Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Father, the Son and the...

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(Project Courtesy: S's school)

Before anyone thinks I am a diehard feminist, what with my food blog being “Bong Mom” and the other one called “Desi Momz”, let me do my father’s day post fast and fast means right now. Not that I don’t want to be a feminist but at this point of life I would rather steer clear from any of the “the isms” and expend my energy in something else.

Also before the men folks in my house who randomly skim through my blog and who might even kindly generate some revenue by clicking on the super exciting ads that I have entrusted google to put on my page get mad and leave huffing and puffing let me sing my paean to them. Since I am under pressure I am not going to say anything unpleasant about them, no nothing, zilch, nada…. It’s going to be all praises and goodness and this post is going to ooze sweetness as if I am an honeybee on a good will mission.

Sorting by first name, I would start with my Dad or Baba as I call him. He did a pretty good job as a Dad I think, one look at me and my blog and you would know. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
But what I would really like to highlight is his role as a grandpa or “dadai” as the little one calls him. If there ever was an award for “Best Grandpa” he would win hands down. He does things for my little one that I would have never ever imagined he would or even could.

Next is the “other” dad, the hubby’s Dad. Now since you don’t know much about D you can’t really judge whether his Dad did a good job or not and you shouldn't believe whatever I say. But since this is supposed to be a “feel good post” let’s give the man his credits and leave the rest for D’s blog if he ever has one.

Now comes the in House Dad who can “make or break” it. Since he waits patiently while I click and edit my food photos and does not complain if he has to chew on stale sabzi while I save the exciting dish for next day so that I can get my coveted “day light” photos …I better say stuff which I would never admit verbally.

How good a Dad he is only S can say. What I see is how much he puts in to do his share of Fathering. The fact that he changed the smelly poo-poo diapers more times than I did, that he took turns to stay up at night to cradle a colicky baby, he took a week off from work to settle S in her daycare, that he takes care of S’s morning routine and drops her off at school , that he always spends part of his evenings with her playing or fighting whatever they choose -- proves that he had a major contribution in raising S to be the 3 year old that she is.

The fact that I cannot gloat in the glory that I alone toiled as a Mom while Dad was only at work is pretty bad by itself. That I can never tell S “You know your baba did not know to do the diapers” does nothing to boost my ego either.
It also makes me pretty boring because I cannot regale her and the crowd with stories like “Only once I had asked your Baba to feed you and instead of the formula he gave you Cinthol Talcum Powder instead”.

So S will never get to hear such entertaining stories and I will not get to be the all sacrificing filmy “ma” but she gets a great Dad and that’s a darn good thing, I say.

Leaving you all on this sweet note for a short break… see you all again next week with some Bengali Food posts.

Till then enjoy the pics.

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A month or so back a very close friend of ours (the only friend who knows this blog exists), packed their bags and left for India. They wanted to be close to their family, they said. They were happy leaving, but we were sad.For us, they were like family. On the last weekend with them we tried to drown our disappointment by doing what a true Bengali would have done in such circumstances...yes eating of course.

Lebanese food in the above place in Silver Spring, Maryland. My first experience in a Lebanese restaurant. Food was very refreshing but a bit too tart for my liking.

Gam bhulane ke liye (to drown our sorrows), we had these colourful liquids at a Thai Place nearby. Food was very good but the pics terrible so have nothing to show.

We miss you K, M and little M who ws the perfect sister for my S.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Vatali Dal and Bombay

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Mumbai holds a special place in my heart, not the hoity-toity, dazzling Mumbai of the rich and famous, but Mumbai of the far flung suburbs. Mumbai was the first place where I got my taste of independence, my first pay check and a place where I had lots of fun.

When I decided to take up the job in Mumbai instead of the one I got in Kolkata after graduating, my Baba was perturbed and very much so. He finally came around because of my Ma but accompanied me to settle me down in the big bad city. Once there, he again got his fits, the PG's weren’t good enough, the small one room apartments asked for a huuuuuge deposit, the trains were crowded and he almost put his foot down and wanted me to go back with him. Thankfully my workplace was not in one of the posh areas of Mumbai but was in Borivali where it was still possible to rent a one room flat with the meager salary that the company paid me.

