Deb's Culinary Expertise:

Which Bong does not like Shrimp/Prawn/Lobster/ Crawfish? Or Basically any member of the broad family we fondly call  Chingri Maachh. I guess only the unfortunate few, who are allergic to shellfish in general. For the rest of the huge spectrum of Bongs spread all across the green planet, Chingri maachhh in any variety is pretty pretty close to heart. We always do pick up a bag, wherever we shop, be it in Gariahat Fish Market, Patipukur Machher Bazar,in Kolkata, Market no 1 in C R park, New Delhi, the Chembur Fish Market, in Mumbai or even the local Bangladeshi store in KC. Chingri Maach is omnipresent in the shopping list.   Be it Malaikari(Prawn in Coconut Sauce), or a dash of chingri maachhh in Panch Meshali Torkari(Mixed Veg), we always love its addition in the menu, in any form.

It all started with a recent dinner in a local sea food eatery, to celebrate our Anniversary. The lady in the table next to ours had a delicious looking plate of 'bacon wrapped prawn', which somehow attracted Deb's attention, when we were contemplating on the order. He regaled me then with his last experience of dining on the shell fish dish, last summer, when I had been to India for a pretty long vacation. I had almost forgotten about the dish, when he surprised me this weekend, by churning out his variety of Bacon wrapped Prawn. Friday night had seen a share of arguments between the Dasgupta couple, a typical lover's tiff. And what better way to say sorry, than to whip up something nice in the kitchen. To compensate for the extra hours he spent at the tennis courts, when I was getting super bored at home, here was a plate of comfort food. A popular host of a show in Travel Channel, always says, " If it looks good, Eat It." And the plate full of succulent prawns, carefully wrapped in bacon and a slew of condiments, looked divine. I was floored. The extra hours at the tennis court were duly compensated for, with one of my all time favorites, Chingri Maachh, in a whole new avatar. Add to it the large keg of draught beer. Biwi Khush. Job done for Mr. Dasgupta.



Colossal Prawns( de veined and shelled): 8
Colby Jack Cheese cubes: 8
Creole Seasoning
Garlic Powder
Olive oil Spray
Butter Spray
Toothpicks: 8
Bacon: thick cut: 8
Lemon juice: 2 tbsp

Marinate the prawns in lemon juice, creole seasoning, salt, garlic powder for at least an hour.

Wrap bacon rashers around the marinated prawns, and fix with a toothpick. Add a cube of colby jack cheese over the wrapped prawns.

Spray the wrapped prawns first with olive oil and then with butter spray.

Bake in a  pre-heated oven at 300F for around for around 20 minutes.

Then broil the prawns in the oven for around 5-7 minutes.

Serve and simply start digging in.

Dont forget the beer to go with it. The combo does work wonders. So for anyone, who wants to say sorry, to their better halves, whip up Bacon Wrapped Prawns,and see the fight fade away into oblivion, as your partner forgets all about the tiff, in enjoying the crispy bacon, the molten cheese, all around the silken prawns. Bon Appetit.



It was a bid to give Ilish maach a miss for this month, and pick up something else from the Bangladeshi store. So besides the usual stock of Katla, and Pabda, the Koi Maachh stole my husband's heart during the last grocery trip. Although I had relished Koi Maaach several times, but somehow had never managed to try my hand in cooking it myself. And fish is never hubby's territory, he prefers playing Angry Birds on his Iphone then, and giving the kitchen a total miss.

As usual, when cooking something new, our favorite search engine comes to the rescue. Went through quite a few recipes penned down by fellow bloggers, but the version of TEL KOI  was so differently made by each and every one. The Confusion about KOI, had just started setting in. So I had a talk with my mom, for her take on the Koi Maachh recipe that I have grown up loving. Ma gave me detailed instructions, which I duly noted in my mind.

