Friday, May 11, 2007

Piyajkolir Tarkari

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Little S knows all about Mothers Day. By "about" I don’t mean the history or the Hall Mark-ing of it but she knows there is a day like this when you are supposed to give your Mom cards etc. before you throw the usual tantrum. When she was 16 months, it was my first Mother's Day as a Mom and D took her to get me a card and Mom’s Day gift. I got a funny card with a mirror and a dangly sparkly kind of bracelet in some abstract color which is not something I take to wearing. When I asked D why he got that thing, he said because S pointed it out!!! So last year I took it upon myself to get me something sensible crediting the money spent and joy of gift giving to D of course. The most precious thing though was the card little S made in school for Mother’s day.

Since S is a 3 year old now with much more sense and I am a lover of good gifts, I was dreaming that maybe she will point out to the dazzling ruby and diamond bracelet or the Coach handbag at Macy’s when D takes her to buy the Mom’s Day gift instead of pointing to some arbitrary stuff .

So yesterday I told S with a lot of enthu – “You know Mothers Day is this month”
She said – “Oh when is it?” (In Bengali she said “Kobe re?” with the right inflection)
So I showed her the calendar and the day and asked her – “What do you want to do on the day?”
She flung her small soft arms around me and said “I want to hug you” !!!
Holding her tightly the commercialized Mom in me said “ What else ?”
She said “ It will be your holiday so you won’t have work and I want to sit in your lap all day”

I was ashamed, yeah downright ashamed. While I was thinking of gifts all this tiny creature wanted was to love me and be with me. Amidst all the days work its true that I don't always get time to be just with her. So even when I am physically around and it may seem I am spending time with her, I am multitasking and feeding her while chopping veggies or sneaking a peek at the blogs while talking to her. I don't really just sit with her for long. Even if I do for a little while I am prone to say " Chal chal anek kaj ache" (Let's get going I have lots to do). Soon she will grow up and this is not what she will want from me. So as long as she asks for it maybe I should set aside my chores and just sit and enjoy and smell the freshness of her innocence. (Ok it may not work out as beautiful as it sounds because this 3 year old is an active imp and before long you may see me panting and gasping for air, a far cry from "smelling innocence" but at least I should make an effort)

I was never a fan of Valentines Day, but I liked Mothers Day since even being far I would send my Mother small gifts which I thought showed my love for her and it also meant “one more occasion” to get some loot for myself. But maybe even all my Mom wanted was just to be with me (or maybe she preferred the gifts which were more useful than the adult me , I never asked)

So between my Mother and my little daughter was I the one caught in the Hall Mark warp, totally discounting the actual essence of the day and concentrating on the screaming Mothers Day Sale banners instead.

To change my attitude this year I asked D to not get me a gift for Mother's Day, instead if the weather is good we will pack a lunch and have a "picnic" somewhere and enjoy the day as it comes
(D if you are reading this, you can give me gift on all other occasions, do not take this to your benefit. I am thinking of the child here remember !!!)

Happy Mother's Day to my Ma who has always been a good friend, has helped me through all my growing years including my studies, stood by me when I wanted to take up job in another city, stood by me in most of my life's decisions and done for me a lot more that I can ever imagine doing for her. I really feel bad that being far I am not really able to do for her as I should have as a grown up daughter in their day to day life. But she doesn't complain and neither expects anything from me. Hope to be a similar mother for S to be happy in her happiness and not expect much....

Happy Mothers Day to myself and to all Moms out there
(This post shared with Desi Momz Club)

Piyajkoli Or Scallion/Green Onion/Spring Onion is used to make this very simple typically Bengali dish. Tempered with Kalo Jeera/kalonji, a very common spice used for tempering in Bengali cooking, and Green Chillies this is one of the quick dry dishes you would make on a week day to go with chapati at dinner or packed with roti for next days lunch.Me the Rice lover, loves it with White Rice too. The shrimps add a festive touch to this and since I love shrimps I almost always add shrimps to this dish.
This goes to Nupur for "A - Z of Indian Vegetables" for this week's P -- Piyajkoli'r Tarkari a dry dish made with Scallion, Potatoes and Shrimp