So there I was happy with my new found independence, a one room flat shared with a roommate, a cute red clix stove and some friends. Since we were still in the training phase of the job and the work place had a pretty decent roof top cafeteria, a major amount of the day was spent in deciding on the menu, eating and the chatting over tea or coffee with colleagues who were more friends than anything else.

Also since I tend to gravitate towards foodies in general and tend to gel with them better, I found a very good friend in J a girl in my training batch but from a different college. The first thing we would do every morning on reaching work was, go straight to the cafeteria and then intently study the board where the breakfast, lunch and snack menu would have been written down every morning. We would argue over not only what we should eat but also what some of the other friends would eat.

I still remember every Friday would be Biryani for lunch and after having a plate each, me & J would share one more plate of that Biryani. Wednesday it would be fried mackerel or bangda. Now I didn’t like the smell of mackerel so I would order a veggie plate for myself but would insist K (another good friend from college) to take the fish. Then we would ask him for our share of his fish since a solely veggie dish would be really hard on us.

Once a month we had to travel all the way to Church Gate and then on to some place to go to the bank to get our salary cheques. Don’t ask me why we never changed our bank account to a place nearby, but we all loved that once a month trip. I remember we would wistfully look at the Taj from far and decide to come back for only tea there once we earned enough. We would then satisfy ourselves with alu bondas, vada-pav, singdana and maybe Frankies roll at the station after buying loads of those books sold at a very cheap price just outside ChurchGate.

I have never gone back to Mumbai since and I have never had so much carefree fun ever in life so heres for "Bambai, meri Jaan"...

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I have never really tried creating a authentic Marathi dish at home other than the Kolhapuri mutton which my Ma makes and which is awesome. Searching around I saw this recipe for a Dal at Mumbai Masala called Vatali Dal. I found it interesting as it used Bengal Gram which we Bengalis use to make Cholar dal and it also satisfied Nupur’s A-Z of Indian Vegetables – its V this week.

Since its Nupur who is hosting both RCI-Maharashtra and also A- Z, I thought she would not be offended if I sent her one Marathi dish that served both. RCI was a the brain child of Lakshmi of Veggie Cuisine.

Here’s my Vatali Dal, pretty tasty and different from any Dal I ever had. My version was dry as I was not sure how it should look like. I followed the recipe from Mumbai Masala Magic to the tee. Any Mumbaiyaa comments on the look and feel of the Dal are welcome.


Vatali Dal

What You Need

Split Chana Dal /Bengal Gram ~ 2 cups
Garlic Cloves ~ 2-3 crushed cloves
Green Chilles ~ 2-3
Sugar ~ 1 tsp (optional)
Mustard Seeds ~ 2 tsp
Hing/Asafoetida ~ 1 tsp
Turmeric powder ~ 2 tsp
Oil ~ 1tbsp
Shredded Coconut ~ lots for garnish
Corriander leaves ~ lots for garnish

How I Did It

Wash and soak split chana dal in water for 3-4 hours
Drain and grind along with chillies to make a coarse paste, with very little water.
Heat Oil in a Kadhai/Frying pan
Add mustard seeds. When they start spluttering add asafoetida, turmeric powder and crushed garlic. Tip: Cover pan to prevent mustard seeds from dancing around your kitchen
Add the ground dal, salt and sugar
Stir till the water dries out. Keep stirring, keep a watch that it does not stick to the bottom
Cover and cook.
Garnish with grated coconut and chopped coriander leaves.

