Bengali

Grated mango and chickpea Pickle

6:23 AM


Before it's too late and raw mangoes completely disappear from the market for a year let me post this recipe. This grated mango and black chickpea pickle is the real thing. It's spicy, it's sour and so very good, just perfect with almost everything. Be it Roti, paratha or plain Dal chawal, the tangy bite from the chickpeas definitely pushes any meal a few notch higher. 

Review

Hilsa Festival @Taj Gateway; Kolkata

9:57 PM


Every year when I get invitation from Gateway Kolkata to attend their Hilsa festival preview I feel giddy. For many reasons I have stopped doing restaurant reviews as a blogger but this is one place where I love to go both personally and professionally and be amazed with their great food and hospitality again and again.

The mastermind behind any food festival at Gateway is, Chef Ashish.  He has a penchant for experimenting with an acumen for marketing. It's his pure love for food that he has the courage to bring his experiments on table for taste testing. This year again he brought out something  new, some he created with his kitchen wizardy and some he curated from the forgotten bylanes of Epar and Opar Bangla (Bangladesh and West Bengal).
Paturi
The menu could be best described as a mix of Ghoti and Bengali style recipes with a couple of North Indian and continental flavours to cater to all taste buds. 
Dhakai Ilish

Cakes cookies n savory goodies

Cherry Clafoutis with Browned Butter

10:22 PM


Clafoutis is a French baked dessert, quite rustic and homely in its baking but very satisfying to have as a light dessert. Light because it generally does not involve much fat and are always made with some stone fruit that adds to the sweetness and the flavour. In rural France this is often made with unpitted cherries which a slight bitterness and an almond like flavour to it, but pitted cherries definitely adds to a smooth mouth-feel which is preferred for desserts. 

Bengali

Kolar Bora (Sweet Banana Fritters)

1:12 PM


My Daughter is very happy these days. Ever since the driver left job to go to his native village she is very excited. Both the kids do not like car rides rather they prefer to commute on public transport. My son's joy breaks all bounds every time he makes me agree to ride a bus. Same with the daughter, her favourites are Auto rikshaw and rikshaw.

Since her play school is just 5 minutes ride from home, now a days I am picking her up in a rikshaw and everyday after school when her eyes fall on the waiting rikshaw outside the gate she starts jumping with joy. her joy is so infectious that even the Riksha pullaer or commonly known as rikshaw wallas starts smiling at her. Everyday she tries to persuade me to sell our cars and buy a Rikshaw for her to ride all day long. and every day I argue with her saying Baba has to go to office and we do not have anyone to pull the rikshaw. but am pretty sure soon she will ask her grandpa and brother to do the job for her.

Bengali

Bangladeshi Mutton Tehari (Spicy aromatic rice and goat meat medley)

3:34 AM



The truth is I had never eaten Mutton Tehari before I watched this video. The Tehari of North India which we were served every Sunday for lunch in our Delhi hostel is quite different. This peasant dish of UP basically is a vegetarian dish made with winter veggies like cauliflower, peas and potatoes but this Tehari from Bangladesh could be the close cousin of a basic Biriyani. It's a cross between an yakhni pulao and a Biriyani and it's uniqueness is the zing that it gets from Mustard oil and green chilies. Quite humble at heart but hearty and satisfying for lazy afternoon.

No wonder I again decided to make it for Eid lunch this year. I was running very bsuy with my cooking Demo and and full fledged meal planning for my clients and had every intention to put my feet up for the long weekend. and thats exactly what I did. Just got out of my lazy cocoon on Minday late morning and whipped up this delicacy under 2 hours.


Bengali

chingri, narkol die chichinge chenchki

7:09 AM


As promised here is one more recipe with Chichinge or Snake gourd. 

This is one of my mother's loved recipe and like her while cooking it I dont follow any rule. Though this recipe has prawns, coconut and teeny tiny amount of mustard paste but you can change it as per availability or choice. Somedays I just cook it with a tempering of nigella seeds and green chillies and finish off with a drizzle of mustard oil and it still is the flavour bomb. 



