Thursday, February 11, 2010

Drinking your food

There's hardly a vegetable I don't like - but if someone asked me how I like my food best - then it must be hot, it must have lots of liquid (almost drinkable), it must be savoury(and must make your mouth water in anticipation). For example, it could be a light dal, a dish with lots of gravy, or even a good soup.

During my first dozen years in Mumbai, I used to eat most of my meals in restaurants. Every dish had to be the way I liked it, Mutter paneer was "Bade paneer ke tukde, fry kiye hue. Double uble hue mutter. Aur, pani ki tarah gravy." [Big pieces of fried paneer, double boiled peas and water-like gravy] Such would be the standard instruction to anyone who waited on me.

I remember when I went to a friend's house for lunch in Chandigarh a few years back. Her grandmother had made some plain ghar-wali daal. There was enough to last the evening meal too, but when I started with it, I unabashedly drank cup-after-cup, much to the grandmother's delight,  and my friend's exclaimed shock. They had to make fresh dal for dinner.

I think I like fluid-foods because I love to drink much of my food. If my food quenches my thirst, while satisfying my hunger, I think I like it best. If it is rasam-saadam (the south indian staple, Rasam rice), the mix would be in a large cup with little rice and lots of rasam. Dal must be drunk, and I must feel the liquid gravy of the subzi flow down my gullet. Soups are a natural favourite, and many times, I have made a satisfying meal of upto 4 cups of french-onion soup alone.

One good variant of a nutritious soup emerged from my need to finish some cut vegetables at home. The  soup made with the main ingredients of tomato and peas, has become a staple with me every time I want a quick, tasty and nutritious meal.

Tomato-Pea vegetable soup

 Main ingredients

- 1 large garlic, crushed well
- 1 small onion [chopped fine]
- 1 small boiled potato (or half of medium potato) [cut small]
- 1/2 cup peas
- 1 small tomato (cut small)
- 1 tsp scoop of butter
- 1 tbsp fine-flour (maida)

Other ingredients
- Fresh Oregano [few leaves]
- Fresh Rosemary [one sprig]
- Fresh Basil [few leaves]
- Sea Salt and Pepper to taste (freshly ground)


1. Heat the butter till it froths and the garlic
2. Add the onion and fry till transluscent
3. Add flour and stir (but do not let it get brown)
4. Add the peas and saute for 2 minutes (till a little soft)
5. Add tomatoes and fry till little soft
6. Add the cut potato pieces and turn for 1 minutes
7. Add 3 cups of vegetable stock and the herbs.
8. Bring to boil and cool down partly
9. Remove 90% of the ingredients and do a rough puree
10. Add back to 10% and simmer for 10 minutes
11. Add Sea-salt and herbed pepper to taste.

Serve hot with breadsticks or garlic bread.


  1. This blog really works for me.
    Am back to read the second instalment. Glad I did.
    I hope you don't mind my saying so, but I've sometimes found your approach a little... what should I say... exaggerated. Full of flourishes, not always necessary.
    But these are wonderfully restrained pieces. And they reveal more about the writer than an opinion-piece would.
    One suggestion: Can't you get someone to modify the layout?

    - Arindam

  2. Thanks a heap on both counts chief..

    Am working on the lsyout..