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My entry for RCI-Maharashtra

Trivia: Zunka Bhalar Kendras(Centres) were opened across Mumbai by the state government during the 90's to provide employment to youth and provide food at a very minimum rate to poor people. Zunka is a chickpea flour based gravy and bhakar is a roti. I don't think these stalls are functional anymore.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Salmon Kabob and Happiness

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Sunshine on My Shoulders Makes Me Happpy…… - John Denver

No it is not that easy it seems. Being Happy in today’s world is actually pretty tough. At least that’s what I felt hearing some of the happiness discussions on NPR. There’s a Economics of Happiness, Happiness Gurus and also it seems it has recently dawned on people that “Money can’t make you Happy”. Wasn’t that something we were taught in most middle class Indian homes? It’s another thing that we chose to believe or not believe it. So there were surveys done to show that once you reach a basic sustenance level, money doesn't have much effect on happiness and it has done nothing to improve the happiness of Americans over the last 30 years.

It got me thinking ? What makes me Happy ? I am talking about happiness with my being and not happy on an occasion.
I am not sure but I feel I am most happy when I am not comparing myself, my situation, my child, my whole being with some one else and am satisfied with my being. Now its not always possible to be satisfied. As we go along life, there are dreams that don't come true, aspirations that are not met, heartbreaks that do not mend. But we need to make adjustments around these to be content and satisfied. As the auto-driver in B'lore would say "Swalpa adjust mari"

However in my case the moment someone very subtly compares me or my situation with the Joneses the happiness quotient takes a dip, it’s a fleeting feeling, but its there.As soon as someone rubs it in the issues in my life that I am sensitive about and ruffles up my sense of satisfaction, the adjustments I had made peace with goes kaput.

But I am trying to make peace with it and what I feel is “Satisfaction is Happiness”, a state of mind where you are contented, satisfied and confident to be satisfied--- you are happy. Now how you define your satisfaction may vary but if you try to be satisfied with your present situation you certainly feel happy about yourself.

Talking of satisfaction, I think food and cooking triggers the senses and induces happiness. A home replete with the fine smell of cooking, the joyful hissing of the kettle on the stove top, the crackle of the hot oil, the pop of the spices in the oils is what I think is a happy home. This blog says -- A secret to happiness: "Be a storehouse of happy memories." And good memories associated with food are always happy memories.

But there are certain food which triggers your mood in certain ways.
The Upanishads say that food we consume gets separated in three parts. The solid part that is absorbed nourishes our tissues and waste products, the liquid part nourishes mostly waste products like urine, sweat and the subtle part nourishes the mind. So what we eat has a very strong influence on our mind.

Ayurveda divides food into three categories by their Gunas, a Sanskrit word which means quality or nature

Sattva Guna
Most vegetables and fruit and grains come in this category. This type of food is supposed to promote longevity, positive outlook, steady moods and contentment

Raja Guna
Foods that are not in natural form. Foods like egg, garlic, onion, meat which generate heat and induces activity. The foods cause heat in the body and gives rise to irritability and anger. This type of food in moderation might be good and healthy for people with active life style but does not constitute part of diet of a Yogi.

Tama Guna
Food like junk food, very rich food, food which is heavy to digest. These kind of food induces depression and sadness and does not do anything to promote the finer senses. These type of food should be avoided as it does not benefit neither the body nor the mind

Not only the kind of food we eat but the way we eat is also important. Instead of rushing through a meal and having TV dinners, a relaxed sit down dinner, eaten slowly in a calm atmosphere with an attention and gratification for what you are eating helps to boost the mood.
(References: Living By Design) )

So next time when you are feeling down instead of stuffing yourself with junk, think of the food that brings back your happiest moments, choose something that is light like the Dal & Rice you had first cooked, cook it up and feel the joy.

