That wonderful thing called ‘Appam’
15th December, 2013: My family loves South Indian cuisine. Sambhar is a pretty staple dal in our kitchen and I have stopped finding any novelty in Idli-Dosa-Uttapams anymore. Recently though, after rustling up a lovely Kerala Style Roasted Chicken, I decided to savour it the way my Malayali brethren would. So, I toasted a few Appam from some left over Dosa batter (Yes, it is that common in my house. Dosa batter is ‘left over’), sat down on the floor and tucked in, while I watched a mindless Rajnikanth film dubbed in Hindi. Needless to say, I had to change the channel soon enough.
Few Indian breads are as healthy and heartening as the Appam. It complements meat and stews well, without being overbearing. The hot meat dishes find a lovely companion in the Appam, which creates a soft mush in the mouth, easy to chew and allows complete absorption of all flavours. And the best part is that you can have as many as you want without feeling stuffed or guilty! All in favour of Appam say ‘Aye’!
<This is where I say something smart in Malayali copied from Google Translate>
13th August, 2012: One of those places that I have been besotted with for the longest time is Kashmir. Other than the beauty of the valley and the wonderful people, the place is a food haven, with every family stocked up with distinct recipes. The cuisine is dual in nature. While some Kashmiri recipes can be extremely smooth and creamy with a nut and cream base for the gravy, others gravies are fiery and robust with their flavours, bursting in your mouth like a rustic folk circus. The creamier and sweeter Kashmiri gravies like the Kashmiri Aloo Dum have made it around the world. But on a daring expedition into the bylanes and narrow gullies of Srinagar, I found butch mutton and lamb kebabs with strong spices served on naans right out of a sheekh. And that was a brilliant introduction to the tastes of the Pathans.
In the houseboat that we were in, the owner’s family cooked up a lovely feast the night prior to our departure. Amongst other things, I clearly remember a very unique mutton preparation in white gravy with a strong set of spices that hit your neck but taste sour and lemony to the tongue. I have been snooping around for the recipe ever since, but in vain. Kashmir is a treasure trove, for all the right reasons.
So, I cooked a hot Kashmiri meat preparation called Kukkur Roganjosh. It is a slow cooking stew with simple spices beaten into yoghurt and then tossed into fried onion and garlic pastes. The meat and the gravy need time to allow all the flavours to seep in.
The result was delicious.