Abhik Mukherjee’s Nashta For His Ragas Live Morning Performance

A portrait from Brooklyn and The World

Abhik Mukherjee suggests a typical breakfast to enjoy during his 10:00 am EST slot with Samarth Nagarkar and Dibyarka Chatterjee, for the Ragas Live Festival.

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Abhik’s Nashta

Ragas are aligned to times of day, and it is said for them to be most fully felt, they need to be played and heard at those times.

Similarly, since Abhik will be playing at 10:00 am EST from Brooklyn, NY, he has suggested some lighter fare to align with the timing of their performance

full thali to enjoy abhik and company for ragas live (online!) 2020

Any type of Indian nashta ( breakfast) will go with it. Say puri, kachori, or aloo paratha. Overall, you can have any sort of light vegetarian thali like dal, chawal, sabji (2 types) followed by a sweet dish and raita

Abhik Mukherjee, on what to enjoy for his morning performance

Let’s break that down:

  • puri and kachori are types of fried bread
  • aloo paratha is a breakfast flatbread that we often see on menus in the USA
  • thali refers to a grouping of foods on a plate of the same name, like an individual-sized buffet 🙂
  • chawal is rice
  • sabji refers to vegetable side dishes
thali for ragas massive: coconut ghee rice, dal, jeera aloo, raita, burfi, okr fries and nanis puri
clockwise from bottom: coconut ghee rice, coconut dal, chaat okra fries, jeera aloo, raita, coconut burfi and in the center, nani’s puris.

Below, you’ll find the recipe for everything pictured in the above thali: coconut ghee rice, coconut dal, chaat okra fries, jeera aloo, raita, coconut burfi, and Nani’s puris.

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The Musicians

In the 10:00 am EST slot are Abhik Mukherjee (sitar), Samarth Nagarkar (vocals), and Dibyarka Chattergee (tabla).

abhik mukherjee on sitar
abhik mukherjee, sitar
samarth nagarkar hindustani vocals
samarth nagarkar, vocals
dibyarka on tabla
dibyarka chattergee, tabla

I’ve had the pleasure of hearing Abhik play live many times, Samarth at least twice, and I believe it will be my first time hearing Dibyarka. Incidentally, the last time I saw Samarth, it was for a Court Series event where yours truly made a giant pot Pav Bhaji for all the attendees to enjoy afterward.

Really looking forward to this set and the accompanying breakfast feast. Good thing, I have little apprentices to help me.

little hands making poori puri pooris
little hands learning to make puris from nani in hyderabad

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Game Plan

clockwise from bottom: coconut ghee rice, coconut dal, chaat okra fries, jeera aloo, raita, coconut burfi and in the center, nani's puris.
clockwise from bottom: coconut ghee rice, coconut dal, chaat okra fries, jeera aloo, raita, coconut burfi and in the center, nani’s puris.

Here’s how to make quick work of your thali:

  1. Make coconut burfi (recipe below). Make first to allow to cool/set.
  2. Make the dal – double the recipe because freezing some for a busy day is amazing.
  3. Set jeera rice to cook & make the dough for puris
  4. Make sabjis : jeera aloo and okra fries
  5. Make raita & then begin making the puris
  6. Plate and serve! Bonus points if you can serve it on a large plate with lots of smaller bowls, like a proper thali.

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Nani’s Pooris

poori pooris lesson w naani in Hyderabad (us in brooklyn) poori
kids’ first attempt at making nani’s puris in brooklyn, instructed by nani in hyderabad, via zoom

Here’s the recipe as we learned it from Nani. For more detail, I’d recommend Swasthi’s Recipes. She has a good tutorial on her website, complete with step-by-step photos and tips.

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Coconut Dal: A New Fav

Though it was the very first food he tasted as a baby, our son Arav (seven years old as of this portrait) has always proclaimed he hated dal, and would have to be coerced to eat it every time it was on his table.

Everything changed this November. A few weeks ago, he was reading “What’s Cooking at 10 Garden Street?” by Felicita Sala (a book Santa had given him nearly a year ago), and he came upon the below recipe for Coconut Dahl.

arav holding book whats cooking at 10 garden street

We He made it, and has dubbed it the best dal in the world. And it was a perfect accompaniment to the rest of this thali, and the music of Abhik Samarth and Dibyarka.

young chef making his new favorite dal from one of his books: coconut dal from
young chef making his new favorite dal from one of his books: coconut dal from “whats cooking at 10 garden street?”

It is pretty darn good, and the friends and neighbors we shared it with agreed, texting me things like:

“Ok, so, that was EXCELLENT, and I’m not just being polite. Please let Arav know his coconut dal with rice was absolutely delicious, like, rivaled to any versions I’ve had before.”

Jothan in Brooklyn

We highly recommend “What’s Cooking at 10 Garden Street?” by Felicita Sala, as a gift for your friends and family this holiday. It’s as beautiful as it is moving. Pick it up at your local bookstore and maybe, some of the required ingredients on the way home, too.

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Chaat Okra Fries

okra and chat masala about to be devoured
roasted okra w/ chaat masala is divinely delicious

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Jeera Aloo

jeera aloo for abhiks nashta thali
jeera aloo for abhik’s nashta thali

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Coconut Ghee Rice

coconut ghee rice cooking
coconut ghee rice cooking

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Raita

I have never before used a recipe for raita – I just add water to yogurt, add finely diced veggies that I have on hand (almost always red onion, plus tomato or cucumber, depending on what I have around), and then add some combination of coriander or cumin powder, chopped cilantro leaves and salt to taste.

For this portrait, without having time to gather family recipes from Abhik, I’ll point you to Swasthi’s Recipes. Her site is where I head whenever I need a quick online reference for Indian food. Sure, we have tons of family recipes and many cookbooks, but when I need something outside of our tradition, we head to Swasthi’s. She’s also got great step-by-step photos and many tips and explanations so her site is particularly great for those not familiar with the cuisine of India!

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Coconut Burfi

coconut burfi on a traditional indian tray with candles and laxmi

Make the dessert first so that it can set.

Mmm… coconut burfi! I’ll have to remember to take a photo this time. Thanks to Shehalatha-aunty for the awesome cookbook! When we can’t eat at your table, it’s the next best thing.

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Thank You!

Thank you Abhik, Samarth, and Dibyarka for a fantastic performance and Abhik for sharing his thoughts on a morning menu to accompany their performance.

Abhik, as always, your smile was infectious and added extra warmth and flavor to an already amazing morning.

a collage of the musicians and thali
a collage of the musicians and thali