Exploring Puerto Rico

Exploring Puerto Rico
At Cafe Puerto Rico in Old San Juan

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mix and Match

I am feeling super guilty. Spent all day lounging in front of the tv doing nothing but watching the world cup, dozing off in between games and worst of all, asked Mustafa to pick us some Popeyes fried chicken for lunch!!!! And if you know anything about me, you would know how averse I am towards fastfood. But today, did not feel like being anywhere close to my kitchen. How can it be since I consider the kitchen just an extension of me, my little haven or more like my medidation center. Ah, the smells, the textures, the ideas of concocting a new dish, OH SO ORGASMIC! Oh well, it's one of those days I guess... I am feeling just plain ole LAZY...

The games I must say were a little disapointing. Although Argentina scored 1 against Nigeria, Messi was not on top of his game and Nigeria I feel was intimidated playing against a team like Argentina. The US was another story. Although I was rooting for them, that goal was pretty lame.. But what counts is that the game was a draw and they are still in the running. While my favorite team is Argentina, Mus's is Germany. A friend pointed out on facebook how we could live in the same house rooting for different teams. I never thought about it, although Mus did mention many times that I should support Germany being his wife. I just shooed him away saying that I was a modern independent woman and could do/feel whatever the hell I wanted. Is this what modern couples do? I guess we are entitled to our own wants and desires and political freedom too, as long as we don't let those feelings come in between. With Mustafa in any case, I feel the beauty of our relationship is in the very fact that we are so different yet compliment one another in more ways than one. So haha, in relationships, do we do the same as we do for clothing, mix and match and look for overall harmony?

In my mood of mix and match, today, I will be sharing with you recipes from a recent  "bhorta" party I had (bhorta means anything mashed really), a variety of mix and match veggies, fish, shrimp, shutki (dried fish). The guests are always content with the variety of the dishes. The host although content to keep the crowd happy marvels at how long all of the dishes take to make :-) But of course the fun is in watching your guests totally savor the dishes and complimenting you along the way :-) Keep stroking my ego peeps! On a negative side, I always feel we eat way too much rice with these dishes. But eh, we are mitigating the bad effect by taking in a lot of veggies! ;-)

So folks, here goes the basics of bhortas...

1. Peel 2 red skinned potatoes, dice and boil along with an egg until potatoes are cooked through. Drain and let cool.
2. Slice half an onion thinly and add to a saucepan with 2 Tbsp of oil and 1 tsp red crushed chilli pepper and fry till onion is transluscent on medium heat.
3. In the meantime, in a bowl, with a potato masher, mash the potatoes and egg. Sprinkle some salt.
4. Add the potatoes to the onion mixture and fry on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Taste for salt. Just before taking out, add 1/2 tsp of ghee and mix well.

1. Take one broccoli head and break up into florets. Put in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 2 min.
2. In a food processor, add the florets, 1/2 thinly sliced small red onion, thinly sliced 2-3 green chillies, salt to taste and a dash of mustard oil. Pulse 2-3 times.

1. I used dried shrimp that we can find at Bangladeshi grocery stores here. They come in packets pretty much ready. Just take some of the shrimp and toast quickly in a saucepan.
2. Add 1/2 thinly sliced small red onion, dried garlic pieces that come in the pack, thinly sliced 2-3 green chillies, and a dash of mustard oil. Mix well and serve.

1. Put one medium sized eggplant straight on the stove fire. I usually buy it small and not too rounded for quick even cooking. Rotate on the fire and cook for a good 20-30 min or so until well burned on the outside (it will be charred, it's ok) and mushy on the inside.
2. Once cooked all through and well mushy, put the eggplant quickly in a ziploc bag and let it cool. Once cooled in the bag, you will find it very easy to peel off the charred skin.
3. Add 1/2 thinly sliced small red onion, thinly sliced 2-3 green chillies, salt to taste, a nice handful of cilantro leaves and a dash of mustard oil. You can put everything in a food processor and pulse 2-3 times. Or if you are in a hurry like me, just mix well by hand and serve.


  1. I loooove your broccoli bhorta

  2. Mustafa, who always hated broccoli, now chooses to buy it so he can have it in bhorta. Learned the recipe from Safina bhabi.