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Fresh figs in garlic sauce!

This tale began for me when I went online and rather shrewdly decided I wanted to subscribe to an Indian magazine to support the cultural accomplishments of the subcontinent.

One of the first things I encountered was a magazine that carried a recipe for Fresh Figs in Garlic Cream Sauce! Can you believe this, I wrote to friends online -- who would make this?

My friends tried to calm me. If it wasn't for the fact the entire recipe was to be cooked in a microwave, wrote one, she would try it. It wasn't so bad.

Meanwhile, my mother told me a reporter several years ago went into the kitchen of one of the more popular writers of the day to see how she fashioned her recipes and found the woman had no facilities for making anything whatsoever; she simply made up her creations without ever testing them!

I despaired. I felt like a snob. If Figs in Garlic Cream were what India's elite were concocting, perhaps I ought to adapt. Or at least not declaim their merits so vociferously. And then, I discovered Weblogs devoted to food.

Not only did I find Sailu and her brethren, I took to obsessively checking her site Indian Food & Andhra Recipes as well as Seattle-based Indira Mahanandi, the Saffron Trail, Shilpa of Aayis Recipes, Barbara at Tigers & Strawberries, the amusing husband and wife team Jai and Bee at jugalbandi and many, many more every week for new recipes.

My descent into late-night cutting, chopping, simmering, stewing frenzies with mad praise from guests had officially begun. And if this makes the recipes sound difficult, they weren't at all. They just captivated me, because of the raw talent they displayed. There were so many fabulous, unusual and inspiringly authentic dishes.

Also read: A taste of God's own country

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