The Listerine was always perched on top of the mesh cupboard in the kitchen. We, my cousin and I, would return from school and head straight for the kitchen, pour some Listerine into a glass, gargle and ... I don't remember what we did next. Study? Play? Possibly. But of course! We'd have a glass of hot, boiled milk, and perhaps something to eat.
I do remember, though, that my grandmother wouldn't usually make hot evening tiffin for us. I've mentioned how unorthodox she was in some of her food choices, so this non-tiffin habit was probably a manifestation of that. (Though an aunt tells me that she did do some of the conventional things when they were younger, but that's another story.) There was fruit to eat, and various savoury snacks (chakkidalu/chakralu/karappusa) that she made herself periodically, pressing the dough out of a heavy brass cylinder in a circular motion into a deep and large cast iron kadai full of hot oil. It would be a delight to watch all those twisty, twirly, rough and smooth treats coming up all brown and gleaming, resting on the sieve-like ladles for a few seconds before being deposited into a gleaming steel can next to the stove. Perhaps there were also biscuits to eat.
But once in a while, as a treat, perhaps, she would make this tasty mixture as a special evening snack and it would be done in a jiffy. I haven't made this in years, wouldn't even have thought of it had it not been for IFR Memories and the bag of puffed rice I was given during the recent Durga Pooja celebrations. I thought of making a 'mixture' with that for this post but I couldn't honestly tell myself whether my grandmother made this or I was imagining it simply because there was an event to enter and write for, but luckily, the thought process tripped the right wires and here is that simple, but great treat my grandmother would turn out in minutes.
My grandmother didn't particularly care for the recipes published in the magazines. She thought they only pretended to be novel and excelled in exaggeration. She would be quite scornful about recipes that claimed to be new just because they had some cosmetic element to it - like a fruit salad being called a pomegranate fruit salad merely because some arils were sprinkled on it. I wonder what she would make of me blogging, all the more so as she (nor my grandfather) never liked me pottering about the kitchen.
But I digress. On and off, it hits me that here's a dish I used to have when my grandmother was around, and haven't had or enjoyed properly since she passed away - it's not always something exotic or special or unusual, just that it's unavailable to me for various reasons, one of them being a slowing memory.
There are many mixtures like this - in fact, the onion, the coriander, lime, chilli powder, green chillies are constants, the main ingredient is the variable (V). Make V peanuts, and it's an appetiser or accompaniment to drinks at the club; make it puffed rice, and it's delivered to you in a soggy cone of newspaper outside the office; use boiled peas and it comes out in little tubs or katoris out of carts or from a roadside stall. This version uses roasted chana dal/chutney dal.
Roasted chana dal/chutney dal/veyinchina senagapappu: 1 cup
Salt, red chilli powder: To taste
Green chillies: Half of one, sliced thin (optional if using red chilli powder)
Onion, chopped: A small fistful
Oil: 1-2 tsp
Lime juice: From 1 or two limes, as you wish
Mix the dal, spices, onion, oil and lime juice well.
This post goes to Manisha's event IFR Memories.
A reminder: There's just a little over a week left for your entries for The Write Taste, on till October 15, 2009. Details in the sidebar too.
Memories Chana dal Event Mixture Musings