By Alokeparna | 15 May, 2018
Potatoes played a central role in our kitchen because that was the only vegetable my hardcore non-vegetarian Ba would willingly eat. The only time my mom could make him eat vegetables properly was when he was down with severe hepatitis in his 50s. But the moment he got better he went back to his choice of protein. The man is 85 now and can still easily digest an entire goat. His idea of eating vegetables was eating mostly the potatoes in the dish along with one or two pieces of the veggies. For example he would eat 6 aloo cubes along with 2 potol halves in aloo potoler dalna. As a result, putting potato in everything was mandatory.
By Alokeparna | April 19, 2018
My relationship with Vegetarian Food
I am a Bengali raised in Kolkata by parents who are enlightened food enthusiasts. My mother would often say, “Anybody can cook meat, but making delectable vegetarian dishes is a fine art.” Vegetarian food at our kitchen is always sattvik, i.e. without any onion, ginger and garlic. Mom is very firm about that. She also makes sure that a separate set of utensils and even knives (earlier we had a traditional torkari bnoti) are used for making vegetarian food. “Otherwise, you won’t achieve the pure taste.” – she says. I grew up savouring immensely delightful and delicate vegetarian dishes as my mother has superior cooking skills and pure ‘opaar bangla’ blood in her veins. As a result, I am a very balanced individual regarding food habits, with deep appreciation for the offerings of vegetarian food world. However, I seldom come across North Indian food in a stand -alone restaurant that follows the Jain Philosophy. The recently introduced Jain Food menu at Sanjha Chulha had me very curious.
The name of the café is…well, Café. If you are getting ready for a review of an upscale café, then it’s my duty to warn you that this café is everything that is not modern. In fact, time here didn’t advance much beyond the 70s.
I feel Bengalis have a strong relationship with eggs. The first word we learn to speak could be Ma, but I strongly suspect the very next word that gets stored in our vocabulary with a permanent marker is Mamlet (Bengali for omelette). Then the love spreads to boiled, fried, scrambled eggs right up to adulation for Calcutta egg rolls and Calcutta biryani. So, it’s no surprise that my very first encounter with Parsee food was in form of an akoori.
I was to meet two friends for lunch, and one of them had suggested The Coastal Macha, a relatively new restaurant that offers cuisine from coastal India. I had readily agreed as I wanted to further my experiences of tasting the delicacies that our nature-nourished western and southern coastal regions offer.