“Could you run out and buy some bread and eggs, please? There’s nothing for breakfast!” says the harried advertising executive/wife/mom all rolled into one.
“Mmmm… zzzzz… grunt… hummpphh… zzzz… “ goes the also advertising executive husband, obviously not quite as harried, as he turns over and pulls the pillow over his ears! Where’s the need for an early breakfast at 11 o’clock anyway on a Sunday morning??!
But there’s a little kid in the equation and soon, he is made to roll out of the bed by the simple expedient of having the sheets and pillow pulled off, thereby landing with a thud and an ouch on the floor! He is an equitable guy and doesn’t protest, merely dusting himself off and rubbing the ouch-y part and dragging a brush through his long hair (ah, yes, meet our old friend, the advertising honcho, whose exploits have featured so prominently in these chronicles!) and another brush, not the same one, across his teeth! We are particular, you see! The long hair has not yet been washed (it’s only eleven o’clock, remember?) and there is no pesky towel wrapped around the head to lose sight of – this time!
Secretly also quite happy to go… because you see, we have just become the proud owners of a new car (back in the 80’s, this was a BIG deal!) and are quite happy to saunter off, jingling the keys of the new Maruti in the face of anyone who has to, poor soul, take out a motorcycle, or even poor sod, a Lambretta – the very auntieji of scooters!
Off we go to the nearest supermarket, where, as we walk past the counter, on the way in, we see a message board – the kind that supermarkets allow customers to put up personal ads on. This message board is quite a magnet – who knows what we might be able to pick up there? Anything from a vintage sewing machine to country eggs laid by wild country hens rather than then well-bred poultry farm types to well… like I said, who knows??! And sure enough, the little distraction is rewarded – by seeing a little paper tucked away in a corner – for a Bose music system!
Now, if you, like many here, happened to have grown up in licence raj India, you knew just how exciting a discovery this was to a music lover. Good music systems were not available for love definitely and a lot of money was involved – more than most of us could afford, anyway – unless you had a rich uncle (Ambi maama?) who hadn’t married and was likely to slip you a hundred buck note rather than a 5-star candy… and of course, pigs might fly…
Off goes our pal, hot on the trail of the music system, carefully detaching the little paper from the board when no one was looking. The address is reached, system inspected, bought and an advance paid with a promise of the rest of the money as soon as the bank opens in the morning (no ATMs either, those pre-historic days!), packed with great care, tenderly placed on the passenger seat and cushioned with all the stuff available in the car (ah, that is where the towel went!) and driven with greater care than any post-operative patient coming home from the hospital!
But all this takes time, right? And so, our pal breezes back into the house at one o’clock, wearing the beatific smile that only someone sure he’s done the right thing can wear! To be met by one hungry kid and one angry wife! Where are the eggs and bread? Figuring there is no escape, he carefully places the hair-towel wrapped LARGE and heavy parcel in her outstretched arms!
Has he bought a whole poultry farm? Naah, wrong shape! She opens it. Only in a family as music-mad as this one could the unforgiveable be forgiven! All is forgotten. What is in a few eggs anyway??!
Let’s celebrate the family with this very special koora (curry) from my home state – Andhra…
AAVAPETTINA ARATIPOOVU KOORA (Banana flower curry in mustard paste)
- Arati poovu/banana flower/vaazhaipoo – 1.5 cups – 1 flower – slightly painful process – pulling out the flowers and removing the stamens and pistils – the dongalu (thieves) and pillalu (children) – not kidding, this is what they’re called in Telugu!
- Turmeric – 1 tsp + 1 large pinch
- Chana dal – 1 tsp
- Urad dal – 1 tsp
- Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp + 1/2 tsp
- Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Curry leaves – 2 sprigs
- 1/2 ” piece ginger + 3-4 green chilies – minced together
- Koora podi – 1 tsp (see http://www.anuchenji.com/blog/feeling-right-home-piku-and-toilet for recipe)
- Tamarind paste – 1/2 tsp
- Sesame oil – 3 tsp
- Red chilies – 1 or 2
Grind half tsp of mustard and red chilies together with 1 tsp water to a rough paste. Set aside. This is the final paste which is added AFTER the curry is cooked and gives it it’s characteristic pungently mustard-y flavour.
Soak the banana florets in water with a tsp of turmeric added for 10 minutes.
Wash the florets in 4-5 changes of water and squeeze dry.
Cook the florets along with 1 pinch of turmeric and 1/4 tsp salt and a little water till tender – about 4-5 minutes.
In a pan, heat the oil and temper with 1/4 tsp mustard seeds, chana dal, urad dal, minced ginger-green chili paste and curry leaves. I prefer to microwave the curry leaves on high for a minute till they are crisp and crush them with the fingers over the curry. That way, no one spits out the leaves! Plus of course, your hair will grow black and you will get a hundred in your Math exam!
Add the cooked florets, tamarind paste, curry powder (koora podi) and salt.
Cover and cook for two minutes.
Add the mustard paste and mix throroughly. Switch off.
Serve with hot rice and plain pappu (dal).
You will be forgiven forgetting your entire grocery list if you feed your family this curry!
P.S.: the pic today is only of the florets because I haven’t made the curry yet. Will add curry pic tomorrow!