Tag Archives: Bengali

From food blogging to Calcutta Street – the journey

 

Hi everyone!

I am so sorry for spending so much time away from my lovely blog that has got me where I am today. I promise to be a regular again (and I mean it this time!). The reason I’ve been so quiet is because I’ve been busy working towards the launch of my restaurant Calcutta Street, which is opening on 18th July at 29 Tottenham Street, London (Just off Goodge street station) and this blog post is to fill you in on the crazy journey its been!

For all of you who have been following this blog from the start in 2010 – MASSIVE HUGS! Seriously, if you hadn’t followed, encouraged, and supported me back then (when I was posting those horrible webcam videos), I probably would have given up.

In December 2014, I decided to go on a soul-searching trip to the USA all by myself. If you have been a follower, then you might have read my post (and you’ll know that it was more eating than soul searching!) and I had a eureka moment; I knew I wanted to start my food popup.

eureka 3

I got back to London and mulled the idea over for a few months before I decided on a name for the popup – Calcutta Street. Magically, I found a lovely restaurant owner; Steve from Zensai who let me use his restaurant to host a popup. That’s when it all really began – 7th March, 2015.

IMG_0976

You can follow the rest of the first year on this very blog through articles and posts about the popups – just scroll down and you can see.

Popups are one thing but opening a restaurant in London is a whole different game – I had always dreamt about it but had thought that it was too far-fetched to achieve.

But that doesn’t mean it was a smooth ride, because each time I even mentioned the idea of starting a restaurant, I would hear the same things a thousand times:

“You are crazy!”

“You are twenty-six, a girl and international on top of that – you will never raise funding.”

“Restaurant is a tricky business, don’t quit your steady job.”

“No one gives funding to single-founder businesses.”

So on and so forth.

But I thought – OK, all that might be true but where’s the harm in trying? I might end up homeless (because I won’t have money to pay rent) but I have friends who will happily lend me their couch to sleep on! I might end up crying every day, but salt water is good for your skin!

So I did it. I decided to quit my job and take the plunge. I wrote a business plan, presented it to people, began the property search, and before I knew it I was fully funded! OK, so I missed out the crying sessions, sleepless nights and surviving on one meal a day bit – but that’s just part of the job!

Next came the tricky part; the fifty-year-old commercial property owners, who firstly refused to believe that I was twenty-six (do I really look like I’m in high school?!), and that I had the money or skills to start a restaurant. Three properties fell through and I eventually found a home in Fitzrovia – my favorite restaurant spot in London. Good things happen those who wait (even if they don’t wait patiently!!).

Finally, after jumping all these hurdles, I managed to gather together a team – project manager, creative director, architect, interior designer, branding guru, menu developer and builders. A bunch of us flew to Calcutta for a research trip for a week, had a blast shopping and soaking in every bit of the wonderful city. The trip also gave me an opportunity to introduce my team to my mum’s delicious home cooking, which after all was the inspiration behind everything!

I’ll spare you the boring parts of legal, structural engineering, building control, property issues, and get right on to the fun stuff, like building the site, writing the menu copy, creating the website, design, identity, recruitment, music development, food development and all sorts of exciting things. All these different elements make it feel like I’m directing a movie, and the premiere is on the 18th July! It’s exciting and stressful, but after all this, can I handle criticism about my baby? All I want is everyone to love it as much as I do, and even though I know that you can’t please everyone, if you guys keep showing the love that you always have, then that would be enough. I promise to keep entertaining you, keep in touch, and not disappoint you – even if that means the occasional silly video!

 

 

 

 

By the way, here is a shameless promotion for our social media. Show us some love!!!

Twitter: @calcuttast

Instagram: @calcuttastreet

Facebook: Calcutta Street

Calcutta Street, Shrimoyee, Summer Menu

Calcutta Street Summer Party – Pelt Trader

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” –  I agree with Henry James and what is even better is Saturday Summer Afternoon!

We are celebrating 6 months  of Calcutta Street with a Summer Party – 1st August, Saturday 12pm – 4 pm at Pelt Trader craft beer bar in the city. The menu is very Summery and fresh with goodies like Prawns, Lentil soups, Yogurt, Tamarind. It is a 3 course menu with artisan beer pairing with each course. Yes, you heard that right – craft beer pairing with Indian food! Mark from Pelt Trader does know his beer really well and I am excited with the pairings he has done. There will also be live music by the very talented blues and country singer Charlie Walker!

