It was the year 1982 when we met the the Dheer family for the first time. Sudarshan Uncle, Hardesh Aunty, Gauri and Reva. I still remember their ethic styled home with a very mordern kitchen with a hole in the wall from where Hardesh Aunty doled out hot rotis off the tava straight into the waiting plates. They are a typical Jat family that enjoys treating the guest to a hearty punjabi meal. I am a strong believer that bonds are strengthened over food shared together. Its true in case of the many friends that we have made over the years and our friendship with the Dheer family is an example of that besides the fact that my Dad and Sudarshan Uncle (why am I saying that coz I call him Dheer uncle anyways) believe in the same things in life like Yoga, alternative therapies, social responsibilities and spiritualism etc.
It was my first meal in a Punjabi home. We had frequented Delhi Darbar, Copper Chimney and Kandil few times a year before that. The few things I associate with Punjabi home cooked food are Boondi raita, Roti, Adraki dal, Basmati rice and the welcome drink Thandai. I can't say the same about the restaurants I don't remember their menu any more as my memories of eating non-veg at restraunts have now been discolored.
The Dheers had a great influence on me. Sudarshan Uncle for his sense of aesthetics and minimalism. This great master to show his love had designed a logo for yours lovingly's venture or mis-adventure should I say. Hardesh Aunty for her sheer grit and pride that she never compromised on. I still love her bear hugs when ever we meet. Gauri and Reva for the many books we shared together and our heated debates on P. G. Woodhouse vs. Somerset Maugham. (Now you will know where my love for Ginger Ale began)
Here is the recipe of Boondi raita that became a must in our home as an accompaniment with any type of pronthas/ parathas after that first enjoyable and memorable meal at the Dheer's.
1/2 cup khari boondi (salted chickpea flour pearls)
1 cup fresh curds
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon chaat masala
How to make khari boondi:
Mix 1/2 cup chickpea flour with 2 tablespoon water to get thick batter. Through a slotted spoon drop the pearls in hot oil and fry till crispy. Drain on a mesh or absorbent paper.
To make the Raita:
In a big bowl add the curd top it with boondi and dress up with chat masala and red chilli powder by sprinkling over it.
This raita is best when you are running out of fresh veggies. Most kids who complain about koshimbir will love this one and even lap it up as a snack.
The next post coming up.....you guessed it right ...Stuff Paratha!