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  • Tuck-In

    Tomato Khejur Chaatni | Tomato & Dates Chutney

    There is an unwritten rule in the Bhaumick household – if the meal is non-vegetarian, then tomato chaatni (chutney) is a must. And it’s a must when the meal is vegetarian too. It’s a staple at most parties that involve food and an essential part of meals on special days. Few are the times when the refrigerator does not have a container of this delicious sweet and spicy chaatni. The rare times it is missing, it’s probably because… It’s beyond cold and one of us is suffering from a cold or aching joints Summers – because that is time for the raw mango chutney Tomatoes are as expensive as gold nuggets In the course…

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    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 sugar if I’ve fallen prey to store-bought mithai* or those glistening chocolate éclairs. It happens often. Very, very often. This new craving has also turned into a major topic of discussion at the dining table. The parents stand divided with their concerns. They both love sweets. They indulge their sweet tooth,…

  • Tuck-In

    Mewe ka Paag | Dried Fruit-&-nut Bar

    Spot a festival marked on the calendar and I immediately start grilling my mother about the food. The latest conversation went something like this… Me: Maa! It’s Janmashtami on September 3. What’s special on the menu for the day?Maa: Hmmm… I could make payesh but then you are lactose intolerant so…Me: Okay. What else?Maa: Your grandmother made delicacies when we were kids but we never observe Janmashtami with much fervour so I’ve never bothered.Me: But Maaaaa………….Maa: Go ask Verma aunty; they celebrate Janmashtami every year, I’m sure she’ll cook up something special. And boy, was she right! Verma aunty – our front-door neighbour, Maa’s BFF and a brilliant cook –…

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    Ol’er Daalna | Elephant Foot Yam Curry

    Gosh! Have you ever marvelled and shaken your head at the ease with which the child version of you was made a fool of? I do! Seems I was a rather happy-go-lucky and trusting child, willing to believe almost everything the parents told me. And when it came to food – and yes, I was born a food worshipper – everything the parents said was taken as the gospel truth. Probably the reason why Maa got away with convincing me that the elephant foot yam curry and the raw jackfruit curry that she would make often were actually meat curries. Seems I was rather demanding a food lover and wanted…

  • Tuck-In

    Aloo Morich | Potatoes in Chilli Oil

    It’s creepy, the way social media throws up ‘Watch This’ or ‘Read This’ suggestions. From the usual food videos, discounts by travel companies, cute baby and pet videos and sitcom snippets to the more unusual ‘trending’ and ‘viral’ videos of people barfing, crazy challenges, strange habits, there’s a constant barrage of visuals. While I’m still wondering about that string of reptile videos that popped up in the explore section on my Instagram account recently – I am not a fan of the creepy crawlies – Facebook surprised me in a good way with a commercial that popped up on my timeline. Made for a beverage company, this commercial titled ‘My…

  • Tuck-In

    Aloo Posto | Potatoes in Creamy Poppy Seed Paste

    “I’m about to board the flight/train. See you soon.”“Okay. By the way, what do you want for lunch/dinner?”“You know Maa! Moshuri daal, bhaat, ghee maakha aloo sheddo (red lentil soup, steamed rice, mashed potato seasoned with ghee and salt)” This conversation, or a version of it, is repeated each time I am on the way home after travelling for days/weeks/months. This ritual stems from the feeling of warmth and comfort that only potatoes can give. Nutritionists and dieticians have gone blue in the face urging me to stop eating this ‘fattening’ food. I’ve quit them rather than give up potatos. Sheer nonsense I tell you! Has there ever been anything…

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    Aam Dal | Red Lentil & Raw Mango Soup

    A news alert two days ago declared that the western part of India will experience monsoon “in 2-3 days”. This means me, along with scores of others, have joined a thousand others sending prayers to the rain gods! But until the rains arrive, I am busy enjoying the last of the mango rush. Like almost every Gujarati household – we are part Gujarati by virtue of the years we’ve lived here – we love mangoes. Green raw and tangy or orange fleshy juicy… we like it all. Maa does her bit to keep up with the aam (mango) demand with aam ras (mango puree), aam papdi (mango leather), aam achaar (mango pickle), aam chutney (mango chutney), aam panna (mango…

  • Tuck-In

    Lau Chingri | Bottle Gourd & Prawns Mishmash

    Did you know Bengalis are pretty much obsessed with food, especially dishes that include fish? I remember my maternal grandfather going to the market every morning to buy fresh vegetables and fish. There is a distinct memory of my parents enthusiastically joining him, or other family members, for this morning ritual. “There are so many fruits, vegetables and types of fish that we’ve grown up eating but miss now,” my parents would often say. True that. There are some products native to the region that my parents – among those who moved away from their roots for a better life – miss a lot. To a limited extent, my parents…

  • Tuck-In

    Easy homemade Paneer | Indian Cottage Cheese

    As someone learning how to cook from her mother, there is a sense of achievement when the result of a kitchen encounter gets positive reviews. These cooking lessons are sessions both Maa and I look forward to. At least I hope Maa looks forward to them! What I love most about our kitchen sessions is when Maa shares tips and tricks from her experience of over 50 years – coz she did not start cooking before she was in her mid-20s you know! She belongs to a generation of cooks who’ve learned without measuring cups and spoons. Her cooking teachers have been her mother, mother-in-law, and experience. And her emphasis is…

  • Khichuri, a bengali dish , #fromthecornertable, from the corner table, fromthecornertable, food blog, travel tuck-in talk, recipe, khichdi, bengali food, comfort food, healthy food, homemade, indian food, indian recipes; Photo: Vaibhav Tanna
    Tuck-In

    Comfort in a Bowl of Khichuri

    First things first, what is khichuri? Khichuri, my dear friends, is the ultimate one-bowl meal. Made of rice, lentils and vegetables (optional), it is comfort, health, warmth and nostalgia in a bowl. You will find variations of this super healthy food as you cross over India. In West Bengal, khichuri is often the first dish anyone learns to cook. A step I seemed to have missed completely. This was evident when Maa was out of town and Baba and I wanted to eat khichuri. And neither of us was sure how to make it. Horrors! This ‘shameful’ situation was relayed to maa over the phone and she guided Baba in…