So feel free. If you are vegetarian omit prawn and cook with coconut and mustard. If you dont like coconut then just dont add...it's very versatile yet yummy.

READ MORE

Bengali

Chinchinge Posto (Snakegourd in Poppyseeds Paste)

10:50 AM


Everyday cooking, lately there is a lot of fuss around it. I have been hearing a lot about how time consuming, tiring and intimidating it is and whenever I have tried to argue, I have been dismissed by saying many things. Trust me I cook not only because I love to  but mainly because I care.
  
And with little organising and planning it is very easy to whip up a simple, nourishing meal for your family. On a daily basis I try and experiment to bring in variation and do not do elaborate dishes unless and untill guests are involved. There is no rule, nothing is right or wrong. Good food comes in all textures and colours and but best one is the one that has been prepared with fresh, local and seasonal produce with lots of love and care, preferably following our own regianal recipes. which are precious ancient wisdom, that has been tested by time and have been prepared with lots of thought to suit our climate, body type and values.

For example this humble Chichinge or Snake gourd. It's an native to Indian continent and lesser known in the West.  There was a time when people would buy and cook them regularly during summer. But now in the cities unless and until you are a cooking enthusiast they don't get any place in the weekly grocery bag. But this humble vegetable has a significant amount of fiber, vitamin and other nutrients. 

Bengali

Mourola Macher Jhuri (Crispy batter fried Indian Carplet)

9:54 AM


Today my mind is foggy and the weather is gloomy...It's going to be a long night it seems and I just wanted to come to my blog for some comfort without saying anything.

So here it goes a simple recipe of Mourola macher jhuri or batter fried crispy Indian Carplet/ Indian anchovy. This is how my maa used to make it and it's perfect to start your kids on eating small fish. 

As we all know small fish which are eaten whole with head and bones are packed with calcium and iron but it is extremely beneficial for small kids. It provides a rare source of micro-nutrient and essential fatty acid that is very important for health and survival of growing kids. Nutrients such as Vitamin A, Z and omega 3 fatty acids play an important role in brain development and micro-nutrients found in these small fishes especially Indian carplet is much more higher than in any other animal source foods.

Bengali

Lemonade with jaggery, ginger and basil seeds

12:24 PM


It's always difficult to fall back on routine after a long vacation. I know am being MIA for quite sometime but I can totally attribute that to our long ailments. Which this time were really nasty. Someday we were not even able to get up from the bed. Our Immunity was at the lowest and so was our positive attitude.

Thank God to this fortnight of vacation in Bangalore that refreshed us. We loved every minute of it. Especially meeting friends and our small weekend trips. Though the traffic in Bangalore is absolutely killing but we truly enjoyed going out and eating at some of Bangalore's finest restaurants.

Though I thought of cooking and clicking a lot of picture while I was there but in reality nothing happened. I just cooked enough to sustain us and then just lazed around with a book and kettles of tea. The weather there was to die for and almost everyday we went swimming in the evening and then slept like babies till late morning. Poor Husband had office though and with the three of us sleeping so late he often had to scour the fridge for breakfast.

Breakfast

Handvo (Gujarati Lentil and rice Savoury cake)

6:51 AM


Remember that movie three idiots where drunken Kareena says to Amir Khan, tum Gujarati logo ka khana itna khatarnak kyon hota hai???? Dhokla, Fafda, handva, thepla...aise lagta hai jaise koi missiles hai ..." (why does the name of Gujarati food sound like dangerous weapons? Dhokla, Fafda, Handva, Thepla...sounds not like food but missiles).
Exactly my thought. I love Gujarati food especially their elaborate platters but the names always bring a smile on my face. while we were growing up we only heard of Dhokla, that quintessential sweet shop staple for breakfast. Yellow spongy squares of steamed gram flour batter soaked with a salty sweet spicy syrup and sprinkled with coconut and not so fiery fried green chillies. Seriously I can survive on this snack with some hot tea. but now with the globe opening up and people being interested in various cuisines more of Gujarati food are coming into limelight and more such names are being familiar. and I don't see anyone complaining. 

