September 14, 2006

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
Tiramisu
Freshly squeezed orange juice
Paella
Green Tea Ice cream

I am sure almost everyone has already been tagged so I will resist. It's open to anyone who wants to join in on the fun. Do check the interesting and truly exotic list over at the Traveler's Lunchbox (1285 entries at last count!!).

7 Comments:

Blogger Meeta said...

Great list, Ash!

2:21 AM  
Blogger Foodie's Hope said...

Good Indian list!! Shouldn't forget how and where we all grew up now!! :)
I love Tiramasu too!! Good to read your preference and thanks for listing some Indian too!! :)

8:10 AM  
Blogger Anupama said...

Wow Ashwini, your food list to eat before you die is quite a tall order. A lot of cooking would hav to be done to fulfil that one. Hahaha.

11:10 AM  
Blogger Vaishali said...

Ashwini,
Can you please please please take me along when you go to your grandparents' place next? I mean it.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous shilpa said...

what a list Ashwini, just loved it. I am still thinking about what I would love to eat :).

1:24 PM  
Anonymous shaheen said...

ashwini,
good list. now have u already given the recipe of ur mom's shrimp? if not, why don't do so...

7:07 AM  
Blogger Ashwini said...

Thanks for tagging me Meeta, I had fun
Good to know there are more tiramisu fans out there Asha
Anupama - haaha! But thats ok isnt it coz I am dying!!!!
Vaishali - sure, you will just have to queue up with all my other friends who have been similarly enamoured :-D
Thanks Shilpa
Shaheen - sure I will

9:51 AM  

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