Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Macher Chop/Tuna Fish Chop

I was barely 8 and had already lived in 4 cities. Now the mole on the sole of my foot makes complete sense, I vividly remember lying on a jute mat in my neighbor's veranda in Kota/Rajasthan, my mom relaxing on the same mat and our neighbor auntie sitting right across from me with my feet just an arm's length from her gaze and she went for my right foot out of the blue and said," you will never stay too long in one place" and she pointed out to the mole on my foot to my mom. I wonder if it had anything do with the mole on my foot but whatever Laddah auntie said, did turn out to be true.

My dad probably changed cities because I had a mole on my foot. The funny part is my husband moved cities even more than my father did , because he has a mole on his foot too and even funnier is the fact that our daughter has a mole on her foot as well. So in a nutshell you can nickname us,"mole-on-the-foot-family" We have finally spent the longest time in this country so I guess the mole's effectiveness is wearing off :) I am looking at my mole and reminiscing about my first move after marriage.

 I was carrying and in my 7th month, we move to Haldia/West Bengal. My husband switched jobs. Our house was set up on these beautiful 4 acres along with 22 other houses of people who were working for the same company as my husband, so basically it was a small community set-up with 22 houses, a badminton court and a club house for official parties. That was all  to Haldia apart from 1 main grocery store where we could shop for some decent groceries and a thatched roof hut which sold fresh vegetables.
 A market called," Babur Bazaar" which was a narrow lane and was lined with huts/shops on both ends of the street. I ventured bravely with my local help to Babur bazaar to shop for some quaint knick knacks.

There were cycle rickshaws going to and fro (very common in west Bengal then) and the Rickshaw wala shouting in Bengali and calling out to prospective." savari's .The languid and disinterested shop owners who have just emerged from their afternoon siesta’s are basically involved in small talk  and suddenly there was  a big commotion. Someone nearby just got tramped by the cycle rickshaw's wheel, there was a array of onlookers who instantly got involved in animated arguments and the languid shop owners suddenly sprang to life. The scene had changed in a matter of seconds and then there were party slogans apparently the man who was hit turned out to be some union leader and lo and behold, the boring street with people generally frittering aimlessly now had a aim.

 I was now witnessing a maddening frenzy which was being translated to me by my help who was a local and could speak a little Hindi, the language I understood. I gestured Rita that we need to hurry back to our 4 acre cocoon. She caught hold of my hand and made her way through the crowd and got us both out.

So this was a very tiny glimpse of my first impression of Haldia. My very first move after marriage ,and my first trip to makhan Babur bazaar :)

 Yet-Haldia holds a very special place in my heart because with very little or nothing to do outside the colony,we developed some very strong bonds within the colony.There was a established Ladies club apart from the formal & informal parties we had very frequently. The club ,was a meeting venue for everyone to share and learn new skills viz: cooking,baking,crafts gardening & so on. In fact I did pick up most of my cooking & baking skills in Haldia.

 Thanks to all the ladies who were married longer than I was and were much more experienced at cooking. They shared their skills with the rest who were just starting a married life. I owe it all to them :)

I tried some of the most authentic egg rolls - each for Rupee 1 ( about 2 cents) sold on carts in makhan Babur bazaar and also tuna fish chops/Macher Chops at Bhai Bhai  a small shop which would prepare these fresh and sell them in the evenings, also for Re 1

Time & again I craved for these and then I recently met our friend’s mother who is from West Bengal and she happily fed us macher chop and also shared her recipe with me.

I dedicate this recipe to all my friends from Haldia.
And thanks  to my dear readers for taking this walk down the memory lane with meJ

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