Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Doi Begun

 
 
I wonder at times how the recipe of Jhal Muri notching one of the most viewed recipes in my blog week after weeks. It makes me wonder because when I was posting the recipe, I was least expecting it to be so popular. There is an array of other innovative dishes to draw in people's attention than the ordinary Jhal Muri so casually concocted by mothers to satiate the evening hunger-pinch of their wards. Not that I mind for it being popular, but still I can't stop wondering. May be people prefer easy to do simple dishes over the garish ones.
So keeping in mind my readers' penchant for simplicity, I am posting a very traditional yet a simple breezy recipe of eggplant that can be conjured up within a jiffy. No wonder, why it's my favorite.
 
 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Peanut Butter Cupcakes



 
Have anyone of you suffered from the bee infestation problem in your apartment? If you do, then you know what I am talking about; if don't then you don't have a damn idea how terrifying the problem could be especially if spirals out of control. Now recently one of my friends was telling me about how the bees inhabiting their building have become resistant to all kinds of repellants including sprays and toxic fumes that no means of driving the bees away are working any longer. The bees scatter and hide for a while when people gathered in troops blow away smoke of fire or hurl toxic sprays and return again after all is clean rebuilding the hive in exactly as my friend mouthed "5 minutes." In search of some good ways to repel bees, I came across an interesting write-up with methods detailed step by step as how to get rid of bees infested in your home. Anybody suffering from the similar bee or wasp infestation may find the article useful. Here goes the link below:


I love peanut butter, especially the nutty smell of it. This bunch of peanut butter cupcakes are one of my favourite cupcakes. My hubby loves them too.
 
 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Dimer Halua - Egg Halua




My niece studies in class XI in one of the largest reputed chains of private schools in India. She is good in studies, having topped in her school in the board exam and notched a rank state wise. We were so happy when she passed out with an outstanding result in her board and pinned high hopes on her to repeat the same stellar performance in the upcoming class twelfth board. But since her class X board exam after all the awards and attention she was lavished upon by her school, teachers and a felicitation from the governor of WB, she turned a victim of bullying from her peers who absolutely tried every means to make her feel worthless. Her friends began taunting and ignoring her in the school and in her desperation to mingle with the group of friends, she, soon in order to join the league abandoned books and started spending more time with her friends to stay in their good books. Many a time, she came home crying over how her class mates discredited her merit calling her a 'mugger' who scored high on her mugging capacity rather than intelligence.
 
 
It's a complete vicious circle sucking her into a vortex of negativity and I can only imagine how lonely a 16 years old might feel in her class that in order to obtain companionship, she mirrors the action of her friends in bunking classes, roaming around with them just to get a sense of belonging. Now with her class XI exam knocking at the door and huge syllabi to cover my niece, panic-stricken, having suffered a nervous breakdown recently has to be taken to a psychiatrist for counseling.
 
 
 
Parents put their children into renowned schools at the cost of a huge monetary investment including donations and fees, expecting a good future for their children in return. But what do parents do when the environment of a school is so money-oriented with rich brats coming from wealthy families that the value of education becomes a matter of least concern for many students who know their rich fathers would buy them degrees from reputed institutes of abroad no matter how they function academically in school level?  No wonder the audacity of a 16 year old boy, a classmate of my niece, mocking at her how she with her outstanding academic record would remain a mediocre in terms of material success while guys like 'he' would shine.
 
 
Back to the recipe, Dimer Halua is an egg version of conventional Semolina Halua. Everything done to cook an appetizing Semolina Halua is repeated to concoct its eggy counterpart.

Mutton Safed Korma



Yesterday I watched a very touching movie on Holocaust that tugged at my heartstrings. Sarah's Key is a French movie based on Tatiana de Rosnay's best-selling novel that recaptures the event of Vel' d'Hiv' roundup during which 13,000 Jews were crammed in a stadium for 10 days without food and water by the French Police before being deported to Auschwitz. It revolves round the story of an 11 years old girl who during the roundup in order to save her little brother from discovery locked him up in a hidden closet in their home, hopeful she would release him upon returning home within hours. But how the events took turn and how she suffered the most horrific tragedy of her life that changed her future from thereon is something that would spring tears to anyone's eyes.



