Friday, March 27, 2020

Baansh diye Dim Malaikari -- Egg Malaikari with Bamboo shoots

W are in the middle of a surreal time. 5 year later when I come back and read this post, I don't know how I will feel. In the beginning of February, when we were discussing Coronavirus, we discussed it lightly, never even fathoming how it would turn our life upside down in a few weeks.

We thought it we are careful, washed our hands, everything would be ok. Maybe a thousand people or so would get infected but they would recover. Surely the government had a plan. We were far from China, an entire ocean and many countries lay between us. The virus wouldn't travel here.

And then early February, we heard of the lockdown in Italy and it hit home a little closer. We were in beautiful Italy only two years back. I had a friend in Italy with two little kids who would update about how they were house bound and not allowed to go outside. We started worrying but still thought, this was Italy,  still far away from us.

Next it was Washington and California and a neighbor panicked as her son worked for Amazon in Seattle. We told her to calm down and that nothing will happen.

Then cases started happening in New Jersey around March 5th. SAT was canceled.

We had a Holi party in our neighborhood on March 7th, still unaware of the looming pandemic. The husband-man was still traveling the week of March 8th, though I panicked. Instead of flying, he drove to DC on March 10th for a meeting. Things were getting tense. There were many more cases, now in the low hundreds. I was still going to work, kids were still going to school. No masks could be found.
By March 11th things started getting crazy. Some people in my county had got infected from a Biogen workshop they attended in Boston. The school started sending Covid-19 regarding emails. On March 12th, many of us Moms decided to keep the kids home from school and asked the School Superintendent to take a step towards closing schools. They were still unsure. No word was there from the Governor about school closures. The administration was still waiting to hear from them.
on March 11th I did a grocery run of 2 stores -- Wal-Mart and ShopRite. I couldn't find Lysol Wipes or hand Sanitizer anywhere. It was as if our life depended on a bottle of Purell Hand Sanitizer. That was the solution to all problems. Some folks thought Toilet Paper was a solution to all problems and started hoarding those!! Later at night, I went to CVS, our pharmacy store and found 2 cans of Lysol spray.

On March 12th, I did a grocery run of 2 more stores  -- the Indian Patel and Costco. I needed Rice and Rusks and Maggi. I wasn't hoarding but we were hearing that things can go bad and we need food for at least a week. There was no chicken in Costco or Hand Sanitizers. The employees were ruffled and didn't answer questions. No one was wearing a mask. The atmosphere was borderline festive. One of the infected person in NJ wasn't doing well
After much coercing and panic calls, on March 12th, the husband-man told his co-workers that he was going home, and it was best everyone else did the same. Some people were unhappy. Some had flights to catch. He drove back home sometime around midnight.
On Friday, March 13th, the kids went to school. I went to work. Cases in NJ were rising. Around mid-afternoon, the schools sent an email declaring school closures for the next two weeks, until March 31st. Classes would start online. Our office said they would do a soft closure where we would still have to go to work 3 days a week but would rotate the WFH schedule so that too many people weren't together.

Om March 14th, Saturday, the kids were happy that schools will be closed next week. LS was still playing with her neighbor friend. they spent a lot of time together doing crafts and riding bikes. It was okay we thought.
On March 15th and 16th, I went to work. I wiped down all surfaces with Lysol. We all kept 6ft distances. Then we were told that offices will be closed until March 31st and we would be working from home. Most people complained. They didn't like the idea of WFH every day. I thought it was great!

It's been TEN days since and the end is nowhere near.
Cases In US have gone up like crazy upto 85K infected.
NJ alone has 6000+ cases.
I am afraid to step out. When BigSis had a cough for the last seven days, I worried so much.

There are lots of plus that is happening too. More in the next post.

I had no idea that Bamboo shoots were used in Bengali Cuisine until I saw Pritha Di's photos of a "Haansh diye Baansh" or Duck with Bamboo shoots. I knew they are popular in North-east India in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur but never knew about the Bengal part of it. Looks like bamboo shoots are a traditional food of the indigenous Jumma people, or the hill-people, in the Chittagong hill tracts of Bangladesh also.

Now, I had a can of Bamboo shoots at home, waiting for a Thai curry. But I thought what the heck let me make an egg curry with coconut milk and bamboo shoots instead, in true blue Bengali malaikari style, only this time with bamboo shoots added. 

So here is delicious Baansh diye Dim Malaikari aka Egg Malaikari with Bamboo shoots. If you don't have the bamboo shoots at home, don't step out to buy them, you can make this without them too.

Egg Malaikari with Bamboo shoots


Eggs -- 4 large (I stick to organic brown eggs)

Onion - 1 small
Tomato - 1 medium
Green Chilies - 2-3 slit

Whole Garam Masala for tempering
bay Leaves - 2
Cinnamon Stick --1"
Cardamom/Elaichi -2
Cloves/Laung - 2

Coconut Milk - 1/2 a Can
Bamboo shoots - 1/2 Cup. I used 1/2 of a Can of Bamboo shoots drained

Salt - to taste
Sugar - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Red chili Powder - 1 tsp
Bengali Garam Masala powder - 1/2 tsp

Mustard Oil - 3-4 Tbsp


Boil 4 eggs. Cool and peel.
Toss the boiled and peeled eggs with 1/2 tsp of Turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp of Red Chili powder, and little salt.

Warm some mustard oil in a Kadhai/saucier.
Fry the eggs until they take a reddish brown tinge. Remove and keep aside

Chop 1 small onion in large chunks
Heat vegetable oil in a pan and saute onion until soft and translucent
Cool and make a smooth paste of onions

Make Malaikari

Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a kadhai/saucier

Add whole Garam Masala
2 TejPata or BayLeaves
1" Cinnamon stick
Coarsely bruised 2 green Cardamom/Elaichi and 2 Clove/Laung

Add the onion paste and 2-3 green chilies slit through the middle when you see the whole garam masala crackling
Continue frying the onion with a little bit of sugar till it turns brown in color or the oil separates from the paste

Ad 1 tomato finely chopped
Add 1 tsp of garlic paste and 1 tsp of fresh grated ginger
Add 1/2 tsp of Kashmiri Mirch and a pinch of Turmeric powder
Cook the masala.

Now add bamboo shoots and saute for couple of minutes

Add 1/2 cup Water to the 1/2 Can coconut milk and mix well. Add it to the kadhai
Add salt and a pinch of sugar to taste.
Add 1/4th tsp of Bengali Garam masala powder

Mix well and simmer the gravy for 15 minutes at medium heat.

Add the eggs.
Simmer for around 10 minutes until you see the oil surfacing on the gravy.

Cook on low for some more time till the gravy thickens and acquires a creamy consistency.
Add 1 tsp of ghee to the gravy

Serve with white Rice or yellow Pulao

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  1. I like your detailed chronology of the covid19 crisis. In Mumbai also we are locked inside the house since 11th March. This time is out of a science horror fiction.

  2. Hi Sandeepa, Have been a long-time subscriber to your blog. A Bongmom like yourself, I just started a blog to chronicle our time in quarantine. Take a peek


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