Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thai Fish wrapped in Banana Leaves -- not a drop of oil

The last week of December saw a lot of friends in our home. Perfect time. Cold winters warmed by warmer friends. The house has slowly started feeling home as we share meals and swap stories. By the time I get around hosting all my dear friends I hope the house will feel like the old one and "more fun" as LS is wont to say. "Not saying that I don't like this house but the 123 AnyDrive was more fun", she declares.

Now this holiday season. there were friends we don't see that often and when we meet the first words that spill out are about the kids who have grown taller, shorter, bigger, lost teeth etc. There were also few friends whom we see more often and who see the kids at more close quarter to be astounded.



Now irrespective of who they are, I have noticed a repetitive trend in my nature in the days and even hours leading up to their visit. The same can be said of the husband-man. Only his ways of dealing with it is exact opposite of mine.

The husband-man believes in welcoming friends in his unshaven, PJ'ed best. Not only that, he thinks it is perfectly fine to have stacks of unpaid bills/papers/unnecessary stuff on the counter when friends are visiting. If the cleaning-lady has come in on a Thursday he refuses to understand the importance of scrubbing a sink just before the guests arrive on a cold Saturday.

"These are friends", he yells, "Friends I have known since XYZ, Kolkata, Bangalore, Honolulu, New Jersey (fill place of choice)".

"Ok, but how does that justify a dirty sink", I retort.

"It is NOT dirty. IT IS clean", he desperately points out.

"Agreed. It IS clean. But it is NOT cleaned 'before-guests-arrive-clean'. There needs to be scented candles on the bath counter and not a tube of hemorrhoid ointment," I counter.

"These are not guests. These are friends," he rolls his eyes, flaps his arms, behaves weird.

Given that the guy is pretty tidy and neat in his ways, it is beyond me how he does not get this. Sigh!! And it is only fair that I mention, surprisingly he is the one who does the major clean up and dish washing after the friends leave.

But after all these years he does not understand why on the morning  of a house guest or even dinner guest's arrival, I shove everything junk visible around the house, in the closet ,and close it tight. Then I prop pillows and screech at the girls if they dare to nudge even one out of its defined space. I take out  books which I last read about five years ago and then strategically place them on the side table (this has a good side effect as I then start re-reading forgotten books). I light candles, scrub the kitchen counter thrice and align the rug in family room every 3 minutes. If time permits I also take out the huge conch, Ma got from Andaman and which is stored away in the upper shelf of the entertainment center for safety, and place it on the console. Ta-Da.

I don't have fancy place settings and how I wish I could do that too.

"Ha, ha...if only they open your closet", the husband-man laughs deliriously watching me from the corner couch. I fear he might actually just ask them to do so.




"Ok enough. Remember to talk", I hiss.

No, no I am not insane and neither is the husband-man undergoing speech therapy. It is just that he believes that it is perfectly fine to make visiting guests watch "Myth Busters" or "NatGeo" in silent admiration or even  take a nap when friends come a visiting. While I am forever trying to think of the most exciting story to keep them entertained, he always volunteers to put LS to bed (which is a kind thing to do)  and only after an hour do we realize that he is the one who is actually snoring. "Ghumiye poreche," I tell the friends calmly and then wake him up and drag him down to participate in the late night adda.

"Gawd, they are my friends. NOT guests", he rolls his eyes exasperatedly. No one seems to mind really so he must have a point there.

And then he believes in serving solid robust food like pathar mangshor jhol, bhaat and boutique beer.

"Thai fish in Kola pata, all wussy-ussy fancy-pansy. I am not doing it" he declares. I plain ignore. If I have managed to get banana leaf from the Asian Store, and a recipe of a fragrant marinade off the internet, my guests better eat the Thai fish.

And they do. They do. No one even opens the closet.


