Tuesday, 15 July 2014

"Jhaar" and Bhapa(steamed) Ilish

I have boasted about the mother's patience many times on the blog. Most of those claims were true. 
But things are changing. With time, I have started seeing a decay in that patience level. Almost an exponential one.
Some not-so-good friends call it AGE!
;-)
I hate to call it that. The reason is not because I am uncomfortable with THAT number (which keeps on increasing every year no matter which cream you use), but because of the fact that once I say it is age, I do not feel like doing anything about it anymore. It feels like I have blamed "someone else" and the problem is pushed away. Honestly this decline in patience bothers me more than the wrinkles on my eyelids. I know it is inevitable, but maybe I can slow it down? a little bit? Experiment continues...
The good news is, even though the decay of patience is clearly visible, there is no such noticeable change in the  "trying-to-find-humour-in-everyday-situations-in-life" atitude. Not yet!
;-)
One of these days when I entered A-juniors room, I suddenly lost total control of my voice. A witch-like-high-pitch voice started screaming from within me. No commas, fullstops, punctuation marks, pause to breathe....nothing, just pure screaming.
This did not happen before. The general trend till date was to start cool...observe the mess first....a few low pitch sentences in a composed manner...a few sentences coming BACK...instigating gradual increase in the decibels....some more lines BACK and FORTH...finally voice reaching a higher pitch and amplitude. I could breathe through all this and I still had control.
THAT is changing. I was INSTANTLY screaming at the top of my voice this time!!I told you it was decaying!
Mom:  (very high decibel)What is this? Is this a room or a garbage bin?
Ami kintu shob phele debo. (I will throw away everything).
A-junior: (not even looking up from his Ipad) I will clean it later.  
(is he using ear plugs or what? How can he not be bothered with this screaming?)
Mom: Ekhuni koro. Noyto amar kache emon jhaar khabe!!
(Do it now or you will get such a thrashing...)
"Jhaar" in my language can mean a lot of things. In this context it meant a pure thrashing/scolding/spanking...something on those lines!
No, (for all those parents who are shocked about the "thrashing"), I never do that. But I do use the term from time to time to let him know that "I CAN if I WANT to".
;-)
A-junior made a sulky face and started to clean his room.
I cooled down.
I was still shocked with my own screams.(Really? Age?)
I cooled down even more.
I even gave him a hand. 
I started wondering if he really understood the meaning of "jhaar". The word did have an effect though!
I was also curious to hear from him how he felt about this.
So I asked,
Mom: Do you know what "jhaar" means?
A-junior: [not even looking up from his toys] No , I don't. I  only know JHARKHAND , the name of the state where dadu-dida lives.
;-)
JHAAR? JHARKHAND? (Yes, my parents live in Jamshedpur in Jharkhand!)
Poor mother. All this time she thought that the word "Jhaar" made all the difference!!!!

Now let me cook something very tasty to forget the small troubles of life.
Let me be happy that the screaming ended and I can still smile.

 Bhapa Ilish

I love monsoons in India for two reasons.
First, memories of childhood.A rainy day --Unforgettable.
The heavily clouded dark skies...the lightning and the thunder..the "mon kharap kora " feeling....schools declaring rainy day...
getting wet in the rain intentionally "forgetting" the raincoat...making paper boats for the small water streams in the garden....the indoor board games...Baba invariably cheating in Ludo...bhai getting extremely upset about it...the smell of Ma making pakoras and crispy fries(what calories?) from the kitchen...ropes crisscrossing across the rooms with wet clothes hanging on them....fans at top speed trying to dry them....ma grumbling about the "damp" smell....dinner of khichuri and omelette..the constant pitter patter on the window panes ...eyelids closing with nature's lullaby.

