The Curd Chronicles
The haughty grains of Basmati Rice refused to stick together, preferring to stand a hair’s breadth apart from their own. Till, the creamy Kadhi cascaded down to meet them. The cheerful yellow of the Kadhi and the snowy whiteness of the Rice merged together in a joyous union. The plump Pakodas tried to fit in, before they realised they would always stand out, and decided to do so proudly. The spicy Kadhi needed the blandness of the Rice to balance it, and they came together to celebrate a party of flavours, and textures, in the mouth. This is why this classic combination of Pakodewali Kadhi and Basmati Chawal are comfort food for so many, including me.
Kadhi has always been my special favourite, in all its forms. Be it the quintessential Punjabi style Pakodewali Kadhi or the same with a Rajasthani style tadka. The silky simplicity of Gujrati Kadhi that leaves a hint of sweetness as an aftertaste on your tongue, is another personal favorite.
I am unsure about whether this recipe exists or it is yet another innovation by my Mom, but she makes a Kadhi with Peas and fresh Methi leaves and it is unbelievably delicious. The greens of Peas and the commas of the Methi leaves dot the pale yellow of the subtly flavoured Kadhi. Jeera Rice is the perfect partner for this one.
If I am talking about Curd, can Shrikhand be left behind? If Kadhi is the savory form Curd takes then Shrikhand is its sweet metamorphosis.
Hung Curd, Powdered Sugar, a dusting of fine Elaichi Powder and you have a dessert which is comforting and decadent at the same time. Shrikhand and Puri are a match made in heaven! Use your imagination, and a few strands of Saffron, to change the traditional Shrikhand to Kesar Shrikhand. Almonds and Pistachios on hand? Chop them finely, toss them in and lo and behold, you have a rich Kesar – Badam – Pista Shrikand.
Want to have your fruit and eat it too? Give your Shrikhand a contemporary twist, add your fruit of choice and transform it into a Mango/ Strawberry/ Peach Shrikhand.
Mishti Doi! Those plump earthen bowls with that dusky hued curd sitting inside are what make me go weak in the knees. I can never stop at one, no Sir, I can’t! More so if it is winter time and the seasons special ‘Nolen-Gurer’ (Date Palm Jaggery) is used to make it. Each buttery spoonful transports me to another world and only the scrape of the spoon against the empty pot brings me back to reality.
This is my ode to Curd, It never ceases to amaze me how the humble Curd can be transformed into dishes that are so varied and so flavourful.