This Thai Fish in Banana leaf is a new found recipe which I love. It started off with a recipe suggested by a friend  here. To it I merged a recipe of Green Curry sauce I found from Jamie Oliver. The two recipes punched together made a beautiful green curry paste. From then on making the fish was a breeze. It was so simple that it worked well for a weeknight dinner and even when cooking for more guests. The green curry paste can be made a day ahead but I felt it lost a bit of punch on Day 3. Maybe freezing instead of refrigerating for longer use will work well.

A note of caution while making the paste, lightly fry the onion before adding to the blender. This will avoid the bitterness many times grinding onion brings around. Also I added the lime leaves later and not while making the paste. The first time that I ground the leaves along with other spices in the mixer, the paste had a faint bitter taste. So I snipped the lime leaves with a scissor and then added to the fish while marinating. This way the paste was fragrant and perfect.

I was lucky to get banana leaves in the frozen section of the Asian Market. If you don't, just use parchment or aluminum foil. I have done that too. If you have no access to galangal or fish sauce, I suggest don't get shy, still do the fish but substitute with ginger and soy sauce

Also I tried this dish with three kind of fish -- Salmon, Tilapia and a fish called Swai. It worked best with Swai and Tilapia which are very mild fish and absorbed the flavor of the marinade.



The fish - I used 3 fillet of swai, each fillet cut in 3 pieces

In a blender jar add the following
1 onion, peeled and chopped (saute onion and use if onion tends to get bitter on grinding)
2 fat cloves garlic
1 thumb-size piece galangal, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp coriander powder
handful of Thai Basil leaves
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp Soy Sauce
2-4 fresh hot red Chilli
handful of fresh coriander leaves
2 tbsp Coconut Milk (the thick part)
juice of 1/2 lime
Make a smooth paste


Clean and place the fish pieces in a large bowl. Sprinkle salt. Put the marinade on the fish so that all the pieces are coated nicely with it. If you have extra marinade freeze for later use. Snip 4 small Kaffir lime leaves in small pieces and add to the marinated fish. In absence of lime lives use lime zest. Marinate fish for 30 mins.

Next take a square piece of banana leaf.

Put a fish piece in the center. Add some finely chopped chilli rounds. More lime leaf if you have plenty.

Fold the longer ends of the leaf over the fish. Then fold the shorter ends to form a packet.

Secure the packet with a toothpick.

Put the fish packets in a oven safe tray with the toothpick side down. Bake the fish at 350F for 20-25 mins. At the end of this, open the covering and check to see if fish is cooked through.

Serve with white rice accompanied with one more Thai curry like this one.



Thursday, January 24, 2013

Chingri Dhan-Dhana-Dhan -- Pudina Dhaniya Shrimp


Once upon a  time, years ago I used to make a chicken dish with coriander and call it Chicken Dhan Dhana Dhan. At that point I did not know much about cooking. The fact that oil separates from masala at some point of kashano was news to me. Instead I tried to shroud my insipid dishes under dazzling names. That the dishes were flop B-grade movies even with names like "Lal Badshah" was often forgotten amidst laughter over the names. Or people were polite and did not point out the fact blatantly.

Now when I think of Chicken Dhan-dhana-dhan, I have no recollection except for the name. It was green and had dhonepata but it was very different from my Dhonepata Chicken. But the name has stuck in the folds of my memory. Quirky names do that to me. I still remember the name a friend (with a penchant for coining funny names) from college had chosen for a prospective Bollywood movie. "Muhabbat ki Jhopri me Jhaarpit ki Raat" was her name for a Bolly blockbuster. Every time I think of that name, my lips curl up in a smile and I chuckle to myself.


<< Also Yogurt, Onion, Shrimp,Salt,Sugar and Oil which are not shown in the above picture >>


In every stage of life I guess there are names you find to laugh on. For my four year old, freshly introduced to potty humour, it is stuff like "Butt-er" or "Pippi" or even "Green Pea".  For another friend it is "Gopi", and since he has drilled into my brain I cannot address a "Gopi" with straight face anymore.

