I saw my blog mentioned at the CHOW. It was funny as I never thought of the "other bong" and also made me proud. Thank you all for having me here, your words make my day and Thanks Kara for finding me. Thanks to Mandira too and she knows for what !!!
I got to tell you this, grumble as you might of mixing up little S in my recipes and stopping only from eating her as a sidekick (ahem side dish) to my recipes.
Now as you all know “Reading” is sold highly as a virtue and all that among kids and so like all good mothers I started the routine too. But more than reading to her I would make up stories and tell her, even change the story in hand if the situation so demanded.
As she learns to read small words I try to induce her to read books herself.Reading by itself opens up a whole new world as it did for me when I was a 5 year old. I still remember the Red hard bound "Everyday Stories" by Enid Blyton which Baba got me once I started reading english and thus had me hooked for ever. That and the Bengali Kids magazine Anandamela which I used to get every month showed me a way to a world of everlasting enchantment.
So that S gets a hang of reading, we got her the “Dr.Seuss” which is brilliant if you think ease of reading but not really interesting when seen through the eyes of a 3 year old or her X year old Mom. So “Hop on Pop” does rhyme and also can be read but then what….nothing really happens…no story is spun…and so the 3 year old girl and the X year olds interest wane.
The 3 year old however seems to be more interested in picking up a book and spinning her own story. She does not really read the lines, but makes up a story on her own through the pictures and that enchants her.
In all this she got hold of a thick pink Disney Princess Story Book Collection. This was a hand me down from a friend’s older daughter and I had slipped it away at the bottom of the chest which holds her books. Why did I do that? Because what if she asked questions like this I thought.
“Why did Cinderella have a step mother?” – because her own mother is dead and gone…tell that and hear her wail…. Can’t be done
“Why is the step mother angry?” -- because she loves her own daughters more and does not love Cinderella… more wailing…. Can’t be done
“Why does the prince want to kiss Cinderella?” --- because she is very beautiful and also very good….Yikes.
I figured once she can read on her own, she could do it. I am a psyched mother I tell you.
Anyhow this little girl of mine found the glossy pink Disney Book one day and enamored by its prettiness strutted away with it before I could say NO.
So I asked her read to me instead and this is what she came up with in the sing song voice a 3 year old usually has. Mind you S is perfect in her Bengali but her English is far from so and it’s really funny to hear.
“Cinderella”… she started off, making up the story from the pictures in the pages.
“Once upon the Time, Cinderella is very busy. She do all her work. She want to go to dance party so her mom scold her. Then her Grandma (the fairy Godmother in the book) gave her “sparkly-sprinkly” dress and a star clip.
In the party she see her Daddy. Her Daddy say, Now we have to go home, Tomorrow is school.
Cinderella break her shoe so her Daddy buy her new shoe.
She is very happy and tells Thank You Daddy and so Daddy kiss her”
I wanted to roll on the floor laughing but obviously I had to show great interest and be sober so that is what Cinderella's story is for me now on.
With such a 3 year old wrapped around my leg most of the time that I am home, I never get to finish my cooking in express time. I cook in bits and pieces, doing hazaar things in between. So maybe I will come home and put the Dal in the cooker, and then I will sit and paint with S and so though the Dal could have been ideally done in 20 minutes flat, I get back to do it only after an hour maybe.
However to make things go faster I also do a lot of chopping etc. over the weekend or whenever I get time to ease the weekday. I usually have a cup of coarsely chopped onion, some fresh onion paste, and some chopped ginger & garlic in the refrigerator for impromptu weekday meals. If I am planning to make fish, I usually fry the fish pieces (we Bengalis fry the fish and then put them in the gravy) and then use them in a day or two in different gravies.
Yesterday I was determined to time my cooking though for Mallugirl's Summer Express Cooking and asked D to entertain S while I just cooked. It was a very simple thing I made, simple but healthy, Daliya Pualo. My Ma makes this pretty often to pack as lunch, I do both for lunch and quick dinners.
Daliya is Cracked Wheat that you can find in Indian stores. It is not same as bulghur but you can use bulghur too.
Bulghur ~ Partially hulled whole wheat kernels that are soaked, then steamed (hence pre-cooked if you will), dried and then crushed are called bulghur
Daliya or Cracked Wheat ~ Raw whole wheat berries that are crushed to varying qualities of texture are called cracked wheat
What I already had
Onion Paste ~ Red Onion ground to a coarse paste
Ground Chicken ~ I had some ground chicken which I had marinated with a little yogurt, ginger paste, cumin & coriander powder. I often do this with ground chicken, it stays well for couple of days and can be used to make quick kabobs or to be added to pasta or stuffing for wrap or sandwiches
Pureed Tomato ~ remember the cherry tomatoes from my garden, well there were more so I pureed them and stored
Note: You can skip the ground chicken or substitute with scrambled eggs, soy granules, crumbled panner
And The Time Starts Now...
Wash 1 cup of Daliya and put it in pressure cooker with almost twice the amount of water, a little oil and 2 elaichi/cardamom
Heat a small Frying Pan
Add Olive Oil
Add onion paste about 1 tbsp
Once it starts browning add the minced chicken, maybe ¾ cup of it, add salt and cook
While the chicken & Daliya is cooking chop the veggies
Chop long hot peppers, I chopped 2-3
I had a quarter of a cauliflower, I chopped the florets into small pieces. Smaller means will cook fast
I also thawed about ½ cup of frozen peas.
I chopped half a cucumber to make a raita
While chopping, remember to stir the chicken too.
Note: use your choice of veggies here
Heat a Kadhai
Add Olive Oil
Add 2-3 Bay Leaves, 4 cloves/laung, 4 elaichi/cardamom (all whole)
Add about 1 & ½ tbsp of onion paste and fry with 1/2 tsp of sugar
Meanwhile the ground chicken will be done and the Daliya too.
Add the chopped veggies, 1 tbsp of pureed tomato, sauté a little and cover and cook. Since I used fresh veggies this took a little while to get done
The veggies should be done by now.
Add the cooked ground chicken and mix well. Throw in some golden raisins. Add salt.
Now is the time to add the Daliya. If the pressure lid refuses to budge, put it under running cold water, this will release the steam.
If the Daliya has excess water, drain
Add the Daliya to the Kadai gradually and then mix well.
Add salt, a little sugar if you wish and stir till the Daliya is dry and has mixed well with the veggies
Quickly make a raita with yogurt and some cucumber
Everything done in 29 minutes and now you have one minute to reflect on what Douglas Adams said "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so"
Trivia:Because cracked wheat is made from whole wheat berries, it carries a great deal of nutrition and fiber since it includes the fiber and nutrient rich outer bran and germ of the wheat.