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Foodways of west bengal

Bengali recipe chicken

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#301 Gautam

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 01:27 AM

You were very fortunate to get a proven plant, & true to type, vegetatively propagated from the mother plant; therefore, no question of sexual reproduction that mixes up all of the traits, and some babies come out nice, others not so. Fortunately, back in Bengal, we did get a few nice ones; here, it is a different story. BUT you were VERY LUCKY getting your babies through US CUSTOMS. Live plants from India are a no-no, unless they pass through an elaborate quarantine [at your expense!!]. They especially keep a very sharp eye out for curry patta!! I guess it is distantly related to citrus, and may carry some types of disease that could harm their valuable crops.

I tried in 1988! Luckily, the rules were not as draconian then, because now they can inflict really severe penalties at their discretion; Homeland Security and a much more belligerent attitude, as well you know. At that time, they smiled sweetly and just confiscated my little plant!

I have to tell you of my astonishment when going to Dehra Dun I first saw actual wild thickets of curry patta for miles upon miles along the railway tracks after a station named DOIWALA: astonishment because around 1973 in Delhi IAS officers' wives used to get their gardening done free by theka or part time gardeners who were happy to oblige provided they were given the privilege of selling the curry patta leaves these [overwhelmingly south Indian officer] wives had planted in their government quarters for generations. Such was the supply & demand situation for curry patta in a Delhi chockful of expats then. Yet, not even an overnight train journey away lay thousands of tons of curry leaf awaiting free picking. The same story with tejpatta & superb cassia bark, although just a little higher up the Tehri Garhwal hills.

If major hotel chains that make a great fuss about their dumpukht and other food were to try the virtues o fresh or green dry cassia leaf, and very fresh cassia bark, they would realize what mediocre spices they use and,consequently, how undistinguished the food they serve really is. Some people confuse gross, heavy-handed spicing with good food in India. I see this continually in many reviews :"not enough spice". Hotel kitchens famous for their so-called gourmet food never make much attempt to source fresh spices, e.g. seek out the freshest, highest quality cardamoms & pepper from Kerala, or fresh coriander seed etc. Their management will not have the latitude to do so.
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#302 Peppertrail

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 03:54 AM

Gautam: I know US customs don't allow any plants. I did not bring them from Kerala. My friend immigrated many moons ago in the seventies and her backyard is full of curry leaf plants. She gave me two small plants. I agree I was lucky to get such healthy plants.

#303 Gautam

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 08:42 AM

http://travel.outloo...cle.aspx?263212


Kolkata
Sugar Trail
Rimli Sengupta pays homage to the entrepreneurial spirit of Kolkata’s historic sweet shops. Photographs by Sanjoy Ghosh


This lady is an absolute GEM. Remarkable in this day & age. If she is available, fly over in a Concorde and seek her hand [regardless that she is a boddi: this is an in-joke, that some older Bengali or another boddi like Suresh's restaurant friend Dasgupta will be able to explain with requisite humor.

The only somewhat-informative article seen on CCU confectioners ever! Instead of foolish gushing and mere lsits, here is a look at the actual karigar, the master craftsman, and what his task is like. Please note the exquisite gradations of chhana. The milk quality of Indian cows makes a huge difference. Not just the parameters that scientists can measure, but ineffable qualities that the chhana makers can sense. At Bahubazar, there are chhana wholesalers who will teach you many things if you care to listen.

The Italian government has woken upto these difficult-to-detect milk quality issues that nonetheless make a striking difference in the finished quaity of high-value cheeses e.g. from Parma & Sicily. The red mountain cow for the former, and the Ragusa breed in the latter case are being preserved & revived and closely studied. Formerly, our Bhagalpuri cow from Bihar was renowned in Bengal for her milk quality and dark strains especially prized. UP too has exceptional milk breeds that are being corrupted. You can actually taste the difference when you drink a glass of this milk. It smells of cow! Whether that is good or bad, I cannot say! Like desi eggs, that taste strong. The chhana really tastes of something; there WAS a substatial depth to it.

(Of course, we feed our cows differently, or used to. When I was small, we all knew how to cut straw with a huge sharp bonti that had a serrated mildly curved blade. The teeth all face one way, so you dragged each small bundle of straw up smoothly, then down with a slash, cutting off 2 inch pieces. These got soaked in wooden half barrels. Neighbor Bihari/UP-Arah goalas used a gandasi, a blade fitted into an Acacia wood handle, used as a chopper against a piece of log laid lengthwise on the ground. Of course, these choppers were grand for brawling, a favorite pastime of these Arah-Balliah folk. Their chappatis also where 2/3 wheat, 1/3 maize flour! Very nice! Very laborious way to cut dry straw, either way!)