Now Sattvik food would be the right choice but for me the prospect of surviving on veggies and fruits alone does nothing to my happiness. I love my fish, meat and eggs in moderation and cannot give them up as it will cause me more sadness than happiness. So though I would not want to survive on a "Yogi" diet, I do feel that "Light food", which is not heavy to digest, not too much laden with oil and grease does help to keep the mood positive. So “Going Lite” is the the Right way to go

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I saw these Kabobs at Cynthia's Tastes Like Home and they seemed gorgeous. When I asked for the recipe she was very kind and generous and asked me to mail her for the recipe. Now I know all Bloggers are very busy and so was a bit hesitant to bother her. But she was so sweet that she urged that I mail her so she can e-mail her recipe. It was a perfect recipe and though I played around with it a little it's a keeper. Since Cynthia did not give me exact measurments which is not really necessary I too took the liberty of not measuring out. Play with the ingredients, go by your instinct, make the dressing, choose a fish (I chose salmon while Cynthia had Mahi-Mahi) and grill. Its that simple. With little oil which is just used to brush on, no frying and with fish like Salmon rich in Omega-3 this is definitely very light and healthy.

My "Tangdi kabab" err... "Salmon kabob" entry for Coffee's "Ghaas Foos" MBP -- Go Lite.


Grilled Salmon Kabobs

What You need

Salmon (or fish your your choice) ~ cut up into chunks. I prefer to sprinle a little salt on them
Bell peppers - green, yellow, red, orange (or any combo of colours you can find) ~ cut into large squares. I used only green
Red onion ~ cut into chunks
Canned pineapple (optional) ~ cut into chunks

Dressing for kebabs

Thyme -- I used rosemary, next time shall use Thyme
Hot chilies
Green onions (white and green parts) -- I used red onion
Ginger Paste
Salt to taste
Canola oil -- I used Olive Oil


Metal or Bamboo Skewers.
Soak the bamboo skewers 1/2 hour in advance in water

How I Did It
(in mostly Cynthia's words)

Cynthia said "In a mortar with pestle or a food processor - with the exception of the oil, grind all the ingredients together including the salt, (which should be to taste). It will look like a paste." I used a food processor to prepare my paste
In a bowl, pour out the ground ingredients
Add enough oil to moisten the paste, almost like a sauce. This will be the dressing for your kabobs
Start putting the fish, red onions, peppers and pineapple on the skewers - you chose the colour combination you want.
When you have finished threading all the skewers, fire the grill
Taking the sauce/dressing, liberally, season the kebabs, on all sides. Use a brush, its easire that way
Depending on the kind of grill you are using, you can put foil at the tips or bottom of the skewers so that they do not burn.
Place skewers with kebabs on grill and until fish is cooked and you see the nice charred grill marks on the edges of the kebabs (baste the kebabs with the sauce as each time your turn it).

So I didn't really get nice grill marks because my skewers were on a stand but it tasted fantastic and thats the important thing.

Are you Happy ? What makes you a Happy Person?

Trivia:Consuming salmon is considered to be reasonably healthy due to the fish's high protein and low fat levels and to its high Omega-3 fatty acids content

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Panipuri -- a Web 2.0 Product

Here is a wonderful slide by Thakkar which won the Peoples Choice award at the World Best Presentation Contest on SlideShare.

I saw it at Tinkerbell's Big Bang Bong and couldn't resist the temptations. How could I pass on a plate of Panipuri ? And how could I just enjoy it by myself ? Panipuri is not fun unless you stand in a circle around the Panipuri-wala with all your friends pestering him for more mirchi or less salt and then coaximg him to throw in an extra dry one with no water at the end.

So heres for all my virtual friends.

*This is not a video. So click on the arrows to go through all the slides. Check out all the slides, its funny

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Dim er Dhoka aka Egg Dhoka

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“How old are you?”, asked my 3 year old

I wanted to be the scrubbed face, squeaky clean hair, dream in the eyes, hope in my heart of early 20’s and so I said, “I am 20”

“No, you’re not, you are 100," she said, looking into my eyes

I panicked, it can’t be that bad I thought. She is only a child and hasn’t seen my Driver License yet, I can still try, I decided.

So I bargained, to get back to those days of fun and freedom and said “Ok then, I am 25”

She looked into the fine lines around my eyes and insisted “But you can be 100, it is better”

It might be…
The higher the number, the better it is does not hold true in all cases, but she is too young to know.

