Articles tagged with: lentil
A simple hobby which started with the percept of organizing recipes through a food blog has gradually metamorphosed into a memoir over the years. If some recipes help reconnect with my roots then the other recipes are woven around my personal experiences reflecting the cultural diversities I live in.
The omnipresent Idly from South India was a delicacy in mom’s place before my marriage. Many Sunday lunches were reserved for steamy hot puffy Idly (steamed rice-lentil cakes) dunked into spicy Sambhar (lentil curry).
The equation changed after my marriage to KK from South India in 1996. The humble Idly which is often taken for granted in Chennai is no longer considered a specialty food at my home.
Soaking a set proportion of rice-lentil, grinding the batter, fermenting it overnight and storing the fermented batter in refrigerator has become a way of life now.
While the lentils cooked, I started chopping the red Amaranth on my cutting board watching the two tiny squirrels play catch-me-if-you-can on the mango tree outside.
As I stood there silent, my mind began to wander and I started reminiscing about my childhood days…yet again.
“Who on Earth loves eating this laal chawli bhaji (red Amaranth) mom. It looks so yuck?” I would make faces in vain after seeing the slimy mass on my plate, hoping that she would stop making the same…someday.
A long angry look from mom and we would continue to shovel that slimy Chawli bhaji without uttering another word.
The thrill of getting employed, striving for power, reaching high-income bracket and standing on your own, right after the college is hard to explain. Yes, twenty years back life revolved more around making money and gratifying the ego.
And then, in between the hustle and bustle of life, the seed to plant a tree of my dreams was lost somewhere.
But no regrets…it feels good that I had been there (employed) and done that (earned). As they say ‘The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.’
“Mom, make your Rajasthani Pasta again, some of my friends will be coming home after the movie and they have asked for it.” Informed son and left hurriedly to join his friends. Today he is off to watch a regional movie (Thalaiva) on his own, refusing any favors from us. From boarding a shared auto, booking the tickets and co-coordinating with his friends…my little dumpling is a grown up kid now.
I am not old enough to start reading fairy tales again…but its time I changed my parenting guidelines. When he waved bye and planted a kiss saying “Don’t you worry mom, I will take care”. I know I would have given anything to keep him little….
But then, I do remember that the best gift I can give to him is to allow him to do things on his own and let him believe in himself.
Home is where the heart is….my heart belongs to Chennai, the place where I got married and have been living since 1996. I have wholeheartedly accepted the city and have accustomed to the traditions, climatic conditions and the food here.
But even after spending a good 17 years in Chennai I feel that a part of my heart still lives in Udaipur. The place where I grew up, studied and spent the most beautiful years of my life with family and friends.
And why not, if one is the place of my birth than the other made me a complete woman! I take it as a special privilege of belonging to the two different cities at once.
Like all the best families, we too have our share of family disagreements. Daughter likes plain flat breads (chapattis) while son prefers stuffed breads and if hubby likes Lachha parathas, its a big no-no for me. But there is something at home we all are one with…our good old Tandoor or grill, and anything cooked or baked in it is liked by one and all.
Crispy Missi Rotis (chickpea flour flat breads) and spicy Panchmel Daal (five lentils) is yet another popular combination of scrumptious foods from my hometown Rajasthan. People living in the desert areas cook this healthy, filling and delicious recipes during winter season when their body require more fuel in terms of protein and fat to combat the adverse cold conditions of harsh winter months.
Villagers in many places of Rajasthan still light their hearth by burning either wood or cow-dung to give them warmth from the cold waves and also to cook their meals on it.
It really amuses me how our taste buds evolve with time and quickly get accustomed to new foods. Bitter gourd, cluster beans, pumpkin which never made to my favorite list of veggies during childhood are now some of the most cooked vegetables at home.
Though I haven’t succeeded in making my children eat bitter gourd and a few other veggies as yet, they do like to bite on a pumpkin bread, Zucchini Biscotti, brownie and cakes. May be they need some more time to develop their taste buds before they start liking the unique taste of these foods.
Turkey berry/wild eggplant or Sundaikkai (in Tamil) was first introduced to me after my marriage in 1996 by my mother-in-law and there was a love at first sight. She plucked these tiny green round berries from her backyard and taught me how to prep the berries with a small stone. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience of prepping the berries, soaking in buttermilk and watching her cook the same in her kitchen.
“Mom, make your Rajasthani Pasta today” Said my son enthusiastically. History repeats, I murmured to myself handing over the bowl of dough to both of them. Yes, I am a happy mom to see my children enjoy rolling these Dhoklis as we did in our childhood. They love to make shapes and faces with the dough and later struggle hard to search for their creations in the final recipe.
This soupy comfort food always reminds me of home & mom. I grew up eating Daal Dhokli which used to be our Sunday meal for as long as I remember. I still disagree and argue with my Gujrati friends who call the recipe a signature dish of Gujrat.
Mom being a working woman never got time to make special recipes on weekdays. Sunday was the only day when she cooked scrumptious lunches and comforting dinner. She would knead the dough and give it to me and my brother to roll the Dholiks, This was her way to keep us busy on Sundays and avoid fights between us. Television & computer come to existence much later in life. Blessing in disguise I must say
Lunchbox bites, pulses and beans »
“Dicotyledonous, low in fat, loaded with nutrients, fibers and protein, nodules in their roots, red, speckled, white purple colored beans are some of the salient features of legume family” ….Phew, heard my son muttering from his study room. And I think I know my beans much better after reading & learning with my son.
Lentils are an integral part of any Indian kitchen. Be it a simple Daal recipe with green gram, red lentil, black gram, Bengal gram or a spicy Sambhar fromSouth India, lentil is a star of Indian cuisine.
I reserve the whole beans for weekends, combine it with some light salad or yogurt raita and serve it with either plain Indian flat breads, whole-wheat bread or flavored Basmati rice.
Whole wheat buns/Baatis and Litti Chokha – the two most rustic regional recipes from India invoke a mixed emotion in me. If the later brings back the memory of my carefree days the former reminds me of the insecurity I felt during my childhood. Unable to cope up with the work pressure and childcare my working parents arranged for a 60 something nanny to baby sit me. The most prominent features I could remember about her is her wrinkled face, bony rough hands and the white muslin Potli (pouch) she used to bring daily from her home for her lunch.
She brought these unevenly round whole-wheat buns/baatis neatly packed in a white muslin cloth or potli every day. Hand pound wheat flour to make the buns, firewood used to cook them and fresh ghee smeared over those baatis revealed the hard life of villagers. I used to get scared when she lifted me with her wrinkled hands but loved to bite on those savory buns she brought. The feeling of insecurity of taken care by a stranger was somewhat subsided with these delicacies she brought each day.