 
I didn't know about the involvement of French authority in the extermination of Jews until I watched this movie. It is astonishing and terrifying to think about the roles, the super powers of the world played in bringing a race almost on the verge of extinction. The more I read and watch about holocaust, the more shocking pieces of information spill out taking me by surprise. The facts and events of what transpired within the span of 6 years would always intrigue the posterity.
Mutton Safed Korma is an exotic white mutton curry cooked with stupendous quantity of yogurt and kheer. If khoya kheer is not readily available in your region, you may use whipping cream as substitute. The original recipe I cooked it from didn't have an iota of spice added to it, but not sure how the mutton would turn out completely devoid of spice, I added a hint of cumin and coriander powder and the final product was awesome, finger-licking good. 


 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cauliflower Paratha - Phulkopir Paratha



Our Saturday began with watching movies in the afternoon; first one in the lot was 'The Deadman' starring Johnny Depp. I am a huge Johnny Depp fan trying to catch all of his movies but that the act of choosing 'Deadman' was a terrible mistake I realized half an hour through the movie when my hubby started snoring away, the slow theme of the movie having lulled him to sleep. Struggling to keep eyes open over an hour, I too finally gave into the soporific effect and fell asleep. So people suffering from insomnia instead of sedatives may try watching 'The Deadman' because it is sleep-inducing, the title appropriately befitting the movie for it really makes people dead, dead in sleep...lol
 
 
For night there were two movies in the checklist, one was 'Chinatown' starring Jack Nicholson and 'Charade' starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. Both were breathtaking to watch. Fraught with gripping suspense and quandaries to solve, both the movies kept us on edge till the final climax. It was 2 hours past into midnight when we finally hit the sack.
While we entertained ourselves watching movies back to back, our menu for the night consisted of something special - Cauliflower Paratha. Little different in making from the conventional parathas, where the parathas are rolled out with the stuffing inside, this paratha is first rolled out before being filled with the stuffing and each morsel of this crunchy paratha is pure pleasure, reminding you of the taste of Alu - Phulkopir Singara.
 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Peyazkoli Diye Dim



 

I love peyazkoli, it has a certain taste enhancement quality. The scent of fresh peyazkoli is so
invigorating.  These days I am adding it to almost any dish possible, the reason being the easy
availability of fresh peyazkolis in bountiful across the market. The spring onions that are available
round the year are not as sweet-smelling as the ones of winter, smelling of pristine morning dews.
Their freshness infuses life into a dish, lending a beautiful crispness bursting with flavours.
 


 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Chana Dal Khichdi - Cholar Dal er Khichuri


Snuggling in the coziness of bed even for an extra 5 minutes could be so rewarding in the winter mornings when clambering out from under the quilt seems nothing short of a torture. I remember how my father in order to wake me up every morning, during winter, would tiptoe into my room and loosen the fastening of the moshari (mosquito netting) from all of the four bed poles, the net untied loose flopping over me in a clumsy mess forcing me to get up. Fuming for being forced out of sleep I would swear few obscene words under my breath with sheer irritation at him before stomping out of the room. My father, as if deriving some sort of impish pleasure at my exasperation would flash one of his wickedest grin sending thousand vaults of irritation through my vein.  Now those moments of irritation make me moist as I fondly remember my father who is fast getting old and losing his faculties, one after another. Time just whizzes by and soon the moments comprising our present change into a cluster of distant dreams lived long back stowed in the dungeon of memories.



I miss my parents a lot these days especially when I am unable to meet them. It's been a year since I have seen them last. My father's deteriorating health has been a growing concern for me; the only consolation is my elder siblings are there in Kolkata taking care of him whenever needed. That my parents are not alone entirely gives me immense mental peace.
Khichuri was once a sought-after item in our menu. When sick, cold and tired or simply lethargic to make a time-consuming preparation for a meal, our one and only solution lied in khichuri. Make a bucketload of khichuri and enjoy for two days at a stretch. No need to scurry around the kitchen chopping veggies and cooking or cooking and grinding, just toss some regular ingredients together and a hearty fulfilling meal is ready. Cholar Dal er Khichuri is one of my favourite khichuris, because of its simplicity in the making. The soothing aroma wafting from the rice lentil concoction infused with ghee makes this khichuri a relish to have.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Prawn Tawa Masala



