Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kochu Shaak with Shrimps

Traditionally, kochu shaak is cooked with Ilish macher matha or Hilsa fish head, but another variant of Kochu shaak preparation that is popular among Bengalis is kochu shaak cooked with shrimps. In my maternal home, everyone is gaga for kochu shaak. Though ours was not a traditional joint family, but all the brothers of my father lived next to each other in the same plot. As a result, we grew up as a very close-knit family. Whenever there was something exotic cooked at anyone's home, my aunts or my mother would make sure to share it among each other. Kochu shaak was one such decadence everyone would like to celebrate. Of all the kochu shaak preparations, my mother's one I liked best. She made this dish so tasty that I could eat one plate full of rice only with this dish by my side. It tastes nice with roti too, but I think it tastes its best when accompanied with rice.

Kochu shaak is not available in all the Indian grocery stores here, especially, in the part of USA we are staying now. We searched in every nook and cranny before laying our hands on kochu shaak, some 60 miles away from our place, and so naturally the joy was beyond description. I tried to emulate my mother's version of kochu shaak dish, and it came out really nice. My husband was totally drooling over it.

However, before you go ahead with this preparation, remember to have plenty of time in your hand because this dish calls for an hour or more time of devotion to bring the richness.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Chanar Dalna - Paneer Dalna

Yesterday we took our newborn to his first long car ride of approximate 3 and half hours. He has completed two months last Saturday, and taking the liberty of his soon to be out of newborn status, I thought of taking him to a shopping mall in which I had few garments, that I ordered for him, for pick-up. He was calm and quiet throughout the long journey. On our way back, however, as we were approaching our home, he grew a bit impatient letting out an occasional whimper of irritation, but otherwise he just totally cooperated. Though I am not fond of the idea of travelling long distance with a small baby, I have seen people going on international journeys with small kids. I have a friend who came all the way from India to USA with his 3 months old baby all alone, and I know of her experience of hell when my friend could not eat, nap or use the loo throughout the flight as the baby was immensely fussy wailing his heart out . My friend is brave, but I am not. Hence, despite a wonderful summer of USA tempting me to take a trip, with all my friends travelling here and there, reveling in the warmth of such nice weather, I am not at all letting my mind walk in that track. I would like to wait for a while till I know that my son is safe for a long distance trip.

Anyway, Chanar dalna originally is the preparation in which fresh chana i.e the paneer, which is left after the whey water of milk is discarded, is used. Since the process of separating milk from the whey is a bit time-taking process and since I am little short of time these days, readymade paneer is always the best option for me while preparing this dish. So it is up to your discretion whether you want to use fresh paneer or the readymade one.