Sayantani’s Chingri Macher Malaikari

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Pic Courtesy: NDTV Food

Sayantani is my beautiful colleague from Kolkata. I met her last year and was overjoyed this year when this year she moved to Mumbai. With her she not only brought to office her famed Bengali accent, the unique manner in which she dressed but also her Bengali cuisine. This was when i felt, its always good to know one more ‘bong’ in your life. Here is her post of the best chingri macher malaikari that i have ever eaten. Trust me it was even better than the one that they serve at Oh! Calcutta.

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I have a fond relationship with this exquisite prawn delicacy that brings back innocent childhood memories every time I make this. As a child, like many of you, I had this habit of associating words with certain pictures (I still do that very often and laugh my lungs out caring little about my surrounding! It is my ‘zone out’ guise.) So, Chingri Macher Malaikari was associated with regality in my child mind. I cannot say now, after so many years, why I had created such an association. Perhaps, looking at how delicately the milk of coconut was pressed out to prepare this heavenly prawn curry or looking at the jumbo prawns in golden yellow sauce or may be simply because I liked the dish so much that I had made it regal!

Nonetheless, the fact remains that the dish can change the dimension of a meal whenever it is placed on the table! I have made this dish many times. Whenever I have cooked a quick meal for two or twenty, I end up turning to my favourite ‘Chingri Macher Malaikari’. Here is the recipe of my grandmother, which I learnt from my mother.

Ingredients:

–          1 kg Jumbo prawns

Make sure you clean the heads without losing the yellow gooey stuff. Remove the veins from back. After draining all the water, smear the prawns with salt and turmeric powder and keep it aside

–          3.5-inch cinnamon stick

–          7-8 green cardamom

–          2 bay leaves

–          6-7 cloves

Pestle the garam masalas very roughly and keep it aside.

–          Oil & ghee to fry

–          Turmeric powder

–          Red Chili powder

–          Salt and Sugar to taste

–          Garlic paste 2 pinches

–          Ginger paste – 1 table spoon

–          Onion paste – of 4 big onions

–          Green chilies – slit 3-4

–          Coconut Milk (400 gms of powder made into a thick gravy)

Preparation:

Step 1

  • Shallow fry the prawns in mustered oil or white oil and keep them aside

Step 2

  • Heat 2-3 tbsps. of ghee in a pan and shallow fry the garlic paste. Make sure you do not burn it.
  • Add the bay leaves and garam masala and fry them on sim till they start sputtering
  • Add the ginger paste to the pan
  • Add 1 tbsp. of sugar to the pan and then add the onion paste
  • Give a very good stir to the mixture, without over frying it.
  • The oil will start separating when your masala is cooked. Add the coconut milk to this mixture and give it a nice stir
  • Add 2 tbsps. of turmeric powder and few pinches of red chili powder and also add the green chilies to the mixture
  • After adding the coconut milk the texture will start thickening. Keep stirring to make it even
  • Add the prawns now and add little water and give it a good stir
  • Cook it on medium flame for 10 minutes
  • Adjust the salt and sugar

Serve the ‘Chingri Macher Malaikari’ with steamed basmati and enjoy a simple yet regal Bengali meal!

Bon Appetit.

love

Sayantani Banerjee

Sayantani

Papa’s Pork Sorpotel: My long impending post on..pork..again

My papa with his beautiful wife 🙂

When most people look for comfort food, they would cite maggi, pasta, pizza, ‘bhate-bhat’ for the bengalis, daal-bhat for most of the others. My comfort food for all seasons and for all the right reasons is pork sorpotel. And just the way my papa makes it. Though i have tried several versions of this dish, my papa’s version has a special place in my heart. So i thought i should document this dish for my son, who could probably then make it for his children. Recipe typed out by my papa.
Also this is probably my fifth post on pork so you probably know that is the one thing I ‘pig out’ on the most.
Papa’s Pork Sorpotel 
Ingredients:
1 kg of pork innards with liver, heart etc cleaned and partially boiled OR a kg pork partially boiled and cut in small pieces.
A tbspoon pigs blood crystlline. ( if not available do not worry)
A piece of cinnamon.
For grinding:
20 dry chillies
2 tsp coriander
half tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
half tsp pepper
half tsp turmeric grind with little vinegar or tamarind water.com
For chopping
3 medium sized onions chopped small (say 16 pieces)
3 green chillies
10 cloves of garlic
1 inch ginger
  • Add the meat,chopped items and ground masala with little bit of salt and tamarind water till cooked.
  • When cooked add salt,tamarind water or vinegar and the crystalline blood.
  • Sourness must be adjusted to your taste
  • Finally add little sugar
  • Soak tamarind in water and remove waste
  • Use only just enough vinegar and  tamarind water.
  • If lot of liquid fat is floating around remove it.

This on cooking tastes better over a few days if refrigerated and heated as per requirements.

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Sorpotel – Not the best looking pic but the best tasting comfort food in the WORLD! This one was made by my uncle. 

