Few days after landing here the news from here that kept repeatedly looping through all the TV channels was of a Congress MP who slapped a bank manager. The next was of another politician who threatened a high court judge to give judgement in favor of his relative. Just to confirm that politicians have not changed their colors from when I visited the last time which was not that long ago. But one hopes!
The one true pleasure is the everyday shopping of vegetables in shops found in every street corner after being starved for fresh vegetables. The fresh vegetables are truly a treat for the eye and stomach. Another food find atleast for was the Indianized pizza. With a super soft bread base and a non oily cheese and spicy toppings be it just vegetables or chicken they are a great snack. Everyday food is what we are enjoying most. The simplest of chutneys, sambhar, rasams, poriyals (stir fries) and an occasional spicy chicken or fish thrown in. I am not sure if it is the hand or the ingredients the food seems to taste so much better than when I cook them - I am positive it is not the hand but the ingredients that I get ;)
The Hindu supplement - Literary Review carried an article about a Tamil poet and novelist Salma. With little over a middle school education she writes of subjugation and sexuality of women in the Muslim community. She is a bit sad that girls from her community rarely read her books. The English translation of her work is "The Hours Past Midnight". I am hoping to buy a copy of the book soon, hence I don't have a first hand knowledge of the book itself. Her observation about Indian writers I thought was spot on- "Most English writers are removed from the margins of our society. They do not have an ear to the ground as many of them are from the upper crust". The article was inspiring in a way and thought I'd share.
Today is a special day and the special on the menu is my mom's style fish fry. My mom uses (gasp) Olive Oil to fry the fish in a flat pan on a magnetic hot plate. Grandma was so very proud when the kids exclaimed it was the best fish fry ever. I took pictures while my mom's helper was frying the fish, I am sure found it strange to see food being photographed and I did not exactly look at her face. The fishmonger gave the name of the fish as "paala". A subtle tasting light fish, slightly firm and does not fall apart while being fried or in a curry.
Ingredients (15 pieces of fish)
1. 8-10 cloves of garlic (3 American kind)
2. an inch size piece of ginger grated
3. juice from one lemon (lime size)
4. 1 tbsp curd
5. 1 tbsp sambhar powder
6. 1/4 inch piece of cinnamon
Blend the above except the curd to a smooth paste. Do not add extra water. Mix the curd to the paste.
1. 1-2 tbsp of Olive Oil
1. Clean the fish and apply the paste evenly on the fish pieces and let it dry out in the sun.
2. Heat the flat griddle (dosai pan) and apply a coat of oil. Now place 3 fish pieces on the pan and let them cook on one side, flip and cook evenly on the other side.
Serve with rice