Second is Ilish. This fish is the king of all fishes. My love for it is like..like...ummm....like...my love for Amitabh Bachhchan! My all time favourite!! Ilish be it fried, steamed or curried just like AB, be in comedy, romance or  thriller...All Super like!!!just DOES NOT MATTER!
(I hope he is not upset with this comparison...it is meant as a huge compliment!...)
This recipe specially suits my needs here in Holland. The fish is extremely smelly and the husband does not eat fish at all. I know your looks, " A no-fish-eating Bong? Really? Exists?"
If packed and cooked in this manner, there is no fishy smell in the house. That is what I think. I have not checked with him in so much details.
;-)

I used :
  • Ilish : 5-6 pieces
  • Mustard paste: 4 heaped tbsp
  • Mustard oil: 4 tbsp
  • Green chillies: 4 (slit)
  • Turmeric, salt
Ready steady cook:
  • Make a paste of mustard seeds with little bit of salt and 2 chillies.
  • Add salt, turmeric, slit chillies and mustard oil to the paste.
  • Tip: At this point check if salt is good. Once you put the raw fishes in, you will not be able to taste it anymore.
  • Nicely coat the fish pieces with this paste.
  • Put it all in a steel tiffin box, close lid tightly and  immerse the box in boiling water in a bigger pan (with lid).
  • Let the water boil for 15-20 mins. The fish gets cooked in the steam.
  • Take it out of water-filled pan, open lid, sprinkle another spoonful of mustard oil on the top and serve with steaming white rice.
  • I had plans to take a photo with the finished product on my plate but honestly could  leave the plate and get the camera. Too hungry. Sorry. 




If you make it for me, my eyes may show signs of moisture.... tears of happiness and gratitude can roll down too....






Friday, 4 July 2014

"THEY DO" and Mango masti

Bicycles are all over Holland, in big numbers. Special cycle roads connect almost every place in Holland. The general motto is, "if you can cycle to some place, do it". No wonder the dutch are such super fit people. They enjoy a very high priority on the roads too. Other vehicles stop now and then to allow them to pass.
The son has started cycling to school now, on his own. The mother was initially bothered by the "on his own" bit but has gradually come to accept this fact. However, she never loses any opportunity to give some sort of advice to the son on this topic. She also "innocently" quizzes the son from time to time to check if he knows all the rules and are following them. Some questions get answered "innocently" while some get fired back with,
"Ma, I KNOOOWWW!!!"
The mother does not give up. Mothers- You know how they are!
Then comes the helmet.
She insists that the son wear a helmet to school. This is off course  extremely "uncool" for the 9-yr old, specially when most of his friends don't.
As the son protests against such forced "uncoolness", Mother cleverly (she thinks so) asks,
"What is more important? Your head or being cool?"
Son replies with a wink, "Being cool".
There you go....Mom winks back only to keep the situation under control.
When God made mothers, he emptied jars of patience into each of us. This is when it comes handy. The mother continues with a straight face as if the above conversation did not happen at all. She goes on to explain how, even though the bicycles have priority, since all car drivers are not always kind to let them pass..he has to wait, look and ONLY cross the road when the car comes to a full stop.
Kid nods. (I am sure he is saying, "Ma , I knoooowwww!!" under his breath) .
Mission accomplished.(Thats what the mother thinks!)

One day, as the car slowly moved towards school , stopping frequently at the zebra crossings or the traffic lights or to let a cycle cross the road....
The mother stopped the car to let two children pass on the road on their bicycles. One of them just rode by. The other waved a hand to acknowledge this gesture.
Mom was impressed. She said to the son,
"Did you see that? Such a nice kid! did you see how she waved her hand to thank me? Do you guys learn this at school?"
[You note the innocent cool tone of her voice? All she wanted to know was if her son does that too!!] 
Son: Maaa... this is not Maths or Geography to be taught at school. Kids learn these things from their parents!!
The mother almost  braked to a halt. 
What a happy feeling! A few more seconds of thought on this topic could have brought tears to her eyes!(am exaggerating!)
Jokes apart, WE know our children learn from us..and THEY know that too ?? 
THEY DO! They may say aloud how "uncool" we are, but in reality they do. THEY DO!!
[Parents out there, this emotional discovery sure deserves holding hands and standing together in united celebration of this fact]
;-)

Now some really tasty and sweet stuff to continue the "awww..." emotion.