Pork Sorpotel tastes best with my mummy’s sanna (idlis), bread or steamed rice. This is a dish that a lot of wedding caterers make since it has a decent mix of curry and meat, doesn’t have to be spicy and suits a lot of palates. But every time i eat pork sorpotel, it just reminds me of home and my Papa.

One of those days…

When you want to only eat yummy food because you are feeling down. Food shouldn’t ideally be eaten to lift your spirits but what the heck! I think you can be pardoned if you are cooking up your lunch box at 6 am in the morning.

Today was one of those days.

I made myself egg muffins and sauteed some broccoli, mushrooms and sausages for lunch. Easy enough to make, healthy and does lift your spirit to an extent. Especially if you like broccoli – which not many people enjoy.

Egg Muffins: How to make them

  1. Beat 6 eggs up
  2. Pull out a baking tray for muffins
  3. Line it with cooking oil
  4. Line the baking cups with whatever is leftover from the night before – it could be shredded chicken, basil, bacon, brocooli, cherry tomatoes, babycorn and top it with some mozarella / cheddar cheese
  5. Pour the beaten eggs into the cups
  6. Bake at 180 deg C for 20 mins
  7. Tadaaaaa…16864266_10154148174956890_7247231442300426930_n

The best part of these egg muffins is that you can store them, reheat and eat.

This is my comfort food. And lunch for today.

What’s in your lunchbox today?

 

 

N for Never give up #AtoZchallenge

I am so behind in my challenge- so many days of writers block that I decided to challenge myself to atleast finishing this series and not compete​ with the other stalwarts in the #Blogchatter challenge. What Blogchatter’s #AtoZChallenge got me to do is 

  • Get some semblance of discipline in my blogging life 
  • Got me to take my blog and my love for food seriously so much so I made my instagram account a professional one, started a Facebook page for this blog 
  • Got me blogging more than I have ever done in all my years of blogging
  • Got me to start a new series on medium.com, read some more there so I can write better here or wherever I write 
  • Got me to connect with fellow foodies, food bloggers, instagrammers
  • Got me in touch with the core quality I have in life overall – never give up. 

So this post is all about me thanking Richa and Blogchatter for getting me to write and write some more and yes #nevergiveup

M for Madras Cafe #AtoZChallenge

You can never go wrong with South Indian breakfasts. American and English breakfasts have their own charm but South Indian breakfast ensure one thing – a full tummy and that too a healthy one. Am calling this post Madras Cafe not just because I love the cafe on Dadar East but also it signifies all things South India in breakfast.

Being a South Indian by birth predisposes you to have idli, dosas, neer dosas, upmas, puri bhaji etc. And this you will probably get at a Udupi restaurant. But what you do get is the stuff that South Indian households make. 

At my home spring hoppers or appams are quite popularly. While neer dosas are quite regularly made, we also make tuppa dosas which very few South Indian joints make. A lot of homes make ‘Mutlin’ which is basically tempered rice powder with shredded coconut and eaten with spicy chutney or with chicken curry! There was a similar version of these rice balls that I ate at Coorg. Called kodambattus these cute little balls of rice are served with sambar. If you are lucky you might even get to eat these with pork….for breakfast. 

JSome other interesting breakfast options are Bhakris which are rice pancakes roasted on iron tawas, on a naked flame sometimes too. Best eaten with piping hot tea for breakfast or for high tea! My mum spices this up with some mutton curry.  Just too divine to describe. 

My dad’s standard breakfast is ‘sajjike bajile’ which is upma topped with spiced beaten rice with a sprinkling of sugar at times. The beaten rice or poha is sometimes mixed with jaggery which then lends this dish a sweet salty flavour. 

When I had gone to Kerala I had rice noodles steamed and served with egg curry for non vegetarians and black gram curry. Heartiest breakfast ever. We also make something similar in mangalore called rice sev and serve it for breakfast with sweetened coconut milk. Kerala is also famous for rice puttus which is rice flour mixed with coconut.

What you might have noticed in most South Indian breakfasts is the strong presence of rice and coconut, against most popular diet recommendations. Rice is not considered as healthy and a lot of dieticians ask you to skip rice from your meals. But the people who live and work in the places where these breakfasts originate from are seldom overweight and unhealthy. Maybe it’s worth then to reconsider the way we city dewellers reconsider the way we lead the rest of out lives than skip healthy and wholesome breakfasts like these. 

I might have missed some of these rice based breakfasts while mentioning some of what I have experienced. Love to hear your favourites!

L for lime, lemons, lemonade and vodka lemonade #AtoZchallenge 

When life hands you lemons they say make lemonade. I say add a dash of vodka and salt and make yourself vodka lemonade. I also say seek out lemons because there is nothing quite as refreshing as lime, lemons, lemonade and vodka lemonade.  

