Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Often, it is only a recollection - on the lines of "remember that time when we ate ....", or "every summer, the smell of mangoes would permeate through the house...", or "I remember eating it when we were on a vacation to...", or "remember the chaat wallah.."
But every once in a while, food stirs memories that warm the cockles of ones heart. And so, sometimes, it is not the food per se, but the memories it triggers in us that makes it so special.
Egg burji (spiced scrambled eggs) - or anda burji, as it is popularly called, is the one food that is special to me - not because it is so easy and convenient to make. It is special because of the time it makes me recall.
Terradaze and I were about to be married and were house-hunting in full earnest. After a back-breaking search, we finally found a house that was within our budget and in the area we wanted; more importantly, it was a house that we wanted to call home.
We'll sign the lease documents today and then go and celebrate at a good restaurant, we decided.
H.O.W.E.V.E.R, as they say, there is many a slip between the cup and the lip - at the last minute, the house slipped out of our hands.
Stunned, we made our way back to our hostels. An hour in the train , spent in absolute stony silence. There was precious little to be said anyway - the wedding was less than two weeks away, and we had no other apartments short-listed. Without it being said , we knew that staying in our hostels after getting married was a distinct possibility! By the time the train pulled into Churchgate station, it was past midnight. We were tired and frustrated, not to mention very very hungry.
As we were walking out of the station, we heard the hiss of a gas stove and a the clanging of a spoon on a wok. Something smelt delicious. A street cart selling burji - pav (bread).
Perhaps, it was because we were feeling so miserable. Perhaps it was because we weren't expecting to get any hot food being sold at that hour. But the sight of that street cart filled us with great joy. And at that moment, the hopelessness we felt, lifted. Just a minor hiccup, we told each other. We would find a way out, we said.
To this day, whenever I make anda burji, I can recall the minutest details of that night - the ebony coloured man cranking up the flame, throwing in the ingredients one after the other, stirring them quickly and vigorously, tiny beads of sweat on his fore-head, his banian that once must've been white, now faded and stained with splotches of turmeric here and there. The two of us, wolfing down the burji pav, filled with renewed hope.
Egg burji is one very easy thing to make. There are no fixed measures here, so my quantities keep changing; use the following just as a guideline, but this is one recipe where you can do as you please!
Onions - 1 large, finely chopped
Tomatoes - 2 medium, chopped
Green bell pepper - 1/2, chopped (optional)
Ginger - 1 tsp, grated
Green chillies - 2, chopped
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp, chopped
Eggs - 4, lightly beaten
(vegetarians can substitute eggs with crumbed paneer, vegans can use soy granules)
Heat oil and saute the onions till pink. Add in the ginger and the bell pepper, if using. Stir till the bell pepper softens, about 2 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, green chillies, turmeric and salt and stir till the tomatoes become soft and mushy, then toss in the coriander leaves.
Add the eggs in and mix till the eggs are set.
I serve my burji with these butter rolls ; it is as delicious with rotis.
It is not just about the ingredients or the recipe, good food happens when it is served with love!!