Friday, 10 November 2017
Going to my parents home every single time feels like walking into that attic where all my childhood toys, story books, pictures, that doll from whom I was inseparable through my toddler years have been carefully stashed away. The joy of, (for once) someone looking at me with so much love as I lie enveloped in slumber with a smile caressing my lips, then gently stroking my forehead and tresses, lightly nudging me to wake up, is truly indescribable. Many years have trotted by and changing of roles have taken place as I now habitually look at a fairy face, fast asleep and then run my fingers through her silky mane, gently coaxing her awake. Yet I so look forward to this role reversal every year and totally bask in its warmth and tenderness.
Wednesday, 8 November 2017
Pyaaz Ka Salan or Fried Onions in a Thick Rich Gravy is an ode to the Culinary Gem Mirchi Ka Salan. The recipe of Pyaaz Ka Salan is a little different to that of the Mirchi Ka Salan which has a thick brown gravy, resplendent with Bhavnagri Mirch (Chillies from Bhavnagar, Gujrat), which are long, fat green chillies with the right balance of heat and finely hand pounded chironji and almonds. The Mirchi Ka Salan dates back to the times when Emperor Akbar ruled the Indian Sub~Continent. The popular theory is that this dish did not originate in the royal kitchen but most probably in the kitchen of a Wealthy Jagirdar when he threw a Regal feast for the Emperor.
Monday, 6 November 2017
Himachali Chana Aloo Madra Recipe / Traditional Garbanzo Beans In Yogurt Curry From Himachal Pradesh
Himachali Chana Aloo Madra the decadent, rich dish from one of the most beautiful States in India is a complete treat for the senses. Himachal Pradesh which means abode or land of snow in Sanskrit is true to its name. Nature has showered it's bounty on this state. Situated in the northern most part of India and home to some of the most famous hill stations, just like the splendour around, the people who live here are synonymous with charm, grace and kindness loaded hearts. The cuisine of this region is spicy and makes use of a lot of yogurt, cardamom powder and is generally slow cooked to bring forth the huge array of flavours.
Wednesday, 1 November 2017
It was the year 2010, when laden with a couple of suitcases I had taken a very bumpy flight to a really tiny airport in Goa. Mr. S was there for almost a month, living out of hotel food which had got his system a little haywire. So here I was to get his gut back on track with some homemade food. In the week that we were house hunting in Miramar, Panjim I did get a fair chance of treating myself to full fledged Goan fare. Most of the times I would be by myself and undertake small culinary adventures. Be it a visit to the Spice Gardens or a taste escapade at the Saturday Night Market at Arpora, a rendevous with the Poder (the Goan breadmaker, an adaptation from the Protuguese padeiro) or sampling a mouthful of Bebinca topped with Vanilla ice~cream at Infantaria cafe in Calangute or simply perching myself up next to a window seat at the waterfront restaurant in the Goa Marriott Resort, right on the Miramar beach, experiencing Goan cuisine at it's best, I surely did have a true blue Goan Style blast.
Sunday, 29 October 2017
The door bell buzzes and buzzes again and again. That's not usual who could it be. I literally rush down the stairs and just manage to prevent a trip over while missing a stair. As is common in these occasions, the heart pounds and thumps as if there is no tomorrow. Oh dear, I almost feel my heart in my throat. I open the door to a dozen giggly kids who in unison shout out "Happy Halloween", trying their best to make spooky faces at me. I did forget it is Halloween and unlike the times when I was growing up, kids these days, no matter in which part of the world they are celebrate Halloween. I look adorably at their sweet faces, some smeared with charcoal paste, some having scary eyes as an after effect of smudged kohl and some have made good use of their Mum's lipstick to give the impression of blood. Those fangs which the dear little boy dressed as a vampire is wearing is overtly cute. It's such a happy feeling to see these little darlings, trying to look scary. I send them off after filling their jack o lantern printed buckets or small hollow crafted pumpkins with chocolates and toffees.
