This year after almost 14 years I was in Santiniketan and became a part of Basantosav, one of the famous festivals of Santiniketan on Holi. To be honest, when my mother requested to visit Santiniketan, during this time, I was trying to avoid. I know it must sound very weird, but I never found Basantotosav interesting anymore. I never liked to accept the truth that I could not take part in the functions and I would be considered as a mere tourist. I never liked to enjoy Basantotosav without my friends. There was a time when I used to take part in each and every function of Basantotsav. Basantotsav was then an integral part of our life. But this time, thanks to lil K who brought back the old memories and helped me to cherish them alive. When I reached Santiniketan the rehearsals were going on in full swinging. The Stage was getting constructed. All the more busy and festive scenario were seen all around. I met the Lil K whom I wanted to see since she was born. After we stepped into Santiniketan, I hardly found her at home, rather she would be found engrossed watching the rehearsals of Chitrangada and other Basantotsav related functions. I used to get 3 hours break from my 10 months old's feeding hours. Within that break hours, I would rush to the rehearsals and invigorate those 3 hours to the fullest. Most of the time I felt an elated "I" inside me dancing with joy that rhythm often blurred my eyes in the form of tears. I started revisiting the memories that I locked inside me. The city life almost choked all the memories and I, too never wanted to dig them out. Again, thanks to Lil K whose spirited soul brought back my spirit again. Despite the huge crowd, despite all the restrictions that rudely forced me to accept, that I was not part of the Fest anymore, rather I was just a mere tourist who came to visit the Fest, I had fallen in love with Basantotsav again. And all the credit goes to lil K who infused the spirit of Santiniketan in her soul and enjoyed it from the core of her heart. The colour of Dol did emblazon my soul too.
Now let me come to the Mochar Ghonto recipe. Mochar Ghonto is a kind of dry dish made out of Banana Blossom. It is very common in a Bengali kitchen. I could still feel the taste the way my mamoni (My elder aunt) used to cook the dish. Till date that was the best ever Mocha Ghonto I have tasted so far. But I am pretty late to store the recipe from her. I had a distinct idea that she used to add a pinch of Hing/ Asafoetida in most of her dishes and Mochar Ghonto was no exception too. This recipe I have adapted from my mother. Ad I found my MIL also cooks in the same way. Enjoy the recipe here:
Mocha (Banana Blossom) - 1 medium size
Potato - 1 medium size (optional)
Grated coconut - 3/4 cup
Whole Garam Masala - 2 each (Cardamon, Clove & Cinnamon)
Bay leave- 1-2
Oil - 2 tblspn
Ghee - 1/2 tspn
Turmaric Powder - 1/4 tspn
Salt and Sugar as taste
1. If you are using the whole mocha/banana blossom them you have to remove the blossoms after peeling away the outer leaves and clean. Then you have to take out a stem inside and chop finely. (See HERE how to peel a banana blossom)
2. Boil the chopped mocha for 15mnts adding little bit of salt and 1/4 tspn turmeric powder.
3. Strain the excess water and reserve.
4. Cut the potato in cubes.
5. Take a Kadai and heat oil. Fry the cubed potatoes till they turn semi brown. Reserve them in bowl draining the excess oil.
6. Now add the Whole Garam Masala and Bay leaves in the remaining oil. Once they start to splutter, add the boiled mocha. keep on frying for 5 minutes in a medium flame.
7. Add the coconut and the potatoes. Add salt and sugar as per taste. Then keep on sauteing till the texture become dry and you will get a nice flavour of cooked coconut. Add ghee and serve with rice.
Few more recipes with Banana Blossom:
Mocha Chingri (Non - Veg)