mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Posts Tagged ‘shukto’

Pumpkin-flower Fritters and Similar Stories

In Bengal, Bengali, Currently reading, Potatoes, Under 30 min!, Vegetables, Vegetarian on October 4, 2014 at 4:17 pm

Sometime back there was a discussion amongst some food-blogger friends on cookbooks and their relevance in a world of food blogs and websites.  The topic was triggered by the surprising admission of some food-bloggers (aspiring writers at that!) that they only look at and rarely cook from cookbooks.  My bookshelf is lined with cookbooks I have been collecting since my teens; they are a weakness.  They are my insights into a new cuisine or deeper explorations of a favourite one. I put a moratorium on further cookbook purchases because I am constrained where bookshelf-real-estate is concerned.  That ended, as all fad diets do, in a binge.  With e-shopping only a click away, I was on Flipkart, ordering away.   I am no longer looking for cookbooks titled “All About Baking,” but seek out books that link food to a culture: “Gujarati Cooking”, or “Simply South.”

cookbooks

I have been searching for a recipe for the Goan Sambarachi Kodi ever since I tasted it at O’Coquero.  On the Web, I came across only one recipe, the one on the charming Goan Food Recipes blog.  While Googling for it yet again (I try to check multiple recipes before attempting a less-familiar dish), I came across a mention for it in Pushpesh Pant’s India: A Cookbook.  Now, I am usually weary of cookbooks that want to cover all of India in one book.  If you know anything about the diversity that is India, you cam imagine how daunting a task that is. In India, I assure you, we know nothing as “Indian Food.”  But Pushpesh Pant is a respected scholar and reading some of the recommendations for the book, I thought, well, his might just be the definitive volume, the exception. To his credit, it has a 1000 recipes and weighs in at over a kilo!  With those statistics I was expecting a tome of great research and insights.  As usual, I started with the section on the cuisine I know better than any other – Kashmiri.  That right there, is the cornerstone by which I judge a cookbook dishing out “Indian” Cuisine. Read the rest of this entry »

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Shukto

In Bengali, Vegetables, Vegetarian on May 29, 2012 at 7:39 pm

calcutta

There is more shared between Kashmir and Bengal than a love for rice, fish, and mustard oil.  There is a shared history.  Eighth century Kashmiri emperor Lalitaditya’s empire is believed to have extended from Kabul right up to Bengal.  But, that was centuries ago.  Even in the last century there was a very strong connection between the two Indian states.  West Bengal seems to have been the first choice for a majority of Kashmiri youth in my parents generation seeking scholarship outside of this remote state in the north.  Nineteenth Century Calcutta was the bastion of contemporary western education. It was routine for teen Kashmiri boys to leave home for this faraway state to study medicine or engineering.  Many generations owe a debt to this state of bhadrlok for their education: in my family my Dad studied at IITKgp, one uncle studied medicine at Calcutta Medical College (established by the British in 1835, it is our oldest medical college), two others studied engineering at Jadhavpur University.  The Government Medical College, Srinagar, was established only in 1959, followed by the REC (Regional Engineering College) in 1960.

calcutta

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