Showing posts from February, 2014

Pice Rice

Pice Hotel Kolkata Bengali MealTummy-filling tasty mealRecent past which rouse in our memory as we can recall food joints of various steamer and railway stations, market places or weekly huts [হাট] or mart as well as old Calcutta and its suburbs where people casually pass through or stop for a few hours on various errand. A system to satiate their hunger was available which was cheap and upto their liking. Those hotels were called "Pice Hotel [পাইস হোটেল]" or "Cheap Rice hotel [সস্তা ভাতের হোটেল]. The word Pice came from a basic smallest value widely known at the time of British colonial occupation of our country.One should not mistake Pice hotel as synonymous to cheap hotel judging by the name. Pice hotels attract customers not for the cheaper items they serve, but for the fact that they offer a menu that caters to the entire satiation of the customer's hunger, and the selections of fish were astounding. They supply all those items the client may generally think …

Lebu Bhaat and Topshe Machh Bhaja

Bengali Lemon rice and Topse fish fry
Lemon flavored rice with ghee and scrapped coconut served with
Topshe fish fry
It is to no wonder a poet like "Iswar Gupta" composed a lengthy poem solely on "Tapse fish or "Mango fish" by the British. Iswar Gupta was highly addicted to the Topse fish.
Ishwar Gupter Granthabali - Vol.1-2 pg. 122Topse a soft-bone fish, close to extinct, now in 2014 is Rs 700 a kilo [about 15 fishes]. I heard from my father it was available in the 1950s approximate half a rupee per 20 pieces.  Still Bangalees love it very much.Legendary director and renowned writer Satyajit Ray wrote a total of 35 Feluda [detective] stories.  The detective Pradosh Mitter's favorite cousin-cum-assistant Topse [Topeshranjan Mitter] is to Feluda as was Dr. Watson to Sherlock Holmes and the narrator in all the stories. I doubt if the name Topse came to his mind from the intense love for "Topse fish" he had. Oh Bengali, come, let us find some s…

Fish Fish

Fish FishFish Fish - "Whispering Whistle"Lost connections with Bangladesh, but still connected to some extent through them, last connections, my Maa and Baba, deep-rooted Indian - a Bangladeshi, entered India (at that time though was an underdeveloped country) across its porous borders as a refugee, foreigner in their own country (নিজ গৃহে পরবাসী). Apart from the fear of proper food and settlement, they struggled for their existence. They never even uttered their eagerness to go and see how their hometown is, because they always felt hometown means being surrounded by their family, friends and neighborhood which was quite different from the scenario there after the partition. They left their huge property and social recognitions. The emptiness made them somewhat impassable throughout their life. Eventually, they settled here, as an Indian, Bengali. They coped up all of their fall-backs with the stamp of refugee here, secured us, gave us an identity as a human being not a r…


Steamed prawn Matsyakumbha Steamed prawn and poppy seedsBy Barnali Dutta
Published 11/19/2013

Anybody can go bravely a little adventurous with their limited cooking experience. This recipe really never went wrong.
IngredientsPrawn, de-shelled and deveined 300 gramsPoppy seed 1 tablespoon, soaked a little in warm waterShredded coconut, 2 tablespoonGreen chilli 2 to 3, as per tasteMustard oil, 1 tspSalt to tasteKasundi (mustard paste) 1 teaspoon (optional)Lemon juice, 1 tsp InstructionsMake a fine paste of all the ingredients except mustard oil, mix well.Put the mixture in a sal leaf (shorea robusta) bowl and cover with another bowl with the help of white thread.

Shal patar bati - Shal leaf bowlYou can also take banana leaf, make cones with banana leaf. To do this, you need to heat the leaf to make it soft so that it would not tear off.

Put the mixture into the cone and close with toothpicks.Steam or hot bath all the cones or sal leaf bowl pockets or put into the rice pot while cooking t…

Carrot Sandesh

Carrot Bengali sweets
Gajorer Narom-Pak Sandesh [গাজরের নরম-পাক সন্দেশ]By Barnali DuttaIf we draw a food specialty map of the world most people today would agree that in Indian subcontinent in particular Bengal region excels in the taste and variety of milk-based sweets based on Chhana(ricotta cheese). Food historian K. T. Achaya discussed about the Aryan taboo on cutting milk with acid because milk was one of the important part of the ritual and diet of people of India. Milk is the purest of edibles nutritive, agreeable, and conducive to serenity and spirituality. The taboo was a deliberate and invasive change to the nature of milk because they believe it is the most important item offered to the god. Milk is an ultimate desire of Indian vegetarian people who follows rites and rituals for their way of life. It has a powerful symbolic value of a comfortable life. They were used to make butter [মাখন], ghee [ঘি], kheer [ক্ষীর], yogurt [দই], milk rice pudding [পায়…

Kachki Machher Sonajhuri R BatiCharchari

Kachki fish goldenfry and steamed fish baticharchari
Kachki fish goldenfry and steamed fish By Barnali Dutta Published: February 21, 2014The Kachki fish [কাচকি মাছ Spice C. soborna] common name in English "Ganges river sprat" local name in Bangladesh "Kachki, Guramach and Taki". With the same ingredients only different technique and minimum cooking you can get two very different recipes and unbelievably tasty. Now In India, in the state West Bengal You can find the Bengali hindu people easily dividing themselves into two codes, neither caste nor prosperity their identity belongs to East and West Bengal known as Bangal [বাঙাল] and ghoti [ঘটি or এদেশী]. Pre-independence who were rooted to the west part of the country Bangladesh (now in India as West Bengal) is popularly known as ghoti. Bangal people are who lived in the eastern part of the Bangladesh, but migrated after partition of the country to the west with the willingness to live…

Fish battered-fry

Bombay duck lotte fish fritters
Lotte fish - Bombay duck butterfly By Barnali Dutta Published: February 11, 2014The lotte fish or loitta fish is mostly recognized as Bombil or Bombay duck (Harpodon nehereus)  in India. Bengali people would consider daily intakes of loytta or lotte fish to their kids for the phosphorus requirements of the youngsters and to avoid poor eye sights. This fish has stronger gel like fish meat contents very high moisture (89%) along with high enzymatic and bacteriological activity in Bombay duck meat are responsible for short shelf life and disintegration of meat in cooking due to release of plenty of water. I got inspired by the name "fish butterfly" for "fish battered-fry" during this Durga puja while I was buying the famous "Fish Butter Fry" from "Benfish" (a mobile fish eatery) a small group were crowded near the van, were calling it as "fish butterfly". I actu…

Mango ginger fritters

Mango ginger fritters
Amadar Chop Published: Barnali Dutta on 12/18/2013

Homemade Amadar Chop - Mango ginger fritters
Curcuma mangga - Am Haldi, Amada Haldi is a plant of the ginger family and is closely related to turmeric. Botanically mango ginger is not related to neither mango nor ginger but to turmeric (C. longa). The inner part of the rhizomes is less yellow compared to the outer part, with a sweet smell of unripe mango when crushed. Due to its exotic flavor and medicinal property, they are also used in the preparation and as natural preservatives of foods and beverages. To date it is still used in postpartum care, specifically to aid healing of wounds. Use of mango ginger in food industry Mango ginger has a typical exotic flavour of raw unripe mango. Therefore, it is used as a basic ingredient in pickles, preserves, candies, sauces, curries, salads and so on.IngredientsMashed potato 1 cup, 2 tablespoon mango ginger, dry toasted cumin, saunf, and coriander powder 2 teaspoon, s…