Events Awards Interview

Giveaway

2:37 AM



It's Giveaway time friends.

My blog A Homemaker's Diary will soon complete 9 years in this bloggy world and to celebrate that I am here with a few Giveaway.

The first one is this set of two beautiful hand embroidered cushion covers from our Kantha Boutique Suryabartta.



In return all you have to do is 
1. share your fondest food memory with me and


To do so You can leave a comment here or Mail me to ahomemakersdiary@yahoo.in.

Last Date 15th April'2017

Curry

Keema Matar (Curried minced meat with fresh peas)

12:01 PM


Hope you all had a wonderful Holi celebration this year!

Ours was not that good and both hubby and I laid in bed and watched the festival of fun and frolic around colour go by. Yes both of us were down with Chicken pox after the daughter and thank God the Doctor this morning announced us completely healed. It was a complete nightmare as somehow we were very scared of this contagious disease and sent baba and the sonny boy to My brother's at the earliest possible. Even released the house helps in the fear that they might catch the bug. At the end it was just us managing the house and the little one.

Bengali

Kachki Macher Baticharchari (One bowl Ganges River sprat with veggies and spices)

9:52 AM


Recipe writing is not easy. You got to trust me on that.

Accurately measuring each and every ingredient is difficult but more difficult is to find an englisg name for every recipe.
Especially Bengali recipes. Where we use so many methods of cooking that calling every dish a 'curry' just doesnot seem right.

As a kid we used to joke about how simple everyday recipes would sound gourmet when translated in English. simple Alu seddho, a homey dish when becomes mashed potato with virgin mustard oil sounds so posh and upmarket. but when it comes to true representation of the dish it needs a rather deep understanding to name it in English.

 For example this bati charchari dish which is nothing but all ingredients mixed and cooked on very very low heat. What will you call it? It definitely not is a gravy dish, nor a steamed one or sauteed. This is a lazy dish where everything is mixed and cooked on slow fire. For some reason I associate such recipes to the women of the household. 

Growing up I have seen the hustle and bustle of a traditional joint kitchen. Ours was a family of eighteen with additional live in maids and servants. The men of our family worked in the service sector, some Govt. servants some school teachers and all of them had to go out by 10 to attend to their work. Unlike other cultures we Bengalis strongly believe in having our macher jhol bhat before we head out of home for the day. So morning was the most busy time. 

After a round of Cha and Muri for breakfast ( tea and puffed rice) The ladies will engage themselves to serve lunch on time. The day's veggie and fish will come home early in the morning and cutting veggies, washing fish, grinding fresh spices will take quite some time. Mother, grand mother, aunts all would share the job. so while on one stove the rice would bubble, on the other stove someone will prepare the spices for fish curry, one will pack snack box for the kids and other will arrange the table for the meal. It was busy yet functioned on some unique harmony.

Bengali

Topa Kuler Achaar (sweet and sour jujube pickle)

6:12 AM


It's that time of the year again when the weather is more whimsical than me during my PMS. Somedays it's warm beyond reason and makes us feel is it summer already in February but come morning the nip in the air makes you cold. As a result the kids are taking turn in bringing home some unwanted bugs.

First it was the daughter who came down with a bacterial infection similar to chicken pox. She had blisters allover her body and scalp without fever or body ache. Now that she is recovering Friday son came home with high fever and headache. On such days I dont feel like doing anything as there's nothing more heart breaking than to see your child suffer. Glad that they are small and are easily cheered on. A batch of cookies here and some drawing sessions there make them happy. and when their smile comes back I am assured that there's everything right with this World.

Having said that one thing that is naggingly worries me these days is this sudden changes in weather. Even five years back there were clear demarcations of weather. Spring came with full glory with a very pleasant weather and colours everywhere. Now not even winter stays for more than a couple of months that too has become so warm. Global Warming definitely is a reality, the quickly we recognize that the better.

