Only in New York
This summer we went to NYC a lot. Ok, actually only twice over two months but that is "lot" by us country bumpkins standard.
On our last visit we went to the Children's Museum (CMOM). I had a whole lot of expectations, very few of which were met eventually.
As a child I used to love the Nehru Children's Museum & Birla Technology Museum in Calcutta. At each of our annual winter visits to the city, my Baba would take me and maybe a cousin or two to the museum, the zoo, the planetarium and the RBI building. Don't ask me why RBI, I vaguely remember it had an escalator which we loved to ride.
Those museums were a delight to visit. I am speaking of late seventies/early 80's and even then these museums were set up with recording studios where you could record your antics and then watch them on the tele, with voice activated doors which would open when you hollered "hello" and many such things.
This museum(the CMOM) sadly had very little to offer over all of its four floors. The second floor was for some reason totally devoted to Dora and Diego and that too with a lot of pieces missing. There were things like fire truck and mail van but not much hands on stuff.The basement was a little interesting and they do have workshops which might be good. But for a half day visit we didn't get to do any workshops. Does anyone know any interesting Children museum in NY-NJ-PA area ?
The girls had fun though. The littlest one was just happy to toddle all around the place and to pick & poke at all sorts of random objects. The older one was happy too, doing largely nothing and running around the little one. As I saw they were mainly glad to move about unrestrained, throw stuff around and make a mess without their Mom hollering "Clean up"
And boy, was I happy to be home, back to our little green patch in the suburb. It is official, I don't like a city, at least not for an extended period of time. I imagine myself being happy and content in a farm in some remote corner of the planet (ok a farm with all amenities & cheap labor), maybe it is just an idyllic dream , who knows.
For now the little veggie patch will do, where
With these greens I made a saag/shaak ghonto. My Ma would do this with spinach and call it palang shaak er ghonto (spinach cooked with a medley of vegetables). I thought "Why not Pui". For the Palak saag er ghonto my Ma used a spice paste which she called dhone-jire-ada bata (whole corriander-whole cumin-ginger paste). Actually she used this particular paste for a lot of stuff.
Early morning, her kitchen help would sit on the kitchen floor with the shil-nora, a flat pock-marked square black slab of stone and on it would make pastes of all kinds of spices. As she moved the mortar on the flat piece, her bangles tinkled and made music with the jarring noise of the stones. Deftly she would sprinkle some water, gather the spices with her fingertips and roll the mortar until a smooth amalgamation of spices was born.
The sharp smell of the fresh spices and the the jarring noise of stone hitting stone closely followed by the milder, sweeter flavor of tea marked the beginning of a new day back home.
This forgotten paste is what I used for this ghonto, a simple mix of vegetables and greens, the flavors of the veggies only lightly enhanced by subtle touch of spices. And I forgot this dish also goes to dear blog friend Indosungod's Chard Challenge.
Shaak er Ghonto
Make the dhone-jire-ada bata. This is basically a paste of whole cumin, whole coriander and fresh ginger. My Ma's kitchen help used to make this using the shil-nora, the flavor would be very intense and the color a dark ugly shade of brown
I make it this way. In my mortar I add 1/2 tsp of Cumin powder, 1/2 tsp of Corriander powder and 1 tbsp of grated ginger. Then I make a smooth wet paste of the above with the aid of little water. The flavor is not as intense but will do
Chop Potatoes, Pumpkin and Zucchini in almost similar sized cubes. I had 1 cup of each. You can also add brinjal and radish
Wash and clean and then chop the greens. Spinach works very well for this recipe but I have used Pui Saag or Pohi greens. I had about 500 gm of the greens
Heat Mustard Oil in a Kadhai/Frying Pan. White oil will work too though Anita might not agree
Chaunk/Temper with 1 tsp of Paanch Phoron and 3 Dry Red Chili
When you see the spices dancing around, add 1 cup of cubed potato. Saute with less than 1/4 tsp of turmeric for couple of minutes.
Add the zucchini (~ 1 cup), saute again for couple of minutes and follow suit with the pumpkin(~ 1 cup)
Add the dhone-jire-ada bata and saute for 3-4 minutes. If you like it spicy add a little red chili powder now
Add the chopped pui saag (pohi greens) or spinach and give a good stir. Add salt to taste
The greens especially the pohi will release a lot of water which you want to dry out. Also the veggies will get cooked in this water. Keep cooking with intermittent stirring till the water has all evaporated into thin air and the veggies are cooked
Taste and adjust for seasoning. If the pumpkin is sweet you don't need to add any extra sugar, else a little sugar will enhance the taste
Pui-Chingri -- Pohi Greens with Shrimp
Shubho Mahalaya to all my readers