Thursday, February 24, 2011

First Anniversary, Fifty Posts and Film Food

I toyed with various beginnings for this blog post...

Do I go with the cliches and say "I cannot believe it's been one year!"?
Or do I start modestly - "I'm so grateful to everyone for all the love and support and encouragement..."?
Maybe I should go for cheeful and chirpy - "Yaaaayyy! 50 posts and 1 year!!! How cool is that??!"

Nuh-uh. Too many problems.
Option 1 - It IS a cliche.
Option 2 - Modesty has never been my thing, I would rather gag and die.
Option 3 - I sound like a teenager on crack... not cool!

So I decided to give in to my inner demon -

"Mere paas naukri nahi hai, gaadi nahin hai, BlackBerry nahin hai, maa bhi nahin hai (oho, you equally filmy person! She is in Maldives)... Lekin mere paas ye Blog hai!"

For the benefit of those unfamiliar with Bollywood, I have just committed blasphemy in the eyes of all Amitabh Bacchan and Deewaar fans:

So... now that I have established my filminess, let me explain myself. For me, this last year has been a roller-coaster ride. More so than the usual pile of shit that life throws at all of us every year, trust me! And The Weekend Epicurean has been my source of sustenance, my sanity in all the insanity, my venting space, my letting-go-of-mad space and my window to a world of possibility. Actually scratch that. My window to a world where doing nothing "worthwhile" and yet being at peace is possible.

Now that I have got that out of the way, here's how we are going to celebrate - you and I :) To mark the first anniversary of this blog, I subject you all to my favorite food memories! No, not the written kind... I'm sure you all have had enough of my reminiscences (what? really? haww! there are so many more to come!!) So I want to share memories of a different kind now.

Films and Food is the staple diet I grew up on. And all our Bollywood films are incomplete without food... So Film Food is the menu for today!

Confused? Ok, what happens in all old Hindi films when the idealistic son comes home running to his poor-as-a-church-mouse mom saying, "Maa main first class first aaya hoon!" (I have graduated top of the class)? Of course the sacrificing mom has gone without her daily dose of tear-inducing glycerin drops to have a bowl of "Kheer" or "Gajar ka Halwa" at the ready! And that's how I believe Gajar ka Halwa (Carrot sweetmeat) became a known entity in every household. Even orphaned street kids apparently forget their misery when they see "Halwa". No wonder there have been eulogies in praise of this ubiquitous dish:

Have you ever wondered what you will do when you want to introduce to your parents a most unsuitable guy as the love of your life? Or if you are a guy, in what words you will express your love for the girl of your dreams? Uh-huh... don't sweat it. The Indian way of dealing with issues like love, marriage and other such accidents is a good cuppa tea:

But if you are a true connoisseur of films and food like I am, you will have to give the award for the most creative food song to this one:

I mean what more can a person ask for once you have shouted from the rooftops that you are his chicken fry and he is your fish fry?? Leaves no room for argument surely!

The Indian household is one where mothers/mother-in-laws and daughters lovingly fight over vegetables (its actually more of a tug-of-war over who holds the reins of the kitchen - she who runs the kitchen runs the house!), the whole neighbourhood knows what special dish you are cooking today (no thanks to the lovely aromas - its not the nose, just the nosiness) and my personal favorite - where the ultimate test of love is when your fiance fasts on Karwa Chauth along with you and you break the fast together :)

And as for fights and stunts, I don't think I can even begin to choose the number of fruit stalls, vegetable carts, cakes and pies that have been thrown, destroyed, used and abused in Indian films! Let's just say it completes the 'masala' entertainment that makes us Indians who we are...

So in keeping with my whole Film Food concept, here is something that encapsulates all the above genres and emotions in its masala/spice to make the perfect accompaniment for any meal... It has the bitterness of tragedy, the sweetness of romance, the tingle of comedy, the wholesomeness of a family drama (ok, I think I just made that up), and the punch of an action flick! A green-and-red chilli pickle.


Green Chillies - 100 gms (Indian long green chillies)
Red Chillies - 50 gms
Mustard seeds - 2 tbsp
Fenugreek Seeds - 1 tbsp
Vinegar - 2 tbsp
Kalonji/Onion seeds - 1 tbsp
Fennel/Saunf - 1/2 tbsp
Red Chilli Powder - 1 tbsp
Salt - 2 tbsp
Mustard Oil - 1/2 cup
Jaggery (optional) - 1/2 tbsp

Wash and pat dry the chillies. Slit them in the centre and take out the seeds if you don't want your pickle to be fiery-hot.

Dry grind the mustard and fenugreek seeds to a coarse powder. Add the red chilli powder and salt and mix well. Take a large plate or shallow dish and rub this spice powder into the chillies well. Now place the chillies along with the entire pickle mix in a dry glass or ceramic bottle with a wide mouth and pour in the vinegar.

In a small tempering ladle, heat the mustard oil till it starts smoking. Add the fennel and onion seeds till they start sputtering. Now pour this oil into the glass jar and on to the chillies. Mix well with a clean, dry spoon. If you like your pickles a little on the sweeter side, add some jaggery or sugar as per your taste.

Keep the jar in the sun for at least 3 days before you start consuming the pickle. This will let the spice mix permeate and the chillies will lose their burning-a-hole-in-the-roof-of-your-mouth hotness.

Trust me, the resulting pickle is not suicidally hot! It's just tangy, spicy and extremely addictive!

The way I like it:
Goes great with parathas, dal rice and rotis.

This entry is a part of the "Blogger of the month" contest for The Tasty Tangles.