Oh frabjous day! This beamish girl is the only one I have known to have traced down Chittaranjan, though their quality has declined much since the 70s. Another thing she should have notoiced is their unique clay pot with the thick rolled rims, an older style of fired red clay [others use a deeper chocolate-brown] that allowed the heavier denier string to fit snugly around 2 layers of sal leaves.

Here is a true story ith regard to this particular large, bellied Chittaranjan pot & packing style [and can name the witnesses alive today!some ]. At Calcutta Medical College, c.1968, certain interns who lived in the Seal Mansions [a student residence infamous for bad food] were on outpatient duty when someone came in with such a package and wanted to know where the pathology lab was. Thinking he had come to present someone there with roshogolla anddetermined to extract their fair share, the interns were adamant that the man deposit his burden with them;they would take tare of everything. The man was very reluctant, which made these interns even more determined. So the man had to surrender his closely held bhand and leave. eagerly unwrapped they dicovered that this rural person had taken too literally the injunction of the pathology lab. At last they rellzed why he had hesitated so, and why the pot had seemed so solidly full & heavy.
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#304 Suresh Hinduja

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Posted 14 December 2009 - 08:37 PM

Great article Gautamda,
I can see why it has sparked you up, it's a trip down memory lane.

I like this part~ :D

Against this tide an old woman shuffled in, her sari hitched halfway to her knees, and ordered one chamcham. She took off her teeth and placed it on the sal leaf she was eating off and worked on the chamcham with her bare gums, slowly, deliberately. Her jaws clamped shut unimpeded until her sunken cheeks puffed out with their precious load. In out, in out, she rolled the mishti around in her mouth to not overload any one part of her gums. I was very taken by her focus and realised that she had removed her teeth to prolong her pleasure. Eyes closed, she was afloat in a private bliss bubble and didn’t notice Bhim Nag beaming at her from his garlanded frame on the wall.


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#305 Gautam

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Posted 15 December 2009 - 05:21 AM

Great article Gautamda,
I can see why it has sparked you up, it's a trip down memory lane.

I like this part~ :D

Against this tide an old woman shuffled in, her sari hitched halfway to her knees, and ordered one chamcham. She took off her teeth and placed it on the sal leaf she was eating off and worked on the chamcham with her bare gums, slowly, deliberately. Her jaws clamped shut unimpeded until her sunken cheeks puffed out with their precious load. In out, in out, she rolled the mishti around in her mouth to not overload any one part of her gums. I was very taken by her focus and realised that she had removed her teeth to prolong her pleasure. Eyes closed, she was afloat in a private bliss bubble and didn’t notice Bhim Nag beaming at her from his garlanded frame on the wall.



#306 Gautam

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Posted 25 January 2010 - 01:47 AM

Jyotida and others have discussed the aromatic rices of Bengal. We have emphasized that besides the long-grain basmati, there are the medium-grain aromatic rices like Vishnubhog [common in UP/Bihar and the small or mini-grained aromatics.

The skirt of the Himalayas, from Assam to Uttarakhand is the area where the diversity of aromatic rices is most widely observed.

Two recent papers [2009]

http://www.pnas.org/.../12273.abstract

http://www.pnas.org/.../14444.abstract

may shed more light on the evolution of the aromatic rices.



Appended below is part of another 2009 study that explores the relatedness of approximately 30 cultivars of aromatic mini-grians from Bangladesh with each other and with some basmati types from northern India & Iran.

http://www.academicj...ullah et al.pdf

Names like BEGUN BICHI [Brinjal Seed] and prefixes/suffixes Chini [sugar], Shakkor [sugar] & guro [powder, minute grains] testify to the size of these varieties, justifying the label mini-grained.

Shekhar purchased some rice labelled "Kalojira" from Kalustyan and was very disappointed at the absence of aroma. At that time, I wrote that not all strains of that rice are equally aromatic. Moreover, one can see that in the trade, there is NO CERTAINTY WHAT VARIETY is being received.

The best varieties are certainly very, VERY good, and I doubt that they leave Bangladesh, just as the best Jammu or Dehra Dun basmati is not to be found in NYC or the USA.

