Food on my mind

Food on my mind

I like food – most kinds, as long as it is vegetarian, since I gave up meat over a decade ago. So basically I am grateful for all kinds of food, home-made, store-bought, gourmet, roadside all of it. I am someone who can binge even on plain paranthas and pickle, roti and baingan bharta or dal and rice.

Choosing a favourite food is like choosing a favourite from among your children. Click To Tweet

However, that won’t quite do since in this post here, I am trying to narrow down my preferences to three foods I am grateful for, just three. I’m giving you this background only so that you appreciate the effort as I try to pare down my list.

Here goes:

Food for the taste buds

My first pick is a treat purely for the taste buds. If you’re not from Lucknow you’d probably only have heard of paan ki gilauri. And that, dear friends, is gross injustice, to this decadent dessert special to my hometown – the malai gilauri or the malai paan.

What is it?

This delectable sweet has a thin layer of malai, folded like a paan (betel leaf) holding within it the most delicious filling, topped off with chandi ka vark. As the soft layer of malai begins to melt in your mouth you get the crunch of mishri and dry fruits along with a delicate flavour of kewra, rose-water and saffron. It is way more sophisticated than the regular khoa- sugar sweets, truly Nawabi, just like the city, a party of textures and flavours in the mouth. Each time I take a bite of it I am grateful for a little piece of my hometown that cannot be replicated.

Food for the soul

Here’s another one from my childhood. Meet tehri – my comfort food. It isn’t a pulao, it isn’t a biryani and it isn’t masala rice. It is just tehri.

What is it?

A rice dish flavoured with whole spices (cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves) cooked together with salt, turmeric and vegetables like onions, cauliflower and peas. One of my happiest childhood memories is of winter days when our high-ceiling house would get just too cold and we would pile our plates with tehri and step out to eat in the garden with the warm sun for company. The best thing ever about this one is its utter simplicity. Anyone, just about anyone, including me, can get it right and it cooks in a jiffy. I even taught the husband to make it and that is saying something. Since I became a mom the days I come home tired and hungry I am grateful for this simple flexible dish and it always comes to my rescue – my go-to meal when I want something delicious super fast!

Food for the (peace of) mind

Lastly, I pick this universal favourite, one that I’ve learnt to be eternally grateful for specially since the twins came along. Chocolate. If only you’d have seen the storms this one has averted – it has calmed screaming children, sorted fights, wiped tears, expressed love, cheered up the saddest souls and don’t you dare bring in that whole spiel about bribes and children. Sometimes one needs a bite of happiness to keep one’s sanity. Cakes, cookies, pastries, mousse, doughnuts or plain simple bars – chocolate has never failed me. So yes I am and shall always remain grateful to chocolate in all its myriad avatars.

Note: Re-reading my post I know why I have never been able to kick off the weight and am almost tempted to go back and change at least one of them to a soup or a salad but that would be dishonest of course, not to say grossly unfair to my true loves.

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Linking up with Amrita, TinaDeepa and Mayuri. for #ThankfulThursdays.

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37 Replies to “Food on my mind”

  1. Only God knows why I picked this post to read late in the night when there is no delicacy around and at such late hour I can’t even order anything. Made me drool and Tehri and Malai pan…Oh, God! Drooling more…I just wish to visit your place sometime for a comprehensive meal. 😀

  2. Never eaten Tehri, but I ate a Malai paan when in Lucknow, and boss, not just your desserts but also your chaat and the kababs are to die for. 🙂

  3. I love paan but never tried malai paan. It sounds interesting. Never heard of Tehri too but I love rice. Chocolate is something which we all love. Thanks for writing for #TT

  4. I love Tehri.I learned to cook this while in Delhi doing my PG training.It was quick easy and comfort food at its best.I have not been to Lucknow and your malai paan is making me wish I do it soon.Chocolates are Gods blessing which I love too!Thank you for writing with us for #ThankfulThursdays

  5. This post has made me hungry. And it’s almost 12 am here. So I am blaming you for the trip I am making to the kitchen to grab a bite of white chocolate. 😛

    1. Go ahead Ramya, write that post but be careful – food posts make you dreadfully hungry. I had to get up many times in search of something to keep me going :-).

