Sunday, April 24, 2011

Choto Aloor Dom

 While we the people in Bengal are getting ready to the next assembly polls soon here. Politics and election is the buzz word here for the time being.Second on the list is Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL matches.

We are now in the midst of Kaal Bouishaki as I am typing this post.And if you have read this old post , then perhaps you would be interested to know that there are many stake holders still. We finally managed to get one kancha Aam thanks to a driver who works for someone else (read Mrs. A) but likes to do these small chores for us. People are just running here and there with old jute bags to collect Kancha Aam falling under this mango tree like “Indro Debotar vardaan”.As if everybody is a budding cricketer eyeing to catch the ball err the mango to secure a place in some cricket playing team for which they wish to play. Our housing complex is soon going to host it’s own league matches quite similar to the T-20 format .Well Hubby dear seems to be interested, lets see how many turn out on the D-day.

The other day while coming back to home I was struck in traffic due to the “michil” blocking the road to promote their party worker probably who is contesting as an election candidate for the first time. Things which were part of quintessential Bengal politics still remains the same, no matter who is leading or lagging behind.
I was traveling in a shared auto and the auto driver reluctantly asked white-clad Sergeant if he can cut pass through the “michil”, a firm negative reply and stern look, do you need any more?? And then I had one of the most adventurous and breath taking auto no bumpy ride ever. My kidney jumping in place of my heart and my heart most probably in my gullet if not in mouth. After stopping I pinched myself to see if I am still alive. Well yeah otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this post. Right?

                                          ( One of the many unknown By-Lanes in night )
Kolkata has many narrow lanes and by lanes which runs almost interconnecting two main roads. These interconnections are like spiders web so much entangled and criss-crossed if you know your way out well then it’s your good luck and you will hit the main road otherwise you will be left rotating in a never ending loop. What makes these by-lanes even more fascinating is the activity that goes with it.Nitai kaku reading Khabore’r kagoj while sipping his cup of “Cha “ with thin arrow root’er biscuit and Kakima feeding left-over rotis to Bholai.Well Bholai is a mere “feti Kokor” and in case if you are interested to know more about him,then you should befriend Kakimaa first.

And then there will be our own Runa Didi holding his 12 year old son Ronny’s hand , giving him continuous instructions what he should or shouldn’t be doing in school. She would be seen often buying some fresh ras bhora langcha from Babul Da’s Sweets shop.She will then make promises for great rewards after school if he can score at least 90 in “Onkko” if not 120 out of 100.As far as his son is concerned, he has his own brain but is dysfunctional for the time being. Wait some more years down the line and he will be seen having a gala time in a multiplex with his school friends dumping his school classes for a recent Hindi flick , a much better way to utilize refresh one’s brain I guess.

                                        ( Traffic on main road.The boy in picture came to us,asking to give him parking fee for our car, which we did give him and he was happy posing for us.)

And then there will be our Jhonto da, with one hand working to fix his correcting glasses and the other balancing the handle of his bicycle. You can figure out well he is trying to juggle both –Love and life. He will try to cut and pass through the auto to catch up with Bela didi who is now getting late to catch the next bus which will be dropping her near her college. Well and then there will be Ganesh’er “Modi Khana” or grocery shop where you can see heaps of different varieties of rice and lentils being put on sale in huge jute bags.Ganesh will be seen sometimes scratching his bulging tummy ,slightly lifting his “genji” perhaps due to the sweat which gets accumulated in this hot and humid weather. There is a pedestal fan which is of no use but is there as he got that old pedestal fan as a gift from his in-laws. Some men are really gentlemen or perhaps they are tailored.

Well these are few real life characters; Malgudi Days still is kept alive in these lanes and by lanes of Kolkata. May God bless them all for providing me so much to write about them.I will try to update more in coming post about them.

Now to the recipe part which I almost forgot.Choto Aloo or puti aloo or baby potatoes when made into thick gravy, they give a nice texture and flavour.A Bengali Aloor Dom when made with these baby potatoes adds a different touch to this traditional recipe. When accompanied with freshly deep fried luchi this traditional recipe is a crowd pleaser.

