Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Bangali Tomato Chaatni

Ever since I discovered Bong Eats website and Youtube channel I have been smitten. Love watching them cook and listening to the earthy music. There are only a few things that I can make from their channel though as I am vegetarian. So I made their Bengali Tomato Chutney and Khichuri with papor to go along.

I adjusted the recipe to my pantry while I kept the essence intact. I used dried figs to replace dates as that is what I had on hand and used coarse red chili powder instead of whole red chili since I did not have any. Yet another change is I used lime juice instead of citric acid, natural is always better. It gives nice thickening and tartness required in this chutney. I skipped cashews because we use cashews so commonly in everything I am tired of them and don't like them in my chutney. So actually this Chaatni as the Bangali call it is now my own recipe. So here are the ingredients.

500 g tomatoes
40 g pitted dates 
(I used dried figs)
80 g aam shotto (mango pulp candy) / aam papad 
40 g raisins
400 g sugar 
(Reduce to half next time to let the tomatoes shine)
6 g salt
2 g turmeric
20 g mustard oil
1 pc dried red chilli 
(I used 1/2 teaspoon Kutti lal mirch)
½ tsp panch phoron
½ tsp citric acid
(I use juice of 1/2 lime)

So first chop the tomatoes. Keep non-reactive material kadhai on the fire. Heat the mustard oil to smoking. Add in the panch phoron and let it release fragrance. Tip in the chopped tomatoes. Follow in with turmeric, salt and now add the red chili powder. Cook until soft and mushy. If using citric acid add at this time but if using lime juice add after complete cooking at the end after putting off the heat.

Now is the time to add sugar after the tomato is a complete mush as sugar will arrest further cooking and create a syrup. Chop the dried figs and separate out layers of aam papad (Just my thing). Once the syrup looks deep red add the dried fruits like raisins, dates/ figs and aam shotto/ aam papad. Mix well. Let it simmer till its not too thin n watery but just slightly thick and pourable.

Like they suggest remove to a clean dry jar and store in the fridge. Stays good for 2 months, that's what they said. I am sure mine will be licked up clean before that. 

This chutney is so lovely and crowd pleasing I am going to make bottles of these as giveaways soon.

Also how could I not make Khichuri to go with it. Yet again I followed their Bhoger Khichuri recipe but I used Masoor dal instead. My friend Shaswati pointed out that traditionally masoor is marked as non veg so not used in Bhog I suppose. Bichari masoor why is it red? green would have made it acceptable.  We LOLed together.

This meal was enjoyed thoroughly. Bangalis eat meals in courses unlike us Maharashtriya, we dip our fingers into multiple vatis in a Taat. This chaatni is their concluding course and not a dip or tondi lavna. More like an digestive I guess due to tartness and sweetness. 

I loved eating the gelatanious aam shotto from this chutney the most! 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Navratri and Navrang

Is it strange coincidence or serendipity, that I have Rainbow Swiss chard at home right now. We Indians find the divine and its actions in everything! 

So here is my Navratri and Navrang.

What do you do with such pretty colorful produce? If you are like me you think they are a set of color pencils and you play with it but in a different way. Photography your medium. It is Rainbow Swiss Chard morning here.

Navrang means new color and also 9 colors. This season adds all that to our life as the monsoon is ending. Everything is lush green and flowers are blooming. In nature usually bright colors are poisonous but not in Rainbow Swiss chard. Now that I have eaten it I know. He he and you can eat it safely too. So here is to busting that myth.

Things I plan to do with it

1. Salad with the torn leaves and grated coconut.
2. Crudités with labneh
3. A cheesy tart

I want the colors to shine.

Happy Navrangi Navratri to you all and may the mother bless us!

Sunday, October 04, 2020

A Spiritual Sunday

Today after a long time I felt really happy from within. I woke up before dawn and that is unusual for me. After which I brushed my teeth and did my 45mins walk inside the home. I have been doing this since lockdown started. It has helped me stay fit. My usual habit is to chant while walking. After the walk I stood in the balcony to enjoy the first rays of the sun and the blue hour until the streetlights went off. I chanted Gayatri mantra 3 times followed by Maha Mrityunjay mantra 5 times. The sprays of rain coming through the side windows of the balcony cooled my skin. After long time I had risen from the hopelessness I had felt in the past few weeks.

Blogger buddy a cook @ heart suggested I get back to music. Music happens when the mood is right. That was today. I got back to music 2 years after Arvi. Even after our marriage music was only light songs I never really sang my Hindustani classical raag. This morning I did a good 30 to 40 mins practice. I need to brush up but felt good to get back. Singing Itan Na Joban par maan na kariye, Dariye prabhu so aaj aali, Jo koi aave apne dhingwa, Taa so garab na keejiye, Sadarang yaha reet mane. The amazing thing is if one does riyaz the music stays with you through the day. Our culture our music everything is so science based. I want to learn everything I missed learning about it in my convent education. I want to fill up that hollow.

Today is Day #198 of self lockdown. Both Dad and me do not go out unnecessarily. There is no point in being foolhardy. The mind is an amazing thing it finds ways to be happy in the given situation. Amidst the physical restrainment we still count our blessings.

Friday, October 02, 2020

Rashne Roj, 2nd Anniversary

Darling Arvi you are missed everyday.
Thank you for loving me the way you did.


On Trail