Recently life is tough, pretty tough with many challenges to overcome, many hurdles to jump and many sleepless nights to go through. But I am hopeful that things will change soon and that the bright light at the end of the tunnel will soon come into view.
It was bhaiphnota/bhai dooj. I called him to shower all my blessings on him and wish him a beautiful, healthy and prosperous life. He sounded sick. I asked him if he was ok? He said he has fever, high fever. I didn’t worry, may be a typical season-change sort of fever, it will go away in a couple of days. Unfortunately it didn’t. On the contrary it went from bad to worse over the next few days. I felt helpless. After all, he is still my little brother and I cannot see him suffering. I frantically looked for someone who could take care of him till I got the situation under control. I didn’t tell Maa because I didn’t want her to worry and spend sleepless nights (in any case, she is visiting me in the US and could not go to Delhi even if she wanted to). It was my struggle: I fought it alone. Everyday when I called him, he asked “Maa ke bolechhis? (Did you tell mother yet?). Helpless, I would reply “No, not yet, maybe tomorrow”. He kept on insisting me and I kept on resisting. After a few days, he said helplessly “Maa pray korlei shob thik hoye jabey” (if Maa prays for me, I’ll be fine) and that brought tears to my eyes. That single word “Maa/mother” brings so much comfort and trust to him in his hout of dire need. I decided not to hide it from Maa anymore. May be if Maa calls him he will get the strength, maybe he will get better faster.
Many people have told me that I am ‘almost like a mother to my brother’ and I sort of believed it. But, at that very moment I realized that no one can be ‘almost a mother’. Either you are my mother or you are not. Period. No one can replace that relationship, that very special comfort zone. It’s an irreplaceable bridge connecting two human beings.
Anyhow, now that Maa is with us, I am being immensely spoilt and pampered. I have given her my list of favorite things to cook and it will be done. I am trying to learn several things from her as well. One of my favorite things that she makes is Nimki, a tiny diamond-shaped savory fried dough eaten as a snack in Bengal especially during special occasions like Kali Puja or Bijoya Dashami. After many failed attempts of my own, I asked Maa to make them and I closely watched her during the entire time, noting down every tiny step. It’s an addictive snack. The best part is, you can make a large batch and store it for months in an airtight container.
Moida/maida/all-purpose flour: 1 cup+1/4 cup for rolling
Kalonji/nigella seeds: ½ tsp.
Baking powder: ½ tsp.
Room temperature/cold water: ½ cup
Salt: ½ tsp.
Oil: 2 tbsp.+ enough to deep fry the nimkis
Rolling pin, board and knife
- Add the salt and the kalonji seeds to the flour and mix them well.
- Add the oil and mix the oil with the dough. Break any clump and keep on mixing. The oil should be uniformly distributed.
- Gradually add the water and knead the flour to a tight dough. If you decide to use it a little later, then add less water. The dough will get soft and sticky if kept for a while.
- Pinch balls out of the dough (4-5 nos.). The number of balls will depend on you and the size of the rolling board. Don’t make the dough either very thick or very thin (may be around 1/8”). I didn’t measure the rolled dough so cannot give you the exact measurement.
- Heat up enough oil in a pan. Don’t make it too hot. Medium high flame should be fine.
- Slice the dough diagonally and then to diamond shapes (as shown in the picture). I like mine really tiny but the shape will not affect the end result.
- Once you are done with one set, drop them in the hot oil and constantly move them with a spoon. That way they will get evenly cooked and browned.
- Cook them until they reach a visible brown color. Do not wait until the deep brown shade as they will become a shade darker once you pull them out of the oil.
- Once cooked, drain them on an absorbent paper.
- Fry all of them and let them cool down.
- Store them in an airtight container.
- You can sprinkle a little bit of black salt/bit noon/kala namak while eating.