Friday 11 May 2012


As Vinayak coughs up sugar reading the Sweet n Sour post, we decide to go more sugary. With chashni this time. We'd started our Food Stall with Mishti Mukh, a sweet potato delicacy akin to gulab jamun. Only healthier, I'd said. That was Jan 26th this year. From then to today there has been no more pantua in the house. Because there have been other things. There's been halwa & kadha prashad; seviyan & sheer khurma; pua & malpua. Apart from my favourite zarda pulao & noto kheer, Ma's favourite goja jhiljhili & P's favourite thekua & gujiya. Never a dull moment in the kitchen.    
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             In our childhood home, we celebrated all festivals of all faiths. There was biryani on Eid & cake on Christmas. Apart from tricolour cakes on 26th Jan & 15th Aug, we would have veg speciality cuisine on 2nd Oct. There would be Easter eggs & pudding and come summer we would have Mango mela at home. My father, the biggest enthusiast I've known, would buy mangoes wholesale and all the neighbourhood kids participated in a mango fest. Whoever ate the maximum mangoes was the winner. We had to retain the seeds for the final count. Dad played time-keeper & judge. Life was one long celebration.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      We've taken it further with our Food Stall. Now we've started celebrating everyone's birthday in our kitchen :) Dickens' bday, something healthy for the author; Kopal's bday, ok fried chicken today; DC 's bday, let's do something new, how about thalipeeth; Preeti's bday, let's make sheer; Sunita's favourite spice for her bday; Taposi's, chal machchi banate hain. Birthdays done, now over to other special days. Muthia for mum on Mother's Day, devil for/by the devil on Valentine's, Sachin's 100th century, Kohli's 183....the list continues.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Missed Gurudev's birthday this 7th. Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore (7 May 1861- 7 Aug 1941) was the first non-European to win the Nobel prize for his Gitanjali in 1913. A polymath who revolutionized Bengali art by his non-adherence to conventional forms, Tagore's compositions are followed by two nations as their national anthem. India & Bangladesh. Interestingly, the composer of Sri Lanka's anthem, was a student of Tagore and the song is inspired by Gurudev's style. That Robi Thakur, as he was fondly known in Bengal, is an alumnus of University College London(ULC) & was in England 134 years before I was, makes me feel connected with him in some way. Is it mere coincidence that on his 150th birth anniversary, I was visiting Oxford, the seat of art, literature & learning? 
                                                                                                  While no tribute can be fitting enough for a man of his stature, the cook in me refuses to let him be on his birthday. Albeit, belated. Gurudev, that day I was at the Oxford University so you will have to pardon the delay in the golap jaam, Gulab Jamun. Years ago when I went to Shantiniketan, I roamed around your Visva-Bharati with the openness of the sponge. A university that is ' the world- centre for the study of humanity beyond the limits of  nation & geography', left me speechless. What admirable vision, what focussed execution! Koti koti pronam Gurudeb. Please accept this sweet offering. My shraddhanjali to you today.  
Gulab Jamun
1. 1 packet Gits gulab jamun mix
2. 1/5 cup water
Sugar Syrup
1. 2 cup sugar
2. 1 1/2 cup water
3. 4-5 whole cardamoms
1. Put water & sugar to boil. Drop the cardamoms in for flavour.   

 Add water to the GJ mix & knead into soft smooth dough.

3. Grease your palms & make small balls with the dough.( A 100 gm pack makes 20 GJs)
4. Deep fry on medium heat till uniformly brown. 

5. Drop hot GJs in the hot syrup & leave for at least 30 minutes before serving.

                                                                                             Serve GJs hot or cold and see that lip-smacking look that makes a house a home.

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