Mango masti


During the mango season in India, we used to eat mangoes everyday during dinner. I remember my mom used to slice each mango into three pieces. Two slices from each side and the central piece had the "anti" or the main seed. The middle piece (anti) consisted of 80% non edible part(the seed) and 20% of the edible mango flesh around. Inspite of knowing this , we (my brother and I) fought over who is going to get that piece. Thankfully, most days more than one mangoes were sliced, so we had enough middle pieces to satisfy both of us. Now when I look back, I feel it was not the shape or the size of that middle piece that made it so special. It was a certain way this piece was eaten, that made it so attractive. First, the peel had to be removed like a ribbon without breaking it. Then the main piece was kept aside and the focus was on trying to scrape off (with the teeth) the last bit of mango flesh clinging to the inside of the peel. Once satisfied with a thin peel devoid of all taste, then the main piece was attacked. Starting from the top, going along the sides to the bottom and back to the top. Depending on the juiciness, there were frequent occasions  when drops of the mango juice would trickle down in between the fingers towards the elbow, which were licked away when Ma was not looking. The end product was an almost-white mango seed devoid of colour, taste and looks.
Some of you , as you read are actually eating a mango with me while some (who ate peeled and cubed mango pieces with a fork) may say.."Ewwww".
;-)

This is a recipe tested and proved several times. The recipe is a "copy paste" from Bong Mom's cook book and is such that I can run it "blindfolded" now. This is a "must try" recipe. Do it once and it is going to add a feather to your culinary skills. I can vouch for that. 
Thanks S.

I used:
  • Condensed milk : 1 can
  • Mango Pulp (can) : 2 cans ( double the amount of condensed milk)
  • Eggs: 3 large
  • Some mango slices for decoration, I also use fresh basil leaves.

Ready steady cook:
  • Mix one can of condensed milk with 2 cans (same can) of the mango pulp.
  • Add three eggs.
  • Mix well. (you can use a electric mixer or even proper mixing with a fork is good enough)
  • Pour the mixture into a flat oven proof dish. ( a flat dish helps later for slicing into nice pieces)
  • Preheat the oven ( 220 degC)
  • Let the mix be baked for 40 mins. It should turn light brown at the edges.
  • Cool, decorate and serve.
  • Your guests will definitely ask for a second helping..... 










Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Kanchkola-r khosha bata

Mother son duo was sitting at the orthodontist's.
Son has been recently prescribed with braces, to which there was terrible opposition for the first few days.
The logic was,"I do not want beautiful teeth, full stop".
But mothers being mothers, they are not easily convinced  by such full stops. So visits to the orthodentist started. The revolting atitude also kind of cooled down either because he could CHOOSE a BLUE brace with GLITTERS (you heard it correct!)or the fact that his best friend also had to put one on.
The brace comes with a plastic case. On his second visit to the doctor the son wanted to ask the doctor for a "second" case so that he does not have to carry the case to school and can basically have one case at home and one case at school.
Mother was not convinced at all. She thought it is not a necessity but more of a luxury triggered by the fact that "all children in the class have a second one".
So conversation in the orthodontist's waiting room was like this:
Son: Mom, can I ask the doctor for a second case?
Mom: No.
Son: You do not know Mom, how difficult it is to have just one case. I have to carry it everywhere.
Mom: I do not think you need it..there are so many children who do not even have one box.
Son: That is because they do not have braces.
[uff..ki mukhe mukhe kotha...replying back!!]
Mom.: Okok....[decibel increase, slight show of impatience, desperately thinking of another example to make her point]: But there are so many children in the world who do not even have food..forget braces and other fancy stuff.
Son: Mommm!! You cannot use the same example every time!! This example is for the restaurant if I waste food on my plate. For orthodontist, you have to make another example.
Ahem. Silence for two minutes. The doctor calls. The mother is thankful that the wait is over.
As the son leaves for the doctor's room, she could not suppress a smile though. These new models are very smart. No doubt about that.
 Ten minutes later the Son comes out smiling with a new case in hand.

All characters in the story above are fictional. Any resemblance to real characters is purely coincidental. ha ha!
;-)

Ok...over to the foodies... 

Kanchkola Khosa bata
(Paste of unripe Banana peels)
 
Recently I made "Kanch kolar kofta". While preparing, I thought of not throwing away the peels of the kanch kola (unripe banana). I have no clue what made me think this way (there was no fever, pulse normal, heart beat perfect, still..??). So I kept them aside with plans to make something later. Coincidentally there was a discussion in our whatsapp friends group the very same day about lau-khosa bata. So every force in nature aligned themselves to make me cook this recipe.
[Like SRK said: Kehte hain agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaho ... to puri kainath usse tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai]
No, I am not a fan. ;-)