This Pop up is also right after my 26th Birthday (Yes, I have stepped on the wrong side of 20) so you can always drop by to wish me Happy Birthday and try my special dessert – my mum used to make this for me on every birthday of mine. I am making few of my personal favourite dishes like Prawn Malai Curry, Simui Payesh (Kheer), Doi Phuchka, Paneer Posto. I am certain you won’t find most of these dishes in any London restaurant.

Menu:

Starter:

Doi Phuchka, Crispy semolina balls with potato, black chick pea, tamarind and yogurt filling. Very refreshing and Tangy – perfect for a summer snack. 

VP or Vivekananda Park in Calcutta has some of the best Doi Phuchka stalls where most bengali youngsters crowd every evening for the tangy snack with some lebu cha (lemon tea) and a cigarette or some good old grass.

Mains:

Musurir Dal with Gondhoraj Lebu, Boiled red lentils cooked with a slight hint of spice, nigella seeds, fresh green peas, coriander leaves, special scented lemons from bangladesh and a dash of home made ghee – Super heathy and tasty)

Every bengali’s comfort food and a bengali meal is never complete without a serving of Dal and Bhaat. This is the simplest dish ever but very few people get it right.

Chingri macher (Prawn) Malai Curry, Jumbo prawns cooked in a coconut and mustard sauce. 

This is every bengali’s favourite Sunday lunch, no special occasion is complete without this dish. When Rick Stein travelled to Kolkata, he picked this dish as his personal favourite.Prawn is called chingri in bengali.

Paneer Posto, Indian cottage cheese cooked in a nutty, poppy seed paste. This is my own recipe with very bengali ingredients. Contains nuts. 

The most famous poppy seed or posto dish in Calcutta is Aloo Posto, potatoes in poppy seed paste. This is also the favourite dish of Saurav Ganguly the famous Indian cricket team captain who took his shirt off at Lords when India won a match against England and then eventually got suspended. 

All mains served with boiled rice. 

Dessert:

Simui Payesh – Milk pudding with Vermicelli and sugar coated rose petals (served cold)

Since this Pop Up is right after my birthday, I decided to make the dessert which my mum made for me on every birthday of mine. Payesh is a must on birthday’s its meant to be auspicious. 

Drinks:

Mocktail: Aam Pora Shorbot – Smoked Raw mango pulp blended with a spice mix. Perfect cooler on a hot summer day. 

Cocktail: Aam Sura – Aam pora with bacardi. 

We also shot a little video with some of my customers and people who have been associated with Calcutta Street in any way.

BOOK TICKETS

summer_party_lr-01

I am hoping to see some of you on 1st and please do some and say hello!

Shrim

xxxx

Calcutta Street in The Telegraph – An emotional press coverage

Press coverages are always special but some of them are a tad bit more special than the rest. Couple of weeks back The Telegraph in India featured a story on Calcutta Street, yes it’s a regular press story but it meant a lot more because of more reasons than one – this is a newspaper that I grew up reading , it is the largest newspaper of Calcutta (my hometown) where my family still resides. When the story was out I was sleeping here in London (it was 4 am) and my whatsapp went bonkers with messages from people who I haven’t even spoken to in years or even decades. All I can say is it was emotional.

You can read the article HERE

This just makes me want to take Calcutta Street even further and work double hard to make this possible.

The next Pop Up –  Saturday, 1st August

Theme – Calcutta Street Summer party with a 3 course meal and artisan beer pairing 

Venue – Pelt Trader

Indian food and craft beer? sounds strange right? But trust me it will be super cool! And what’s better than breaking stereotypes?

Will post more details soon, but before that I shall leave you with a recipe from the menu of my last Pop Up at Southbank.

