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When Quora came calling

What are some of the things you adopt when you move to a different state/country?

I saw this question on Quora, and this is the thought it led to. Do you agree with me?

I suppose a lot of that depends on what sort of person you are. I mean if you are into music, it could be music, if you are into fashion it may be that. So I think a lot of it is a personal choice based on your own interest.

But I most definitely think that you do not live somewhere for a significant period of time and come away completely unaffected by their culture. We take away so much from the people we meet, the foods we eat and so many other little interactions, that it is difficult to be disassociated with the place simply because you no longer live there.

For me, after school I have lived in several places, where after the initial adjustment period, I have fallen in love with a variety of things that are so different from my own hometown. But the one predominant thing, I have actively adopted into my everyday life, is the food from these places.

I am yet to meet someone who is not influenced by the cuisine of the place they have lived in. Sometimes it may not be in a favourable way, but there is definitely a relationship to that food. I remember how we once travelled to Hong Kong and I was gobsmacked at the range of insects on display, at a food market. Let’s just say, I did not adopt that particular cuisine, but it definitely left a mark on me :).

Just to give an idea of me, I am an Indian, from Kerala. I moved to Bangalore for college. Post graduation took me to England and then I reconnected with friends and family in Dubai. So it is basically these three places that have had a great impact on me. From the searing heat of some of the Indian foods to the crumbly scrumptiousness of pastries and pies, to the flavourful bursts of mediterranean cooking, my tongue has been on an absolute roller-coaster ride!

I am going to detail some of the foods I myself have adopted. And adopting foods usually also means cooking them. Until I went to England I did not have the opportunity to do a lot of cooking. But during winter months, when I was craving the Indian warmth and Indian food, I decided to start cooking actively. At that time I was relying mainly on my mom’s recipes. But now, in my second innings in Bangalore, I am cooking and even food blogging using the Cucumbertown site. I also use websites like AllRecipes, and BBC Good Food to recreate some recipes.

In Bangalore, the world of ‘baths’ opened up to me. And no, for anyone getting any funny ideas, there was no communal bathing with tomatoes or any strange thing like that.

Vangi bath and Bisibelebath, from Kaamat, near my college, were the first Kannadiga recipes that I fell in love with. I mean who knew brinjal could be made so versatile. Later when I moved from Bangalore to England, I used to crave these at the most ungodly hours, after a week long diet of store bought pita bread. So I began to make Vangi bath rather frequently, and Bisibelebath when I had the luxury to cut a lot of vegetables. I am especially glad about these adoptions, because they are just so damn healthy and oh so easy to cook. For the food nostalgics like me, here is a great recipe for the Vangi bath, every mom’s answer to the brinjal hating child :)!

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Another biggie from Bangalore was the “Ragi Mudde”. Love love love them. And totally adoption worthy! Dont let the size of those little balls fool you. They are hugely satisfying and very, very very filling.

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In England, the focus was definitely NOT, on healthy food and the foodie that I am, I loved all of it. I also transferred that love to everyone I met and now the whole family has adopted pies and puddings. By my second week there, I was having a full fledged relationship with sticky toffee pudding! Even now, if anyone were to ask me what my favourite dessert is, its definitely going to be sticky toffee pudding. No payasam is going to compare with that. In fact, maybe no men can compare too. Sigh!

And the other love affair was with Shepherd’s pie. OH MY GOD! This must be the food of Gods! I absolutely love it!

Living in England got me nice and fattened up, so I was becoming increasingly conscious of the calorie intake. And that’s when I discovered this great Slow Carb recipe for Shepherds pie. And I am eternally thankful to the gentleman who concocted this one. He has saved me and the family from rolling out of the house, thanks to our rotund bodies.

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After England next stop was Dubai. And my god! The country is THE gastronomic destination for the food connoisseur. I mean you can eat anything from anywhere. If there is a country and a cuisine you want to try, Dubai has the answer for you. Of course, there is the slight hiccup that no pork is found, but they have found innovative ways to replace it.

But nothing, I repeat, nothing replaces the absolutely fantabulous Arabic cuisine.

If you have not bit into a shawarma, or a falafel, you are completely missing out. Now with this, the adoption part has come in the form of asking anyway and everyone who comes from Dubai to bring some shawarma or falafel. They may be cold, but still yummy. But recently I stumbled upon a great falafel recipe, so now we have a falafel weekend every once in a while.