Its usually a clash of recipes between the Dasgupta and Chatterjee households in  Kolkata, over the same base ingredients. Like,  my momma prepares aloo posto with out any spices, except for salt and kancha lonka(green chillies), and shorsher tel(mustard oil). Its the aroma of Posto which has to shine through, she says, as her mom in law had always stressed to her. And in the Dasgupta household, Posto is a heady concoction of garlic, turmeric, mustard oil, green chillies and even onions. That was quite shocking for me, when I was first served Posto like that. So on hubby's suggestion,  when I asked my mom in law, for her version of Koi Maachh, as usual, it was a very different recipe, which went with the same elusive tagline Tel Koi. Now my confusion was at its super best.

The easiest way was to give  Tel Koi a miss, and come up with a somewhat middle path, or my take on the koi maaachh. My hubby is not much a kancha lonka fan, as he gets hiccups if any dish has a heady dose of the green peppers. So the dish had to be mild yet have that kancha lonka flavour which I love so much. So Koi Maaachh and my spin started off in the kitchen on Monday afternoon, clearing away the 'koi maachh overload,' in my mind. This might raise a few eyebrows on the way it was cooked, but as I had warned earlier, its just my take on a mild fish curry. I just called it KOI MACCHER JHAAL. And it did pass the taste test from the Iron chef at Home. I can safely add now, that I was a bit sceptical.


Koi Maachh: 250 gm
Potato: 1, cut into longish slices
Onion paste: 3 tbsp
Garlic paste: 1tbsp
Mustard paste: 2 tbsp
Sugar: 1 tsp
Green Chillies: 2-3, slit lengthwise
Mustard oil
Kalonji/ Kalo jeera: a pinch
Red Chilli powder: 1/2- 1tsp: according to heat preferences

Coat the cleaned koi maachh with salt and turmeric powder.

Heat oil in a wok and fry the fishes lightly. Keep aside. 

Coat the potatoes with salt and turmeric powder, and fry them in the same oil.Keep aside.

In the same oil, add the slit green chillies and the kalo jeere. Let them crackle.

Add the onion-garlic paste, and fry for around 5 minutes.

Add the mustard paste and the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and sugar. Mix well. Cook the masala till the oil leaves the sides of the wok, or till you feel the masala has been cooked.

Add the potatoes, and add some water and salt to taste, and cover and cook till the potatoes are almost done in the gravy.

Add the fried fish gently into the gravy and cook for another 10 minutes. Cook the fish, but ensure that they are not overcooked, as it can start breaking away. Do a taste test and turn off the heat, and add a  dash of raw mustard oil, to the gravy.

The gravy should be a thick gravy, so reduce it, if you have had added a lot of water. This gravy can be garnished with slit green chillies.

I had served Koi Maacher Jhaal with steamed rice. Nothing like gorom bhaat- machher jhaaal.

Bon Appetit !!!


Poila Boisakh: Deb's Kosha Mangsho- Aunty Jean's Apple Crumble -Swordfish Casino:

Shubho Noboborsho. Hopefully 1418 has started on a great note for everyone. Touchwood. Well, it surely did start on an awesome note for us. Coz, we also celebrate one of our anniversaries with the auspicious new year. Well, I did get married to the same man, in the same year, in two different ceremonies. Hence double celebrations every year. 

Is Poila Boisakh ever complete without the quintessential kosha mangsho-bhaaat? I guess not, as it is so much into our nostalgia, of the superb platter prepared during our childhood days by our mommmas. My husband obliged me, yet again, to relive that nostalgia. Well, we ushered in 1418 with a Bong feast, where the KOSHA MANGSHO was surely "kobjidobano."

And I had been debating on the dessert which could satisfy the sweettooth, of the man of the house, who isnt too fond of the regular payesh. Cakes, I bake, a bit too often. So what could it be? One of my friends had just shared her family recipe of the APPLE CRUMBLE, which her mom(Aunty Jean) had learnt from her mom, in UK. I had always loved to dig in to Aunty Jean's desserts all through my growing up years, and this seemed to be the perfect choice for the Anniversary dessert, as the clock struck 12. Another trip down memory lane, another nostalgia connect.  

