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  • fromthecornertable, from the corner table, labanga latika, labangalatika, clove, sweet, mithai, mawa, mishti, bengalisweet, bengali sweet
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    Feasting with clove parcels ‘labanga latika’

    It’s amazing the way certain foods trigger memories of times gone by, relations lost in the passage of time – the memory brightening your mood faster than a cup of coffee or a quart of ice cream can. Labanga latika, a Bengali sweet dish, is one such food item for me. I don’t remember a time when I’ve not eaten labanga latika; I remember being fascinated with the way Maa would make these little envelopes of crispiness filled with sweet delights. The pretty manner in which the sugar syrup added shine and formed those crystals on this parcel, the anticipation of an explosive taste of a whole spice… all of…

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    Tea Time with ‘Nimki’, a Savoury Bengali Snack

    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…

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    Shorshe Salmon / Salmon in Mustard Sauce

    Nearly a decade of living in the United Kingdom has made the elder sister a good cook and an almost expert in the art of ‘kitchen substitutes’. A cheerleader for the ‘quick and easy’ meal squad, Raka (the elder sister’s name that means ‘full moon’) confesses that she has learned by trial and error. “I would crave certain Bengali dishes that we’ve (her husband included) grown up eating but would not know how to make them in England. There were missing ingredients, be it the greens or fish or spices. It took me a while but over the years, with a little guidance from my mother and late mother-in-law, I…

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    Herb-y Egg Delight with an Azeri Touch

    There is something magical in the way eggs, whisked thoroughly, seasoned with a pinch of salt and cooked in a pat of butter or oil, can produce something as deceptively simple like an omelette. And I speak of the basic omelette. Type in the word ‘omelette’ in the search engine of your choice and it will throw up variants enough to boggle the mind. Makes you marvel at the versatility of this dish. Why? Leave alone the fancy versions, look around. Every household and each individual standing at the stove, cooking an omelette, has their particular way of making it. I’ve been missing my regular egg intake for the last…

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    Bengali 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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    A Newbie’s Guide to Azeri Cuisine #Chapter2

    Did you know?# The process of making Azeri specialities dolma and flatbreads (lavash, katyrma, jupka, yufka) are inscribed in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.# Azerbaijan cuisine boasts of more than 30 types of soups.# Black caviar from the Caspian Sea is among the most sought after in the world. Azerbaijan boasts of human settlements dating back to the Stone Age, a religious history that shows a shift from Zoroastrianism to Christianity and then Islam and an enviable cultural influence initiated by travellers who passed through the Silk Route. The violent political history combined with the above, have given Azerbaijan a unique identity.This uniqueness is reflected…

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    A Newbie’s Guide to Azeri Cuisine #Chapter1

    There is a lot of food culture that goes on in the home and in the community in non-traditional ways. Food is a lot more than restaurants. – Eddie Huang (American chef, food personality) For me, home is where food becomes an expression of love, a comforting hug, a celebration, a new tradition, an experience, making it an extension of traditions that have been reshaped. So imagine my delight when I realised that a large number of my meals in Azerbaijan were to be homemade or a mix of homemade/store-bought, each meal planned with the intent of sharing more about the culture and traditions of a country and a family.…

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    Chai, Halva & Azeri Hospitality

    I promise to make your mouths salivate and ensure that you dream about the wealth that is the Azerbaijani cuisine soon but before that, I do need to touch upon and introduce you to a fascinating experience that is part of the Azari social fabric. This is the drinking of chai or tea, served with some local or homemade fruit preserve that they call ‘jam’.

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    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.