Same is with strange, quirky food names. If the food and hence the name is unfamiliar territory it can be source of much entertainment. Like say "Bibimbap". When I hear "Bibimbap" all I can think of it as, is Raavana's 6th wife with a flared nostril and thick gold nose ring on it. "Kimchi" brings to mind a lot of tiny twittering school girls. "Chenchda" comes alive as a young boy in narrow trousers with long sideburns and hippi haircut

Yesterday on Facebook, I asked for dishes with weird, quirky nonsensical names. Needless to say I had a hilarious time reading what the commenters had to say. There were "Faggots" (a kind of meatball), "Dhop er Chop" (the real deal), "Spotted Dick", "Country Captain", "Baykla Bhajja", "Elo-jhelo", "Round Round Stop", "Moo Goo Gai Pan"  and "Gambas pil pil". The name that stole the show for me was "Jil Jil Jigarthanda". I cannot wait for an opportunity to order it with a perfectly serious look. To say "Ek Ji Jil Jigarthanda dena" is a privilege I want to earn. With names like this I am sure the fish and chips eating Bard would never have dared to say "What is in a Name?". A lot of fun if you ask me.



Now back to today's dish which was built on the memory of the now lost "Chicken Dhan-Dhana-Dhan". It was also inspired by the "Pudina Dhaniya Chicken" and "Pepper Shrimp". The pepper in hot oil and also in the paste adds a very nice flavor layered on mint and cilantro. Chingri Dhan-Dhana-Dhan needs to be pronounced with the right inflection, a slight pause after the first "Dhan" and then "Dhana-Dhan" together with more speed. That is how you will get the right effect .With fresh coriander, green mint, and black peppercorns it will also  a deadly combo, truly a dhan-dhana-dhan.

Go Try.And come tell me the weirdest food name that you know.


Also a quick recap of book I have read recently and loved

Room -- Emma Donoghue
Oleander Girl -- Chitra Banerjee Divakurani





Chingri Dhan Dhana Dhan

Prep

Add the following to the blender jar and make a smooth paste
Coriander Leaves -- 1 cup chopped
Mint leaves -- 1/2 cup chopped (If you don't have fresh, use the dried mint but use less of it)
Yogurt - 1/2 cup of thick yogurt
Garlic -- 4 fat clove
Ginger -- 1" peeled and chopped
Hot Indian green chilli -- 2
Whole Black Peppercorns -- 1 tbsp
This greenish paste can be stored for future use and as base for many other curries. But don't use it as paint.



Lightly fry a small onion till it is soft and pink. Remove, cool and make a paste.

Clean and de-vein shrimp or defrost if using frozen ones. Toss them with salt and let sit for 15-20 minutes. I had about 22 medium sized shrimps(not jumbo but the 20-25/lb frozen kind).

Start Cooking

Heat 2 tbsp Oil in a fry pan

Now to the oil add
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste (more garlic than ginger)
1 tbsp fresh black pepper powder

When you get the nice aroma add
3 tbsp of the onion paste

Cook till oil separates. Now add the green masala paste. Add salt to taste, a tsp of sugar. Cook the masala paste till there is no raw smell. Now add little water(about 1/2 cup for gravy) and let the gravy simmer to a boil.

Adjust for salt and sugar at this point. Add juice of a quarter lime and a sprinkle of rock salt(beet noon) to add to the flavor.

Once you think gravy is almost ready add the shrimp and toss with the masala. The shrimp will cook fast and you are done as soon as the shrimp starts loses its raw coloring and looks white and orange. Do not cook the shrimp longer than necessary. The gravy will not be totally dry but will be clinging to the shrimps.

Serve with a pulao or rice.

Similar Recipes:

Pudina Dhaniya Chicken -- Chicken in Mint Coriander Sauce

Dhonepata Maach - Fish in Cilantro sauce


Chicken in Mint, Coriander and Coconut

Monday, January 21, 2013

Manisha's Lemon Pickle -- No oil and so good

Last week at Wegman's I chanced upon a bag of Meyer lemons. Now earlier I had no clue about these lemons and so they never caught my eye or fancy. However every other person I know in the blog world has posted something or the other about Meyer lemons in the recent past. So when I saw them at Wegman's I had to buy them even though they were going more expensive than my 5 for $1.00 lemons at Patel Brothers. But you know I told myself "these were no ordinary lemons and it is not every day that I get to see them", so I bought a bag of lemons.

