Thursday, April 30, 2015

Savory Pea and Carrot Pancakes with Avocado Mint Dip

I was 14 when on a frigid winter morning, after finishing our exam papers earlier than others, a new friend and I escaped for brunch instead of heading home. I had never known what brunch was until she proposed the idea the day before. I looked up the meaning in my palm size, creamy paged, blue plastic covered oxford dictionary, an essential accessory of every other 14 year old I knew. It was perhaps that age of eagerness and outwitting others with your vocabulary, every page on the dictionary was marked with circles, underlines, possible sentences. There was particular emphasis on any slang, cursing words because there was nothing cooler than that. 

Before we sat out for our adventure, we strolled around our brick walled school playground waiting for the gates to officially open. When the walls were being newly painted a few years go, they were a light violet pink and despite not being my favourite colour, for a year the school looked prettier than it ever did. It looked all beige now, so did the backdrop of buildings that stood around it. Desert bathes everything in its sand hue. If you got to the roof top, you could see my building, a 7 storey low building, conveniently sand coloured, so it never requires a repaint.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Shaved Carrot And Mint Salad With Spicy Galangal Dressing

Recently, I had a lot of locally grown carrots from a shoot and they were so sweet and mellow in flavour, I couldn't bring myself to cook with them. Though the likes of carrot halwa and carrot pancakes played on my mind for a long time, I eventually just made this simple carrot salad which we pretty much ate back to back for days until we got sick of it! Then last week, I made it to family barbecue party as a side and it went down in no time.


Saturday, April 4, 2015

Spiced Lamb Mince and Potatoes - Aloo Kheema

One hot scorching summer day, some odd 10 years ago, I found myself sitting on my great grandmother's bed while she lay on it. She bore no resemblance to my grandmother but her skin firmer than any other 90 year old I knew,  a blessing of porcelain like firm skin that most of my maternal aunts, Ammi and Grandma inherited. She had been living in this tiny hometown nestled in the deep south of Rajasthan all her life and I had never really heard of her from my grandma. I believe, there must be no story to be told. Grandma was a child bride and I imagine she couldn't remember much of the time spend with her mother. But that day amongst the packing up we were to do as our vacation in India came to an end, Grandma dragged me to see her ailing mother with a sudden sense of emergency. I nervously asked her, if there was anything in particular I have to say or do. She gave it a thought, looking out of the auto ricksha at the green farmlands that are ample in this area despite being a desert. She ran her right hand over her eyebrows as she often does when saying something important. "Kiss her hand and just listen to her", she said.

As we walked into the house, we were first greeted by the aroma of freshly sizzled khada masala (whole spices) that got intertwined with the stale smell of medicines, as grandma guided me to her mother's room. I sniffed the ittar that lingered on my clothes to clear the sickness inducing smell of medicines.

My great grandmother lay on a much wider single bed than the standard size, which looked even larger against her fragile, bony structure. The hand woven cotton stuffed thick soft mattress fell slightly off the edges of the bed, while the pillow hard as stone nestled her grey but lush head. I bowed down on the bed, picked up her hand between my two palm and kissed them placing it back on her side. Her hands might have felt like a pile of skin but her greyed eyes tracked my every moment. I took up the chair next to the bed but she immediately in a low murmur asked me to sit on the bed next to her.

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