Choto Aloor dom
Recipe requirements
Baby potatoes-about 15-18
Onions-2 medium size
Ginger-half inch
Garlic-3-4 fat cloves
3 tbs of cooking oil
1 tsp of turmeric powder
2 tsp of red pepper powder
1 tsp of cumin powder
2 tsp of coriander powder
Gota garam moshla/whole garam masala-
2 -4 cloves
1 cardamom
Half inch cinnamon stick
3 green chillies
1 medium size tomato
Salt and sugar as per taste
  • Wash the baby potatoes well in water to get rid of dirt and mud.
  • Now heat up a saucepan/kadai.
  • Add cooking oil preferably mustard oil. Add gota garam moshla/whole garam masala like-clove, cardamom, cinnamon etc.
  • Fry the baby potatoes very well. Take out in a separate bowl.
  • Add ginger, garlic and onion, fry very well. If you wish you may use the onion/ginger/garlic paste.Add green chillies.
  • Now add the dry seasoning-turmeric powder, red pepper powder, cumin and coriander powder, salt and sugar. Add a bit of water also.
  • Fry very well with baby potatoes the above masala.
  • Add chopped tomato.
  • Now add about 1 cup of warm water. Cover it and let it cook slowly for about 10-15 mints or till the potatoes are done. Serve with chopped coriander leaves optional.

Happy Cooking Friends

Friday, April 15, 2011

Keema Kofta Curry - and Poila Baishak 'er Shubecha

There is a big correlation between Boisakh mash and Bengal. We the people in Bengal, outside Bengal and even abroad are all gearing up ,Today is Poila Boisakh – our happy new year and then followed by the birth date of Rabindra Nath Tagore on Pachishe Baishak.Baishak Mash is very much happening and is season of festival of sorts for all of us.With Nabaratri finished few days back, we had all sorts of Shahstis.The day before yesterday was Neel shashti.This is just our personal preference where we abstain ourselves from non-veg food for these five days. But Poila Baishak to every Bengali means good indulging food and cooking up storms in kitchen even tornado too as in many cases.

So, wish all of you a very happy Poila Baishak.Noton bacho’rer onek shubecha sobaike.



Amidst chaotic commotion where we live now, as lot of construction work is going on full swing for the upcoming metro lines, I do think there is upto an extent a bit of madness about poila boisakh here. All shops, sweet shops, jewellery shops are well decked up, even have sales offer going on. Does “Chaitra Sale” ring some bells in your ears and shine in your eyes. Well then it’s good but wait till you really can cash in the deals available now.I am brave enough but can’t imagine myself in the crowd to get the best deals in Chaitra sale, jostling and hitting each other, knocking on legs and then grabbing the deals. Well last part was exaggeration on my part much to your satisfaction.
But then even if I care enough to get Noksha bala or Choor in Chaitra sale or some other best deals, well is it that much worth it.

Few days ago we went to Esplanade; it used to be the heart of city, lungs that I can not say.There used to be an air of superiority about Esplanade and New market Shopping till a decade ago but in recent days ,there has been a paradigm shift and most of us end up shopping in Gariahat or close to our vicinity.
The hustle bustle in Esplanade,and the commotion there will leave a newbee somewhat disoriented but the veterans still like the idea of spending time or shopping there.Everybody seemed to be so much in habit of doing something if not nothing. And then the different voices of hawkers to seek your attention.





