It’s the festival of Holi, the festival of colors, in India today and I wish everyone a very happy and colorful holi!
Even though Holi is a pretty messy festival, and each year I swear I won’t play it, I end up playing and I end up having the time of my life.
When we were young, a day before Holi my mom would rummage through our old clothes, since the clothes we wore on Holi would end up in no condition to be worn again.
Growing up, Holi in the Air Force stations used to be really dirty. As kids we were saved from being thrown in the mud pit, but I remember seeing my parents being picked up and thrown in. It was absolutely brutal. I also remember grown ups pouring entire beer bottles on each other.
We children though saved from all the above still would be covered in colour from head to toe, dripping paint all over the place. I really don’t know how my mom cleaned the house after Holi party, because I remember the house and the bathrooms would get so dirty. My mom would give us a wash with the hose outside but still the bathroom would get dirty, with colored finger prints on the sink, the toilet seat, the faucets, the tiles, etc. It was never a pretty sight.
Gujia, biryani, pakodas would be the general food fare at these parties and even though eating it meant a lot of chemicals from the color going in your system, we couldn’t care less.
Beer would of course be there, but us kids weren’t allowed to touch it.
Bhaang, which is prepared from leaves and flowers, was another thing that was and still is popularly associated with Holi. The reason why it is so popular could be because of its intoxicant properties. Go figure! Its quite amusing that the only time I have had it, was after marriage when my mother-in-law and I went for an all ladies’ Holi party. Unaware of it being added to the thandai offered to us both of us drank it. Thankfully I had only one glass, but my mom-in-law had two and the effect wasn’t pretty, and something we joke about till today.
Of course, since I have moved to US, I haven’t played Holi, since our small town has no means to celebrate it, plus cleaning up after Holi is quite a pain. I am sure I won’t be as graceful as my mom about the whole house getting dirty and me having to clean it.
This year though, its not half as bad as others, since my sister-in-law and my 16 month old niece are visiting us for 2 weeks. And since V is out of town for a few days, its just us three girls having a gala time, the older two getting drunk everyday :).
With V not there, it also means that lunch could mean maggi and that’s exactly what we ate today. And the niece loved it. I think she finished most of the maggi on my plate. Actually, I am pretty sure she finished most of the maggi on my plate.
We also baked us some whole wheat carrot cupcakes. But more about that in a later post.
Today, for GMT I am sharing a Bengali dish- mustard fish curry.
This is not a Holi related recipe but since I have not made anything Holi specific this year, I thought I will share another recipe I learnt from the very talented cooks at my parents’ place. The cook actually learnt it from the previous people staying in the house that my parents moved to. He would make it everyday, since the previous occupants were Bengalis and if you know any Bengali you would know they love their fish.
The cook at my parents’ place told me its best to make in the morning and eat in the evening, since all flavors take time to blend. That and the fact that it’s pretty easy to make makes it a great dish to prepare when you have company over, since it only gets better as time passes and you can prepare it in advance.
- 1 kg sole, cut into pieces
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- salt, to taste
- 6-8 green chillies (or as spicy as you can take)
- 2 tsp ginger garlic paste (fresh, preferably)
- 2 tsp flour to hold
- 2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp khus khus/ poppy seeds
- 2 green chillies
- 4 tbsp mustard oil
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp ginger garlic paste, preferably fresh
- 2 tomatoes, cut into small pieces
- 1 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
- Marinade the fish and keep 30 minutes. Deep fry in hot oil.
- Soak the mustard seeds, poppy seeds and green chillies in a little water for 30 minutes and then blend to make a paste.
- Heat oil. Add the mustard poppy seed paste and let cook for 2-3 min. Add the ginger garlic paste, ½ tsp turmeric powder. Once the oil separates add 2 cups water. Add 2 green chillies and then add tomatoes. Season to taste.
- Let the gravy thicken a bit.
- Add the fried fish and add 1 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro/coriander. Let cook 5 minutes on slow heat. Don’t cook much, else the fish will tear.