What You Need

Scallion or Green Onion (known as piyajkoli in Bengali) ~ 4 bunches chopped small (as shown in pic)
Potatoes ~ 3 medium sized peeled and cubed as shown in pic
Green Chillies ~ 4-5 slit

Shrimp ~ ½ cup. I used frozen medium shrimp. You can use fresh smaller shrimps or even salad shrimps
Kalo Jeera/Kalonji/ Nigella Seeds ~ 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder ~ ½ tsp
Red Chilli Powder ~ 1/2 tsp or according to tatse. I do not add this usually


How I Did It
Defrost shrimp if frozen else wash and clean. Sprinkle little turmeric powder and salt on the shrimp and leave it aside for 15-20 minutes
Wash and chop the scallions and potatoes
Heat Oil in a Kadhai/Frying Pan
Lightly fry the shrimp till they are golden. Remove them and keep aside
In the same oil sauté the potato cubes till they acquire a hint of golden. Remove and keep aside
In the same oil (liitle more oil needs to be added by this point) add kalo jeera/kalonji and green chillies for tempering
Add the chopped scallion and sauté
Lightly fry till the scallion wilts.
Add the lightly sauted potatoes and mix well
Add ¼ tsp of turmeric powder, salt and sprinkle a little water if necessary. Add Red Chilli Powder if you wish
Cover and cook till done. Don't cover and let it burn, since there is very little water you need to stir this often.Don't worry doesn't take long
Add the fried shrimps and mix well. Cook for a couple of minutes and you are done

This will be a dry dish and enjoy with Chapati or White Rice as a part of your everyday meal

Note: As one of my readers mentioned, instead of frying the potatoes as a separete step you can add the potatoes after tempering the oil with Kalonji and Green Chillies. Saute the potatoes and add the chopped scallions and cover and cook as the next steps indicate.

Remember to wash your bunch of scallions well when you bring them in fresh and for storing and chopping information check here

Trivia:The words scallion and shallot are related and can be traced back to the Greek askolonion as described by the Greek writer Theophrastus


  1. This sounds simple enough for a novice like me to try...will let u know how it turns out once i have tried it....Meanwhile, have a great Mother's day.....Hallmark or no Hallmark!!! :)

  2. Sandeepa, silly me, but my eyes are misting.....Lil' S indeed has grown up, from getting those shiny bracelets to hugs.....hugs, something one can't have enough of.....sorry, if i sound mumbling here. something in your post touched me.....hugs to you both :).

    Lovely recipe. I am gonna' make it tomorrow. i bought some spring onions today!

  3. Great piece, beautiful photos! Soon, it'll be the li'l one asking you for the diamonds and the Pradas!

  4. That gesture would have made you so proud!!!! :) Its wonderfully written! :)

    Loved the recipies as well! :) Nice and simple

  5. Funny and touching at the same time. Happy Mother's Day to you! Give S a Hug for me. May it be diamonds this year.
    Dish looks super simple but tasty. Adding shrimp to vegetables does not come naturally to me but the whole family loves shrimp, will give this a try.

  6. Lovely write up on Mother's Day, San! It was touching to read about what little S wanted to do on Mother's Day. Out of the mouths of babes come the most profound things sometimes! What a sweet little angel she is! Alright, an angelic imp! :)
    The recipe is so simple and looks delicious!
    Happy Mother's Day, San! Hugs to you and little S!

  7. Have fun Sandeepa,Diamonds are little too much but a hug and a kiss and a card is always welcome,right?:))
    Dish is simple and looks delish,I will have to skip the Shrimps.Thanks.

  8. Sandeepa,
    lil S is such asweet heart , My lil one also seeks attention in which ever way possible for her ,
    enjoy the day with her .
    i love the dish without shrimp ...
    hugs and smiles

  9. Sandeepa, whenever I read about li'l S(whom i want to meet very badly)I always feel that she is quite matured and intelligent for her age, I dont see kids at her age with so much of intelligence, asking for hugs and time with her mom as a gift !, no I'm not casting an eye on her...just sharing my observation thru ur writings....MY HUGS to li'l S and the big S :) Beautiful notes !

