Being Dead

It took you light years to spit the pieces of your bad and broken luck.

………….Along came the King…………….

He stones you and crushes your soul and spits you in the eye.

Then he leaves you in the middle of nowhere to die.

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Pumpkin Soup

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Roasted Eggplants

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Fish fritters and pasta ... lunch :)

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Uzbekistani Lamb Pilaf

Uzbekistani Lamb Plov

Serves 4

Ingredients:
1 cup basmati rice
1/4 cup canola or olive oil
1 pound boneless lamb meat, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots, peeled and julienned
2 teaspoons each of cumin seeds, coriander seeds ( Toasted and crushed)
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, crushed
2 cups boiling water (pinch of saffron threads goes into it)
1 whole unpeeled garlic head, washed
1 big bunch of scallion, Cilantro or Parsley
1 cup fresh/frozen green peas

Method:

* Place rice in a large bowl, wash with hot water and cover with warm water. Set aside.
* Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat until smoking, and then add lamb. Cook, turning occasionally, until the lamb is evenly browned, 10 minutes.
* Add onion; cook, stirring, until the onion has softened and browned, about 10 minutes. Mix in cumin, coriander and peppercorns. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes. If you find the meat is sticking, add 1 teaspoon or so of water before covering the pot.
* Pour cleaned rice over the lamb mixture in an even layer. Add carrots. Place the raw garlic head on top of the rice and squeeze it into the center.
* Slowly pour in the saffron-infused hot water over a large spoon or wooden spatula. This will ensure even distribution of water over the rice. Do not stir. Season with salt, and reduce heat to medium-low.
* Cover until the liquid starts boiling. Now remove the cover to let the stock almost evaporate. Then tightly cover again and cook on very low heat until rice is ready, about 20 minutes.
* When the rice is ready, open the lid, remove the garlic head, sprinkle in scallion green tops, herbs, and peas, cover and let stand for about 10 minutes. Then fluff and carefully mix everything together and serve.

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Dig a tunnel. Hide away. Bury your fragile hopes. Grow some Roses and save them for your own funeral. Because the King’s ghastly white earth does not bear Roses anymore.

 

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A little LOVE can change it all

The old king with a cold heart, with his raven-black voodoo presence, turned every single Summer into dust.
His kingdom was covered all over with rust. “Adjust!” kingsmen ordered the people.
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“Fear chokes me, makes me feel like I’m dead, as dead as one can be”, cried a wretched fellow. He was one among hundreds of hungry, scared, nearly-dead people fleeing from a far-away-land and trying to reach this rich kingdom.
In the middle of the ocean they are stuck, froze-up in a dingy dungeon-like boat. Their lives are caught in a spider web. Their souls are trapped  in an unknown bottomless pit where there was no swimming forward or backward. The boat is sinking, people are drowning, dying of thirst but did not get a drop to drink.

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The wealthy treacherous king, like a chunk of cloud that does not let the sun rays in, shuts the door in their face. He abandoned them.
Every other morning folks find a few lifeless bodies washed up on the shore … lying face-down.

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When Rome was burning, Nero the king was playing Lyre. But we, the people, choose to stand by each other. We let others light off their candles from ours. Our light won’t glow any dimmer. Then like Fireflies in the night, twinkling love surrounds us all.
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Lightly fried fish. Marinated with salt-pepper-olive oil-Dill.

P.S. Succulent, crisp-skinned and faintly perfumed with salt-pepper-olive oil-Dill, this piece is to be enjoyed slowly, mindfully in a winter noon. Taste and joy will increase should you choose to SHARE your little piece of fish with those who go to bed hungry everyday and die an unthinkable death every day.

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Fried fish and fried eggplants

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Fish Pilaf

Smell of Death and Darkness hangs all around. Limbs and bones of Life and Light are wrinkled, crippled, thin and heavy with the burden of an avalanche of hatred. Love tottered and fell.

But still hope remains afloat instead of sinking. Peace decided to live.

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Carrots

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With burning sands of the endless Sahara in our eyes, fear as heavy as the Himalayas in our heart, we live on and cook Fish Pilaf. We choose ‘sharing and caring’ over THE Wall.

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Give a whisper of spice to the cheerful fillets; and your Pilaf will be heightened with the touch and smell and smoke of ginger and bay leaves – warm and moist, the Pilaf-pot will  sing the song through your kitchen chimney which you  have been trying to sing for years.

