Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Chepa Mach, Shidol, Ngaari in the DC Metropolitan Area !!

I by nature am not a very helpful person. However there comes a time when one is armed with such invaluable knowledge that one has to pass it on. As the spiderman movies have so wisely opined -- "With great power comes great responsibility."

So ladies and gentlemen, here is the momentous news. After two months of frenzied and single-minded research, I have been able to, in my DC Metropolitan Area apartment, create a full bodied, volcanic, sweat-inducing shidol-chutney, completely from locally procured resources. A significant portion of my scant readership is now raising the Questioning Eyebrow and saying "Eh ? Shidol what ?". So I proceed to do some light-shedding. To the faithful, Shidol is also known as Hidol, Ngaari, Sepa Maach and Tungtap among other hallowed names. The faithless however prefer to term it as that-fermented-fish-from-stinky-hell. This treatise is for the faithful.

Any true aficionado of the Shidol-Chutney realises that there are two essential ingredients which make the soul of the chutney. The first being the awe-inspiring and volcanic Naga Morich or a pepper/chilly of equal potential. The second of course, is the Shidol itself. Once armed with these two, the rest is personal artistry. Here is how one may go about procuring them:
How To Get the Shidol:

View Larger Map

The location depicted above houses a row of Bangladeshi stores. Some of them do stock frozen Shidol. Ask for Sepa Maach or Shidol. They are not as fragrant as the ones one is wont to have, but they do serve very very well.
How to get the Naga Morich:
Sadly, the Naga Morich is not be found around here. One however has a more-than-passable substitute. One can drop into any supermarket and pick up a bunch of one of the Scotch Bonnet peppers. The Habanero variety is the best of the lot. After some experimentation, I have arrived at the conclusion that about two of these peppers amount to one small Naga Morich. These peppers however are not as fragrant as the Indian counterparts. So, one could contemplate adding a slice of a red bell pepper for the fragrance. So in review, if you crush two habanero peppers with a slice of red bell pepper, you get one Naga Morich.

I shall not explain the method for actually making the chutney because the ingredients and proportions in ones chutney are deeply personal nobody can tell one how to do it. One just knows.

UPDATE : On the Bhoot Jolokia / Naga Morich. If possible, use this one in the chutney


Phantasmagoria said...

DC area eh? Good to know.

Bald Monkey said...

Thank you :)

Rajit said...

Bashuman, is this you? You ditcher, could you not inform me before leaving India? I didn't know you liked cooking as well. Let me have your recipe! I have the fish and the Bhoot Jhaluka, but twice I have had to serve it to the dogs! And it didn't go down well with them either. One of the three has been left paralysed, and I hope the cause is not my cooking!!

Ayesha said...

I knew about shidol and hidol.....but never heard Ngaari, Sepa Maach and Tungtap!!!

Managing naga morich is tough no doubt, but I never thought one could manage shidol abroad....all my family and friends there say you are not allowed to enter the country with that stuff...!!! just talking about shidol is making my mouth water...

Bald Monkey said...

Ngaari --> In Manipur India
Sepa Maach --> In parts of Bangladesh and Assam in India.
Tungtap --> In Meghalaya, India

Lokendra Nath Roychoudhury said...

Do you know how to make Shidol / শিদল & / or Çunga gutani / সুঙ্গা গুতানি? If so, pl post in http://bn.wikipedia.org/wiki/উইকিপিডিয়া. If you cannot write in Bengali & if you are willing to supply me the details, (preferably with stepwise photos), I shall be glad to post, duly acknowledging your contribution. For the latter idea, you will have to give me a letter, permitting me to translate it to Bengali & posting it in Wikipedia

Sujay Nandy said...

Informative blog.. think I had shidol chutney at your place once. Not a huge fan, but it was memorable