Flavor Mashup: Grandma’s Classics from Coast to Countryside

Every time my Grandma cooked her famous Kankrar Jhal, the entire house buzzed with excitement and anticipation. We kids would hover around the kitchen, our noses twitching at the tantalizing aroma of spices mingling with freshly cooked crab. But our eager faces and growling stomachs often tested Grandma’s patience.

“Shoo, shoo!” she’d say, waving her spoon at us like a conductor directing an orchestra. “Good things take time, and this Kankrar Jhal needs to be perfect!” We’d giggle and scamper off, only to return minutes later, our curiosity and hunger getting the better of us.

Grandma’s kitchen was her kingdom, and she was the queen who ruled with love and a touch of sternness. We learned to appreciate the wait, knowing that the end result was always worth it—a delicious, spicy crab dish that was nothing short of magical.

Image: Self

Spicy Crab Delight (Kankrar Jhal)

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg crabs (kankra)
  • potatoes, quartered 2-3
  • begun / brinjal – 1 (optional)
  • 5 tbsp mustard oil
  • 2-3 dried red chillies
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder or hot chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 8-10 green chillies
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp sugar

 

Instructions:

  1. Prep the Crabs: Clean and cut the crabs, boil them in water with salt, then marinate them with salt and turmeric. Let them sit while you prep the other ingredients.
  2. Veggie Time: Thinly slice the onions, and quarter the potatoes.
  3. Fry the Potatoes: Heat 2 tbsp of mustard oil in a pan. Fry the potatoes with a pinch of salt until golden, then set them aside. If you are adding brinjal fry the quarters as well.
  4. Crab Fry: In the same pan, fry the marinated crabs for about a minute on medium heat. Set them aside. (Pro tip: watch out for those little claws, they can be feisty even in the pan!)
  5. Flavor Base: Add the remaining mustard oil to the pan. Toss in the dried red chilies, bay leaves, and cumin seeds.
  6. Onion Party: Add the chopped onions. Cover and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes until they are soft and brown. Add minced garlic and fry for another 4-5 minutes. (Grandma would shoo us away at this point, knowing our impatience was reaching its peak!)
  7. Spice It Up: Make a spice slurry with cumin, coriander, turmeric, red chili, and Kashmiri red chili powders mixed in a bit of water. Add this to the pan and cook until the oil separates. (Remember, this is where the magic happens—don’t rush it!)
  8. Ginger Kick: Add the ginger paste and cook until the raw smell is gone. Toss in the fried potatoes, brinjal, and green chilies, cooking for a couple more minutes.
  9. Simmer Down: Add hot water, remaining salt, and sugar. Once the gravy bubbles, add the fried crabs. Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes. (By now, we’d be peeking into the kitchen, only to be sent away again with a laugh and a promise of something delicious soon.)
  10. Final Touch: Adjust the seasoning and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Enjoy your fiery and flavorful Kankrar Jhal with a side of steamed rice! This dish is worth the wait, and those impatient moments make the first bite even sweeter.

Image: Seasonal Flavours

Narkel (Coconut) diye Chalkumro(Ash Gourd)

As kids, we always got confused between chaal kumro (ash gourd) and lau (bottle gourd). Both looked the same to our young eyes, and neither sounded appealing when Grandma announced it for dinner. We’d scrunch our noses and plead for something else. “Not the boring gourd again!” we’d whine.

But Grandma, with her magical touch, knew how to turn the mundane into mouth-watering. The day she made Kankrar Jhal with chaal kumro, our perspectives shifted. The rich, spicy aroma filled the house, and curiosity got the better of us. One bite was all it took—we fell in love with it! Suddenly, the once-dreaded gourd was our favorite, and we couldn’t get enough.

Funny how a delicious recipe can change everything! Now, ash gourd isn’t just a veggie; it’s a beloved reminder of Grandma’s culinary magic.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 ash gourd (chaal kumro), cut into thin slices
  • ½ cup grated coconut
  • 1-2 dry bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 dry red chilli
  • 2-4 green chillies, slit (for garnishing)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp mustard oil

Instructions:

  1. Heat Things Up: Heat mustard oil in a wok. Toss in cumin seeds, bay leaves, and dry red chili. Let them dance until the cumin crackles.
  2. Spice Magic: Add cumin and coriander powder. Mix it up well.
  3. Gourd Invasion: Add the ash gourd slices. Stir everything together, lower the heat, and cover the wok. Add more salt if needed.
  4. Self-Sauce: Let the ash gourd cook in its own juices. When it’s almost tender, add sugar and grated coconut. Stir to mix well.
  5. Dry It Out: Remove the lid and let the water evaporate. Add grated coconut. Keep stirring on medium heat until the ash gourd is fully cooked and the gravy dries up.
  6. Final Touch: Turn off the heat and garnish with slit green chilies.

Enjoy your Ash Gourd Delight – a simple, tasty, and slightly funny way to make a classic dish!

We’ll be back next month with more delightful recipes and fun stories to tickle your taste buds and warm your hearts. Happy cooking!

Anamika Chakravorty: Content Writer, Social Media influencer, and Life Coach, embracing life with boundless passion and energy.

