Thaali- naan and others. coutesy: lisbokebabish.com
Any series on Indian innovation can never be complete without the mention of food – bhojan, khana or annam as it is lovingly called, depending upon which part of the country you are in. If there ever was a league table, or even an indexing of countries who live to eat (rather than eat to live) , we could well be at the top of the list. Unfortunately the peoples (usually staid ecomonimists or other morons) love to rank countries on rather mundane issues like livability, breathability and other such where India stands the poorest chance and inevitably but rather unfortunately ends up at the bottom end of the pile.
So, while the most premium seems to be placed on routine “roti kapda and makaan (home,cloth and food)” when it comes to these rankings, in her own quirky way, the amblingindian has decided to look at these things with her innovation glasses on. And what do we see here? Wow! Of course India was and still is one of the original gastronomic innovators, without any doubt. With many of the best known foods including icecreams claiming to have originated here and many other yummier delights also known to be so. In fact, I am tempted to cover two of the exotic dishes that may have been invented eons ago, but discovered by me only now – one being “rose petals pudding” and the other a crispy “puffed rice dosa”. But, have no fear, by no means is this blog going to be overtaken by food. Even though the thought is delicious enough to get one drooling. For now, I shall relegate the recipes to the kitchen and perhaps make them available to readers on demand if they so desire.
The subject of attention, however, is not just the food, but the language that accompanies it. Much like the chutneys, achars and pickles that no self-respecting Indian meal can do without, the innovative descriptions of the food add a quirky, tangy dimension to it. While in Bombay you could sip “Cutting Chai” (yes, literally tea that has been cut, ostensibly to save cost, but also, perhaps to make it cutting-edge), I also discovered yesterday in Delhi, something called ” Running Naan”( Running bread). What the???? Precisely the amblingindian’s reaction, dear readers.
On digging deeper, it appears it had nothing to do with the pace at which it was being dished out by the dilligent cooks and waiters- rapid fire, literally running out of the kitchen, but rather, something about being added to a meal to cover the shortfall of rotis when the curry is continuing but the naan has emm… run out.
And so, innovative indeed is the food lingo, it just beckons and cajoles you to try some. At least touch the palate. What next then for india? Flying fish curry, or buttering chicken?
Some thinking needed, or maybe drooling, to partake of all this innovative fooding…
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