Their is a variety called Randuni Pagol [Makes the Cook Mad with Fragrance]. I have grown this variety from very "special" seed, but whether due to terroir or intrinsic flaw, this is a mini-grain with poor quality. On that same land, contiguous 4 plots totalling 1 acre, I have grown Sitabhog and Kalojira, both being our local strains carefully preserved, for over 18 years. Even the fields were aromatic, when the plants flowered, to say nothing of the filling grain, wafting their fragrance with every breeze. Long, soft,glistening light golden straw,and a sucker for Helminthosporium, a bacterial leaf disease. I know these 2 varieties so very well, as I spent all the formative years of my existence within their shadow, their rhythms, their life. They are delicate and beautiful in every aspect, plant and grain, and never very high-yielding.

Thus, I suspect that the export market must be flooded with varieties that are good yielders. The very fragrant varieties like Gandho Kasturi [musk scented] take 169 days from seed germination. Their yield is scarcely 6-8 maunds [37.3 kg]/bigha [3 bigha =1 acre; 2.47 acre = 1 hectare or 10K square meters]compared to 18-24 maunds for decent quality modern varieties that mature in just 120-140 days. These tall, graceful, soft-strawed plants lodge [fall over themselves]like crazy, giving bandicoots a field day. In the past, wealthy patrons kept such varieties alive but you can see what the price points would have to be to make cultivation economical.

There is little doubt that in today's Bangladesh, such rices have become functionally/commercially extinct, e.g. the famous BALAM rices of the southern districts. The two grown in any significant commercial quantity are KATARIBHOG and NAZIRSHAIL. This is the GOOD POLAO RICE Bangladeshis expect to purchase, and I wonder how Kalustyan can guarantee anything else. Their suppliers in very good faith will be giving them the best POLAO RICE from pooled mill stock, but that is all [I fear].

Edited by Gautam, 25 January 2010 - 02:44 AM.

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#307 Gautam

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 12:41 AM



A video of a LAU CHINGRI recipe: Shrimp with Bottle Gourd.

A version with coconut one is not familiar with. This demonstrator is not a thrifty, fluent cook. S/he has a confused idea of what VEGAN means, using cheese and ghee in a "vegan" version.




An egg dish, labelled as the "vegan" version of the original: probably confusing "vegetariann" or "without animal flesh" for "vegan". I doubt if many vegetarians, Bangalis included, would include eggs, beet, carrot, breadcrumbs,in their diet. The orthodox Vaishnavas, including modern ISKCON, absolutely would not.

(A very few of the latter have received a special dispensation in the West to consume orange, white or yellow [but not red] carrots on the apparent basis that Indian carrots used to be red [traditionally in N.India, hence the prohibition], whereas the Western carrots are generally a benign light orange.)

Edited by Gautam, 31 January 2010 - 12:53 AM.

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#308 Gautam

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 02:19 AM

Re: Sutapa Devi's comments on Ghugni, I found a video showing how it is prepared. ""Bengali Kitchen" has a number of clips on YouTube, giving their take on various Bangali dishes, including Ghugni.




Everyone has their on opinions, ESPECIALLY in Bengal!! However, a couple of practical details that I have found useful and that differs from the usage in the video:

1. Fry potato cubes until light gold. Use a variety like YUKON GOLD, midway between a boiling and russet potato.

2. CUBE and fry the fresh coconut until VERY light golden; do NOT overcook. This releases more flavor and also is more pleasant when bitten into. [Very lightly frying coconut cubes is a common theme in vegetarian dry spinach fries and certain other circumstances. In puja & ceremonial offerings in traditional Bengal, fried cubes are a part of the 5 or more fried items served with dal & ghee as the first course. ]

3. The video adds tomato, and thereafter, a good dose of tamarind water soon after the raw potato cubes. In my experience, boiling or common white US potatoes tend to become gluey or gummy when cooked in a gravy that is acid beyond a certain point. Pre-frying them helps a little, but not a whole lot. Using Yukon types helps even more. We cannot use russet types because they would simply disintegrate.

In my experience, a thick decoction of tamarind water is best added right before serving by theperson who will eat the portion, so that the individual may control the degree of sourness s/he prefers. Likewise, a small container of powdered roast cumin can be offeredon the side, to adjust the spice levels to taste.

