing on a stove top, place the marinated fish gently on a heated wok. Cover cook till done. If required, sprinkle little water!

In this particular recipe, I found it tastes better if we eat at least 4-5 hours after cooking.

Only piping hot steamed rice is required to enjoy it. The platter also had "badam diye laal shaaker ghonto".... red amaranth with peanuts, "beulir dal".... split black gram dal .... and chicken with tomatoes & potatoes! The breads and salad is not in the picture, do add them the non-ilish lovers!



Sunday, 8 April 2018

TOFU POTATO BITES & MINT-GARLIC-TAMARIND CHUTNEY





Tofu in a soup .... yes, I do have it on a regular basis on my lunch dates with myself! When it comes to feeding tofu to my men and majority of my readers.... it has to have added spices and flavour enhancing herbs.... You bet only a Bengali / Indian has the ability to turn something as healthy as tofu to a flavourful, spice laden bliss called TOFU POTATO BITES & MINT-GARLIC-TAMARIND-CHUTNEY.... Yes a chutney or a dip is a must with such tongue teasers / snacks. There obviously was some non vegetarian items along side... I do not remember what, not bothered either!.... I wish to go ahead with a humble vegetarian share today, I will .... I do not want to go Bengali.... I will not.... though I know I have to go Bengali next... its our New Year at the doorstep! I am a Bengali and the major shares on my blog would be Bengali... that is natural..... What I find unnatural these days is some? people's wish to control me.... what they? have done throughout their? life .... considering me as their? pet.... At 47, I refuse to give in to that unnatural demand.... I am very open about who I am .... never a self proclaimed angel.... I am very poor at acting... though an ardent Bollywood fan. A couple of my friends have personally complained me about some? people's tendency to make me their? pet though they cannot go public with the truth ever! Till date I had given them a deaf ear on humanitarian grounds.... now no more.... even the husband never tried to control me, perhaps because he did not want to be a loser like his mother... haha.... I am not a material to be caged! There had been some people around who constantly were / are facilitating this unnatural demand of some? people's tendency of ruling over me, thinking me to be their personal property.... I got so very irritated that I had to unfriend some of them in social media though they have done a lot for me in real life.... I felt bad initially, then I consoled myself believing they did it because I am "my husband's wife" and not "their friend" actually! I wished so much to write about these "real helps" in this space but I will not unless they make me feel very happy.... off course I am self centric.... I accept it, some do not! By the way, some of my friends's complain of some? people's constant endeavour to consider me their? pet for decades is very true..... People have the liberty to think what they wish .... problem is they think I am a total nut.... I admit I am largely so .... not that much either that I do not understand anything! I adore transparency of hearts..... I was one, I lost it totally after joining the social media.... Our daddy was not in social media and hence died a hero, such people cannot sustain a made up world! Did I ever say he was a good bridge player and got prizes too? During his last years he tended to forget everything and could not play it properly. His partners got agitated... those partners who my brother invited cordially and treated with "mach, mangsho, roshogolla" at his funeral. Its a year now, do you think I will do the same on his yearly mourning? No I will cook for him which I hardly got a chance to, go to RKM and donate a little something! .... Did our mother  appreciate those accolades? No....... she said "tash khela bajey obhyash"... card games are bad! ..... Two incompatible people living under one roof did not make a hell out of every little thing which helped us grow up as normal, happy kids. Are you taking care of making your "home" a happy one?.... That is an exercise, rest comes next and very much next! In this matter, we can take some pride.... We together went to choose our furnitures, no sharing the pictures is not a show off... they are low cost.... we bought only when the husband got his yearly bonus! Below is how we struggled to create some space within a 1150 sq ft. area and make it look brighter.... Now the husband's part is done.... Cristine and her ma'am will have to work hard to get the white colour last. What was our lunch after the rearrangement? "Dim Sheddo Aloo Sheddo Bhaat"..... boiled eggs and potatoes with rice.... ghee for the men.... and what for the primitive?.... mustard oil and a green chilli...... she preferred to share the picture of her plate .... she is ok if you do not try to control her life! In the evening, the husband was in a happy mood and asked the wife to go to Clark Quay..... the wife had already gone ahead with the preparation of  "methi carrot thepla"..... He did not create a ruckus.... scolded the wife for been an unromantic.... called the available friends.... and all of us celebrated with a "champakoli" that the wife gifted two years back with "thepla".... "gujju" friends if any excuse us for this unusual pairing! How am I a bit ahead of my mother? I do not say a constant no to a husband's wish... so long he is not a drunkard, I do not mind. How is my  husband a bit ahead of my dad?.... He respects my wishes! Again some? people think I am that donkey who  believes whatever they say.... I am not "entirely a donkey" but "nearly so".... All this while I kept quiet trying to be decent!








