My father in law hails from a simple house nestled in outskirts of Kolkata. His growing years were filled with rustic food made in old fashioned coal stove. My grandma in law had 8 kids in total, so that meant a full day in kitchen. She was a wonderful cook and believed in systematic cooking. She made 2 kinds of chapatti dough, one with ghee and salt to be eaten with vegetables in the tiffin. And one without anything added, to be had with milk and jaggery as a porridge. If you ask me, that was quite some dedication, which got lost in the next generation itself. This is how evolution happens. My mother in law never bothered to make separate dough and in fact, any chapatti which gets left behind in the dinner is had as a porridge next day. The system has evolved, and will keep doing so every time a new person is added to the family. In my house, I rather have porridge made with oats. And so there is really no scene of chapatti in milk.
This is how rustic food has evolved much to suit the requirements of today. In my house, I am constantly seeking and developing recipes from old times. My grandmothers in law are my biggest inspirations from where I get many ideas about how a dish should be made, the old school way. I don’t want that rich cuisine to die as well. I mean trust me, I am going to make ‘Tel Koi’ the old way with tomato juice and ginger juice rather than paste. It’s a celebratory dish, which has very important stand in our culture. It will be made and served with élan. But normal everyday food doesn’t have to be such a rich thing. A simple easy curry is all I seek when I get a friend over for dinner. I have used Indian Carp to make it, but any fish can be used for this dish. It’s a perfect summertime treat for non bongs too, as it has a nice tangy flavour to it.
This dish is best served with a light carbohydrate like rice. But I have given it a slightly healthier outlook by substituting rice with bulgur wheat. I feel, it’s the perfect carb to go with this light preparation. But you are the king/queen of your pallete. Whatever suits you, make that!
6 steak size pieces of Fish on bones (river water or sea water, both would work)
3 pcs of raw mango nuts with a little pulp on it (I used the pulp of these mangoes to make a separate chutney. The seed that was left behind was used for the dish- minimal wastage is the basis of a successfully functional home)