Lemons from my mum’s garden

This tangy fruit in all its forms in one of my favourite seasoning to add to my food or drink. Lemons are very adaptable and change the most mundane of foods to something exotic (ok that’s exaggerating a bit but you get what i mean).  Lime reminds me of several dishes and thus several memories.

Lime works best when you want to marinate your meats especially white meats. It breaks down the fat in the meat a and lends it a tangy flavor without destroying the original flavor of the food. I love marinating prawns with lemon. Pomfret tastes best when you add a dash of lime to the chili and salt marinade before you fry it. It also works wonders with Surmai (kingfish) and mackerels but when you squeeze it on the fried fish after you have fried them. Marination for these two is better when it’s with vinegar or atleast that’s how it was passed on to me by my mum. 


I also marinate my chicken in lemon juice before fry it. But if I want chicken to be softer it’s always better to marinate in masalas and yogurt and squeeze lime on it after you have fried it.  Lime reminds me distinctly of the fried chicken my mum makes. Recipe for this can be found here. Meat tastes best especially the one that is roasted on coal when you add a dash of spice. Lime on mutton kebabs, chicken legs, and roasted papad with onions and tomatoes  literally makes my mouth water as I write this. 

My erstwhile mother in law used a lot of lime in her daal. Yes. And boy did I love it. Khatta daal. Like the Gujaratis used to make it. She used to add a generous portion of peanuts to it. Funny lime also reminds me of her 😜 Should anyone know the recipe for Khatta daal please send it to me or comment on this blog. Lime also reminds me of the mutton chops I used to hate, that she used to make. Well of course I couldn’t tell her that cos my ex husband loved it, so lime used to come to the rescue and used to redeem the dish for me. Everytime.

Also what would bhel – sukkha or geela be without lime?  I cannot tolerate chillies as you might know by now. So the only way i enjoy my bhel would be to add a dash of lime, with an extra sprinkling of peanuts and an extra puri of course. Lime is an essential component of all Indian chaat dishes I suppose – mostly of those that don’t involved yogurt (dahi). 

The best use of lime is in its original form. As juice. Lime juice with a dash of rock salt can quench even the unquenchable thirst you can have on a hot summer day. Beats any kind of aerated drink you can have in this. I tasted this lovely concoction of coconut water mixed with sweetened lime water in hot hot Mangalore. Tasted like nirvana. And it was chilled. Ooooh. And what is the simplest alcoholic drink you can have with lime? Gin and tonic with a dash of … you guessed it… a slice of lime! My favourite though is vodka with a squeeze of lime juice. 

What are your lime stories? What does that one tangy fruit (or is is a vegetable) remind you of? Tell me more! 

K for kids treats – #AtoZchallenge

Summer is upon us and summer holidays for most kids. Parents are subjected to kids at home, hungry more often than not. Food at the right times is soon replaced by food every two hours.

When we were kids, my mum used to stock varieties of biscuits and chips to assuage our appetites. High in salt and sugar we ate them without peadtricians and doctors crying foul that we were given too much sugar or too much salt and that we would get hyperactive or run around in circles. Probably we already had so much activity in our lives that we would burn off everything we ate without the food causing much behavioral change. We used to even sneak off two to three bars of chocolates (yes bars!) which a lot of peads and parents alike would frown on now. Yes our teeth would rot, fall, tummies would get upset, and also get sick. But hey we ate anyway without supervision and no one so much as batted an eyelid.

Try doing this to your kids today and you are a horrible parent with no sense of what to feed your kids – chocolate bars are replaced by fruit, chips are replaced by ‘Makhna’, biscuits are replaced by saltless crackers and porridge (bleh). I feel for today’s generation. They don’t have half as much fun as we had as kids – loading up on carbs and sugar.

I did a quick whatsapp survey with my foodie friends on their childhood snacks, of what reminds them of their childhood and i got some interesting responses – written in true whatsapp style.

Mirchi Bhajiya – Deep friend chillies in batter, stuffed with potatoes, ‘besan’, mix vegetables. Hot and piping to be eaten with tea. More fun to eat during the summers.

Masala Maggi with lots of butter, and if you are fairly unlucky – with vegetables you had rather avoid as a kid

Bread Bonda: Bread roll deep friend stuffed with potatoes

Bread and Jam: lots of sweet jam

Parle G biscuits by the kilo

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Fryums! – How can one forget fryums

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Or Uncle Chips – which make your fingers red, laced with spicy tomato powder

Or Binaca Chips – (what is that though?)

Roadside tripe schezwan – red saucy with a generous helping of egg (oh lets go right now and eat…)

Peppy

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Cadbury’s Double Decker chocolate  (someone bring this beautiful chocolate back!)

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Pickwick biscuits – all flavours. but the chocolate was the best.

Ravalgaon toffees

Kismi toffees

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Phantom cigars

Chatar matar

“Mere liye Rasna”

Frooti and Appy still live on!

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Kissan Jam

Melody hai chocolatey

Poppins – has made a comeback

Gold Spot!

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Nutties!

What are your favourite treats as kids? Am i missing something in the list?