Saturday, September 18, 2010

Magnificently Yum !

I realize I am saying nothing new, but we as society are in a state of flux; only thing is , it keeps bending westwards every now and then. I know its "one world" and all that, but while our contribution to the west (besides zero, ayurveda, yoga et al) consists of plenty of words from the vernacular English, grudgingly declared English by the Dictionary mafia (pucca, balti,doosra), we continue to be completely smitten by Western concepts, and behave accordingly .

I just came across this post, and cannot agree and empathize more with the author of the post. Globalization does not mean blind mindless aping of western standards, and icons. There are plenty of nice British things than mince patties and Yorkshire pudding. Paris certainly has more to give than frogs legs as a delicacy, Japanese culture can teach us so much more than sushi, but the cake is taken by our fashion designers, who , in a mindless aping of Milan designers, exhibit Indian Fall and Winter collections, in cities and metros, which have not had a Fall and Winter in the last several centuries. (Not that the Summer collections are anything out of this world, and I have yet to see a decent Monsoon Collection designed for leaping into buses with a dripping umbrella, while fighting a crowd of 15 people).

I was just wondering if it's all about descriptions, that really markets something, and should we be paying attention to fancy detailing of ordinary food to make it stand out as International cuisine.

Like :

Phulkas : Special organic wheat flower, stone ground, and personally mixed into a specialised dough, which is then rolled delicately on marble rounds, roasted on virgin iron griddles, and then allowed to bloom on a raw fire. Quite the toast of the party. Done right at your table and served with golden ghee. Melting Moments on contact .

Khichadi : Organic coastal rice, sometimes from the banks of the Ganga, soaked with broken green mung snug in its green proteinous cover, then drained, steeped ,stirred, and cooked to perfection with a whiff of cloves, hint of cinnamon and whole pepper corns , curry leaves straight from our backyard tree, curcumin (precursor to turmeric) to boost your health, all this with a lashing of ghee. (Served with our home specialities : crunchy roasted dry lentil rounds, and yogurt in personalised clay pots from Bihar.)

Bharli Wangi : Despite sounding Far Eastern, this is a signature dish from the Western Maharashtra. Fresh organic Baby Aubergines, ( stuffed with a blended mouthwatering mixture of shredded coconut, roasted sesame powder, onions, capsaicin-rich jalapeno-like chillies, crunchy coriander and roasty cumin mixtures, six different specialised Garam spices, with a hint of the sweetness of a trickle of jaggery) sauteed by our finest chefs in thick iron specially designed utensils, inspired from two centuries ago.

Soul Kadhi : Yo! Intentionally misspelt, milk of human kindness - coconut milk, as the shreds of the coconut, sacrifice themselves, over and over again, immersed in boiled filtered double purified Ganges water, blended and strained to a rich creamy perfection. Stained and spiced by organic kokum, freshly dried in the summer on cane mats in the coastal backwaters. Delcately spiced with garlic,cilantro and green chillies. Served ice cold in champagne flutes. Viva Sol Kadhi ! Kadhi for the Soul.

Khamang kakdi : Forget the dark Green variety of the humble cucumber. "Khire" is the variety we grow ourselves and use. Found only in India. Tiny pieces, marinated in salt, groundnut powder, cryshed green chillies, pinch sugar, lashings of lemon juice, crowned with a sizzling oil cumin asafotida dressing designed to heat and cool your taste buds simultaneously. Makes a great pair with Khichadi....

Batata wada : Macdonalds copied us, and then messed up. The original filler. Boiled mashed potato, dressed in tingling, mouthwatering spices, blanketed by a layer of light spiced porous garbanzo paste, fried to a brilliant golden brown, to match our golden summers . Can be eaten by itself, with organic relishes, chutneys, Indian salsas, as well as enclosed in pao, our organic answer to the "burger patty".

