“Bhuttaaaa… bhuttaaa… mokkaaa jonnaaaloooo… ” still echoes in my ears from childhood. The bhuttawala – the guy who sold the most amazing tender corn – the “correct” Indian variety, not the sickeningly sweet American corn which has taken over the market today -lament, lament… it’s almost impossible to get Indian corn varieties in Madras any more 🙁
The guy used to sell roasted and masala-ed corn with the bite of chili and the tang of lemon – for 5 paisa each!!! That’s like 20 to the rupee and at today’s exchange rates, 1800 to the dollar!! Okay, okay, I know I’m not accounting for inflation and all the funda about exchange rates but we’re only talking about corn, for heaven’s sake – I’m NOT giving a lesson in economics! Okay, having said all that, it was 7.27 rupees to the dollar in 1973 – or 145.5 corns as close as i can make it! Whatever… but the idea was that we could gorge ourselves on a rupee’s worth of corn if kind relatives who came and stayed and went tipped us generously with a buck apiece as they often did. I don’t think I can afford 145.5 corns today! Gorge ourselves we often did and the resulting tummy aches were always thought well worth it!
Cut to 1992… a small child comes home from school. “Amma, can you make the yummy thing Vinaya brought in her lunch box today?” What was the yummy thing? “It was yellow and it had some watery thing around it and it had pooris to go with it”! Quite a description but it could have fit almost any curry coming out an Indian kitchen. Also needed to find out who Vinaya was and then meet her mother and get a recipe from her – all of which happened in the next few weeks and brought me one of my dearest friends in life – Vinaya’s mom! Till today, the curry is called “Rajul aunty’s corn curry” by my extended family!
The “yellow thing” with water around it turned out to be a Rajasthani corn curry – one of the yummiest corn curries i’ve ever had in my life and one of the simplest to make!
Rajasthani corn curry
Corn cobs – 3. Indian if you can find them but if i were to wait for this i’d end up never making corn curry! Break off one inch bits from the ends; should be able to get about one or two from each cob.
Pressure cook the big and little bits altogether for one whistle.
Onions – 3 medium
Garlic pods – 8 to 10
Dhania (coriander powder) – 1.5 tsp
Jeera (cumin powder) – 1 tsp
Chili powder – 1/2 tsp
Oil and ghee – 1 tbsp each.
Milk – 1 cup
Remove the corn cobs from the cooker and let cool. Scrape the corn off the bigger pieces with a knife. Keep the small 1″ pieces intact
Grind the onions and garlic together to a very smooth paste.
Heat the oil and ghee together in a saucepan and add the onion paste and fry well.Sprinkle a little water if it shows signs of ‘aduganting’ (bottom sticking – so much better a term than plain old burning!).
Add the dry powders and continue to stir. Add the corn – the scraped stuff and the pieces and a glass of water along with the salt. Cover and cook on a low flame for ten to 15 minutes. Add more water if too dry. Add hot milk and switch off. Voila – yellow, swimmy, yummy corn curry!