Thursday, November 29, 2012

N and M's Indianized Cranberry Relish


This Thanksgiving started out special. Early morning, my Mother called. From halfway across the globe.And said "Thank You".

I was like "Ehhhhh...whaat ? Whyyy? Keno ? Shob thik ache? Are you ok ?" 

And then she said "Thank You for being my daughter". That was such a shocker that whatever remnant sleep I had in my system flipped and did a bolt out of the door. 

"Keno? Ki holo?", I asked frantically trying to think what might have caused my Mother to behave in such a manner early morning. We have never been a polite "Thank You", "Please" family reserving such atrocious behavior only for strangers and so such words coming from her sounded more alarming than endearing.

"Aajke Thanksgiving to. Eikhane FM Radio te phone kore shobai rickshaw wala ke Thanks diche. Ami bhablam toke diy( Just heard today is Thanksgiving and people are calling FM radio here in Kolkata and sending out Thank You messages even for their rickshaw wala. So I thought I might as well thank you)", my Mother, a woman of the world, tried to justify her behavior.

I breathed a sigh of relief. All was well. I am immensely Thankful for my Ma but I have never ever been able to tell that verbally. But then my FM radio blares NPR and does not give me such good advise Phewww.

Several years here and yet we have not much of a Thanksgiving tradition. I mean "not much" if you ignore the fact that most years we end up at a close friend's home driving 3 hours, 2 states away to spend the Thanksgiving weekend lounging on their couch. It is something we do without much thought.

Maybe because airports are too crowded during the four day vacation or maybe because the friend's pastel green couch and warm heart beckons to us stronger than the sandy beaches of Jamaica. Or it could also mean scrumptious free food that one does not have to cook and hence clean up after is the main motivating factor.

The point of the matter is we have never re-visited our decision as to why this has morphed as a repetitive process in our life. That a repetitive process also translates as a tradition is something that had never occurred to me until last Wednesday.

Last Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, BS's teacher asked the class to write something about their Thanksgiving tradition.

BigSis said :" Well ummm we don't really celebrate Thanksgiving as a tradition...ummm"

Teacher: "Is there anything you do on that day ?"

BS: "Yes, yes, every year on Thanksgiving we visit our cousin(read friend's daughter) and her family and have fun at their place"

Teacher: "Well then that  IS your Thanksgiving tradition"

A visibly relieved BS later told me that at least she had some sort of a tradition on Thanksgiving to write about, her class mate V merely stayed home and spent it like any other day and had nothing interesting to write. Well every thing you do ultimately finds a way to be useful to someone somewhere. And lets not forget the free food.


This year though unbeknownst to BS we (as in the precious group of real life friends I have here) had planned a traditional Thanksgiving pot luck lunch, a lunch before we continued on our next tradition of spending the days with the other friend. We had never done a traditional Thanksgiving meal before, the times that we had done something it was always leaning towards something Indian. This year led by a friend(we will call her M) who is a fantastic and talented cook we fell in line with a traditional Thanksgiving meal perfumed only mildly with cumin, coriander, and Mustard oil.

The said friend took upon a 19lb Turkey by herself and in face of our doubts, doubts that a Bengali soul will always have faced with a Turkey, cooked a bird which was so delicious that I will now look at Turkey --the bird that is, with renewed respect. With creole seasonings and hours of brining and marination, she had made the bird so moist and delightful and perfect that it was beyond our masoor dal-bhaat imagination. The Turkey had the prefect accompaniment in a stuffed turkey breast(by friend J), a wonderful colorful salad(N's Dad), green beans, roasted potatoes(me), gravy, cranberry relish(me), shrimp scampi( by another friend J),soup,  more vegetables and scrumptious brownie.

It was truly a beautiful and delicious Thanksgiving meal.

The heavily Indianized cranberry relish that I made following N (or was it M's ?) recipe is  super easy to put together and tastes almost like a makha kuler achaar. The concept is also kind of same, throw different ingredients together until it tastes perfect. All you need is cans of Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce to start with and then you do this


Now if you don't get Whole Berry Cranberry sauce , you can make some with fresh cranberries. If cranberries is not local to your place, don't even bother, find something else. But and take note--but if you do get cranberries in can or not, do attempt making this relish or chutney or whatever. It is really, really good. And yes, remember to wash that finger. Not that it is a must but it helps to promote World Peace.

