Thursday June 27, 2019

Bengali New year is on April 14: here is a recipe for you!

The Bengali New Year falls on April 14 this year.

0
//
My grandmother made this Kosha Dimer Dalna - egg curry - as a picnic treat for Bengali's New Year. Credit: Copyright 2016 Rinku Bhattacharya

By Rinku Bhattacharya (Zester Daily) –

In mid-April, the people of Bengal — a region straddling Bangladesh and parts of India, including my hometown in West Bengal — celebrate the Bengali New Year.

Bengalis of all religious persuasions celebrate this secular holiday with music, song and, of course, plenty of good food.

Bengalis celebrate their new year with fanfare and gastronomical indulgence. Begin with Alu Kabli, or Tangy Potato and Chickpea Salad. This is a popular street food as well as a homey snack, especially after school for young children. Recipe from “The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles” cookbook. Credit: Copyright 2016 Rinku Bhattacharya
Bengalis celebrate their new year with fanfare and gastronomical indulgence. Begin with Alu Kabli, or Tangy Potato and Chickpea Salad. This is a popular street food as well as a homey snack, especially after school for young children. Recipe from “The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles” cookbook. Credit: Copyright 2016 Rinku Bhattacharya

It’s only appropriate to go all out, food-wise, on naba barsha, as Bengalis call the holiday. Food in Bengali is synonymous with all events and happenings. But for festivals like the one for the new year, Bengalis go the whole nine yards on the dinner table.

People also buy new clothes and other new items with the belief that something done at the beginning of the year repeats itself year-round. Bengali traders crack open fresh new account books called the haal khata on this day.

A new year ahead, with taxes behind us

Ironically, the Bengali New Year, which falls this year on April 13th, originated in the Mughal Empire, when it marked a fresh beginning after the collection of taxes.

So, celebrate the end of tax season with me by delving into this regional cuisine.

Bengal, with its west monsoon climate and proximity to rivers, offers a diet rich in fish, greens, rice and vegetables. Its seasonings are distinct and prominent with the use of mustard, poppy seeds, ginger and a Bengali Five Spice Blend consisting of mustard, cumin, nigella, fenugreek and fennel. This seasoning is called panch phoron: panch means five and phoron means tempering.

The Bengali meal ranges from light to heavy courses, with a sweet and sour chutney to cleanse the palate before dessert.

Starting the new year with a family recipe that travels well

The fact that the holiday lands midweek this year puts a wrinkle on food celebrations.

This year, however I’ve resurrected a well-seasoned egg dish that my grandmother used to call her “picnic dimer dalna” or picnic egg curry.

Our “picnics” consisted usually of multilayered lunch boxes, filled with puffy fried breads known as luchi and drier curries like alur dom. In our family’s case, it included these eggs, since my grandmother felt that we should get our protein as growing children.

This dish travels very well, and actually improves as leftovers. My children now love this as a special breakfast treat and it can be enjoyed with toasted bread almost as much as the luchi, which can be difficult to pull off on a school-day morning. The eggs, however, can be made the night before.

This particular recipe is also known as Kosha Dimer Dalna. The word kosha in Bengali refers to slow-cooked and refers to the slow-cooked onions in the dish.

This year, if you feel that you just might need an excuse for a new beginning and an opportunity to revisit your New Year’s resolutions, join the Bengalis in celebrating our Bengali New Year.

Kosha Dimer Dalna (Egg Curry with Clingy Caramelized Onion Sauce)

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 45 to 50 minutes

Total time: 65 to 70 minutes

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

4 tablespoons oil

3 medium-sized onions, sliced

1 tablespoon grated ginger

2 to 3 cardamoms

2 medium-sized tomatoes

1 teaspoon red cayenne pepper, or to taste

8 eggs, hard-boiled and shelled

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Chopped cilantro to garnish

Directions

1. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the oil and add in the sliced onions. Cook the onions on low heat, until they gradually wilt, soften and turn golden brown. This process will take about 30 to 35 minutes, but should not be rushed.

2. Add in the ginger and stir well.

3. Add in the cardamoms, tomatoes and red cayenne pepper. Cook for about five minutes until the mixture thickens and the tomatoes begin to soften.

4. In the meantime, make slits on the sides of the eggs and rub them with the salt and the turmeric.

5. Mix the eggs into the tomato mixture and cook for about 5 minutes, until the eggs are well-coated with the onion base.

6. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve.

Copyright 2016 Rinku Bhattacharya via Zester Daily and Reuters Media Express

Next Story

Like Food, One Constantly Craves New Flavours in Music

"What you put in your mouth has to taste good that’s all. What you put in your ears has to sound good — it’s that simple,” he signed off

0
music
Music has long helped people express their emotions and connect with one another. VOA

By Siddhi Jain

Sitar player Purbayan Chatterjee, known for his fusion work with Western and Indian classical music, feels that the art form is very much like food and the Indian classical music is not as rigid as it is thought to be.

For Purbayan, 43, whose sitar playing is rooted in the Senia Maihar gharana’s blend of dhrupad and khayal, Indian classical music is ever-evolving.

“Indian classical music can be compared to a Rubik’s cube made of a gelatinous matrix. There’s a complex structure which sits in the midst of infinite elasticity. Hindustani classical music itself is an amalgam of ancient dhrupad and Persian elements,” Chatterjee told IANS in an email interview.

A disciple of his father Parthapratim Chatterjee, the musician has performed as part of the groups Shastriya Syndicate and Stringstruck.

He also calls himself “truly privileged and humbled” because the instrument of sitar — that has been in the hands of legendary artistes like Pt. Ravishankar, Pt. Nikhil Banerjee and Ustad Vilayat Khan — has chosen him.

“The sitar is my voice. It is an extension of my limbs.”

Asked about the World Music Day that fell on June 21, the young musician said that he’d love to have it pronounced “World-Music Day” since the music of the entire world has only three elements — melody, rhythm and harmony.

thai foods
Thai foods are naturally an excellent source of a multitude of health beneficial sources of food, primarily due to the vast utilization of different vegetables and herbs in almost all their dishes. Pixabay

“The more we respect and recognise that, the more the boundaries will disappear,” he explained.

As far as his future projects are concerned, Purbayan said: “I am currently working on expanding my classical repertoire to include lesser-heard ragas in instrumental music like Lalita-Gauri. I am also recording and shooting in 4K compositions of great masters like Ustad Ali Akbar Khansahib and Pt Nikhil Banerjee.

“Also being put up on my YouTube channel are some collaborations with whiz-kids of today, like Rhythm Shaw, Shikharnaad Qureshi, Jazim Sharma, Sumedha karmahe, Pratibha Singh Baghel, Rickraj and also with Gayathri — my wife who’s a very versatile artist”.

Also Read- Future of The World Lies in Hands of Children, Says Actress Priyanka Chopra

The Kolkata-based instrumentalist, who is also a vocalist and has performed in duet with music director Shankar Mahadevan, was set to perform in an HCL Concert here on Friday, alongside musical artistes Rakesh Chaurasia, Fazal Qureshi and Gino Banks.

Answering a question about his taste in fusion music, Purbayan likened music to food. “As a citizen of a rapidly shrinking global village, one constantly craves new flavours and aromas.

“What you put in your mouth has to taste good that’s all. What you put in your ears has to sound good — it’s that simple,” he signed off. (IANS)