We Bengalis have a strange habit of making use of almost every part of a vegetable. I think, this is mainly because of two reasons. 
1. The joint family system in the past required food to be made in bulk quantities. So throwing away various parts of vegetables and hence reducing volume was not encouraged.
2.We are such big food lovers that whenever we see "something" edible, we are creative enough to make a super recipe with it.
Otherwise why on earth would anyone even THINK of eating kanchkola khosha bata?
(paste of the peel of unripe bananas).
I told you, it sounds crazy!!
Honestly this is the first time I ate this dish. My mom never made it. She , however made a very similar dish called "kofi pata bata", which is again a not-to-be-wasted part of a vegetable, leaves of the cauliflower. 
We, Bengalis have taken food to a different level.
If I am allowed to switch off my modesty for 2 mins, I would say (about this recipe): 
As I took my first bite, my eyes closed, by breathing calmed down, my taste buds danced with joy, by being alive made more sense!! What more is Moksha , my friends?

I used:
  • Kanchkola khosa : Peels from four bananas 
  • Garlic: 4 cloves
  • Green chilli: 6
  • Kalo jeere: 1 tbsp
  • Mustard oil : 3 tbsp
Ready steady cook:
  1. Peel the bananas.
  2. Put the peels with 2 cloves of garlic and 3 chillies in hot water.
  3. Let them come to a boil for a few mins.
  4. Strain and keep aside to cool.
  5. Make a smooth paste of the peels with little bit of salt.
  6. In a non stick pan,  add the mustard oil.
  7. As it heats up, add the kalo jeera, chopped garlic( 2 cloves) and chopped green chilli.
  8. Then add the paste. Add salt and keep frying till the raw smell  and the stickines is  gone.
  9. Serve with steaming white rice.
  10. People who eat this will bless you!!!!
Two words of caution:
1. Do not go by the looks. The dish does not have "killer" looks. It definitely compensates with "killer" taste.
2. Be careful when you handle the peels. They may stain your clothes.
 
 

 
 






Thursday, 5 June 2014

Brownie points with Shauri-r Beet Bahar

I know that wink in your eyes and the smirk on your lips! 
Yes, indeed!! By naming it "Shauri-r beet bahar", I have already won a few brownie points at the very start of the blog.
Shauri is "Shashuri" in short, meaning Mother-in-law(MIL)!
[Offcourse SHE reads my blog and is a big fan ;-)]
Mother in laws have been depicted in our Indian movies in a very negative way (specially in the 70-80's movies).They were always these wicked people whose only aim in life was to make the too-good-to-be-true-daughter-in-law's life miserable. They were always in a state of  conspiracy with unreal wicked facial expressions and a nerve-chilling background music to prove their power.Not for once in the movies, did we see the MIL doing normal jobs like preparing a meal for the daughter-in-law or ironing a shirt or changing the bed.
Bindu and Sashikala are two common faces that immediately comes to mind whenever the word mother in law is mentioned. Scary!

Sashikala
Then marriage happened. Thankfully reality is VERY different.
One more brownie point.
[No girls, I am not opening the comments section here!!]
;-)
One popular topic in the hostel (long long before we were married) was the imaginary husbands and sometimes the imaginary mother in laws.
[You know how young girls at that age are..giggly, dreamy, romantic,.....]
One standard question was,  "How do we address HER? Shall we call her MA....or MOM....or Ma go...or....?"
I jokingly replied "bhalo ma"!!! [The good mother]. Hihi...instant hit amongst friends!
;-)
[I think my real mother does not read my blog so regularly]
Thankfully.  

Shauri-r Beet Bahar

My mom (almost) always used beet in a chicken stew or a carrot-beet dry fry. I ate this new preparation with beet root only after my marriage. My MIL cooked it. I loved it. But the first time I loved it thinking that I was eating "lal-shak"...a type of reddish leaves which is dry-fried in almost every Bengali household. This is something which is dark pink in colour and even though it does not belong to the spinach family, it is often referred to as the "red spinach". When she said it was beet root my first reaction was  "What?, Really?".
Anyway, when I asked her for the recipe she was done telling me in 37 secs. 
It was too simple.
I thought, "Hmm...Mother in law, not ready to share the secrets with the daughter in law yet, eh?'
[Initial days after marriage..."distorted" image of MIL from movies....too simple recipe with no complicated stuff...hmmmmm..I was 100% sure that she was not sharing the real recipe. haha! ]
I took a risk and made it anyway,expecting the taste to be nowhere near what she made.
Surprise! surprise! It really tasted like hers. I told you reality is VERY different.
;-)
This recipe has all the qualities to make it a big hit. This is a simple, tasty and "no chance of a mistake" recipe!!
So make it...