These are by no means the only recipes I have adopted. There are too many little treasures I have found along the way. But because if I were to go into those details this answer would get longer than it already is.  And all this food reminiscence has made me super hungry! And that’s not a great idea. I am getting increasingly horizontally challenged as it is.

But again, I would like to say that this is simply my own opinion and not what everyone may feel. For me its the recipes I have adopted.

Gastronomical Goals: When foodie meets footie

So ISL is finally here.

The ‘Sleeping Giants’ India, are poised for their giant leap into the lucrative, glamorous and addictive world of football.  We too will ooh and aah at the dishy footballers chasing each other in their tiny shorts, and wait impatiently to get a glimpse of the equally dishy array of celebrity club owners.

Since I am a foodie, when I think of dishy men, I also think of what food fantasies can go with the eye candy. It is a strange affliction, but it has definitely helped me sit through some terribly boring football while in England. Game nights where when there was a nerve wracking penalty shootout in my kitchen. Would my quesadillas score over the unhealthy nachos that the folks were shovelling at a maniacal pace? Most often the score was 1-0 to my quesadillas, thanks to Raymond Selzer’s delightfully simple recipe.

Since I came back to India, I haven’t had the joy of munching on something scrumptious, as I watched the midfielders and defenders battle to keep possession. Now it is that time again. And since this is the ‘Indian’ Super League, it definitely calls for some desi recipes to go with the football fun.

Idli Wedges: We have all munched on potato wedges like there is no tomorrow. So why not try these super yummy, and super healthy Idli wedges. Team Chennayin supporters, this one’s for you!

Image Courtesy: www.cucumbertown.com

Image Courtesy: www.cucumbertown.com

Papdi Chaat: There’s nothing like good old yoghurt to calm the nerves when tackles are flying all over the place. And when the Delhi Dynamos are playing, tuck into a chaat like there’s no tomorrow.

Image Courtesy: www.cucumbertown.com

Image Courtesy: www.cucumbertown.com

Unniyappams: And what menu is complete with the palette pleasing sweet munchies. So Kerala Blasters, this one goes out to you.

Image Courtesy: www.cucumbertown.com

Image Courtesy: www.cucumbertown.com

Momos: Since this is unwittingly shaping up to be a dish for each team, how can one think of North East United without thinking of the deliciously soft momos, with the spicy pickle as sidekick.

Image Courtesy: www.cucumbertown.com

Image Courtesy: www.cucumbertown.com

So we have four snacks for the four teams. Stay tuned for more snacks for Goa, Pune, Kolkata, and Mumbai. Till then try these yummy snacks and cheer on for your team. Of course, no points for guessing, I’m a Kochi gal, so my unniyappams are ready and raring to go. Go Kerala Blasters!

 

Lots of cooks, and one perfect broth

Lately there was a lot of buzz around the way the Myntra warehouse workers were given a makeover. They were heralded as the company that cares for its staff, making it sound like working for them a personal milestone rather than just a job.

There are very few jobs that make you feel good, let alone something as wonderful as cared for. So good for the Myntra guys that they are enjoying a happy working space.

I am among the lucky few in that space, of absolute happiness at work.

Everyday I wake up feeling inspired, rejuvenated and cared for. Of course we don’t need any makeovers to feel the love. There is the constant flow of foodspirations to keep the creative juices flowing and the emotional cravings satisfied 😉

I think its important to be in a space that values your individuality, respects your aspirations and pushes you to excellence. I have found the perfect platter that serves me this recipe to peace at work, no holds barred.

Don’t get me wrong, there are moments of absolute panic and complete pig headedness. But the fact that such altercations, make you want to simply do better, is what redefines this working experience for me.

Before joining this revelation of a company, I had my fair share of Blatant Bureaucratic Crap and petty politics to deal with in the bigwig conglomerates of the media industry. And it had hardened my soul to my very first love; the love of writing.

And now I can slowly feel the shackles on my carefully restrained grey cells, loosen to the possibility of some actual creative thought. For that I cannot be more thankful to messers DM and CT.

And for last words, all I can say is I am proud to be one of the Humans at Cucumbertown. Finally it feels like I am home. Complete with coffee, cookies, and yummilicious conversations.