The plate is a left-over recreation of a meal that my fantastic cook and all around awesome sis-in-law, Moli made for us. Goat biriyani, chicken roast, and potato chop (like a croquet), olive pickles [missing the mixed vegetable dish and the cucumber raita salad]. It was a festive meal, full of familiar flavors associated with joyous celebrations. I was ten again eating and celebrating with my family. It was delicious nostalgia. Thank you so much Bhabi for feeding us so well.
Bhabi led the stroll-down memory lane with many snack stops that included, “jhal muri” [a combination of puffed rice, tomatoes, onions,cilantro, mustard sauce (kashundi) and chanachur (fried crispy spicy lentils, nuts and chips)], patties, chow mein noodles, paratha and butter chicken, home-made salsa and chips, pudding, kheer, ras malai and more.
We also went to a grocery store that had a whole aisle of frozen Bangladeshi fish, shelves of Radhuni (Bangladeshi brand) spices and other very specific Bangladeshi products. This was about far away and long ago eating, different from the farm-to-table principles I’ve been researching. Is it possible to merge the two forms of community building immigrant and local into a transnational glocal convivium? That requires more eating. Back at Forth Worth’s India Bazaar, we had tea and samosas (the crispy meat filling kind, not to be confused with the potato filled Shingara). It was like a flipping through an old photo album with my mouth. The nostalgic magnetism of remembered tastes is so powerful.
I used to believe that these familiar tastes were my only home, but now, having been at home with many tastes, I realize that my “home” has grown to embrace more people and places than ever imagined. This ability of food to put us at ease is magical.
Thank you, Bhabi for the trip back, reminding me how wide my tastes have grown and sharing your recipes.
Wedding Feast Chicken Roast (Moli and Mithun Recipe)
oil – 1/2 cup
salt – 2 tsp
sugar – 2 tsp
saffron color – a little
ginger paste – 3 tbs
garlic paste – 1 tbs
chili powder – 1tsp
fried shallots – 1/2 cup
Special Garam Masala -1 1/2 tsp
[2 1/2 tbs cardamom+ 1 1/2 tbs cinnamon + 1 1/2 tbs Shah Jeera-cumin + 1 tsp nutmeg + 1 tsp mace + 1 tsp white pepper = ground in coffee grinder]
Prunes, raisins, rose water 1 tbs, ghee 1/4 cup
Saute skinless chicken pieces.
Add salt, sugar, color. Saute.
Add ginger, garlic, chili pepper. Saute.
Add fried shallots, garam masala and water needed to help meat tenderize.
Add prunes, raisins, rose water and ghee.
Simmer on low until gravy clings to chicken and fragrant.
Looking forward to trying this in my kitchen and re-posting with an update.