Doi Aam

Doi Aam
Doi Aam
Ingredients:
Yogurt
Double fresh cream
Condensed milk
Cinnamon (boro eilichi)
Fennel seeds (mouri)
Fresh mango
Method:
Beat the yogurt, fresh cream and condensed milk (1 cup yogurt, 1/2 cup fresh cream and 1/2 cup condensed milk) together till you get s smooth thick creamy mix
Then add the cardamom (sorry not cinnamon) and fennel seeds in it and some additional sugar if you like it very sweet
Cut mangoes into slices and then pour the creamy mixture on top
Freeze it for 30 mins and serve

 

Cheers,

Shrim xoxoxox

Calcutta Street Food Pop Up (Camden)

After a month of running around, stress, promotions and a LOT of cooking finally my first Pop Up was launched at Zensai bar in Camden. I am overjoyed by the response as it was my first pop up and I wasn’t exactly expecting a lot of people to turn up, but to my surprise (an extremely pleasant one) there were more than 80 people. I apologise to all the people who had to wait for a while for the food (I will have more help next time).

Oh I also got some press coverage from The Asian Voice 

Asian Voice – Shrimoyee AV_P15

Asian Voice - Shrimoyee, Calcutta Street Food Pop Up
Asian Voice – Shrimoyee

 

Menu

Calcutta Street
Calcutta Street

I wanted to share some of the photo’s from the event with all of you from the day!

I hope to see some of you at my next one, I shall let you know about the date and time! 🙂

Cheers,

Shrim xx

Calcutta Street – My first Pop Up restaurant

Hello everyone!

After 4 years of blogging, cooking, food reviewing and eating, I have decided to start my own food Pop Up – Calcutta Street – An East Indian Street Food experience. 

Calcutta Street
Calcutta Street

I am cooking along with Asia House resident chef Paul Bloomfield and we are planning to cook up a storm in the kitchen. Steve, the owner and DJ of Zensai will be playing some Bollywood Psyc Funk music – cherry on the cake! So it will be an afternoon of food, drinks and fun!

With this ticket you can have any of the 3 dishes below – The portions are big, I am generous with food 🙂

You can book your tickets here 

Menu:

Food:
Phuchka – the Bengali version of Pani Puri
Bengali Lamb Curry with Potatoes and Luchi (Commonly known as Puri)
Egg Roll – You have seen the video I made?
Pav Bhaji – The Bengali version of the famous Mumbai Street Food
Cocktails:
bollywood martini ( bombay sapphire gin/bols yoghurt liqueur/mango pulp/homemade garam masala syrup/star anais)
tamarind mint julep ( jack daniels/ mint leaves/lime/tamarind pulp/crushed ice/fresh tamarind)
curry leaf and coriander martini ( grey goose vodka/curry leaves/coriander/lillet rose/lime juice)
plantation daquiri ( plantation 5 year old barbados rum/mahini coconut rum,plantation overproof trinidad rum/trois rivieres sugar cane/lime twist/air dried coconut)
It’s my first baby step in starting something bigger so will really appreciate if you come and support me!
Here is a sneak peak of the photo shoot I did, video will follow 🙂
Look forward to see you all on 7th March at Camden!
Cheers,
Shrim

Chicken Stew – Perfect healthy, lazy meal

So, here is a video after a long time, so I decided to make something very simple and healthy.

This is a chicken stew with lots of veggies and some spices to make it a little more interesting and less bland.

Recipe:

Marinade the chicken with ginger, garlic, salt and turmeric while you chop your veggies

Chop onions, tomato, pepper, fresh chillies.

Add oil in a pan and sauté the onions and pepper and add a bay leaf (if you have any, not compulsory)

Then add the marinated chicken and some garam masala and then chopped tomatoes.

Then finally add some curry leaves (if you have, not compulsory) and a lemon juice.

Finally add a cup of water and cover the pan.

Let it cook for about 10 minutes and finally add some butter and fresh coriander to give it the final touch!

 

Let me know if you make it 🙂

Shrim

xx

Lamb Curry & Polaw Rice

When people ask me what is my favorite dish of ALL times, I can’t help but say Lamb curry but having said that I am very fussy about the lamb curry I like. This is the one that I was used to having since childhood and never got bored of it, rather appreciated even more when I grew up. I have obviously made my own twists and turns in this but this is one dish that always has been a hit whenever I have made it for anyone!

