Apr 29, 2010
Apr 21, 2010
On Sunday, my neighbour sent me a very yummy malwani style chicken curry. We all gorged on the food and finished it in no time. She had left her plate at my place so I had the obligation of returning it. As you all know returning an empty plate is so un-courteous therefore I had to put on my kitchen apron to cook something interesting.
I found four Pomfret fish pieces in my freezer and decided to utilise the same for my cooking endeavour. I did not want to cook any curry neither did I want to simply fry it. I decided to prepare something which is neither Indian nor continental. Fish and chips seemed perfect. Although it is an English dish yet it to me has a local flavour. The entire evening I spent on preparing the dish. Thankfully I was able to deliver them the food just when they had sat for their dinner. What an achievement for a clumsy cook like me.
4-6 Fish (any) fillets
2 cups of corn flour
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoon beer/wine (optional)
6 tablespoon milk
6 tablespoon water
Salt to taste
How to prepare
For the batter
Separate egg white from yolk
Take flour in a bowl and add egg yolk, sugar wine and salt to it
Stir the mixture very well
Add milk and water to the mixture
Leave for 30 minutes
Peel the potatoes and cut into 1cm chips
Soak in cold water
Take the fish
Wash the fish in cold water and pat dry with kitchen paper
Place the fish in the flour and coat thoroughly
Back to the batter:
Beat the eggs whites until they are firm
Then add gradually to the batter folding the eggs whites in carefully
Dip the floured fish fillets into the batter and cover thoroughly
Frying the chips:
Heat oil in a pan
Remove the chips from the water and dry thoroughly
Place the chips into the oil and cook for in medium heat 10 minutes
Remove the chips from the oil and leave to drain
Increase the volume of the gas
Place the chips back into the oil and fry until golden and crispy
Remove from the oil and leave to drain on kitchen paper
Frying the fish:
Dip the battered fish into the same oil that the chips were cooked in and fry for 4-5 minutes until golden brown
Serve with tartar sauce
Apr 17, 2010
Apr 16, 2010
Swati entered the kitchen and opened the cabinet on her left. She found nothing meaningful that she could use for her cooking. This is going to be the worst Christmas ever since she got married. She looked out of her kitchen window and saw that it was still snowing. It is snowing since yesterday night. She again looked into her cabinet only to find it empty. The snowfall this time is continuous and all roads to Siliguri are blocked due to a Landslide, leaving this small town with no supply of food and other items.
Swati opened the right cabinet and found a packet of bread. The breads were hard and Swati remembered she had bought them from the local grocer almost three days back. She was going to throw them away but suddenly changed her mind and decided to keep. The phone started ringing in the hall. Swati rushed to pick it up.
“Hello” she said
“Hello” she heard the voice of Deepak. “How are you dear?” asked Deepak.
“I am fine” she replied.
“Why did you not call last night? Don’t you know I get worried if I don’t get your call” Swati said all this almost in one breath.
“Oh god! There is nothing to worry dear. I am absolutely fine. There was no signal in my mobile therefore was unable to call” said Deepak in his usual calm and relaxed tone.
Swati gets anxious if she doesn’t get Deepak’s call. This anxiety is shared by everywoman married to an army man. Deepak understands her worry and tries to call her everyday so that she unnecessarily does not panic, but at times due to unavoidable circumstances he can’t.
Deepak asked “what are you cooking for Christmas tonight?”
Swati dejectedly replied ‘nothing” she added “there is no supply of grocery for last three days due to this wretched landslide, I have no clue of what to cook” she said in a grim voice.
Deepak wanted to cheer her up so he enthusiastically added “but you are a magician in the kitchen dear, I am sure you can cook a storm out of nothing”
Swati laughed at his comment and added in the same grim tone “let me see”
Then she quickly asked “would you be able to join me tonight?”
“No my jaan, how can I come? Who would protect the country?” he said this with a tone of artificial mimicry. Swati laughed. Suddenly she felt very lonely. Deepak hardly spends any occasion with her. Be it her birthday, anniversary, Holi or Diwali. After three years of marriage she has kind of got used to it, but still at certain time she still feels lonely.
Swati went back to the kitchen and started fiddling with the bread packet. She was not feeling like cooking anything. But then she wanted to cook something as it was Christmas and it has been a ritual for her ever since marriage to cook something special for dinner. She considers it auspicious to cook on that day and she believes this very act of cooking brings good luck to her family. For an army man’s wife everyday has to be a lucky day.