The first day of the new year, and the first day of a new benchmark in matrimony had to be celebrated well and surely not include any of us slogging in the kitchen. We love our share of fish,and having already downed kosha mangsho, our hearts longed for a fishy-connect, but with a twist. And we had not even gone for a seaside getaway this year, like our last anniversary, so we decided to somehow get a fish connect. Seafood, it was, in downtown KC. McCormick and Schmick's Seafood Restaurant in Plaza was the undisputed choice, despite the freezing cold, and the long drive. The oysters in the bar catapulted our appetites to higher and higher and once we dug into our platters, we were already on seventh heaven. Swordfish skewers on a beach in Puerto Rico, with Pina Coladas, is a cherished experience, but SWORDFISH CASINO was like manna on plate. 
To partner that we had WILD ALASKA HALIBUT & SALMON BAKED IN A CRISPY PASTRY, baked with tender shrimp, sun-dried tomato and hazelnut pesto. The tender flaky fish, the crab and lobster meat, just the right amount of heat, and the subtle touch of tang, was too tasty to properly recreate  in words. 

 And how could I forget the blissful SEAFOOD CHOWDER?! Move away New England, KC rocks in this version of the chowder, with the oyster crackers adding just the right texture and crunch. The lashing rains on the sidewalk, the recreated interiors of the steamboat 'Missouri,' the man of the moment, and just the right food, to celebrate the new year, what more could any girlie want. 

For anyone who is looking forward to laying their hands on Aunty Jean's APPLE CRUMBLE recipe,which has made its way from UK, to Kolkata and now to Kansas City, here it goes. 


Recreating Aunty Jean's Apple Crumble

super easy did I mention along with being super tasty !

Apple: 3 ( any variety that you like)
Sugar: 1/2 cup and 2 tbsp
All purpose Flour: 1/2 cup  and 2tbsp
Salt: a pinch
Cinnamon Powder: 2 tsp
Orange juice: 4 tbsp
Lemon juice: 2 tbsp
Shredded coconut: 1/3 cup
Butter: 6 tbsp: frozen

Peel, core and chop the apples. 

Mix in 2 tbsp each of sugar and flour and 1 tsp of cinnamon powder, and the citrus juices, and mix well. Keep aside. 

Grease a 9 inch round cake tin. 

Chop the butter sticks into semi-small pieces. 

In another bowl, mix together the chopped butter and the rest of the flour, sugar, cinnamon powder, and shredded coconut. Mix well, so that the butter cubes form pea sized lumps,and are well coated with the mixture. 

Layer the apples in the greased cake tin. Now layer the crumble, which has been created with the flour-butter- coconut-sugar, over it, evenly. 

Bake in a pre heated oven at 300F, till the crumble turn golden brown. 

Cool it before serving. 

Apple Crumble also goes very well with ice-cream, or whipped cream. 

Enjoy Aunty Jean's culinary secret and wish her a speedy recovery from her present ailment. 


Posto Chicken

From Deb's kitchen: 

Posto Chicken
There are days when the heart yearns something 'Hatke,' yet with a somewhat familiar touch to the tastebuds. Those are the days I start getting demanding, and my husband heartily acknowledges to whip up something uber tasty. I had been relating stories to him, of a particular Posto Fish, which a neighbor used to make, and how I loved it, for quite some years now. So on one fine night, Deb decided to have his own spin on Posto, and rather than fish, he decided on Chicken. Well, my demand of the day was after all some 'Hatke Chicken Dish.' We had no clue how the neighbor used to prepare the Posto Fish, hence there was no reference point to improvise on. Hence was born Deb's Posto Chicken( chicken in poppy seed sauce). 