Ingredients:

Lamb Curry:

1/2 kilograms chopped lamb
1 Tbs Yogurt
2 Onions finely chopped
1 Tbs Garlic and Ginger paste
3 Chopped Tomatoes
1 Tbs Turmeric powder
1Tbs Red Chilly Powder
1 Tbs Garam Masala Powder
2 Bay leaves
3 diced potatoes
2 Tbs Mustard oil/ regular cooking oil
Salt according to your taste buds

Lets start cooking..

  • Marinate lamb with yogurt, salt, ginger and garlic paste, turmeric and red chillies for 1 hour
  • Fry the potatoes in the oil and then keep it aside
  • Use the same oil to fry the oinion, remaining ginger and garlic
  • Add the tomatoes
  • Add turmeric, chilly and garam masala powder
  • Add the lamb and then cook it for 10 mins
  • Finally add the fried potatoes and let it cook on low heat for 1 hour
  • Keep stirring it every now and again
  • Test if the lamb is soft and the potatoes are boiled
Your lamb curry is ready to be served with boiled rice or Polaw Rice.
Polaw Rice:
2 Cups Basmati rice
2 Tbs Ghee (Indian butter)
 Few stands of saffron1/2 cup sugar
2 Bay leaves
3 Cardamom and 1 Cinamon stick
10 broken cashews
  • Heat the ghee in a deep pan
  • Add the bay leaves, saffron, cardamom, cinamon and cashews
  • Add the rice, fry till golden
  • Add 4 cups of water
  • Rice will be ready in 20 mins
Hope you liked the video and had fun making this meal and do not forget to let me know your thoughts by liking the post or dropping me an email. And please share on FB, Twitter or any other social media site if you liked it, remember sharing is caring? 😀
Cheers
Shrim
xx

Palak Paneer

http://vimeo.com/57079364

This is a video of me cooking one of my favorite dish Palak Paneer that I made with my friend Daniel as an experiment! The recipe is already there in my previous post! 🙂

Hope you like it and let me know your thoughts! Always open to suggestions!

Lamb Biriyani (Calcutta style)

Biriyani was a dish originated in Iran and travelled to the Indian subcontinent with the Iranian travellers. In India we have several variants of biriyanis. I grew up in Kolkata (Original Capital of India by the British) and the Calcutta Biriyani in the list of famous Biriyanis and is definitely my favourite one, this style biryani evolved from the Lucknow style when Wajid Ali Shah, the last nawab of Awadh was exiled in 1856 in Kolkata. But he did not forget bringing his personal Chef with him as he was very particular about his food. Due to recession aloo (potato) had been used instead of meat. Later on that has become the specificity of Calcutta Biryani, though meat is also served along with it. In addition, this biryani is much lighter on spices than compared to other Biryani’s.

I thought a little history about this finger licking dish would be a good piece of trivia to brag to your friends about when you next time visit an Indian restaurant.

So let’s take a look at the ingredients we need for this:

3/4th Kilo Lamb

4 Big Potatoes, half boiled and diced into big chunks

4 cups of basmati rice

3 Table Spoon Garam Masala Powder

2 cups of yogurt

2 Tablespoon Ginger Garlic paste

3 Onions chopped

Couple of cinnamon sticks and cardamom

Few strands of saffron

1 glass of Milk

5 Table spoon of Ghee (Indian Butter)

  • Fry the onions till golden in ½ table spoon of ghee and keep it aside in a container
  • Use the same ghee to fry the half boiled potatoes
  • Marinate the lamb with yogurt, garam masala, salt, ginger garlic paste for atleast a few hours if not overnight.
  • Pour this marinated lamb mixture into heated up ghee and let it boil in low temperature, till the lambs are soft and tender.
  • Half boil the rice with the cinnamon and cardamom
  • Once the lamb is boiled, take a big container and mix the half boiled rice, fried onions, fried potatoes and the boiled lamb together in the rest of the ghee (4 table spoon or more if you like it to be more rich)
  • Then add the milk and saffron to it and cover the container and let it cook in very low heat for 30 mins and give it occasional stir.
  • Once the rice and potatoes are boiled and the milk has soaked in, your biriyani is ready to be served.

This is a long process I agree but trust me the effort is so worth it because I can promise this is definitely going to be one of the best meals you’ve ever had!