Moody weather munchies
Bengalis love food and naps, so Ramadan is truly a trial for us lazy foodies. If you add rain to the mixture, the challenge is kicked up another notch. Whenever I’m hit by the double whammy of roja and rain – as has been the case the past few years, I like to turn to wholesome comfort foods that fill me up, but don’t take a lot of prep time. These items are perfect for sehri or iftar, and even afterwards, if you’re entertaining smaller groups in Eid. Who doesn’t like a good multi-tasker, amiright?
The ultimate nashta item, the pakora is a staple in any Bengali household during rainy weather.
2 medium sized shredded carrots
¼ (quarter) shredded cabbage
Spinach (one bunch), shredded
3 medium sized onion, sliced
1 tsp shredded ginger
2 green chillies (optional)
½ tbsp cumin seed
A generous pinch of turmeric and red chilli powder
½ tsp crushed black pepper
Rice flour for binding (as needed)
Salt to taste
Shred the carrots and cabbage through a single round on the food processor. Chop the spinach. Mix together with the sliced onion, ginger, and other spices. Stir in some rice flour as you mix, until you get a gooey texture. The veggies will naturally emit water, so don’t add any. Once you get a sticky mix, break apart into lumps and deep fry in a healthy oil of your choice until you get a nice crispy golden colour, and presto! Your crunchy pakoras are ready.
These crunchy snacks taste best with your good ol’ doodh cha.
When it’s dreary out, there’s nothing more comforting than a steaming mug of soup. My go-to soup is a bright, sunny pumpkin soup, or soupe à la citrouille, if I’m feeling fancy. I like putting my own twist on the traditional recipe. It’s an easy one to make, so you can prepare it at dinner and have it with your sehri.
½ pumpkin (small sized), peeled and cut into big chunks
1 small can of heavy cream
1 chicken stock cube
1 medium sized shallot, chopped
2 tbsp of good butter (if you’re tempted to use margarine, don’t. The taste isn’t worth it)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 heaped tbsp of good old peanut butter
This recipe is the best for lazy dads and husbands and boys, who want to impress their wives and girlfriends without making a huge mess in the kitchen. So gentlemen, if you’re planning to celebrate after Eid, take note!
Put chunks of pumpkin in a pot with three cups of water and chicken stock. Don’t worry about making it perfect, because at the end everything gets blended. Simmer until the pumpkin is tender.
Sautee the chopped shallot in butter and add to the mix. Then take the pumpkin out and stick into the blender and blend. If it’s a bit dry, add a little water so that the pumpkin blends easily.
Pour the pumpkin back into the pot and add the heavy cream and peanut butter and bring to simmer again until everything melts in well, with no chunks are in sight. The soup should be creamy, smooth and thick. Add salt and pepper at the end to taste.
Does anyone ever really need an excuse to have jhalmuri? Rain or shine, this is the perfect treat to share with company. I like my jhalmuri loaded up with fresh veggies for that extra tang.
Puffed rice (muri)
2 shallots, sliced
3 green chillies (more, if you like it hot)
1 cucumber, shredded
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cup coriander leaves, chopped
Juice of half a lime
1 tbsp chopped lime
Salt to taste
1 tbsp hot and sour mango pickle oil or mustard oil, as per preference
Now comes the fun part. Just mix everything up, and serve with hot cha and a kalboishakhi storm.
You didn’t really think I was going to end without offering up something sweet, did you? This final concoction is my quick and easy parfait, perfect for entertaining, be it for iftar or Eid.
2 cups green grapes
2 cups sliced banana
2 cups peeled apple or pear
1 can sweet condensed milk
1 can heavy whipping cream
1 pot of sour yoghurt
Mix everything together and keep chilled in the fridge for a few hours before serving. This number is very rich and recommended to keep the serving portions small.
Turtleboo is a Cordon Bleu certified chef and supermom who dreams of someday opening her very own fusion restaurant