    And one more thing I noticed about the cooking is, shrimp is so part of your cooking, isn't it?

    Hope you get to go for a picnic and enjoy the Mother's Day !


  10. ohhh Sandeepa, little S is absolutely an angel... a clever one at that.... Another beautiful post from you... I liked the subtext for D after you declared you don't want a gift for mother's day :D
    Have a fun picnic with your beautiful family , Happy Mother's Day to you!

  11. What a delightful post! I love how your blog is becoming a collection of vignettes from your little girl's childhood...little moments that are too precious to be forgotten.

  12. Such a touching post on Mothers and mothering. I am moved...

    As to the dish, I use green onions almost daily. I love the combo you used: green onions, shrimp and potatoes.

  13. Moi
    Yeah it indeed is simple and very typical like a Bong quick sabzi

    Thank you, you are such a sweet person

    Please please no!!! if she asks, I know what to say now ;-)

    She is still small you know

    Happy Mothers Day to you too. No diamonds for sure :)
    I am a shrimp lover try tossing it in everything but because D has a higher cholesterol, he avoids them

    Thanks and Happy Mother Day to you too with lovely M

    Yeah, a kiss a small gift a hug a kiss everything will do :) S already gave me a card she made at school and Monday I will go for a Mothers Day Tea at her school gain

    At this age kids want a lot of attention, you are right. My ma also does not add shrimp

    Thanks and S is a sweet kid indeed. But she does not ask for hugs etc. when I ask "What she wants as a gift?" (intelligent, right ?) Though even then she aks for small things like an Yo-yo last year. You know kids are innocent at this age
    And shrimp -- same as I told Indo

    Yeah you know I don't want him to take it to heart ;-)

    You are right. I wanted a separete blog but that's too much of a effort so I try combining when ever appropriate

    Try it, its a very simple and a pretty quick dish

  14. Sandepa, isn't it amazing how kids tend to spring surprises when you least expect them don't think they will observe certain things...hugs to you and your little one and spend the day in a special way...

  15. Sandeepa, little S seems to have the real spirit of Mother's Day. That is so sweet. Have a wonderful Mother's Day. Piyarkolir tarkari shrimp diye... yummy.

  16. sandeepa, happy mother's day!! that is so touching. little S is a cutie. when i asked today what my little 'M' is going to give me? she told me that 'i am present'. at 3 they are the most innocent in the world.

    i have never heard of this dish. looks very authentic. my mom makes a kerala thoran with spring onions.

  17. i felt the exact same thing when i sent her a bouquet this year. Now all I want is to BE there with her on this wonderful day. Though am not a mom I can truly relate to what u feel. But do u think we would have been able to realise this but for our children. My mom always used to say "U vl understand when u get a child".. Guess u got to understand that.. BTW, I had trouble spelling the name (Piya.. what) for a while :D

  18. Wow, everything lil one talks with innocence and love makes everything beautiful around us. My hugs for both u and "s". minus shrimp, will be my platter:). Nice picture and happy mothers day.

  19. That has been such a touching story. I agree that sometimes there is a guilt to leave your child in child care and missing on her little silly beautiful acts..At work you think of them and at home you think of all the chores...It has been so sweet of little S to remind all of us "All what is needed is Love and care". She is a little Angel...

    Happy Mothers day to you dear Sandeepa. Wishing you loads of fun on your picnic..

  20. great post...really lovely...great recipe as always...I am learning all about regional names and dishes...its great...thanks for sharing

  21. sandeepa, its so cute and very nice writeup! the dish looks good ofcourse will skip the shrimps:)

  22. oh sandeepa.... girl.. u made me so emotinal and i am right here in my office with tears in my eyes.... beautiful post... and a big hug to little S and big S:) hope u had good time with one another:) i am lost for words!!! donno what else to day...

