And winter is gone!
Just like that. One fine morning I wake up very early and do not feel like snuggling back into my soft, light yet very very warm razai, which are always a part of my shopping expeditions in Jaipur, any more. Instead I want to step out into the balcony to get some fresh air.
Which I do.
And was struck at the change in the air .... it was no longer chilly. Just a light cool.
And then, as the day progressed, I could feel the sun turning hotter and hotter.
It was just a day after Makar Sankaranti. Technically, it should still be very cold.
Instead, the days are turning more warm.
In fact the afternoons are so hot that all I want is some cooling Paanto bhaat for lunch.
I frantically went ahead and made some Mushur dal er bori as I was already out of stock and did not get any time to make them this winter.
Can't imagine a full year go by without a little bori on my plate.
And a couple of achars too.
I get the full sun all day through my big bay windows ... but only in the winter ... when the sun shifts south. Once it is Uttarayan, the sun quickly moves up north and I won't get any direct sunlight any more.
Boris need the soft warmth of the winter sun to dry slowly.
Hence my hurry.
Today I have soaked some Urad dal to make some spicy boris.
After this batch, am all set for the summer and the upcoming monsoons with enough bori in my pantry.
You can check out my recipes using the bori / vadi here.
Inspite of falling and staying ill for the larger part of winter this year, I did manage to rustle up some quick snacks .... more for myself to revive my bland taste buds than for anybody else.
A few I managed to click ...
among which was the Kaachkolar chop that I made one day.
The ones that were made in the evening did not see the light of the day.
I had boiled and stored some raw bananas .... I do that when I get them in bulk and to stop them from ripening and turning soft ... along with some boiled potatoes.
So one day, when I had skipped lunch and was very hungry by late afternoon, I made some spicy chops to perk me up.
While usual Bengali chops are usually coated with bread crumbs and then deep fried, I often coat them with besan/gram flour batter... thanks to my growing up in Odisha.
The chops there, like the Aloo chop or the Mutton chop are always coated with a thick batter of besan. I love the crisp outside and the soft, spongy inside of the coating before reaching the spicy filling inside.
If you have the raw banana and the potatoes already boiled and stored, it will be a breeze and won't take much time at all.
Raw banana - 2, boiled and peeled
Potato - 1, boiled and peeled
Onion - 1, chopped
Green chillies - 2, chopped
Ginger - chopped, 1 tsp
Roasted jeera/cumin powder - 1 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Amchur powder - ½ tsp
Coriander leaves - chopped
Salt - to taste
Sugar - a pinch
Oil - to deep fry
For the batter -
Besan / Gram flour - 6 tbsp
Cooking soda powder - a pinch
Salt - to taste
Water - to make a batter
How to :
Add a little water at a time to the besan + soda + salt to make a very thick batter.
Mash the raw banana and the potatoes with everything except the oil.
Make small balls and roll them smooth.
Take the balls, dip into the batter and carefully let in to the oil.
Let it fry on low heat till it turns golden brown.
Remove and place on paper napkins to drain excess oil.
I paired them with some crisp muri / puffed rice tossed with a dash of mustard oil and some spicy chanachur.
And of course, there was ada chaa / ginger tea on the side.
And as I sat in the warmth of the late afternoon sun that winter day, munching on the muri, with a bite of the hot chop, memories of winters back home came flooding back.
And I gave in.
Let them wash over me as I regaled B with all those stories from my childhood winters spent with my cousins in Dadu's huge home and even huger chaad / roof terrace.
Of hot evening snacks being made in the kitchen for the uncles who would soon return from office.
Of Thamma calling out to a house help to hurry.
Of us squealing, screaming, laughing as we run all about the house, from the roof to the uthon in no time.
Of Dadu's indulgent smile as he watched us kids rushing pell mell all over.
Of the wonderful smells wafting all over the dining room.
Of a kakima calling out to us to wear our sweater and scarves before evening set in.
Of the sun turning huge and red before dipping behind the eucalyptus trees.
Of one of the happiest childhoods one can have.