Sukanya Ghosh is geologist by qualification; an ex-geo science professional; self-confessed bookworm; and have varied interest in art, history, archeology and planetary sciences. She secretly nurtured the dream of becoming a food writer someday. Her blog reflects all of these aspects of Sukanya in some way. Specially the history of food, culture and cuisine. Let us find out more about saffronstreaks from Sukanya Ghosh
1. NS: How did you come up with the name http://saffronstreaks.com/ for your blog ?
Sukanya: I never wanted a generic name for my blog, it has to be unique and at the same time should have ethnic touch with a global appeal. My personal obsession with the spice saffron and its color finally hinted me to name by blog after it.
2. NS: What are few qualities needed to be successful blogger?
Sukanya: Success is a very relative term. To me it makes me happy when my readers mails me to convey how a particular article has helped them in some way or other, a recipe that they love or recommend to others or a travel post that helps them to plan their vacations in an effective way. Do what you “love” to do and do it with “passion” and everything else will fall in place.
3. NS: Do you ever get stuck when writing an entry? What do you do then?
Sukanya: Often. A writer’s block is something that we often come across. If your mind is not clear, then it is no point to hit publish. I go for a long walk, read a book or watch a movie or even try to create some new recipe. If it is not your day, it won’t come to you, don’t try too hard to write something. May be tomorrow you will find the right words.
4. NS: How did you develop a love for cooking and food? Did you cook with your parents while growing up?
Sukanya: No. I was a foodie from the very beginning and still today my love for food precede my love for cooking. Cooking came very late in my life and when it came, it has changed the course of my life to some extent.
5. NS: Which is your favorite cuisine and why?
Sukanya: Apart from my own Bengali cuisine, I adore Thai and Italian cuisine. Two contrasting flavors and there are ample scope of experimentation and adaptation to suit one’s palate.
6. NS: Do you think technical know how is needed to be a successful blogger?
Sukanya: Yes and No. No if you are hosted on blogging platforms like wordpress or blogger. The backend technical details are being taken care of. But the moment you decide to move to your own domain, that is self-hosted, you have to deal with technical terms like template, plugins, html coding, SEO, keywords, permalink etc. Little technical knowhow becomes an asset then. It saves time and your blog / site becomes more manageable.
7. NS: What is one thing you have learned from your life that you think others will benefit from knowing?
Sukanya: Learn to forget and forgive. There is no point in digging the past, and clinging to what is not yours. Past cannot be changed. Accept the life as it comes. Peace and happiness will be yours then.
8. NS: Any tips on cooking for Sakhis.
Sukanya: Besides understanding the few basic concepts of cooking, so that you won’t make the routine mistakes, there are absolutely no hard and fast rules of cooking. It is a creative art, so play with the flavors, experiment with new food and always cook wholeheartedly.
9. What do you find to be the most gratifying aspect of blogging?
Sukanya: Reader’s love and appreciation for my recipes, articles and food writing. Blogging gives a new dimension to my life and I never imagined I have so much to tell about food alone!
Sukanya’s favorite non-vegetarian recipe
Chingri malai curry / Prawn malai curry. I love to believe that I have developed this recipe and over the years I have perfected it. It is tried, tasted and tested!
Chingri malai curry or prawns in creamy coconut gravy is classic Bengali dish which becomes a star of many occasions and absolute family favorite
• Lobster (or chingri/prawn): 4 pieces or 500gm
• Onion (medium): 1
• Ginger : 1″ stick
• Garlic: 4-5 cloves
• Scraped Coconut: 1 cup
• Green chilies: 2-3
• Black Peppercorns: 1 tsp.
• Cinnamon: 1″ stick
• Black Cardamom: 1
• Cloves: 4-5
• Bay Leaves: 1 or 2
• Cumin powder: 1 tsp.
• Red chili powder: 1 tsp.
• Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp.
• Diluted Coconut milk: 1 cup
• Concentrated coconut milk: 1/2 cup
• Mustard oil: 1 tbsp.
• Salt and Sugar to taste
• Coriander leaves (chopped): 1 tsp.
• A knob of butter
1. Wash the lobster, de-vein it, and break the claws into long pieces. Smear it with salt and turmeric and leave for a while.
2. In the meantime, dry roast the black peppercorns, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and garlic on a tawa or griddle, till they leaves an aroma. Crush them finely in a mortar and pestle.
3. To the scraped coconut add the green chilies, chopped onions, ginger and the freshly ground spice mix and blend them together in mixer to smooth paste. If requires add very little water during blending.
4. Heat the mustard oil in a pan to its smoking point and sauté the lobster for a minute.
5. Remove it from the pan and to the same oil add the bay leaves and the above paste.
6. Add the turmeric powder, cumin powder and red chili powder.
7. Fry on medium heat till the oil separates out.
8. Add the diluted coconut milk, sugar, salt and simmer it for few more minutes.
9. Add the lobster or chingri or prawn and cook for 5-8 minutes. For prawns it will be done in 2-3 minutes.
10. Check the seasonings, stir in the concentrated coconut milk and add dollops of butter before serving.
11. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve with pulao /pilaf.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 20 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 3
Culinary tradition: Indian (Bengali Cuisine)
Movie: Gone with the wind
Book: Jude the obscure by Thomas Hardy
For more mouth watering recipes visit saffronstreaks
--------------------------------------------------------------------------Interviewed by Laxmi Khalap Bhatt, Editor, www.narisakhi.com