Pls click on the link and vote for my post!

If you wish to participate, you can read the rules and regulations here:


arundati said...

congratulations swati.... its been fabulous to read WE.... wishing you many more blogiversaries (is that an official word now?) and i am so making that pickle today...infact i have everything on hand including the red chillies!

Dolce and Namak said...

Yes! Finally a post that I, filmi person that I am, can comment on rather than just lurking and drooling over recipies that I will never make (they look delicious, believe me: it's not you, it's meee! :P).

I was watching Makdee yesterday and there is a song in there, an ode to chicken, that your post made me think of. But even more than that, by the time you got to the pickles, I kept thinking of "Avakai Biryani". A Telugu movie I recommend for anyone who is into pickles :)

By the way, you totally had me at mere paas maa nahin hai. Teardrop! Though now that I read the whole paragraph, the most striking thing is: tumhare paas Blackberry nahin hai???? :D

Lovely reading you! And selfish person that I am, I wish you happy anniversary AND more posts about movies, even foodies have to watch something while eating, no? :)

Dasbehn said...

I love this post the best! I shall try the pickle once life comes back to track (not that I need any more masala in my life... but still!). The photograhs are amazing btw.
Congrats on completely one year.. since I am new to blogosphere, I shall henceforth call you Blog Didi! (I had to make one random comment)..
And one horrible bolluwood dialouge.. Jis school mein hum padhte hain, us school ke tum principal ho!

Karishma said...

This was such a refreshingly different 1st yr blogiversary post! Congratulations, Swati, for sticking it through one year of posting such readable posts that kept me coming back for more-not just the recipes, mind you :-D....loved this recipe and its bookmarked! Shall I pass a filmi dialogue now? To your blog-jug jug jiyo!

priyanka said...

Congratulations on your blogoversary! The green chilly pickle looks so good!

Swati Sapna said...

@Arundati - I owe it you girl :) and hope you made and liked the pickle.
@Dolce&Namak - lol! I knew you would so get this post! probably more than my other blogger friends ;) and yes, I hope I can do this marriage of food n film more often too...
@dasbehn - blog didi?? cheeee! :D only you can come up with such stuff! but thanks for all the other lovely words which is so unlike you! i can see that you really tried hard to be nice here :)
@Karishma - thanks a ton for being such a regular reader and 'commentor' :P and so glad you like my random ramblings!
@priyanka - thanks! and yes, the chilli pickle tastes even better than it looks... you must give it a try.

Rajesh A said...

1 yr huh!! nice work gakkam... although ill never forget that i only got to try that **@$&* #* apple crumble pie.... still its quite an achievement.... :).. next posts should be bachelor ready foods... wat say

Dolce and Namak said...

I am very enthusiastically in favour of above motion! :) Just sayin...

vani said...

I always knew you write well but really surprised to discover that you cook well and you love cooking.......Swati, great going.M sure u inherited this quality from your Suryanagar grandmother...try to meet her and get some traditional grandmaas recipies from her kitchen before its too late....congrats!!!!! and hope to see you soon on a cookery show.....GBU

Swati Sapna said...

@jerz - you moron! what about the chicken and the prawn malai curry i made?? and abt that apple crumble - in my defence, i was trying to bake it in our microwave! huh! anyway... why dont u get back to writing ur blog? its been too long a silence...
@dolce&namak - i hear ya! ;)
@@mom - love u ma! and yes, God willing I will meet amamma some time soon...

Rajesh A said...

oh yeah... the prawns were good..:)

Lawyer Loves Lunch said...

Love it! I'm glad you steered clear of the "I love all my readers" business. I always feel those posts are reminiscent of Oscar accepting speeches :) And this achar looks awesome! The hubster is not a fan so I've never experimented with making one but I bet it lasts forever in the fridge so I have to give it a try soon!

PS: And congratulations on the blog milestone. That my friend, is no cliche :)

Neenu Praveen said...

very gud to read thru...gud wrk..hapy to folow u...

Reshmi Mahesh said...

Great write up.....congrats on your a lovely space....glad to follow it..:)


the Junkie book said...

chanced on you in nashie's plateful. you've done up your blogoversary the quintessential Swati way i guess :P
i enjoyed it. i have two kids and crazy constant movements (the lock stock barrel ones) i need to tank on insanities like this to keep my sanity!!
happy blogging and lemme go down to your blondies...

Plateful said...

Brilliant post! Totally loved your candid thoughts on Indian filimi masala and the euphemism is first-class! Thanks for such an entertaining read (trust me -no cliche). Gotta admit that I'm a sucker for Hindi movies; romance is my favortie genre. How predictable huh ;)

Anyways congrats and warm hugs for ths milestone and marking it with such a flavorful and spicy dish. Well done!!

Swathi said...

Very nice post, thanks for visiting my blog, you have a wonderful space. That chili dish is really spicy and looks delicious.

Malar Gandhi said...

First of all, happy to discover ur blog, you have great space shaping up here...loved ur collections.

And congratulations, happy blogging:)

Enjoyed reading this well-written anecdote, The chili dish luks perfect, mouth watering.

Unknown said...

Thanx for following my blog!!What a masaledar post!!Njoyed reading it...Congrats on u'r blogoversary!!Happy to follow u:)

Swati Sapna said...

thank you for all the lovely words, ladies :)

nisha said...

Bumped upon on your blog today , loved reading this post and other posts :).

Boomarked the pickle recipe too

sra said...

This is a really innovative post, congrats on the blog anniversary! Waiting to see your guessing game.