I used:
  • Beet root: 4
  • Garlic :2 pods finely chopped
  • Kalaunji (Kalo jeere): 1 tbsp
  • Dry red chilli: 1
  • Posto: 1 tbsp.
  • Salt to taste
Ready steady cook:
  1. Wash and peel the beet.
  2. Grate it. (This is the most difficult step in the recipe)
  3. In a pan, heat 1 tbsp cooking oil.
  4. Add the kalaunji (kalo jeere),dry red chilli and the chopped garlic.
  5. Saute for a while. Add the grated beet and cook for 5-10 mins.
  6. Add salt to taste.
  7. Cook some more till it is properly cooked. Switch off heat and sprinkle some dry posto(poppy seeds) .
  8. Serve with white rice.
Heavenly.




I told you...it sounded too simple.
;-))



Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Narkol diye Bhaja moong-er daal

I am cooking. I am also gathering funny stories about everyday life. I am also writing.
But somehow, the focus has suddenly been focused on Hijibiji for the last few weeks....Rhyming became an obsession. In my free time (when and if I have any).
Words keep rhyming in my head,
I like cheese and brown bread!
See, I told you?
;-)
Anyway, the bottom line is that I am coming to this blog after quite some time and I am trying (desperately) to create a convincing excuse.
The story of the day:
A-junior is very curious about what we do at work. What EXACTLY?
"Research and Development " does not say anything. Neither does "software architecture" or "E-commerce development". Everything needs proper explanation at his level.
He is very curious.
What is THE THING that we do that gets us  the monthly salary? What is it that HE cannot do YET?--what a thought from a 9-yr old!! I need to clarify...
I struggle to explain at his level...so I tend to make it very simple. Something like...
To bring the oil out of the ground, we drill a hole. Then a pipe is placed such that it can bring the oil to the surface..So I need to find out smart ways of doing that....like a straw going in and ...
A-junior: Oh , I can do that!
Maybe I made it sound too simple?
One evening. Dinner table. Three of us were having dinner. A-juniors half term results were just announced.He did very good in Maths but was not so good in vocabulary.
A-senior:(in the typical papa papa tone): I saw your results. Vocabulary needs improvement. Maths is good but still needs improvement.
A-junior: But papa, I got A+ in Maths!!
A-senior: I know, but still, you should keep doing better..
A junior: But papa...that is not possible..
A senior: I know..but...
......
....
A junior: This is not fair Papa,  Have I ever asked you to make hundred thousand million cello tapes per day?
A-senior works at Staples.
Yes Staples.....cello tapes....makes sense? That is what HE thinks A-senior does!!

Our struggle continues........
;-)

 Narkol diye Bhaja moong-er daal

This recipe also has a strange story attached to it. Couple of years back, at our DurgaPuja celebration, we wanted to have "Bhaja moog-er dal" for lunch on one of the puja days. The moment you say "Bhaja moog-er dal", most Bengalis nod their heads with a shine in their eyes because they know "exactly" what you are talking about.
Unfortunately  our caterer,who is not a Bengali took the menu literally and served it for lunch in a form like this, to have it with rice!!!!!!No fault of his. This IS bhaja moong er daal.
;-)

 

I used:
  • Moong dal: 100gms
  • Coconut :1/4 th (cut into thin small slices)
  • Ginger: 1 inch piece (thinly sliced)
  • Cumin (whole) : 1 tbsp
  • Red chilli (dry): 1
  • Bay leaves: 2
  • Salt, sugar, turmeric
Ready steady cook:

  • First dry roast the moong daal. (this is what makes it "Bhaja" Moong-er dal. The daal  starts changing color to a light brown and gives out a nice smell. Be careful not to burn.
  • Do not wash daal before roasting. It becomes soggy.
  • Once roasted, let it cool for a while and then wash.
  • Boil it with salt , a bit of sugar and turmeric.
  • Fry the coconut pieces till they are light brown. Keep aside.
  • In a pan, heat one tbps oil (ghee preferable, but keep it guilt free, go cycling afterwards!!)
  • Add the dry red chilli, cumin, bay leaves and the ginger.
  • Saute for a while and add the boiled daal.
  • Let it boil for 5 mins.
  • Add the fried coconut pieces.
  • Let it boil for another 5 mins.
  • Add one tbsp of ghee and switch off the heat.
  • Serve with steaming white basmati rice  and maybe fried eggplant or crispy potato fry.
[Ok ok..you can go swimming after that]



