Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Last Meal- A food fiction featuring my favorite dimer jhol

It had been six years since she had been home. Six years of stamping, finger printing and EADs and she longed for the smell of the mangoes in the backyard, the thorny lime tree just outside the kitchen window, and the warm smell of the custard apples floating in the air. She waited to hear the doorbell ring as she chopped the onions for the dimer jhol(egg curry) she was planning to cook for Kumar, her only sibling. He was coming home too to see her before she left for the States in the early morning flight. ‘It must be hard for him to live alone at the construction site in the jungles of Orissa.’, she thought. He was all grown up now. The last time she had seen him, he was a pimply teenager ready to leave home to conquer the world. He had always loved playing with empty matchboxes to build skyscrapers and bridges and was going to start college in a few months to be a civil engineer. While in the US , she worried about his food, who was cooking his favorite dimer jhol as Ma would never touch eggs. She had a separate stove to cook eggs and chicken and separate cooking utensils stored at the bottom of her pantry shelf. As she cooked for her family, she would have to process the onion, ginger and garlic together as her 5 year old daughter hated to chew onions. She longed to make the curry that Kumar relished every Saturday night for dinner.
This was a Saturday night too. Her plane was in a few hours. She still had to pack the chhena pora that Kumar was bringing for her. They both loved it and ate as much as they could when they visited Puri in their childhood years. She looked at the clock.” Ma, station e phone korle(Did you call the station?)” .She added the eggs into the boiling jhol and checked if the potatoes were almost done. She was browsing through the cookbook that Kumar had got her from his tutor’s income at the book fair 8 years back. She planned to make him a cauliflower pakoda too and was just mixing the batter when Ma shouted from the bedroom,.” Train du ghonta late, aattai pounchhobe.”(Train is 2 hours late, will reach at 8 pm.” She almost burst into tears as she switched off the stove. She had to leave for the airport at 11:30 pm. She sat down on the stool at the corner of the kitchen and wondered if she would get to share a meal with Kumar at all.

2 eggs
1 red onion chopped
1 tablespoon ginger paste
1 tablespoon garlic paste
1 small tomato chopped
2 small potatoes cubed
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tablespoon oil
Salt to taste
  • Boil the eggs and shell them.
  • In a wok heat the oil and fry the eggs till they are brown.
  • Remove the eggs and add the cubed potatoes.
  • When they turn brown , add the chopped onions and fry them with the potatoes.
  • When the onions turn translucent add the garlic paste and fry for a minute.
  • Add the turmeric and a little bit of water to coat the curry.
  • Then add ginger paste, chilli powder , salt and sugar and some more water.The sugar helps in bringing out all the flavors.
  • Cook till the gravy seems to leave the side of the wok.
  • Add tomatoes and cook for another two minutes.
  • Add a cup of water and let the mixture come to a boil.
  • Cook on medium heat till the potatoes are done.
  • Add the eggs and let it simmer for another minute.
  • Serve it with rice or roti.
This is my entry to the food fiction event 'Of Chalks and Chopsticks' hosted by Aquadaze. I was inspired by this post from Bong Mom This is the first recipe I learned to cook from my mom and as aptly titled -will be my last meal.

Continue reading: The Last Meal- A food fiction featuring my favorite dimer jhol...

Monday, April 19, 2010

A trip down south with all the gulfside delicacies

This post is a little different. I decided to talk about the various foods that we had an opportunity to taste while on our vacation. As the experimental cook that I am, I ave already made one of them.
The week before spring break came with the great news that I was going back to work again.I looked forward to spending three days by the sea, enjoying the splendid weather and of course the food. Pensacola is a part of the Perdido Keys and the people were very friendly. It was typical southern hospitality with the restaurant serving a lot of typical southern favorites. The first night we tasted the food at Crabs We Got 'Em . The food was as delicious as the amazing view of the Bay from the table. I tried the fried okra and it was crunchy and delicious with the right amount of spice in it. Another new thing that I ate that night was hushpuppies. They were both savory and sweet and I loved to eat them whereever I ate as them seem to be a standard side dish with your food down south.
The next afternoon , after a leisurely afternoon around the beach, we went to Crabs again for lunch. I decided to try the crab soup with sherry on the side. The sherry gives an extra kick to the soup which is otherwise bland. The plates of food were huge and based on our experience from the night before we decided to share a plate of seafood along with the soup. Everything was batter fried and it was too greasy and heavy for a lunch.
That night we hopped on to a restaurant on the other side facing the Pensacola Bay called the Flounder's Chowder House. They had a great Flounder Chowder which seemed to be there prized dish. My husband tried the flounder stuffed with crab cake. I found the dish too bland. While we were there , the manager suggested that we tried the Fish House in downtown Pensacola. The chef there makes a lot of fusion cuisine where he adds an Asian flair to the Gulf cuisine.
So next evening we decided to visit the Fish House, which is a regular haunt for locals. We sat outside, which is a raised platform just beside the water.The view was not that great but the food was. We tried many southern favorites like grits with gouda cheese, jambalaya and again soem fried okra. The okra was too bland here but the grits were awesome( why not, they had a bunch of calories in them). The fish had a Asian ginger sauce coating and was delicious.
The food was great, the weather fabulous-but the most important thing that I personally experienced was the southern hospitality. The people were friendly whereever we went and this added an extra charm to the vacation. The next week I made the fried okra at a party at home and it was a huge hit.

Continue reading: A trip down south with all the gulfside delicacies...