Comfort food and it spells out Mushur Daal -Bhaat for me, on most occasions!!! More so, when I miss Ma's cooking on a very regular basis. For us, at the Chatterjee household, Mushur Daal, was something, which was cooked everyday. We needed our quota of Mushur Daal just about at every meal at home. Mushur Daal with a dash of Lebu, and gorom bhaat, is simply bliss, espcially on a hot summer afternoon. 

 So when recently, I was down and out with a bad bout of flu and stomach bug, I yearned for some Mushur Daal-Bhaat, amidst all the Chicken Soup, I was being served by hubby dearest. The man, is a good chef, no doubt. But his expertise, lies more in cooking up what is more exotic. When it comes to the simpler stuff, the man, simply avoids that path. So I had to brace myself up, make some Mushur Daal-Bhaat-Maachher Jhol to please my fevered soul. No wonder, the fever raced away faster, after I had treated myself to this spread !! 

While there are a bevy of debates, when it comes to the Phoron of Mushur Daal. Some swear by Panch Phoron, some swear by Kalo Jeere, some swear by Shorshe. Though most families do agree by Shorsher Tel, as the base for the Phoron. For me, I have never been a fan of Panch Phoron, and my dislike for it increased manifold, when I discovered its omnipresence, at the Dasgupta household, in Kolkata. Hence, here at my home, in Kansas City, the Panch Phoron, is more of a silent spectator in my pantry, who usually is relegated to the darkest corner. I never usually reach out for it, when I am cooking in the kitchen. I tend to copy most of my Momma's recipes, or basically the food, I have grown up loving. So Since Kalo Jeere(Kalonji), Kancha Lonka and Penyaj Kuchi (Chopped red onions) were Ma's choice of Phoron, over Shorsher Tel, I don't mess with that !!! 

So here's hoping all of you will enjoy, this staple from the Chatterjee household. I must tell you, it always works wonders !! 


Mushur Daal: Red lentils : 1/2 cup 
Red Onion: 1/2 - chopped
Green Chilies: 2: slit longitudinally
Kalonji: 1/2 tsp
Salt: to taste
Sugar: 1/4 tsp
Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
Tomato: 1 large: chopped
Mustard Oil: 2-3 tbsp


Wash the Mushur Daal, very well. I usually wash it twice in cold running water. 

Fill around 2 cups of water in a pressure cooker, and add the mushur dal, chopped tomatoes, salt, and turmeric. Cook till, about two whistles. Take off the stove. 

Let the steam escape, and then open the pressure cooker carefully. Stir it around and keep aside. 
In a another pan, add the mustard oil, and once it starts to smoke, add in the kalo jeere, and the kancha lonka. 

Once the kancha lonka and the kalo jeere start to crackle, add in the chopped red onion, and fry them around, till they start to caramelise around the edges. Add in the boiled mushur daal. Stir everything well. 

Check for seasonings. Add in the sugar at this time. Let it simmer for around 10 minutes or so, till the daal starts to boil. If you feel that daal has been too thick, so far, then you can adjust it your liking, by adding some hot water, and boiling it for some time. 

I usually like my Daal, a bit thick. Hence I do not add much of water to it !!! 

You can add a dash of lime juice, to the daal, before serving it with some gorom bhaat. 

Bon Appetit !!! 



Kati Roll and Kolkata are synonymous. Even before I had tasted my first ever Kati Roll, I guess, I had already heard so many stories of the famous Kati Roll. How this quintessential Kolkattan snack played a  role, in so many romances(including my parents). Ma would often relate stories of their courtship days, when a typical date started off with munching Kati Rolls from Nizam's in New Market, in Kolkata, and then an English film, at New Empire or Lighthouse. Lighthouse does not exist any more as a movie theatre, and New Empire hardly has an audience these days, Nizam's has re-opened after a hiatus. Luckily, in the ever changing Kolkattan romance circle, the Kati Roll, still, has a pronounced presence. My mother's daughter's love story also has a special attachment, to the Kati Roll !!

