Thursday, October 1, 2015

Bengali Bhaja Platter ( 5 types of Bengali fries)

If you look up for Bengali Cuisine then you will find Wikipedia saying that " It also has the only traditionally developed multi-course tradition from the Indian subcontinent that is analogous in structure to the modern service à la russe style of French cuisine, with food served course-wise rather than all at once." 
If you look for more then you will find that "Monsieur Daridan, the French Ambassador to India in the 1960's, remarked to his Bengali host in Calcutta that of all the foods in the World, only Chinese and Bengali food could compare with the sophistication of his native fair" (The Calcutta Cookbook)

Yes Bengali meals are probably the only multicourse meals where proper sequence is followed as per the rule of Ayurveda. But not only this if you look closely you will find a sequence is followed in everything from how the dishes would be placed on a plate or how the plate itself is placed in front of the person. Yes there is a traditionally approved method for all this. I remember while shooting for the show Rocky and Mayur's food express I asked Rocky to turn the plate so that the mound of rice is placed on his left. Look at the Thalis in the following picture. We keep a little place at the bottom of the plate so that following the traditional way we could mix each dish with a little rice to consume and taste everything separately. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Garlic Knots

Every night I try hard to make my two kids fall asleep peacefully. It has always been a difficult task but now with the husband being away it has become an herculean one. Every night a lot of effort and time is wasted to make them sleep. In my desperate attempts I start by reading them a bed time story, then I sing all the lullaby I know, I cradle the lil one till my back starts to hurt and then I move to the bed with the toddler on my lap and the first grader by my side. while I frantically move my legs up and down, up and down to rock the baby my right hand tugs and pulls the hair of the sonny boy to give them the comfort they need to fall asleep. and the worst part is till date even after 6 years of being a mother I could not establish a sure shot method to do this. 

Every night I make a fresh start...trying all my ways to soothe their over active nerves...some days I fail and some days are just a tad better.

But this journey of motherhood is not about failure or success. 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Chocolate Frangipane Galette with Mosambi Orangette Syrup

I love to bake and there are hardly any week goes by without me baking something or the other. But ever since I started taking baking orders under the name Homemade I have been busy baking varieties of cakes. Days are spent in whipping up Ganache or Italian meringue buttercream and smoothening the fondant on layers and layers of cake. and to tell you the truth I love doing that. Nothing gives me more pleasure in the kitchen than a pretty cake all made from scratch.
Cakes Baked by me more HERE

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Shapla Chingri Ghanto (Water lily stems and shrimp with mustard paste) with vegetarian option

I have written about my foraging and eating wildly grown food experiences here. No point repeating the same but with broken heart I am watching that with the rapidly growing urbanisation and increasing use of pesticides foraging in India is dying a slow death. Also in India foraging is something associated with people with lesser fortunes. The general notion is people who find it difficult to meet the both ends meet go for foraging and well off people do not eat those indigenous greens. 

I also see a lot of wild greens growing profusely around where I live in Kolkata but I know most probably they are seasoned with Dog .... and sewerage water. I for myself dont feel like eating them and rather watch the maids picking them on their way home from work. The same greens are available in my local market where I eagerly buy them with a pestering thought at the back of my mind, whether they are gatherd from similar places. But then I reason that when I cant see there is no point thinking about it. Even the cultivated ones are sprayed with so much pesticide and God only knows how they are grown. If the newspaper reports are to be believed they might as well be inedible by now.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Shapla'r Bhyala or a fritter of Water Lily stems in the shape of rafts.

  1. 1.
    (of a person or animal) search widely for food or provisions.
    "the birds forage for aquatic invertebrates, insects, and seeds"
  1. 1.
    food such as grass or hay for horses and cattle; fodder.

  2. 2.
    a wide search over an area in order to obtain something, especially food or provisions.
    "a nightly forage for food"
Foraging, the search for wild organic food is definitely an ancient method of arranging a meal. Earlier it was the way of life but now a days it's an activity undertook only by a handful of people.  Though for some it's a way to have some fun in the Sun but most of them are serious gatherers and the knowledge they posses is really really astonishing. I right now am kicking myself everyday for not looking up for local forage club while I was in USA, where it is practised quite extensively by the like minded people.

The world of foraging is very fascinating in itself. Going out to the woods in search for something edible is very exciting. At the same time it's an wonderful way to bring your kids back to nature and showing them where their foods come from. But like everything else in life you need to be responsible about it. Responsible in the sense of knowledge of whats edible and not and also responsible in the sense of respecting the nature, opting for sustainable gathering which will allow the plants to regrow and the wild animals to have their food. Knowledge of right identification of plants is very important if you undertake foraging. With time we have lost touch with nature and much of our ancient knowledge of identifying edible greens have faded away. So getting a few tips from the expert before you start is very very important for your well being.