I don’t really give a lot of thought to New Years resolutions. Calendars are such a man made construct – how is tomorrow more or less relevant than today? I know I seem like Buzz Killington here, while everyone is hastily getting ready for their NYE parties (and hey, I am, too). But I just got this email from wordpress reviewing the year in stats that made me reflect a bit. Although it is nowhere where I’d like to be, I’ve come a long way from the early days of dinky pictures in low lit spaces. I’ve learned a lot and have put a lot of work into sharing content that I think will be meaningful you guys. And as I make my way through my late twenties, I definitely feel the pressure to do something I am proud of, improve and grow, and do right by my kids.Some of my favorite posts from this past year was Julia Child’s glorious ratatouille, the traditional Bengali Rice Pilaf that was actually approved for submission into Foodgawker, and the Sticky Toffee Pudding that I thought photographed so beautifully. I am proud though, of the progress I’ve made. Starting out with some not so relevant recipes to some pretty handy dandy ones for newbies to the [especially Bengali] kitchen. And though I haven’t garnered nearly enough traffic to consider myself a success, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed hearing anecdotes from you guys about the different recipes you’ve tried and your personal success stories in the kitchen. A friend of mine posted on my Facebook page saying, “You inspire me to cook!” and I thought to myself, that is the whole reason I started this blog in the first place. To share some recipes or insights with people who don’t have the time or resources to spend in the kitchen. So to them, and to anyone else reading this, THANK YOU for making 2013 such a great year for Kitchen3N. I look forward to sharing more goodies with you guys in the years to come. Now, what is a bhorta? They are usually made from boiled/steamed vegetables or dried fish, then ground to a pulp using a shil pata (stone slab, kind of like mortar and pestle), along with raw onions, green chilis, salt and mustard oil. Sometimes dried red chilis. They are CRAZY good. My mom’s experimented with the preserved fish readily available in this country: anchovies, sardines, etc. But this one is the best. Some permutations include lime leaves (which can be hard to find, which is why I improvised with lemon zest and lemon juice). These aren’t traditional ingredients but they help brighten up the flavor without using way too much salt. It’s a great low fat side. Be warned though: it is spicy! Of course you can adjust it to your taste, but for an authentic Bengali experience, crank up the heat!
- 1/2 lb large shrimp, peeled, deveined and tails off
- salt, pepper and olive oil
- 3/4 lb string beans, stems off
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1/4 chopped yellow onion
- 1 tbsp mustard oil (could probably substitute regular ol’ mustard)
- 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
- 2 green chilis, roughly chopped (add just one if you are a heat lightweight! and wear gloves if necessary…just don’t stick your fingers in your eyes afterward!)
- This is unconventional, but it’s the only way I cook shrimp: toss shrimp with 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper and 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Spread onto a baking sheet and roast in a 400 degree F oven for 7 minutes (more or less depending on the size of the shrimp. Once cool enough to handle, chop roughly and transfer into a food processor.
- Next boil some water in a large pot. Once it comes to a full boil, add 1 tsp salt and add the green beans (do it in batches if necessary). It should take 5 minutes to cook through. Drain, chop roughly and add to food processor.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and blend to combine. Serve with rice and daal.