Saturday, August 12, 2006

Mom's cooking

I was going through the archives of all other bloggies. One entry that I find really fascinating is the event, 'Ten Things I Miss Most from Mom's Cooking,' mainly because the entries contribute a lot to my quest on the regional food of Kerala.

Naturally, I too tried to compile a list, for myself. Then, I realised - there're hardly any for me !

Don't be shocked. It is true. I hardly miss much from my amma's cooking. One thing, I live just 1 - 1 1/2 hours away from home. Then, my childhood memories of food aren't that great, to be frank.

My memories of food from childhood, except for the splendour of Onam or pirannal sadya-s (birthday feasts), are rather bland. Non-happening. Nothing out of the ordinary.

My parents are pure vegetarians. No meat or fish has crossed the threashold of their house so far. In my mother's case it is quite interesting as her siblings are carnivores, as I used to describe. But they used to eat an occasional egg. Eggs appeared in our menu mainly for my sis and me, who turned out to be eggitarians. I introduced the delicacy of 'muttakkari' for the first time in our kitchen.

How I learnt to cook that 'muttakkari' is a story. During college days, I was very much politically active, travelling around a lot. We would stay at the houses of party comrades all over the place. Once, at a Muslim household in Kodungalloor, we were served vallayappam and the loveliest muttakkari that I ever tasted.

Afterwards, it was a Herculean task to re-create that taste. I had no recipe, but just remembered the taste. So I 'de-constructed' the taste and experimented and experimented, until ....... almost the same taste was created ! My mother and sister still follows the same method. I don't call it recipe, but just a method !

What I did was - I sliced up onions (sabola), as nicely as I could, longish way. Sliced ginger and garlic, also green chilies (now I don't, since developing allergy to hot taste). Then sauteed and sauteed everything, starting with garlic, ginger, till the onions turned transparent, got reduced in quantity and a heavenly sweet smell appeared. Then came chopped tomatoes, which were again sauted till the raw smell disappeared. Next was the turn of masala-s, corriander powder, egg masala / chicken masala (packaged), turmeric and chilly powders. Again, sauting the whole mixture till the raw smell of the powders disappeared.

Then, I poured water over the whole mixture, making a sizzling commotion. Into the water went salt to taste and it was left to boil, with occasional stirring, till the oil began to float on the surface. At that moment, goes in the boiled, shelled and cut-into-two eggs, slowly placed over the gravy and left to simmer for a few minutes, to let it soak in the masala.

The final touch, if needed. Saute chopped small onions in oil till very crisp and pour over the curry.

It's a long time since I made this curry ! For one thing, we don't make elaborate break-fasts. The lunch is mostly eaten out. And the dinner starts to get cooked around 9 - 10 p.m.

May be, one of these days !!!

More about my home food later.


Anonymous said...

Finally a recipe from you! Hurray!
I add coconut milk instead of water!

indianadoc said...

Renu,you have whipped up a wonderful mutta curry anyway thro' u'r 'deconstruction' Derrida in the kitchen?!!

Shaheen said...

thats our regular mutta curry. so nice to have someone deconstruct it to get the taste. nice story too.

renuramanath said...

thank you shaheen. though a veggie, eggs were always my weakness. and i'll never forget the taste of that muttakkari from the house of that comrade at kodungalloor.

indianadoc said...

What happened renu,still ruminating over mom's cooking? No more posts? Or getting ready for Onam?...So advance Onam wishes to u!!

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