How was our yesterday?.... as usual a Saturday is.... I cooked "thorer ghonto" to "kakrer jhal" to "illisher ektu onnorokom".... did photo session of six items.... all horrible.... will share but how can I if not someone from you translate for me "thorer aash gulokey angul diye joriye fele ditey hobey".... No, I do not have any problem admitting my shortcomings, in fact I doubt if I have any quality in me or not... The lack of confidence in me did not let me barge into the management's office and say why should I take reading classes when once I was chosen to teach at plus two level? Until here it is not wrong.... but when some? are up on lowering other's position at work or otherwise, it is an attack on their prestige, self pride! ..... I find it utterly wrong and a feeling of lovelessness occurs within! Well, so says the husband.... not everyone have the wisdom of the genius stationed at Mumbai.... a person who at age 35 became one of the top directors of a leading Indian bank ... now I do not even ask where he reached.... the husband says only few in India reaches there! That person  does not play golf but eat "phuchka" in and around Mumbai.... gifts my  husband a Hugo Boss though! The couples' only pleasure is going for foreign tours twice or once a year... they are "pet roga" cannot eat, do not fancy clothes if not required! Anyway, I do not know when I get to kiss them in public.... this TOFU POTATO BITES & MINT-GARLIC-TAMARIND CHUTNEY should help... its a less oil starter, appetiser and spices are not so bad for health... they say.... no I have no such quality to go on with its nutritive value or history .... you have to go to better people for it! I love food, cook it and share.... cover up my inability by filling in this space with my take on "life and people"....


If you wish for some other recipes blogged on  earlier, click the below headings....

CASHEW CHICKEN

MATAR MUSHROOM






INGREDIENTS :

Tofu : 300-350gm [plain, not silken]
Potato : 2big [washed, halved ,boiled, peeled]
Cumin Seed : 2tbsp + 1/4tsp
Coriander Seed : 1tbsp
Dry Red Chilli : 2-3
Fennel Seed : 1/2tsp
Green Chilli : 2 [washed, chopped]
Dry Mango Powder : 1tsp
Ginger Extract : 2tsp
Chaat Masala : To Sprinkle
Turmeric Powder : 1/2tsp
Coriander Leaf : 1small cup [chopped, washed]
Salt : As Required
Oil : 3tbsp + 2tbsp


PROCEDURE :

I wash my tofu, do you? Break and mash it just roughly. Mash the boiled potatoes smoothly and take both in a bowl. Add salt and turmeric and mix well.

Dry roast the cumin seeds, fennel seeds, coriander seeds and dry red chillies for 2 minutes at low heat.

Once cool, dry grind them till coarse.

Heat oil in a wok. Add the chopped green chillies and 1/4tsp cumin seeds, give a quick stir.

Add the potato and tofu mixture and fold in well.

Add the ginger extract and dry ground, coarse spice mixture. Fold in well.

Keep stirring for about 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped coriander leaves and the dry mango powder.

Fold in well and stir for a minute. Switch off gas, our appetiser mixture is ready.

Let it cool before you tear out small portions and shape as you desire.

Heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a pan. Place the tikkis, cook till brown at low heat. Turn over and repeat. It takes hardly 5-7 minute.

For the chutney soak 2tbsp seedless tamarind in half medium cup water for 1/2 an hour. Get the extract and transfer to a grinder. Add a medium cup of washed mint leaves, two cloves of garlic, a green chilli and 1/4 tsp of black salt. Grind to a paste.... sprinkle some water if required!

Before serving, sprinkle some chaat masala atop the tikkis.... enjoy! It indeed is a good snack idea!