My hubby had been pestering me to watch the recent Russell Crowe flick "Broken City" in the evening show over last three four days, which I was putting off to save myself from going out in the freezing cold. Yesterday was the coldest day of the season in Ohio, temperature dropping down to -15C. Burrowed under the quilt since morning, I barely got out of the bed unless absolutely necessary until my hubby came home from office grinning from ear to ear, betraying a hint of conspiracy and flashed me the tickets for the evening show. I was furious, giving my big thumbs down to the idea of stepping out of the cozy cocoon of our home into the blistering cold for the sake of anything; furious because he chose the coldest day of the season to force me out of home for watching a movie. Now he really knows how to win me over for something I am unwilling to do. He wears the saddest look possible with eyes pleading of wistful longing and I guarantee he can even get away with murder with that look. Once again caught in the web of his sorrowful pleading eyes I relented and pronto, we went for the movie. He was happy.
 
 
The movie was really nice, as usual keeping in with his trademark charisma Russell Crowe essayed his role brilliantly and I was mesmerized to see him, even in a negative character. Some men may grow old, but the sparkle and magnetism in their personalities continue to disarm people with an unfading effect. Russell Crowe is one of them.
Prawn Tawa Masala is another awesome prawn preparation ideal to be had with fried rice or pulao. Medium spicy, the tanginess lent by lemon juice and a nutty flavor attributed by the addition of spring onions transform the dish into a meal worth craving. Hope you guys will enjoy!!
 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dal Dhokli




I love potluck get-togethers for the opportunities galore to indulge in long heartwarming conversation with friends and the chance of laying hand on new recipes completely novel and unheard of. I have seen my friends get into an experimental mode and bring in the best of dishes they cook on potlucks. It becomes increasingly difficult to catch notice for culinary skill in the midst of a crowd of well-versed cooks. In one of such get-togethers, one of our Marathi friends cooked Dal Dhokli which was first of its kind of preparations I ever had. The dhoklis were soft, melt-in-the mouth texture and the dal was exquisitely brilliant with a hint of curry leaves and the taste of coconut prevailing over.
With the longing to try it on my own, I quickly noted down the recipe in my memory as she hurriedly ran over the ingredients and described the process in a nutshell. When the first time I tried it at home, I made the mistake of adding dhoklis more than needed and the turnout was very thick in consistency. Further, I messed up with the estimation of the number of kokums to be added and so the tartness was predominating in flavour, not quite up to my taste bud. My first attempt marked out the points I goofed up and hence while cooking it next time, I was more cautious. Happily, my second attempt turned out to be successful and satisfactory. One good thing about dal dhokli is it is a meal in itself and you can have it all by itself or with rice or roti. 




Monday, January 21, 2013

Rosogollar Payesh





Few days back I bought a tin of sealed rosogollas from an Indian grocery store here. I knew immediately after putting one rosogolla into my mouth that I would have difficulty to finish the rest. I was pretty disappointed and started racking my brain as how to make use of them otherwise. One option was disposing them into the dustbin which went against the principle that I strictly adhere to about not wasting food. Then the idea of making rosogolla payesh struck my mind. In Kolkata, once a relative gifted us 100 rosogollas while paying a visit. Impossible for the two of us to polish off such a humongous amount of rosogollas on our own, we distributed some to our cook and maid but still a considerable number was left. Then my mother suggested me to make rosogolla payesh with the excess.
So this is what I do usually whenever I buy the sealed rosogollas from the market because most of the time I don't like the way they taste compared to what we are used to in Kolkata. Since the time I have left Bengal, one thing that I have been missing beyond words is rosogolla. Couple of times I have made rosogollas at home, but the taste never matches the ones we get in sweet shops. 



 

Mangsher Kochuri - Chicken Kochuri



The highest temperature of the day was in the morning today with 7°F. Now as the day is rolling on, temperature is dropping sharply. There are cautions made to the residents of not stepping out in the evening because of the frosty wind forecasted to give feel-like of -20°C. I don't know what got on me; I spent half an hour in the morning today walking outdoor circling round our entire complex in a bid to shed those extra calories accumulated over a week lolling on bed throughout the day in full hibernation mode. I returned home only when my ears started ringing and my head started throbbing from the cold. It was kind of adventurous walking outdoor amidst such a bone-rattling cold when you see no soul walking in the open. I wonder what my mother would have told had she seen my daredevilry. Besides the occasional sneezing, I have not caught any flu or fever due to this morning stunt, at least so far. Hopefully, I will remain okay through the night.





