Sorry for this short hiatus. Am not keeping well for sometime and this time its my wisdom tooth which has kept me busy for all the bad reason. Just went through a very painful surgical extraction of the teeth today and the pain is excruciating. Hubby gave me two offers, either to cry in pain or just sit, chill and do whatever I want to with my laptop, while he warms up the dinner and takes care of the baby. I chose the second and here is a quick post to prove my point that Bengalis cook many dishes with coconut other than the famous chingri malaikari.
Nothing can come between food and Bengalis, no not even the sweltering Indian summer. We will eat light juicy vegetable based curries for days to keep our system cool but once there is a hint of any festivities we will jump on the opportunity to make a luxurious meal for ourselves. Most of them might not come across as summer friendly. This just happened in my family. Ever since I have come here at Maa’s she is feeding us lovely homecooked meals. But now as Jamai sashti is around the corner, her planning knows no boundaries. The real factors like summer, heat, the mercury soaring sky high had all just disappeared from her life. When I requested for some light dishes, she counter attacked by saying we cant treat our son in law with everyday meals and if the heat seems unbearable we will install another a/c in the dining room. Huh! Who can argue with that?
The firm green raw mangoes with their smooth, dark glossy skin always remind me of summer. Their mellow yet unmistakable tart mango aroma with thick white flesh makes me dream of various mango recipes. But the most appropriate raw mango recipe that cools us and makes us crave more is this light sweet and sour mango drink known as Aam pora sharbat. Believe me or not once you taste this tangy drink, no longer how unbearable summer is at your part of the world you will love this dreaded season.
I love Santa Claus.
No Christmas has not come early but I am definitely missing that sweet, paunchy generous old man. And the reason lies in my son’s faith in him.
Most of the days the husband comes home way past midnight and by then the baby is wide asleep. The days when his father his lat its difficult to put him to bed. He wants his father by his side and gets sad if he is not there. But now with time he also has started to understand the situation and when last week his father again could not make it for his bedtime he said something that got me thinking. After I had finished reading to him and tried to tuck him in the bed he said ‘Baba akhon Santa clause hoe geche. Ami ghumie porlei ese jabe” (father has become Santa caluse, will only come when I am asleep).
Later while cleaning up the kitchen I started thinking. This December when he was too excited to have his first Christmas tree we told him all about Santa Claus. Who he is and how he brings presents to the kids. He wanted to wait for him on the Christmas night and then we told him that he only comes when the kids gets asleep. He knows we don’t get to see Santa Clause but he definitely comes and the proof lies in the presents that he gets to see in the morning. Similarly he gets to see his father coming until in the morning. It’s a beautiful innocent world for him and a beautiful gesture on behalf of Mr. Santa Claus too. I don’t give any brownie point to my hubby for this but how I wish if everyone has been as generous as Santa. Mainly leaving behind the gifts part.
I am not keeping well for quite sometime. My hemoglobin level has gone down to its all time low which with some other problems make me feel exhausted all the time. Night sleep is also disturbed and the morning alarm at 6 makes it impossible for me to get proper sleep. but replenishing that in the afternoon is another problem. I have tried sleeping with the baby many times but with no result. The day I ever try to sleep in the afternoon someone comes for something. Either it would be the Iron wallah, the milkman, the sweeper, the courier guy, the car wash man, the paper wala, the magazine wallah, the driver or if nothing else then some phone call on the landline. And I hate Airtel or for that matter any of the mobile service companies for their scheduled 3’o clock marketing calls in the afternoon. And they are arrogant enough to tell their customers that they can call any time of the day. The frustration increases many folds when you have a small kid at home. Even just the other day I was telling friend about my relation with afternoon sleep and how its so difficult to get some quite zzzz time when you are alone in the house.
Would not it be nice if we could all do our job silently without disturbing others? I understand the need of the courier guy and he doesnot come everyday but the other people? Trust me my lil one made me fall in love with Santa clause all over again. That fat old man with his chubby cheeks and big paunch has stolen my heart with his generosity. He comes in silently when we all are asleep and leaves the gift without any expectation. Most probably along with cookies will make this simui er payes for him this Christmas. The creamy thick sweet delight will definitely will please him.
My simui er payes is almost like the famous Muslim Id special dessert sheer khurma, thick, creamy and rich with dry fruits. And I have a sure shot method to get the consistency right every time with soft and separate strands of thin vermicelli. Actually there are many varieties of vermicelli available with various thickness and its quite difficult to cook it without turning them into a mass. I prefer to cook the vermicelli separately to do away with this. Below is my method.
This is not your everyday dish, not only for the labour that you have to put in it but also for the amount of spies and oil that brings out the taste and flavour of this simple vegetable. At home we generally eat very light vegetable based dishes. Deep fries are a strict no no for most of the time but are kept for parties and special occasions. But when I decide to cook such dish I prefer to plan the meal with only one or two dish.
Enchor or raw jackfruit is something that I do not like if cooked in a soupy gravy. This is not referred to as the vegetarian meat for no reason and cooking this in a onion-garlic gravy really brings out the flavour. So when hubby demanded some kofta curry I knew I will have to plan it along with some flavoured rice to keep the meal simple. So it was jeera rice and kofta curry for the weekend lunch that we immensely enjoyed. Its another matter that the next day I made him survive only on soup (he actually do not mind having homemade soup though.).
This dish is a little bit lengthy so best if you do the prep work a day before. I generally make a lot of koftas, fry them and frezze in a ziplock bag. The gravy could be different but the koftas taste great when dunked in some rich creamy gravy and I prefer mine in a tomato-yogurt based rich gravy.
Here are some of the Mango recipes that I have shared here so far. many more to come this season. Which one do you like?
So What are you making this Summer???
Summer the hot and humid season of Bengal though most dreaded and unwanted still has a certain charm. Apart from all the mangoes and the Indian berries this is the perfect time to enjoy chilled drinks after a hard day of work. And trust me all those summer quenchers never taste so soothing if the heat is not unbearable. Think of those scorching afternoons, coming back from school all thirsty, tired and sweaty and then the sigh of relief in Mom’s magic potion. That chilled glass of homemade lemonade. The simplest of dink one can think of only with sugar, water and lemon but still there is something magical about it. It has this amazing power to bring solace in sweltering heat,no cola no packed juice can compete with that.
Lebu’r Sharbot, nimbu pani, shikanji or lemonade is the name of a simple summer thirst quencher popular all over the world. From poor farmer staying in a remote Bengali village to someone living in a posh multistory, all rely on this simple drink to sooth their tired soul. And this most probably is the oldest drink that the mothers have been making for their families. I can remember barodida (My grandmother’s mother) making this drink by pulling the two glasses apart and pouring the water from one glass to another to melt the sugar. Mixing freshly picked lemon juice from her backyard, straining the sharbot in a old steel strainer and then serving the drink to my father, their beloved son in law. In my house we still have a few embroidered tray clothes that the ladies made to serve such drinks to respected guests.