Afternoons are special, really, really special. Ask someone who has been on a six month leave from work and is about to return to her desk in a month’s time! As a new mother I followed the kind advice experienced mommies gave me, “Sleep when the baby is sleeping!” So there I was, napping in the afternoons with my baby. Just when I discovered that my afternoon siesta was becoming an addiction, I gave it up! From then on, after nursing V I’d be up and about reading a book. Sometime back I picked up crochet too…and there was a new addiction…but that’s another story.
Today however, my afternoon was been taken over by a sudden urge to try my hand at some serious food blogging! I am intrigued by the patience, skill and perseverance of food bloggers…it’s quite a task to cook, it’s quite another to capture the process in yummy pictures and then a totally a wholesome experience of blogging diligently! A little note about my culinary skills…I am not gifted, but I am enthusiastic! Those seasoned with the ladle tell me that it is the desire to cook that makes all the difference. So yes, after staying out of the kitchen for 6 months, my return to the stove is an experience that I look forward to. My cook is on leave and with a new nanny and a 5 month toddler asking for attention all day long, spending time in the kitchen gives me the taste of what superwomen must feel like! All my friends and the counted few loyal readers of my two blogs complain that I don’t write often…well, yeah, I have my excuses! Anyways, time to make some amends and try something new! Son’s napping; Nanny’s ironing son’s nappies, and so out came the pumpkin, the camera and my blog!
Cook & Click
Sunday evening’s are usually are about a trip to the local haat. From fresh vegetables, fruits, utensils, plastic items, clothes, bedspreads, knife sharpeners, to instant chowmein…the Sunday haat is a HUGE hit! Someday when I have not too much to buy I’ll go with my camera. So yesterday I bought a large portion of pumpkin. One of my most favourite vegetables, available all round the year and perhaps the cheapest in times of inflation…pumpkin however finds a place only on my plate. Husband is too much of potato devotee to look anywhere else!
Kumro - Pumpkin - Kaddu - Sitaphal
This is a recipe that my Mum loves and cooks in an absolute lip smacking way. My first time at cooking ‘Kumro’r Chokka’, I called up Maa for her recipe. The first thing she said was, you need ‘Kaala Chana’ or Black Chick Peas…and voila…I had them ready already. Now I didn’t soak them for this particular recipe, instead was planning to have sprouts for breakfast…but the Pumpkin at the haat had my mouth watering for this!
Pumpkin & Black Chick Peas
It’s fairly simple! You need chillies, I wanted it a little spicy, so took both green and dried red chillies.
Hot & Spicy
Paanch – Phoron is a popular mix of 5 different seeds used for tempering / tadka in Bengali cuisine. It has fennel, mustard seeds (yellow & black), cumin, methi and kaala jeera in equal quantities.
The power of 5!
And a generous dose of ginger.
I generally use mustard oil in all my Indian dishes. I love the smell and the taste that the thick ghani lends to Indian spices. Tempered with paanch phoron and the chillies, I fried the kaala chana.
Added grated ginger and then poured in the cubed pumpkin.
Cover up and simmer...
Pumpkin is quick to cook and pretty soon, it would look like this…
Soft and semi-cooked...
I added, Jeera, Dhania and Garam Masala powders, Salt and Sugar to taste. Covered it for a bit more and let the spice seep in.
Let the spices seep in
Before taking it off the flame I added tamarind juice and lots of chopped coriander.
Tamarind Pulp and Chopped Coriander
It took me approximately 20 minutes to prepare, cook and click and another four of hours to sort the pictures and write this post. Somewhere in the middle, V woke up, demanded his feed…played naughty boy, heard nursery rhymes on Youtube, played on his rocker, cooed with me, had his feed again, fretted a bit and then went to sleep!! *Phew* Who says being a mother is easy??
Serve with Roti or Paratha
Anyways, I am pretty satisfied with my first attempt at writing a proper food post. A few takeaways though. Food photography is an art! So for someone like me who hasn’t got a picture perfect kitchen, it is imperative you know how to cover up those soot covered areas that don’t make for pretty pictures! And no, my kitchen isn’t covered in soot…that’s just an observation! Lighting is key. In a kitchen that is artificially lit all day long, taking pictures is a little tricky. I had to tinker with my camera a wee bit. Taking my DSLR before crackling seeds was scary too…I had to stay both close and away to get the right pictures.
As for the star of the show, Kumro’r Chokka turned out pretty good too. If the pictures and recipe are inspiring enough, do try it and write into me! And yes, if there are any tips on how to write a ‘food’ post or click the right pictures do share them with me…