Saturday, October 10, 2020


What prompted me to fix myself supper was reading about Baba ka Dhaba in Malviya Nagar, Delhi. Fresh paratha, gravy, dhal. Not being anywhere near Delhi, I made do with stuff easily on hand: sausage, stalky mustard, chili paste. Plus griddle bread and mango pickle. Some nice hot refreshing milk tea afterwards. I ate very well.

As do Mr. and Mrs. Prasad's customers. Who have rallied to his side in hard times.

I note that "prasad" is a particularly apt surname for people in the food business.

We have no dhabas in this neighborhood.

Years ago, when making collection calls, every two weeks I'd end up talking to a gentleman by the name of O'Reilly with a subcontinental accent. I figured out early on that the client had farmed their entire accounting department out to a company in India -- the clicks,beeps, and recordings on line kind of clued me in -- and by the third call I said "ohe, O'Reilly bhai, aap kaise hein? Mai MF Kampani men Atboth hoon .....". Mr. O'Reilly's real name was, it turns out, totally Punjabi, totally Muslim, and totally multiconsonental. I'd call after lunch time in SF, when he had returned from having a samosa or something and chai in the middle of night in Delhi. Most "white" people couldn't pronounce his real name, O'Reilly was just a nom de guerre.

Well, I could understand that. At the restaurant where I worked three nights a week, whenever someone wished to speak to the manager on the phone, I'd become Venky (Venkataraman) Injinir. "Now I can be helping you please?"

Venky Injinir knew everything that a person with a somewhat English accent could not possibly be expected to know. Who was that chap that I first spoke to on the phone?
Oh, just some gaura we hired ......

Venky Injinir knew particularly about Andhra mango pickle.
Avakaya pachadi. It is absolutely delicious.
Not so much haldi powder.
Lots of lal mirch.
Mustard oil.

[Most people would use sesame oil, but mustard oil lets it keep longer, and may be healthier for you. Besides, it adds a certain zestyness that I find pleasing.]

Biriani from a place near the char minar?
I am knowing very well only!

I am still quite fond of green mango pickle.

Gongura pachadi not so much.

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