Daal-Chawal ki kasam
Man is a creature of habit.
And I am a slave to habit.
We were off vacationing in California for about 9 days, eating all kinds of food – Indian, Mexican, Italian, and American. Yes, we did eat at Indian restaurants but we used to order Chicken Tikka Masala and Palak Paneer etc, which is all fancy delicacies.But the linings of the mouth and tummy were yearning for plain yellow arhar-daal and steaming hot rice.
And this craving grew each day and while on the return flight, I was happy to reach home, so I can eat my daal-chawal. And soon as I entered home, I rushed to the kitchen to put arhar daal in the pressure cooker with a pinch of haldi and whole red chillies and put the rice in the microwave. In the background, I could hear P’s lame cries to help him get the luggage inside, but that’s normal and I quickly peeled and chopped a couple of garlic cloves for the baghaar.Yes,that’s the way mom cooks it, baghaar with ghee and garlic. And the consistency is important too. It should not be so watery that you can’t make out the grains of daal and should be fluid enough to blend with the rice. NO! this is not a recipe blog…so STOP!!
Now, a little about our eating habits. There is a very thin line between loving food and adoring it. So, I can be classified as a food-lover but P is the one who adores food and treats it with profound reverence. When we sit down to eat, I am so lustily hungry that I hastily devour food and am done in less that 5 mins. But P first adjusts the salt n pepper, then reaches out for accompaniments like dahi and achaar and then he eats slowly, enjoying and savoring each morsel. Often times, at weekends, just to add a touch of romance, he lights a candle and puts in a DVD before eating, so we can enjoy a dinner-and-movie at home. But the hungry and impatient me –by the time, he searches the disk and puts in the player; I am about 3/4ths done!So much for a romantic dinner!!
Also, I believe that rice is supposed to be eaten so hot that it burns your fingers. I remember when we sat down to eat with my sis and bro-in-law in the early days, the BIL stared at us sisters for a minute, and said:
Tum behnein to jalte hue chawal khati ho!
But that day when I sat down to eat daal-chaawal after 10 days; I felt a reverence for it. So, I ate one plateful with greed and hastiness and then I stopped. I paused to soak in the aroma and goodness of the rice and to let my innards warm by the hot meal. And then I resumed eating, paying attention to each bite and thanking God for the comfort food.