Friday, 6 April 2018

CHICKEN SPRING ROLL & SPICY PRAWN



 There is practically no fixed tea time at this home except for weekends, though tea happens even at 9 pm and several cups in between at the office may be. Tea starts with an empty stomach assisted by packets of cigars..... All the health warnings I get to go through around only aggravates my tension without any impact on the concerned person ..... one who is not in the habit of taking instructions ..... good or bad ..... an inherited character trait you hardly can change!.... So deep fried spring rolls are not a big deal at this home ..... To console myself, I have such foods with a big bowl of salad... not so less in amount as you see in the picture. I am not a saint either, I cannot start the morning with seeds and nuts and end it with pot roasts each and every day!.... I am very fond of them who do it as much as I am fond of fries and fritters .... they continue to get royal treat at this home. So, the impossible to control man came back yesterday and mumma, son and Cristine didi had this snack duo  for dinner two days back, that too at 11pm .... sounds pretty unhealthy.... right? Since it was decided that happiness should be the prime at this home, I give in and prepare this CHICKEN SPRING ROLL & SPICY PRAWN without much guilt.... When we do not have much to say in self defence.... we prefer to leave it on the almighty! People like me live in a glass paradise, what else? I came through a news yesterday.... a minor girl raped for a couple of months, gets pregnant.... forced to go for an abortion and was handed over the foetus to throw it somewhere.... Try to imagine the "lovely" scenario .... and mind it .... it is not an one of case.... Since women are not a "sacred creature".... you will not see people storming the social media on such issues. Good is that the girl did not throw the foetus but straightaway reached the police station with it accompanied by the mother and lodges a complain.... she gets justice or not.... she lodged a complaint.... rest of the news around lost importance to me compared to her bravery! What is bad?..... Sitting far off  in a glass paradise and giving big talks.... The self centric me got used to a secured life .... she is a mother too and does not hesitate to insist on her husband saying that she does not want her son to go back to any kind of uncertainty and disturbance. No wonder the husband will say that his wife's demands are much higher than an average woman... not limited to a Christian Dior lipstick or eyeliner or a Gucci bag .... then what?....the husband & son has to go there  and "up" there! She may seem to you as a superfluous character.... I do not mind .... I have stopped responding to those pages.... Milaap, Care India and rest.... they need financial assistance and not likes or big talks! I do what makes me happy.... click, eat, cook and share! You can see that dustbin is unwanted here but it is so indispensable in life.... "poetry & reality".... both is required!




After a walk, this mango-aloevera juice was so refreshening.... I cannot have these regularly as they are sweetened.... I stick to my share of Olong and Ayataka tea and gets into an awkward feeling... are the roots loosening?.... When I jumped at the sight of a fresh ilish yesterday and got it too at a reasonable price, I felt I need not tense much. Looking at the pictures of "chalter dal to kechki maacher chocchori".... I thought when do I actually blog on them? Oh God, I feel so uncomfortable with tight hugs, giving in myself to any one in "particular".... No one should "own" anyone.... at least they should not be in a dilemma that they own me... I make it clear.... very clear these days! It is good to express your views in public.... political or otherwise..... but until when we are doing it in a decent manner.... I see around "indecent" ones full of "wrong" informations .... everyone is a "doctorate" these days.... like if I start talking about Isro or Nasa in public.... will it not be an indecent take?.... Who gave us the right to talk on something we do not know 1/4 of... I strongly felt that wearing a swim suit and  posting pictures in public is perhaps less vulgar than posting wrong informations that breeds hatred!... My glass paradise is better.... walking, gym-ing, clicking and eating.... I keep on telling my brother be what you actually are... eat biryani & phuchka, play cricket, watch F1.... I find his wife a very justifiable woman compared to some! I guarded him as a mother... not to see him talk nonsense! A spring roll for my love for him and spicy prawns for loosing his mind at times!


The husband is at home, yep we are changing our television console and crockery unit... I am sitting in an unruly atmosphere with everything scattered around.... I do not even know what I am writing.... I am not bothered either.... the preface of my recipe shares are always irrelevant.... No, I am not so excited with the arrival of new furnitures, my readers know I like handloom wears, bamboo & roughly polished wooden furnitures, terracotta pieces, rugs!.... We had to change, so we did! Better I share this snack duo CHICKEN SPRING ROLL & SPICY PRAWN that became an instant hit at this home.... My readers know that I am not good at artistry, rolling pastry sheets perfectly and all does not come to me naturally! The entire credit of rolling the pastry goes to our Cristine. I could not take the stepwise pictures properly as it was 9pm when I started! I went for my walk, took a look at the Facebook stream and all of a sudden decided that I will not go Bengali next, I have about ten Bengali recipes waiting to be shared right now! I will show some love to my second home without ignoring the rest.... Well with pure vegetarians.... at times I am really helpless, I am not a person with brain.... so excuse me.... shall get back to you as soon as possible. Do not expect me to prepare authentic Oriental spring rolls.... I did it my way.... We can do any experiment with prawns.... it was done in half an hour! I prepared it in oven, you can do it on stove top! So that is what happened.... the lady went for a walk.... on way back gets some fresh prawns and spring roll pastry sheets.... prepares a snack combo of CHICKEN SPRING ROLL & SPICY PRAWN .... serves and have dinner at 11pm.... goes to the gym next morning with zero output.... There is a good news too .... the sugar level has slightly gone down... perhaps with the touch of old doctor Chang.... he was there day before yesterday with all his warmth.... "Come on S, Tarzan lived in a jungle and had nothing to eat but fruits.... even I cannot resist Biryani.... that too a plateful".... He is around 80 and still working!