  6. Have never had malai gilauri or the malai paan. I am going to look out for these now.
    Tehri… I love it and was introduced to it by KG.
    Chocolate, I am not a big fan… yeah, you read it right. LOL 😀 So would gladly give my share to you when we meet next 🙂

  7. Loved the way you have put soulinto this post- I could taste the food and the longing it sated alongwith it as I read along.
    Tehri and chocolate are my favourites too Tulika 😉

    1. Thanks Shalini. I do love my food. And thanks to the Tahnkful Thursday Team I got to write about it :). Everyone seems to know Tehri. I’m quite happy that this humble dish is pretty famous.

  8. Your description of the Pan is heavenly… Oh how much I miss meetha Paan but I have never had malai paan before. I love tehri too… Specially with a bit of raita

    1. When I was a child I loved meetha pan but it was more the idea of having a paan than the paan itself, because it mostly forbidden for us kids. Yeah tehri with raita or pickle or chutney or a papad – it goes well with any side dish.

  9. I love how you described the malai sweet! So elaborately! It just shows how much you love it! Tehri sounds very interesting! I’d like to give it a try! I am so glad you had chocolate on the list! No list is ever complete without it! I shudder to think what’d happen to me if one day I woke up and all the chocolate in the world had vanished!

  10. I am hungry just reading your post 🙂 Must try the paan ki gilauri sweet next time I am in Lucknow. I learnt to make Tahiri from a friend from your hometown 🙂 Chocolates are a life saver, always.

  11. Food has always been my favorite topic to talk about. I love cooking, eating and taking about food endlessly.

    I have heard of Tehri before but we make it here as Kushka. Pretty much the same recipe, but delicious. Sadly, I’m not a big fan of rice dishes. My comfort food has to be idly sambhar, especially the one I make. I can have it any day anytime.

    1. I know that. you’re quite a chef and a tomato queen! Kushka – never heard of that. See, this is the thing about India that I really love – it always surprises you with its diversity and its similarity.

    1. I know Vasantha – those two are flavours of my childhood and I doubt they’d be heard of outside UP. But chocolates are universal favourites, isn’t it?

  12. Tehri sounds delicious and so does that malai sweet! On second thoughts, I shall vicariously enjoy your favourites since, well, let’s just say I cannot afford to gain any more weight 😉

    Ah, chocolate. We’ve all been there. We all ARE there.

  13. Your food for soul has also been my food for soul in my growing up years. Tehri and UP wale is a combination made in heaven. I loved it. Whenever mummy couldn’t make up her mind about what to cook, we had tehri on our plates. Whenever we told her we were not hungry enough to eat a full meal consisting of rotis (the most disliked food for children), we had tehri on our plates. Loved it with curd, raita or simple dhaniye ki chutney.
    Paan ki gilauri is something I have never heard of but would like to try it some time. Chocolates are a bane for me as due to my increasing age and years of neglect, my teeth are not too comfortable with chocolates.
    Oh God! I am stuck on tehri. My mother will be visiting me in August, I know what to ask her to cook. Her’s is the best in the whole wide world.

    1. You too a tehri lover. I can’t help but smile at that because I thought no one else would have heard about it. As for chocolates – I make the children share their’s with me all the time. In fact when the Husband gets chocolates for the kids, he gets an extra one for me.

  14. Ohh the sound of malai gilauri has me drooling already. I had a chocolate paan in Mumbai once and that was an overdose of chocolate for me! But I have never had a tehri or malai pan. Have to find them out. Thanks for linking up with #ThankfulThursdays

    1. That’s because of your Bengali sweet tooth! I haven’t heard of chocolate paan. I can imagine how chocolate can become a bit much. The children don’t seem to mind it at all.

  15. I have never heard of malai paan or tehri and I have a Lucknowi friend! Outrageous!!
    I would love it if you post a recipe for tehri. We all love all flavored rice dishes in our household!

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