But I am also a part of three more different cultures. Which do not make me any less a Bengali, but have indeed taken me to new depths. I know much about those cultures, traditions, food, dress, rituals. In short, everything that makes me able to say that I am proud to know or be a part of these cultures.
But somewhere along the way my blog started to be called or known as a Bengali food blog.
And I ... a Bengali food blogger.
Nowhere at no time have I ever claimed that my blog has Bengali food only ... or authentic Bengali food.
I do cook Bengali food ... with as much authenticity as my phone calls home and my other food blogger friends' input allows ... also my memory plays a part here too.
But I do not like being dragged into being labelled as a 'Bengali food' blogger
I'd rather be the Bengali 'food blogger'.
One of the many kinds of food that I regularly cook is the Rajasthani food. Almost daily I make a dal ... which would have temperings that is far different from the Bengali temperings. There will be a sabzi or vegetable dish, which again reflects the Rajasthani home cooking than the Bengali one.
I have actually divided the two kinds into two categories.
On the days I make rice, I make the dal and sabzi with Bengali temperings ... say the paanch phoron or the jeera+ada baat/ginger paste or fried onions+radhuni. This is mostly on days I make fish.
And on the days I make rotis, the dal and the sabzis have a Rajasthani flavour .... like the hing+jeera or whole dhania+red chillies ... and so on.
Both sides of the family ... that is the two of us ... are fine with it. Which makes things much easier for me.
Dinner is always something more neutral ... like the aloo paratha, methi paratha, pulao, etc. etc.
Though I'd love to follow this trend every single day of the week ... I cannot. But do stick to it most days.
Weekends are not counted.
In fact it was never cooked at home too. The first time I saw it was when I went vegetable shopping and B picked them up with much enthusiasm.
I had no idea how to prepare it. Result ... a call home.
Mummy patiently explained how to cut it, why we need to boil it first, ... and so on.
End of the day saw a good, new dish on the table that B polished off happily.
I did not touch it. I still don't.
But both B and the in laws agree that I make a decent gawar ki sabzi.
And am happy with that.
Cluster beans should be brought very fresh. So fresh that they should break easily when you snap them.
If dry, they'll neither cook well nor will taste good. In fact, the bitterness is more prominent then.
I make this sabzi exactly the way Ma in law makes it. No changes.
Fresh gawar / cluster beans - 250 gms, washed and broken into medium sized pieces
Potatoes - 1, chopped
Jeera / cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Hing / asafoetida - 1 pinch
Dhania / coriander powder - 4 tbsp
Red chilli powder - ½ tsp
Haldi / turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Peanuts powder (optional )
Salt - to taste
Oil - 1 tsp
How to :
Boil uncovered till the gawar is cooked. .
Remove, strain and cool ... this straining helps in getting rid of the slight bitterness the gawar usually has.
When cool, take them in bowl and mix in the haldi powder, the dhania powder, the peanut powder, salt and red chilli powder.
Heat oil in a kadahi.
Add jeera and hing.
Add the potatoes and fry well.
Add a pinch of salt ... just for the potatoes.
Cover and cook till the potatoes are done.
Remove cover and add the gawar.
Give a good stir and cook till everything comes together.
If needed, add a little water.
Cook well till dryish.
Remove from heat.
I do make another version of the gawar ... will post soon.