I went to college in the most happening street in Kolkata: Park Street !!! And also had my own connections with Kati Roll. After college, we had to walk up to Park Street metro station everyday,and that meant, passing two Kati Roll Meccas of Kolkata. 'Hot Kati,' located just opposite to the Russel Street connector and 'Kusum Snacks,' located in Karnani Mansions, located about midway in Park Street. So it just meant that the pocket money got spent mostly on variations of Kati Roll, in the evenings, with the debate continuing, as to which joint was better in their rendition of the Kolkata Classic !!

As I am struck by the flu bug, my mind is wandering off to all that I miss being far away from my homeland.Kati Roll features quite high on that list, somehow. But then I soothe my feverish mind, with the idea, that I did recently savor a lot of Kati Roll !! No, I was not in Kolkata. Not that lucky. I was in Times Square in New York City !! Yes, I did have my fair share of Kati Rolls. It was not a Kolkata Konnect but a Bangladeshi Konnect !! 

We were on a typical touristy run at the Big Apple, and needed an evening snack, before we headed to my cousin's apartment for dinner. Among the various food trucks, there were two which definitely did catch my eye.  My cousin's eye. And Hubby's eye !!! So we nailed in Kati Roll !!! 

The man smilingly chatted with us. Asked me," Didi, Jhaal Khaben?" (Do you want your Kati Roll to be Spicy?) " Hya, besh jhaal kore banan amarta, Dada, " I chipped in almost instantaneously (Make mine spicy !) Now I was smiling, as I saw him, chop some green chilies very finely !!

Finally it was time for the taste test !! The way, Hubby and Bro wolfed down theirs, as I was paying the man, I knew, the investment had been a good one.

Now now, look at that big bite !!!

Aaah, the man, savoring his Kati Roll, with Nirvana reflecting on his face !!

I was the last one, to munch onto the goodness.

Expectations were pretty high. I had such high standards to compare it to. I was almost behaving like a  kid in a  candy store, who had been given a run of the place.

The paratha was a good combination of crispy yet soft. The paratha was slathered with two eggs,I guess. Now that was a familiar Kolkata connect. Egg Chicken Roll, anyone !!! Too many memories poured in . The meat was chunky and perfect kebabs, grilled on the katis, or so it seemed. Chef had made us a mixed meat one, so there were chunks of lamb kebabs and chunks of chicken kebabs, doused in a heady squirt of lime juice. Another Kolkattan touch.

The chopped red onions and green chilies completed the party. The only Amreekan addition, to the typical Kolkattan Kati Roll, was some chopped lettuce. Now that was a faux pas when compared to our Kolkattan gastronomical standards. But then, it was a reminder that one did compromise a bit even with quintessential Kolkattan tastes, when one was savoring it, literally oceans apart.

 Well, I walked off with my Kati Roll, in hand, amidst all the bright and shining lights of Times Square, along the melee of people. My mind partially lost in a trance like state. Did the Kati Roll have an hallucinogen in it?! I guess not. My mind itself was playing games with me, as I took bite after bite, of my favorite, roadside snack from Kolkata. I was feeling that I was probably in Kolkata during Pujo, and was savoring in some typical midnight snack, during Pujo Porikrama.

The taste did bring forth a lot of nostalgia, and I hailed the cab, for Manhattan, for the wild night, which was awaiting us.



 Recently came across a post from a fellow blogger(read: someone I really look upto) about her preps for an upcoming Barbecue party. That is when I thought to add in my two cents to the juicy discussion thread. Although she had already shopped for ingredients and was just about to start her marination, I pitched in the idea of Hubby's famous Ginger-Lemon Grilled Shrimps !! It was just a small mention, but then it found favor with so many famous bloggers. I was a happy soul, even with the current turmoil I am in. I was smiling to myself, as I typed away and participated in the discussion. Food does unite us all, and it does bring smiles to our faces, even when we least expect it. So decided to write this post for Preeoccupied !! Cheers to you girl !!! 

We are a couple, who love to grill our food, more than often.Hence we both like to surprise each other, with our innovative marinades and then innovative grilling dishes in general. Hubby is surely the  uncrowned 'Grilling King,' in our desi community in the neighborhood. The man does have a bonding with the grill, I must say !! One of his signature grilling dishes is undoubtedly his Grilled Shrimps. That is always a hit at every party we serve it in, or even on weekends when we decide to have our Date Nights at home.'Single Malt on the Rocks,' and some Grilled(or even sometimes slightly charred) Shrimps are a combo to die for !!

