I come from a food enthusiast family and whenever we meet, there is always a lot to eat. Mom being Mom would forever be busy in the kitchen cooking up a marathon and taking extra effort to prepare everyone’s favorite dish. I never saw her getting tired of cooking or entertaining. Some energy she always has!
Mom’s dishes are never too fancy or gourmet. She always goes for simple Bengali meals cooked with only seasonal produce. I have never seen her using anything frozen, not even peas. Her cooking style is casual, no measurement, no recipe, just go with the flow and respect whatever she was taught by her Mom. Though there are a few strict rules that she follows in terms of spice combinations used for a certain dish, herbs added for flavor or the type of dishes that should be eaten in a specific season.
Every summer, whether we liked it or not, pan fried bitter gourd was a mandate that I used to simply gulp with water. Hated it and still not a fan. Sweet and sour chutneys was again a must during the season, prepared with different kind of fruits and vegetables. Summer was all about more veggies and less meat. And as soon as the market got overcrowded with mangoes, Mom would prepare Aam Dal (Lentils with Green Mango) at least twice a week. That we loved and used to slurp down without any fuss!
Aam Dal has a mild tangy refreshing taste. And with the minimal spice that goes in, it’s light to the tummy and perfect to beat the heat. Mom always kept it simple, with just a teaspoon of black mustard seeds along with couple of bay leaves and dry red chilies. With a bowl of steamed rice on the side, it’s a treat that always takes me back home.