Monday, July 09, 2018

Nandini's Nolen Gur er Ice Cream -- No Ice Cream Maker needed

Nolen Gur Ice Cream

Over the weekend, we had some deep discussion with friends, who are trying to learn the intricacies of Vedanta.
They shared pearls of wisdom like

"we have to accept that we have no control over our or anyone else's destiny"

"that we need to identify with our atman as we ourselves are Brahman"

Needless to say, I did not understand any of it. I mean I do understand but I cannot really internalize yet. For that, I need to meditate, my friends told me.

And then we watched the Russia-Croatia match. Since the teams I was supporting with all my atman had already bid adieu from the World Cup, I had nothing at stake in this particular match. Even when the winner was to be decided by penalty shots, I kept calm, which is very unusual of me. I get riled by penalty shots and at the Russia-Spain penalty shoot out, I was literally hyperventilating. In contrast, during the Russia-Croatia penalty shoot outs, I was far more relaxed and gently rooting for Croatia. It helped me enjoy the game better as I had little expectation.

And that is when my friend said, that I should watch life like a "Russia-Croatia" match instead of "Belgium-Brazil" match. I should detach myself from the process, accept whatever is to happen and merely hover over life without having too much at stake.

This I kind of understood-- at least soon after the match. To detach myself from the process, not expect anything and go with the flow of life. I can strive to do the best but I have no control on the results

Nandini making Nolen Gurer Ice Cream

Like say, my friend Nandini. I have written about my friend Nandini, many times in this blog and also in my book. I guess I have never mentioned her by her name and always referred to her as N, but she has been omnipresent throughout the blog.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Salmon Posto -- Salmon in Poppy Seed paste


Salmon was not a fish I loved when I first set foot on the shores of this country. I liked neither the taste nor the smell. The very thought of ordering a salmon sent me into bottomless despair. "What is this country where the fish does not taste like Ilish or Rui", I would often cry, my patriotic heart wailing for fish from my motherland. It is always about the food and the fish, isn't it?

I was convinced that my husband's Bong colleague who had gone about the office inviting folks in what sounded like "Plish come to my house, I make pish for you" was actually referring to salmon.

But then the only salmon dishes that we had were in the restaurants, which then were very bland for my taste buds. I was also not fond of the skin-on-salmon and had no idea that I could request the fishmonger to take the skin off.

But we live and learn. We adapt. We love new things and then cannot live without them

Learning from friends, improvising and experimenting, searching the web. we have now found many delicious ways to eat Salmon. It is one of the few fish which adapts itself well to Bengali style dishes like "Shorshe diye Salmon", "Doi Salmon", "Salmon er paaturior even a Salmon kalia. Our Salmon experience improved for the better when a friend suggested to bake salmon at a lower heat than other fish. It keeps the fish juicy, he said. And by God, it did. It was so much better and moist when baked at 275F.

Salmon is one of our favorite fish these days and we have it often

A couple of days back I made a Salmon Posto. Rui Posto is something that my Mother makes. I love anything with Posto and so to give salmon a makeover, I made Salmon Posto or salmon in Poppy Seed Curry. You can use any other fish like Rui, Kaatla, Bhetki, Swai or Tilapia in this recipe too. The traditional way is to fry the fish before adding to the posto gravy but of course I baked my salmon.

Also do remember, anything with Posto tastes best with white rice, so though the photo has red rice on the plate, if you have white rice stick to it.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Moumita'r Kochu Paata Chingri -- Colocasia Leaves with Shrimp

Moumita making her Kochupata Chingri
Today I will bring you a dish that  I had never had it growing up and my Mother never made it. Nor did my grandmother. 
But it is a Bengali delicacy and I have heard a lot about it mostly heard of  this dish as a speciality in a restaurant called Kasturi in Kolkata! Next time I am viisting india, I have to make sure I land up at Kasturi.


If you are still clueless as tow hat I am blabbering about , it is the famous #KochupaataBaataChingri or #KochupaatabhaapeChingri . We were on a scientific mission to nail down this dish which none of our Mothers had ever made and a couple of us had tasted it only once or maybe twice in their life. This project was very different from re-creating a dish from nostalgia. There was no recipe to follow either. Here we were re-creating something only from heresay. At least the cuisine was same and we had certain benchmarks to guide us like "shorshe baata" (mustard paste) or "narkol baata" (grated coconut). It would have been way harder if the ingredients had unknown tastes of "Yuzu" or "Katsuobushi"!

Our first imediment was our very little knowledge as to how to get Kochu Paata  I mean back home was I ever interested in Kocu? Err never ! The husband-man who is usually a "know-all" in these circumstances, said "kochu'r loti" is okay but no one ever uses "Kochu Paata" in  a Bengali dish!! We didn't pay much heed to him and the Kochu Paata problem was solved by Gujarati folks in town who use Colocassia leaves aka Kochu Paata to make Paatra. They guided us to the aisle in Patel Brothers which carries those leaves. 
Next it was my chef-de-extraordinaire friend Moumita who led the experiment. Now, she is the one who was making complex kheer kodomboss when I was barely getting my rice and egg curry right, so I knew the experiment was in able hands. "Chokh bondo kore bhorsha kora jaay" type. As in English, -- "Have full faith"
A few days back, one Thursday evening she called me to say that she had finally made "Kochu Pata Chingri" and  the result looked like a success, so she would drop off some for me to taste. Now by Thursday I have hardly anything interesting to eat at home and was planning to go out for dinner after Child 2's science fair. But Moumita's message was music to my ears and I shelved all plans, cooked a pot of rice and waited for dinner time. .
Her Kochupaata Chingri was delicious to say the least. Since I do not have the Kosturi benchmark to test against, I do not know how theirs taste but this one was awesome.

Next day, I sent the husband-man to scour aisles of Patel brothers and get "Kochu Paata". Then on a fine Saturday, I made the dish, following Moumita's recipe and tweaking on what she had created. She did the entire thing on stove top but after the initial few steps,  I put it in the oven bwhere I cooked it the same way I make "Chingri Bhaape".  The end result tasted very good though honestly we were yet to distinguish the taste of Kochu paata in it. But I am so glad that we did it and I don't have to wait a whole year to taste what Kochupata Chingri tatses like.

A big thanks of course goes to Moumita. And I hope we can get some time to bring a video of her famous Biriyani for you too.

And since I love to drool over kitchens and such, here is Moumita's gourmet kitchen. isn't it lovely?



And Ta-Da, here is the pretty Master Chef herself...