Chicken: 1 whole
Onion: 1 whole(chopped)
Ginger Garlic paste: 2 tbsp
Tomato paste: of 2 ripe tomatoes
Posto/poppy seed paste: 3 tbsp
Kaju/Cashewnut paste: 2 tbsp, for the gravy: 
Kaju/Cashewnut: finely chopped: 1 tbsp for garnish
Green chillies: according to heat pereferences. chopped
Coriander leaves: for garnish
Mustard oil
Chicken stock: 1 cup

Make a paste of posto, kaju, and chopped green chillies, with little water, in the blender, till smooth. 

Heat mustard oil in a pan, and cook them till they start turning translucent. Add a pinch of salt at this time, as this helps the onion to sweat faster. Add the chicken pieces, and fry them for some time.  

When the chicken pieces start browning a bit, add the paste of kaju, posto and green chillies,and mix well. 

Cook for around 5 minutes, and then add the tomato paste and ginger garlic paste. Add salt and a dash of sugar, and cook covered on medium heat. Keep stirring often.  

When the chicken gets half done, add the chicken stock,and let it simmer, keeping it covered all the time. 

The gravy should be thick,and not runny. Give it a taste test, and garnish with some coriander leaves, and some finely chopped cashew nut, to add some crunch to the gravy. 

If you are deciding to have a try at this recipe, you should forget calorie count for the day, because its quite a heart meal in every sense.And did I mention super tasty. 


Looking back not in anger, but with a happy smile

Look Back In Anger !!! Well, people who know me well enough, associate this with me a lot, as I tend to bear grudges for a long long time. Yes, I do accept the fact, that looking back with anger, has been my speciality. But looking back with a smile on my face, is a feat I have achieved over time. And I feel, its an achievement which has been truly worthy through out. Learning to look back with a smile, has surely helped me mature more, and has been what can be called  a truly special journey. 

If I cannot smile at the same joke forever, why should I cry at the same sorrow. The pain has to fade away, and I have to let go of the pain, for it to fade away. Hence looking back with a smile, is something which has enabled the pain to start fading, and fading away fast. Earlier when I was angry, it led to arguments, fights, heartbreaks and what not. Now when I am angry, the arguments have lessened. I try to busy myself in something creative. Cooking is by far one of the best anger management remedies so far. Writing comes a close second. Yes, I am penning down my very first book, hoping to get publishers some day soon. 

And how can I deny all those lovely moments, which tug at my heart to look back with a beaming smile. To forget such special moments would be a sacrilege. There are innumerable such happy moments, but its strange, we tend not to remember them, when times are low. One thing which helped me a lot was going back to old online conversations, and that somehow brings an instant smile. Its quite natural that they have a page dealing with this particular practice on a popular social networking site. Its after a popular practice, which all of us have done at some point or the other. Some mushy discussions, some naughty discussions, some friendly banter and even some so called gossip sessions, all these do bring back smiles, when I am down and out. I know it sounds super duper cliched, but also going through old photographs of happy times, crazy times, drunken revelries or romantic captures, also tugs at the heart to bring forth a grin or even a beamin smile. 

A small gesture as playing my favorite Hindi numbers, on a long drive, or an idyllic walk, albeit in the cold, shall remain special. There have been numerous date nights at several so called good eateries, but taking me out for having just phuchka(panipuri), in Kolkata, is worthy of bringing a smile. Never complaining about the food, on days when I goofed up in the kitchen, how can I forget that. Being patient with my mood swings, and truly repenting for the all the wrongs, is surely praiseworthy. Yes, the man has been there and done that. 

If I had to recount at moments which I can look back with a smile, the most special would be laying my eyes on the man, I call my husband, after two and half months, on a busy mid west airport, on a particular evening last year. Although we did not start talking nineteen to the dozen, or even take each in a tight hug, but I guess, it was just the look in his eyes, which did the trick. It was much more than words could say. And the semi silence between us, on the way back home, spoke a different language altogether. Often words are not enough, or often words cannot even express. Men try their best to be macho, but often there are some expressions which give away their feelings. Feelings which they sometimes do not know to properly frame in words and sentences. These are the moments which bring a smile, and which ease away the pain.