Wednesday, 25 October 2017
We, women, have been constituted in such a manner that we tend to lose ourselves in taking care of others. As daughters, sisters, wives, mothers, aunts, grandmothers we have an inherent quality of putting others before self, especially when it comes to family. Well, though it is hard to generalize and there will be exceptions to this, I am till date, yet to come across a dame who will say me first. When I sit back and think, I am made to believe that when Almighty was creating a girl, more love, care and sensitivity went into that creation. That's why we are what we are, special, epitome of love and kindness with a heart so giving, patient and nurturing. Not that I have not seen men who have these qualities ( was daughter to one and now married to one ), but again they are not at large, somewhat a rare gem to find and treasure, but not impossible to find. In this case you have to look high and low but when it comes to a lady, you will surely bump into one with soft, gentle, loving demeanor and who will put family before self, quite frequently.
Saturday, 21 October 2017
Ever since the festive season commenced, indulgence was served generally on all platters. Not that festivities have ended yet, but with so much of goodies having gone in, the tummy did scream for some rejuvenation. Every year whenever a little detox does the the internal system of our body good, we turn a "Go Green" page in my family. After the elaborate festive fares, quick fixes, takes over the kitchen menu. But please do not think that I will be posting anything mundane or boring here. Even these quick dishes have an element of fun and adventure in them.
Tuesday, 17 October 2017
Dear Readers How are you all celebrating Diwali this year? For me Diwali starts and ends with food. I will be preparing a vegetarian Lunch Thali. Also there will be sweets galore and a very special sweet called Zauq E Shahi which means Royal taste and is mini Gulab Jamuns served in Rabri. In the evening when a thousand Diyas (Earthen lamp with a wick dipped in oil) will illuminate my home I will join my hands in prayer and just like every Diwali, this Diwali too, I will pray for Light over Darkness, Hope over Despair, Good over Evil and Love over Hatred. Along with all this I shall repeat something in my mind which I had promised myself to do many years ago. I will once again uphold my promise of embracing every aspect of the Globe while being rooted to my Rich Indian Culture and tradition. That's what my food too shall always reflect. Global with an Indian Soul.
Monday, 16 October 2017
Zauq E Shahi Recipe / Mini Gulab Jamun In Rabri / Fried Khoya ( Milk Solid ) Balls In Very Thick Milk
Zauk E Shahi translates to Royal Taste. This dessert from the Awadhi Cuisine treasure trove combines the very popular Gulab Jamun with the quintessential Rabri. While trying to trace the history of the Gulab Jamun, I came across this very interesting story of it's nemesis. I am not sure whether this is a folklore or there is some truth in it. Nonetheless since I was fascinated with the story, I had to share it with you my wonderful readers.
Thursday, 12 October 2017
I am an ardent lover of Chettinad Cuisine. For those of you who are not familiar, Chettinad Cuisine is the food that the Nattukotai Chettiar community from the Chettinad Region in the south Indian State of Tamil Nadu, cook in their home. This beautiful hamlet is not only known for its rich cultural heritage, ornate magnificent homes with large kitchens, but most importantly the Spice trade which thrived between the Chettiar community with countries like Burma, Java, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Mauritius in ancient times. No wonder their food is resplendent with taste and aroma infused by the use of these perfumed spices.
Wednesday, 11 October 2017
Whenever I am working with Beetroot I keep staring at that gorgeous colour that splashes out and kisses my fingers with love. Indeed as Red symbolizes the colour of love, I feel that there is a heart connection we have with the beetroot. For me it is the vegetable of love. Speaking about the heart connection, Beetroot loves your heart and your heart , the most important organ in your body remains healthy if you allow the love of Beetroot to spread over it. How? Without going into the technicalities, I would like to put down here, that Beetroot has high concentration of dietary Nitrate which our body processes into Nitric Oxide. Nitric Oxide in turn is known to help our blood vessels relax. As our blood vessels relax, there is a reduction in our blood pressure. Reduced Blood Pressure means Reduced Chances of Heart Diseases and Stroke.
