Food. I like to talk about it and think about it, as much as I love eating it. A well cooked meal lingers in memory, it is immortal. I am not a fussy eater and can be force fed almost anything, with a chocolate bribe for later.
Kadhi-Chawal has been my comfort food for as far as I can remember. The sunny yellow of a spicy tempered Kadhi with fat Onion Pakodas peeking up from it when poured over slender, fragrant grains of Basmati Rice never fail to cheer me up.
Post marriage to a ‘Madrasi’ I have come to realise that Sambhar-Rice is what I want, and cook, when I feel the blues. Tangy Sambhar with baby onions and tubes of Drumstick mixed with steamed rice and a dollop of Ghee. Add Applam (fried papad) and a delicately tempered French Beans and Carrot Poriyal (vegetable fry) and it is, now, my perfect meal.
In my next life I want to be born Italian. I love their food, and their good looking men, that much. Pasta in Pesto Sauce is what I nod a yes to every time, the screaming on the scales follows later. Coarsely ground basil leaves, garlic and pine nuts coating Penne, and a sigh escapes me after the first forkful.
Dal Dhokli is my one pot meal when the craving hits. A sweet and tangy Gujarati style Dal, with a liberal addition of peanuts, in which strips of flattened and flavoured dough (dhoklis) is cooked. Each mouthful is a party of flavors in my mouth!
Believe it or faint, but Khichdi is my all-time favourite. When The Husband is traveling and I am all by myself, out comes the Yellow Moong Dal and a bit of rice is added to it. As Ghee heats up I add a dash of Asafoetida (hing) and quickly follow up with Rye, a slit Green chilli and the washed rice and dal. Salt to taste and some turmeric for color and pressure cook it till done. My Grandmother used to say, ‘Khichdi ke chaar yaar, Dahi, Papad, Gud aur Achar/Khichdi has 4 friends, Curd, Poppadams, Jaggery and pickle) and I am not a fan of Pickle, but the other 3 are often accompaniments.