Food :)

29 Jul

The time to revere something that is so integral to my life has come. Food. There are no specific words or phrases that will collate my feelings about food and eating. I personally believe that food cannot be restricted to the nomenclature of the English language and I will therefore not attempt to make this post into an adjective laden blog entry. What I will however do is delve into food itself. That would always be my pick, whether or not I had a choice.

Food is a culture of its own – an entity and universe of its own being. There is no ONE food or ONE taste. My palate doesn’t know the existence of just ONE cuisine or food. I have no one like, and those who know me (and don’t), can vouch for this fact.

Being born in Uttar Pradesh and having spent a few years of my life there is all that I can say is my allegiance to that state. However, I couldn’t have been more narrow-minded. Talking about food, there are memories aplenty. And pretty strong memories at that, considering they are childhood ones. Right from steaming hot gulab jamuns (ones so good, I’ve never found a similar match anywhere else) to kullad (matka) chai, to moongphali (groundnuts) and beautiful chutney accompanying them on carts found aplenty during UP’s harsh winters, to kababs (Lucknowi, Awadhi and everything in between)…Churmura to tehri to kulfis to paranthas to imartis…splendidly mouth watering! A trend that is now a huge part of my life is to wake up to hot crispy jalebis and an accompanying matka of curd. I have never found this habit anywhere else but in UP. I love it. Dum bhindi, kofta, petha, make ki roti and sarson ka saag, kheer to bajra and jowar rotis slapped by hand and tossed right into the chulah (earthen stove) are foods and experiences that are a part of me. So no matter which part of the country I am in or settle down in, north Indian food is what comprises my diet and I will have it no other way.

But for a foodie to leave things at that is not right in the universe of food. Moving on from my home state, and having traveled to quite a few states in the country, my food experience repertoire doesn’t end at that.

Bihar. Littis (baked atta rounds) with baingan or aloo bharta, sattu (a chick pea masala powder) and chokha (mashed potatoes) are some of the features of Bihari cuisine.

West Bengal. Now where do I begin here? For me, WB = mishti doi. So, Bengali sweets it is (with mishti doi scaling wayyyy high) and sondesh ranking a close second, but second nonetheless. Moving on to the savory spectrum, maangsho (mutton/meat) curry, Bengali khichdi and poshto rank wayyy up there. I do not prefer the Bengali style of fish preparations however, in case you were wondering about that gaping hole! Kolkata’s street food – AWE-frikkin-SOME! Right from chaats (phuchka, jhalmuri and aloo dum!!) to kaathi rolls to sweets, you’ve got your soul satisfied in that city. One of the many dhaams for a foodie.

Do note that these states use a base of mustard oil for their cooking, and man does that give food a different character altogether!

Delhi. This has a very different and brilliantly wonderful culture of its own. I will not forget the kababs, the rolls and of course, the quintessential king of Indian cuisines – Punjabi food! Butter chicken, you are mine! And ma ki daal simmering away to sheer goodness! I love how Delhi has room for all – for those who choose to literally drop outta bed, drive up to an eatery and eat, to a more fine dining metaculture. I love love love Delhi for its food. And I love sooji ke bataashe (paani puris)! And the momos at the Russian Complex! Bliss!

Gujarat. I cannot leave without talking about theplas, dhoklas and khichdi! I haven’t had much of an exposure to this state’s cuisine as such, but that is some awesome stuff they churn!

Rajasthan. I have never had the pleasure of visiting this state. I have heard too much about Rajasthan and to visit it is a dream I hope comes true sometime. What mystifies me apart from the deserts and silverware is the food. The God-awesome food. Khakra, dal bati churma, kachoris, malpuas, the variety of papads, gatte ki sabzi, their kazillion chutneys and fineries that add to the food experience is mindblowing.

Andhra Pradesh. Now this is state’s cuisine is another super awesome cuisine to try. The nawabi culture plays an important role here, so the mention of kababs is mandatory. But what strikes me and holds my fancy more is their biryani, chicken fry and curries. I LOVE the chilli chicken made out of just chicken and green chillies. Out of this world. Their dals, sabzis and meals are to kill for!

