Memories are myopic? Are they?? Well I don’t completely agree to this belief, since I am amongst those who dwell in beautiful past. I hate to look at reprehensible stuff around me, but unfortunately I am always forced to throw myself in pits of gloom, corruption, political vested interests and rising prices and declining bank balances. Pity, I can’t turn my eyes off the budging ugly head of terrorism and hatred but I wish I was allowed to be self occupied, innocent, energetic and bubbly kid forever and ever and ever!
Well, I don’t wear wishbones where my backbone ought to be, I am as practical as a person is supposed to be, but still there are moments when I simply loathe growing up , because no longer I enjoy the simple blessings of life, as I did ,when life was all about toys and plays, friends and laughter, school and homework, Chuppa chuppi and chor police. The new generation is just not interested in such outdated outdoor games, when they have fancy gizmos to fiddle around for their amusements.
Sincerely, how many of you remember chasing your friends behind the nook and corners of houses to do a Thappi (patting the wall to declare out) or during blind buff? How many of you still cherish the memories of climbing the trees of neighbours to pluck the mangoes or guavas?
How many of you hid the bruised knee or elbows from your parents, so that they don’t come to know about your adventure of climbing on a roof to get back that shuttlecock which almost always landed to the neighbor’s roof?
Is anyone still nostalgic about the so called doll’s wedding, a trip to a neighbouring park with friends, breaking glass window panes with your cricket balls, or that triumphant shout when you got hold of that kite at some higher branch of tree, the non ending talks with your friends at a terrace, sharing your innermost joys and woes? The Group studies, the nights that were spent awake studying at some friend’s place with many rounds of milk, tea and snacks courtesy the lovely aunts. The way you freaked at the thought of appearing for exams, or the most peaceful feeling in the world, when you handed the last exam answer paper to your teacher?
The celebration of clearing exams, at some roadside restaurant, by relishing Dosa, pavbhaji or even Vadapav, when you were surviving on shoestring budget. The shrieks (of joy) of friends in hostel when you carried some homemade Gaajar ka halwa or Ladoos,which your mother packed for them, so that the poor things do not miss their families on festivals. Those silly fears, ridiculous fights, melodramatic patch ups, all in all, a great life!
I miss those days? Do you??
My mind was flooded with nostalgic memories, since I made this Prasad rice and Bhee patata (lotus stem and potato curry because of two reasons….one that this preparation is generally distributed at langars and they taste awesome, and secondly this lunch enjoyed the numero uno position during marriage ceremonies of Sindhis, few decades back, when there was no trend of buffet lunch or dinner as such. The marriage ceremony was held in a simple way, with just biscuits and Sherbets or tea. But yes, relatives and neighbours were included into the joyous atmosphere by sharing this Bheepatata and Degh waara chaanwaran. Huge iron or aluminum pots or containers were used for cooking on the logs of wood, or coal (sighri) or stove and generous quantities of rice and curry were cooked and the ceremonial feast was then shared with friends, relatives and neighbours as a part of marriage ritual.
So let me share, how I made this most wonderful Sindhi curry and rice. The above thali consists of Degh waara Chaanwaran (spiced rice), Bheepatata (lotus stem and potato curry), Gulabjamun, Roti (flatbread), Sindhi Papad, Ghogroon ji khatairn (Turnip pickle), and Kabab (fryums made from rice flour).
Bhee patata (lotus stem and potato curry)
- 2 cup basmati rice or any brand that you generally use.
- 1 small (1") piece of cinnamon
- 2 tsp of oil
- 2 cloves
- 1 whole black cardamom (vadho photo or black elaichi)
- 2 -3 black pepper corns
- 1 Bayleaf (or tejpatta)
- Approximately 4 and half cups of water (you may need more or less depending upon the type of rice and its quality)
- Few drops of orange food colour (optional)
- Salt as per taste
- 2 Potatoes -Do not peel the skin.
- Lotus stem (roots) or Bhee.Here again thoroughly wash the stem and get rid of the mud.The pores of stem, if still muddy, could be cleaned with tooth picks.
- 8-10 ,1 cm thick pieces of bhee..Don't forget to slice them in slants
- 2 Onions (medium sized)
- 2 tomatoes (small )
- 1 small brinjal
- Shelled green peas, a handful
- Ginger about 1"
- Green chillies 2-3 depending upon your taste
- 1 /4 tsp Garam Masala
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tsp Coriander Powder
- ½ tsp Jeera powder
- Salt to Taste
- 2-4 tsp Oil
- Fresh coriander leaves for garnishing
- Pick and rinse rice few times with water, till water runs clear.
- Let the rice soak in water for about half hour (or 15 minutes if using Basmati)
- In a heavy bottom pan, add 2 tsp of oil and put all the whole spices and stir fry for few seconds.
- Add rice and salt and mix gently.
- Add water (almost double the quantity of rice) and few drops of orange colour (optional). Mix well, allow it to boil and then simmer.Cover it with lid and gently mix it for one or two times intermittently.
- Cook till done.
- Serve hot with Bhee patata curry
- Clean and cut bhee into slanting slices and pressure cook them with some salt and water till done (2-4 whistles of pressure cooker, depending on quality of bhee)
- Drain and keep aside.
- Clean the potatoes and cut them into large chunks.Wash and add salt.Soak in water if potatoes start to oxidize.
- In the pressure cooker, add 2 -4 tsp of oil and saute chopped onions.
- When onions turn pinkish, add chopped brinjal (with skin) and saute it till the mixture is brown in colour.
- Add chopped tomatoes,salt,chopped green chillies, ginger and all dry masalas.
- Stir and cook for few minutes on high flame and add potatoes and bhee. Add few spoons of water if the mixture tends to stick to the bottom of cooker.
- After 2-3 minutes of bhunoing, add hot water and shelled peas.The water should be just above the level of bhee and potatoes.
- Close the lid of cooker and wait for one whistle and then cook on lowest flame, under pressure for 2-5 min.Put off the flame.
- When the pressure subsides,open the lid and check for the seasoning and consistency of gravy and adjust according to your taste.
- Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and enjoy it with piping hot rice.