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Fish Pilaf. ইলিশ পোলাও

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Ingredients: for fish curry
Ghee ( vegetable Oil or olive oil is good too)
2 tbsp onion paste
2 tbsp juice of Ginger paste ( take a handful of ginger paste and squeeze out the juice)
4 tbsp yogurt
Half cup Coconut milk (  regular milk will do too)
Salt to taste
Whole Green chilies (Handful)
6 pieces Hilsha fish ( your choice of fish fillets cut into bite sized pieces. 10-12 pieces)

Ingredients for Pilaf:
3 cups Basmati/Kalijeera or any fragrant rice
6 cups water
2 Bay leaves , 2 Cardamoms , 1 stick Cinnamon
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste
Handful of Green peppers
Ghee/oil
Fried onions ( from one large onion)

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Method: for fish curry
* In hot oil/ghee put first five ingredients. Simmer for 10 minutes in medium low heat.
* When spice-mix separates from oil, add fish and green peppers. Make sure the gravy is not dry. Add a tbsp water, if needed. Cover. * In low heat cook for 15 minutes max or until fish looks cooked- trough, tender.

Method: for Pilaf
* In high heat, boil water. Add ghee/oil, salt and the whole spices. Let it come to a bubbling boil. Add rice.
* Add some gravy from the fish curry. Gently stir so that ghee and gravy can coat every grain of rice.
* When rice looks almost cooked, whitish and water mostly evaporates, put the lid on. Turn the heat low. Very low. Cook for 20 minutes undisturbed.
* Gently add fish along with the rest of the gravy. Sprinkle sugar, green peppers and fried onion. Cover. Cook for another 10 minutes in low heat.
* Serve hot.

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Note: Whole Green peppers in the curry as well as in the pilaf are for adding flavor. Not heat. You must use peppers for this dish.

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Red Hot Peppers

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Despair is thick as a brick that hits hard right in the heart. But we must be singing the soothing, somber hymn when the days grow dim. We must inhale a lungful of breaths of  hope, light and life. We must love each other or die.

Citrus-Sesame Cake

Days when darkness consumes all the greens … nights when the moon is curled up in darkness like a phantom in the forest…give Citrus-Sesame cake a try; Why? Because its worth a try!

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Citrus-Sesame Cake

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These Drop dead gorgeous twinkling beauties are constantly beckoning for you to come closer to her mystery, sink deeper. Their tender, rose-petal softness invites a finger’s touch. Sweet, earthy scent of citrus will intoxicate your senses. A whisper of sesame-seeds crunch will carry you to Paradise.

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Ingredients:

2 cups cake flour. All-purpose flour will work too
1/2 cup mixed citrus juice (orange, mandarin, clementine, lemon)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup oil
3 eggs
Handful toasted sesame seeds
Powdered sugar or Cream or your choice of frosting for serving

Method:

*Set oven to 350 degree F.
*Coat the cake pan all over with oil/melted butter. Sprinkle sesame seeds into the pan.
*Combine sifted flour, juice, eggs and oil. Beat with electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute and then medium for 2 minutes. Pour batter into the pan.
*Bake at 350 degree F for 30 minutes if using a cupcake pan. For bundt pan baking time is 40-45 minutes. When the cake is fluffed up and there are subtle cracks on the surface, the cake is done. Take the pan out and let it cool for 15 minutes before flipping the pan.  (baking time may slightly vary from oven to oven)

*Serve with powdered sugar or your choice of frosting. Even a dollop of honey or fresh cream will do just fine

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Winter mornings are shivering with soft, soothing, alluring sunlight. Citrus clan is thrusting up here and there. Bake a silky, satiny, velvety, luxuriant citrus juice soaked cake.

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Citrus

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May you always find some time to remember others in your prayers. May you journey on through 2017 with love and blessings. May you reach your destination with honor, pride, peace and grace.


Baked Butter-Lemon Salmon

 

Lemons

Lemons.
The taste is as bold as the brightly blazed blue Nile beneath a Harvest-Moon night.
The look is as lovely, glittery and gorgeous as your fondest gold jewelry.
The scent is intense, soft and soothing as the Salvation granted by God on the Judgement Day.

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Just a little squeeze of lemon can change it all. Blunt Carrot Soup bowl turns into a Lotus-lake in the Lilac covered Neverland.

Carrot Soup

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And the ordinary Butter baked Salmon achieves an extraordinarily serene scent should you choose to shower and serve the fish with fresh lemons….

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Baked Butter-Lemon Salmon

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Ingredients:

  • 2 Salmon cutlets or 1 fillet, 1 1/2 to 2 pounds
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
  • Handful chopped Cilantro, Parsley or Dill
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Couple of pinchful red chili flakes
  • Lemon juice. Quantity and intensity up to you. Plus thin slices from 1 lemon for serving

Method:

  • Marinate pat dried fish into an ovenproof skillet or roasting pan with salt, pepper and lemon juice. 15-20 minutes. This first step brings forth a strikingly tasty result.
  • On medium heat, in a small skillet place the butter, red pepper flakes and half the herb. Wait until the butter melts and the herb begins to sizzle.
  • Pour that bubbling butte over the fish. Bake 4-6 minutes on preheated oven at 475 degrees.
  • Remove from the oven,  turn the fish over. Sprinkle butter again.
  • Roast 3 to 5 minutes more, depending on the thickness of the piece of the fish. Cut into serving portions, spoon a little of the butter over each and garnish with the remaining herb and lemon slices.