The recipe that am sharing today has nothing to do with  it. but the fact that with growing urbanisation these fruits might soon become a distant reality makes me sad. Also this year when I first saw them in the market I had this strange urge to make the pickle. I never had made it before as it was Maa who would make it year after year for us. She would ask her artisans to book trees so that when the fruits ripen she could take them home and make big batches of pickle to give to everyone in the family. 
But not this year. 
With a small bottle of her pickle still on the shelf I knew I had to make it.
I knew I needed to get it right.

So here it is, her simple recipe but without the magic of her hands. I wish I could recreate that...

Bengali

Macher Chop (Fish Croquet)

5:35 AM


Somethings in life do not need any introduction and that fits very well for this recipe. Macher chop or Fish croquet is one of the favourite snacks of Bengalis as it combines their love for fish and deep fries in one dish. These little croquet are made out of spiced fish and is coated in bred crumb for a crisp outer coating. It is said that these mighty chops were invented by some innovative cook serving to the British officials. 

Bengali

Shish palong er chorchori (Spinach shoots mishmash)

7:24 AM


Kolkata, the city of joy is a mystery to many but I have a love hate relationship with this city. As a child I was awestruck with this city's splendour and glamour. Everytime we would visit from our small sleepy university town, the grandeour of the city with it's neon lights and big roads would mesmerise me. I will look at the building with big eyes from our car window and would think for hours about the kind of people who get to live there.


then adulthood happened and I moved cities to realise how dirty, clumsy, chaotic this city is. In Delhi I found solace in its queer quiteness of some areas and throbbing pulse at others. Later I was happy to settle in the modern and urbane Bangalore and when again I had to move back to Kolkata I could not wait to flee...


Now almost 6 years in the city and finally I can see it's hidden beauty, the very heart that beats in all its chaos and noise. It's not about the old houses, it's pompous history or the unique heritage of art and craft...Kolkata is special for its simplicity...the way it invites and absorbs every stranger...the way it is eager to make you a part of its own unique culture...yet the way it lets you be who you are...


Kolkata is pure magic.

and this is where I belong...


Chutney Pickle n Preserves

Gajar Gobi Shalgum Achaar (pickled Cauliflower, Turnip and carrots)

11:27 AM


Before shifting to Delhi I had no idea about the following three things. that parathas could be made with whole wheat flour, pickles could be made with vegetables and Parathas could be eaten on its own. I vividly remember the first time I was served paratha without any sabzi (curry). For me it was unfathomable. How could one eat a dry parathas without some wet curries!!! Back home our triangular paratha breakfast would always always be accompanied with some alur dom and I expected the same when after a hectic day of factory visit ordered some paratha for dinner.

I was residing in a hostel then, a hostel which was built on a facility started by an Ex Army Colonel, who totally wanted the building look like an Army barack with concrete bunk beds and no hot water  even in Delhi's peak colder months. The appointed Ladies hostel warden served his mentality who we used to call Lady Hitler. She would not fumble a bit to fire an MBA student if we even went to our next room after the class. The facility of the ladies hostel, the behavious of the stuff and the food was pathetic to say the least but we tried to cope and devised some tricks to make our life easier. One of them was to get food delivered by the boys living in the adjacent building. There was a twi story hige brick wall that separated the two building. But there was a secret hole in that wall, a lose brick which only the student knew.

Review

Sizzler Festival @Buzz, Taj, Gateway

10:50 AM

Sizzler, the once alien food to many is now a star in almost all good dining facilties. Especially in Winter when the air is redolent with the smell of fresh Komlalebu, comforting Boroline and that quintessential caramely aroma of Nolen gur we crave something sizzling hot. Something that will match the heavy thick  air around us and make us feel comfortable. So what if the temperature never falls below 12C in Kolkata. We need to enjoy our short lived winter with as much winter specials as we can fit in the few days.

So when the invitation from Gateway Kolkata came to KFB, I was more than happy to say yes. Not only because I dint have any sizzler this year but also because I am a sucker of Gateway's Executive Chef Ashis's food. He never ever fails to amaze us with his trade.

