Things To Eat Before You Die
Who would have thought a meme could be so difficult? When Meeta tagged me I was thrilled to add my bit to the growing list on Melissa's blog; specially because I found Indian cuisine woefully under represented there.
But whittling down my endless ideas to just five foods was really tough. So I looked at the original post afresh and the word that stood out was - DIE (forgive the morbidity, the interesting part is coming soon!). Things became less complicated when I thought about the foods I would want to, NEED to eat before I joined the great Foodie above!
In no particular order they are -
1) Chicken Cafreal on a beach in Goa
I have had a long love affair with the place and I'd return there for one more glorious meal. I'd start the day early and walk around the city marveling at the old houses and regal churches. Having worked up an appetite I'd then head out to the beach (not the touristy one). Feet in the sand, the sound of waves in my ears and Cafreal on my plate, with a rice bhakri and sol kadhi as accompaniments.
2) A festival (Ganesh Chaturthi) meal at my grandparents' house in the Konkan
Actually it could be just about any meal at my grandparents' house and I'd die happy! There are so many memories associated with that big, old house it's hard for me to think about the food. But here is what the menu generally is -
Varan -Bhaat - dal seasoned with cumin and rice, the nutty red kind available in the area
Vade - puris made of rice flour
Kandamool/ Khatkhate - a delicately flavored stew made with seasonal vegetables and greens
Patolya - turnovers stuffed with coconut and jaggery and steamed in turmeric leaves
Panchamrut - a relish made with five ingredients, usually peanuts, fenugreek seeds, sesame seeds, coconut and jaggery
And the accompanying beverage? - water drawn straight from the well.
I'd eat the meal sitting on the floor in the huge kitchen, with sunlight streaming in through the vents in the tiled roof and the smell of hay and mud stoves in the air.
3) My mother's shrimp curry
The one and only, I have raved about this before, the shrimp cooked just right, the perfect blend of spices and the creamy undertones of coconut milk are well, to die for!
4) Mishti doi or sondesh in Calcutta
The real thing, and I'd gladly go there to taste it again. These are desserts at their simplest and most sublime. Mishti doi is lightly sweetened yogurt served in earthern pots. Sondesh are sweets made from the soft cheese (chenna) that is obtained by souring milk. Bliss.
5) Dum biryani
Vegetarian, chicken, mutton...anything is fine as long as it's an authentic dum biryani, slow cooked with each layer distinct and aromatic - browned onions, potato chips, saffron rice, and then the spiced meat or vegetables. Heaven in a pot! If you have had a really, really good biryani, you will know why it figures on this list.
The international favorites that didn't make the cut were -
Pizza ai frutti di mare or seafood pizza in Venice
The perfect Lobster Bisque
Freshly squeezed orange juice
Green Tea Ice cream