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“Dhoka” in Bengali or Hindi actually means a sham, an act of duping someone. When it comes to food however the word “Dhoka” in Bengali came from I guess “Dhokla” in Gujarati. “Dhokar Dalna” is one of my favorite Bengali food though I haven’t cooked it ever, more about it later. “Dim er Dhoka” or “Egg Dhoka” or “Steamed Egg Cakes in a Curry” gets the name from the similarity in the process and the look I guess. My Ma used to make this on rare occasions maybe twice or thrice in my lifetime, yeah that rare. So when I found it in my cookbook I was pleasantly surprised because I had always thought my Ma made up that name.

I love eggs actually both D and me absolutely love eggs. Before the days of physical check ups, egg curry was a staple food at our home. When I got married, the only thing we could cook every day was Dal and Egg Curry. It was that bad or actually that good. But life has taken its toll and so we watch not only our chickens but also eggs these days.

The “Dim er Dhoka” or the “Steamed Egg Cakes in a Curry” (??) is a pleasant variation to the much loved egg curry. The best part is you can make the steamed egg cubes and eat them for breakfast and then use the rest for the gravy which you can have for lunch or dinner. Ok you can do that with Boiled Eggs too, but that’s beside the point. It is also a very tasty variation which you can serve when you have guests for dinner. It’s pretty convenient to make the egg cakes beforehand. So heres to a very tasty "Egg Dhoka" or "Dim er Dhoka" as we say in Bengali.


Dim er Dhoka/Steamed Egg Cakes in a Gravy

What You Need

For the Steamed Egg Cakes

This yielded about 25/30 egg cubes of the size shown in pic below

Eggs ~ 6
Onion Paste ~ 3 tbsp of paste or 1 small chopped fine
Corriander leaves ~ finely chopped about 1/4 cup
Green Chillies ~ 3 chopped fine (optional)
Tomato ~ ¼ of a medium chopped fine (optional)
Ginger paste ~ 1 tsp
Milk ~ 3 tbsp
Salt ~ as per taste
Baking Powder ~ a pinch

For Gravy (gravy made with about 15-18 of the steamed egg cakes)

Onion Paste ~ 4 tbsp
Tomato ~ 1 medium finely chopped or blanched. I used a medium sized tomato from a can of whole peeled tomatoes
Panch Phoron – 1/2 tsp
Ginger Paste ~ 1 tsp
Garlic Paste ~ 1 tsp
Yogurt ~ ½ cup
Jeera Powder/Cumin Powder ~ 1 tsp
Dhania Powder/Corriander Powder – 1 tsp
Water ~ 1 and 1/2 cups
Sugar – 2 tsp
Red Chilli Powder ~ ½ tsp
Green Chilli ~ 3 very finely chopped

Salt ~ as per taste

How I Did It

For Dhoka or the Steamed Egg Cake

Beat the eggs in a bowl.
To it add the chopped onions, chopped green chillies, chopped tomato, chopped corriander, ginger paste, pinch of baking powder, milk and salt. Beat well
Steam this in a steamer if you have one
If you don’t have one like me, put it in a greased pressure cooker bowl and put in your pressure cooker. Remember to add water to the bottom of the cooker .Tip:Instead of the aluminium pressure cooker separator use a steel one which has been greased well.
The idea is to steam it, in a pressure cooker it will take as much time as it takes for rice to be cooked. In my Futura, rice takes 3 minutes while for this I allowed 4 mins (after the steam is built up and my cooker goes hisss). Tip: After you have switched off the heat, release the pressure of the cooker after waiting for 3-4 minutes. If you can't do this at least take it off the heat and let it cool. Take out the container as soon as the pressure of the cooker has been let off. If you let it sit too long the egg cake might stick to the bottom.

After you have steamed it, it will look like a round cake as shown above.

