The Story of Chimoo Aunty
Updated: Jan 15
OP Puri and Ellis Joshua started to convert Trincas in 1959 from a bakery into a restaurant. As food lovers they enjoyed cooking and had a fair few favourites to conjure up. Some of these dishes made guest appearances at Trincas over the years. Here is the story of one of them.
— In the 1940s, a number of Jewish folk migrated to Calcutta from Burma which was under threat from the Japanese during World War II.
Ellis Joshua's rather large extended family, including an Aunty Chimoo, moved into a flat on Ripon Street. With hungry mouths to feed and resources running low, Aunty Chimoo, a fabulous cook, chose a rather ingenious way to feed the family. She would buy chicken giblets, add to this a large amount of chillies and garlic and cook up a delicious pot of fiery chicken curry. The gravy was tasty, and the curry so hot that one required a large amount of rice and very little chicken to enjoy their meal. Problem (tastily) solved!
Chimmoo Aunty Curry is now a Trincas family recipe. Those who've tasted it, love it for the fire and the garlic.
We make it on request for parties, and now use the meatier parts of the chicken, while gratefully remembering stories and people from the past.
Here is the recipe:
500-600 gm chicken cut into curry pieces 2 large onions (200gms approx) 100 gms garlic100 gms ginger 12 dried red chillies 1/2 cup oil Salt to taste Soak chillies in hot water 15 mins. Grind to a paste. Grind onions, garlic and ginger to a paste. Heat oil in a pot. Add paste of onion garlic ginger. Stirfry till onions are slightly brown. Add chicken, chilli paste. Cook till done and oil comes to the top. Add salt to taste. Add a sprinkle of water to just deglaze the pot. Serve with steamed rice and lime wedge. Enjoy, and remember Trincas!
The Trincas Timeline Project is an exciting community-based memory project aimed at collecting stories, photos, and anecdotes going back 80 years.
It aims to cover not just Trincas’ storied history, but also provide glimpses of ‘the Park Street Scene’ and Calcutta/Kolkata as it has evolved over the last (almost!) century.
The project focuses on history, culture, music and food by connecting with patrons, musicians, celebrities and historians.
Anecdotes, photos and interviews are converted into short blog posts documenting the personal connections that so many Calcuttans past and present have with this iconic institution.
The goal is to collect a living history of sorts under one virtual roof and create a cultural treasure-house for present and future generations.
Since this is an effort to reconstruct the past all Calcutta residents, fans and diaspora (now spread across the globe) are welcome to contribute memories, photographs and facts. We would love to hear from you!