4. Sometimes, deep fried plain chipitaka/cheeda/poha is offered on the side. This is combined in various proportions by the invitee, depending on his/her tolerance for rich food. Try it, draining the poha well on paper OR fine mesh rack over a tray.

Specifically, during Dussehra, there used to be a custom of visting friends and family and paying respects and greeting one's peers and juniors. At least some food was expected to be eaten. Certain items marked this festival, including brown jaggery coconut nadoo-s [laddoos], white sugar + coconut ones, chandrapuli [maybe!], and usually Ghugni.
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#309 Gautam

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 02:29 AM

Dear Sutapa Devi,

Your website is a tremendous achievement and labor of love. May I recommend Sm.Siddika Kabir's invaluable video series, available at videomala and other sites on the internet. I may have missed that on your site; if so, I apologize.

#310 Gautam

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Posted 11 April 2010 - 09:25 PM

Dear Jyotida,

Your latest post brought home strongly another aspect that Prof. Arnab Chakladar had protested on eGullet, when someone professing to conduct a tutorial on Bangali cooking [not a Bangali, but a DC duo] had addetd fresh garlic to mustard paste fish [because they liked it better that way!]. That aspect is th bowdlerization of the major traditions by those who have never been exposed to its living sources or who do not care to understand anything about the richness of the culture, context and nuance. Without these, Bangali cuisine is nothing! Meat-based cooking is in-your face, but this far more delicate vegetable-based cooking depends on understanding the seasons, time of day, combinations, varying the temperatures of the sides, the textures and cuts, piquancy, the thickness or fluidity, richness, sparenessm bitterness, sweet or sour, chewy, succulence and so many other factors.

We shall be leaving this legacy to latter-day Bhojohori Mannas, who show not the faintest inclination to learn but babble on endlessly, try to teach others and become authorities on Bangali cuisine, writing books, publishing recipes and so on. Then people become defensive about defending them, without understanding that these entities care only somewhat for the tradition but quite a bit more for themselves. That is just fine, but there should be a place where Bangali cuisine itself should be discussed, be preserved, and personal issues totally voided.

There is a place here [GI] where I have recorded my small empirical experiences, from what I have observed, about the nature of frying fish, the types/species of fish, the degree of frying and the treatment they receive in the mustard paste preparation. How thick the gravy is, whether the paste is strained or not, whether the paste is ground with a green chili & salt, all of these add or subtract a little something. Otherwise we would be experiencing the equivalent of "continental cooking" and I am afraid Bangali cuisine is headed that way.

Returning to the Rupnarayan, one is forcefully and painfully reminded of how the vocabulary of Bangali foodways has shrunk to fish and rice, and that too, confined to a few species such as the Ilish, prawn and pabda, insofar as the all-India recognition goes. This is having a deleterious effect on fisheries, just as the popularization of the orange roughy or the Chilean sea bass severly damaged those populations. As I have mentioned elsewhere, freshwater fishes of Bengal are in great danger of extinction, owing to extraordinary degradation of habitat, irrigation withdrawal, extreme fishing pressure & catching juveniles and gravid females, and the mischievous introduction of exceptionally predatory exotics, including the piranha and African catfishes.

Fashionable young ladies with manicured fingers [and akshay tthonter sindur, money achhey?] will hardly stoop to eat, much less cook, small whole fish such as mourala, that could profitably be grown in simple trench culture with extremely high efficiency, sincethe Harvest Index, the fraction eaten would be close to 95% of the fresh weight. The fry of the airbreathing snakeheadoss, shol, Channa striatus, the beley [Glossogobius] and the payratuli [Scatophagus] are equally efficient products for the same reasons, eaten whole and exceptionally delicious.

As well you know, these little whitebait type fish are deep-fried until almost crunchy with just a little give left, and are delicious hot with masoor dal on rice as a first course. The same base is cooked with a rather coarsely-ground mustard paste into relatively clinging sauce, redolent with whole green thai pepper, good quality turmeric, a panch phoron tadka, and a hint of cilantro in season.

The other excellent preparation is tok or ombol, either with fresh young tamarind or shoda tentul, the lightly fermented paste that came in the orange and brown versions. Plus cane jaggery, to create a distinct sweet & sour contrast but not drown out the fish flavors nor the phoron.

