Bengali

Kajli macher Jhol

9:45 PM



I have never believed in cooking separately for the kids and once they crossed the age of 18 months they have been eating the regular food. But there were adjustments. Like no chilies, less spices, less oil, and absolutely no small fish.

Being a Bengali our meals are never complete without a dish or two of fish. But since we always encouraged the kids to eat on their own we had to omit these small river water fishes from our menu. Glad that this phase is almost over. The little girl now is enjoying the small fish curries with equal gusto and is often demanding for her share of mourola mach bhaja (crisp fried Indian anchovies). 

Bengali

Kolkata style Aloor chop

8:13 PM


I was waiting for the rain God to bless us with some heavy downpour to bring out my deep-frying mode. Not being a lover of deep-fried goodies I really need a reason to bring those calories to my plate. and am happy the rain is finally here.

Monsoon this year is late. very very late.

So late that most farmers were worried to death as it delayed plantation. But as they say better late than never, we are happy that rain is finally here in full throttle. and what better way to embrace the season than some piping hot alur chop and cha?

Bengali

Sorshe, Dharosh, Chingri or okra with prawn in mustard sauce

7:54 AM


Being a Bengali we use a lot of Mustard paste and being someone from coastal Midnapore we even use more mustard paste than any average Bengali household. The villages from where my parents hail from are known for fresh seafood and local produce. You go to the market early in the morning and the variety will amaze you. Foraging still is strong here like in any villages away from the Metro cities. People not only forage wild greens but for most families, the supply of protein comes from the rivers, ponds and waterlogged paddy fields.

Desserts and Sweets

Mango Lassi Popsicle

3:12 AM


In Kolkata 7 out of the total 12 months are hot and humid. Even now when the monsoon is here, the humidity is around 80% with temperature in mid-30s. This makes life very difficult at times. We constantly feel depleted of energy and thirsty all the time. Especially kids who know nothing about sitting at one place and not running around. 

Now we as a family were big lovers of all types of Colas and soft drinks. We loved every brand especially the colourless ones were our favourite. Every year till now we have kept our stock all through summer to reach out for a pour every time we needed something to drink. But not any more.  in lieu of the water crisis and the irresponsible use and wastage of water in the soft drinks industry, we have decided not to drink any soft drinks from now on. Rather we would make more of my homemade drinks and the natural frozen treats that we make during summer. 

Desserts and Sweets

Mango Mousse-eggless no cook recipe

10:15 PM

In our Santiniketan home, we have a Mango tree, not a very big one where you can hand a swing. but a small manageable one with bushy leaves and very very sweet fruits. Like all the other trees in the garden, it was planted by my mother quite some time back. The variety is called Mallika, a hybrid between two Indian varieties called Neelum and Dusheri. Not because it is in our garden but this by far is the best mango I have ever tasted. sweet, juicy, fleshy, fiberless and with a very small stone. The only problem is you cannot leave them on the tree for ripening. It is so sweet that the bugs and ants will definitely get them before you do. So every year these are picked just before they start to ripen and then they are rolled in pieces of newspaper and left on a bed of dried hay. 

Bengali

Aam Shol recipe Snakehead Murrel cooked with Raw mango

10:52 PM


...Barisha Kantak hin, amrojoge sholumin
khara lon ghana dia kati 
Randhilo Pankal Jhus, dia tentuler ros
kheer randhe jal dia bhati...
      -Atha Khullana'r Randhan Arambha
       Chandimangal Kabya
Bonik Khando



Am shol or Shol fish cooked with mango is a very old traditional dish of Bengal which even was referred in the 16th century Bengali Hindu religious text called Chandi Mongol Kavya. Chandi Mangal Kavya is one of the three important Mangal kavyas, the other two are Manasa Mangal Kavya and Dharma Mangal Kavya. Mangal Kavya which literally means Poems of Benediction were written in verses and for a long period of time these group of narratives were undocumented and narrated orally. Later in the Colonial era, they were written down by many poets like Mukundaram Chakraborty, Bijoy Gupta, Manik Dutta and many more.



Bengali

Beler Pana or Wood apple sharbat

11:01 PM


Beler Pana (Wood apple drink) is a drink that I hated with vengeance as a kid. and if I am a hundred percent honest, then I must admit that am still not a big fan either. I like the taste of this fruit and prefer to use a spoon to scoop the fleshy orange pulp from it and eat, but not the sharbat which gels easily and provides a weird texture.

But as a parent you are not supposed to tell truth all the time. So come every summer I bring these home dutifully and make this simple sharbat for the family. Especially for the men as it is extremely beneficial in aiding digestion and getting rid of constipation and ulcer. Luckily the kids drink them without any complain though the daughter demands it to be strained to get rid of the small white fleshy bits. 