INGREDIENTS : [for the Spicy Prawn]

Prawn : 300-500gm [de shell with tail on, wash]
Cumin Powder : 1tsp
Coriander Powder : 1/2tsp
Aamchur Powder : 1/2tsp [dry mango powder]
Red Chilli Powder : 1/3tsp
Garam Masala Powder : 1/3tsp
Lemon Juice : 1tbsp
Salt : As Required
Oil : 2tbsp [I used mustard for a red colour]

INGREDIENTS : [for the Chicken Spring Roll]

Minced Chicken : 250-300gm
Spring Roll Pastry Sheet : 12-15
Onion : 1medium [peeled, sliced, washed]
Green Chilli : 2 [chopped, washed] [optional]
Lettuce : 1medium cup [chopped,washed]
Black Pepper Powder : 1tsp
Soya Sauce : 1tbsp
Salt : Very less
Oil : To deep fry

PROCEDURE :





Sorry, in a hurry the picture went wrong! Taste matters!

Marinate the washed prawns with all the ingredients and keep aside for 10-12 minutes.

Arrange in a oven proof plate.




I placed the tall rack inside my convection mode microwave oven.

I cooked one side for 8 minutes in grill option, turned over and cooked for 5 minutes the other side. We are done.





For the Chicken Spring Rolls, we required 1 hour.





Let us prepare the filling first.

Wash the minced chicken through a strainer and marinate with very little salt for about 15-20 minutes.

Heat oil in a wok, temper with minced garlic. Stir for 1/2 a minute.

Add the sliced onion and stir till translucent. Add the minced chicken, stir and cook covered at medium heat for 10 minutes.

Open cover and add the soya sauce, black pepper powder, and very little salt. Stir cook at high heat for 3-4 minutes till all the water dries up....

Add the shredded lettuce and stir for half a minute. The filling for chicken spring roll is ready.... let it cool for a bit.




Place a pastry sheet on a base in a diamond shape.




Add  filling in the middle. Roll half, fold little from the two sides, and complete the roll.

Stick the end with water.




Heat enough oil for deep fry the spring rolls. We will fry them in batches.




Do not let them burn, so be careful with the heat. Once done, which will take very less time, transfer on to tissue papers before serving...




We enjoyed the combo snack deal with some salad and yes, as dinner.




Tuesday, 3 April 2018

CASHEW NUT RAISIN BUTTERMILK CAKE




Ok let us be a little fair towards few wishes of people who had been nice at different stages of my life! Cake does happen at this home but the simplest, basic ones.... the men's taste buds got used to it! For the rest like our favourite vanilla cream topping with fresh fruits like mango or pineapple, there is a Bengawan Solo, Icing Room within 100 mt of our home, the flat nose me get cream cake or swiss rolls from the normal, wet market bakeries too.... We did not grow up eating cakes from Flury's so our son need not.... The miser me do not ever buy organic food.... let us eat homemade food instead of tinned.... if we have the option of getting fresh supplies, we must avail it! You see there are certain advantages of being a miser.... the other day I got four peaches for five dollars.... that too on a discount.... the primitive me is not fond of it but got to pack their food boxes. Though they ate, all of us prefer mangoes.... the fresh batch of Thai Honey Mangoes arrived, so if it is mango every day, then peach once every two weeks.... the miser concluded when a peach upside down cake went wrong.... self defence man! Let the sugar level go up in its own course... I was supposed to go to the doctor this morning.... but felt let me do some food talk and visit the doctor tomorrow.... Old doctor Chang is replaced by his son now and I hardly can have the pleasure to talk food there. The son always suspects I am in an unhappy marriage and hence look depressed! Till date I had been unable to convince Vincent... the junior Chang... that it is my nature to talk less and not to smile every now and then.... I am too unwilling to apply potato juice under eyes to look good. If there is any such impression of depression on my face, it is for my inability to have a Murtabak with tea every alternate day.... or a Biryani or a Cream Cheese cake every week. Do not ever try to bring Hilsa or Mutton on my restricted list ..... I will not tolerate! Coming to why a Cake today, well no one has couriered me fresh duck eggs or other produce from their garden or furnished me with the necessary tricks on how to take care of my small patch of greens.... everyone seems to be like our mother not in the habit of sharing trade secret! You must enjoy her blooms  from far.... do not try to go up her terrace.... it smells terrible with "khol pocha shar".... Our mother prepares her own organic fertilisers! She did not get us cake from Flurys often... not allowed Bapuji cake either.... and Nahoums once a month or once in two months .... She will love this cinnamon flavoured CASHEW NUT RAISIN BUTTERMILK CAKE with lemon zest prepared by her daughter.... It is she who got me an old fashioned cake oven when I was 17! She still stored that spoilt one..... she is not in the habit of throwing away anything.... Every Bengali home in a landed property has a loft atop the toilet or a storage room at the back of the kitchen.... "bharer ghar".....

