I made cauliflower paratha today, Mi – and missed you. It looks like we must have a paratha fest because there’s radish and patta gobi/cabbage – two endearing veggies we prefer in a paratha. Ah well. Not complaining! Me, I’d personally be happy to just eat the cabbage raw in a salad. Love the crunch!
Oh, the other day I made baghare baingan/eggplant. While putting together everything I needed, I realized I had run out of til/sesame seeds. Wondered what to do. Then I cleverly reached into the container of til revadi in the freezer – the roasted sesame seeds blended with jaggery – and used a handful of those. And thereby I had both the roasted til and jaggery I needed for the recipe. I felt so proud of myself for that brainwave, you know, and imagined you laughing your head off over it. So hilarious.
It reminded me of how how Vijaya brought this over when we first moved into gunrock? She had thoughtfully skipped the garlic because you are allergic to it. We were so overwhelmed by the gesture and had such a delicious lunch that day.
I truly only started appreciating baingain/eggplant after we moved to Hyd in ’87. The regular subzi we made at home before that was quite meh. And when Manni served that big portion on my plate, I would freak out. I remember when I joined Mount Mary’s, on the first day at the boarding school, they served brinjal at lunchtime. Ugh! I thought life had come to an end. How utterly naive!
But since we moved out of home, I have only lovely memories of baingan. Oh, remember the kathrika rasam we would make in that huge vessel and tuck in? How much we loved it! I haven’t had it since you and I shared it, you know? Atrocious, right?
Also, when you had TB, we would have a signal for when to make lunch based on the signature tune of a TV show. And I would get up from my desk and quickly make the kathrika curry and while that cooked, would make the rotis. Then we would both sit together and eat lunch and gossip until it was time for me to go pick up Vidur from school.
You know, I am so grateful for these memories.
And now, I make all kinds of things with baingan, thanks to Vidur. Even an Italian dish called eggplant parmigiana which is sliced and sauteed bharta baingan slices, then layered in an onion-tomato sauce and cheese layer and baked. Vidur loves it. When we visited Tanu, she made a special Telangana dish with the baingan – sliced, marinated and roasted in a bed of finely chopped onions. You would have loved it. Tastes so good. Now I make it often. We always have the standard bharta once in a while.
Sometimes I make the subzi and then mix it with rice for a one-dish meal.
Oh, remember how you laughed your head off when I told you that I made the roasted baingan dip soon after I moved to Mumbai? I had made so much I didn’t know what to do with it. Then while talking to our neighbor she said she had a party that evening and I asked her if she would like the baingan dip. She was so happy to take it. Later she told me the guests loved it. I felt so happy.
Sigh. I miss all those days.
But you know what I miss the most, Mi? Our coffee together in the morning. Standing in the verandah in the gentle morning sun, enjoying the cool breeze, hot tumblers of coffee in hand. Whispering to each other as if others would hear us. I miss it so much.
I’ll go make coffee.
Brinjal or baingan or kathrika is eggplant/aubergine
Til is sesame
Patta gobi is cabbage
Paratha and roti are Indian flatbreads