Wednesday, 7 November 2012


Badam Conjee Shorba

Inventory control, maintaining optimum inventory levels, stock take processes, FIFO, LIFO, cycle count… my head is buzzing with the courseware material I am writing for a Logistics and Supply Chain course. 

"This is so much like running a kitchen and controlling the pantry or 'bhandar'!" I think almost loudly. 

These are the mnemonics I use to retain information. 

My weekly pantry check is cycle count, the annual checking of the gunny sacks of rice, wheat, pulses, pickles and preserves by Mother during my childhood is the annual stock take...

Everything was given a fitting farewell in Mother's pantry.  NO "chuck this and dump that" there! The dregs of kakvi - a sweet treacly syrup which is a by-product of jaggery, the pitiful, dried remnants of a once glorious pickle, the almost crystallised sakharamaba - raw mango jam, the crumbs of grains and dals and pohas - all would be scrupulously examined, sieved, winnowed, salvaged if possible and given away to maids and boys and the rest would be disposed of in a sensible and sensitive way. This wasn't a very pleasant task, for we had to pitch in with the cleaning, sorting. Moreover, nobody has any interest in things past their prime. 

Thank God I don't keep an annual stock in my home!

However, looking back, I do a stock take on what I had learnt from those experiences. 

I realise how Mother showed respect to all the things that had blessed and graced our home and fed and nourished us, even in their decline or end. She was with them, just like the entire foodstuff had stood us in good stead for the whole year. Her act of tending for her store not only preserved the value of food, but disseminated lifelong lessons to us.  

To this day, I try to follow her footsteps and stock take not just my larder or pantry, but also my attitude to things, 

Talking of stocks, not one to waste a thing if I can, I use water strained from boiling pasta or legumes or rice in various ways - in soups, to knead dough or to add to curries or pour some of it back into the pastas. 

The other day I experimented with conjee from rice boiled with spices for biryani and delighted the family with a Badam Conjee Shorba.

4 cups rice conjee (strained from rice boiled with some whole cloves, cardamom, whole pepper and cinnamon)
2 tbsp chopped onion
4 tbsp almond meal (you can use ½ cup blanched and soaked almonds too)
½ tsp garlic
½ tsp ginger
1 tbsp yoghurt or sour cream
1 tsp oil
Salt to taste (be careful, the conjee will have salt)

For garnish

2 tbsp fresh cream
1 tbsp fried onion
A pinch of saffron


In a saucepan or stock pot heat the oil and sauté the onion, garlic and ginger.  Allow it to cool. In the same sauce pan or stockpot pour the conjee and bring it to a rolling boil, stirring it now and then. Make a paste of the fried mixture, almond meal or blanched and soaked almonds and yoghurt in a blender. Add the paste to the boiling conjee and cook while stirring constantly. After a few minutes, taste the shorba to check if the almonds are cooked, check the salt and spices, then remove from heat.

Add the cream, garnish with kesar/saffron and fried onions and serve piping hot! This is a very nourishing, heartwarming and tasty soup that will energise you instantly!

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