India on the tip of the tongue
In India, when we walk through the streets and alleys every day, we are always attracted by a strong and strong taste.
Before coming here, I have heard too many compliments. Some people say that in India, tradition is the same, and curry is ever-changing; some people say that in India, the taste buds will be enjoyed to the greatest extent; In India, from appetizers to desserts, even a small cup of steaming Indian milk tea, you can smell the unique aroma of curry from inside. And what I often think of in my dreams is the strong spicy taste and the attractive yellow color.
This time I really set foot on the curry kingdom, so I quickly inquired about the local restaurant famous for its curry, or which one, regardless of the size of the store, has the most authentic taste. Later, I heard that the curry made by a family near the Ganges was not bad, so I fumbled to try it.
This store is not big, there are not many seats, beautiful oil lamps are placed on each table, and the simple decoration style reveals a leisurely and comfortable atmosphere of India, all of which add a little bit to our dishes Good impression and a little more expectation.
After ordering, we each had a cup of Indian milk tea, and we couldn’t wait to hold the biscuit clay cups in the palms of our hands. The taste of milk tea seems to be reluctant to stay for a moment, and the aroma is released and rushed to the face, which is immediately satisfying.
The food came out surprisingly quickly, and it is possible that all we ordered were set meals, so it was a good preparation. The waiter brought out iron plates one by one, chicken with yellow curry, mutton with brown curry, seafood wrapped in red curry, and vegetables blended into green curry.
Tear a piece of Indian pancake and wipe the curry sauce on the plate. At this time, my heart is full of anticipation. The first bite, the taste buds are a little unacceptable. Slowly, as the spicy taste spreads in the mouth, try the second bite. This time, Carefully put the pancakes dipped in curry sauce into the mouth, and chewed carefully, suddenly, as if by magic, a thin layer of sweat appeared on the body, the taste in the mouth was composed of peppery numbness, mustard pungent , The spiciness of chili gradually turned to the fragrance of cumin seeds. It can be said that this feeling is multi-faceted, and various flavors linger on the tip of the tongue.
In the following month, we discovered in India that, in fact, the essence of the variety of Indian dishes lies in curry. Although the dishes are very simple, all the food has undergone gorgeous changes due to the debut of curry.
An Indian friend once said to me: “Pepper powder comes from pepper, coffee is ground from coffee beans, and our curry means ‘putting many kinds of spices together’. There is no dosage or seasoning quantity here. Each restaurant and each family will have their own curry recipe. We grind and mix more than 30 kinds of spices such as Indian beans, fennel, chili powder, bay leaf, turmeric, cinnamon, star anise, etc. After several It took ten hours of cooking to get the fragrant curry.”
It is not difficult to see that India has no selfishness at all. She transformed into a goddess in a colorful sari, spread her arms over India, and kindly poured these spices Gently spread to every family, no matter they are rich or poor, so that everyone can feel the magical power.
That’s why, there are at least a dozen kinds of spices lined up on the operating table of every kitchen, and several kinds of spices are selected to be boiled, mixed, stewed and roasted in the pot. The unique private taste and enchanting ingredients make the curry itself like an Indian woman whose emotions are constantly changing, sometimes gentle and sometimes strong.
There is an interesting story about the origin of curry. Legend has it that when the Buddha Sakyamuni was preaching in India, he discovered that the local people did not touch beef because they worshiped the sacred cow; pigs were considered unclean. Therefore, I had to choose to eat mutton, but the smell of mutton was heavy and difficult to swallow. Buddha suggested cooking mutton with a variety of spices with strong spicy taste and dignified aroma. As a result, this method has been promoted, and the southern part of India is humid all the year round, and people have poor appetite all the year round. The stimulation of spices on the taste buds caters to the needs of the people of South India.
When we started to describe India with words like magical and charming, curry was unknowingly known to us as a complex and fascinating food. Its spicy and sour, sweet and spicy, bitter and sweet, and salty and bitter flavors embody the characteristics of harmony in Indian culture. Many different elements are intertwined, and a miraculous fusion is achieved in the confrontation and coordination. .
Indian food always conquers our taste buds, no matter where we go. Especially the rich and unique aroma of curry, sometimes light and sometimes strong, slyly teases people’s taste.
As I write this, my mouth seems to be full of spicy sweetness. Please allow me to continue to savor this temptation carefully, and also allow me to continue to put this kind of indulgence in this small plate of curry.
In addition to eating curry, Indians also prefer various fried foods.