Sri Ramakrishna would remark to his nieces and cousins [on his infrequent vacations to Kamarpukur, his native village in Bankura] that he eagerly awaited these visits, tired of the rich temple food [ “machher mooro, ghi-er baati” in his words] for a single reason: “phoroner gondho”, the aroma of the tadka. He was indicating that it was this feature that gave home-cooked Rarhi food its signature. He once finished off a huge pile of rice [ek rek bhaat] with the help of a single tiny mourala fish cooked exactly as described above!! So, what one has written is corroborated by actual textual evidence going back to the 1850s, and this style of cooking would have been unchanged for at least a century before that!!

Therefore, to all the young would-be experts out there, please try to understand the history and context of Rarhi cooking and foodways, and then go ahead, butcher the tradition as much as you like through blindness, hubris and profound ignorance. No one can claim a monopoly or guardianship on any tradition. Likewise, everyone has an equal right to an opinion, to protest bowdlerization and absolute destruction of the core principles , when they believe those to be operating in full force

Edited by Gautam, 11 April 2010 - 09:25 PM.

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#311 Gautam

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Posted 02 June 2010 - 09:55 AM

Thanks to the amazing catalogue of Indian cooking blogs compiled by the Deccan Heffalump [http://thecookscotta...indian_foo.html ]

I cam across ANGSHUMAN DAS : COOKING IN CALCUTTA


http://www.cookingin...a.blogspot.com/


http://www.inmamaski...dia/Bengal.html

http://www.inmamaski.../dasNamita.html

#312 Suresh Hinduja

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 11:51 AM

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A festive meal at Babu Moshai restaurant
Chingri macher chop
Veg cutlet
Fish fry
Green peas kachori
Aloo dum
Ghee rice
chanar dalna
Pomfret shorshe
Dak bungalow mutton curry
Kancha aamer chatni
Papad
Gopal bhog
Rasmalai
Chanar jilebi
Paan
Kheer kadam
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#313 jyotirmoy

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 12:18 PM

The chanar jilipi beckons me...

Edited by jyotirmoy, 18 October 2010 - 12:19 PM.


#314 jyotirmoy

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Posted 18 October 2010 - 12:26 PM

Patishapta at Anando Mela.

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#315 oldmonk

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 09:27 PM

Jyotida ,would you be able tell me the name of the gentleman in the black panjabi besides the patishapta ?

Patishapta at Anando Mela.



#316 Suresh Hinduja

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 12:25 PM

I've always wanted to taste a mochar(banana flower) chop and managed to find some available at the shop in HAL market. The stuffing seems to consist of potato, peas, green chillies and finely chopped banana flowers. Is this the way it is made?

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#317 jyotirmoy

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 04:16 PM

Yes you are right. Ginger is the principal flavouring.
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#318 Gautam

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 06:39 AM

Dear Suresh-bhai,

 

We have been missingour esteemed mentor Jyotida, and unfortunately, you have hit upon one of my favorite "bees in the bonnet" type of Bangali foods that are being debased. Sadly, these are the types of things that elicit a typical "rant", because within Jyotida's lifetime and mine, we are witnessing the complete extinction of a cuisine and an entire way of life. Paying due respect to various "bangali" restaurants that have cropped up in CC, one was shocked to see cooks adding cashew paste [cashew paste?!!!!!], yoghurt, and what not to "dab chingri" and so forth, and let us not go further. As you may sympathize being a Sindhi, if the food of your diaspora becomes seriously changed, and the very basics become transmogrified so that you cannot recognize them, e.g. sai bhaji with broccoli stems ground in as I once saw in a recipe for "sarson saag" or your aloo took with grated carrots, something in you will rebel, will it not? Likewise, here!!

 

So, please let us star with the mocha of the mocha-r chop. The banana flower comes from the following in order of preference:

 

1. The GARBHA mocha [garbha meaning womb, in this case "unopened" flower] of the seedy wild banana, the "biju kola", a vitally important landrace of rural Bengal.

 

2. The remnant flower bud of the Kanthali variety [ Pisang Awak group of bananas], followed by the variety Champa, then variety Martaman.

 

3. The remnant flower bud of palntains, that impart a characteristic bitter, astringent edge; some like this.

 

4. The remnant buds of the Dwarf Cavendish types, called "Singapuri" in Bengal are looked upon with great disfavor; ditto their banana (flowering) stem, or  "thore".

