Rice Lovers



Paucity of something multiplies the yearning for it, manifold Short or restricted supply is the precursor for ever-growing demands. My love for rice germinated under the draconian rule enforced by my mother at my home in India: you had to eat one roti (homemade what flour bread) before you could scoop rice into your plate. This rule was not based on the health and nutritional values of comestibles but on their comparative prices. Rice cost more than wheat, so we were encouraged to eat more rotis. My siblings and I dipped the insipid chunks of roti into the curry and forced them down our throats while eyeing wistfully the steaming pot of rice.

This love for rice did not skip a generation; it passed on to my son via some chromosome. Today, in my home, here in the USA, I try to include some protein, greens, rice and roti since dinner is the only meal we sit down together for.The nights when I plan a meal sans rice, my son looks at me with disillusioned eyes, “No rice today?” My husband retorts with a smirk, “You, rice people!”

There are certain curries and stews that taste better with rice than with roti. For those unfamiliar with Indian food, one of those celebrated meals is chhole(chickpeas) with rice, meant to be ingested together like waffles and maple syrup. This dish is my son’s all-time favorite, although it takes extra time to cook it, I make it a weekly affair. The chickpeas are soaked for 6-8 hours, and then boiled till they are mellow to the core. They are then simmered in a curry made of onion, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, cumin, cloves and other spices till they meld inseparably. I never ventured into my mother’s kitchen as a child because cooking was too domestic for my lofty young mind. Hence, the aroma of my chhole is nowhere close to that of my mother’s preparation and she never tells me an exact, precise recipe for anything. “Just a little bit of cumin, a hint of ginger”, is all I can extract from her. So, I get a pack of  ready-to-use chhole spices from the Indian Grocers to get a semblance of the dish my mother cooks.


My son’s face lights up like a torch when he lifts the lid of the pot to find chhole. And then the light amplifies when I place a pot of hot steaming rice next to it. It warms my innards as he lifts spoonfuls of the chhole-rice concoction to his mouth and unknowingly utters little grunts of pleasure which are inaudible to his dad. I don’t ask him to eat one roti but I eat one before segueing into the bowl of rice because old habits die hard.

* Roti: Bread made of whole wheat flour
*Chhole:Chickpeas

Linking up with Mama Kats's Writers Workshop(Describe a home cooked meal that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside)


Mama’s Losin’ It






Comments

  1. No one can cook like your mother can, I don't care who you are.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The dish looks delicious in your picture! And lots of protein without meat is always good too. Funny how food is so satisfying to the soul, for both the cook and the one eating.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love that you used the word draconian. I like using words like that to throw people off.

    Once Upon a Time

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for your kind comments Morgan,Lori and John!

    ReplyDelete
  5. My mom was from the Philippines and we had rice with most dinners. My comfort foods include rice too. This all sounds so delicious!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  6. My husband's family are all rice eaters too! We don't eat it as much as he'd probably like to. I'm sure he'd LOVE your curry meals!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kat for the reply and your kind comments.

      Delete

Post a Comment