Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tell-A-Tale (Part 33): Jaipur On My Mind

So, it’s been almost 8 months since we said goodbye. Not much have I heard about you these days. I’m assuming it’s a good thing for if it’s another devastating attack on your beautiful city that I have to come across, God knows how terrible it will make me and the rest of the world feel. No news is good news. Yes, let’s keep it that way.

Things are not going well here though. You see, we’ve gotten into a little trouble of late. Money trouble. And the unfolding of the real life dramas that headline the dailies these days are not making us any richer. Or better.

I think a lot about escapism these days. For awhile, at least.

Call me mad but I wish a black cat will lead me to another world where time stands still so that I can sit back and reprioritize my life before the clock starts ticking again. Sometimes, there are dreams of houses up in the mountains where different types of herbs grow in my garden and I will just wake up to smell them, have delicious meals cooked for me and sleep again until the next day. Oh, I dream of a pork noodle stall too, complete with black vinegar from Zhe Jiang.

On one of those dreamy days, I found myself in the library, looking at titles most familiar to me. The blue Lonely Planets and the compact (but heavy) DKs. Across the rows of global escapisms, I saw a tag that said Indian Food Recipes.

And that’s when I remembered you. You were a true escape. Not of those silly, dreamy Piscean shits. You were real. Your history, culture and people astounded me. Your food, oh my God, your food can charm even the most venomous of foodies. Just throw them your majestic Rajasthani thali and watch them go weak.

I took a few glossy ones, sat at a corner and decided that this was one of the best. Atul Kochhar’s Indian Essence.

The picture of the Laal Maas reminded me of the redness in your cooking. Red, fiery red. And that was one of the reasons why I loved it so much. I scrapped the initial idea of attempting a roganjosh and went ahead to adapt Mr. Kochhar’s Laal Maas recipe instead. Cooking’s more fun when it comes with reminiscence of the good times (and good food).

Of course, it was nowhere near the real thing but the spirit of the fellowship of the spices was very well contained. Imagine a combination of turmeric, dried chili flakes, ground coriander, cardamom, toasted cumin and garam masala raveled in the wonder of yoghurt.

I need to work on making the meat tenderer. And to remind myself to be sensible on the chili flakes as I am afterall, not Rajasthani.

In the morning after, sans the smell of herbs in my garden up in the mountains, I reheated the Laal Maas and made myself a pasta dish with more chopped coriander for a ting of freshness.

Jaipur, I hear you sniggering at this feeble attempt of your infamous Laal Maas and that you rather have me trying a Chettinad dish which I am more familiar with. But thank you for I know you mean well and that you just want me to not forget you and your wonderful people. And food.

You can be sure of that, my friend.

25 comments:

Selba said...

I wish to visit India!
I wish to see the Taj Mahal, the Bollywood, the Ganga river and the cultures.
I wish to try all kind of the Indian food from North to South.
I wish I have the money to make my dreams come true :)

Life for Beginners said...

You are such a multicultural fler lah... a lil bit of China, a lil bit of Japan, a lot of India these days and all round fun fun fun to be with! :D

thenomadGourmand said...

gimme more of the chilli! The India's Indian food does taste different ya?

qwazymonkey said...

When you throwing a party here? I so wanna self-invite myself. The dishes are so tempting.

CUMI & CIKI said...

so bittersweet.. ! starts off sad.. but ends in triumphant glory.. beautiful food :D great post hairy:)

ck lam said...

I am missing the Indian food now...

~Christine~Leng said...

i love your post.. woot!
such beautiful indian food accompanied by such wonderful literature Nic :)

backStreetGluttons said...

We know why these dark & sensuous things are heavy on your mind coz we also got this darkening thoughts looming darkly across our strained backs. Relief we fear may lie too near Jaipur yet too far from home but thank god we can feel fresh hopes right on screen...

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

"recipe" without a recipe?

poet n chef..respect with a capital T!

mimid3vils said...

You cook this? Allowed me call u sifu!!!

Nic (KHKL) said...

selba, India is such a beautiful place to visit! ;D u must go there one day! it's still cheaper than many countries and the food's amazing. i think some budget airlines like airasia and tigerairways started flying there d...do check it out! ;D

kenny, awwwww, u so sweet la! i guess we shd count ourselves fortunate to have had the chance to experience the different cultures that we've been blessed with. so, let's go makan blr with our chopsticks! it'll be fun! ;D

thenomadGourmand, Indian food is fantastic! the mixtures of all the different herbs are very very tempting! and i must say that we do have a good selection of Indian food back home too!

qwazymonkey, hahaha! i only shiok sendiri one la. if i throw a party, i think either i hafta cater the food or have mum cooking for me. just the pressure itself will kill me..haha! hmm, jom makan kat luar instead..haha! ;D

cumi & ciki, thanks for the compliment, dear! i wrote this like how i felt yesterday. ;D u shud try to visit jaipur the next time u go to India. and if u hv more time, check out jaisalmer!