Flavor Mashup: Grandma’s Classics from Coast to Countryside

Every time my Grandma cooked her famous Kankrar Jhal, the entire house buzzed with excitement and anticipation. We kids would hover around the kitchen, our noses twitching at the tantalizing aroma of spices mingling with freshly cooked crab. But our eager faces and growling stomachs often tested Grandma’s patience.

“Shoo, shoo!” she’d say, waving her spoon at us like a conductor directing an orchestra. “Good things take time, and this Kankrar Jhal needs to be perfect!” We’d giggle and scamper off, only to return minutes later, our curiosity and hunger getting the better of us.

Grandma’s kitchen was her kingdom, and she was the queen who ruled with love and a touch of sternness. We learned to appreciate the wait, knowing that the end result was always worth it—a delicious, spicy crab dish that was nothing short of magical.

Image: Self

Spicy Crab Delight (Kankrar Jhal)

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg crabs (kankra)
  • potatoes, quartered 2-3
  • begun / brinjal – 1 (optional)
  • 5 tbsp mustard oil
  • 2-3 dried red chillies
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri red chili powder or hot chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 8-10 green chillies
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp sugar

 

Instructions:

  1. Prep the Crabs: Clean and cut the crabs, boil them in water with salt, then marinate them with salt and turmeric. Let them sit while you prep the other ingredients.
  2. Veggie Time: Thinly slice the onions, and quarter the potatoes.
  3. Fry the Potatoes: Heat 2 tbsp of mustard oil in a pan. Fry the potatoes with a pinch of salt until golden, then set them aside. If you are adding brinjal fry the quarters as well.
  4. Crab Fry: In the same pan, fry the marinated crabs for about a minute on medium heat. Set them aside. (Pro tip: watch out for those little claws, they can be feisty even in the pan!)
  5. Flavor Base: Add the remaining mustard oil to the pan. Toss in the dried red chilies, bay leaves, and cumin seeds.
  6. Onion Party: Add the chopped onions. Cover and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes until they are soft and brown. Add minced garlic and fry for another 4-5 minutes. (Grandma would shoo us away at this point, knowing our impatience was reaching its peak!)
  7. Spice It Up: Make a spice slurry with cumin, coriander, turmeric, red chili, and Kashmiri red chili powders mixed in a bit of water. Add this to the pan and cook until the oil separates. (Remember, this is where the magic happens—don’t rush it!)
  8. Ginger Kick: Add the ginger paste and cook until the raw smell is gone. Toss in the fried potatoes, brinjal, and green chilies, cooking for a couple more minutes.
  9. Simmer Down: Add hot water, remaining salt, and sugar. Once the gravy bubbles, add the fried crabs. Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes. (By now, we’d be peeking into the kitchen, only to be sent away again with a laugh and a promise of something delicious soon.)
  10. Final Touch: Adjust the seasoning and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

Enjoy your fiery and flavorful Kankrar Jhal with a side of steamed rice! This dish is worth the wait, and those impatient moments make the first bite even sweeter.

Image: Seasonal Flavours

Narkel (Coconut) diye Chalkumro(Ash Gourd)

As kids, we always got confused between chaal kumro (ash gourd) and lau (bottle gourd). Both looked the same to our young eyes, and neither sounded appealing when Grandma announced it for dinner. We’d scrunch our noses and plead for something else. “Not the boring gourd again!” we’d whine.

But Grandma, with her magical touch, knew how to turn the mundane into mouth-watering. The day she made Kankrar Jhal with chaal kumro, our perspectives shifted. The rich, spicy aroma filled the house, and curiosity got the better of us. One bite was all it took—we fell in love with it! Suddenly, the once-dreaded gourd was our favorite, and we couldn’t get enough.

Funny how a delicious recipe can change everything! Now, ash gourd isn’t just a veggie; it’s a beloved reminder of Grandma’s culinary magic.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 ash gourd (chaal kumro), cut into thin slices
  • ½ cup grated coconut
  • 1-2 dry bay leaves
  • 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 1 dry red chilli
  • 2-4 green chillies, slit (for garnishing)
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp mustard oil

Instructions:

  1. Heat Things Up: Heat mustard oil in a wok. Toss in cumin seeds, bay leaves, and dry red chili. Let them dance until the cumin crackles.
  2. Spice Magic: Add cumin and coriander powder. Mix it up well.
  3. Gourd Invasion: Add the ash gourd slices. Stir everything together, lower the heat, and cover the wok. Add more salt if needed.
  4. Self-Sauce: Let the ash gourd cook in its own juices. When it’s almost tender, add sugar and grated coconut. Stir to mix well.
  5. Dry It Out: Remove the lid and let the water evaporate. Add grated coconut. Keep stirring on medium heat until the ash gourd is fully cooked and the gravy dries up.
  6. Final Touch: Turn off the heat and garnish with slit green chilies.

Enjoy your Ash Gourd Delight – a simple, tasty, and slightly funny way to make a classic dish!

We’ll be back next month with more delightful recipes and fun stories to tickle your taste buds and warm your hearts. Happy cooking!

Anamika Chakravorty: Content Writer, Social Media influencer, and Life Coach, embracing life with boundless passion and energy.