My regular readers will remember my pre Covid partner in crime Ramesh, with whom I used to go to the movies regularly. During almost the whole of last year we did not meet but were in regular telephone touch with each other. This year too we have not met personally yet, though we have seen and spoken to each other on a few occasions, with a fence separating us.
Ramesh rang me up last night to announce that a treat will be delivered to me at home for lunch today. It came just before lunch time and my day was made.
This is Sai Bhaji a dish popular among Sindhis and which Ramesh knows I like very much.
We had made idlies and onion chutney to go with it and the unusual combination was simply sensational.
I over ate and had a blissful siesta and as I write this am full of gratitude for Ramesh and our country’s varieties of cuisines.
Have you experimented with mixing up different cuisines during a single meal?
Amul is a famous dairy products organisation of India offering a variety of products which are household names. It is also famous for its hoarding advertising which are humorous and topical. If you follow the link given earlier, there is a special column for its advertising which will be interesting for strangers to read.
Amul has constantly been innovating and launching new products and customers are delighted with the range and reach via all traditional and non traditional distribution channels. My family and I are great fans of it and its products.
Amul’s Camel Milk Chocolate was launched three years ago and I came to know of it only last year through an advertisement in a magazine that I normally do not read. Since then, I have been wanting to taste it but thanks to Covid, had to wait for it till earlier today when my son on an outing found it in a store, remembered my craving for it and bought it for me.
(If you look at the image carefully, you will see an embossed image of a camel and pieces of chocolate at the bottom right corner.)
I am delighted. It is everything that I expected from an unusual source. It tastes kind of strange but still very addictive. Now that I know where it can be bought from, it will regularly feature in my snacks.
A cousin who is very dear to me, has been living alone sans his wife the last month and during the time has been cooking up storms of his favourite dishes from his childhood. He suddenly mentioned one particular dish called Avial and how he tried his hand at it and it came our very successful.
This inspired me to try the same at my home for today’s lunch and I was treated with much appreciation by my daughter in love, her mother who was visiting and my son.
To accompany this dish one more traditional dish was also on the menu called Adai. Preparations were made yesterday itself for it and it too was made for lunch and that too was successful.
A friend posted a karaoke song in a WhatsApp group in which I am a member. Some others and I complimented him on his delivery and he has promptly said that he is encouraged to post most such efforts.
This reminds me of a story that goes back to four decades.
A colleague had invited me over to his home for a meal during a visit to Pune where he was stationed but I was stationed at Mumbai. It was an excellent meal and I thoroughly enjoyed it except for one dish which was obviously a favourite of my colleague and his wife made with karela. I did not have the heart to express my dislike for the vegetable or the dish and complimented the lady of the house for having made it specially for me. I had the mortification of being forced two more helpings of that dish that night. And that was not all. After we moved to Pune permanently, they were still graceful hosts and kept cooking that dish every time we went there for a meal thinking that it was my favourite dish.
My late wife who liked the vegetable and the dish however enjoyed my discomfort and would tease me for having been such a dishonest flatterer.
I have had two telephone calls from other members of the group who did not like the rendering of the karaoke and have criticised me for having praised the friend!
Has being polite like that resulted in such faux pas for you too?
Nick had this to say in his comments on my blog post Winter Speciality Food:. “I wonder if other dishes would benefit from being cooked “under a warm winter sun in an open field on a farm”? In fact Wikipedia tells me that “the dish is traditionally cooked upside down underground in earthen pots”. Sounds a bit tricky! But your Undhiyu looks delicious, however it was cooked!”
I thought that the best way to learn the process which I have seen a few times, is to share this video with my readers.
Among the various people who have adopted me as their own, a notable pair from Mumbai, is ND and his lovely bride RD. ND without fail will call me every Sunday morning to check if I am still alive and to assure himself that I have not removed his name from my last will and testament.
Today was no exception but, our conversation took off into a different orbit when he grandly announced, to irritate me, that RD was making Undhiyu for lunch today.
That took me to my younger and more adventurous days when I used to travel extensively and taste local cuisines wherever I happened to be. I have had Undhiyu the way it should be had; under a warm winter sun in an open field in a farm with the dish being cooked in the field. I have also had the dish made the modern way using pressure cookers in a number of places and, one notable occasion was when ND’s sister in love JD, one day caught an early morning train from Mumbai to come to Pune for a day to cook Undhiyu for us. She brought all the ingredients from Mumbai as she had doubts that she could get some of them in Pune. She landed up at 11.15 am, came home, cooked and had lunch with us. She then caught the 3.30 pm train back to Mumbai.
So many memories of this particular dish today and to rub salt in my wound the rascal ND, decided to send me a photograph in WhatsApp of what RD had made.