Having no specific plan about them I used them as any other lemon. Which means I squeezed them on my black tea with honey, on BS's dal rice, on the Sunday mutton curry and even on the cucumber salad. They were full of juice, plump and overflowing. The skin was thin and smooth and the juice sweeter.


And then the weekend being very warm and sunny it struck me that I could use them in a bottle of Manisha's famous lemon pickle. Very excited at the prospect I shelved the plan for Monday. It was supposed to be sunny said my phone. Monday morning, being a holiday, I dunked 5 of the Meyer lemons and 2 of the regular lemons in water with the thought of making "an achaar". Since we love green chilli in our pickles I decided to add those too. LS was home with me and she stood beside me on a step stool helping me throughout.



Once the lemons were soaked, dried and cut in the manner Manisha had told us to, the clouds started gathering in the sky. The sun played a peek-a-boo and finally decided to call it day. It was only 11 in the morning. I panicked. How to sun my pickle ? I thought. The weather now showed "Snow" even on Wednesday. Being a novice pickle-er I did not want to take a risk.So, I thought I will go the stove-top way of pickle making which again Manisha had suggested in her post. "I will then sun the cooked pickle with whatever sun I get in the next few days", I told myself. Now she had warned that cooking on the stove top will not bring the same flavor that slow curing in 60 days of sun would. This would be like going to the tanning salon instead of the beaches of Hawaii.

Ah! whatever I told myself. I have Meyer lemons. I need a pickle. The sun I have no control on so I will take this route.

All of you do follow Manisha's Lemon pickle pictorial for the original taste. I have adjusted my measures because I saw the size of my lemon were smaller than hers and I used only 5 to her 6 large ones. I also increased the juice and reduced the salt since I was doing it on the stove and decide I did not need that much salt for curing.

After two hours of cooking on very low heat the chilli-lemon pickle tasted truly amazing. Did I tell you it does not have a drop of oil either ?





Here is how I did It

Wash 5 lemons and about 12 green chillies well and then dry them. They should be really, really dry.

Next cut the lemons the way Manisha has said. Slice of the edges to begin with. Since mine were smaller in size I first cut each lemon in half, then each half in two so that we have four quarters from a lemon. Each quarter wass then further divided in 3 or 4.



For the green chillies, I removed the stem and chopped in half.

Put the lemon pieces and green chillies in a glass jar. In my case I put them in a saucepan.

To it add the following
1/4th cup of sugar
1/8th cup of salt (Manisha suggests 1/2cup salt for 6 lemons. I had 5 but I could see mine were smaller in size and I was also doing it on the stove top so went with less to start)
2 heaped tbsp red chili powder(again Manisha uses 1/4th but I had green chilies so I put less)
1 tbsp Turmeric powder




Next make a spice powder by roasting the following
1 tsp Methi seeds
1 tsp Mustard seeds
1/4th tsp Hing
and then grinding to a powder.




Add this spice powder to the cut lemons.

Now juice two of the lemons and add this juice to cut lemons and green chilies.

In the original recipe you would have added all of this to the jar of lemons and then left it to sun. In my case I put the saucepan on low heat on the stove top. The lemons were cooked at very low heat for almost two hours. They released enough water and I cooked till the texture was something like the picture below. I then cooled and put it in a glass jar which I have left on the window ledge. At this point this lemon-chili pickle is edible and it really tasted awesome. Since I have not had the sunned version I cannot compare but it must surely be better.





Monday, January 14, 2013

RoshBora on Sankranti -- pithe parbon

"India being a predominantly agrarian country the harvesting season is joyfully celebrated during the months of Poush-Magh and Falgun (January to February), the festival being known by different names in different regions. In Bengal the harvesting festival is known as Poush Parbon (Winter Festival), poush being the name of the month.