 The sizzler festival at Buzz, Taj, Gateway is on till 2nd February'17 as an A la Carte Menu. Available for both Lunch and Dinner.
For booking please call

The menu is as exciting as it could get. Neither I have heard of Southern chicken sizzler or Sheesh Touk sizzler. The platters were as exciting as their amazing taste. We were bowled over by the Kathal ke Gelawat sizzler platter and the Roasted potato with stuffed cottage cheese sizzler that they served in the Vegetarian section. All the sizzler platters came with some Jalapeno rice and their in house multigrain bread which was so very good that you can even finish the meal with that.
Roasted Potato with cottage cheese Sizzler platter

Meat n Poultry

Bone broth

9:50 PM


Its wonderful what 20 minutes of brisk walk in a chilly evening can do to your mood. I am not good at selfcare, I have never been. and with two small kid and plethora of work that needs to be done no matter what i hardly get any time to call my own. But this year I made a concious effort to niche out some 'me time' to do things that makes me happy inside out. and the first I did was to commit to a 20 minutes brisk walk everyday. For the kind of lifestyle I have I know I need to go for a more serious commitment but right now am happy with my small step towards my goal. 

But then most days especially the days when I go out with the day light still there the kids love to tag along. That definitely slows me down as they wonder about everything on our way and ask plethora of questions. It's like a full on blabbering session with one running after the butterfly and the other collecting leaves and flowers, playing with a sprig of twig as an imeginary car steering and what not. Those days definitely my 'all by myself' time is lost but I gain another perspective that us mothers  need to be flexible with our self care routine too. Our precious me time might look different everyday but no matter how disturbed it is we need to carry on and there still would be a certain joy. because we always know it in our hearts that this phase soon will go away and we would all be left to ourselves. 

Bengali

Bhapa Pitha (Steamed Rice dumpling with jaggery and coconut)

4:35 AM


Wish you all a Blessed Poush Sankranti. May the Goddess bless all of us with food and shelter and pray that this coming year no one in this world goes to sleep hungry.

Sorry for again being late in bringing you a new Pithe recipe. I love making them  but this year  my plate is overflowing with work and it definitely is much more than I can chew but just the thought that my work provides for someone keeps me going. It's a responsibility that I cannot say no to at the moment. hopefully in coming times things will improve.

As a food lover, Recipe curator, Pithe making is one thing that I enjoy a lot but evrytime I get myself going I wonder at the sheer labour involved in the whole process. I have never seen Maa, Dida (grandmother) or any older ladies of our home flinch an eye while doing this. 


They would clean, pick, soak, dry, grind the rice all by themselves to make the rice flour that we but readymade from the market. and think of the huge amount in which they used to make these sweetmeats to feed a joint family. Kudos to our traditions and those loving hands for feeding us such amazing food with love and care. This definitely is one tradition that we need to preserve for our coming generation. So here is my recipe for one of the most easiest pithes.

Bhapa pitha is known in different names across communities and region. In Assam this is Ketali pitha/ Tekeli Pitha where it is steamed in the mouth of a ketali/ketli/kettle. Among the Muslims in Birbhum this is Dhupi Pitha or Dhnuki pitha which they steam in matir sora or earthen flat bowls. But it;s almost the same. The process is real simple and quick if you know the process and have the right utensil. 

Bengali

Sobzi die bhaja muger Dal (Dry Roasted Yellow lentil with Winter veggies)

7:06 AM


Do you make resolutions? I sometimes do, but over the years the unkept promises had made me realise that am not a big on routine person, rather impromptu things suit me best.

 But 2016 was a different year, a very bad, a nightmarish one at that. But I dont want to talk about that here anymore rather lets highlight how that has changed me as a person. Am sure you have heard it thousand times that no one stays for ever...and am also sure that no one would realise it before the truth hits you hard on your face....Am not taking anyone, anything for granted anymore and I vouch to have a more relaxed, mindful life surrounded by loved ones. To spend more active time with the kids at home and to connect more with people who actually matters to me. While wwriting this I feel thankful for all that has been bestowed on me, deserving or not. At a time of so much unrest all over the World even a peaceful life is a gift and I truly want to find and highlight more of that in our daily lives.

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