Hubby makes these shrimps two ways.There are times when he grills them with a wedge of lemon in every skewer and there are times, when he would wrap the shrimps in bacon and then grill them. Both ways , they are simply Orgasmic !! Yes, yes, they hit the Big O on the taste buds when you bite in to these succulent crustaceans. Am  I drooling already as I scan though the IPhone pics, I guess I Am !! The basic marinade for both types of shrimp dishes is just the same, but today I am going to stick with the simpler and quicker version. While making this dish, feel free to use any variety of shrimp that you might have stashed in your refrigerator. But if you can lay your hands on some Gulf Shrimps, then you are double lucky. We often do not get Gulf Shrimps, being stuck in the Midwest, so we make do with just normal frozen shrimps, picked up from the local grocers.

In the recent discussion thread about this recipe, what sparked the most curiosity was one particular Ingredient: Brown Sugar !!! Yes, you heard it right .As the name suggests, the shrimps are marinated in Ginger Paste, Lemon Juice and Lemon Rind and Brown Sugar, which in turn, helps to cut the tartness of the marinade, while lending a earthy note to the shrimps. Brown Sugar is basically sugar with molasses, hence it lends some depth to the dish.Then BongMom added in the point I had missed, that Brown Sugar is good for grilling, as it caramelises faster. Thanks so much !!  And Preeoccupied also added that she adds in Brown Sugar when she makes Nigella Lawson's famous ribs for the same reason. Well, it turned out to be one juicy discussion, hence I decided to scribble out this long due post, adding in just the cell phone pictures I have !!!

Its Friday after all, so one should ideate on possible Date Night Dishes !! So all you sexy ladies and hunky men, go ahead and impress your love, with some Ginger-Lemon Grilled Shrimps, just like my man does !!


Recipe courtesy: Debashish Dasgupta  

Hubby usually eyeballs the ingredients, but I have tried to list it !! 

Raw De-Veined and Peeled Shrimp, with Tails on: around 1 pound
Lemon Juice: 1 to 1 1/2 lemons
Lemon Rind: of 1 lemon
Ginger Paste : 1 1/2 tbsp
Cayenne Pepper: 1 tsp(adjust according to heat preferences)
Salt: to taste
Light Brown Sugar: 1 1/2 tbsp, lightly packed.
Olive Oil: 3-4 tbsp
Lemon Wedges: 1 for each skewer
Bamboo Skewers: 6-7
Cilantro/Coriander Leaves: Chopped: A couple of tablespoons for garnish(optional)

Soak the bamboo skewers in water for at least an hour.This will ensure that the skewers do not get burnt once they hit the hot grill.

Make a marinade of the olive oil, salt, ginger paste, lemon juice, lemon rind, cayenne pepper, light brown sugar. Dunk the shrimps in it, for at least an hour. If you have the time, marinate them overnight, for best results. Sometimes, the shrimps almost become a Ceviche !!

Place the shrimps on the skewers, with a lemon wedge in each skewer. This lends a citrusy smoke to it all, once they hit the grill together. Hubby usually stacks the bamboo skewers with shrimp leaving only a couple of inches free at the bottom and a couple of inches free at the top. This ensures that the skewers can be turned, while being cooked.

Crank up the grill(or a non stick skillet if you do not have one). Place the skewers side by side. As we use an indoor electric grill, hubby grills these on 350F.

Shrimps if over cooked, tend to get rubbery. So baby sit these shrimps, when you are grilling them.

Keep turning the skewers, very now and then, so that they are cooked uniformly on all sides. Shrimp cooks very fast, so its a quick dish to whip up.

Keep basting them with marinade every now and then, so that the shrimps do not get dry on the grill. Nothing tastes worse than dried protein.

Once you start noticing the char marks/or the grill marks on the shrimps, then that is a sign that they are almost cooked. Cook it to how you like it, well done, if you like so !!

Garnish with chopped cilantro/coriander leaves.

Dig in when it is hot off the grill with any spirit of your choice !!

Bon Appetit !!!