Yesterday I posted the awesome recipe of Doi Diye Alur Dum which I had ravenously eaten with mangsher kochuri. Now the idea of preparing mangsher kochuri was totally instantaneous. One of my friends in his recent uploaded snaps of a food fiesta had one item catching my eyes conspicuously among a host of other delicacies. Mangsher Kochuri. To be truthful, I never heard of this unique combination before. I was feeling tempted to try it but I didn't have the recipe handy. I scoured the cyber world in hope of getting some ideas about how to cook mangsher kochuri and there I came across a slew of recipes of Koraishutir kochuri, but no trace of the one I was looking for. Then an idea flashed in my mind as about following the same procedure as koraishutir kochuri to concoct its veritable non veg counterpart. Having slightly modified the process as required for cooking a non-veg item, I finally came up with my own recipe of mangsher kochuri and needless to say, the turnout was yummylicious. 






Sunday, January 20, 2013

Doi Diye Alur Dum - Simple Yogurty Alu Dum



An arctic wave of cold air is entering USA via Canada from tomorrow onwards, because of which the temperature is forecasted to be dropping down below 6 F, equivalent to -15 C. Last 10 days of salubrious tolerable cold is now going to be replaced by another round of shitty cold. This is just too much for me. Even yesterday evening when we went out with a pair of old friends to a park nearby the Maumee bay, the wind though frosty was not exactly unbearable, although my friends were shivering like a leaf as soon as they were out of the car but still compared to what is looming, the climate was of feathery comfort. Today evening after I came back home after an hour having spent in the outdoor driving and walking across a yard to the grocery shop, my head started reeling being unable to cope up with the sudden drop in temperature. One good thing that is coming out of this freezing winter is no matter what I eat, nothing is clinging on to my body. I am losing weight. Now an hour spent walking outdoor amounts to 2 hours slogging in the gym. 






Talking about eating, today evening my hubby came up with the request of having alur dum that my mother in law prepares at home. It's been a year I have not seen her and tasted the range of her delicious vegetarian concoctions the very sight of which makes me salivate. Couple of times when I had been to my in law's place, she cooked this tasty yet simple alur dum caked in yogurt almost nil of spices and served with kochuri, and I literally licked the plate clean.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Tetul Diye Masoor Dal



I used to be a dedicated avid player of community games on FB - Farmville, Cityville, Gardens of time etc. My addiction was so unbounded that in order to get some leverage over the other players, I had even made purchases of monthly packages to bag some extra points. I have over 50-60 friends added just for the sake of expanding my network of community players to remain ahead in the games. There was one of my colleagues who was equally in league with me in playing games. So what started on a note of helping my colleague to keep his gaming afloat later on turned into an obsession for me as well. Though late but finally God has knocked some sense of realization into me about the uselessness of playing these games on a continuity basis.  I have quit playing finally after being hooked for over a year time period because for all intents and purposes, logging into FB everyday just to play the games like a daily routine was useless, time which could be spent doing other productive work like reading and writing. Now I find my former enthusiasm inordinately preposterous. I must have been completely out of my mind.

The recipe of Tetul Diye Masur Dal I collected from a Bengali magazine that featured some of the traditional recipes of Tagore family on one of its editions. I tried one of the recipes covered there at home. Very light, healthy yet a gorgeous fulfilling dal, I just love it. 




Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Chicken and Spinach Donut



Few weeks back I wrote about how I could not tell rice flour and all-purpose flour apart because of their identical look and messed up a dish using rice flour in place of all-purpose flour confusing the two. Anyway, since then the jars of both the ingredients are kept on separate shelves with labels attached for clear identification. But what do I do when my husband keeps a glass I normally use while cooking to add water into the dishes filled with sprite on the kitchen top? Confusion is bound to happen, isn't so? as both sprite and water look alike. Just imagine my horror when I discovered that the potato curry I made with the effort of half an hour was on the brink of tasting disastrous just because what I added into my curry assuming water was actually a water look alike cold drink. My husband wanted to sip something cold after coming back from office, so he filled the only glass he caught hold of, rest being washed in the dishwasher, with sprite which he drank half and left the remaining on the counter top and went about his work, while I came into the kitchen to cook dinner. I set on to cooking Bengali aloo curry during which I felt the need to add a dash of water and there the glass containing sprite was within my reach, I grabbed it and plop it went. 