Friday, 6 October 2017
Friday, 29 September 2017
Dhaka Style Kacchi Chicken Biryani Recipe / A Distinct Type Of Chicken Biryani From Dhaka, Bangladesh
Life those days was overflowing with selfless, unadulterated, Shat pratishat shudh desi ghee (100% pure Desi Clarified Butter) type of Love. Two sets of grandparents, two dozen uncles and aunts from both sides and off course the most wonderful parents were showering their love on me and my sister and cousins my age or couple of years elder or younger. Life was all about going to school, studying, playing outdoors and on holidays reading my story books, reciting poems from my favourite Bengali and English poets, going for a ride on Baba's Lambretta Scooter. These Italian scooters were in Vogue those days. Scooters in general was romanticized and made a dream ride when the debonair Hollywood Legend Gregory Peck rode one in the movie "Roman Holiday". Baba being an ardent Gregory Peck fan, having watched all his movies would ditch his Ambassador car for his Lambretta scooter many a times.
Thursday, 28 September 2017
Wednesday, 27 September 2017
Rituals, age old traditions which we bring out from our rich cultural heritage treasure chest, are responsible for all the smiles, happiness and warmth around, when the festivities are in full swing. I have been a keen and inquisitive observer of these ceremonial practices from the time I was a little girl. Some of these customs fascinated me, some of them intrigued me and most of them made me ask the family elders innumerable questions. Yesterday was celebrated as Shashti, the day which heralds the beginning of Durga Puja and Bengalis follow some rituals on that day. These rituals are outlined in our scriptures and are abided accordingly. Kalp~Arambha is the ritual performed before the beginning of Durga Puja. Kalp~Arambha is the ritual of taking a pledge (sankalp) to follow each and very custom and ritual as is mentioned in the books without any deviation whatsoever.
Tuesday, 19 September 2017
I wake up with a jolt and a pounding heart and strain my eyes to look through the dark room. Collecting my self and my thoughts I wonder what woke me up so early. I pick up my mobile and see the time. It's 3 a.m. in Dubai. My eyes fall on the missed call and I scroll down to see that Ma had called. In a flash everything comes back and my eyes light up with a broad smile. I take a deep breath and try to imagine the intoxicating aroma of the pristine white Shiuli Phool (Night Flowering Jasmine). Then I tip toe out of the room, walk downstairs and open the door. As I step out neither can I feel the nip in the air, nor can I see the dancing kash phool (Kans grass native to India) in the far horizon. It's still far from being cold and in the light of my house I can see only Palm trees. Sigh!! I am in Dubai and not in Kolkata, where my heart is. Today is Mahalaya, a very special day for Bengalis. I sit in my garden and call Ma. All she says is "Shon" (listen) and then the most familiar voice of Birendra Krishna Bhadra buzzes into my ears, as my eyes swell up with tears.
Wednesday, 16 August 2017
I look at the cardboard boxes sprawled across my once spic and span home, some half full, some taped and closed with marker scribbled words of what it contains inside written on top. The Greek Philosopher Heraclitus's doctrine says "Change is the only constant" and so true it is. Change has remained the only constant factor in my life so far. It all started from the first change of sharing my parents room, to my own room, then sharing my room with my sister, changing out into my Engineering college hostel room, to my first salary rented flat, then to my in-laws home after marriage, many other cities and homes later to this one in Dubai and again I am changing to a new abode which I will turn into a home in time.
Monday, 14 August 2017
Thursday, 3 August 2017
Pista Gulkand Laddu Recipe / Dairy Free, No Cook, Pistachio & Rose Petals Sweet Preserve Bites / Vegan Pistachio & Rose Petals Preserve Sweets Recipe
I have been in a race with the Sun for many years now. That I rarely win the race is another thing. The Sun manages to beat me on most days, cause by the time I am waking up and stretching my lazy bones, he is outside my window winking at me and teasing me that while he has been up and shining, I am still struggling to wiggle myself out of those feather soft sheets. That feeling of just a few minutes more and then I will be "as fresh as a daisy", has neither ceased nor diminished from my school going days till now. Back then I used to think that feeling like this was exclusively for children, as I would always find an ear to ear smiling Mother with no traces of any "I want to sleep a little more" on her face, nudging me up awake every morning. I would think then that in mothers maybe that state of mind is non-existent, but nothing like that happened with me after I donned the role of a mother. I still struggle, every single day to tear my head away from those clouds of softness, waiting keenly for the weekends, when I thankfully don't have to race with the Sun.
