Nuptial bonds tied, and the day is the first day for the rest of the lives for the newly-weds.
On the morning, the first thing one needs is a hearty breakfast made especially by the mother-in-law. More often than not, this comprises traditional delights, along with savouries and deshi desserts, namely pithas.
The following are some of the options from the wide array of recipes that the new mum-in-law has on her family recipe book. True, some of these are best served on the wedding day itself, but they do equally well on the morning after.
Don't confuse this dish with your fancy English roast chicken or our 'dawat' staple 'deshi' chicken roast. At a Bengali table, it has to be a roasted (cooked in 'deshi' style) rooster, especially made for the bride and the groom. Traditionally, the whole rooster is served to the newlyweds with stuffed boiled eggs, decorated with beautifully carved vegetable salad.
2 roosters (medium size)
1 cup onion (sliced)
1 cup oil or ghee
1 cup yoghurt
1 tbsp ginger paste
½ tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp coriander paste
1 tsp black pepper paste
1 tbsp poppy seed paste
¼ tsp nutmeg paste
½ tsp cinnamon paste
½ tbsp sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
Salt to taste
Peel/remove the skin off the rooster. Keep it whole or cut into 4 quarter pieces. Take a frying pan and fry the whole pieces till light brown. Keep it aside.
In the same oil/ghee, fry the sliced onions until golden brown and keep it aside. Add all the pastes in the same pan with the lightly fried rooster and yoghurt. Cover the lid and cook until it is properly cooked.
After the rooster is cooked thoroughly and the water evaporates, add the whole spices, kewra water, sugar and lemon juice and stir it properly. Add the fried onions when the oil separates from the gravy. Cover the lid and cook it for 30 minutes in low flame.
Serve with boiled eggs and carved carrot and cucumbers.
MURGIR LAAL JHOL
A very traditional Bangladeshi chicken curry that is served in every household. This is a comfort dish for us Bangladeshis. Having it with plain rice or any kind of ruti always tastes perfect. The recipe is so easy, you can never go wrong with it!
1 deshi chicken
2 tbsp onion paste
½ cup onion, Julianne
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tsp garlic paste
½ tsp turmeric powder/paste
2 tsp red chilli paste or powder
½ tsp cumin paste
¼ tsp coriander powder/paste
½ tsp black pepper paste
4 whole cardamom
2 small cinnamon sticks
2-3 cups boiling water
2 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Cut the chicken into 8-12 small pieces and clean thoroughly. Marinate the chicken with all the paste spices, salt and ½ of the sliced onions for 10 minutes.
In a different pan, add oil and sauté the remaining sliced onions in medium flame until golden brown. Add the marinated chicken and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the baby potatoes and cover the lid for 10 minutes or until the water from the chicken evaporates. After the chicken is almost dry, add 2-3 cups of boiling water and cook until it comes to a full boil. Add 10-12 green chillies. Cover the lid for another 5 minutes and it's ready to serve.
Enjoy with plain rice or chhit ruti.
2 cups atop rice
1/3 cup najirshail rice
Salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
Grind both the grains together with some water and make a smooth runny paste. Strain it through a strainer and make sure there's no lumps. Add salt to the mixture.
Take a non-stick pan on medium flame. Brush some oil in the pan. Take the rice flour liquid mixture in your hand and stroke a splash on the pan. Allow the mixture to set and form an abstract shape. Turn the rice cake after the edges are slightly crispy. Fold it on the pan and serve hot with murgir laal jhol!
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
¼ cup water
¾ cup oil/ghee
Add 2 tbsp oil to the flour and knead it well. Add salt to the water and mix the kneaded flour in the salted water. Knead it well. Cover it with a damp cloth and keep it aside.
Divide the dough into 10 portions. Tuck the small dough pieces from all sides to form a uniform skin. On a plain clean surface, add a little bit of oil and make 10 palm-sized luchis with a rolling pin, rolling and rotating from all sides.
Heat oil in a deep-frying pan. The puff on your luchi totally depends a great deal on how hot your oil is. Make sure the oil is hot enough for your luchi to puff nicely. Add the luchis one at a time.
After the luchis start to puff, press gently with the spoon and splash oil on the side facing up. Turn the luchis and allow it to cook properly from both sides. Take the luchi off the oil and place it on a paper towel to soak off excess oil. Serve hot!
Pitha is a must-have at every Bengali winter wedding. Chondropuli is a pitha which looks and tastes incredibly good.
Traditionally, the pitha is stuffed with shredded coconut and molasses, but there are different improvised variations of the stuffing that is found in different parts of the country.
3 cups shredded coconut
½ kg molasses
2 litres milk
3 cups sugar
1 kg all-purpose flour
Oil to fry
Blend half of the shredded coconuts, preferably in the traditional way and keep it aside. Take the rest of the coconuts and cook it in low flame with the molasses. After the consistency becomes like a sticky mash, take it off the flame and let it cool.
Evaporate the milk until it thickens and comes to a creamy consistency. Add the blended coconuts, sugar and flour to the milk and make a dough. Knead the dough well. Make small round rutis with a rolling pin (around 5" each).
Stuff the rutis with the coconut and molasses stuffing and fold it half to make a half moon shape. Seal the edges making neat designs with a sharp knife or toothpick. Deep fry the pithas and until golden brown, and serve.
4 cups atop rice flour
1 kg sugar/molasses
2 cups oil
Boil 4 cups of water and add ½ tsp of salt in it. Add the flour and stir it continuously to make a dough. After the flour and the water is mixed well, take the pot off the heat and cover the lid. After 5-10 minutes, take the dough out, spread it on a cool plain tray and allow it to cool down a bit. After 5 minutes, knead it very well on a plain surface. Cover the dough with a damp towel and keep it aside.
Add the molasses in ½ cup of boiled water. Keep stirring until it comes to a moderately sticky consistency. Take off the heat, keep it aside.
Make ½ cm thick and palm sized rutis with the dough using a rolling pin. Don't add any flour, but add a little bit of oil if needed. Decorate or carve the ruti with a needle/carving tool/cookie cutter/sharp knife making zigzag and diagonal designs. Deep fry the pithas for 10-16 minutes until brown and crispy. Dunk the pithas in the syrup for a minute and serve.
Photo and Food: Kazria Kayes