Thursday, 17 April 2014

Dreams and A-Junior's Chicken Stew

We all dream. 
(I am talking of normal dreams which we "see" when we sleep and not the dreams which parents talk about, the ones which we "should see")
;-)
Some of us even have the ability to remember the dreams after waking up the next morning, to the smallest detail. I am one of them. 
A-Junior has inherited this talent. Most mornings when I wake him up, it starts with either of the two:
Maaaaa, it is too early..I want to sleep more.
OR
Maaaa, you know what I dreamt last night?
Considering the rush morning hour, when our lives are totally governed by the clock on the wall, both responses are usually handled with a strict, 
"Quick quick, get up ..we will be late".
Some days the story ends there with a sulky face, some days the dreams dominate and A-Junior just needs to share the dream in between brushing his teeth , changing his clothes, eating his breakfast and numerous "quick quick we are late"  warnings from me.
Recently, one comment of his has made me a "bit" more patient as a listener to his early morning dreams.
One day:
I was  ironing his shirt, mine waited on the side table, the microwave was beeping in the background and the clock was ticking away.
He enthusiastically began with, "Ma, you know what I dreamt last night? Garfield was actually very full and he burped and...."
I cut him mid way saying, "I am busy Arno, quick quick , we will be late"
He said, " Ma, jama istri korte to tomar kan lage na"
(Ma, you do not need your ears to iron a shirt)
He has a point.I should listen more. The shirt and the iron will stay but the sharing of the dreams not.

He will grow up.
;-)
After completing his own dream story, he also claimed ,"Mom, my friend says that at the end of his dream, the names and titles come scrolling from below, like in movies"
I said, "really?Quick quick,  ..we will be late"
;-)
[Totally between you and me] I remember one funny dream from my younger days. (This was just before my higher secondary exams so most of you would excuse its weirdness)
This is not made up. Really. Some of by best friends may even remember and nod their head as they read this.
I dreamt that I was going for my exams to a different city and was traveling by train. Amitabh Bacchan and Rajiv Gandhi were in the same train. Both of them were also going for the same exams. Rajiv Gandhi had long hair (like AB) and both of them where studying the bones of a frog from the same biology book when I entered the train compartment. The first thing I said to RG was "hey, you have long hair like Amitabh Bachchan". At this point Amitabh Bachchan looked up from his book and smiled at me!  SMILED AT ME!!

Okok...in my dreams...so what?

On a day when A-Junior's dream temporarily shifted from being a windowwasher to a chef, he made a "Chicken Stew".


Chicken Stew

He used:
  • Chicken: 1 kg
  • Onion: 1 (large)
  • Tomato:1
  • Garlic : 3-4 cloves chopped
  • Carrots:1 chopped
  • Potato: 2
  • Capsicum: 1
  • Beans: a handful  (chopped)
  • Cinnamon: 2 small sticks
  • Cardamom: 5-6
  • Black pepper (whole)
  • Bay leaves: 3
  • Garam masala powder: 1 tbsp
  • white oil or butter

Ready steady cook:
  1. In a heavy bottom pan, heat 2 tbsp of oil .
  2. Add the whole spices  (cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, bay leaves).
  3. Saute for a few secs and then add the other vegetables.
  4. Saute for 4-5 mins and then add the chicken and the chopped tomatoes.
  5. Cook for a a few minutes.
  6. Add the garam masala and the salt.
  7. Add water (or chicken /veg stock). Cover and cook.
  8. When it is fully cooked, add a dollop of butter on top and switch off heat.
  9. Enjoy with bread or rice.

All the spices.....

All the veggies and chicken.....




Some knowledge transfer....

Into the pan.....

Papa needs a drink while cooking..so do I!!

Enjoy with bread...



