Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Rosh Puli or Manoranjan Pitha


This by far has to be the best Pithe that I have ever prepared. I mean you can not go wrong with milk and sugar and ghee but still when I set out to prepare it I dint have such great expectations. It turned out so so so good that already my family is demanding me to make it once again.

Now I am not sure if Rosh puli and Manoranjan pithe are same. The Rosh puli recipe that I had handwritten in my recipe diary (dont remember from where, as this goes back to my college days) is exactly the same as of Manoranjan Pithe from 'The Calcutta Cookbook". The only different part for Manoranjan pithe is, you are supposed to shallow fry the semolina dumpling till golden before adding them to the thickened milk. If anyone of you know more about the pithe please let me know.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Mug Pakon Pithe...an ode to the land of Nokshi kantha and Naksha bori


Like any other school going kid I never paid heed to our neighboring countries till I turned 14. I was a good student, so I knew their historical background or geographical location but they existed only in text books. Till one day I read 'Nakshi Kantha'r Math', a poem by Bangladeshi Poet Jasimuddin... A melancholic tale depicting the tragic love story of Saju and Rupai, a village girl and a peasant boy who hopelessly fall in love, get married but soon are hit by tragedy and are separated.

Shaju, the young wife waits for her husband to return home and starts embroidering her life's tale in a Nakshi Kantha, an embroidered quilt. In her wait to mmeet her husband she sews on the happy memories of their wedding, Their married life and then the sorrows, the pains and despair of her lonesome life. Years go by and finally Shaju dies of broken heart and hopelessness. According to her wishes her grave is covered with that piece of quilt. Next day as dawn breaks over the field , people discover the body of Rupai by Shaju's grave. Who finally returned to his beloved wife and joined her in death. To immortalise their love, the villagers renamed their village as 'Nakshi Kantha'r Math'...The field of the embroidered quilt.

Its a beautiful story narrated in such a descriptive manner that the story comes to life in front of your very eye. Like a water colour image where you can almost see the village, the fields, the starry nights and can feel the throbbing lives of it's people.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Soru chakli pithe and some Sankranti Memories


Chunk, chunk....Chonk.
chunk, chunk....Chonk.
I tried to hear very carefully. the sound is very faint yet It was not hard to notice it. The hours after dark in a village always are very quiet and a chilly night like this makes everything audible. It's the day of Sankranti at my Grandfather's house. I was barely 12 years old then when I suddenly wanted to see S dida making her famous Soru chakli and Patisapta. She used to work for my grand father's family earlier but not any more. Two shops in the market selling fruits and vegetables by her sons took them out of the misery and she now can relax and take care of her grand kids at home. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014, What a year it had been

2014  started with so much anticipation. We were awaiting the birth of our second kid and secretly hoping to have a daughter this time. Even on January 10th when they were taking me inside the OT I was praying to God to bless us with a daughter. and when my Doctor said those magical words 'It's a girl'...my joy knew know bound. Tears rolling down my cheek I just felt grateful...so did my family. We cheered, we celebrated her birth and I thanked God thousand time for making my dream come true...

But I did not know what he had in store for me. He just made me realise that "Sometimes the dreams that come true, are the dreams you never even knew you had." So true.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Wholegrain Pancake with Orange-honey Syrup


We had very grown up talk with the five and half year old of the house this morning. Like every year he is ready with his letter to Santa. This year he not only have written down his lists but also has included his sister's wish.
While having breakfast we wanted to make sure that we have got the kids's wishes covered and ready for their morning surprise.
So I asked him, "so what do you want from Santa this year?"

The boy got all excited and said "Kinder joys, story book and a carbox".

Now a carbox is something very new to the parents. I mean we never have heard it. We looked at each other and asked him "What is a carbox?"

The visibly disappointed son at the ignorance of their parents, pouted his lips and said " you dont know the carbox!!! Remember the toy shop near our doctor's chamber they have that toy with plenty of mini cars in it".

Now the Hubby intervened, "But Santa does not know that shop, how could he get you that".
Letter to Santa, year 2013. This year the list is much bigger
"Santa knows everything" pat came the answer. 'He has a toy vending machine from where he gets all his toys".

Well thats something new. so it was my turn. "but you know if its very expensive then Santa cant get you that. Think how many gifts he needs to buy for all the kids all over the world." I tried to convince him.

"Then send him a Cheque Mummum. We all need to help him." Well this boy definitely knows his way and no wonder the conversation ended then and there.

So while we figure out the shop and the toy, you enjoy this simple Breakfast recipe which is one of the most favourite breakfast of the little boy. We are banking on this in case the husband cannot locate the gift he wished for.

Whole grain pancake with Orange syrup

Ingredients:
Wholegrain flour(Atta/Whole wheat flour): 1 cup
Oats: 2 tbsp (the quick cooking variety)
Baking powder: 1/2 tsp
Baking Soda: 1/3 tsp
Sugar: 2 tbsp (powder in your food processor)
Melted Butter/ white oil: 5 tsp
Egg: 1 large
Milk: 1 cup (or see notes)
Yogurt: 1/4 cup
Vanilla Essence: 1 tsp
For the orange syrup:
Oranges: 2
Honey: 1/4 cup or 4 tbsp

Method:
Make the syrup:
First put the syrup for the pancake on to boiling. Grate the rind of the oranges and collect the zest in a small heavy bottom pan. Add the honey and the juice from the two oranges. Add 2 tbsp water and put on to boil. Once they start to simmer reduce the flame and let it become syrupy for another 3-4 minutes. Take off heat and keep aside.
You can store this in a clean sterilised bottle in the fridge for a couple of days.

Make the Pancakes:
Sieve the flour with baking powder and baking soda. Mix in the Oats. Keep in a big bowl.

Whisk the yogurt and milk together and keep aside.
In a bowl whisk the egg with sugar till the sugar melts. Add the melted butter/oil, milk mixture and vanilla essence. Whisk to incorporate. 

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the liquid in it. Start whisking to incorporate. Do not over whisk and make the batter fall flat, which in turn will result in hard disks, not airy bubbly pancakes. Its better to under whisk in this case than to over whisk.

Heat a heavy bottom fry pan, tawa, or griddle. Grease with melted butter or oil and pour a small ladle full (3 tbsp or so) of batter in the center. Let it cook for a few seconds and once you see bubbles appearing on top, carefully flip it. Cook till the center becomes springy and set. 

Take out and serve out of the pan with the orange syrup poured on top.

A Homemaker's Notes:
You can make your own buttermilk if yogurt is not readily available. Pour 1 tsp white vinegar to 1 cup of warm milk. Cover and keep aside for 15 minutes. Whisk and your buttermilk is ready.

You can add either chocolate chips or raisins to the batter.

If you get good quality Maple syrup buy and enjoy your pancakes with that.