• Tuck-In

    Mishti Doi | Bengali Sweet Yoghurt

    Mention that you are a Bengali and conversations are bound to lead to Rabindra Sangeet, Kolkata and food. There are assumptions galore that with Bengali genes you are a walking encyclopedia of all things mentioned above. It’s rather amusing – for me at least – when I say I’m not very knowledgeable about either of these. Having been brought up outside Bengal, my exposure to culture has been varied – I’ve learned a few things Bengali from my parents, I’ve learned several things Gujarati having grown up in Rajkot-Baroda-Ahmedabad (cities in Gujarat) and I’ve learned loads of things pan-Indian owing to my friends who’ve been from different parts of the…

  • Tuck-In

    Narkel Naru | Bengali Coconut Confection

    The festivities celebrating different forms of the Goddess are nearly over – the Navratri fervour will reach its crescendo tonight with Ravan dahan even as the Durga devotees are gearing up for that final adieu, the idol immersion. That feeling of having enjoyed a festival to its maximum, mixed with that bittersweet emotion of the end of something good is palpable in the atmosphere. I’ve always had an intense dislike for this feeling. “Why must the festivities get over?” has always been my grouse. Even as a child, I would sulk after Navratri and Durga Puja were over… similar to a young adult sulking when the party is over. Trust my parents to have the perfect trick…

  • Tuck-In

    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,…

  • from the corner table, #fromthecornertable, Maida Pakoda, #indiansnacks
    Tuck-In

    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 the slump and forcing Maa to shuffle to the door. Who knew the opening of those doors would dispel the approaching dark, bringing in the joy of light, laughter and taste! Who knew that a plate of fritters would make us shake off the sluggishness and add the always needed munch to…

  • 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 –…

  • Tuck-In

    Nimki | Bengali Savoury Crackers

    An oval-shaped dining table dominates the living room of our family home. It’s the place where we eat our meals, yes. But there’s much more to that table. The dining table is where Baba* sits to sift through the daily mail and at the end of the month, attempt to make sense of my expenses. The table is where Maa prefers to solve the newspaper puzzles and crosswords. It’s my choice of seat with a cuppa as I read through gossip pages of newspapers or drool over the magazines I subscribe to. The table is where we dissect the ‘who said what’ and ‘why they said what they said’. It’s…

  • Tuck-In

    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,  Talk

    Chicken Milanese & a chat with Chef Mauro Ferrari

    After nearly a decade in journalism and having interviewed a decent number of people, I can safely say I have the ability to distinguish between people who speak to you for publicity and those who want to share more about their passion. Chef Mauro Ferrari is willing to do the former but it’s the latter that shines through his eyes when he speaks to you about food. A native of Milan but having travelled across the globe to share his creativity with food, Chef is an entrepreneur, a brand ambassador and a sommelier. Snippets from a quick conversation with Chef Ferrari who is always keen to speak about food –…

  • 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

    Kashke Badamjan by ‘Kitchen Therapy’

    The best recipes, in my opinion, come from a mother’s memory. And she is also undoubtedly the best cook in the whole wide world. Little wonder then that I started off my culinary lessons under my mother’s loving and watchful eye. I happened to mention this to Kamini during our conversation that I’ve shared a few days ago. With the Kitchen Therapy girl sharing the same emotions, it was no pressure to ask her to share a recipe that she has been taught by her mother. She gladly handed over the recipe of a Persian dish called Kashke Badamjan that was taught to her mother by her grandmother! I made…