I have been a social media cynic from Day 1. I have cringed at people's need to tweet about their un-washed hair and strut their vacation pics. I have restrained myself from opening up a personal account on Facebook for the sole reason that on a night with nothing to do I might flood timelines with the million pictures on my hard disk. The temptation is just too much.
However when it comes to the blog and its FB page, the scenario has been very different. As a result of my early cynicism, I did not jump-start on a FB page for my blog, the moment Zuckerburg opened his doors. I stood far with furrowed eyebrows, thinking "What a disaster". Slowly I crawled in, thinking it was one more way to draw some more traffic.
What I got at the end was however far more precious than mere traffic. You know what I got ? Readers who turned into friends. Readers who delighted me with their precious heirloom recipes. Bloggers whom I got to know that much better. And most importantly a whole bunch of like minded people and their support. Though there have been numerous instances I have experienced their friendship, today I will highlight only about my book for which so many came forward to spread the word. There is nothing that I can say to thank you guys enough.
Writing is a solitary affair to begin with.If you are not from a literary circle or eminently famous, it is most likely that real life people around you do not get your need to write; be it a blog or a book. Something which you spend hours on and which gives nothing tangible beyond satisfaction makes little sense to folks who are trying to climb the financial and corporate ladder.Nothing wrong there.That is the real and practical world for most.
And now comes Facebook, which gives you the opportunity to connect with people sharing same passion as yours. Here comes social media bridging the gap, going beyond cliques and cuisines and supporting you. Probably it helps because in a virtual community you choose to see only a part of the life the person shares, the part that resonates with you.
Through it I have found bloggers and readers who are eager to support what I do. Who are ready to pick up my new book and cook a beguni(Cooking with Siri), or a kosha mangsho(Sin-A-Mon tales) or a shorshe dharosh(A Mad Tea Party), or dim kosha(My Diverse Kitchen) or Green Bean Bhorta(When My Soup Came Alive) even if it means going beyond their regular routine.
I have befriended folks, whom I have known only virtually, who have e-mailed or messaged to say if they could help in any way to spread word about the book, who have shared about my book on their timeline and blog, virtual friends like Chandrima who have connected me with broader networks I was not aware about. I am not mentioning every name right now because there are too many and I have the book page for that. In addition I have found fountainhead of knowledge about Bengali food in the likes of Pritha Sen and mentor in authors like Monica Bhide.
And then I have also found many recipes suggested by my lovely friends who started off as a reader of my blog at some point.
Like this Bengali style Chicken Royale from Shakuntala who also blogs in Bengali at Bokom-Bokom. I have adjusted the recipe to my taste and made some changes to the cooking process. While I was marinating the chicken, the husband-man asked if I am making "the Picnic er Murgi".
"What is Picnic er Murgi?", I asked
Turns out every year after Durga Pujo, the boys in his para aka 'hood went on a picnic where their main intention was to imbibe in "you-know-liquid" that was not allowed at home.The only edibles in that Picnic were rice and Murgir Jhol and this is how the Murgi was done, all marinated together and then set to cook on wood fire.The husband-man was the designated cook or so he claims, so he knew everything about the recipe.
Both Shakuntala and D's recipe called for the chicken to be marinated with everything including the Whole Garam masala and tomatoes. The process then involved letting the marinated chicken cook on low heat in a dutch oven(for Shakuntala) or a big black bottomed dekchi(for the husband-man). But I deviated and broke up the steps by first tempering, then adding tomatoes etc.
Now, whether you choose a exotic name like Bengali Chicken Royale or a nostalgic one like "Picnic er Murgi" is upto you. Both ways this is a easy dish with a delicious outcome.
The book page has been updated with many more reviews and interviews from The Indian Express, The New Indian Express, The Hindu Business Line.
While the giveaway deadline at Aparna's My Diverse Kitchen was yesterday, there is a new giveaway announced at Sin-a-Mon tales.
Mandira of Ahaar has announced my book as a giveaway gift on her 7th year blog birthday and I am very proud to be a part of her journey.
Congratulations to the winner of the book giveaway at A Mad Tea Party
Book is now available in stores in India, Flipkart and Amazon.in
For all others new stock at Amazon on July5th. Order soon and the stocks will be updated.
More details and giveaways announced at the Book Page.
Bengali Chicken Royale or Picnic er Murgi
Chicken ~ 2lb. I had about 8 small sized leg pieces, the organic ones from Costco
I have used fried onion paste to marinate the chicken. You can also use fresh onion paste. I usually chop 2 onions in large chunks, saute them in little oil till soft and translucent, and then make them into a paste which I store. It is easier for me to then use that. Also raw onion paste sometimes tends to get bitter. This way I am sure.
Marinate chicken with
5 tbsp fried onion paste
2 tbsp garlic paste
2 tbsp ginger paste
4 green chilli ground or paste(skip if you don't want hot)
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp Kashmiri Mirch
1/2 tsp Garam Masala Powder
2 tsp Mustard oil
half of a lime juiced
Throw in about 4 halved small red potatoes(or 1 large quartered) to the above and toss in along with spices and chicken.
Also throw in 1 cup of thinly sliced onion to the above and toss along with everything
Now heat some more oil. Mustard oil preferred. I cooked this dish in 3 tbsp of Oil but the original recipe had suggested more.
Temper the oil with
1 stick of cinnamon
1 Bay leaf
2 black cardamom
2 dry Red Chilli
Paste works well in this recipe but you can also add fresh pureed tomato.
This time around I added 1 tbsp tomato ketchup and 1/2 cup pureed tomato
Fry for 2 minutes and then add the marinated chicken along with the potato and onion. Toss everything together at high heat for 2-3 minutes. Cook the chicken with frequent stirring at medium high heat for about 10 minutes.
Now lower the heat, add
about 1/4th cup of chopped coriander,
6 cloves of garlic,
4 green chilli slit,
salt to taste and cover the pan.
At low medium heat let the chicken cook. Remove cover and stir in between. Do not add any water except for sprinkles if needed. Will take about 30 minutes or more.
Once the chicken is done, remove cover and taste the gravy. Adjust for any spices that is missing.
Serve with slices of red onion and lime.