Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Aaloo Sheddho Gang!!!

It happened quite by chance today. I've always really loved eating that typical Bengali comfort food - aaloo sheddho bhaat with ghee and kaancha lonka.... While growing up in Delhi, this was never a part of our menu, but yes, sometimes if ma wasn't well, or if the vegetables were kind of in that stage when you're about to head for the sabzi mandi (those days we didn't have vegetable stores in malls, remember?!), the quintessential aaloo was what most homes would still have, and ours was no exception. So it would be a meal of daal bhaat and aaloo sheddho. And that's how I got introduced to it and fell in love with it.
Image courtesy kichukhonn.blogspot.in

Of course this isn't a dish that people from other cultures or regions know of, and I don't expect them to like it either. It's requires quite a different kind of palette to enjoy this one I feel. I remember once as a kid when I was visiting Kolkata and went to a relatives' house for lunch, they asked me what I would love to have and I replied - aaloo sheddho bhaat! Poor people! The poor things had toiled the whole day preparing a lavish Bengali spread, complete with various kinds of torkari (sabzi), daal, bhaaja, maachh (fish) and chutney and sweets, and all I wanted to have was aaloo sheddho! They were aghast and my parents were quite embarassed! Of course I didn't get to have it, though I did get to have that amazingly delicious Bengali ghee that I have loved ever since and of late have asked any visiting relative to pick up from Cal if they happen to come over here. I'm talking of that grainy brown ghee - Jharna Ghee!

So it was that once I got married, my hubby is a North-Indian (me too, technically speaking, being born and brought up in Delhi, but he is biologically a Northie as well) I didn't have much chance of eating the aaloo sheddho anymore. We shifted to Mumbai 4 days after our marriage, new jobs and a new life calling, and the delicious comfort food of mine was forgotten in a new cuisine, in a new hectic calendar.

I may have had it barely once or twice in front of my hubby, but of course he didn't understand what the whole fuss was about, and I didn't expect him to. So I kind of stopped eating it, unless I was visiting my parents, and they too would not want me to have it instead of maachh-bhaat!

Now that I have my daughter with me, she seems to be growing more of a Bong than I am, and loves all things Bong much more than I ever have! So me and her do get together often and have aaloo sheddho bhaat and deem sheddho bhaat!! What fun...

Funnily, today I posted a status message on FB...and the chain of comments that came up made me realise how much those who don't live in Cal actually miss it....

My Status: Aaloo sheddho bhaat, plain mushoor dal and lots of ghee and kancha lanka...the typical bong comfort food...my lunch today :-)

Now see what comments followed...

  1. My perfect bong didi
  2. I love it..my fav too..
  3. My daughter loves that patla masoor dal ...nowadays even prasad likes it...dats what happens when you marry a bong ;-)  
  4. I love it too....u missed out the dim sheddho
  5. ohhh wow...this is even better than a bhog or full-spread cuisine...miss it a lot
  6. Me - absolutely...i missed it so much that i realised i have to start making it in my kitchen...aaj ghar jaakey dinner mein yahi khaa le
  7. u bet!
  8. pakka se ... let me call home now
  9. aaloo is something out of this world
  10. lol...we sure are the aaloo sheddho gang ;-)
  11. hahaha...the aaloo sheddho gang!!!!
There were quite more comments but this rather sums up the entire situation, doesn't it? :-)

- Debolina Raja Gupta

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