Moving on to my resident state, Karnataka has its share of splendid goodness. Dosas, sambhar, rasam, bisi bele bhaath, jola roti, chitranna to the quintessential simple comfort food – idli vada – brings me immense joy to savour. I HAVE to give a special shout out to Mangalore and the coast! Beautiful fish curries/fry, neer dosas, chicken curry, chicken ghee roast… *drool*

Goa. FISH FISH PRAWNS FISH *DROOL* PORK SAUSAGES… Goan prawn zaccuti – you cannot miss this prawn curry and rice combo!

Tamil Nadu. And the first thing that comes to my mind is thairsaadam (curd rice). I firmly believe that it is a Tamilian who can make the best curd rice. God has given them that special power to share this goodness with mankind. I love the dosas, chutneys, sambars and rasams of TN (esp the dal rasam!!) as well. A very different and welcoming taste from Karnataka!

And last but not the least, Kerala. I don’t know where to begin when it comes to this state. It is almost close to being my 2nd home state. Fish fry/curry, appams and stew, unni appams, idi appams, avial, beef chilli fry, mor curry, kappa (tapioca), crab, prawns, seafood…the list is endless here! I love you, Mallu food!

My food journey doesn’t stop here. I am a hardcore non-vegetarian, but I know for sure that Indian food gives me some God-awesome vegetarian choices which I am oh-so grateful for. I’m not gung-ho about international cuisines when it comes to vegetarian food! But I do love my share of steaks, sizzlers, baked dishes, bacon, sausages, pies, burgers, pizzas and pastas as well. Throw in equal amounts of Chinese and Thai food and I’m a happy soul. A very happy and content soul, to be precise.

Food has its own meaning to me. I am well aware of the many cuisines I have given a miss here, but that doesn’t deter me from being a foodie or calling myself one because what ultimately matters is that I love my food. Be it plain dal-chawal or an elaborate spread, I will be humbled when it comes to food. For me, it’s not about having eaten it all, but about having enjoyed and savored whatever I have eaten.

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13 Responses to “Food :)”

  1. Babushka July 29, 2010 at 4:52 PM #

    I LOVE FOOD (needless to say)!! :)

  2. - Ubiquitous - July 29, 2010 at 6:50 PM #

    Even before reading this, let me declare that I love this post! :D

  3. - Ubiquitous - July 29, 2010 at 6:56 PM #

    very well written! i don't think i can ever do justice to a piece (pun unintended) on food.my review of this blog post summed up in a word: S L U R P

  4. Monisha July 30, 2010 at 12:11 PM #

    yummy…mouthwatering…. even though I've eaten a huge meal for lunch..I'm hungry all over again after this post!! :)I agree about the tamilian being gifted to make tairsadam. ANd their rassam is equally awesome. I'm married to a Tamilian and my mom in law makes the best fish fry, fish curry, rasam, puli-sadam and murukku!! :))Well, give me chance to cook for you some Sindhi food.. and hopefullly you can add that to the above list too ;-))

  5. - Ubiquitous - July 30, 2010 at 12:20 PM #

    sindhi food? yummmmmmmmmmmmm!i want some parsi food too, now! dhansakkkk!

  6. - Ubiquitous - July 30, 2010 at 1:20 PM #

    You forgot to mention Tibetan food I'm craving it now. Badly.Were you just sticking to Indian Cuisine?Okay, will stop spamming this section! :P

  7. Babushka July 30, 2010 at 6:19 PM #

    Yesssssssssss! Bring on the food and the spam! :D I realized I'd forgotten to add Tibetan food! And Mona, I will wait for that honored moment! :)

  8. Babushka July 31, 2010 at 9:02 AM #

    I have been thinking of trying dhanksaak, but I want the authentic fare! I've never had and it and am quite so curious to try it out!If we're talking of cuisines to try, I would love to give Kashmiri, Japanese, Pakistani, Hawaiian, Mexican, Lebanese and Malaysian cuisines a try! :D

  9. cns July 31, 2010 at 1:47 PM #

    *DROOL* This post should contain a warning – it should not be read on an empty stomach!!

  10. Babushka July 31, 2010 at 1:51 PM #

    ha ha! I know what you're saying… a statutory warning is in order, the question is – where? :D

  11. aparna July 31, 2010 at 2:29 PM #

    U left out puliogare.. u must try vatalkozhambu!!!

  12. Babushka July 31, 2010 at 2:30 PM #

    i don't like puliogare! and i wanna try that V dish now! :D

  13. debrupa August 2, 2010 at 4:17 PM #

    my mouth started watering while reading it…… :):):) really yummmyyyyyyy!!!!!!!

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