Nic (KHKL) said...

ck lam, ooohhh, penang has a really good selection of indian food! do review some and let us know ya! ;D

christine, aiyoh, thank you so much for the compliment! i am not worthy la... ;D but u know, this was kinda nostalgic cos it was in jaipur that i had my first true thali. yummy! hey, uk got lotsa good indian food too!!!

backstreetgluttons, the power of the atoms/photons have enabled us to transpire even the thickest of banana leafs to show us the other side of the food and that is indeed a good thing that we should cherish. when it's pouring rain, we have to prepare for the weather, with the leaves and roots we have. we must.

joe, cooking without a recipe? haha, that reminds me of that fella from chef at home. thanks for the compliment dude...i am not worthy la...i'm hardly a poet or chef la. a sendiri shioker only..heehhe...

mimi, i cooked the food from the last 3 pictures, actually, it's just one dish from different angles..haha! me sifu? omg, i so malu lah..haha! hey, u good up lotsa good stuff too! ;D

Xiu Long Bao said...

Like I've told ya, my relationship with indian food is as good as yours with desserts.

But I dun mind attending the "Hairy Berry celebrates Deepavali" party.

550ml jar of faith said...

As good a tribute to Jaipur as it can get... what would we ever do without cross-border literature? Roll over and drown in our respective nostalgia. I am sooo feeling the spice attack now!

Tummythoz said...

*blocking calendar for Nic(KHKL)'s Deepavali party*

FBB said...

did you make that pasta? it looks delicious, like mee goreng mamak...

J2Kfm said...

very well written. though in the essence of the post, you're portraying a little of ... India-sick. as in homesick, not the negative impact of it.

since Air Asia's flying there, I'm seriously itching for a trip there. now if only i can find someone who's willing ...

UnkaLeong said...

Looks up calendar and blocks Deepavali date. Sits and waits with Tummy. Don't forget the invite;)

Bobby said...

I am proud to be an Indian.I love cooking. Dishes on plates are different and mouthwatering by its very look of it ,hope it tastes yummy..canyou send me the recipes of these dishes?

sc said...

the dish looks gorgeous..will be dreaming of jaipur tonight..

CUMI & CIKI said...

so u think u can post such photos of indian and get away with not iniviting me for makan ar.. u think again mister :P mwuahahaha

GFAD said...

That plate of lal maas looks gorgeous! Mutton? Must be lovely with kulcha. If you ever come to this part of the world, you must try the Indian food. It's fantastic!

Eh, Deepavali I not around. Early pre-Deepavali party in Aug can ah? :D

Nic (KHKL) said...

xiu long bao, i think i can handle desserts better than u handling Indian food la. u must try indian desserts. komala's this week! ;D

oh, and thanks in advance for sponsoring the whole of the Deepavali event. you da bomb. ;P

550ml jar of faith, oh yes, cross-border literature is really both inspiring and fun! talking about spice attack, i once had lemonade with garam masala..omg! haha!

tummythoz, hehehehehe, we must all thank xlb for her generosity. ;D

fbb, yupe, i made that rendang kambing and the pasta. i had some extra spaghetti in the fridge and thought i might as well finished it la. hence, the mee goreng mamak.

j2kfm, woah, thanks for the compliment, bro! yeah, in fact, i do miss India cos the food is good and there's just so much to see and do! if only it was more peaceful...hmmm...

oooohh, when u wanna go? south India sounds very interesting! ;D

UnkaLeong, hahaha! i am looking forward to it too! am now just waiting for xlb to hand me the cheque.... ;D

Bobby, thanks for dropping by!!! yes, i agree. Indian food is quite distinctive geographically and similarly spicy at the same time. yummy! i only have the recipe for the laal maas. which one do you want? do email me! ;D

sc, ohhh, i had countless dreams of jaipur d..ok, mostly food related..and luckily i dont salivating when i dream! haha!

cumi & ciki, of course if i have a partay u'll be invited la... ;D am just waiting for the cheque to arrive..hehe...

GFAD, woah, thanks for the compliment!!! yupe, it's mutton. actually, it was supposed to be rather watery but i prefer mine dry. hence the rendang-like texture. oh, if i every visit abu dhabi, i'll know who to call! ;D

haha, when you get back, we go makan Indian food! ;D

babe_kl said...

arrghh u make me miss chicken varuval! time to hit some today

thenomadGourmand said...

oohhh...dun forgt me ahh..*waiting patiently for Deepavali*