mohabhoj


4 Comments

Berried-mango kheer

I was introduced to aam-kheer by my mother-in-law. It’s a luscious concoction of whole milk reduced to a heavy cream-like consistency, which is called kheer in Bengalifresh mango (aam) pulp and sugar. The way she prepares it is a bit different though. Instead of adding mango pulp to the kheer, she garnishes it with bite-sized mango pieces. And that is how I have begun to love it.

During a phone conversation with her a couple of weeks back, she had mentioned that she was making aam-kheer. The thought of aam-kheer lingered on, even after the conversation had ended.

I had picked up some Haitian mangoes from the grocery store on Sunday and there was this long forgotten can of evaporated milk in the pantry. The ingredients were on hand; all I had to do was put them together, really. I did it, today. Just that I decided to go down the pulp-way this time around. And as long as I was doing something new, I decided it was okay to blend in three strawberries as well.

Reducing whole milk to kheer is a painstakingly long process but that’s how Bengali women have been doing it for generations. My ma does it that way, so does my mother-in-law. I on the other hand recourse to a can of evaporated milk. Just ten minutes of boiling and the kheer was ready. I stirred in the mixture of fresh mango and strawberry pulp once the kheer had completely cooled down.

The strawberries did to mango, what coffee does to chocolate — heightened its flavor.

Image

 


8 Comments

Leaving a Food Truck Festival hungry!

Succulent kebabs, smoky BBQ ribs, wood-fired pizzas, meat-filled Banh mi breads and Jamaican meat patties are much more fun to eat when served out of food trucks. But never ever go to a food truck festival hungry, is what I learned from today’s experience at the one held at Assembly Row, in Somerville.

IMG_2775

There were huge lines in front of each and every food truck, which we didn’t have the energy to brave. And what resulted in this lack of energy at noon, on a beautiful summer day? Well, we had skipped breakfast just so that we could eat like a hog during lunch. Our growling stomachs were making us grumpy. So we promptly decided to opt for dim sum and headed toward Chinatown.

But here are a few pictures that I managed to click before we left the food truck festival, hungry!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 


2 Comments

The sight and smell of fish make me happy!

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I walked into the bustling fish market armed with the quintessential striped thole (reusable nylon grocery bag). The fish scale strewn brick lane was glistening with a Bengali’s enthusiasm for fish.

The clock had 30 minutes to strike nine but the market was heaving with customers. They had resisted the temptation to laze around the house on a Sunday morning for their greater love of fish. Fish that will eventually end up on their lunch platter – fried and slathered in gravy.

Blood and guts everywhere. Severed fish heads. Gills, fins, roe and bloody scales. The smell hovering over both obnoxious and delectable. Delectable to my Bengali palate that will wither away sans fish.

Fishmongers lined both sides of the narrow lane. Seated on a concrete platform they flaunted their day’s catch, spread on fresh green banana leaves. The tarpaulin lined asbestos roof, held upright with bamboo props, provided shade. They were straining their voices to lure patrons. The sound both mellifluous and cacophonous.

“Bhalo bhetki hobe dada, niye jan,” assured one of the fishmongers.
( The bhetki [a freshwater fish] is real good brother, take it home.)

Rui, katla, ilish, bhetki, pabda, parshe, chitol, chingri, bata, khayra, magur — fish of varying shapes, sizes and tastes. A feast for the eyes and soul; never frozen, always fresh. Some dead and some merrily alive.

The fishmonger will swiftly scale and gut the fish for you. And if you fancy a special cut for your catch, he will readily cater to your taste. The whetted boti his paintbrush, the fish his canvas; enchanting customers with his dexterity.

[My Kolkata trip would have been incomplete without a visit to my neighborhood fish market.]


4 Comments

Sandwich: Then and Now

Two slices of white bread, toasted atop a roti mesh or in a frying pan, crammed with lumps of refrigerated Amul butter. Granules of clear bead-like sugar, clinging on to the buttery mounds, adding a sugary crunch. This unevenly toasted, bumpy sandwich frequented my steel lunchbox during middle school years.

I have slowly graduated to grilled whole wheat sandwiches; grilled chicken sandwich with buttery avocado and sweet corn being one of my favorites. But a frying pan and a smear of butter still come in handy when it comes to toasting the sandwich.

Image

Grilled chicken sandwich with avocado and corn


Leave a comment

Tunisian stew to beat the winter blues

I needed some color to brighten up this cold, snowy day. Red, green, purple, yellow and crimson — I was craving Spring!

But for now I had to make do with yellow onions, red and green peppers, purple cabbage and crimson tomatoes. They worked their magical hues to transition into this warm concoction called Chakchouka or Shakshouka, a North African dish. I came across the recipe on the NYT website and had to give it a try.

Image