Saturday, April 28, 2012

Exotic Indian Recipe With Indigenous Vegetable

Red hot and sticky - this was how it was where I was last week.

A week ago, I was sitting at the exit of a sprawling resort in Goa, waiting for a bus to take me (and several others) back to my own hotel. By my own hotel, I mean the hotel I was staying in, about 20 minutes away, not that I own a hotel in Goa. My modest, homely, compact hotel, as opposed to the venue of the conference, where all the proceedings were held in tents, and only one of them was air-conditioned.

I trudged and trudged between tent and tent, carrying my computer, my bags and myself, cursing myself for being inhibited and formal. For all around me were delegates young, old, thin, fat, obese, interns and CEOs alike, wearing beach shirts and shorts and mini dresses, strapless or with spaghetti straps, looking cool as cucumbers in the heat. I was the only one, perhaps, in a salwar-kameez. Why oh why hadn’t I been more relaxed and taken my limp Fabindia cotton trousers? They would have afforded me better ventilation and I would still have managed to remain  formal (and inhibited).

Our bus trundled in at midnight but it only carried us as far as an isolated spot five minutes away. Ringed by coconut trees, it contained many other, bigger buses, and after scrambling down one and up into another carrying computer, bags and myself, we got to our own hotels. Once in, a shower and the air-conditioner revived me, but not quite – the memories of the heat of the last two days had seared themselves into my consciousness – and I had the same temperatures and far-away-from-each-other tents to face the next day.

What would I have given for a glass of light, chilled buttermilk (actually, we did order one on the first day, it was pretty nice) to be brought around at regular intervals during the conference? I don’t know, but today I tried making some of my own, going by a rough recipe a nutritionist told me about a few months ago.

And at this point, let me tell you that the red pepper/capsicum above is a red herring – it has not much to do with this post. My photos are going from bad to worse and rather that to draw in the eyeballs than the one I’m going to present below. It has to do with this, but as I had to leave for the airport early, I gave it away to my help S and told her to chutney-fy it. (I hope she didn’t dump it once my back was turned.) I made the linked recipe with green capsicum/peppers earlier and it turned out great – though the colour wasn’t anything to write home about.

What I do have to present today is this:

Exotic Indian drink with herbs (and spices, you read automatically – but barring salt, there are none) and indigenous vegetable. Now that sounds a bit over the top, doesn't it, exotic Indian drink with herbs and indigenous vegetable?

I took it to work and tried it on my colleagues, the first of whom looked a little alarmed at the trickle of green near the mouth of the bottle it was in, but she said it was fantastic. She couldn’t identify it, though. Another one did. Then I tried it on others, all of them loved it.

Then they asked me how I made it. So I had to tell them that I had turned some uneaten cucumber raita (cucumber being the indigenous vegetable) into this, by adding coriander and curry leaves.

It’s one of my as-you-like-it recipes, a couple of tablespoons of curds/yoghurt thinned with lots of water, some cucumber pieces, maybe a handful, and a fistful of well-washed coriander and curry leaves, all blitzed together in the mixer, and salted. Feel free to add a bit of ginger, asafoetida, cumin powder and pepper. 

Have it strained, or have it unstrained. Have it unrestrained. Then, maybe, you can dump the salwar-kameez, slip on a short, short dress, and feel as cool as a cucumber.