Aamras : "If there be heaven, this is it, this is it, this is it." We didnt say this, K. Gibran did. Straight from the home of the Alphonso Mango, from our own specially nurtured organic orchards, mangoes picked by experts who live there. Mango squeezed by hand, straight into a container, untouched by juicers and blenders, the slow mixing of juices and mango lumps, poured into a chilled bowl for you. Traditionally squeezed in holiday season by children in families, after removing shirts and tees, due to the danger of exciting juice stains spraying across. Our esteemed guests get to take the tablecloth home, should we create a mango stain while juicing the fruit.

And I havent even reached chutneys, pickles, and sweets and snacks as yet. The meaning of chutneys has been duly changed by the British, ever since the went back after Independence. We would like to get the original meaning back.

And our pickles are never greenish stuff in colorless fluid, that looks like cucumber pieces taking anti aging treatment. Pickles here, are more like a bhangda flamenco, that offers an exciting spicy kick.

..........................(Lady swathed in chiffon bends over to talk to someone in a Dolce and Gabbana sari, oblivious to her pearls dipping in the Sol Kadhi....)

"You mean you've never had a phulka ? Dont tell me you haven't yet been to the Blooming Wheat cafe ? Where do you live ? And what about batata wadas ..... no its nothing to do with tapas.... that's old stuff; I am surprised you dont patronize Shrikrishna Wada's; it's the In-place currently.

I'll let you in on a secret.

One of my nephew's wife's sister's, brothers in law, works with the WHO. And so we learn lots of things from him, are very concerned about all this mad cow disease , mercurified fish, SARS, viral bird flu stuff. And we get to hear about things before anyone else does.

Another uncle works at the National Institutes of Heath in Washington, and he sent us the food pyramid graphic.

Turns out, eating vegetarian is the answer. Unlike cows eating weird feeds, fish fainting in polluted seas, and chicken and birds playing truant at mealtimes, you can decide where to plant your veggies, and how to grow them....better still , how to cook them.

Of course we actually think the NIH got inspired about the pyramid, after seeing our Modaks....


This looks Yum !

Lunch, anyone ?


  1. And what a tasty post for the day!! I'm going to have to fix breakfast quickly now! Everything looks beautiful and sounds delicious. And you're right -- as usual! Hope you have a lovely evening! Enjoy the remainder of your weekend!


  2. Yes, sure! Let me have your coordinates please!

  3. Words can make anything sound so so exotic :) I just had a meal, and yet your post makes me hungry :)

  4. I have experimented so much with bharli vangi and now it turns out very delicious :) i can make only phulkas..chapati and paratha - i mess up big time.."soul" kadhi is another thing I make but I rarely have it as I do not like the taste of coconut much..i just had dinner and now I am hungry all over again :P another friend also discussed yum food just now!!


  5. Kavi Oh. You mean the Food of the heavens, stirred to perfection , fragrant spices clashing with a cardamom pod here, an almond sliver there, while a raisin petulantly puffs up in the middle ? We have that only on Sundays ! ....Its Saturday now !

  6. Sylvia Thank you. You know I got full just writing this post :-)

    Gopinathji Most welcome. Do join us for the next bloggers lunch !

    wordsndreamz Bon apetit ! :-)

    Neha Bharli Wangi ki Jai ho ! :-)

  7. Our food is colourful and tasty. And the other cuisines we get in India are all modified to suit the Indian palate. Some of the continental food that is so wonderfully presented with a swirl of some sauce on the platter is in all probability quite bland.
    And yes, do pass on the plate of modak.

  8. Thank you for more education. There is nothing here that is familar to me but my favorite mango and the pickle!!!

  9. OMG !! You just made me so hungry...and loved all ur fantastic westernised descriptions for our phulkas and all...enjoyed the batata vada - looks yummy. :)

    Oh, yeah, I made modaks for chaturthi. Yumm....

  10. Radha Yes, i know the swirl-of-sauce-stuff that you mention...Here the Modak disappears before I can add a swirl of ghee.... here, have some !

    One woman's journey I am glad you are familiar with the more important things ...:-)Phulkas are really so healthy, I will look for a video on it if i can and mail u ...

    UmaS You know I actually got full writing this....but enjoy the Modaks .....

