Thursday, February 5, 2015

The divine creamy crust

The baingan bharta-inspired walk down memory lane was so enjoyable that I set out for a new one today. This time, I tried to replicate that sweet, creamy dessert that's become synonymous with birthdays in Bengal. Long before cakes and candles were in vogue, a bowl full of "payesh" (rice pudding) was considered to be a warm hug from Mum/Grandmum on our birthdays. It wasn't a dessert one cooked everyday. It was reserved for special occasions...and did have strange powers to bring in the festive cheer.

Perhaps the only time my sister and I volunteered to help Ma clean the dishes, was when payesh was made. Not the dishes really...the pot in which it was cooked, to be more precise! Fondly called a "chaachi", the creamy crust that was left behind in the pot was the highlight of the whole payesh-eating experience. It caused many a fights with my sister, who was also more interested in the "chaachi" than the payesh itself.  So we meticulously took turns to lick the pot clean, until we could taste nothing but our hands.
So every time I hear someone say "The proof is in the pudding.", I secretly smile in disagreement. The proof has always been in the "chaachi"...always. And while my little girl may never "get it", I will continue my love affair with "chaachi", and lick the large pot clean...much to her amazement (embarrassment?).

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Eggplant roast and lizards made of dough...

In a rare cooking spree, I made baingan bharta, tomato chutney and veggie-chapati today. The thunderstorms and rain in the background, and the smell of roasted eggplant rising up in the air, took me back to my childhood, where, in a similar setting, Ma instructs our "rannar mashi" (cook):  "Shoni Mongol  baar e begun porano bhalo. Aji begun ta redhe felo, Mashi". (Tranlates to: It's considered good omen to roast eggplants on Tuesdays and Saturdays. So let's roast that eggplant today.)

In a strange coincidence, today is Tuesday too...and although I have no idea which of the gods I have pleased with a roasted eggplant on Tuesday, I feel so grown up! I made chapatis for the first time...and a special mini one for the little girl in the house, just like our "rannar mashi" used to make for me.

We don't realise how we're creating memories everyday. Even an ordinary day can come back to us, years make us feel extraordinary! Here's hoping that I am able to create a childhood for my little girl, which will continue to make her smile...decades later...