Chew, chew, chew chew... I try but give up in a bit. It is wet, it is unappetising and so cold that every bite makes my teeth go chaiiinng and try to withdraw themselves back into the gums! No, it is not ice cream – I love that and besides the only thing they have in common is the temperature!
So far, I have loved American food but this one defeats me. I am at an Ikea store – gloriously happy, i may add and have great difficulty in not buying everything in sight – though I want to! We finish with various appetisers and amuse-bouches like the living room section and the bathroom section and then come to the heart of the whole caboodle – the kitchen section!
Those enormous pots, those dinky little pans (see, now i have another thing named “Dinky”! See this post), the sheer shininess of the bowls have me floating in a haze of sheer happiness – no, I was sober as my great grandmom – though how sober she was I can’t vouch for – that generation believed in their tot of “cold medicine” (aka tot of brandy)!
Hearts full, we (my friend Lakshmi who always gets the joke at the same moment I do and what better basis is there for a friendship?! We have laughed through our hostel years at IIM together so hard that we’ve actually had to sit down in the middle of Double Road to let the paroxysms pass!)), my daughter Arch and me – need to fill stomachs too. We want to continue our shopping and decide to get a bite at the cafeteria. Just a couple of choices for vegetarians but we’re used to that by now! Choice one is a no-brainer – a vegetable wrap – looks good actually – it’s a spinach wrap so green and filled with vegetables so am quite happily anticipatory.
We fill our trays with a couple of other things – the desserts and the ubiquitous caesar salad and make our way to the table. One bite of the green roll and it’s as much as I can do to not spit it out – it’s not that it’s that bad – it’s so cold that all I can taste is a mouthful of flour, raw carrot and a pasty feta – no pepper or anything else – nada! In my mind I am thinking I wouldn’t feed this to my pigs – if I had any, of course and if I did, I bet one of the pigs would turn right around and attack me, all the pig-gy-hooey-ing in the world notwithstanding!
Also, of course, my Indian heart and tummy are telling me what a fantastic idea it would be to open a hot aloo parantha stand here and what a killing one could make in the cold weather and what a great way to stay warm – after all, what heats the parantha can warm me up just as well!
But sigh, we are hungry, our stomachs are growling and so we chew our way through the growing-more-unappetising-by-the-minute green leathery stuff we are eating… with each of us having visions of what we could be chewing instead! At least, that is what I am thinking of. I ask my daughter – she says she is thinking it is food! I disagree – it is swill! But we are amicable and turn our attention to the desserts instead – a truly lovely Swedish apple cake (again cold though!).
That is my next project – to figure why in such a cold country, most food is served so cold!
And so to my visions… it helps to imagine that I am chewing something rather chewable but completely delicious – the very Indian…
SABUDANE KI KHICHDI
- Sabudana/tapioca pearls /saggubiyyam/jevvarisi – 1 cup – soaked overnight and drained
- Roasted peanuts – 1/2 cup – crush coarsely – reserving a few for garnish
- Potato- sliced into very thin pieces – 1
- Fresh coconut – grated – 2 tbsp
- Green chili – minced – 2
- Juice of 1 lime
- Asafoetida – 1 generous pinch
- Jeera/cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Oil – 1 tbsp
- Chopped coriander – 2 tbsp
Heat the oil in a pan. Add jeera, chili and asafoetida. Fry for a few seconds. Add the potatoes and saute. Cover and cook till tender – shouldn’t take more than 3 minutes or so.
Add the sabudana, peanuts and salt. Saute till the sabudana pearls become translucent and soft.
Switch off, squeeze over lime juice and sprinkle coconut. Serve with a bowl of yogurt on the side.
How about a sabudana khichdi stall at the next Ikea store?
(Pic: Courtesy internet)