 

With the garbha mocha, the unopened flower bud is huge, weighing close to 40 kg or more for a well-grown specimen. When you remove the purple bracts, you find almost 6-7 inch long, really fat creamy unfertilized "banana ovaries" ready and waiting, to be stripped of their stigmas and to be lightly blanched. Unlike the far smaller remnant flower bud that is harvested after a bunch of bananas have formed, there is a far lower level of tannins/polyphenols present, because everything is so young and tender. This quality of "kochi" or being extremely young, is highly prized in Bengal, especially in vegetables.

 

The blanched buds are ground on stone to either a fine or a coarse texture. After that, you have 2 pathways, an onion-ginger or a non-onion ginger one, creating a ghonto, which is the mash cooked basically in its own juices, with no added water. This ghonto is the base of the mocha-r chop. There is NO peas, etc. which means a dilution of the REAL STUFF. At most, a few cubes of fried coconut may be tolerated provided they do not drown out the very delicate flavor and slight astringency, and even a few raisins. Any garam masala and tej patta in the onion-ginger version must be used very sparingly for the same reason. In the "vegetarian" version, there is the caution to use cumim, coriander and black pepper, and also ground fresh ginger very  sparingly, with ghee, also to not drown out the base flavor which is extremely slight and "sondhi".  A tiny sprinkle of roasted powdered cumin and a mere hint of tamarind water or lime juice brightens the flavor of the "poor" or "chop base" but not much at all: all bangali chops should be mildly sweet and also mildly piquant from the heat of fresh green chili peppers whose aroma should be faint but not unnoticeable.

 

To recap:

 

1. The veg version:

 

prepare your coriander-cumin-black pepper wet paste, with a tiny emphasis on the black pepper

 

prepare your fresh ginger-green chilli crush

 

You may fry small cubes of potato, fresh coconut [no browning!], and some raisins, and set aside, if you wish.

 

tadka of tejpatta and hing, add ginger-green-chilli, quick turn, then the dark masala, no need for turmeric or red chilli in this dish if you do not wish it, cook lightly adding sprit of water so that no burning of masala, until raw smell gone. Add the coarse paste, and gently fry, cover, cook, and uncover and cook down until it releases ghee and cooks down to the ideal consistency. Add cane gur and salt on the low side, add potatoes etc. before covering. It is this final cooking down, and carameliing to a particular degree, this "drying up" of exuded moisture, this bhunao, that is where the learning from watching experienced cooks comes in: not too much,not too little. BTW, this type of Bangali preparation will taste overcooked to many South Indian palates. Finish with a sprinkle of roast cumin powder, souring agent, 

 

If you want to use garam masala powder, be very sparing.

 

Some people add a bit of kaala namak to the mashed potatoes of the "chop", but this is not useful for this dish. You be the judge.

 

To make a chop, fill this spicy mix inside plain mashed potatoes, roll in flour, then in slurry of arrowroot, not egg(!), and breadcrumbs, fry.  You could add more green chillies if you wished. This is what I have experienced, all my born days. No green peas!

 

BTW, frozen artichoke hearts, or even fresh artichoke hearts, make a useful substitute for mocha!! Steam, mash, proceed as above.


  • Suresh Hinduja, bague25, Sekhar and 4 others like this

#319 bague25

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 05:27 PM

Ohhh !!!! Artichoke is in season here - must try this now :-)


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#320 Termz

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 08:44 PM

We have been missing our esteemed mentor Jyotida, and unfortunately, you have hit upon one of my favorite "bees in the bonnet" type of Bangali foods that are being debased. Sadly, these are the types of things that elicit a typical "rant", because within Jyotida's lifetime and mine, we are witnessing the complete extinction of a cuisine and an entire way of life.

 

 

1. The GARBHA mocha [garbha meaning womb, in this case "unopened" flower] of the seedy wild banana, the "biju kola", a vitally important landrace of rural Bengal.

2. The remnant flower bud of the Kanthali variety [ Pisang Awak group of bananas], followed by the variety Champa, then variety Martaman.

3. The remnant flower bud of palntains, that impart a characteristic bitter, astringent edge; some like this.

4. The remnant buds of the Dwarf Cavendish types, called "Singapuri" in Bengal are looked upon with great disfavor; ditto their banana (flowering) stem, or  "thore".

GautamDa, We sure have been missing JyotiDa; it is intriguing to read in amazing detail about the seemingly humble banana flower. The authentic and traditional method of preparation that you have shared here  will be very much appreciated by many readers from Bengal origin as well as other parts of India.

I also remember you mention something about the male and female flowers ?


Food is our common ground, a universal experience.