This post, the recipe part of it had been written way back when my Mom was here and whipping up such stuff. Then on another day when I was feeling kind of "over-the-top" senti, the prelude to the recipe was jotted down(which you will come upon on further scrolling down).
Well I still feel that way but then today I simply had to write a little about LittleA---stuff totally unrealted to the recipe --- lest I forget and also to appreciate the funny side of her in a time when she is not letting me sleep through the night because of her allergies.You see this thing, the blog, is as much a sketchy weblog for me as it is a recipe archival process and 99.97% of the time the two pesky kids @ home are more important than a "Kopir Dantar Charchari-- a Cauliflower Stalk cooked in mustard paste".
So any way in the past few months Big Sis and Li'l A discuss a lot about who was born when a certain event had occurred.
"Remember we went to see R when she was born ? How old was I?". Big Sis asks
"And me, how old was I?", Li'l A pipes in
"Well you weren't born the. R is older to you"
"Remember one time we went to P&C's old house which was far", Big Sis says
"I went too", says Li'l A
"Well No. You weren't even born then"
After a series of these discussions in which Li'l A seems to have missed out on all fun memories in life because she has been on earth for only three years, Li'l A gets visibly irritated
"Tahole ami koto din born chilam na (How long was I not born)?" she says in her loud-let's protest kinda voice.
And then in a last moment attempt to gain ground and revel in victory of revenge she tells me "Were you even born when Didi went to XYZ school?" -- XYZ school being Didi's preschool and now hers.
"Well I am her Mom, remember ?", I tell
"Yes, yes, kintu tumi ki born chile (but were you even born then?)", Li'l A insists.
Maybe what I am going to write next stems from the fact that I was indeed born a long time ago.Recently I have been feeling an urgency, a restlessness, a niggling feeling that time is moving away fast and I need to wrap my arms around it and fill my days learning to cook all the things that I would have never otherwise. And it does not involve a three layer chocolate cake. Nope.
It is more of the mundane-ish stuff like the tel koi, my Mother's fulkopi'r dalna with no written recipe that can make it taste the same, my Dida's ilish maacher tauk which I can no longer learn from the one who made it best, my eldest Mashi's chicken curry cooked with fragrant leaves of the lime tree. It is not so much that I want to eat any of the stuff I mentioned. I am fine with the regular dal-chawal and baked fish for the moment. It is just that I want to know, like String theory, hoping that would solve all my problems, give me peace, make me say "Ha, so that is all it needs to make a tel-koi" and then let me go back to do what I usually love doing.Which largely translates to "Nothing".
I just want to know the process involved, the ingredients chosen, the steps taken, the stories told and then store them away somewhere, neatly folded, waiting.That is all I want to do so that one fine morning if my heart so desires a Kopi'r Dantar Charchari, I need not panic. Instead I can take out the neatly folded recipe, smooth out the creases with a press of my fingers, read through it and heave a sigh of relief that nothing is lost.The assurance that they are there, like the atoms and the quarks and the fermions all a part of the Universe gives me a sense of peace.
Okay, this might also be the side effect of finishing off half a bottle of Benadryl. One can never be sure.
But this is a recent development I have noticed. Otherwise I don't care a hoot about cauliflower stalks.
This recipe that I have today is my Mother's and she is solely responsible for it. I never have enough patience to trim cauliflower stalks. One day I will. This recipe is for those days. For now this is how Ma made it.
Save the stalks of a cauliflower. Trim the tougher sides and chop the inner in 2" long finger like thickness. Pressure cook the stalks. Do not add any water during this.
Make a paste of 1 tsp of Mustard Powder in water. I have been using the Cookme Mustard a lot these days and it has made my life very simple. To it add about 1 tbsp of Kasundi. If you do not have kasundi increase the mustard paste.
Now heat Mustard Oil.
Temper the oil with kalonji and green chili. When the spices start popping add the cooked stalks. Fry the stalks for about 3-4 minutes
Next add the mustard+kasundi paste. Add salt to taste. Mix and cook for a couple more minutes. Some fried vadis crumbled on the top can add magic.