Day 6: 5 Foods

Never in my life did I imagine that listing 5 favourite foods of mine would be so difficult; that limiting the list to just 5 of those would be so excruciatingly painful. I was never a foodie the first 27 or so years of my life, and thin, lankly pictures of me are proof of that statement. However, in the last 3 years or so, it’s like I got introduced to this whole new world and my taste buds have started having the time of their life, of course, the rest of my body having to bear the brunt of it gaining pounds at every possible opportunity. Not that I had any shortage or lack of variety of vegetarian food in India, but somehow the activity never made me gain weight. Hence, I didn’t think of food so much. Now, I gain, so I restrict, so I miss it more. I guess.  

I remember a quote from Friends, which a friend of mine Ankur, had posted on one of my recent photographs. 

Monica: The camera adds ten pounds
Chandler: How many cameras were actually on you?

Well, here goes. No prizes for guessing the #1 on my list. Most of my good friends would nail this one.

1. Paani Puri ! 
The mouth-watering streetside version of it has to be the best thing ever created by man ! I will be honest, I haven’t tried too many street vendors, just a few. I have tried the ones with boondi, ones with alu, ones with chole, even the healthy ones with sprouts (yuck !!!!) and loved all. The barrage of tastes every single one releases when it crumbles in my mouth .. mmmmm .. missing them so much now ! I make them sometimes at home as well but the satisfaction in someone else making them and me just enjoying them is something totally different ! Having a couple of them completely “theeka” would bring tears to my eyes but I still wouldn’t stop. And no, its not complete till the sukha-puri at the end !!! The walks and talks with so many of my friends from all circles of life, endless gossip, and finally topping it off with an Amul Kulfi at the end – Great times !!

2. Vada Pav
Another street delicacy. This is probably also the staple of a lot of people in Maharashtra. A quick stomach-filling snack, the taste of which stays long past. Often, while waiting for the bus either coming from college or travelling someplace, I might have missed my lunch or I might just be feeling hungry, a quick Rs.4 (those days) would fetch me a scrumptious vada pav and I would go munching happily. The best of those has to the be the Jumbo Vada Pav at Vashi Station. The garlic chutney and the fried green chillies, mmm Heaven !!! 

3. Daal Chaaval
Leave me stranded on an island with Wilson (that’s right, Tom Hank’s football from Cast Away) and an assurance that I would get my daily dose of daal chaaval and I would live happily ever after. I think this is one dish that you can’t really mess up, but then I have been known to mess up things that cannot be messed up. Thankfully, daal chaaval is not one of them. I dont make it way too often, however every time I do, Mahantesh and I sit licking our fingers at the end. 

4. Mommy’s Maggi.
Yep, very specific. Maggi might be a 2 min activity as they advertise it, however it has to be the way my Mom makes it – half boiling the Maggi first, then sautéing veggies (potatoes, carrots, peas, beans) and then boiling those and adding the Maggi back. Sounds simple right? I have tried and tried but the only thing simple about this is the way how the exact taste eludes me when I make it ! Something’s always off and I am yet to lay my finger on it. I have been away from home for a few years now and every time I go for a visit, this has to be in breakfast at least once/twice a week. Usually our breakfast menu would be either Dosai or Idlis or Adais, but me, I got to have my Maggi !!!!

5. Amul Kool (Pista/Kesar/Rose)
Not really a food, but it still figures on my top 5. Picture a hot day, riding in a crowded BEST bus, sweat dripping, sticky clothes and the hot sun burning down on you. You alight the bus and there’s an Amul stall right opposite with the Amul Kool bottles gleam in the shining sun. Yep, this has happened with me innumerable times and hence, the memory of it, is what makes it the best 5th food on my list. When I had my tonsils removed and could hardly open my mouth to eat food, Amul Kool was the one to pull me out of my miseries and my hunger. It had been a life saver then and continues to be one of my favourite foods. 

I am going to cheat a little here and also give due credit to other amazing foods like Dahi Batata Puri, Malai Sandwich, Cheese Masala Sandwich, Pure South Indian Curd Rice, Indo-Chinese foods like Gobi Manchurian, Paneer Chilli and so many more !!! I admit that most of the foods on my list are all Indian, this does not mean that I do not like other international foods. I love foods from the Thai cuisine, pastas with pesto sauce, some Mediterranean Greek dishes, some specific Mexican dishes and some others I am sure I have forgotten about, but I am sure, if I have to list the top 25 or so, they would definitely make it to that list !

I would love to hear your views!