The mother does not share her trade secret, some do not send me fresh duck eggs, some do not tell me how they manage a small scale business after managing a landed property with only a part time help.... our mother's daughter is me.... some do not even tell me how they got to be expert in so many cuisines also knowing the history behind them .... Oh my! I have every reason to be jealous.... Anyway, however poor I am at baking, I felt I should do something for qualitatively high people.... Then there are the kids who I love the most.... some for baking better than me and the one like my son who loves to eat mumma's homemade cakes as this CASHEWNUT RAISIN BUTTERMILK CAKE! Fulfilling the wishes of the deserving people is a wise thing to do as much as is wise to give a blind eye to vulgarity.... I asked at least three people yesterday how to handle the non-sense around? I got a little bit wiser yesterday and felt vulgarity is an "incurable" disease.... if one's good qualities are overpowered by vulgarity, the path for destruction is made clear and is very near! The best I can do is give a deaf ear and blind eye and ignore such things I find nonsensical, indecent! I do not know how long I remain wise as this.... hahaha, even flat noses poke!.... My kind of wisdom is having a "plateful of panta bhaat, daler bora, peyaz, lanka, nun".... rice soaked in water overnight and then eaten with lentil fritters, onion, green chilli, salt with type2 diabetes.... a tongue that creates all trouble!






There is more to it. I got a packet of spring roll sheets and planning some spring rolls tonight!





Though the doctors feel like tearing off my tongue, I love and worship it. I am also trying to get back the junior to mumma's camp in absence of the father. All said and done, I practice some colour matching these days.... it may seem wrong to you and vice versa..... like I feel there is a lot of tension between blue and green.... I try to bring them together, I find it very wrong to accuse all for few! If someone has shown you love you must respect that.... you are not a nut head like S! I feel very proud to say that RED is static.... it embraces all others but together.... Since I do not aspire for "likes" anymore.... I will do what I feel is right.... Yes I am all about I, Me, Myself! This CASHEW NUT RAISIN BUTTERMILK CAKE has refined flour, buttermilk, condensed milk, vinegar, little sugar, cinnamon powder, oil, baking powder, cashew nuts, raisins, lemon / lime jest.... lets do it with people who are as fearful as me when it comes to baking!




INGREDIENTS :

Refined Flour : 1coffee mug
Butter Milk : 1coffee mug [I use Amul]
Condensed Milk : 1small cup
Sugar : 2-3tbsp
Vinegar : 1tbsp [white]
Baking Powder : 1/2tbsp
Lemon Zest : 2tbsp
Cinnamon Powder : 1tsp
Cashew Nut : 7-10 [halved]
Raisin : 10-12
Oil : 1medium cup [I used Sunflower]


PROCEDURE :

Preheat oven to 180*C.

Take the refined flour, cinnamon powder and the baking powder in a bowl and mix well.

In your mixer, add the butter milk, condensed milk, sugar and oil. Pulse for 2-3 minutes with intervals. It should be light with bubbles forming atop.

Pour it on the flour mix and beat with a table spoon. Remember it is for the novice baker as me. I do it for 5 minutes.

Add the lemon zest and mix well.

Grease a cake tin with little oil. Pour the cake batter and level it. Garnish with halved cashew nuts and raisins.





Place the low rack in the preheated oven, place the cake tin atop.





In the convection method of my microwave oven it took 40 minutes at 180*C to bake the cake!




Enjoy this simply made cake with few ingredients available at home with tea!