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Showing posts from March, 2013

How Green Was My Kochuri

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I always look upon the passing of peas with sadness. I mean, when winter ends, spring is also on the wane and peas -- so sweet and tender in season – take on that hard, grassy, rather woeful, taste.
Fresh green peas do lend an extra dimension to the winter table. I tend to put them in virtually everything – have them with other veggies like cabbage, cauliflower, potatoes… Make a pea soup, put them in a veg au gratin… Then there are the staples like matar paneer and keema matar – wonderfully familiar and superbly tasty when made with fresh seasonal peas.
But the most glamorous dish made with peas has got to be karaishutir kochuri – Bengal’s brand of puris stuffed with peas. It takes me back to my childhood in a trice. The yummy high points of winter were always my Mom’s karaishutir kochuri and gajorer halua (that’s gajar ka halwa to all you non-Bongs). I loved the colours – the green of the kochuri and the red of the halwa – the one savoury, the other sweet. And no matter how hard I try…

Seafood Chowder

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If you ask me what’s my most favourite food in the world, I shall reply: fish. Really, there’s no fish that I don’t like. Fish and seafood.

Happily, Bengal’s culinary tradition is replete with a fantastic array of fish preparations. Not so happily, seafood, with the exception of prawns, tends to get short shrift in our cuisine. There’s the kankra jhal (spicy crab curry), yes, but look for dishes that feature clams or mussels or squid, and you’ll draw a complete blank. What’s worse is that you won’t find these things in the supermarkets or even the big markets here.

So when I want to cook a seafood chowder – a dish I love because it’s so tasty and wholesome and is in fact a complete meal – I am forced to leave out the clams and mussels and resort to good old prawn. I add some fresh white fish too – preferably, bekti. This is not the classic seafood chowder, no, but what the heck, it tastes great even without them clams and other bits of seafood. Indeed, it's one of those comfort f…