Mutton Do Pyaja (Goat meat with two types of onions)

9:01 AM

Now that winter is here t and we find reasons to veer towards the richer spicier gravies, let me present to you this rich, spicy, soul satisfying dish called Mutton Dopiyaja or dopyaja. Do piyaja literally means with two types of onions. Traditionally fried onion or birista and fresh onion are used to create a thick brownish gravy. But in my recipe, I have used onions thrice. The third variant is those whole small purple onions, which I cook along with the mutton and by the time the dish is ready the whole onion becomes soft and jammy, a delightful addition to the succulent meat and spicy gravy.


Amra Chutney two ways (hog plum recipe)

7:55 AM

“Memories warm you up from the inside. But they also tear you apart.” 
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

Every day when the huge Grandfather clock over the dining table will strike 9 and will make the ringing sound exactly 18 times I knew it was time. The time that I was waiting since morning. Ready with my hair combed and a belly full of Breakfast made by Dida. Which was funny because the thing that I waited for was food.

Congee with Chinekamini rice with a quick chili-scallion sauce

6:58 PM

Most of us associate the food congee to China but if you look closely then you would find that similar food is available all through the world, albeit in different names.  The basic dish is called gruel where some kind of cereal is cooked with water or milk and depending on the thickness and grains used in the dish, it changes it's name.

Going back in history reveals that Gruel came into existance as a baby food once human learnt farming. Before that in the time of hunting and gathering when the group were mobile the mother had to breastfeed the infants till he or she was able enough to eat foraged food or meat. but the process made the mother stay away from conceiving again and hence the tribe wasn't growing much. After farming came into existence, the mush cooked with grains and cereals were easier to feed the babies and made the mother to conceive again and increasing the size of the tribe much faster.

But hardly anybody knew of it rather it had always been considered as the food of the have not. It was much easier to imagine hungry peasants or as Charles dickens vividly portrayed in his Classic -Oliver Twist, famished orphans eating this very basic mush of grains and water. More so because even broken damaged grains worked better in such concoctions, cooked in the most simplest of form for sustenance and keep one full for long.

This made Gruel popular all over the world.  Depending on the region and its climate the grain changed from pinhead or ground Scottish oats to cheap variety of rice, maize meals, broken corn kernels, millets and even broken wheat, wheat flour and stale bread.  Literally everything that the riches would turn their nose down on were fit to be cooked down with water to a big bowlful of gruel for sustenance. It's that part of the history that no one ever wanted to take notice as not until recently we ever wanted to explore what was on table for the under privileged.


Kalabhat-yogurt-mango breakfast parfait

8:08 PM

Though as a grown up I dread summer but when I look back, Summer evokes such fond memories of childhood vacations spent at grandma's. Those were the simplest times with pure joy found in everything.
My Mama bari or maternal home is in a very remote village of Midnapore near the Coast did not even have electricity back then but we never missed it. we had friends and cousins to play with, pure unadulterated nature to explore and loving family and home to come back to. Everything was pure in what they offered. We had the most basic food foraged, caught and collected from our own farms, cooked by Dida. Even the breakfasts were simple affairs.

Bengali food has always been based on the principles of Ayurveda following which we not only include each of the six tastes to our meals for a more nourishing and fulfilling experience we also base our diet on easily digestible rice based products. Apart from various types of rice that contributes as the main carbohydrate to a Bengali diet there are numerous other rice based products like Muri (puffed rice), Chire (beaten rice), Khoi (puffed rice in it's husk), Chalbhaja (Another type of puffed rice but not as puffed and little spicy), khud (broken rice)  etc that makes our breakfast and snacks wholesome and filling.

You will hardly find a Bengali who have grew up in the 80's or before not have had Doi-chire-Aam as summer breakfast. Doi here refers to homemade yogurt and mostly chinipata doi where sugar is added to the milk before adding the culture. This Chinipata Doi often were our desserts during summer days even in our family this was served as a part of wedding meal. 

This Kalabhat parfait is born from that memory of my summer vacations and Doi-chire-aam. IF you know me then you know I do not suggest or recommend anything unless am very sure of it. And this Kalabhat parfait is a delicious thing to start your day. Kalabhat or black rice is naturally high in anti oxidant and contains anthocyanin that fights cancer and helps in reducing inflammations. Naturally gluten free, full of fiber and rich in protein content and so very versatile too. You can use them as steamed rice to pair with your curries, add in stir fries or salads, make desserts and even add them in your soup. Trust me this chewy slightly glutinous grain is a delight to have.

Mixed grain rice and pan seared Gandhoraj chicken Buddha Bowl

8:24 PM

Buddha Bowl is a wonderful concept where you pile up a bowl with your choice of grain, veggies and other accompaniments resembling the tummy of a laughing Buddha. The idea definitely is to include more ingredients from each food group with minimal processing to make it quick, balanced and nutritious. If you are someone  who wants her weekday meal sorted under 30 minutes then Buddha bowls are definitely for you. Depending on your choices you can change it to suit your requirements, like if you have more time or you want a fancy bowl of goodness then add more items to your bowl, if you are on specific kind of diet then you can make it grain free by adding cauliflower rice/ spiralised zuchhini or carrots or sweet potato, you can make it vegan by replacing the protein with tofu or lentils etc.

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