Bengali

Lebu Lonka Murgi /Chicken with Gandhoraj Lemon and green chillies

8:00 PM


As much as I love cooking, eating and writing about Bengali food, it's a strict NO for me to go to Bengali restaurants when eating out. The reason being we eat Bengali food every day at home and when out I rather prefer to experiment and experience new cuisine. But that is not the case with my father, who lives with us. Every time he agrees to accompany us for a meal outside he would make sure that we head to a Bengali restaurant. Following the tradition he made us visit Bhajohori Manna this Nababarsho when I announced loud and clear that am not going to cook a five-course meal them to celebrate the Bengali New Year.

bengal

Palor Sharbat

9:40 PM


petrichor
noun
a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.

Petrichor- a distinctively earthy, crisp, enticing aroma that embodies optimism and suspiration of relief of the parched soul. It nudges many emotions in us while soothing and reassuring us of good times.

Petrichor is a word that I often coin to describe a drink called Palor Sharbot.

Desserts and Sweets

Japanese Cherry Blossom Pannacotta

3:59 AM


Summer is at its peak and our appetite at it's lowest. Add to that the stress of Election and the big result tomorrow. All these is keeping us away from the kitchen and the kids are incessantly requesting for something cold something refreshing. My fridge is full with varieties of summer fruits and myriad sherbet mixtures for such any time thirst and food cravings. While they love Aam Panna and Tentuler sharbot I am often drinking big glassfuls of my favourite Vietnamese Iced coffee to keep ourselves cool.

This cherry blossom Pannacotta was made for a recent article for Ananda Bazar Patrika along with few other Japanese recipes. Few of the readers asked for this recipe on Instagram. So here you are. A very very soothing, refreshing dessert which looks as good as it tastes. MAke it this summer with any edible flower you can lay your hands on and win over your family and guests.

I have used some salt-cured cherry blossoms that I had in the fridge. For other options please see Notes.

Bengali

Bhetki Macher Paturi Recipe

1:39 AM


As the temperature and humidity is soaring almost on a daily basis, my ability and desire to enter the kitchen is decreasing. All I can think of is Panta bhat or something very very light and simple for our daily meals. Though Salads and broth type soups will make the most sense,  but since my father does not eat anything other than Bengali food I have to find a way to balance all the needs.

bengal

Panta Bhat and accompaniments recipe

8:08 PM


So here are the promised recipes for the panta and few of it's many accompaniments. Guess I have written enough on my previous post about this meager meal so now let me delve into the recipes right away.

Here I have given an idea of how much of what is to be used. Giving an exact quantity is quite difficult. Follow your taste preference and you would be fine.

All the recipes given here are for 4 servings

Panta Bhat

Q. What kind of rice to use? Sundried or Boiled (seddho or atop)?

A: I have seen normal non-hybrid variety, boiled rice (seddho chal) lends itself better to the process of making Panta. They soften and disintegrate naturally and bring in a slightly tangy flavour. You can even use sundried rice (atop) but it has a distinct flavour which I personally do not like in my Panta.
Similarly, short grain rice is better for this recipe.

Bengali

Panta Bhat, Bengli style fermented rice

4:46 AM

In the 80’s when we were growing up summer vacation was a long affair, at least in the university town of Santiniketan that I call home. Those days in that land of red laterite soil, with no ac and frequent power cuts summer, was dry and dreaded. The only respites we had were the drenched khaskhas curtains and big bowlfuls of Panta bhat.
Panta bhat or slightly fermented overnight soaked rice has been a way of life in Rural Bengal. I believe the association goes back to the time when we discovered this grain and started consuming it. As fermentation expert Sandor Ellix Katz puts it, “Fermented foods were not exactly human inventions; they are natural phenomena that people observed and then learned how to cultivate." Following that preparing, Panta bhat was a mere way of saving the leftover rice for another meal.
Which turned out to have amazing properties of cooling down the body in Summer and keeping one hydrated and nourished for long. Something that our forefathers understood long ago and consuming panta bhat was made a part of life through many folktales and customs.

Bengali

Mochar Pur Bhaja /Batter fried Banana blossom heart

10:10 PM


The most difficult part of writing Bengali recipes in English is translating the name. For instance, what I wanted to mean is a batter fried delicacy where banana blossom heart is stuffed with coconut and mustard paste and then batter fried. But writing that idea in a few words is really difficult more so for the uninitiated.  Thank God that I have a blog here to explain all that. 

This recipe is supposed to be from my Mother's repertoire but somehow I forgot all about it. The enthusiastic cook she was she had these huge files and diaries with cuttings and handwritten recipes from various magazines. This was a handwritten recipe, most probably from some friend or from her colleague. It sounded so good that, that day itself I cooked the same and loved it. It's almost like tasting another variation of mochar paturi (Banana leaf wrapped spicy Mocha)  only with a crispy outer coating. Blissful with a simple Dal bhat meal and perfect for entertaining guests on days when you need to cook a vegetarian fare.

