So it’s only a week till I get on a plane back home, and as usual the last few days before take-off have me turned into a grumpy mumbling fidgety little thing constantly reminded of homely comforts. And the number one thing at home I yearn for?
Oh god. Yesterday I literally stabbed a pillow with my fist and yelled ‘CHICKEN CURRAAAYYYY’.
I’m hoping none of my apartment mates heard this. It would not bode well with my cool-foreigner status.
I am more or less vegetarian here, because my landlady cooks my meals – she lives with her mum-in-law who as a devout Hindu is like Captain Ultra Vegan and is very nazi about people who eat meat. And I remember the first day I landed in India with my parents – we went to a typical Indian restaurant, had typical Indian vegetarian food, and it was freaking DELICIOUS. I ate some curry and was literally like, this tastes like chicken, except it’s vegetarian… what sorcery is this?!
My point being. Vegetarian food in India can be really tasty, because it has a majority vegetarian population which can’t be satisfied eating salad on a regular basis. So they got super creative and invented a jillion different types of vegetarian dishes to choose from.
But what’s on my landlady’s menu? Chapati. Dhal. Every. Freaking. Day.
If it’s not dhal, it’s some weird grey or brown pulses in grey or brown fluid which tastes like dhal.
And when I say tastes like dhal, I mean tastes like soggy paper.
Occasionally she’ll make some curry with potatoes; one day while forcing myself to eat it – in order to sustain some energy throughout the day – it occurred to me that it felt like I was eating a cigarette wrapped in a chapati.
So in terms of food here I have managed to harness great self control, discipline and tolerance. I tried cooking at the very start of my stay in Delhi, but then I got lazy when classes started (plus I have quite a few battle-scars from my cooking attempts, I don’t think the kitchen part of the apartment is very fond of me). Then I tried ordering take-away everyday – Pizza Hut, McDonalds, KFC, in loop – but that isn’t very healthy at all, plus it’s relatively expensive. The awesome restaurant food I mentioned earlier is unavailable because the part of Delhi I live in – very residential and all – isn’t famous for restaurants. Also important to note, Delhi is nowhere near the sea, so if you wanna buy seafood it’s gonna be crazy expensive. So I settled for the affordable deal of landlady-meals, which were deceptively edible at the start, only to later become a routine of a daily dose of gross pulses. Once in a blue moon I meet up with another Sri Lankan friend / fellow blogger in Delhi and go eat at an amazing restaurant; and on some days when I go nuts (like the stabbing pillow incident) I give in and call up the Zinger burger guys.
Anyway, it’s a few hours before my first exam paper (end of my first academic year), and I’d like to distract myself by indulging in a little bitter-sweet masochism and go through the meals I’m really looking forward to when I get back home.
I don’t know what this dish is called in english, but ‘perattal’ in Tamil means mixed up, usually with chilli powder, onions and all sorts of yummy spices. I think it’s tossed about for a while in the pan in oil. It’s a very spicy dish with no watery curry, just soft potatoes in the residue of spices. Served with lots of rice and ordinary chicken curry.
What a cliché right? But I would give anything to be at Galle Face now, eating two or three fresh, warm salty-spicy isso vadeys.
Macaroni and cheese & fried chicken
This is home-made stuff made by this epic cook of an Aunty – featuring just macaroni seeped in abundant creamy white cheese, served with a coupla fried chicken legs. The dish just cannot be given justice to with a description, you have to eat it to know.
Cannot be described again. By another epic cook of an Aunty. These aunties, I tell you, mad skills only.
Again home-made – courtesy of mummy! Lots of cheese and self indulgence and such.
Home-made – by the dad. His job is in Business, but his real calling and talent is the art of cooking! Master chef only. Served fresh from the pressure cooker – have not yet been able to find the equal of his pilawoo in any shop.
This sounds like a petty thing to miss. But I haven’t been able to find even a freaking hotdog stand where I live. I want to have one awesome Tomato hotdog with extra chillies from the Stardogs stand at the Majestic City food court. Or get dad to make one – with Norfolk + a slice of Happy Cow cheese + 30 seconds in the microwave = pure perfection!
Big red jumbo prawns, sauteed in lots of red chilli and onions, served with a side of rice. Mmmmmmmmmmm!
Eclairs from that shop near the Dehiwela junction
I don’t remember the damn name of the shop – but you keep walking towards the junction from the Wellawatte side and there’ll suddenly be a small flight of steps to your left, descending into a quaint little bakery. An eclair is only 20 rupees I think – brimming with chocolate cream, totally delicious. Once I ordered 20 on the spot, but there were only 10 available, so the baker actually went to the kitchen and made 10 more for me in a few minutes.
Chicken Cordon Bleu
I want to just go to Burgers King and say SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY and eat all their burgers. Om nom nom!
Oh god it’s like food-porn to think of Kiribath with some red hot katta sambol! Sigh.
So yeah. Basically, during my 2 month vacation at home I’m going to eat mountains of food on a daily basis and slowly metamorphosize into a giant ball with a face. Till then, I’m going to have to settle for a warm dish of Maggi noodles at the college canteen. And maybe some mournful binge eating at KFC later. And then maybe I’ll stab another pillow for good measure.
In other news, to read more of my nonsense, but in real life instead of on the interwebz, look for this pretty little logo in the Teen Inc supplement of Ceylon Today:
Yes, they’re actually paying me for this shit. What is the world coming to?