This week it was food, food and food. My husband is a Bengali and I am a Konkani. In short it is a marriage of a river fish lover to a sea fish hogger. You can imagine, what a feast we must be having at the dinner table post marriage!
Last week we celebrated Bengali New Year with an array of dishes cooked for just the two of us! I have cooked elaborate meals but only when guests were invited to dine with us. This was the first time, I cooked so much for just the two of us.
I started cooking since 8.00 am, in between managed calls back home to my mom and MIL. At 12.30 pm, the lunch was cooked and I was all tired! Phew, it seemed a long day in the kitchen!
So, here is my love for my husband and the Indian traditions which I showcased in the form of these dishes –
Dal / Lentil Curry: Bengalis cannot do without fish and dal. My husband is a huge fan of my dal. This is the only dish according to him which I cook better than his Mom! Trust me, this is the BIGGEST compliment I can ever get!
This is a moong dal curry with a tempering of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, asafoetida, curry leaves, green chillies, turmeric, ginger, garlic and tomatoes.
This is a comfort food too. Hot rice, ghee (clarified butter) and dal – heaven!
Ivy Gourd Vegetable: This vegetable was prepared the Maharashtrian way with roasted groundnut powder and the spice called ‘kala masala’ indigenous to Maharashtrian cooking. I have been born and brought up in Maharashtra and hence Maharashtra cuisine influences my cooking style.
Chicken Gravy: This hot spicy gravy was prepared in freshly ground spices – coriander seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, fennel seeds, dry red chillies and black pepper. The flavour was excellent, even though the chicken in US is very bland.
The best chicken we have had so far was during our short stint at Chennai post marriage. There was a shop called ‘Suguna Chicken’ and the chicken from there is the most succinct and tasty chicken we have had so far! It used to melt in the mouth after cooking, the flesh was so soft. Certain foods do take you down the memory lane!
Prawns in Coconut Curry: This is one of the characteristic dishes of the Konkani cuisine. Konkani cuisine is a typical coastal cuisine consisting mainly of sea fish and coconut. This prawns curry was cooked in the goodness of coconut along with tanginess of the tomatoes and a hint of ginger garlic.
Prawns always take me back to my native place, my grandparents and the innumerable summer holidays we spent at the beach! Me and my sister used to have a terrific time at my grandparents place eating mangoes, pineapples, jackfruits and all exotic sea fish like oysters, lobsters, crabs and of course prawns. Prawns has been one of my favouritest fish since as long as I remember. After marriage, when I visited my mom from Chennai she always used to give her share of prawns to me 🙂 And the child that I am still, I used to eat it without giving a second thought. This time though I have decided to decline my mom’s offer and let her enjoy the prawns too 🙂
Payesh / Rice Pudding: This is the quintessential Bengali dessert prepared on all happy occasions in a Bengali family. It is a characteristic food item which my MIL cooks during each family member’s birthday. This is a little different from the normal rice puddings as it is cooked in date palm jaggery and not normal sugar.
During my first birthday post marriage, my MIL had prepared payesh and took it to my place in Pune. My mom and my MIL had it together celebrating my birthday while I was away in Chennai. A small gesture but it meant so so much for me and my parents! So blessed I am to have two set of parents 🙂
So the Bengali New Year ended for us with bloated stomachs and stories to narrate associated with each of the dishes above 🙂