  11. Khichadi is my favourite food. :)

    Yummy yummy post. Enjoyed a lot! :)

  12. Chandrika Thank you ! I guess its time to do a post called BURP.

  13. OH, and now I am very, very hungry, and I'm not even sure what any of these would taste like, not for sure...

    Minneapolis has more Indian restaurants than it ever has, what with a rather large and recent Indian addition to the population. The streets are prettier, and the available food in restaurants and supermarkets is more enticing. Globalization has its benefits!


  14. Pearl Actually, chances are that despite globalization, you may not actually get any of these dishes (with the sole exception of Batata Wada) in the Indian restaurants in Minneapolis, as that is predominantly North Indian food. This is food that we have and cook at home routinely, and the only way for you to experience it is to come visit us ! :-)

  15. LOLing at monsoon couture! And you described my favourite pickles perfectly! I started drooling just reading your words...and could almost smell the wonderful roasting of phulkas...yummy!

  16. You mean you COOK all this? Wonderful!

  17. starry Notice how they almost never have a Monsoon Collection. ....

    aativas Mostly. Dont make batata vadas and sol kadhi too often, but the other stuff, yes. :-)

  18. So mouthwatering! and you did not tell us the name of the yum looking papad surrounding the aamras.
    How come you didnt mention the Sabudhana vadas - I love them too.
    Being vegetarian, I maostly get to eat only Indian food and I am always in awe of the variety and range of our food. One lifetime isn't enough to know it all.
    ITis becoming a total experience visiting your blog with all this wonderful music regaling us while we read your awesome posts.

  19. Slurp, slurp..My mouth has been watering ever since I got to the food part! True, we have some really exotic delicacies that's just too good to compare ;P

  20. usha Thank you and bon apetit . The yum looking papads are actually weird shaped puris. Actually, none of the dishes are anything out of the ordinary, we make them every now and then; i just wanted to see if one could make them sound glamorous. :-) Cordon Bleu Khichadi et al. And thank you for the nice words about the music. I know some folks who never read the blog, but have this playing on the desktop while they work some distance away on the laptop. Hmm.

    RGB Burp Burp. is all I can say :-)))

  21. I'm laughing with a stich in my side as I read this, and drooling over the yum assal marathi padartha here. Ugich, I'm going to look you up in my next visit to my parents' home in mumbai, and ask you to make some of your yum food. I hope I'm not presuming too much by inviting myself over.
    The description does give a totally haute cuisine look to the ordinary marathi food that we so casually make at home, doesn't it? And you have not even begun on delicacies like puran-poli, satori, tondli-bhat, sutar-pheni, chirote, etc!

  22. Sandhya I am possibly better at blogging than cooking, but I am totally delighted to know that you will look me up ( a lot to look at :-)), and I hope, stay on for a nostalgic marathi meal.I was trying to post a haute cuisine version of metkut bhat, toop, limbu lonche , and poha papad too, but the post was becoming too long ....

  23. Lovely lovely descriptions, our Indian food can put all pizza, pastas, burgers to shame :P

  24. mam.. hats off to u.. what a topic to blog upon.. nd u've made evn a phulka/chapati/roti look sch a culinary delight of india.. gr8 visiting ur blog :)

  25. What a hilarious post ! and mouth watering too :)

  26. I am a foodie. I hope all those pictures are transformed to my plate. I have showed to my wife and hope these would be in my menu this week.

  27. arbithoughts So true !

    Vipul Grover Thank you. Welcome to the blog . And yes, so much better than blogging about CWG na ?

    Ruchira Thank you. Bon apetit !

    nsiyer Last time I blogged about Bhakri, you showed it to ur missus. Now this. Why do I get the feeling I might soon be blacklisted :-)

  28. instead of callin u ugich, i think i am going to call you ajji :).... she definitely is something like urself just oblivious to computer universe. What goes around comes around, is a phrase used so often by her and taken so lightly by me. But i had teh first of this experience when i was in UK and was served with Exotic Indian rice spiced with light herbs and turmeric which was Mugachi Khichadi .... and diced tomatoes, onions in beaten yogurt served with poppadums which was koshimbir and papad , some delicacy i say ....