 


But here is the twist. Nothing what I was expecting happened, the taste having turned out exactly what potato curry tastes like with no trace of sweet tasting cold drink anywhere. The reason is cold drinks carries a lot of carbon-di-oxide diluted with water which just like water, if cooked, evaporates completely. Thank god, the dish meant to be dry in consistency and that's why the amount of cold drinks added was less and cooked till gravy dried up, I wonder what would have happened if the curry required gravy. Then the taste of cold drink infused gravy would have tasted nothing short of cough syrup and combined with potatoes and spices....well the very imagination bringing the pukish feeling back.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Strawberry Sponge Cake


Steven Spielberg is one of my most favored directors of Hollywood. Among all his movies, Schindler's List is a chef-d'oeuvre, one of his prized creations still evoking the same kind of amazement and anguish even 20 years after its release. During my first time watching the movie, I was not old enough to appreciate the directorial brilliance but still the scene of a small girl in red coat roaming around, indifferent to her surrounding, in the midst of chaos unfolding on the streets and later in a scene her dead body being piled on to a mass grave chalked an impression on my mind. Years later while watching the movie for the second time I was able to put together the fragments of what I understood from last time watching it to how brilliantly Spielberg had crafted the scene to pull the two worlds into one single shot; one caught in a web of mass destruction and another completely apathetic to the horror unfolding around. That during the shooting of the film, Spielberg was emotionally affected betrays in his statement: “America and Russia and England all knew about the Holocaust when it was happening, and yet we did nothing about it."





I have read and seen a lot a movies and novels based on holocaust and each one of them left me gasping in horror at the revelation of the macabre side of human character. Perhaps no other animal except the homosapiens unleashes such unimagined barbarity on its own kind. The last of Schindler's list survivors Leon Leyson died last week aged 83. It's strange of Leon to hardly have ever spoken about his experience of surviving the holocaust until this movie got released. Strange that he thought people would not be interested in his story. 






Over to the recipe, Strawberry Sponge Cake is a two tier cake sandwiched or stuck together with a layer of strawberry jam or any favourite jam or jelly of yours spread in between. Each bite of this cake is pure pleasure, taking you to seventh heaven.

Rosh Bora




I wanted to post some recipes of pithe or homemade sweets on the day of Sankranti itself, but somehow I couldn't make the time. I cooked a wholesome fare of an assortment of pithes - Rosh bora, Kheer Patishapta and Dudh Puli Pithe yesterday. So busy was I cooking and distributing them among peers that by the time I hit the sack, it was past midnight. Usually, I am a night owl having huge capacity to remain awake late into the night but I was so worn out, I fast fell asleep. Anyway, better late than never. So here I will be posting some recipes back to back. First one is Rosh Bora.
'Rosh' meaning syrup in Bengali and 'bora' meaning fritters, the two combined give hints of an ultimate homemade sweet in the making. Some people use few strands of saffron to enrich the flavor of the syrup which I gave a deliberate miss. I don't like the 'shahi' smell with traditional Bengali sweets; I am pretty conservative in that way. 




Sunday, January 13, 2013

Corn Sandwich

Days when I don't feel like cooking anything with elaborate preparation, I stick to making sandwiches, which are simple and less time consuming. One such sandwich is Corn Sandwich. It's one of my favorites, not because it tastes yummy but because of the time it takes. There was a time in Bangalore when we used to be in lot of rush in the morning due to both of us going to office, quite opposite to our present situation when I am sitting at home fulltime and cooking this and that delectable for hubby. Those were the days when getting a decent meal were enough for us, forget anything fancy. Anyway, so Corn Sandwich was one of the items regular on our menu for breakfast before running for office. This recipe is to help all the busy bees searching for some quick breakfasts during rush hour. Happy eating !!




