Food Tales

For lunch today I’m making a Coorgi pumpkin curry called Kumbala, inspired by Kaveri Ponnappa’s recipe. As the cubed pumpkins simmer away in mildly spiced water, I realize that although I have found occasional comfort in baking and cooking (but not if it requires me to slave in the kitchen on a regular basis), this sudden spurt of interest in cooking dishes that are rather unfamiliar to my South Indian palate, was largely stoked by L’s enthusiasm in the kitchen.

When we shared space as flatmates, I would find L in the kitchen every evening, post-yoga, prepping for dinner and nipping out of the kitchen every few minutes to set the table (all her dinners were by the candlelight!). And from ragi dosa to rice noodles, it would be a different meal everyday — and none of it was hastily put together. Each dish had an impressive amount of thought and preparation go into it! Now back in the States, she diligently continues to pin recipes that she has tried or wants to try and fifteen minutes of browsing through her pinterest boards is all it takes for you to be lured back into the kitchen.

(On that note, my favourite recipes from L, in no particular order: overnight oatmeal, oatmeal cookies, thai curry, nut butters and roasted cauliflower sauce for pasta.)

T ,the current flatmate, has a less regimented schedule in the kitchen, so you will find her eating cereal in the morning and ordering in from McD’s every once in a while. Also her diet is largely sea food based, so even though I’m curious about what the Vietnamese eat, it does not leave me with much options to try. But T does surprise me now and then. Two weeks ago, she made this classic vietnamese banana sago dessert that was perfect in every way. I made it last evening and figured the bananas make up for all the sugar lack, so if you are looking for a cooling summer dessert, vietnamese banana sago pudding is what you are looking for. It is one of those recipes that will never go wrong. There are plenty of variations on the internet but the basic formula is the same — marinate sliced bananas in salt and a wee bit of sugar, cook bananas in coconut milk, add the cooked sago. Stir and turn off stove. Once the dessert is cooled, serve with grated coconut and roasted unsalted peanuts as topping.Tastes even better when it is served chilled.

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