Thakali Thithipu

Yugawara skin gambling If you are from Pondicherry, you’d guess right away what Thakali Thithipu (Tomato Sweet) is and what it is served with! And if you are not, then I’m compelled to extol the virtues of this simple but delectable accompaniment to the universally loved Biryani. Having tasted Biryani from different states across India, I am yet to find Thakali Thithipu set out along side the usual accessories such as, Curd Raitha and Yennai Kathirika (Spicy masala brinjals loaded with oil) anywhere else, except in my hometown. Tomato sweet is not the tomato jam that some homes make as it differs in texture. It serves as a delicious digestive to the heavy biryani, especially when you don’t know when to stop eating, urged on by succulent mutton falling tenderly off the bone and melting in one’s mouth. No other biryani works for me like Mutton Biryani! Yum, yum, yum. Thakali Thithipu is easy to make, so here comes the recipe for anyone who’d like to give it a chance with biryani. One kilo of tomatoes would need 800 grams of sugar. Dice the tomatoes small (don’t puree them as the taste changes) and put the diced tomatoes and the sugar together into a vessel. The vessel needs to be a lot bigger than the contents as the mixture will rise as it boils. To the tomatoes and the sugar add two cinnamon sticks (one and a half inches each) and about 5 cloves. Put it on the stove and let it cook, slowly. Do not add water at all. As the mixture boils, it will also slowly thicken and reduce in quantity. There are two ways to know when to take the tomato mixture off the stove. 1. The frothy texture on the surface will reduce considerably and, 2. The mixture takes approximately an hour to cook to completion. Combining your knowledge of one and two above will help you know when to turn off the flame. The end result should be a semi-solid mixture and on cooling will thicken further. And before I forget, before taking it off the fire, fry cashewnuts and raisins in a little ghee and add to the tomato. So do try this out, and it will be bye-bye to Gelucil or Alcool de Mente after a heavy biryani lunch. Feedback on your experiment with Thakali Thithipu would be much appreciated. Bon appetit!

Food for Thought and Some Soup Helps too! I fell in love with the written word from the moment I learnt to read, and that combined with the family’s zeal for perusing everything that is printed, nurtured the relationship. My father bore the brunt of having a reading daughter. He enrolled me in the children’s section of the Romain Rolland Library and made the effort to take me there, riding on the carrier of his cycle (How many times I got the poor man into trouble with Mum, by carelessly dangling my legs into the rotating spokes – but Da’s escapades with me is for another telling). While I scanned the rows for books that interested me, he would patiently seat himself on one of the little chairs and read the newspaper that the librarian obligingly let him have. The library only permitted its members to borrow two books at a time and vacations, especially, saw me getting through a book a day and then Da had to pedal me back (despite my propensity for mischief ) for a return and borrow. That was when I got my first bicycle. It served three purposes – I would now be able to go to the library by myself, Daddy could depart on his transfer happy that his daughter would not be without her books and most importantly he would not be blamed, any further, for my bruises and scars. Every once in a while, the cycle would be replaced, most usually at Christmas, as I regularly outgrew them. My cycle gave me the much needed mobility to reach other libraries as well. The Little Lending Library on Mission Street was a big favourite, and often, squating between the rows of racks I would finish a couple of Archie Digests before setting off with a few novels for home consumption. When I try telling youngsters these days, who turn up their noses when it comes to reading books, that they are missing out on an entire universe of wonder, adventure magic and what not, their indulgent grins at this tok-tok Aunty’s passionate advocacy makes me want to give them one solid kottu. Their curiosity seeks fulfillment from sources other than the printed form and while our imaginations ploughed through descriptions, the media versions have robbed them of that mental exercise. The feel of a book, the intoxicating odour of one fresh from the press, the pleasure of turning the pages, the sadness when you realise that you are at the end of a wonderful tale…nothing surpasses the pleasure. And doing that on a rainy evening with a bowl of piping hot pumpkin soup and a few slices of garlic buttered bread – just perfect. I know all’s well in my world!

Memories are Made of This!

motivos para namorar um professor de educação fisica Plant City I am not a nostalgic ‘those were the days’ kind of person and am as committed to living in and loving the present as I did each day in the past. My ‘days of yore’ is a repository of memories stored in receptacles which are labelled, the good and the bad, from which I draw comfort and strength, respectively. Nothing more, nothing less. While there is an absence of a longing to re-live ‘those days’, fond re-visits are made when something today reminds of a version a few decades ago. Yesterday, Mum asked me to cook some very humble Anglo-Indian fare – pepper water, dholl mash and fried fish and this took me back to the Maclure home in Villupuram. An hour’s drive from Pondicherry, Villupuram was a large Anglo-Indian hub and a place to be for weddings and dances. On many an occasion, it was just Nana, Hayley and I who would make the trip there and sojourn at the Maclures. We, as kids, just loved the visits – the long path way into their home with a tree on either side (under which Hayley would patiently wait, broom in hand, for a leaf to fall so that she could sweep up – yes she found it a very fulfilling exercise ), the large hall where Judy and Rodney practised their jive moves to exhibit at the event in the evening ( and wow, they were good), Aunty Pam at her sewing machine between the kitchen and dining room (she turned out amazing outfits), Uncle Stan coming back from work and greeting us warmly, and Jenny, who most obligingly gallivanted with me around the neighbourhood. In the afternoons or the night, as the case may be, we were the happiest if the meal consisted of pepper water, dholl mash and fried fish or beef fry. It was something that was made in our own home too, but food always tastes better from someone else’s kitchen – so Hayley and I would sit at the table and feast like starved Oliver Twists much to the embarrassment of dear old Nan. Hence, Mum’s request to which I acquiesced occasioned happy memories and when I returned in the evening, she made it a point to tell me how much she had enjoyed her lunch. But, Aunty Pam, if you are reading this, I want you to know that my memory of what you laid out for us, is way far tastier than what I serve out today. Thank you for those very many happy days when you opened your home, heart and the much appreciated kitchen to us.

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