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My Food, My Soul – by Pracheta Vats

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Mrs Meena Sharma – Housewife

When I start talking about food , I fall short of words. I get lost in a place that is everlasting and perennial source of pure delight. For me food is a pleasure that I cherish. From traditional Indian delicacies to French deserts , from Chinese to something continental , the dishes speak to me and establish a strong repertoire. But I remain a die hard fan of Indian cuisine and I feel that the real essence of Indian food lies in the hands of Indian housewives who are a symbol of benevolence , love and magnanimity . On my crusade of finding some authentic home cooked Indian food, I landed in the house of Mrs.Meena Sharma , housewife who personifies the saying of George Bernard Shaw “There is no sincerer love than the love of food”.

In conversation with her I realized what it takes to excel in the art of Indian cooking. I asked her about her inspiration that had driven her into mastering the simplicity and flavors of Indian food . She replied that it was her love for eating delicious food that inspired her to cook , moreover master it. “I love to eat, and hence love cooking something that satisfies my taste buds and moreover makes my family happy”, she said. According to Mrs. Sharma Innovation In cooking is something that strikes itself.

“One must be open to ideas and learning from various sources be it from television, nature or from day to day instances. Presentation plays an integral role in making tasty food authentic”, she said.

Her Simplicity, devotion to her art and her smile made the entire conversation and interaction even more interesting and delightful. She believes that no one requires any “MANTRA” in particular for cooking . For her cooking is something that is more than a routine job, something which she looks forward to , something that helps her bring forth her creativity ,warmth and love. In short, it is her passion that helps her elevate the essence of Indian cuisine.

She exclaimed that for making Indian cooking easy , one must master the art of chopping, cutting, slicing and dicing and must always be patient. “Indian cooking requires patience. In order to surpass it, one must try to cook on a low heat which helps in enhancing the flavor of the dish”. She discussed about the necessities in indian cooking.

“Coriander is a must for imbibing the best that our food has to offer because it brings with it a lot of freshness and gives a kick to the conventional curry pastes”.

According to her the choice of crockery for serving the dish plays an equally important role in bringing forth the flavors , looks and creativity of Indian dishes.

Spending a day with her made me recapitulate the old Estonian Proverb “An Empty Belly is the Best Cook”. It was not over yet. I was extremely fortunate to enter her kitchen where she prepared three simple authentic Indian dishes “The Faluda(Vermicelli with milk, ice cream, basil seeds and Saffron almond syrup)”, “Sunehri Bhindi”(Crispy golden okra) and “Traditional Indian Sambar”.

The simplicity, flavors, warmth, and aroma of the dishes spoke to me. It was a moment of pure joy, to dive into some authentic Indian food with an equally authentic, genuine and skilled lady who displayed the grandeur of innovative Indian Home cooking.

To some people food is just food, but to people like me it is an art to treasure. Experience with me the flavors that my country India has to offer. Until then stay merry, eat fresh and Bon Appetite!

RECIPE 1: Faluda

INGREDIENTS

Vermicelli Noodles Handful

Basil Seeds 1 Teaspoon

Ice Cream( Vanilla) 2 Scoops

Saffron Almond Syrup 2 Tablespoon

Rose Syrup 1 Tablespoon

Water 150 ml

METHOD

  1. Add Rose Syrup in water and soak the Basil Seeds in it for 15 minutes till they set
  2. In a large glass, Put the Saffron-Almond Syrup , Milk , Basil Seeds(soaked) and Vermicelli noodles in that order
  3. Scoop it up with Vanilla Ice-cream and enjoy.

TIPS & POINTS TO NOTE

The Faluda can be made in Rose , Khus, mango syrup also.

Basil Seeds when soaked in the water and rose syrup mixture absorb the rose flavor and colour.

 

Recipe 2: Sunehri Bhindi( Serves 4)

INGREDIENTS

Okra : ½ kg

Ginger Garlic Paste : 1 ½ Tablespoon

Turmeric Powder : ¼ teaspoon

Chat Masala : ½ teaspoon

Carom Seeds : ½ teaspoon

Salt : To Taste

Red Chili Powder : 1 Teaspoon

Gram Flour : 1 ½ Tablespoon

Vegetable Oil : 150 ml

Lemon Juice : 1 ½ Teaspoon

METHOD

  1. Wash the okra with normal water, cut the ends and slit into 4 equal halves
  2. In a bowl, put turmeric powder, ginger garlic paste, gram flour, salt, chat masala, carom seeds, red chili powder and mix well slit okras and mix well.
  3. Let the mixture set for an hour
  4. Once set add lemon juice.
  5. Meanwhile heat the vegetable oil in a medium sized wok and fry the marinated okras in small small proportions .
  6. Once fried, put on tissue paper so that all the extra oil is absorbed.

TIPS

Serve as a snack or as an accompanying dish with the main supper . Enjoyed best with some Coriander Chutney .

 

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