This festival also celebrates Makar Sankranti or Poush Sankranti — marking the sun's passage from Capricorn to Aquarius.
This festival is also known as Pithey Parbon in Bengal, pithey or pithe being a sweet made with basic agrarian ingredients of the region like rice, date palm etc.There are several varieties of Pithey known as Gokul Pithey, Ashkey Pithey, Shajer Pithey etc. Along with this, sweets like Pati Shapta, rice-flour crepes filled with khoya and coconut stuffing, Soru Chakli and many more are also made."

The above paragraph was what I wrote on my post on PatiShapta in 2007. It still remains true. What is different is that in these 6 years I have learned to make two more kinds. Of Pithe. The Gokul Pithe being the second. Yes, a poor record but that is how it is. Especially if you consider the fact that my Dida, with her betel juice stained mouth and silver hair was a Pithe maestro. Ashkey pithe, dudh puli, nonta pithe, pati shapta, gokul pithe, raanga aloor pithey, rosh bora...her creations on Sankranti were endless. I never much cared for them nor did I spend time trying to learn how to make any. Pithe was not something I hankered after.

Today, I make Rosh Bora or RoshoBora-- a urad dal fritter soaked in sugar syrup-- on Sankranti, a sweet I least fancied but now adore and then label the whole thing under Tradition. What goes down must come back up.




Without further 'blah-blahing' on my part let us get down to task with this very simple of sweets made on Poush Sankranti. Let me also tell you that notun gur aka khejur gur (date palm jaggery) being widely available at this time, the syrup for this sweet is usually made with jaggery. I did it with sugar though.


*********

First, rinse and then soak 1 cup of Urad Dal in enough water . Urad dal is also known as kalai er dal in Bengali. Let it soak overnight for best results else 4-5 hours should also work well according to experts(and that is not me)

<< Insert picture of soaking Dal. I forgot to take any >>

Next morning rise and shine. After whatever your morning rituals are get to work with Urad. Drain the soaked dal which as you would see has risen in volume. Put the dal in your grinder jar. Do it in part if you have a smaller jar. Now gradually add water. For the measure I started with (i.e. 1 cup of Dal on the outset) about 3/4th to 1 cup of water will be needed to grind the dal. Add water gradually while making the paste so as not to make a urad soup.

<< Insert picture of you, your morning ritual or grinder making the paste >>

Pour the Dal paste out in a bowl and whip it with a fork. At this point I added about 1/4th cup of water to get the right consistency for the next step. Add salt to taste, about 1 tsp of sugar(optional) and around 1 tbsp of fennel seeds which have been lightly bruised. Lightly bruised means a gentle thwack in the mortar to just release the scent. Yes, yes, now I have the pikchar.



Now we will fry urad dal vada or bora as you like to say it. So heat enough oil for frying in a kadhai. BTW my mother brought this kadhai from her stash for sole purpose of frying during her last visit.Doesn't it look just the right amount of black and greasy ? When the oil is bubbling hot, test by putting in a drop of the batter. If the thingy bubbles and rises up, the oil is ready. With the help of a tablespoon, scoop up small portions of the batter and release in the hot oil. 


  

Fry the vada or bora till they are a nice crisp brown on both sides


While you are frying the bora, start making the sugar syrup on the other burner. In a saucepan take 2 cup of sugar + 2 cup of water and bring to boil. Throw in a few green cardamom  for fun. When the mixture has come to a boil, lower the heat to medium and let it simmer. After simmering for 14-16 minutes the syrup will be formed. Now the syrup for this bora should be a thin one, the one known as single string consistency. Here is a video showing you how to make sugar syrup.
Soak the fried bora in the sweet syrup.


The fluffy bora will soak up the syrup and become what we had set out to create -- the RoshoBora or the Rosh Bora -- the bora soaked in sweet syrup.