Beans Luchi


Temperature here has shot up a bit turning the climate into more pleasant than I have seen in last two weeks. Finally, I can go out without suffocating myself under an inch thick layer of clothing. Right now the cold is soothing and beautiful, kind of reminding me of Kolkata winter when just a single woollen sweater suffices to keep your body warm. In Kolkata, winter was my favourite season, I so used to look forward to it. I have some beautiful memories connected with winter. One of the best memories was of my pet Bonnie jumping on my bed and snuggling with me on cold afternoons under the same blanket sharing the same pillow and, while he slept laying his head beside mine, his soft fur along the nape touching my face, the feeling was just magical. One should pet dogs to learn how to give affection. They are so loving, caring and affectionate that even without saying they do a lot of things touching your heart. 




Winter not only gives us a breath of fresh air from the constant humid and heat of Kolkata; it also brings joy to our palate when a lot of fresh winter vegetables including green peas, beans and cauliflower are aplenty in the market. Nowadays, however, due to improved cold storage system, almost all the vegetables are available round the year; but still the cauliflowers you get in summer don't stand in comparison with that of winter ones, the slimy bug that pops out at times while chopping the vegetable is proof enough of that. Fresh veggies make the air refreshing adding a healthy punch to your cuisines, preserved ones cannot beat that. 





Anyway, beans luchi is an innovative way to experience old luchis in a novel manner and is another way to make use of beans other than using them in salads or curries. They taste best with Peyazkoli Diye Aloor Torkari, though I believe they go well with anything.   

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Peyazkoli Diye Aloor Torkari



Did you guys see Big Boss Season 6? I believe so far it's one of the most interesting Big Boss seasons ever. Though the show became a lot of more entertaining after Imam's entry and his 'nautanki' (drama) shot up the TRP rates all-time high, he was not a winning material and I am happy that he didn't win at the end. There were a lot of my friends totally gaga over Imam's madness, stubbornly having wanted him to win and if anyone reasoned against Imam why he should not win, they would start a severe argument from thereon in Imam's favour. Now they are all sulking with Imam's loss, unable to accept Urvashi as a winner. So lots of depressing status messages with unhappy comments are getting published throughout the day on FB walls and although I am enjoying reading them, but at times I feel they are just going overboard. A game is a game; it should be taken with a game spirit. Imam definitely was very nasty and rude to other inmates. His winning would have condoned nastiness sending out a wrong message to all. 




The smell of fresh peyazkoli is so refreshing na ? I have two back to back recipes involving peyazkoli. One is this delicious yet simple Peyazkoli Aloo preparation that sends a beautiful aroma wafting up through the house when it is in the making; another is a fish preparation which I would post sometime later after I am done with sorting out the snaps.

Rohu Fish Korma



I wish onion juice just like ginger and garlic paste could be available readymade in the market . A lot of time spent into extracting the juice from onion would have been saved to use otherwise. That brings in mind the era of our mother and grandmothers who in the absence of readymade spice powder used to grind spices painstakingly at home, manually, on a grinding stone which still is very much in use across Kolkata in traditional households. Now what is a grinding stone or popularly called in Bengal as shil nora, one not familiar with Bengali way of cooking might enquire. It is a pocked stone slab used for grinding an array of essential cooking items - ginger, garlic, onion, cumin, coriander and the like into paste. I have seen my mother grinding poppy seeds rolling the mortar back and forth on the shil nora, with her forehead covered with beads of sweat, while she paused every now and then rearranging the paste with the tip of her fingers to repeat the grinding process until poppy seeds were crushed into a wet pulp. Without the aid of modern day gadgets, cooking was definitely not a simple affair but still our mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers smilingly managed cooking a wholesome fare comprising 10-15 dishes for all the members of huge joint families. Cooking on such large scale, every day, is simply out of our imagination now. 