  23. oh!!! just forgot to thank u for ur concern sandeepa:) my ankle is much better now. its healed 90% :)

  24. Sandeepa - tomar comment dekhlam. muffin-e 2 tbspoon butter diye chilam. post update kore diyechi.

  25. Hi....Ur dish is simple and elegant...i love it...Nice pictures...

  26. lovely Post . you must be so proud of your lil darling. She has made your day.
    BTW loved your recipe too. good one for "p"

  27. Sunita, Mandira, Reena, Shivapriya, sushma, DilipJi, Roopa, Supriya, Sharmi

    Thanks all of you. I did have a great relaxing time yesterday and today was a Mothers Day Tea at S's daycare/pre-school which I thoroughly enjoyed
    Thanks to all of you dear friends

    Thanks I am going to make it this week

    Does it remind you of "Piya , Piya " ;-)

  28. hope you had a great day with your darling daughter, sandeepa. what a sweetheart she is.

  29. Sandeepa,
    Hugs, hugs and more of the tight hugs was our way of spending the Mother's Day too. Hugs to Lil S for growing up fast. On the Pneyajkoli front, my mouth is watering, as I am yet to visit the good old Chittaranjan Park this month, the Bengali hub for fish, Bong veggies, spices, sweets, pickles, bori, aamshatwo, magazines....... in Delhi NCR. As a variation you can try not frying both pneyajkoli and alu separately and use a saute, cover, stir process. It comes as less soggy.Once done add fried shrimps/ kucho chingri as you want.

  30. Hey, belated Mothers day wishes to you!!! I'm sure you had a wonderful time... You have a lovely blog!! This dish looks really good!! Its appetizing even for a veggie like me!! :))

  31. Happy Belated mother's day sandeepa ...too good on the write up man .....i have spring onions with me today ...i am going to try it with shrimp..bec i am pure veg person ...thks a lot ..a small hug to ur cute little one ....

  32. Sandeepa,
    you have put down my thoughts in writing so beautifully. At this age they ask for nothing more than our time, and unfortunately, we tend to multi-task at any given time of the day. Oh well,
    BTW...just spotted an error. At her 16 months, it must have been your 2nd mother's day as a mom:)

  33. Bee
    Thanks :)

    Bong WM
    You are right about the piyajkoli. I do it your way most of the time but I always thought that saved time and did not realize that keeps it more crunchy

    Ramya and deepa

    At 4/5 months it was indeed my first Mothers Day but since S was too small and not involved in the card giving I consider the 16 months as the real one

  34. hey this is a nice dish with spring onion, i see you do not add any kind of masala pwd :) will try it without the shrimp.

  35. hello Sandeepa
    lovely recipe.thanks for sharing. i started blogging recently. u can visit my blog at

  36. I don't know how I missed this blog!! Beautiful writing...loved it!
    Will be checking in here often :)

  37. Your child is sooo sweet Sandeepa! What a sweet gift for Mothers Day!! A hug to lil S for that!!
    Spring onions and shrimp...hmm, I'll think abt that!

  38. Sandeepa, you took me straight to my mom-in-law's kitchen with the smell of your piyajkolir tarkari! Very good blog. I wanted to become a member of DMC. What do I do? Belated Happy Mother's Day!

  39. ur daughter is a cutie.. maybe she read ur valentines's post and decided that her mom doesn't like commercialised gifts.have fun!

  40. Hi Sandeepa, I'm late in coming to this one, but what a lovely, touching post. I often have the same feeling about my own kids, even at their older ages. Always hurrying from this to that, when what they want the most even now is my *time*. Hope you had a lovely picnic for Mother's Day :)

  41. Richa
    Many of the typical Bengali dry sabzis do not use any masala powder other than the spice for tempering. On the same lines we make a Cauliflower-Potato dr sabzi too, minus shrimps

    Shall check your blog soon

    Thanks for dropping by

    Jyothsna and Sogno

    Don't give her any more ideas :)

    And I though things will get better here after

  42. Hey Sandeepa, as i promised, am here to convey my thanx...I tried the piyajkolir tarkari and it turned out yum!!! hope u have been doing well..waiting for ur new post!!! :)

  43. wanted to say a hi and inform u that this weekend, I tried out red thai curry (with shrimps) from your blog and it turned out really nice...thank u :)


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