Enjoy. Sankranti or not.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Joynagar er Moa

Joynagar er Moa is a famous but rustic sweet of Bengal. Made from khoi , kheer and nolen gur, it is only a winter treat made in the small town of Joynagar about 50 kms from Kolkata. My father sent me these pictures from the local sweet shops in Kolkata which also sell this sweet during winter.

As a child I however remember hawkers from the village, going from home to home, selling this delicacy. They would come on bicycles, loaded with plain white paper boxes tied with yellow or blue strings,the boxes labeled as "Joynagar er Moa" in Bengali scripts. Some of those sellers were authentic, some not. Mother would know. Those plump round balls with raisin at the center and rounds of patali gur were the treats we looked forward to every winter.

Here is a good article on how they are made.

I had last tasted a joynagar er moa a decade back. This time my Father found someone who was traveling to US and is sending some for us. I cannot wait for tomorrow, for those soft sweet moas.





Friday, January 11, 2013

Aloo Peyaajkoli Bhaja -- humble beginnings



Aloo Peyaajkoli'r torkari is a very simple Bengali dish. The kind you would never ever think of blogging about or reading if it is somewhere out there. It is one of those things with minimum of ingredients and clean taste. Nothing complex, no overlay of layers of tastes, no come-look-at-me attitude.Humble. A trait we seem to be heavily lacking in these days. Growing up in an Bengali Indian home, one of the many life lessons we were taught as a child included de-boning a fish and to be humble -- "binoy" as they say in Bangla. And humble here does not mean "low" or "meek". It means modest, unpretentious, self effacing.

"Porashuno korcho, binoyi hote shekho. Vidya dadati Vinayam ", Ma would say in a sharp voice if I so much as tried to display any signs otherwise. Knowledge brings humility, she said.

Slowly as the world order started to change, "humble" lost its place value. It was no longer the thing to be. You had to be bold, brash, self-promoting, updating your status on Facebook with your latest acquisition and linkedin with your achievement.

"If you got it, flaunt it", became the new age Sanskrit mantra. Binoy can go take a walk. To BBD Bagh.

Maybe it made sense.If your car did not have a bumper sticker that read "My daughter is an Honor Roll Student", how in the world were the other cars' drivers to know. If you did not tell the world how great you are, who really had the time to go verify for themselves.If you at all went to Pattaya, what was the point if no one "Liked" it on Facebook. The onus now was on you.

Now honestly I am not sure which is good, what was best. I myself keep on posting pictures of the modest food I have cooked at home with adjectives like fragrant and delicious, so who am I to judge. But as everything goes in a cycle I am sure "humble" will one day find its place back in the charts again. So will simple dishes like "aloo-peyaajkoli bhaja".

Till then let me tell the husband-man how lucky he is to have me. Even after all these years, that guy just refuses to understand.



Now though I am saying Peyaajkoli, there is some confusion regarding this veggie. Peyaajkoli is actually the bud of the onion plant. What me and about 80% of people use is though the green onion/scallion which is the leafy part of the onion plant.

Though this aloo peyaajkoli bhaja is the most common dish with this veggie, I also make a Piyajkolir Tarkari that is similar but has shrimps. Sunetra's peyaajkoli maach with fish and green onion , that we made last year is another very popular dish in our home these days. The green shimmering peyaajkoli was a popular winter vegetable and hot ruti off the tawa with this tarkari was a staple in many a winter evenings in our home.

Chop a bunch of green onion/scallion to small pieces. I did not have much of green onions left today but it is best to have same quantity as the potatoes.

Chop 2 medium potatoes to small cubes

Heat Mustard oil in a fry pan.

Temper the oil with 1/2 tsp KaloJeere/kalonji and  a dry red chili.

Once the kalo jeere hisses and shows its temper add the cubed potatoes. Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and fry the potatoes.Sprinkle little water and cover to let the potatoes cook. Remove the cover and stir in-between. Ideally the potatoes should have been fried in more oil but in my daily cooking I try to use less oil , in that path this cover-cook works well and fast.