 






Sunday, 30 March 2014

The missing coins and the Indian Shepherd's pie

The boy is nine, thinks he is nineteen.
The parents (like all parents) are struggling to accept the fact that their boy  is "growing up". 
The mother struggles a bit more (Women, nature, umbilical cord etc etc). The father struggles too but hides it nicely (Men, strong, less expressions etc etc).
So one fine morning (last weekend), the boy decides that he is grown up enough to go and get some groceries from the local market. Alone.
Ma nods (hesitant nod), Papa nods (confidence galore).
The supermarket is 10 minutes walk from our house and has two main road crossings. There is also a tram line running parallel to the road. Don't forget the bicycles. ..and the pedestrians....and...
There you go...the mother talking!!
Honestly, for a moment I thought ..No way, such a SMALL BOY!!
Anyway, he left with 5 euros in his pocket  to buy a packet of salad leaves. A-senior was going to make Shepherd's Pie and we needed some salad to go with it. A few minutes after he left, the mom quickly put on her jacket and walked till the first crossing, "just to keep an eye". (The father smiled but am sure he was happy that she did so). The boy was nowhere in sight. She paced back and forth a bit. May be walk to the second crossing and wait? 
Her phone rang.
"Mom, I am done with the shopping and have just started walking towards home"
I had no clue he had his phone with him. (The phone is only "allowed" if the parents think it is necessary).
I ran back home, opened my jacket and tried to look as if I was sitting on the sofa all this time.Within 5 mins a very confident Arno walked in. 
Big smile, a sense of achievement, pride written all over his face.
Ma:  Well done Arno. Any problems?
Arno: No! (surprised look saying WHY should there be a problem)
Ma: Good. So do you have the change back? How much did the salad cost?
Arno: 1.29 euro.
Ma: So what should you get back? (Indeed she never loses a single chance !!)
Arno: 3.71 euro ?
Ma: Ok.....so show me the money.
Arno starts to count the money he got back and it was 2.70 euro!!!
Awwww!!!.....I will never forget his face. The pride and happiness from a minute ago just vanished. He felt miserable. Unfortunately it was the closing time of the super market so we could not go back to challenge the cash guy. Not good. Poor fellow.
 Ok first day, excused. But a 15 min long lecture surely followed on how to count the money back at the cash counter.
Next day early morning , Arno wanted to go to the supermarket again. We let him. This time the mother was a bit more chill. Really. (Father? off course super chill!!)
Deja vu.  Again a 5 euro. Phone rings.
"Mom, my cookie is 2.30 and I got back 2.70. I counted properly."
His face was beaming again when he came back.
Indeed the boy has grown up!!! Time flies!!!

Now to some food. Life is no good without the food.

Indian Shepherd's Pie. 
(Disclaimer: Shepherds can be of any nationality. Our Chef-herd is Indian and wanted to have cumin and coriander powder in his pie .) 
 

A-senior used:
  • Minced lamb : 800 gms
  • Red onion:1 Large
  • Carrots: 2
  • Garlic: 3 cloves (chopped
  • Tomato: 1 (chopped)
  • Potatoes: 1 kg
  • Carrots: 2 (finely chopped)
  • Peas: 1/2 cup (frozen is also ok)
  • Cardamom: 2
  • Cinnamon: 2 sticks
  • Bay leaf: 1
  • Cumin powder: 1 tbsp
  • Coriander powder: 1 tbsp
  • Pepper and Salt
  • Butter (optional)
  • Olive oil ( any white oil)
Ready steady cook:
Boil the potatoes and peel them. Mash them while hot with a blob of butter, some salt and freshly ground pepper. It should be smooth and a bit creamy.


In a pan , heat the olive oil . Add the whole cardamom, bay leaf and cinnamon.
Add the chopped onions and garlic. Fry for a while.
Add the carrots and peas. Saute for a while and add the lamb mince.


Cook for a while till the lamb is cooked properly.
Add the cumin and coriander power. Add the chopped tomato. Cook till everything is mixed properly. The final product should be a bit juicy not very dry.
Preheat the oven to 190ยบC.
Take an oven proof dish and pour the lamb mixture in it.. Now add the mashed potatoes on top and with a fork carefully spread it to make an uniform layer.
Let it cook for 40 mins.



The Indian Shepherds Pie is ready.....
Eat with a salad  or steamed vegetables. 

This post is sent to "East or West, Food is the Best" online event hosted by Kolkata Food Bloggers.