Common Ingredients, Uncommon Food
Most people love to experiment with food. They want to understand the food that’s on their plate and if given a chance, they want to see what can go well with what? Have you ever thought why stuffed parathas and curd is such an appetizing combination? Or why ice cream goes so well with a hot gulab jamun?
I believe it’s all experimenting. With taste and contrast that exist in a variety of combinations.
There are some common ingredients that make up a plate of food but a lot more can be done if one wants to. Same rice can transform itself into biryani, akki roti, kheer and even papad. Also, every state has something that’s uncommon. I never knew about fish pickles until a couple of years back when a friend offered that to me at lunch. A curry made of peanuts is a popular food in Gujarat and I did not know until I tried when I was visiting a relative.
I was watching this video recently and it made me think of my roots in the food I had as a child. My mum is a wonderful cook and while growing up, she made us try Chinese, South Indian and of course the Mughlai non-vegetarian cuisine. Everything cooked at home. And the local delicacies were also tested at home.
One thing that comes to my mind is a dal filling wrapped in rice dough and steamed. For the ones who consider steamed food too healthy to digest, this would be fried after steaming for a crisper outer and spicy filling on the inside.
What are you thinking of?
This is what I call local #Foodventures. In a state where wheat is expensive and rice is in abundance, where the poor prefer steaming versus using oil, these local dumplings with the garlic-mint-chilli chutney is a perfect snack anytime during the day. It’s filling and healthy. Just the right thing to have after one gets back from a long day at work. And the recipe travelled from villages to cities and with the frying option, it isn’t a food belonging to the poor anymore.
Popularly known as phara, you can change the filling and use anything that you would like. Maybe minced meat or mixed vegetables? The soft rice flour dough needs to be rolled with hand to cover this filling and then you could keep these over a sieve beneath which water boils in a pot. The steam cooks the outer and softens the already cooked filling.
So, try this taste of east India at your home’s comfort and don’t forget to share your story about an uncommon food. You could get a chance to be featured in #Foodventures video with either Vikas Khanna or Vir Sanghvi!