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aarwen Festive Specials food

Have you ever served Dhabhe wali Dal at Home?

dhabha wali dal at home recipe

I have always dreaded day 2 or 3 of having house guests. I have already served them paneer or chole (substitute chicken curry if you are a non-vegetarian host), we have gone out to an expensive popular restaurant in town and we have approached what I fondly call the “home cooked food craving” day. These guests say things like, “My stomach is full” or “am feeling heavy” or “let’s have something simple“.  Years of conditioning as a conscientious host doesn’t allow…

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Festive Specials food indi

fish kochuri… a halloween recipe

i was sitting in front of my computer, working and completely absorbed, when it came out of nowhere and spooked me. i suddenly had to make fish kochuri. i don’t know how to make these delicious pastries with fish stuffed in it. this was a fiend though that was hellbent on scaring me into submission. think the only time i’ve had fish kochuri or maachher kochuri, as we call it in bengali, was almost ten years ago. maybe more. it…

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food indi

“as wrinkled as my face…” a recipe for tomato mahasha

there are several tomato mahasha recipes on the net. they all sound pretty good. one of them particularly, since you stuff the tomatoes with raw rice and chicken and it just feels so complex and authentic. my mother in law would say once in a way as she went about getting the stuffing ready that the really good baghdadi jewish cooks never cooked what went into the mahasha beforehand. then she’d forget about all that and make it her way.…

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food indi

turmeric can make you ramble

that there could be a word for holud or haldi in english had never occurred to me. i was fourteen, not interested in cooking, and besides, why would people who didn’t use it in any of their cooking bother to find a word for the yellow powder or paste present in practically everything we make? we don’t have a word for parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. we don’t use those pretty sounding song-worthy herbs in our curries or ghontos or…

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durga food

Making of the Avakaya – The Mango Pickle

avakaya mango pickle recipe

Whenever summer arrives, my mother starts worrying about getting things ready for the daunting task of making the mango pickle which is done once a year. It’s made in a large quantity so that it could last for the whole year. Making of the mango pickle, which in Telugu is called the Avakaya, is quite a family affair. The word avakaya is a combination of avalu, which means mustard seeds; and kaya, which in this case means vegetable. Essentially, avakaya…

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aarwen food

Have you ever had dal baati?

dal baati recipe

Blame it on Sooraj Barjatya. Those loud hyper happy families with beautiful decked grand halls, curving stairways, women with stone jewellery, intricate ornate lehengas and all that food! I was a Bihari (or half since my mother is a Bengali), but I longed to be a Marwari. The food was a big part of this yearning. In the movies, the heroine or mother would make gajar ka halwa (carrot dessert). But, there are so many more food options. My Marwari neighbours would call…

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food indi

have you ever had kheer komla?

if you’re not bengali, you haven’t probably heard of kheer komla. in english, i guess that would be condensed sweetened milk with orange. sounds prettier in bengali, i must say. orange has been used in many well known and much loved dishes in cuisines from all over the world. duck a l’orange and crepe suzette came promptly to mind and distracted me the moment i wrote that. both are memorable and i haven’t had either in the longest time. but…

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food indi

mutterings over methi chicken

i took these pictures when i went to the kitchen for my second helping this afternoon. i looked at the methi chicken, boneless slivers of chicken cooked with fresh fenugreek leaves, and thought in what way is she less than a chef? an adept, bright, inventive, innovative, fearless cook is she. there’s nothing she is not willing to try and learn to make. between us we call dishes concocted over our little confabulations and cogitations… experiment (pronounced ex-perri-mane). like this…

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