Sunday, March 30, 2008

There is always something ‘fishy’ before marriage.

In ancient times amongst suriyani Christian families in kottayam, homes with girls of marriageable age would look for certain prized catches…Well talking of prized grooms, it would be guys who could successfully devour that hardest and most intricate piece of fish during the pennu kaanal* lunch …The ladies at the bride’s home would cook it the day before in richest and spiciest of all spices…On the doomsday. I mean the D-day…the most complex piece of the fish head would be served exclusively for the groom’s plate…it marks the beginning of an epic battle.

The air is tense on that day…even the cats don’t meoooow…forget that they have competition here.

All eyes are trained on the boy and the fish...The fiery fish curry and the quest. Both unbearably HOT!

The bell rings in the nearby parish church...The ammachis at home are reciting the kontha (rosary) in murmurs.... Appachan is talking in hushed manner with the other karnavars
The bride’s cousins are already gossiping in the other room…


The guy would be thinking of the years of practice and training he had gone through…karimpumkala shaap**…. He graduated from the best Ivy League F-school (its not what you think.)…The long sessions over a school of fish and kallu…

Yes … the real battle is what matters…The girl’s appachan is an old fox…He got the best possible piece in town…

It is simply too nauseating for the groom’s mother too…In hushed tones she asks her husband.
Achaayo…nammalude mon pass aavo…’ (Will our son clear the test?)
Achayan doesn’t like last minute jitters and in a harsh tone...’hmmph…THRESIAAKUTTY!!’

And then…

They all sit down at the dining table. Children are told to leave. It is all going to be adult material in there.

Like the man who loved to revel in big stage, the groom dissects the meen thala*** with Lecterisque ease…The gory cries...
The fish brain ease out of the skull due to the huge vacuum created by the skilled fighter’s labial suction.

Meanwhile the umpire Perappans and Appachens are mentally noting the points…they will sit down and tally em in the end…

They examine the kill ...Antonychen’s Power 10 glasses don’t lie after all...They seem to be talking in professional lingo....’ eemballu...meeninte andharkadaakam….

Was he too fast…Is there any puli (tamarind) sediments still left?
Does the cranium now look like the dinosaur head we saw in Jurassic park?
Did the boy drink a glass of water after that? *Well he is sissy if he did that*

Many question…It was the battle de mother of the pennu kaanal chadangu…Much much harder than Arjuna did with that reflection on pool archery trick…

The girl is simply wondering… Does that guy deserve me?
Last time Johnychayan from kozhencherry was thrown out of home because he had hidden sugar cubes in his mouth…Or Kunjoose who tried to bring his own fish skeleton super cleaned with some ‘safedi ka chamkaar powder’…but that unfortunately got stuck in his trouser pocket…14 stitches is what it took.


The question that Thavalakuzhi and Mutathupadi family awaits.

After a few minutes the warrior was escorted to the living room…
Mathaikutty is tense...and tired…He is given a glass of brandy for mild relief…

The judges huddled in another room for brainstorming…Gossips run around the kitchens…
Mathaikutty was too loud !!…Mathaikutty was too brusque !!…. Mathaikutty was sweating !!

His friend from Calicut Meenchantha rings his mobile.

’edaa…did you make it’


‘Wow…I can’t believe you …’

‘Pray for me...’

The doors creak…The jury is coming out…Crowds gather around chief judge 96 year old Annamma chedathi

‘Hello everyone…calm down ...please calm down’

‘I the chief matriarch of Thavalakuzhi family declare Mathaikutty has cleared the practical for eating our fish curry with CMM level 5 standards’

‘Vakkacha...Kariacha…Thankacha…Mercy...Susy...Gracy…everyone...We have found the right groom for Meency…Now that the major chadangu is over…LETS FIX THE DATES!!’

*Ceremony of visiting the girl’s house before marriage
**The best fish and toddy shop back home
*** Fish head

I was planning to write the recipe for this curry..Hey but c'mon we have professionals here..Do check out this and this. Ultimate fish wont be disappointed after this.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Just another wedding tale..

When I get bored of the regular dishes it so happens that I attempt something, which I see in food blogs or other foodie websites. But often I face the lingua problem where I would know some stuff in English…. others in Malayalam...and others, which I don’t know in either language. Infact it was quite recently that I came to know that ‘Karugapatta’ is not an obscenity which I thought sounds like so.. or Thymol is not Animol’s sister and Fenugreek is not anywhere from Greece. But then lessons learnt however are lessons learnt isn’t? . I remember the blunder done while I was talking to a German aunty who was offended coz after she told me her name, which was ‘Maggie’ by the way, I couldn’t help but say ‘hahaha…we eat Maggi in India’. Why it happens that we don’t have a blunder warning system installed in our brain to avoid such embarrassing comments.

Neways last week while cleaning up the fridge I was taking out the vegetables in it. There were carrots, capsicums, bhindi’s and several other stuff in there. I cleaned up the refrigerator after a Herculean struggle. Not to mention the small fight I had with roomie for stocking table tennis balls inside the fridge, which I later realized, were mushrooms. It was just a week ago I had caught him for keeping the ‘ice-age DVD’ in the freezer…He says he want to imbibe the soul of the movie. Never mind we always have some serious conflicts at home regarding the content of the fridge.

But the whole point is that a glance on the kitchen table and I saw love in its purest form. It was overwhelmingly emotional and I consider myself lucky to see that. Believe me folks I saw the carrot in love with the bhindi!! Braving the bully Potato and rugged terrains of a cauliflower heap, Carrot overcame the last challenge from onion. Bhindi asked for a slayed onion as a token of appreciation and after a landmark battle, it did finally happen. In a scene reminiscent of dilwale dulhaniya le jayenga on the auspicious day of 2nd of March 2008, Carrot proposed Bhindi..

Being the moral priest I decided to solemnize the wedding between carrot (sole heir of Magnoliophyta family) and Bhindi (beautiful daughter of Abelmoschus esculentus). In what was a very passionate scene the carrot and bhindi embraced at the sanctum sanctorum of my non-stick cooking pan. The mustards cracked in joy to celebrate the momentous occasion. As the carrot applied the chilli sindhoor on bhindi’s forehead, the bride gleamed in happiness. The onion who was opposed to the wedding took it with a pinch of salt and arrived at the ceremony for namesake. The best man Pepper Khan made sure things went well without glitches. And so for ever after or err precisely for 20 minutes the carrot and Bhindi lived happily. Around 1 pm in a tragic fun ride down my GI tract it burned to death after falling on a pool of gastric acids in my stomach. As a mark of respect my shradhanjali for this humble dish.