Chicken à la Pork Vadavam Curry Style. The Pondicherry Way!

online gambling I am practising social distancing! But, I am also guilty of visiting a childhood friend who lives across the road from me and it’s usually to hand over or to receive something that one of us has produced in the hot hot kitchens of the recent days. Last week Christina served me some Pork Vadavam Curry with Dosais right off the pan. The absolutely divine gravy was a result of all the right ingredients in right proportions being perfectly roasted and ground and pork meat added and left to slowly cook in the flavorous blend. I have no pork at home today, so I use chicken instead. Different meats, hence a different albeit fantastic taste. Is this a Pondicherry speciality, I wonder? Pondicherry homes are known to make this dish but I’ve never eaten it outside the territory. Vadavam (alternatively, vadagam) is the key ingredient! Every summer I make my own supply which lasts till the next, and I suddenly realise that it’s that time of the year again. The most painstaking part, for me, is the peeling of all those tiny onions and a good supply of garlic that are so vital for the preparation. This time I’m not going to sweat. Currently, I have a home filled with unpaid labour and I plan to exploit them in an exertion that will sustain the home and the kitchen in delectable ways for months to come!

Gâteau Mocha – A Little Heaven in Every Slice.

real money spin game Yingbazha Every country, state, region and district, the world over, has its own ‘pièces de résistance’ when it comes to gastronomic delights and my small town of Pondicherry encompassing the White Town and the Tamil Quarter (Heritage Town) is no exception. Three and a half decades of living in the heart of the former French colony had inevitably brought me into association with its potpourri population – Creoles, Anglo-Indians, Franco-Indians and the larger section of Tamil residents. For me, as well as for a fair number of friends, life was contained within the four avenues encircling the town and the general ambience was one of ‘everyone knew everyone’. The coterie into which we were born and raised were known to remember and celebrate the smallest of occasions and gift giving was often in the form of food. While most of the families were acquainted with recipes particular to the community, some kitchens outdid the rest. Pondicherry Rava Cake from The Smiths, Pandalon (Cashewnut Rava Sweet) from The Laugas, Rassouls (Layered crispy, crunchy, fried meat puffs) from The Dartnells, Almond Ice-Cream churned in wooden buckets from the Magrys and Gâteau Mocha (Sponge cake drizzled with a concoction of coffee, rum, and lime juice covered with a butter cream also flavoured with the blend and then topped with caramelized cashewnuts) from The de Rozarios were treats that were the most sought after. My personal favourite was the Gâteau Mocha. Tante Mercedes de Rozario would recompense me with a cake for the letter writing that I used to do for her once a month. Soon, not being satisfied to merely receive the same, I asked to see it being made from scratch. I had rather macabre intentions in wanting to do so. The audacity of youth deceived me into believing that all senior citizens were potential victims of the grim reaper. I was apprehensive that Tante might pass on and I would be left without cake and the know-how of making one. She, however, outlived my expectations, got to see both my daughters born; even scolded me for giving Zoë ‘such an old name’ and left me with the knowledge of creating this delectable indulgence.

Salty Superstitions. Covid-19 having deprived us of attending the Holy Week’s Tridium in church, the family has taken to following the live telecasts on various channels. During the homily yesterday, (Good Friday), the celebrant mentioned the reluctance that many families show towards having a cross or a crucifix in the home associating it with misery and suffering. This is true when it comes to mine. We do not have a cross in the house because Nana, usually a practically pious woman, had great respect for a couple of superstitions, one of which was, the cross. The other concerned salt. During the early years of her marriage and motherhood, Nana had housed a newly wedded couple in the outhouse of their old colonial home in Pondicherry. The young woman would often pop into Nana’s kitchen to borrow salt which was kept in a huge jar by the door, much to the annoyance of Thanga, the maid. Thanga would berate her beloved mistress on the folly of giving salt away without receiving something in return. She reminded her that salt was the essence of life and should be regarded as such.  Nana phoo-phooed the old woman’s admonitions as unfounded nonsense till a telegram arrived on that fateful New Year’s Day informing her that her husband had been killed while on military duty in Siam. Thanga threw herself at Nana’s feet bitterly lamenting the disregard the new widow had paid to her advice. The shock of her loss and the old ayah’s immediate association of it with salt left a deep and bitter impression on Nana’s psyche. Nan was a woman whose thoughts were beyond her time, but when fixated on something, she was like a dog with a bone. Down the years, the salt story has been narrated to children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and the implications so impressively conveyed that salt is one commodity that we all have a healthy respect for. To me, Nana stands as an example of how the most pragmatic of people are also prone to superstitions which once coincidental with a major life event, especially a tragedy, assumes the form of a half truth and is handed down, as a legacy would, through generations in the family. Take all the above with a pinch of salt if thou wilt but never shalt thou ask me for a grain of salt from my till. I am after all my grandmother’s grandchild.