Monday, 31 July 2017
Pesarapappu Timmanam Recipe / Andhra Style Moong Dal Phirni Recipe / Husked Split Mung Beans And Coconut Pudding Recipe
Eons ago when a lady looking like an Indian Goddess from my childhood mythological books, resplendent in a fuchsia coloured Kanjeevaram saree, with her tresses adorning jasmine flowers stringed together, had taken my hand and welcomed me into an abode which she had for years nurtured with love, care, discipline, traditions and deep rooted values, little did I realise that one day she would become my biggest strength and I would emulate her in all aspects of my life. As a coy demure bride, seeped in apprehensions, with a fluttering heart, I had held her hand as she led me one step at a time into her world, a world which she had created brick by brick through rain and sunshine, filled it with smiles, a world where love was genuine, selfless, a world which would become my refuge of comfort and solace for my entire life.
Wednesday, 26 July 2017
Whenever my eyes gaze through the bountiful colours around, which the Creator keeps filling in, on this huge canvas called nature, I wonder what magic and love the Creator combines to be able to paint each and every bit of this vast landscape with exotic colours. I remember watching this Disney movie called Tinker-bell where fluorescent pattern winged fairies are responsible for all the enchantment we see around. Whatever be the reason of their nemesis the hues of nature cannot be matched ever with the manmade artificial colours. The colours of the pink dragonfruit or the minty green from the spear mint leaves, the tangerine hued Oranges, the Gold dusted turmeric, the amber kissed saffron or the ruby red painted beetroot, nothing oh nothing can bring the smile upto my eyes than a hand with tinted fingers, splashed with gorgeousness from these brilliant shades.
Saturday, 22 July 2017
Most of us have at some point or the other heard or seen in a restaurant menu the Bunt Tuluva Mangalorean delicacy Chicken Ghee Roast. I wanted to replicate this speciality dish by substituting the chicken with a vegetable. I however wanted to retain the fiery colour, the spicy aromas and the stellar taste of the original dish. So here I am with a vegetarian version Potato Ghee Roast. I have tried my best to retain the originality both visually and in terms of flavour. My friends and family were delighted after tasting my Potato Ghee Roast and I received a positive feedback from them. Now, I sincerely hope that my readers, too will give a thumbs up both after they have seen the pictures of my Potato Ghee Roast and tried out the recipe.
Thursday, 20 July 2017
Kundapur Masala Powder Recipe / Mangalorean Spice Mix Powder Recipe / Taal Masala Recipe / Bunt Style Masala Powder Recipe
Kundapur Masala Powder is an indigenous, versatile spice mix which is used to flavour and give a distinct charater to the universally popular Mangalorean Bunt Community specialty dish known as "Chicken Ghee Roast". This spice mix powder is said to have originated in the Southern Indian state of Karnataka from a coastal town called Kundapur. The Kundapur Masala Powder is believed to have had its genesis in the kitchens of the very popular Shetty Lunch Homes. So if you happen to visit Kundapur do surely take time out to sample the Chicken Ghee Roast at Shetty Lunch Home. Till then, you can refer to the ingredients given below and get the spice mix ready to be able to prepare Chicken Ghee Roast or Potato Ghee Roast (for my vegetarian friends) in your kitchen easily no matter whether you are located in Boston, Brussels or Borneo.
Saturday, 15 July 2017
Padampuri Murg is a Chicken delicacy from Padampur located in the princely state of Rajasthan in India. This is probably one of the creamiest chicken dishes that you might have ever tasted. The Khoya/Khoa or milk solids used to cook this dish is primarily responsible for the rich silky texture of it's gravy. Along with yogurt and pure desi Ghee (clarified butter) added generously, this dish is not at all for the faint hearted . The indigenous spice mix which is added to the curry is resplendent with fiery red chilies, black cumin (kalonji) and other spices that gives the dish a perfect balance of flavours, a unique taste and a light lingering aroma. One spoonful in your mouth and your taste buds will dance to the power house of flavours which makes this dish truly befitting to be served at any Royal fare.