While coming back from there, our yellow taxi stopped at one of the traffic signal. Usually I like to half open the taxi window to breathe in some fresh air.But that day the window on my side was wide open. A hawker selling baby corn started pestering me to buy one packet of baby corn...And then something unusual happened.I started bargaining, and the initial price of Rs 60 per packet was reduced to Rs 30 per packet.Hubby dear sitting beside me and my daughter was smiling as if telling me you know well what you are doing.
Then the voice”Didi aap logon ka hi sahara hai varna hum to bas ….” Sentence was not completed and after that what followed was a long pause from both sides. Here a complete stranger selling me a packet of baby corn was making me feel lumps in my throat. And then the traffic signal went green from red. I left behind me a saga of emotions or perhaps I was carrying small bit of that emotion inside me. That made me think do these people really care about Poila Baishak or is it just another day for them.Do they have a luxary to spend fortunes on new clothes, food and outings. When we are so pre-occupied with the nitty-gritty of poila baishak for them I guess it is just another day. Another day looking to earn something.
My eagerness to get whatever best deals in Chaitra sale was over powered by that bundle of emotions I was carrying back home from that baby corn selling hawker.
Now you will be asking what I did with the baby corn. I made vegetable pulao with beans, carrots and baby corn cooked in with Sita-Saal rice, a variety of par boiled rice quite similar to Basmati rice. The rice is very fragrant and long grain rice which gives a nice texture to the pulao.My in-laws particularly liked the baby corn pulao.No, I haven’t taken pictures as we all were busy relishing it.

But yes we have this keema kofta curry to go with that vegetable pulao.


This is how we made keema kofta curry
Keema Kofta Curry-Meatballs in Spicy Gravy
Recipe requirements
  • Chicken mince-250 Gms
  • For the kofta/meatballs
  • 2 fat garlic cloves
  • Half inch ginger
  • 1 onion
  • About 4-5 almonds soaked in water and peeled
  • 2 slices of bread sides cut
  • 1 potato boiled
  • ½ cup of besan/chick pea flour
  • 2 tsp of ground red pepper
  • 2 tsp of ground coriander
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of black pepper powder
  • 2 tsp of garam masala(better if prepared freshly)
  • 1 tsp of cumin seeds
  • Half cup of yogurt
  • Half cup of cooking oil to fry the kofta
Making of Kofta/meatballs
  • In a mixer-grinder- make a smooth paste of onion/ginger/garlic.
  • Now on a medium low flame stir-fry the chicken mince/keema for 6-8 mints or till they change colour.Add about half a tsp of lemon juice and stir it well. Take out the mince in a big mixing bowl.
  • Let the mince cool a little bit.
  • Add in boiled potato, bread slices and besan.Adjust the amount of besan or bread slices. The idea is to make meatballs or kofta that can shape well and can hold up while deep frying otherwise they might break while deep frying.
  • Add the prepared paste of onion/ginger/garlic.
  • Add all the dry grounded masala-coriander, cumin, red pepper, black pepper, garam masala powder.
  • Freshly prepared masala adds to the flavor of these kofta/meatballs.
  • Add in half cup of yogurt also.
  • To prepare fresh masala grounded-
  • Toast some 2tsp of coriander, 1tsp of cumin seeds, about 8 whole black pepper, 2cloves, 2 cardamom, and half inch cinnamon over low flame for 4-5 mints. Let it cool and then dry grind them in mixer with 2-3 dry red pepper (add as per your preference of tolerating heat and spice).
  • Now in a deep bottom pan, add oil, and let it heat up well.
  • Make small balls from the entire mixture. This much of the dough will make at least 15 kofta/meatballs.
  • Drop slowly in hot oil and deep fry them. Take out and drain. You can relish these meatballs as is or if you wish you may use up as filling in pita bread or wrap in tortillas. You may serve them with hummus as well.
Now to the making of gravy
  • Grind 2 onions, 3 fat garlic cloves, half inch ginger, and 4-5 almonds together.
  • Put a saucepan over a medium flame.
  • Add in about 3-4 tbs of cooking oil
  • Now add in the above prepared paste.
  • Deep fry the freshly prepared masala for 6-7 mints.
  • Add in 1 tomato chopped finely.
  • Add in dry grounded masala like- 1tsp of cumin powder, 2 tsp of coriander powder, 1 tsp of turmeric powder, 2 tsp of red pepper powder, and 1 tsp of garam masala.Add in salt as per taste. Add about quarter cup of water also.
  • Keep on stir/frying the prepared paste for another 5-7 mints or till the oil comes out by the sides.
  • Now add in 1 cup of water and lower the flame.
  • Let it cook for 7-8 mints at medium low flame.
  • When the gravy turns to become little thick. Stop the flame and add the deep fried kofta/meatballs. Cover it and after half an hour serve it roti or pulao or whatever way you like to relish.




