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A Pinch of This and a Dash of That

October 4, 2011

 

Hey, I am Koshy Brahmatmaj. I am from Mumbai and currently studying in Srishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore.

I come from a nuclear family with working parents. My parents are from Bihar. Papa form Basantpur and ma from Madhubani. Didi was born in Patna and I was born in Mumbai. Even though they were working and had a job they made sure at least one parent was home to eat lunch and dinner with me and my sister. It is only recent that I have had major meals of the day without my parents. I don’t know if this happened with my sister or not but I am pretty sure it happened with me because I am very cranky about what I eat. I can eat everything but I can’t eat the same thing again and again. I think it was only because of me the experimentation of food in my family started. Most of the time because of our schedules, dinner used to be the only time we are together. Food for us means sharing your thoughts about life, sharing your career aspirations and etc. except I wasn’t allowed to talk. Not because I talk rubbish most of the time or because the youngest member of family should not interfere in adult matters but because I can’t talk while eating. So if I would start talking I would forget about my food and take 3 hours to finish one roti.

brahmatmaj's

lunch with family at Lady Hill, Gale, Sri Lanka

Cooking is something everyone in my family loves. But because of hectic lives and laziness (just me) we had to hire a cook. After around 15 years of trying out different cooks we finally found the one we like, Fatima Khala. Now khala loves taking leave. Whenever she doesn’t come all of us take charge of the food. Ma or didi make sabzi and bhujiya, I prepare dal and rice and papa and I work as a team and make roties. Both of us are horrible at it. His roties look like England and Nepal and mine like Australia and Bhutan. For dinner again I prepare dal and rice. If my parents or sister are going to be late then I prepare the sabzi as well. Ma or didi make roties.

The cooking scenario is at its best during the festival of Holi. Holi is very major festival for my family. Preparations for holi start a week before the festival. The entire family plays a major role in the preparations. Didi and I do the shopping. Ma is in charge of the sweets and vegetarian section. Papa is in charge of non vegetarian and drinks section. Didi and I are there to do the labour work. And khala takes care of rice, roti, puri and other miscellaneous things. Best situation is when khala, didi and papa are trying to convince each other that they are better than the other when it comes to cooking mutton.  Every year during holi we eat the typical Bihari food. I love Bihari food.

3 FAVORITE FOODS

My three all time favourite foods are aloo chokha, tamatar ki chutney and khaja. I don’t know about tamatar ki chutney but aloo chokha and khaja are Bihari food.

1. Aloo ka chokha is mashed potatoes. The Bihari wat of having mashed potatoes is with mustard oil and dried red chilies. Other variations include adding onions and green chilies. Litti Chokha is a special dish from Bihar. If Bihar was a country then Litti Chokha would be it’s national food. Chokha that is served with Litti is either made from eggplants or potatoes.

2. Tamatar ki chutney is a wannabe salsa type preparation. Tomatoes are first roasted, peeled and mashed. Fresh green chilies, onion and salt are added for flavor. I love having tamatar ki chutney with khichdi. The even taste good with beef momos.

tamatar ki chutney

3. Khaja is my favorite sweet. Wheat flour, sugar and oil are the chief ingredients of khaja. Khaja is again a Bihari dish. They are this puff sort of sweet. Khaja from Rajgir are known for there puffiness. Whenever anyone is travelling to or from Patna or Rajgir I always ask them to get khaja for me.

khaja

 


FoodLab Bangalore – is a 3 week workshop the Center for Genomic Gastronomy conducted with sophomores from the Srishti School of Art, Design & Technology in the fall of 2011. Students will examine innovation and conservation in South Asian food cultures, building on recent research of the Center (utopian cuisines, mutagenic meals) and working towards the next edition of the Planetary Sculpture Supper Club to be held in Bangalore on Nov. 12th.

Follow the conversation all week here on our Blog, join in the comments and use the twitter hashtag #foodlabbangalore to keep up to date.

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