She saw the packet of bread again and suddenly remembered that her hen had laid one egg in the morning that she had collected and kept in her refrigerator. She has a pet hen which is now her only supply of eggs. She rushed to her fridge and took out the egg. Then she took the bread packet and made herself busy in the kitchen.
When the doorbell rang it was almost evening. Sun sets quite early in this part. So it was already getting dark. Swati was quite surprised to hear doorbell at this time. In this sleepy town hardly anybody disturbs at this time. Swati thought maybe someone mistakenly rung the bell. She opened the door quite carefully and was pleasantly amused to see the person who rang the bell.
Deepak was standing in front of her in his army uniform. She was so excited that she could hardly utter a word. Deepak flung Swati off her feet and lifted her in his arms. Then he lightly kissed her lips and said “see I am home for Christmas”
Tears came to Swati’s eyes; she was still unable to say a word. Every time when Deepak comes back from his posting Swati feels the same numbness. Every time he comes back it is a victory. And his every return makes Swati thank the god for his survival.
Their humble Christmas dinner had nothing special to eat. Deepak had brought along with him some tin food from his camp; he also brought some fruits and a can of fresh cream which he used to prepare a fruit salad. The only thing that marked their dinner special was the pudding that Swati prepared using those almost hardened bread, butter, one egg that her hen laid, sugar and some flour. It was not just a pudding but it was her expression of love. It was prepared to celebrate not only Christmas but also Deepak’s homecoming from the China border and most importantly their togetherness. This was the most special Christmas that Swati ever spent.
Recipe for Bread Pudding
4-6 bread pieces
½ cup flour
1 cup sugar
½ cup molten butter
Pinch of baking powder
How to prepare
Soak the bread pieces in water for 30 mins
Squeeze the water and crumble the bread pieces
Whisk the egg white until it becomes creamy
Add flour to the egg white
Slowly add the sugar and keep whisking.
Add the molten butter and whisk
Add the crumbled bread pieces
Put the mixture in a blender and blend well
Add baking powder
Pre-heat the oven
Take a baking bowl and grease its base with butter
Put the baking bowl in the oven and bake at 250 degree Celsius for 45 minutes
Decorate it with dry fruits and nuts and serve.
This is my entry to Of Chalks and Chopsticks hosted by Aqua.
Apr 15, 2010
After women centric trilogy of Paramitar Ekdin, Mr and Mrs Iyer and 15 Park Avenue, this is Aparna Sen’s attempt on a man centric movie. The movie was labelled as a love poem. Truly it was a lyrical love ballad. It almost transcends to a surreal world. It reminds us of all the epistolary love novels. It reminds us of all those platonic love lyrics where the couple never meet. Strangely while watching the movie I suddenly recollected another B grade Bollywood pot boiler “Sirf Tum” which incidentally had the same theme of pen friends falling in love and remaining faithful to each other throughout. Even a sizzling dance number by Sushmita Sen in her sexiest avatar was unable to seduce the hero and distract him from his love. Similarly, in The Japanese Wife Raima Sen was unable to seduce Snehomoy.
Raima Sen’s character was short and somewhat forced into the narrative. Her character was manipulated to show the dedication of Snehomoy towards his Japanese wife. The crying sequence in the middle of the night was quite imposed to create a situation where Snehomoy was forced to caress her. It was quite amateurish on the part of a seasoned director like Aparna Sen
Rahul Bose is a tremendous actor and in this movie he tried his best but his ultra suave image stood as a hindrance. Rahul Bose is one such actor who speaks impeccable English and highly anglicised Bangla. Weirdly in The Japanese Wife his character demanded him to speak in a regional Bengali and atrocious English, thus making his dialogues appear onerous.
The cinematography earns applauds. Sundarbans was explored like never before. This is the time Aparna Sen should start thinking of buying the rights of Hungry Tide.
Moushumi Chatterjee did justice to her part. the only hilarious part in the movie was when she mistakenly heard the name Miyagi as “maagi”. Raima Sen is maturing as an actress although here she hardly had any role.
When Raima sees Miyagi she almost feels a sadistic pleasure. The ironical smile says a lot. Both the women were unable to posses Snehomoy completely. One was able to posses his soul and the other was partly able to possess his body. But in the end both stood widowed of him. They almost became comrades in their grief.