Monday, December 31, 2012

Painting bowls and making curry

Curry. This word has so many meanings.

As a child I adored the beans curry that our Tam Brahm neighbour made and I loved the mustardy fish curry my Mom made. They were worlds apart. One was a dry vegetable made with finely chopped french beans and garnished with grated coconut while the other was a pungent gravy that you had to grow up eating to love it like I obsessively do. As far as I knew curry was any preparation with a gravy. For example Mangshor Jhol, one of the most classic Bengali preparations is casually referred to as mutton curry, and there isn't a whiff of coconut anywhere near it.

Imagine my surprise when I learned that among the Parsis curry is a very specific preparation involving coconut, chillies, garlic, assorted spices and of course curry leaves. As I learned more about other cuisines I discovered that the word curry was widely used to refer to a coconut based gravy among many cuisines.

Coconut. My mother is not fond of coconut at all and so it never made an appearance on our table. Strangely, coconut is not widely used in Bengali food even though it grows abundantly in Bengal. Yes, you have the Malai curry, and there is the Chhola'r Daal which must be garnished with fried slivers of coconut. Narkol'er Nadu or coconut laddoo is something every Grandma is supposed to have stashed away in a jar in her cupboard, to distribute to her adored grand children. My Grand-mom seemed to be blissfully unaware of this. So yeah, I was not very familiar with coconut.

I had never tasted coconut before I met K but it didn't take much to become a fan though! I love coconut based curries and regularly fool around with a basic recipe to make things more exciting. In fact, a few cans of coconut milk are always in stock in my pantry cupboard.

Recently there have been two significant developments in my life. The first is that we now have a cook. That obviously means I hardly cook any more. The second is that I have taken up my hobby of painting on ceramics again.

K wanted me to cook dinner and I was waiting to show off a newly painted bowl. I made one of my favourite dishes, a simple pomfret curry. Here it is in the new bowl that I painted.

Marathon Bloggers Day 17

1 comment:

Sangeeta said...

You are so right about the coconut. We had rows of coconut trees at home and yet all we made out of them were coconut laddoos, that too mostly during Bihu. And today, I can't make a curry without adding coconut milk to it! By the way, your painted bowl is truly beautiful, shows off your talent!