Bengali

Rosun, bori die Lal shaak Bhaja / Sauteed Red Amaranth with garlic and wadi

11:37 AM


some kids are weird, really really weird I tell you.

And one of them is my son. 

When most kids his age run away from greens and bitter gourds, he embraced them with utmost love even before he started to walk. By the time he was three, I had to cook stir-fried bitter gourd (uchhe bhaja) almost every day. He loved it so much that he won't even wait for lunchtime to nibble on them.

One Pot meals

Curd rice or Thayir Sadam

7:34 AM


Summer is upon us at its full throttle. Too soon I say as I still am confused how come the weather took such a sharp turn. Maybe I was too busy with the kiddo's exams, my first Pop-up (will post about it later), a competition I took part in Mumbai and the painting work at home that I forgot to notice when the weather warmed up and became nasty. Gone are the days to walk long miles early in the morning and looking up to the mellow winter sun to warm up our cheeks and hands. 

Bengali

Bina Kakimar Muro die Shim bichir Dal

8:04 PM


Do you know how it feels to converse with people you have never met? especially when they share their heart and open up to you like an old friend. It feels like you are entrusted with love, faith and a blessing called friendship. 
And I am very thankful to my journey of blogging that often I have been blessed with such experience. 

A few days back when I posted the shim bichi die shol mach recipe a reader Mita commented with a mention of her mother's Macher muro die shim bichir dal recipe (Hyacinth beans curry with fishhead). The dish sounded so good that I messaged her back requesting for the recipe. Like a seasoned cook and a true foodie, She sent me the detailed recipe with how much the gravy should thicken and what to pair it with. 
According to her, this recipe belongs to Bangladesh, to the districts of Noakhali and Chattagram. 

Cakes cookies n savory goodies

Strawberry Almond Orange Tea Cake

12:45 AM


If you want a respite from this time of Negativity and chest thumping patriotism then I can offer you a slice of this delicious cake. Dotted with the unmistakable ruby sweetness of Strawberries, flavoured with the fresh zestiness of winter oranges and an occasional crunch of the toasted almonds, this cake would surely make your tea time satisfying. Especially when you want your time to be peaceful and wants to keep those mouth shut who could make a storm in your teacup. This is a sure shot way, well at least for some time. Try it, am sure you will come back to thank me later.

Bread Paratha etc

Tandoori Roti made on Tawa, Stove top, Video recipe

7:43 PM


Many of you asked me on my instagram account about the rotis in my Sarson ka saag recipe. Yes, they are Tandoori rotis but made from scratch at home. And No, you don't need a tandoor or even an oven to make them at home, also they are very easy to make. Much easier even than normal tawa rotis, which I believe we all have struggled with at some point in time.

Bengali

shim bichi die shol mach / Broad beans seeds and Channa striata curry

12:51 AM


Boimela or Kolkata Bookfair is something that makes Calcuttans nostalgic. Though I see how the bookfair is losing charm with every passing year but for us who grew up before the internet started selling everything we still love that quintessential smell of hard bound books. I belong to those who believe books are your best companions. Be it Romantic novels, adventurous stories or travel diaries it keeps you enchanted and loose sense and experience things that you never dreamt of. 

Curry

Authentic Punjabi Sarson ka Saag

9:51 AM


I never thought I would post this recipe as I have never cooked it before this day. But somedays you just do the unthinkable. because some recipes are perfected over generations and all you need to do is to follow the path and keep the trust.

Though I never made it but over the years I had gathered enough tips and tricks to make it from various TV shows and my blogger buddy, Amrita. I especially loved Amrita's stories when she went to her ancestral home in Punjab and documented this recipe. The biggest tip was to use the stems or the dathal as they say in the local dialect. 

The recipe I followed belongs to Bobby Chinn's flavour cafe Asia which I noted down in my diary many years ago. I just love how he is so down to earth takes on everything with his great sense of humour. The dish was made in a remote village alongside a mustard field. The recipe I believe is as authentic as it can get, made in a Handi and slow cooked for hours with pure ingredients, patience and love.

Bengali

Maa's Sobzi dewa Nonta Puli (Savoury Pithe)

7:47 AM


The first house we ever lived in Santiniketan had an unusual floor plan. We had to enter the second floor that we rented from a man in his seventies through a staircase in the garden. The entrance was halfway through the stairs and the whole second floor was divided into various levels. The kitchen, for example, was higher than the main living area. We had to take 6 steps to enter a narrow red oxide kitchen with big windows on both ends. The bathroom and the small round verandah were lower with 4-5 steps down the hall. We had only two bedrooms and a small hall but we never complained because it had a sprawling garden with almost all sorts of fruit trees and a huge terrace. We spent most of our waking times there and in summer even we slept under the stars. 

Mushroom soup with chili oil

8:51 AM

 Updated the almost 9-year-old recipe with new pictures on the blog.
Please check the link HERE

http://www.ahomemakersdiary.com/2010/09/mushroom-soup-with-chili-oil.html


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