Monday, June 30, 2014

The English Papers III
Raw green vegetables, red pumpkin, all sliced and cut to fine pieces, preferably of the same size. Starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet or otherwise, may be cut and cooked separately.

Method: Place a thick pan on the fire. Add a spoonful of butter or oil. Allow to heat. Add half a teaspoon of cumin seeds into the butter and allow it to fry till it lets out a flavour. Gently pour in the vegetables and turn down the fire to extreme low. Turn the vegetables in the pan upside down for a bit. Add, salt to taste, a little turmeric powder, a spoonful of garam masala and place a lid over the pan and allow the vegetables to cook in their own juices on a slow fire. Do not add water at this stage. Keep an eye on the pan by occasionally turning the vegetables, this way and that. Once, it is partially cooked, put off the gas and allow the vegetables to cook in the steam, inside the pan. The flavours will marry gently and leave a lasting, effect on your palate, long after the meal is over.

When you are ready to eat, add a little coconut milk to the mixture or cream, in your bowl. Or just plain, warm or boiling water, so you have the liquid effect, just in case you like it that way. Or just eat it, without the additions.

This is a no garlic, no onion vegetable curry, delicate on the taste buds and smooth for your stomach. But if you are one of those, who like it a little strong, then, avoid the cumin seeds seasoning in the pan and replace with crushed garlic and finely chopped onions, fried until brown, before you let the vegetables in, into the pan.

NOT all marriages are as delicate and smooth like the vegetable curry the recipe of which is given above. Clearly, if one starts with a lot of raw and rough smelly flavours, the marriage may be indigestible.

“Indian marriages last forever. They are stable and strong. You certainly do not have that many divorces.”

“This is news to me,” I said, a trifle doubtful about the BIG FAT Indian marriages, ‘at least in Kolkata, I know, divorces have become an epidemic!’

The stability of the old, traditional marriages has given way to adventure. Besides, when both partners are economically independent, there is no need to carry on with a long dead marriage, and be adventurous and embrace the new, which promises a volatile, hot and simmering love, flavoured with passion and non-lasting promises.

When I looked at a generation, in England, which is 65 and above, I saw stability and happiness for having stood their ground and stayed in a marriage, no matter what. But when I looked at the generation which is 25 – 30 years younger, I saw people have been more adventurous with their lives and have been able to weather many changes and have taken risks in their lives for which they have no regrets.

I am not sure whether it is the security of living in a country, where, to love and procreate, without having to marry, gives a person, a freedom, dear to the soul, or is it just that marriage is still an important institution, but one does not have to marry to have children.

I am not sure that our society in India will ever change to accommodate the freedom of the soul, to love, without questioning, gender, caste, creed, education, profession and mother’s family line details before we hope to tie the knot.

Looking back, I am reluctant to make a judgement, as to whether, we are moving fast forward, or rewinding backward.

I have a taste for a delicately flavoured Indian curry, which lingers in my taste buds and does not bring up a strong smelling garlic onion burp that can shatter a good night’s sleep.

I think Jill will agree with me totally. We always finished a night’s meal with the Indian curry and packaged ready to eat, steamed fish or chicken, topped with a cuppa and dark chocolate.

Splendid! I say, splendid!

                                       Watch video: What is the Big Fat Indian Wedding, today.

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