My mother always criticizes our generation of women being so impatient with everything seeking immediate outputs on every effort and in pursuit of career and dreams putting the most important things of life on the backburner like family and relationships. I cannot quite disagree with her thought. It's true that women of our generation don't have patience coming close to that of our mother's generation who sacrificed every small desire for the sake of families with an ever-present smile and selflessness that has become a rarity now. However, it's equally true our ways of life are far more complicated than theirs and we cannot be blamed for the complication entirely because with the technological evolution and economic progress, the world dynamics are thrown into a whole new level completely different from that of our earlier generation. There are many aspects of life we now deal with that our mothers had never come face to face with. For example, there was a time when people with moderate earnings could build a house for themselves in the heart of Kolkata, however humble the structure may be, but in today's time erecting your own house in a plot purchased by you is almost unthinkable. With the population explosion and high inflation rate it has become a necessity for us to become more serious about our career and growth and contribute to family income, just to live well.
I believe our mothers were lucky in a way that they were born at a time when life was simple. Although all of us crave for simplicity in life, with the fast changing world simplicity and complete mental peace are two things elusive to many. 






Rohu Fish Korma is a very interesting recipe. Usually, Bengalis deep fry most of the fishes before making gravy with them, only exception being is Hilsa which is not deep fried to keep its juicy flavour intact. On the other hand, I have seen a lot of fish eating people hailing from places like Chennai, Kerala not deep frying fishes while cooking them. I think deep frying fishes before making gravy is a practice unique to Bengal. This is my first of such attempt at cooking rohu curry without deep frying the fishes. I must tell you the turnout was awesome. My finicky husband doubtful of how the taste would turn out while I was cooking it also ended up passing compliments on the end result. One thing you must be careful of is to show little generosity towards the amount of oil you use. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Mulo Chingri - Radish with Prawns

 
In the wake of the recent horrific incident in Delhi, some womenfolk have suddenly been stirred

 out of their impassivity into sudden sympathetic mode on the ordeal of their less fortunate sisters.
 
Please don't misunderstand me, I am not being sarcastic and I am not generalizing women with my

remark. But my observations and experiences in life have shown me that women themselves don't

empathize with other women. Most of the time I have seen women, in group, either criticizing

harshly the one woman who has taken a bold step in voicing protest against something wrong or

playing the role of mute spectators, in a manner of complete indifference to something not

concerning them,  to the suffering of other women. For instance, take the rape case of Park Street in

Kolkata. Who labeled the lady in distress as prostitute? A woman chief minister, who being a

woman herself, can be expected to exhibit a minimum amount of compassion was the first person

to put the victim's character under scrutiny. Just because the victim, a mother of two, didn't act by

the rules demarcated by the society doesn't make her a prostitute. When the power holders of our

country try to lessen the gravity of a crime by publicly calling the victim a prostitute, it sends the

message loud and clear that rape on a prostitute is admissible and not liable to punishment. What is

the definition of a prostitute? According to the dictionary meaning, a prostitute is a woman who

sleeps with men in exchange of money, but in practical life the word is slapped on any woman not

following the set of conventions drawn by the patriarchal society. 'Prostitute', a word of humiliation,

is used as a very strong abusive word to denigrate woman. (To read the article fully, please visit the

link  highlighted.)






My bonding with mulo is getting stronger by the day with the discovery of such a variety of mulo

recipes. This one I collected from a friend on Facebook. She happened to visit my blog and was all
 
praise, so taking a chance of the moment I asked her to share a favourite recipe of her especially

something related to mulo, as I had a huge mulo at home awaiting to be slaughtered. She relayed

the recipe of this one which she claimed is quite regular in her maiden home. Nice!!!!





Thursday, January 10, 2013

Alu - Phulkopir Singara



It was almost a daily routine for us while in Kolkata to have 2 singaras with a cup of tea or coffee 

in the evening. In Bangalore, not that too often but at least once a week, we would hop on to Hal 

Market to buy our share of bliss - singara, mochar chop, alur chop and the like. Each morsel of 

piping hot singaras were pure pleasure, one of the reasons why I found losing weight so difficult 

that time. Not that I am not struggling with weight still, a tad overweight is a byproduct of being 

foody after all  :)



Regarding the recipe, the filling of singara is very easy in preparation especially if you are
conversant with Bengali way of cooking. The filling varies a lot from one region to another; the
singaras sold in Kolkata differ a lot in taste from the rest of India. But more or less, the preparation
technique of putting the filling inside a pastry sheet and deep frying is similar everywhere. In case
you are not comfortable with kneading you may buy the readymade spring roll pastry sheet readily
available in the market. In fact readymade singaras are also available in packets. You just need to
bring them home and deep fry. So you may either grab the readymade pastry sheet or you may
knead pastry dough mixing together all-purpose flour, salt, a pinch of cooking soda or baking soda
 with required amount of water, the discretion is yours. For the convenience of time, I always prefer
 the first option over the other.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Narkel Posto Bora - Coconut Poppy Fritters



