Friends….. I make them quite easily…. And mostly… they stay for life…. Collected and cherished like life’s most precious experiences…..some of my closest friends are the ones I made in school….. later, in college, in the hostel and each of the firms I worked for I met some of the most wonderful people I know….. sometimes I don’t talk to them for years and months, yet they remain closest to your heart….counted as those I can call upon in my hour of need…..sometimes I talk to them and spend so much time together, that I cant make out if I picked up their habits and mannerisms or vice versa……some I love working with because they are just so damn good at their work…and there’s so much to learn…. Some I share common interests with… with some I just cant explain how or why the relationship sticks…..some with whom I shared good times and moved on…. Some I rediscover after a period of time…. Short or long…. Some I cant relate to anymore….. some I wish I still had in my life….. Sometimes friendships humble you…..Each one has taught me something…. Knowingly or otherwise….. I know I will always be grateful for this…. For what they add to my life….
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine, who shall be called B, spent the weekend with me….Someone who’s trying to find her spot under the Sun…. To be the best she can…. To better herself and all that she aspires for each day….I’ve seen her change…. Over the 6 yrs now that we’ve known each other…. Sometimes I didn’t quite understand what she was trying to do, and where she was trying to go….because in her pursuit of whatever it is she is chasing, she needed time to tame her own demons….
It’s a difficult thing to know that you may be a casualty along the way….we take ourselves far too seriously to recognize this….and sometimes in anger and sometimes to poke at her I would shoot barbs…. I came to realize, that if I put a premium on myself, I would lose her friendship…..that i should recognise what was on offer, and take it or leave it….. that not all relationships can be the same…. that not all people are the same…. and this is why we pursue them the way we do…atleast for me…. She’s one of the most giving people I have seen….. she gives of herself freely that sometimes you wonder what’s left for her…. One moment this hardnosed woman of the world, and all at once a child….if I have to put it down to one word, ENDEARING it will have to be ….
Why am I writing all this?? Because I have a story to tell…. This blog isnt all about food….if you know me, you know everything comes with a story…. Some more elaborate than the other…. A couple of years earlier, at B’s home, we had this amazing tomato chutney her mother made…. hot as hell, we lapped it up as much as we reached out for the tissues to blow our noses…. It was pretty awesome…. The heat in the chutney is as much a part of it as its awesome flavour…..having tasted it once, B didn’t hear the end of it…. I hounded her for the recipe…. Two years later, her hubby landed up bearing a box full of it…. her mom was in town, and after all this time, she remembered and got her to make some for us…. It was 5 days of bliss….. idlies, dosais, rice, roti and sandwiches…. All were slathered by this drool inducing chutney….
The weekend she spent with us, she made it for me …. Surviving all the questions I threw at her…. The end product was as before…. Again it didn’t survive a photosession….. I tried my hand at it this weekend….its never easy trying to remake something that’s near perfect…. Again I was blown away with the results….
How do you explain tangy fiery marriage? A flavour so unique, that you keep dipping your finger into it and licking at it while transferring it to a storage box? That even though it spits fire on your tongue, you cant have enough of it?? I realized, this was so much like B….. No matter that you weren’t able to compartmentalize it correctly, you loved it anyway!! Thanks sweety!! I know for sure, that no matter where life takes us, there will always be things that remind me of you.
this is my entry to Suganya’s Vegan Ventures
Fiery Tomato Chutney (Caution!! Really not for those with low thresholds for heat)
1 kg tomatoes chopped (the regular round desi ones, not fully ripe, with a little bit of orange / yellow)
20 green chillies chopped
8-10 pods garlic (optional)
3-4 T oil
Lemon sized ball of tamarind
Salt to taste
For the tempering:
4 T oil
8-10 curry leaves
1 t mustard seeds
2 t cumin seeds
2 t urad dal (black gram, skin removed)
In a heavy bottomed pan, heat the oil well. Add the tomatoes a little at a time, and stir them around till they are well coated with oil. Let them cook about 3-4 minutes. Add the green chillies and cook for about 15 minutes till the tomatoes are well cooked and turn almost mushy, but the liquid is drying up. Add the garlic and tamarind and cook another 3-5 minutes. Check for spice and tang levels and adjust accordingly. Leave to cool.
Transfer the cooked tomatoes to a blender jar and pulse it till the tomatoes are all ground to a paste. If you like it a little chunky, stop after the first couple of pulses. In the same pan that the tomatoes were cooked, heat 4 T oil. Add the urad dal and sauté till golden brown. Add the mustard and cumin seeds and wait for it to spultter. Add the curry leaves. Add the tomato mixture and cook for 3-4 minutes till everything is well blended. Add salt to taste. Turn off the heat. Allow to cool before transferring into another vessel. Keep refrigerated. Use a dry spoon to serve. This will last 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Goes well with plain hot rice and ghee, rotis, idly, dosais and as a sandwich spread.