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Grow a lemon plant in your backyard and you will witness something marvelous: Moon beams weave fragrant dreams on the amber skin of lemons. Dancing Sun rays cast souls on the evergreen hues of lemon leaves. Suddenly your barren backyard turns Eldorado in search of which you’ve journeyed for so long!

 

 

 

Caramel Flan: Fabulous and filling

Uninvited, unwanted but that stubborn guest will still show up. Right in time. Though his estimated  time of arrival is unknown. Could be tonight, in the next hour, next minute. The moment you hear his fears footsteps at your doorstep, you’ll be ditched to the backside of the moon, six feet under; a place unreachable and silent as a dead shore where water never meets the land.

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Name of this inevitable, deadly guest is DEATH.

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His raven-black, voodoo presence will choke you, make you feel like a dead wood drifting downstream. He is like a treacherous chunk of cloud curtaining your windows from letting in rays of the sun. You’ll kneel down to God and pray hard for one last time for an exit as you are caught in a spider web; stuck, froze-up in a dark, dingy dungeon – your GRAVE, trapped in an unknown bottomless pit where there is no swimming forward or backward.

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But today you are still alive. Until your Guest arrives, celebrate life by doing good deeds, e.g. making Creamy Caramel Flan for family and friends.

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Caramel Flan. পুডিং

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

Directions

  1. In a saucepan, cook and stir sugar over medium-low heat until melted and golden, about 15 minutes. Quickly pour into a  2-qt. round non-stick baking dish, tilting to coat the bottom; let stand for 10 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly combined. Add remaining ingredients; mix well. Pour over caramelized sugar.
  3.  Pour boiling water into a large pan to a depth of 1 in. Now place the flan dish in it. Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until center is just set (mixture will jiggle).
  4. Remove dish from the watery pan and cool it for 1 hour. Refrigerate overnight.
  5.  Run a plastic knife around edges and flip onto a large rimmed serving platter. Cut into wedges. Spoon sauce over each serving. 8-10 servings.

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Let the guest pop over in the Spring of hope or in the Winter of despair. Welcome him. Do not worry. Your Good Deeds  will make your final departure a grand, magnificent and memorable one.

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American Autumn :)

Sweet Chicken Curry

Tragically urban, rootless, ruthless civilization becomes breath-chocking, humans no longer taste the earth and the jungle. Kingfishers, glimmer of glow worms, Squirrels don’t fly in rhythm anymore.

We live in an age that holds our mind in a cage. This age calls darkness ‘Light’. We no longer hold the key. Our spirit never gets to set free.

TV turned our minds into a black mirror; black mirror knows no reflection. It is wrapped around with endless needs, wants, greed, pride, vanity, backstabbing, propaganda, bombarding, politics, hide-‘n-seek with the truth.

Life becomes a curse.

To break the curse, I’ve stopped watching TV. It’s been four years now. Friends, books, prayers, gardening and cooking replaced TV and LIFE is going as GOOD as it gets.

I always have time to create some hypnotizing alchemy in the pan ♥ I have time to make a meal for YOU that taste like a poem ♥ I have time to slowly, gently, unhurriedly drape myself with the twirling, swirling scent of  deep,  soul-soothing, passion-igniting chicken curry and steamed rice ♥

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Sweet Chicken Curry

That pulse-quickening intensity of irresistible smoothness! That bright-flavored lightness which you are going to remember the next day. And the day after. Forever.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1 large Tomato, roughly chopped or paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil/olive oil/Ghee
  • 1 canned full-fat coconut milk 400mL {13.5 oz}
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 kg (1.5 lbs) FREE RANGE whole chicken cut into pieces

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry onions till golden brown. Add meat and first 5 ingredients. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir up.
  2. Add coconut milk. A pool of crimson gravy gathers around the pan, if you pour 1 cups of warm water at this point. Cover and cook for 1 hour in low heat until the meat surrenders into tender, juicy chunks.
  3. Add sugar. Let the sweetness swirl across the pot. Put the lid back on and cook for another 20 minutes, if necessary.
  4. Serve hot on Rice or Roti.

*Note: If you’re using store-bought, growth hormone injected fleshy, too much tender chicken, cooking time will be much shorter.

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 I always have time for preparing-cooking-presenting-eating-sharing-blogging-critiquing ancient, mythical desserts like Roshgolla. Because, home-cooked food’s presence is kind, gracious, as unconditional love always is ♥

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Roshogolla ... Rosgulla

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Let the Metropolitan clock stop ticking at your home. Don’t let TV, the Demon, be the key-holder of your soul.