When the potatoes have softened a tad(not cooked yet) add the peyaaj koli/scallion. Give a good stir and mix with the potatoes. Add about 1/2 tsp Kashmiri Mirch(or Red Chilli powder) and salt to taste.

Fry till the scallion wilts. Now cover and cook till potatoes are fully done. There will be some water released from the scallions which will help in the cooking. But remember to check and give  agood stor in between.

Once the dish is done enjoy with rice or ruti.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Doi Dharosh -- Okra in a spiced yogurt sauce


Before I wrote this post, I thought twice. Actually several times. Was it okay to start the New Year with something like "Dhyarosh" ? "Dhyarosh", "Bhindi". "Ladies Finger" and now "Okra". After all when a Bengali twists her mouth and utters "Dhyarosh Kothakar",  she is not exactly praising the person she is addressing. It is neither a term of endearment nor of highest praise. She is not really saying that the person is green and slender and really tasty when fried. Instead it is rather a term of disapproval, of disdain and contempt, of  labeling a person as lazy, clumsy and even a nincompoop. Now you know that why I was in two minds to start the first post of new year with "Dharosh".

But then I stood my ground and decided my love for Dhyarosh has not been visible around this blog much so this year that vegetable will get its place of honor. It will sing the opening song...Do-Re-Mi.... I will write paeans about it, maybe a novel, an epic. I have always loved the Dhyarosh in all its slimy-ness and never once thought that the texture was a deterrent to anything. I have loved eaiting it steamed with drizzle of mustard oil mixed wth rice in a dharosh sheddho. I have loved it fried with a squeeze of lime juice in a kurkure bhindi bhaja. I have loved it in a dharosh posto, in dharosh shorshe, in a bhindi masala in a kadhi.



But inspite of all that love I have not been able to cook dharosh that often. Mostly that has been due to issues dealing with buying okra.Until a few years back we did not get very fresh bhindi here and the ones that were available looked so tired that you wouldn't even call them Dharosh. The other issue was the board put out around the Bhindi corner. Its ays "Do not snap" and there is always at least 3 persons standing around doing exactly the same. It is hard to elbow them out and then grab a few of the remaining good bhindis. So I mostly  stayed away.



Since last year however the Indian grocery store I frequent has had reasonably good bhindis, this also meant there wasn't much paparazzi around it. I have been trying to get this veggie home more often. Now the hurdle I face is the kids who do not like its texture and refuse to eat it. I hope that will change some day too and we can be a "Dharosh family" with pride.



Now this Doi Bhindi is something I came upon after discussions with my Mother. There are "Dahi Bhindis" and then there is "Doi Bhindi". The latter has a Bong touch with the spices and sauce base similar to the "Doi Maach". It tasted really good. With white rice it was a winner for our lunch yesterday. Did I say the kids still did not eat it ? Oh well.



Wash and pat dry around 20 okra/bhindi/dharosh. The drying is important

Next chop off the head and tip of tail of each okra.

Heat about 1 tbsp oil in a fry pan . Add the whole okra and saute them with a sprinkle of turmeric powder. When the okra softens and is part cooked take it out and keep aside. Sprinkle some salt on the sauteed okra.

Meanwhile make a smooth paste of the following
1 small onion
2 hot green chilli
3 heaped tbsp yogurt
1 tbsp cashew
Note: If you fear that your onion will get bitter on grinding, saute it lightly and then make the paste

Heat little more oil in the same fry pan.

Temper the oil with 1 bay leaf, 2 green cardamom, 2 clove and 1" stick of cinnamon.

When the whole spices sizzle, lower the heat and add the paste you just made. Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp Kashmiri Mirch and at low heat cook the masala for 3-4 minutes

Next add the sauteed okra to the pan and mix with masala. Cook okra with masala for couple more minutes. Add some water(say 1/4 cup), salt to taste, little sugar and let it simmer. Once the okra is done and the gravy is clinging, taste and adjust for seasonings. Serve with roti or rice