I will end this post with words about an organization I received an e-mail about. I haven't had time to look into details but is clear that the non-profit org More Than Me, that works to lift girls off the street and into school in Liberia, West Africa is doing a worthy job. Do check out www.voteabigail.org and More Than Me.








27 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. I make cranberry chutney every Thanksgiving! Mine's somewhat similar to this; I make it the same way I make aamsi chutney, just with fresh (pulverized) cranberry in place of dried mango. DH is not a big fan of turkey, so we generally do another round of the same stuff we had for Durga Puja, but this year I did a keema khichuri instead of the typical yellow stuff :)

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    1. I have never made amsi chutney. Where do you get the amsi from ? None of us were big or small fan of turkey but the friend cooked it so well that I am a convert only if she makes it again

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  3. বং মম, আপনাকে থ্যাংক ইউ। এমন মজার, ভালো, মন খুশি করা পোস্ট লেখার জন্য।

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  4. Thanks for linking to the event....

    Did you get a chance to check the website www.ezedcal.com/ta to manage editorial calendar easily for your blog and show your editorial calendar in your blog easily (optional)
    Thanks & Regards
    Malar

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  5. That was a super easy recipe.. Will definitely try it at home!

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  6. Oh yes, when our practical, no-frills mums start speaking like this, it's time to be alarmed. For her part, I'm sure my mum would be alarmed too if I said all this or suddenly started getting sentimental.

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    1. Ha, ha...and I don't understand why FM radio in India would celebrate Thanksgiving. There are enough Indian festivals already

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  7. Hi
    Love your blog.
    How does one brine & masalfy the turkey?

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    1. I don't know, never done it and don't intend to. Too much work. She followed couple of Food Network recipes and then added Indian spices too along with lots of garlic et. Alton Brown has details on the brining , google for it

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  8. Delicious Turkey! I will take cumin, coriander roasted Turkey any day.

    Did you visit my neck of the woods this year?

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    1. oooh it was really good and with creole seasonings and injected with more flavorful masalas.

      Yep, there were more friends this time around so it was impossible to get out of their home :(

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  9. oh i lov eyour mom too, just because she rang you and saying thankyou for beeing her daughter.
    I know in Indian one never says anything in words even if we love some one so much especially between parents etc...The thanksgiving table looks so good.

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  10. India is more inclined toward American tradition, my mom mentioned even Halloween costumes are sold around oct :) That is so sweet of ur mom to say Thank u !
    The creole seasoning for the big bird is nice spice touch. Sounds u had fun this long weekend!

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    1. Ok, you won't believe this, I got so many PR kind of e-mails asking me to attend Halloween events in India !!!! Only if they paid my air fare, I would have been happy to go ;-)

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  11. Hehehe...loved the part about your Mum...though why Indian media would suddenly be making a big hoopla about Thanksgiving... is beyond me!!!! ;)

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  13. Haha - yes, a thank-you can be quite alarming where we come from! Having been grouped with the rickshawala must've been a relief :)
    I quite like your Thanksgiving tradition - we don't have a thanksgiving, but we do have a friend's sofa, which we drive four hours to, on most holidays.

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    1. Same pinch. Those sofas are the best :-D

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  14. Your relish was really delicious. I had a half jar of cranberry sauce which I put to good use.I am eating it with rice and yogurt, on crackers with some fetta on top, with bread, any which way I can. Thank you.

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    1. You are so sweet Poornima always trying new things and enjoying it. Crackers with some feta on top and the chutney sounds like a great idea. Thanks

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  15. I also make cranberry chutney but your recipe is very different from mine.. this looks much better! Yummy! I love cranberries and I use them very often in my cooking and my kids love them.. they have also found this new juice called KDD Harvest’s cranberry juice which is their hot favorites nowadays..is it necessary to use mustard oil? Will vegetable oil work for this?

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