Pasta, Kheer, Avial – Gourmet’s Delight, Reader’s Pleasure

Asia | | May 26, 2011 at 3:27 am




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Gorge into the palates and enter the world of delicious Indian cuisine. Ever thought what goes behind tickling those taste buds and what is it that makes the gourmand ask for more? I, for one was never a food lover but Indian cuisine is such that it makes you long for more and ask for more. That is the specialty of Indian cuisine.

With a country as diverse as India and with cultures ranging from Kashmiri, to Bengali, Gujarati to Tamilian, the tradition and the food patterns also vary though with a common strand of bonding – the feeling of being Indian. India – the land of unity in diversity has its own unique way of bringing forth the idea of cooking. If it is Avial, in Kerala, it is Undhyo in Gujarat, if it is Shukto in Bengal; it is kootu in Tamil Nadu. The concept is the same, the making different. Similarly if it is kheer in North India, it is Payasam in South India and payas in the eastern part of India. Nowhere in the world would we find a culture as diverse yet so unified as in India.

Come let us explore the unity in diversity of Indian cuisine.

Kheer, Payasam and Payas

Kheer: This is a delicacy made out of rice and milk and sugar. The dish made in North India has more of rice and lesser milk thus reducing the consistency. It is called Payasam in South India and Payas in the Eastern Part of India.

Take a litre of milk and let it boil over. Add one cup of rice and boil this rice in the milk till soft. Add 2 cups sugar and let the mixture boil till it is reduced to half. The white milk takes a cream color and this is when it is known that the kheer is done. Put some dry fruits on top and your kheer or payasam or payas is ready.

Kheer is also made with semolina and sago.

Avial et al

Avial is a mixture of vegetables cooked in a special way. Cut the vegetables lengthwise. The vegetables used for Avial are drumstick, red pumpkin, white gourd, snake gourd, yam and raw banana. Boil these vegetables with salt and turmeric powder. Add a mixture of half a coconut paste, two teaspoons of curd and top it with a dash of coconut oil. Tasty Avial is ready.

The same is called as Undhyo in Gujarat with a difference. Cut yam, potatoes, sweet potato, colocasia, brinjal, flat gourd into big pieces. Stuff them with a filling which has fenugreek leaves, coriander, coconut, cumin powder, chilli powder salt and turmeric and place them over oil in a pan. Add a cup of water and let it steam cook till done. Top it with coriander and your undhyo is ready.

Thus it is seen that Indian cuisine involves minimal effort and maximum taste. Non vegetarian dishes are also prepared with the nutrients value in mind and care is taken that the food is not made very oily or spicy.

Cuisine Mix

Of late Indian cuisine is going globally popular by mixing two cuisines together. For example the popular Indian dosa is being mixed with the Chinese cuisine and the chopsuey of Chinese and the dosa of India is mixed to make a Chopsuey Dosa. Similarly there are Mexican dosas, Indian pastas and Italian burgers. In this manner the cuisine of the world is getting merged and we are all progressing towards global unity.

Bread, Burger, Pav

The burger in the West is popular as the Vada Pav in Maharashtra. The burger has a filling of vegetables in the centre with salad and bread as the main holder of the food. The Vada Pav in Maharashtra has a potato cutlet as the filling in the centre and has a dash of sauce and is had with a loaf of bread as the holder. The Dabeli in Gujarat is a filling of potato and peanut in the middle with a loaf of bread to hold it. Concept is the same, the making is different and so is the taste. But the main pattern is the same. This is the specialty of cuisine and Indian cuisine definitely tops the list of healthy and nutritious food.

Pasta or Upma

We have the Italian pasta with pasta shells to be boiled and dipped in a tomato puree based sauce. We have the Indian Seviya Upma which is similarly prepared with a mixture of onion and tomato fried and the semolina added with water and the whole thing is boiled. Pasta is more spicy and has a tangy tomato base. Seviya Upma is dry but the concept is the same.

There is the raita in Northern India. It is made with yoghurt as the base and some salad added to it. It could be cucumber, carrot, or tomatoes. The pachadi in Tamil Nadu has the same ingredients only a dash of coconut is added as coconuts are in plenty here. The same is made in Maharashtra and called the koshimbir and they just variety it with a dash of green chilies cut and added to it.

The concept is the same, the dishes named differently.

The list is endless and the dishes are never-ending. The combination of cuisines and the merging of cultures is what makes international food and local food so enjoyable. If wishes were horses we could have had a platform and showcased the entire list of delicacies and yet the world would come to an end, but not the platform.

This is what food is all about. It lies on us, to make best use of it and learn to understand the theory and logic behind good food and good eating.

My say:

Come, eat fall in love with cuisine of all kinds

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