A huge lady walked to the seat and before she settled, I wondered if she would fit into the cramped economy class seats with barely any leg room. Would she be able to get up if I had an emergency nature's call? What if she snored? The feeble mind of a 13 year old.
She wasn't new to this set up, one could tell. She tied her seat belt, plugged her earphones and unperturbed went to sleep. I was not very thrilled about my flight partner for next 4 hours, I lip synced to my sisters sitting behind.
The air hostess woke her up with a nudge for dinner time. I had learned early that me and airplane food don't get along and always chose to not order. To my surprise, she denied ordering as well. That was perhaps the first time we looked at each other and smiled.
Despite, what may be hours after it was prepared, the sago pearls were crispy with a melt in the mouth starchy interior that with crunch of roasted peanuts, opened a whole new world of what I love eating as a child. I wanted to ask for more but instead decided to wait till I got home to ask Ammi (mother) to make it for me.
Makes: 15-16, depending on size
1 cup Amaranth seeds
2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
1 large potato, boiled *
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 cup roasted peanuts
1/2 cup coriander leaves
2 green chillies, or as per preference of heat
2 tbsp ghee, or any oil that has high smoking point
Salt and pepper to taste
* This is slightly fragile while frying because I choose to add less potatoes to let the amaranth be the star.
Bring the vegetable stock to a boil and add the amaranth and peas. Salt the stock if it is not already seasoned. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the water is absorbed.
Meanwhile, boil the potato under tender. Remove the skin and mash it.
In a food processor, roughly pulse the coriander leaves, roasted peanuts and green chillies. You don't want to make a paste. Just hand chop them if you so choose. Mix it with the amaranth, peas and potatoes.
Add salt, pepper and cumin seeds. Roll into equal size balls and slightly flatten them.
Heat the ghee until it's very hot and add the fritter to the pan. Let it sizzle and crisp up on one side and then flip them over. They take about a minute on each side.
Serve immediately with green chutney or a simple yogurt, garlic and lemon juice dip as I did.