Cut in cubes, they look like dhokla and you have to really restrain yourself from eating them. The measure I used, made about 30 cubes of the size shown here. I used 15-18 of them for the gravy, while the rest we had for next days breakfast.

For Gravy

Heat Oil in Kadhai/Frying pan
Add ½ tsp of Panch Phoron
As soon as it sputters add the Onion Paste. Add about 2 tsp of sugar
Sauté till the paste turns a light brown and you see the oil separate from the paste.
Add the tomato. I used a medium sized tomato from a can of peeled whole tomatoes. If you are using fresh ones either chop fine, or blanch or just puree them in the processor
Add the garlic paste at this point along with the green chillies.
Sauté till the tomato is nicely mushed up.
Meanwhile in a bowl beat the yogurt with ginger paste, Cumin Powder, Corriander Powder and Red Chilli Powder.
Take the Kadhai off the heat and add the yogurt. Adding the yogurt at high heat might make it curdle so I always do this.
Mix well and then put it back on medium heat.
Saute till you see…What ? The oil separating from the masala paste.
At this point add 1 and ½ cup of water or less depending on the amount of gravy you want
Add salt and let the gravy come to a nice boil. You will see the merry bubbles
Add the cubed egg cakes, kep the flame at medium and let the gravy thicken.
The gravy should not be runny, it should be a thick gravy. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves if you wish
Enjoy with Rice or Chapati.

Note: You can get creative with the gravy and improvise. I sometimes make a gravy with potatoes and instead of panch phoron I temper with Cumin Seeds and Bay Leaves. That lends a different taste.

Trivia: Eggs contain the highest quality of food protein second only to mothers milk for human nutrition. So "Sunday ho Ya Monday,Roz Khao Aaandey"

Thursday, June 07, 2007

MySpice -- Panch Phoron

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Panch phoran --- the Sorceress of Spices. Panch Phoran also known as panch phoron, panch puran, panchpuran, punch puram, punchpuram is a classic Bengali spice blend typically consisting of five spices in equal measure. It is more Bengali and maybe also Oriya than any other region of India.

The five spices that make up Panch Phoran are:

Fenugreek (methi) – the golden coloured bitter one
Nigella seed (kalonji) -- the jet black tiny one
Mustard seed or (rai or shorshe) – the black or brown flavored one
Fennel seed (saunf or mouri) – the greenish sweet one
Cumin seed (jira) – the buff colored strong one

In Bengal, the place of origin of this spice,sometimes a spice called radhuni is used in place of mustard seed. A better replacement for radhuni, hardly available outside of Bengal, would be celery seed. However my Panch Phoran always has mustard seeds and I like it that way

“Paanch” is bengali for Five and “Phoron” means spice. Panch Phoran is used mainly for tempering, to flavor the hot oil before adding rest of the ingredients. The essence being tempering with Five Spices. It is usually never ground or used as a powder unlike other spices which are used both in whole and ground form. However dry roasted panch phoron is ground to make a powder that is sprinkled on chutneys. But it is NEVER used in powder or paste form in any other preparation.

Panch phoron is added to the hot cooking oil before adding any other ingredients thus flavouring the oil and releasing the aroma of the seeds and causing them to pop in the pan. At this point the other ingredients are added. Here I have a recipe for quick stir fry of beans and potatoes with Panch Phoron, made in a almost typical Bengali way. The same recipe is used for other veggies too like Potatoes and Cauliflower or Potatoes and Okra and even with mixed Vegetables.

Though Panch phoron is usually not used to season any meats other than fish, I have used it for an awesome chicken dish that I will post soon

A beautiful almost lyrical post on Panch Phoron by Barbara of Tigers and Strawberries is here. Read it, she has done more justice to the spice than anybody ever could.

