Eat Like a Bong graciously winds up as Ma Durga takes centrestage. The last 1 month for me has been ecstatic. Bengali as a cuisine is something I’ve hardly cooked in the past. So when I started this project, my sole aim was to learn to cook traditional Bengali dishes that I generally wouldn’t otherwise bother to make. Initially I thought of posting randomly, mostly Bengali but other stuff as well. And then once I realised that we were in Pujo month, this plan began to take shape. It looked impossible at inception. So many times in the last 30 days I’ve felt like giving up. Sometimes I did not have a dish ready, at other times I did not have a post written. But with time, and with all your encouragement and support, this became almost a Julie and Julia-esque mission for me, a mission I HAD to accomplish. I stayed up whole nights to write my posts and edit my pictures and then get up in the morning and cook and click before I headed for work.
As I type out my final Eat Like a Bong post, I feel I’ve grown so much over this span. Not just as a cook or photographer, but as a person. I was made to realise that if I set my heart and soul into something and work hard to achieve it, passion can see the rest through. This has given me renewed enthusiasm and vigour to not shy away from what really excites me. And today I feel happy and content beyond measure. Not just because I finished a project I started but because I braved humongous pitfalls on the way, fell down many a time, yet pulled myself up and gave it a go with renewed enterprise. And need I say, I learnt, cooked and then ate some fabulous Bengali dishes that has made my body weight shoot up by two kilos right at the time of Pujo! 😛
As all good things end, Eat Like a Bong must, as well. But worry not, because Pujo is finally here. Immerse yourself the next few days in the fun, frolic and festivity, dance to the tune of dhaak, behold the idol of Ma Durga in various avatars, have fun at the expense of hilariously-dressed women at the pandals, forget your time zone in infinite hours of adda, live, love, laugh and spread the joy. And of course dip your hands in mounds of khichudi and feel blessed. Shubho Sharodotsav to all of you. 🙂 Feast away, Guilt Free. 😛
Gobindabhog rice: 1 cup
Moong dal (Split Green gram): 1/2 cup
Masoor dal (Split Red Lentil): 1/2 cup
Potato, quartered and parboiled: 1
Onion, sliced finely: 1.5
Ginger: 1 tbsp
Bay leaf: 2
Turmeric powder: 2 tsp
Red chilli powder: 1.5 tsp
Cumin powder: 2 tsp
Green peas, boiled or frozen and thawed: 1/2 cup
Green chillies: 4
Garam Masala: 3/4 tsp
Vegetable oil: 1 tbsp + for frying potatoes
Ghee: 2 tbsp
Salt, to taste
Sugar, to taste
Water: 4 cups (or as required)
1. In a kadhai, stir the moong dal continuously till it is golden and releases aroma. Immediately pour it into a deep vessel containing water. Add the masoor dal and rice to it as well and soak for 30-45 minutes.
2. Smear the parboiled potatoes with turmeric and salt and in the same kadhai, heat oil and lightly frty till golden.
3. Now take a pressure cooker. Heat 1 tbsp of ghee and 1 tbsp of oil and throw in the bay leaves. Let them splutter for 30 seconds before you add the onions. Keep stirring till the onion becomes translucent and emanates a glaze. Add the ginger and continue to stir for another two minutes.
4. Mix the turmeric, chilli powder and cumin powder with 2 tbsp of water and add that to the onions in the cooker. Stir for another 4-5 minutes.
5. Now tumble in the rice and dal (you obviously drain the water from it), add the potatoes, add 4 cups of water or more if you need (the water should be half a palm’s length above that of the rice and dal). Mix well, tighten the lid and cook on high heat for 2 whistles.
6. Now hold the pressure cooker under running cold water to force open the lid. Check for consistency. Personally this is the consistency I prefer, slightly dry (almost bhuna) and pulao-ish. If you want to stick to this your work is almost done. (Step 7 is not for you)
7. If however you want it more liquidy,transfer the khichudi to a kadhai or any other deep and wide vessel. Add another cup or so of water. Mix and cover and let it gently simmer for 5-7 minutes till the khichudi is softer.
8. Now add the green peas, green chillies and sugar, mix and let cook for 2 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining ghee and garam masala, give a final stir. Turn off the heat.
9. Serve piping hot with gol alu bhaja, beguni, laabra and badhakopi. Ma Durga will shower you with her blessings.
Gol Alu Bhaja
Potatoes, sliced finely into rounds: 6
Turmeric powder: 1 tsp
Salt, to taste
Oil: to deep fry
1. Smear the potato slices with turmeric and salt and keep aside for 20 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and deep fry till crisp and golden brown. Drain on kitchen towel and serve with khichudi.
This recipe is of khichudi the normal way I make at home and not the bhoger khichuri you get during pujo.
Eat Like a Bong: Day 30