Has this ever happened with you..a dish you had eaten a long long time ago but remember quite vividly even today?
Now this is different from the growing up comfort food that I had written about earlier, that is familiar, prepared and eaten regularly in homes and provides warmth each time.
Food that I am talking about here are usually the ones that bowled you over in the first bite....you were really taken in by either the taste or the flavor or possibly the whole concept. Maybe you never had the dish again.....but thought about it very fondly several times over the years....even long after other memories of the person who had prepared the dish or the place where you sampled it have started to fade. Got it now?
I remember many such dishes( I bet sis remembers these ones too), but you got to be a little patient here...being a foodie there are quite a few that I can talk about. Let me start with Kewra kheer...this is very common in Punjabi households but I do recall the first time I had eaten the kheer. As with most other kheers this was delicious but what stayed on was the Kewra flavoring...it seemed so unusual from the regular elaichi one. Then there was an egg curry which had been prepared by breaking eggs over an already ready, simmering gravy...egg curry in my household then( and even now) were either made with boiled eggs/boiled and lightly fried eggs or omelettes(this one I was told by Mom is an economical way to use eggs, three eggs sufficed for a family of five), sandwiches on my first flight...large triangles with a thick slice of cheese in between....sis and me had loved them and Dad got us a second one which we shamelessly devoured, Tutti Fruity icecream at Hotel Rebecca( this was the name of the lone restaurant in the town I grew up)....that memory made me order Tutti Fruity ice cream for many years after that......Rogan Josh...the highlight of our trip to Kashmir....our day ended with Naan and Rogan Josh...it sounded and tasted way more exotic than it does today...then there was Roomali Roti and Kebabs from Pandara road during my first trip to Delhi. Visited the place recently, seemed completely transformed....a baked crab in shell dish prepared by a guest house chef in my little town(crab sourced locally too)...I just have to close my eyes.... can visualize this dish right in front of me and feel the taste in my mouth. Some food memories do stand the test of time.
I could just go on but will save the rest for another post. The dish in focus is " Khus Khus" halwa. I sampled it for the first time at my friend D's place. Being from the East I was familiar with the usage of khus khus in curries and dry subzis. But a Khus Khus halwa? I was sceptical but one mouthful and I was sold. Loved the taste and helped myself to a generous second helping despite the warning bells in my head. Last week I was in Pune and D invited me over for breakfast. She asked me if there was anything in particular that I would like to have. Here was my chance...after all I did think about her halwa quite often. I said " Could you please make me some of that khus khus halwa"? I quickly added " Don't bother if it is too much trouble", all along hoping that D would not agree to the latter. Halwa turned out to be just the way I remembered. Delicious, with the rich taste of khus khus and ghee. D even packed some for my husband and children.
Khus Khus Halwa(Serves 4)
Khus Khus(Poppy seeds): 100 grams
Ghee: 4 tbsps
Sugar: 3/4 tbsps
Milk: 3/4th cup
Dry Fruits: 4 tbsps( finely chopped)
Soak the khus khus overnight and grind to a paste with 2/3 tbsps of water. Should be a semi solid paste( approximately about a cup).
Next heat the ghee, cook the khus khus in the ghee till done. Then add the milk and sugar and cook for a while. It would start to resemble sooji halwa.
Add the chopped dry fruits and serve hot.
No, this does not require tons of khus khus.
No, this does not make you feel sleepy/dopey
D tells me that Maharashtrians eat this when they are fasting. To me this tastes more like " feasting" food. Sinfully delicious.
Bon Apetit and Happy Cooking!