lalita larking

An obsession with cryptic crosswords. Everything else falls in place.

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Location: Kolkata, India

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Famed odors

I was chatting with a friend a few weeks ago, and he said I could write about dreams and dreamscapes. I don’t dream much, I said. But there are things you want, wish that would happen, surely, he said. That is not dreaming, I said. That is thinking about things, wishing.

When you ardently wish for a situation, you’ll contrive to make it happen. That is when dreams turn into aspirations and goals. That is the difference.

I do think of a few impossible things, though. Famed odors is an anagram of food dreams, for instance. I don’t think of masala dosa or hot steaming rasam, though, thank you, Chenthil, Neha.

Heat emanating from the perfectly puffed out circle of batura, awaiting a nail to puncture the tissue thin top layer that makes a globe out of a circle and let out clouds of steam; glistening with oil and darkly, richly, fragrantly inviting chole. I think of that.

A white mound of rice, almost too hot to handle; the ephemeral aroma of fresh and pungent mustard, still plump mango pieces, and oil seeping slowly into the rice; the dollop of sinfully red new avakaya awaiting the first mouthful of the year. I think of that too.

Thin and crisp all over, gold and brown shading into saffron and russet where the heat was too intense; dotted with green titillation of chillies and curry leaves; a vast expanse of aroma and taste explosion waiting to happen; the crackle crinkle pop of breaking off the first piece, the ineffable invitation of a rava dosa. I think of it.

A sea of sambar in a plate, dotted with islands of baby onions; a white raft of idli to navigate towards the gleaming ecru dunes and shores of chutney. I’d settle for that.

Cheers!

21 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about eating kara kara atukulu with little pieces of onions- when it is drizzling or hot yellow pesarakattu with white rice - when it is pouring cats and dogs!- kavita

11:58 am  
Blogger neha vish said...

Idli! As a kid I used to think of them as boring and would eagerly grab any other alternative. But now, I sit down and sigh over the mountains of idlis that I let slip by.

Baby onion sambar.. (alright, that's on tonight's menu then.)

2:54 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A mound of hot rice made a rich burnt orange mixed with Kandi podi with a depression just formed to receive dark Pachi pulusu with red onions & green mirchi. The reaction between the two that tastes divine
Tivi

5:53 pm  
Blogger Chenthil said...

ah, idlis.

10:14 pm  
Anonymous Lekhni said...

I just finished a lunch of melons and pineapple. And then I read your post. Masala dosas, rasam, chole, bhature, avakaya..oh well, if you had purposely set out to make me hungry again, you could not have done better :D

11:55 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Kavi- How about mirapakaya bajji that gets your eyes and nose streaming? :-)

Neha- Exactly. I used to sneer at idli too. Now I'd perhaps not kill, but definitely injure or maim for a plate of idli. How about okra in sambar?

Tivi- How does chaaru and gummadikaya vadiyaalu sound?

Chenthil- Ah, idli indeed!

Lekhni- A lunch of melons and pineapple sounds so healthy, and so...um, tame. :-)

6:17 am  
Anonymous PTC said...

You make me hungry,and yearn for food that I consider(ed) boring.I took deep breaths trying to inhale the aroma of the imaginary food you described.

12:09 pm  
Blogger Sivaram said...

Hah ! Tame indeed !!
Say that after a ten-day trip to China, after ordering by looking at a picture, and hoping to get lucky .....

But tomorrow shall be uttha pappu with avakayi :)

2:43 pm  
Blogger dipali said...

Oh Lali! When will I get to eat such yum stuff again? I've not even had a pinch of pepper in the last month.
My mouth is watering.

4:15 pm  
Blogger sra said...

How evocative, Lalita! Ran into your blog a few weeks ago and have been visiting - I'm reading this piece over and over.

5:36 pm  
Anonymous Lekhni said...

Yes, the fruits are healthy and tasty and all that. But can they even dream of competing with idli and chutney, or the baby onion sambhar (with roasted potatoes?)

11:02 pm  
Blogger dipali said...

Having drooled sufficiently, let me add what I'd really wanted to say- only you, Lali, can turn food into sheer poetry.

7:40 am  
Blogger Lalita said...

PTC- Shall I describe the joy of cooking Maggi noodles then?

Sivaram- Ordering food by looking at a picture, the mind boggles, I say. pappu and avakaya with rice, accompanied by pachchi pulusu is the perfect antidote for such woes.

Dipali- Ah, well. You will at least get to eat such food again. I think it is the fact that I can't eat such food any more that makes me wax eloquent about it. :-)

SRA- Hello. And coming from a food blogger it is praise indeed, thankee kindly. I can't post pictures, so I have only words to talk about food, I am afraid.

Lekhni- You had to mention roast potatoes, hadn't you? What a cruel person you are.

9:40 pm  
Blogger gaddeswarup said...

Lalita,
I am not sure whether you are familiar with this. In Krishna and Guntur districts, mainly in farming families, we use a spiced chilli powder called 'sambaru karamu' (it has nothing to do with sambar). That is the one I miss most. Without Guntur Dt. chillies, it does not taste the same here. When we were kids, if there were no snacks when we came back from school, I used it this karamu and I still do whenever I can get it.

2:19 pm  
OpenID varali said...

A bowl of ragi kanjee, lightly sweetened with jaggery, softly fragranced with cardamom. A bhogyam anytime.

4:01 pm  
Blogger anantha said...

Do rava idlies count? :)

I have made a batch every other day this past week, thanks to the good people at Mavalli Tiffin Room whose vacuum packed rava idly mix rocks :)

2:20 am  
OpenID netizen said...

caarau gummaDikaaya vaDiyam
and of course sambaaru kaaram
vEDi vEDi annamlO errhaTi aavakaaya
pacchi pulusu..
mouth watering and steaming nose and eyes
and where the hell is that damned ghee and water..miigaDa?!

5:00 pm  
Blogger Lalita said...

Swarup garu- This is the first time I learned of the existence of something called 'sambaru kaaram'. Well, one lives and learns. :-)

Varali- I am afraid you are outnumbered by people who dream of chillies here. Sweetening with jaggery is something Gults associate with feast days, not everyday food.

Anantha- No, rava idli doesn't count. Why don't you venture into dosa with the batter and tell me how it went?

Netizen- Hello, welcome back to my comment space.

Sripada has it that kotta Avakaaya is also paired with vennapoosa, and that is as cholesterol rich as it gets, right? But it balances out, usually.

10:07 pm  
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11:08 pm  
Anonymous DegeSMS said...

anantha well done.

7:00 pm  

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