DIY Foods: Hands on!
Sanchayita Bhattacharjee Alam (Chef Sunshine) | @twfindia | 21 Sep 2018
DIY Foods: Hands on!
Dear all, today I will tell you how important ‘DIY’ (Do It Yourself) is where food is concerned.
A lot of old techniques and dishes are being lost with the advent of ready-made meals or takeouts.
I remember sitting on the floor with my mother, just before Bijoya Dashami [the final day of Durga Puja], oiling my palms, and rolling bite size balls of fried desiccated coconut and sugar.

Now available in shops.


Making sweet cottage cheese shapes in decorated moulds.


Now available in shops.


Stuffing pointed gourds ( potols) with creamy sweet cheese and nuts and boiling them in sugar syrup.


Now available in shops.


This takes me back to an experience I had in Elat , Israel.


I was living with a friend’s family and working in a bakery.


Just before Purim (an Israeli version of Halloween), my friend ‘s mother would sit with huge bowls of ingredients to prepare traditional home made sweets. Mamouls and Hamam’s ears !!!


Mamouls are baked semolina cakes stuffed with nuts and pressed into a mould for design.


Hamam’s ears ( called that because they really resemble ears) are disks of pastry stuffed with dried fruits and nuts, sealed and then bent to resemble ears. Then they are baked.



Now available in shops.


But I learnt it from my Israeli aunt and I am thankful that I learnt it the traditional way.


Now I can adapt it, put a twist to it and make it handmade in places they are not available.


Try learning traditional techniques. They are fun and easy to adapt to new ideas.


And now my usual kitchen hack - For crumble free slices of cakes, heat the knife before cutting. Run the knife under very hot water and then wipe dry.


(Sanchayita Bhattacharjee Alam, better known as Chef Sunshine, holds a Grand Diplome in Cuisine and Pastissiere from Le Cordon Bleu, London. A professional chef, she runs two restaurants in Kolkata and designs menus for pop-up restaurants among other things. Chef Sunshine writes for IBNS)