Monday, April 30, 2012

Bong Makes Madrasi Chutney

There is very little that stands between a Bong and food. If she can’t get it in phoren land, she will make sure her kitchen doles it out.

027So I brought Madras home. The idlis are take out from Anjappar. But the coconut chutney is mine. Actually the recipe is what my Mum had learnt from a Madrasi aunty living in Patna. For us Bongs, anyone living down South is a Madrasi. That’s how myopic we are. And what do we know about their cuisine? Well, it starts and ends with idli-dosa. And somewhere in between – this chutney!


Ingredients for Madrasi Coconut Chutney are:

Grated fresh coconut, 1 cup (I used from a bag of frozen coconut available at Patel shops)
Handful of green chillies
Fat piece of ginger
2-3 tablespoons sattu (don’t faint! You can use roasted chana)
Few sprigs of fresh coriander

010005007Put all the above ingredients in a grinder and wet grind till coarse. Add little water to get a chutney-like consistency.


013For the tempering:

1 teaspoon chana dal
1 teaspoon urad dal
1-2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
5-6 whole dry red chillies
Few curry leaves (I freeze fresh ones, they last for months)
1-2 tablespoons canola oil

014Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Let them splutter. Next add the lentils, dry red chillies and curry leaves, in no particular order.

017Cook them on low heat for a minute, don’t let them turn brown.

018Add the tempering to the chutney. Serve the chutney with vadas, idlis or dosas. Its even good with some aloo bonda. Go try!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Its an Owlsome Collection

Over the last couple of years of Blogging, I have come to know some very talented people. Some of whom are quite high on my admiration-meter too.

Unfortunately, I have not met most in person. But hope lives on. Someday soon.

Here are some photographs from girls I have come to know through the world of Blogging and Facebook, and was able to peep in their homes through pictures! That’s how the virtual world works these days I guess.

This is a post about owls in home decor! The owl is the vāhana or the mount of Goddess Lakshmi, the symbol of good luck in Hindu culture. Lets see how some of my girl friends around the world have used the pæncha (Bengali for “owl”) in their homes.

Owl7_Soma Ghosh



Owl5_Soma Ghosh


Owl4_Soma Ch

Owl9_Soma Ghosh



Owl3_Soma Ch

Owl8_Soma Ghosh

Owl1_Soma Ch

Owl6_Soma Ghosh


So what do you think? Isn't all this so creative and inspirational? Maybe its time to get that little family owl out of the trunk and show it off to the world.

Friday, April 06, 2012

So I Made Quesadilla…With a Desi Touch

Little bit of your own adaptation to “foreign” recipes goes a long way. Here is what I did to a Mexican staple. I added my recipe of mince meat and did what everybody else does, serve the Quesadilla with some sour cream, guacamole and fresh salsa.

I cooked the filling for the Quesadilla with some chopped onions, cumin seeds, black pepper powder and ginger-garlic-green chilli paste.




The filling between the tortillas was this cooked mince meat, some sliced green bell pepper, green onions, and fresh coriander. And of course, the grated cheddar.





I used a heavy kettle to keep on top of the Quesadilla to get the cheese sticking perfectly between the tortillas. And I did not use any oil either. The mince meat had enough fat/oil to start oozing out into the pan and coat and toast the tortillas.



That’s my maiden attempt at making a Quesadilla. And I must admit that I have this deep and undying urge to break into a salsa because it was so good.



This Friday so far is turning out to be good and healthy! Its another story that the two and a half of us are taking a break from some Spring cleaning – while the baby and the husband nap, I do a quick blog post.




Happy Friday!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Aamer Ambol, Runny Green Mango Chutney

Remember those way too many green mangoes the husband got? Well, after making pickle and aam panna, this is what I ended up doing with the remaining two. Make my Mum’s runny green mango chutney, a popular summer cooler called Aamer Ambol.




042Many memorable Bengali meals end with this sweet-tangy chutney, which is bursting with flavours. The Aamer Ambol has a cooling effect on the tummy, especially on summer days because of the anti-oxidants it has.


Ingredients for Aamer Ambol are:

2 green mangoes, washed and coarsely diced (remove the soft fleshy part inside the core, retain the seeds/stones)
1 heaped teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons mustard oil
5-6 tablespoons sugar

Heat the mustard oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and cover. Let them splutter till they turn dark, not black.


Add the pieces of mango and its seeds too.

Move around the mango to coat them well with the mustard seeds and oil. Cook the mango on medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Add the turmeric powder and mix well. Leave the mango uncovered on low for a couple of minutes more. You will notice that the pieces of mango are looking softer and have already got a coat of color on them.


Add water, enough to completely cover all the mangoes, and a little more for good luck. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes and add sugar and salt. Its important that you add the sugar after the water else the sugar will caramelize and will not dissolve in the water. Which in turn will be an ambol disaster!


It doesn’t take too long to cook the mangoes. Make sure the texture of the chutney is runny. If the water cooks down, add a little more. Turn the heat off once the sugar dissolves and the mangoes are done. Do a taste test and adjust the salt and sugar accordingly. (When a dish is too hot, it will taste less salty or sweet than it really is.)

The Aamer Ambol is usually served room temperature. Or warm. That’s when you really appreciate the balance of sweet and sour in it.


This runny green mango chutney can be stored in the fridge for a few days too. After a hearty meal, we Bengalis usually end on a note of sweet, but before that comes a much important component of sweet and sour and savoury, in the form of a chutney – either tomato, green papaya, pineapple or this mango. They say a chaatney like this helps open up your senses to the dizzying array of desserts that follow. Or Ebaar “desert” ta aano as a true blue Bong would say!