Some of my recipes in this blog that use Panch Phoron

Kumro-Chingri Botti (Pumpkin and Shrimp Sabzi) -- paanch phoron for tempering
Red Masoor Dal -- paanch phoron for tempering
Bangali Charchari -- panch phoron for tempering

Aamer Ambal ar Chaatni(Mango Chaatni) -- panch phoran dry roasted and ground to a powder. Sprinkle a little of this powder on the finished chaatni

Tomato Khejur Cranberry Chutney -- panch phoran dry roasted and ground to a powder. Sprinkle a little of this powder on the finished chaatni

If you do not have Panch Phoran but have all the five spices that are needed for this just add equal measures of each to get your own Panch Phoran. You may use the methi in less proportion to the others.


Aloo Beans er Tarkari

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What You Need

Green Beans ~ fresh green beans chopped about 2 cups. can be substituted by veggies like cauliflower, okra, peas.
Potatoes ~ 1 large sized cut in cubes
Green Chillies ~ 2-3 slit

For tempering
Panch Phoron ~ almost 1 tsp loosely packed

Turmeric ~ 1/4 tsp
Red Chilli Powder ~ optional and as per taste
Amchur Powder or Roopak Kala Chat Masala ~ absolutely optional and as per taste. Avoid this masala if you are using veggies other than green beans

How I Did It

Heat Oil in a Kadhai/Frying pan
Add Panch Phoron. Wait for the seeds to pop.
Add the green chilies and the potato.
Sprinkle a little turmeric powder and saute
Add the chopped green beans and saute
Add Salt. If you want to spice it up add Red Chili Powder
Cover and cook by stirring off and on. Do not add water, you may sprinkle a little only. Be careful that it doesn't burn, so remember to stir and mix frequently
Now is a step no hard core Bong would ever do. Shhhhhh... don't tell your Bong friends but I add a little amchur powder or Roopak Kala Chat Masala at this point
Cook till done
Enjoy this dry dish with Roti or Rice.

References used for Panch Phoran: Wiki

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Check out the other spices in this series in the left side column.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Summer in my Garden and a PlayDate

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Since I pestered all of you last week with my play date scheming tactics for my daughter I though it only fitting that I let you all know that I had finally called the mom of the little Asian girl my daughter had befriended. We got our message across and this Saturday morning a play date was set up. The little girl came and the two little ones had a fun time. They did puzzles, played with beads, Dora cards and stuff I don’t even know. Without even being asked both S and her friend J cleaned up the stuff they played with it. That I think was very commendable.

Then they went out and blew bubbles. Since J was not staying for lunch and her Mom insisted that she had a full breakfast, the two girls were served ice cream, melon balls, a small piece of cake and then lemonade. I did ask her Mom before she left if it was ok to give J snacks. You see I had read this

All in all S was happy and I guess little J was happy too and I was happy to see them happy…

Only D had his doubts, first he didn’t like the word “playdate”. Why “date” he kept on saying, a protective Daddy I say Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Next he said it was much more fun to just holler out for friends and just play with them till your Mom hollers out for you again than arrange scheduled activities like “Play” ...ahem “date”.

Now my daughter does holler out for my neighbour’s daughter and that’s how they play but I see no other way than “PlayDates” to arrange play with school friends. So hoping to more such play days…

Sharing with you here are some pictures from my garden. I love Summer and love all the greenery that it brings along. I also have a penchant for untended wild gardens, I just love gardens like that much more than the prim gardens with manicured hedges. But wild gardens with an overgrowth need a considerable amount of land, maybe one day I will have something like that, with climbing bushes, and huge trees with creepers covering the trunk and a brook with clear water running through it.

For now this is all I have...

... the rose still safe from Japanese Beetles

...the Geraniums

...this is what we call "Nayan Tara" in Bengali, can't recall the English name

... the blooming bud

... the Nasturtium started from seeds finally got a foothold

... the bean plants started from seeds too

... the spinach, planted plenty of seeds but only few showed signs of life as these

We also have many tomato plants growing happily and they are proud to be part of Summer GBP. Maybe I should have screamed GBP at the spinach too or maybe they are just hard of hearing.

My "Corriander" seeds refuse to germinate. I sowed them directly in a pot. Any clues ?