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Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Obstinate Taste buds and Tomato chutney

Taste buds have their own personalities. Mine are obstinate spoilt brats.
Parenting them has been an unending rocky ride and the headstrong little monsters are determined not to grow up.
At thirty seven they still insist on continuing their teenage affaire with chocolate and drool shamelessly at long legged French fries. Self control is a distant dream when they see pakodas and parathas and greed is the one truth in their lives when they see ice cream.
As their guardian, who is also answerable to various other parts of the body I often crumble with shame at their appalling behavior  I frequently recite my (now) well rehearsed apologies to my midriff that wordlessly expands another centimeter in response.

It is not often that I chance upon an opportunity to avenge the wrongs heaped upon me and my midriff, but when I do – I grab it with both hands.
 I still revel in the vicarious pleasure that was mine when I broke up my taste bud’s long standing romance with Pepsi.

About twenty years ago my taste buds were madly in love with Pepsi.
 Now I have nothing against Pepsi, but unsurprisingly as I acquired my licence to drink at eighteen - I aspired to graduate to the adult drink.  
My taste buds however still had a lot of growing up to do. With the first sip of alcohol they decided they were having none of it.
My friends with more submissive taste buds succumbed to the magic of the drink. They flew over potholed crowded roads, sang lustily in tuneless voices and danced in abandon despite two left feet. I watched sadly from the sidelines.  
A life devoid of such pleasures was what we were destined for - I regretfully told the other parts of my body. The honour of selflessly and gallantly sacrificing first our livers and then our lives would never be ours I sighed.
I resigned myself to being ruled by Pepsi.

But a coup was brewing that I didn’t know of. Several gastritis episodes later the other organs compelled me to launch an offensive.
They decided on my behalf that henceforth I would only drink water!
I still remember relishing every moment of the shocked dismay of my taste buds at that assault.

Twenty years later, the assault is still on.
My taste buds hate me, but the love from the rest of my body makes up for that.

Tomato chutney

My mom used to make this chutney almost every day when I was little. It was the one thing that made me look forward to meal times at a time when I was fortunate enough to be in the category of poor eaters

1.     Take five large tomatoes and chop them up roughly. The smaller the pieces the faster they cook but anyway if you dislike chopping (like me) just do whatever size you like.
2.     Take a 1cm piece of ginger and peel it. Peeling and chopping ginger is something I abhor and steadfastly avoid but this recipe leaves me no choice. Anyway since I don’t like chopping I crush the ginger in the mortar and pestle. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, give it a solid whack with your rolling pin (belan). That should do it.
3.     Now heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a karahi.
4.     Crumble one whole dry red chilli into the oil
5.     Add the ginger followed almost immediately by the chopped tomatoes. The ginger should fry a bit to give off its pungent taste but it should not get bunt so watch out.
6.     Cook the tomatoes stirring sometimes until they begin to disintegrate.
7.     Add 3 tablespoons of sugar to the tomatoes and mix.
8.     I like my chutney to be slightly watery so I add about half a cup of water to the tomatoes at this point. If you want a thick chutney don’t add water
9.     Cook the mixture for about five minutes by which time the whole thing should begin to look like a jam.
10.                        Cool and serve.

This chutney can be kept in the fridge for upto 5 days but it tastes so good, one invariably falls short of it. If you can keep yourself from counting calories, try eating this with fried papad. It is delicious. I save this indulgence for the Ashtami bhog on Durga puja.