Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fusion Cuisine


Early morning flights are bad. I had get up at 3 to get ready and catch a flight to come to my hometown. Am here for a couple of days. I hate sitting inside that flying capsule. So to divert my attention I walked into the airport bookstall that generally sells corny novels. I found this interesting book there.

The East Indian Kitchen (Enduring flavours of Maharashtrian-Portuguese fusion cuisine) by Michael Swamy. The book was sealed with plastic, so there was no way of looking inside; the name sounded interesting so I decided to buy it The first thing that I didn't like about the book is that the recipes don't have pictures. I like to look at a dish before deciding to make it. This book does have pictures of a few dishes, but they are at the center of the book miles away from the actual recipe. It's not helpful.

It has quite a few good things though. It gives measurements table for quick reference (though some values are wrong). It also gives information about various spices and their English as well as Indian names. In the meat section, there's information about cleaning different types of meat. This information is by no means comprehensive, but quite useful nevertheless. There is information about how to make different types of masala mixes. It also gives a bit of the history of the two cuisines and spices used etc. This information is good to just understand why Maharashtrian-Portuguese fusion comes naturally.

Now about the dishes. The dishes are quite simple to make (most of them) and it covers the whole gamut from starters to desserts. Also interesting is the wine section where he teaches us how to make different wines from peach, plum, etc. Some of the dishes are very common in every Maharashtrian home but some are a little more special (maybe they are common in Goan homes, but I don't know that). Overall it does look like an interesting selection of recipes for me to try. A couple of my Portuguese friends have just embarked on a world tour which will also bring them to India and I hope to make at least one fusion dish for them when we meet in a couple of months.

The loooooong one hour in the flight went flying away because of this book. And here I am sipping tea and watching my sis cook lunch. I think I should go and help her (and make something to put on the blog).

So long live Chillies and Tomatoes and all the other vegetables and spices that the Portuguese brought to India centuries ago. We wouldn't have had such a rich and varied cuisine if it wasn't for them.