Saturday, November 18, 2006

Welcome to the Church of the Holy Cabbage. Lettuce pray.

Smokin' SOB asked me a couple of days ago why there were only 2 or 3 different vegetable dishes in an indian mixed rice stall. Was it because indians don't enjoy their vegetables? Or was it just our minds telling us that vegetables are vegetables only when they are green and leafy and recognisable?

Having grown up in a home where eating was an art form, I never noticed the lack of vegetables. I remember mum forcing me to finish up the sawi, or else! (rotan hanging nearby).

So coming back to the question of vegetables, what do indians eat?? Popular indian vegetarian dishes include fried sliced eggplant, crispy bittergourd chips, dhall curry, vegetarian kurma, lentils and vegetable curry and tomato chutney. And this is in addition to the usual no-brainer stirfries (my only specialty in this fast-forward world :-)). What makes indian vegetarian dishes special is the addition of a multitude of spices to tempt the palate. I remember the fragrant smell of popping mustard seeds in the kuali mixed with garnishes of sliced onions, ginger and curry leaves as mum whipped up a seemingly simple looking vegetarian dish.

Which makes living in Malaysia really wonderful. The variety of styles of preparation, be it chinese or indian or malay or japanese, ensures that one never really gets bored of the selection of foods we have here.

The traumatic experience of my childhood has guaranteed my eternal hatred for sawi, but I will always appreciate the effort mum put into making her dishes more-than-edible. The secret ingredient? Love. Can't beat that.

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