Thursday, February 23, 2017

Kanch Kola Sedho Makha / Bengali Mashed Plantain

Every year when we pack our things for our annual holiday I look like an eager hostel kid going home, happy to leave her place of torment for a long retiring month. We pack our bags, buy gifts for our siblings ,I make lists of all the things that we have to bring (read foods, like ghee, large packets of chanachur, peas for making ghughni and a mix of Darjeeling and Assam tea) and then quietly count the days until the day of our departure comes. We give our pets to the vet for the time being and happily sit on the plane for the year long awaited journey towards our home. All the way I think about various ways I can enjoy my holiday. I dream of devouring all kinds of street foods that my husband literally refers as unhygienic and nasty, I plan to watch my mom cooking each and every meal and learn her secrets, eating her wonderful peas kachori in the breakfast, engaging in all kinds of heated gossip with my cousins to catch up 
with whatever is happening in the surroundings when I am not there, accompanying my sister to Shantiniketan for her drawing, catching up with school friends, walking around the streets of Kolkata to have a heavy dose of nostalgia, shopping in Hatibagan and many more. Meanwhile the airhostesses run their errands around us wearing 6 inch high heels, bright red lipstick and a perfect hair (sigh..sigh...sigh...) and serve us bland foods. While eating those foods I keep reminding myself that all these will be over in a few more hours and I plan to eat a spicy phuchka on our way  home from airport.  We reach home after 24 hours which includes an eight hour long stay in the Dubai airport before catching our flight to Kolkata, and since we are not V.I.P or Business class ticket holders we literally loll about the airport with our hand luggage looking for literally any place or simply a piece of floor to sit and then doze off with our tilted head, and then in the end wake up with a sore neck. And by that time with a few blocks of energy left in our body, we can only think of a cozy corner with a warm blanket and a nice long un-interrupted sleep for another day.

Kanch Kola Sedho Makha / Bengali Mashed Plantain recipe and preparation

As I am inclined to write about food whenever I try to write, you can guess that this is also not going to be different. You can say that I love to eat, but for me, it’s not always about what I eat, it’s the very idea of food that I am more concerned about. When I feel the same curry taste different, when cooked by different persons I feel amazed. When I see a mother preparing food in a corner of a footpath, in a small oven lit up with scraps of wood with her crooked plates and bowls,s and cooking pots, right beside a tent, which she adorably calls as her home, I feel equally excited. I notice how she sits with her folded legs, how she pours water in the curry and finally calls her kids for the meal at the end. This year while I was waiting for my launch at the Bagbazar launch ghat, I watched a fisherman cooking his food in his small boat in a similar oven, which was emitting thick and dense grey steam during the whole time of cooking. And it filled me with a strange satisfaction. Seeing all those ingredients turning into a complete unsophisticated meal made me feel content.
During our stay in India I ate kachoris in my breakfast. Despite my husband’s strong recommendation to eat healthy...I almost ate everything that came across. Chaat, churmur, ghughni, chop, cutlet, hot jalebi ...I spared none of them. Finally after a week I ended up in a Doctor’s chamber looking for medicines for my (a little) upset stomach. My husband warns me in a serious voice “Poulami, you need to be careful or else you will end up being admitted to the hospital for the rest of the vacation.”
This time I pay heed to his advice, and stay away from anything related to street food. In a rather husky tone I asked my mother to make me some “pithe” and “dudhpuli”. Well...what can I say!! She is more than happy to do that for me. She baught rice powder, nolen gur and makes me soft “dudh puli” in the evening. I took two tablets in advance and finished one large bowl of the creamy dudh puli in a couple of slurps.
But not all days are alike. Ma cooks dal and mashed potatoes on some occasions as well. I squish a big green chilli into it and take an extra spoon of mashed potato and one or two additional ladle of the dal. The dal almost spills from my plate since the rice in it is less in quantity...and I eat making a “hapush-hupush” sound!! It’s the sound of a full tummy, filled with the food cooked by my mum, and that is what makes my ultimate comfort food “musur dal, aloo sedho bhate”, all the more close to my heart.
Today I am sharing another recipe which is equally good with dal and if you are worried about carb then you can give this one a try. This is mashed plantain in the Bengali avatar!!!!

Kanch Kola Sedho
Serves 2

Kanch Kola Sedho Makha / Bengali Mashed Plantain recipe and preparation

1 big plantain / green banana / kanchh kola
1 small onion – chopped
1 green chilli – chopped
1 and ½ tbsp pure virgin mustard oil
Salt to taste

Cut the plantain in two or three halves and wash it well.
Put these pieces inside a pressure cooker with 1 and ½ cup of water.
Pressure cook the plantains until the cooker blows 4 whistles.
Switch off the flame and wait for the pressure to settle down.
Open the lid and drain the water. Pick out the pieces of plantain and let it cool down enough to handle.
Peel off their skin and mash them with a fork or hand.
Add the salt, green chillies, onions, salt and mustard oil.
Mix them until well incorporates.

Make two balls out of that mixture and serve with warm steaming rice and dal.

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