Elo Jhelo | Fried Bengali Pastries

I’ve recently developed a craving for sweet food. This craving rears its head at the strangest of times and more often than not, behaves like that puppy determined to chew on your favourite shoe. And it’s nowhere cute because indulging this craving leads to a sugar overload, late-r nights and blurry-eyed mornings. Let’s not even mention the not-so-good effects of refined…

from the corner table, #fromthecornertable, Maida Pakoda, #indiansnacks

Maida Pakoda | Flour Fritters

It was a gloomy monsoon evening, the skies overcast with thick clouds as raindrops lashed the glass panes, the howling winds a reminder of nature’s force. The parents were slumped before the television set, sipping on chai, as I sat on a sofa, struggling to concentrate on work. The sound of the doorbell jarred the gloom, the loud sound rousing us from…

Kamini Patel, Kitchen Therapy, #fromthecornertable, #kitchentherapy

Finding Therapy in Pots and Pans

I was all of 18 when I marked the first international trip of my life. It was with the elder sister Raka, and we flew to Bangkok where she was pursuing a Masters’ degree. We stayed in her boarding room, part of a two-room unit with a shared bathroom and kitchenette. My first memory of that trip – other than…

‘Chilli’-ng with the Potatoes

I adore chilli chicken – give me chilli chicken for breakfast, lunch, dinner and I would be a happy soul. Methinks, that can be said for chilli potato too now. Chilli chicken is an Indo-Chinese dish popular among the masses. Found at street-side food joints being served on flimsy plastic plates or at a fine dining restaurant, looking too pretty to be eaten, the chilli chicken is everyone’s heartthrob. Much to my surprise, and the delight of vegetarian friends, I found out chilli chicken has…

Payesh & Goodwill to Usher in the New Year

It’s that time of the year! I’ve been waiting for Poila Boishakh, the first day of the Bengali calendar, for some time now. Celebrations aside, the best part of this day is the aroma of traditional food that wafts out of the kitchen. This year, Poila Boishakh is on Sunday, April 15.

The food and rituals, I feel, are a testimony to the synergy that Bengalis have towards their traditions. Not just Bengalis. Peep into the homes in your neighbourhood (not literally!) and you will see the Assamese, Malayali, Sikh, Tamil households busy cleaning house, prepping to greet guests and cooking up a storm. A sign of the earnest desire to cherish traditions. These are among the several communities in India that will be celebrating the beginning of their New Year on April 14-15.

Over the years, celebration patterns at the Bhaumick household have changed – new and old friends, thought processes, cultural programmes, the manner of rejoicing.

Never the food though. There is comfortable excitement in the known – starting the day with a breakfast of luchi, aloo’r dum and begun bhaaja (fried bread, Bengali style potato curry with fried brinjal), followed by a lavish lunch of two appetisers, a dal, vegetable curries, fish curry, mutton or chicken curry, a few sweets and a must on New Year day, the payesh. Our New Year days don’t involve so much food anymore but we don’t miss out on the maangsho jhol (recipe for Bengali style mutton curry) and the payesh.

I am not a payesh fan, being lactose intolerant. But I do make an exception for Khejur Gur Payesh. Made with date palm jaggery that is available in the winter months only, it is a Bengali speciality. So this year, I decided to learn how to make my favourite. And because New Years are about going overboard, I also learned to make Chhana Payesh – a milk pudding made with chhana or paneer. Chhana is a type of cheese curd; process it further and you get paneer. No Indian store nearby? Make chhana at home, the process is pretty simple as is evident in ‘Churning out homemade chhana/paneer’.

from the corner table, fromthecornertable, traveltuckintalk, travel tuck-in talk, musings, kitchen stories, inspirations

Musings from the kitchen corner

As a child, Enid Blyton’s Famous Five novel series was an absolute favourite. I loved the characters and adored Timmy. He was (and is) my dream dog. My favourite part in all of these books – apart from the adventures of these oh-so-daring kids – was the meal times! Fresh scones, slabs of cake, ginger buns, potatoes baked in jacket,…