If you are thinking to cook up a tornado in your kitchen, then perhaps you would like to see these old recipes
And Wish all the readers,Well wishers and Friends Shubho Nababarsho
Happy Cooking

Friday, April 8, 2011

Banana Blueberry Walnut Loaf

 What makes a nation come to a halt, take notice, then sit and watch with pounding heart beats. Is it Politics or election or religion or something else? While trying to figure out this question I realized that there is one thing which binds us together irrespective of our backgrounds, caste and religion. And when the nation‘s heart beats to the tune of cricket, I wont look further anywhere in concluding that it’s cricket, what else?

Have you come across a neighborhood /mohalla / para cricket where even elders get involved with their children playing cricket. From Shivaji Park in Mumbai to Maidan in Kolkata, what draws your attention the most? A child making a move to ball his maiden over or a batsman striking a stance which probably would end up being four runs. We like to stop for a moment, join the fun, cheer them up and then brush off and move on putting a smile on our face, nudging our head believing that someday that child will make it to Indian cricket team. But then even if you are a housewife like me don’t you yourself like to stop for a moment in front of your TV when ever Dhoni will be hitting match winning sixes. And then will swing his bat like a sword, like a warrior in the battlefield.

And on Saturday nothing came in to the path about this recognition. From neighborhood vegetable vendor Sukhdevs to millionaire oops billionaire Ambanis, everybody cheered the Indian cricket team when it re-created the history again.And what a day it was. Well you all are reading, seeing and hearing about it. I don’t have much to add on that front. Well Congratulations to team India and Thank all of you for bringing back the world cup again. And wish all of you more ad-endorsements to your profiles and revenues in your pockets.

Now coming to the loaf recipe which was saved in my draft. When whole nation including people like me are going crazy about this world cup, just thought that this loaf recipe is appropriate to celebrate this occasion.
Banana and blueberry is a great combination and when this is served with dollop of ice-creams then this becomes a delicious combination. Put on the TV to watch your IPL matches and enjoy these slices with dollop of ice-creams.

Banana Blueberry Walnut Loaf

Recipe requirements
All purpose flour- 1cup
Whole wheat flour-1 cup
Butter ½ cup
2 eggs
½ tsp of baking soda
½ tsp of baking powder
½ cup of milk
½ cup of frozen Blueberry
2 Bananas mashed
½ cup of walnuts chopped

  • Mix in the dry ingredients in big bowl-all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder. I have included whole wheat flour for a more healthy option. If you wish you may use plain flour for baking this loaf or may use whole wheat flour only.
  • Now cream together butter and sugar with a fork or whatever way you prefer.
  • Slowly add in one egg at a time mixing through.
  • Now add in milk to the above creamed sugar and butter, egg mixture.
  • Mash the bananas well. If you have ripened bananas that may give good texture to the loaf.
  • Now add in bananas to the above prepared mixture.
  • Crush some walnuts.
  • Take out blueberries from the refrigerator.
  • Mix in the dry flour mixture to the wet mixture of butter+sugar+banana+milk+egg.
  • Preheat an oven at 180 deg C or 350 deg F.Prepare the loaf pan. Spread some butter evenly and dust some flour over it. Tap it gently to even out the flour.
  • Mix in frozen blueberries and walnuts chunks to the above prepared batter. No need to thaw frozen blueberries as they turn out soggy in the cake batter or most of the time they settle down to the bottom of the loaf. Frozen blueberries which are not thawed tend to stick well with the wet ingredients which help a uniform cake.
  • Bake the loaf for about 1 hr not less than that.
  • Let it cool a little bit before you flip the loaf to a plate.

Make slices and you are ready with your breakfast loaf.

And when cricket crazy season is here .Just thought re-cap of some old recipe would be a nice idea to warm up your evenings while catching up with IPL cricket matches.
Support your favorite cricket teams in IPL and enjoy with good food.Have a nice weekend ,see you all next week.Happy Cooking Friends 
Sending this Loaf recipe to Wit,Wok and Wisdom who is hosting her first food event.Click Here for more details.
Happy Cooking Friends