Archives for posts with tag: Indian Food

IMG_20160522_183615.jpgMy son and husband write a film blog for fun, and sometimes my daughter and I join them watching the classics. Recently we all were swept away by Satyajit Ray’s trilogy, “The World of Apu.”  They are soon to post a joint review on their blog, and I felt called to join in.  This is what I wrote: not quite a proper film review, not quite a proper food blog.  Something in between, with a culinary record of how I wanted to celebrate the beauty of this stunning work.

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“Pather Panchali” is a transfixing film with a plot that unfolds around carefully revealed characters and personalities, and big themes like love, loss, kindness and pettiness , meanness and generosity, being young and growing old. The Ravi Shankar soundtrack gives constant goosebumps; the cinematography is both sweeping -exploring landscapes, monsoons, the rural industry of electricity and railroads – and intimate: an old woman’s skin, domestic architecture, facial expressions of joy, anxiety, and grief.  The acting never feels like acting, the plotlines never scripted, the observations never didactic.  It feels to me the most perfect film ever, not least for how I wept towards the end in a state of total lack of separation from the fact of watching a film: I was there, I was “her” in this scene, feeling a mother’s despair at the loss of a child, in this case Djurga, whom the film viewer has watched grow and come to love.

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Because the film observes life so carefully and directly, food culture of course becomes central, and I enjoyed this aspect very much.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Tonight I made pakora with cold strands of spaghetti squash and slivers of spring onion, in a batter made with Hodmedod’s Fava Bean Flour— I added salt and chilli flakes and cardamom powder, and fried the fritters in coconut oil.  Children and I still remembered the tasty Pumpkin Peasemeal Pakora I’d made in a flurry of you-don’t-need-a-real-recipe, and indeed you don’t.  This time I just mixed the pulse flour with baking soda, salt, and slowly whisked in water, and then fragranced it with the warm spice I most easily found in an overcrowded cupboard in which no garam masala was to be found, or concocted.  Then I dredged spoonfuls of the squash in the batter, and sauteed whereas perhaps I should have deep fried.

I say this because I hate frying, and I don’t feel I’m any good at it. So, delicious as some of the pakora were, or parts of each that managed to get properly browned in oil, even perfectly crispy, they looked unappealing and were inconsistent.  (To be fair, wet squash is a more difficult fish-to-fry vegetable than something, anything, dryer.)

So I’m determined to learn to fry pakora because they are so delicious.

PLEASE: all advice about frying is welcome. Anything you think readers and I should know that will help me/us to get good at treats like this. THANK YOU.

Do people know this marvellous collection of recipes, Yamuna Devi‘s 1987 Lord Krishna’s Cuisine: The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking?  It’s a labour of love, and a true gift as a document of the devotion of Yamuna Devi (nee Joan Campanella) to Swami Srila Prabhupada, with whom she travelled much through many regions of India, Read the rest of this entry »

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