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bengali food

Festive Specials food indi

a payesh for shavuot

more than 3,300 years ago it is believed, god gave the torah to the jewish people on mount sinai. shavuot celebrates this deeply spiritual moment, with prayer, joy, gratitude, the reading of the commandments, and of course, food. in this case, food with dairy is customary. every year, just before shavuot, which is celebrated in may/june, my husband reminds me we must have lots of nice dairy dishes and desserts at home. clearly thoughts of buckets of ice cream, cheese,…

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Espresso Shots

five feet of the snake

  “unpalatable to the lord of death! first among the monkeys!! you’ve seen five feet of the snake?? burnt face, extract of low stock!!” jomer oroochi! bandorer ogrogonno!! shaaper paanch pa dekhecho?? mukh pora, bodjaat!! the swear words flew fast, interrupted only by indignant breaths, equally rapid. the frail old lady’s voice got more stentorian with each word, the affront in it resounding. “return them this moment! return them now, i say!” she bellowed, her small frame shaking, her chest…

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food

if winter comes, can motorer kochuri be far behind

food is so much about memory, isn’t it? i can’t even hear the words “motorer kochuri” without thinking of my mother. my mother was not a great cook, in fact she was never too keen to visit the kitchen. she had, however, the most discerning sense of taste and understanding of the various stages of cooking. she was particular about the spices and condiments she believed a dish called for. the balance of ingredients was important, getting the right inflection…

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food

how did the salmon get into the shorshe diye machher jhaal

if you’re bengali, you’ve probably grown up eating shorshe diye machher jhaal, or mustard fish curry. it can be made with many kinds of fish, almost any kind: large bhetki (bekti), rui, katla, chitol; smaller tangra, koi, parshe, gurjaoli; of course, prawns, even pomfret. clearly, we love mustard. but it’s made with special enthusiasm in the rainy season, the monsoon months, when the ilish or hilsa fish comes to the mouth of the river, the estuary or mohona, and its…

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food

luchi, anyone?

durga pujo is almost here, soon it’ll be dussehra and diwali, thought i’d share a recipe for these eat joyously times. luchis are lovely things. they traumatise all resolve to not even look at fried stuff, lose weight, eat sensibly and other such notions. luchi is a bengali creation (i am almost sure), a beautiful take on the poori, which is made of atta or whole wheat mainly. here it’s all maida or refined flour. the taste is delicate, the…

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Festive Specials food indi

yes, deep fried, of course.

it’s not possible to think of history while thinking of chops. especially mutton chops. and yet, i tried. one may not think that’s an achievement… and this would only be because one hadn’t had a mutton chop, the way bengalis make it. chop, to a bengali, is not a cut of meat. it’s a beatific smile inducing joyful experience that involves getting lost in another world while recalling exactly how mother or grandmother or boro ma or younger kakima, or…

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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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