Narkel Posto Boda is a delicacy in Bengal, sold at overpriced rates in some restaurants across Bengal
and outside. I remember shelling out 200 rupees for a plate of 8 of these bodas two years back in
Bangalore. Posto is expensive compared to many other culinary ingredients; hence anything cooked
 with posto is a pricey affair. But if you manage to cook posto delicacies at home, you will feel fewer
pinches in your pocket. 




 
Narkel Posto Bora is one of the items I like to eat with a combination of rice and plain Butter
Masoor Dal. Although, you can have it as snacks in the evening with a cup of tea, but in Bengal it is
better served as an accompaniment to rice and dal. 


Semolina Khichdi with Moong Lentil



Recent comment of Asaram Bapuji on how calling the rapists 'bhaiya' and chanting the Saraswati mantra would have saved the hapless girl from being brutalized has sparked a lot of controversy across our nation. Many of my friends quite perturbed by the comment poured their heart on Facebook in angry status messages, but by such hullabaloo over his comment they are only helping him earn what the comment was meant for - undue publicity and some 30 days of fame. Asaram has become an infamous celebrity overnight; the self-proclaimed godman now is a household name that would give him ample professional leverages in luring more followers. If anyone thinks of his controversial comment going to affect his number of followers, he is wrong. Even negative publicity is a publicity which only will help him gain a slew of new followers. Who has unknowingly and unconsciously supported Asaram reach his goal of attracting new members in his ashram?? We did.  



Today on FB, I came across a fantastic parody of the whole situation put into a form of joke as about how following 10 ways as specified by the well-known of our country can prevent a rape. Here it goes:

"1. Don't live in India - Migrate to Bharat instead. (Courtesy - RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat)

2. Don't eat chowmein. (Courtesy - Khap Panchayat)

3. Don't go out with boys in the night. (Courtesy - Abu Azmi of Samajwadi Party). Better still - go on self-imposed house-arrest.

4. Don't wear jeans. Fashion is strictly prohibited. (Courtesy- too many people to mention)

5. Get married when you are 16 years old. (Courtesy - Khap Panchayat)

6. Don't use mobile. (Courtesy - Khap Panchayat)

7. Don't cross Maryada (Courtesy - MP Minister Kailash Vijayvargiya)

8. Say NO to anything remotely connected to western culture (Courtesy - RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat)

9. Perform puja to put "stars" in correct "position". (Courtesy - Chhattisgarh Home Minister Nanki Ram Kanwar) And if everything mentioned above fails and you are still being raped, here is the last weapon

10. Call your rapist "Bhaiya". (Courtesy - Spiritual Guru Asaramji Bapu) That ought to STOP THE RAPE!! " (Extract taken from SantaBanta Jokes)

I personally believe Asaram Bapu watches a lot of soppy hindi movies where the heroine trapped in the 'changul' of villains addresses one of them as 'bhaiyaa' stirring humane emotions in him who, then, makes a 360° shift in character from the hair-raising monster into a self-righteous brother, who while a minute ago was all horny suddenly converts into a savior of his newly found sister's honor. How melodramatic and filmy!!

 


Over to the recipe, Semolina Khichuri is an interesting concoction, the recipe of which required 'radhuni', a special spice very strong in flavor to be added, but although spices sold under the Bangladeshi brand name 'Radhuni' are available aplenty, the 'radhuni' spice that we Bengalis use in many vegetable preparations is nowhere to be found. The availability of a brand by a similar name only leads to more confusion when we look for our Bengal 'radhuni', everyone pointing direction towards the shelf overflowing with the stacks of Radhuni spices. Hence I have told one of my relatives travelling to India to bring a few packets of our radhuni masala on her way back. Meanwhile, since radhuni masala is missing in my kitchen inventory, I make do with garam masala powder which has lent an exquisite fineness to the wholesomeness of Semolina Khichudi. Best served with Narkel boda, this khichuri tastes great with even Narkel Posto Boda. 

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