From North India to South India, it is not difficult to find that large and small shops or food stores will sell some fried food. They will make the dough into various shapes, round, long, triangular… and then Fry in a frying pan until golden brown, and the inside of the dough can be hollow, or put some mashed potatoes or wrap vegetables in it. After the food is taken out of the pot, the color is translucent, and there are oil droplets hanging on it. Anyone who sees it will have a good appetite.
It can be said that these fried snacks are customary and satisfying for the locals, but they are novel and special for us.
In India, your taste buds will never feel lonely, there will always be unexpected feelings. Northerners are influenced by Islamic culture, and their cooking is usually Mughal (Mughal Dynasty, a feudal dynasty that ruled most of the South Asian subcontinent from 1526 to 1858), like cakes (Chapati) and Naan (Naan), while southerners prefer In love with rice.
In terms of taste, southerners are more fond of spicy food, while northerners eat relatively light food, and do not add too much chili, curry or onion to the seasoning.
For sweets, Indians also have special preferences. They will fill a flour ball with syrup or yogurt, and what’s more, they will soak it with more than half a bowl of syrup. And because of this, many Indian families also regard sweets as the first choice when expressing etiquette and presenting gifts to each other.
India also has a lot of beverages. People in the south are more westernized. Of course, there are also some historical reasons. Because it was a colonial relationship, people prefer to drink coffee.
In the north, people prefer to drink milk tea (Chai) (usually made of tea powder, fresh milk and spices). There is a saying often heard by local people. The translation is, “Drink a cup of milk tea and inhale Indian The Essence”.
I remember that one day, we had to catch the train from Aurangabad, India to Mumbai at 6 am. We wanted to catch up on sleep on the train, but what happened later, although it affected the rest, it also became a part of my future life. The very important audio-visual images in the movie are left in memory.
The railway station in India in the early morning can be said to be a miniature market, which is filled with various social groups, women in bright clothes, business people in suits and leather shoes, and families with their families.
Railway stations in India are still open, and it is not said that without a ticket, you are not allowed to enter the platform. This means that many small vendors will enter the railway station, and even go to the train to sell their products.
Small vendors walk from one carriage to another, even if the train is moving, they will sit from one station to another, and then sit back in the opposite direction to start a new round of selling.
Among all the vendors, there are those who sell fried curry puffs, some who sell water, some who sell souvenirs on small shelves, and some who hold red paint and try to help you put auspicious moles on the center of your eyebrows. Of course, none of these can compare to those who sell milk tea. .
”Tea, tea, tea, tea.” A penetrating voice came from a distant carriage, waking up the passengers who were trying to sleep soundly. The sound gradually became louder and more continuous. Since I was sitting by the window, trying to find the sound, I stretched my neck and looked out. A short, dark-skinned little boy was found holding an iron pot in one hand and a stack of small plastic paper cups in the other.
On the way, a woman reached out to stop him. The two did not communicate in any language. She just reached out and handed over a coin (5 rupees). The little boy took the coin skillfully and began to pour it from the pot into the cup Steaming milk tea.
And after this moment of silence, another round of “tea, tea, tea, tea…” came from the whole carriage.
That’s it, loved by many and hated by some, tea, consumed by the majority of Indians, has become an everlasting part of the land.
This is actually an interesting part of travel. These unprepared scenarios and inadvertent experiences will become the most exciting part of memory, lingering and accompanying like a shadow.
And speaking of chai, it’s the same chants along the way, many chilly nights and early morning hours, when I’m awake, shivering, or curled up on a train seat with my knees tucked in, and A cup of hot milk tea gave me endless hope and warmth.
And I also gradually understood that falling in love with India may not be due to her modern atmosphere, but those strong cultural shocks, a completely different way of life from my usual life, and an incredible culture.
Before going to India, I always thought that Indian pilaf is just kneading rice into small balls with hands and putting them in your mouth.
When I came here, I found that although Indians have begun to westernize and use knives and forks in many formal occasions, more Indians still use the habit of grabbing rice with their hands.
Before eating, Indians will soak their hands for a few minutes in the basin prepared by the restaurant, or wash their hands with running water from the street.
In North India, most of the dinner plates that people often use are made of stainless steel; while in South India, local materials are used to replace the dinner plates with thick, tender green and shiny banana leaves, which is environmentally friendly and easy to clean up.
When dining, the waiter will bring over several stainless steel buckets containing curry paste of different colors. After getting your permission, he will spoon different colors of curry soup, sauce or bean soup and very thin vegetable leaves (Indians are more vegetarian) on your tray or banana leaves, and then Depending on your own choice, determine whether the main course is crepes or rice.
In fact, the reason why Indians make curry into a very thin paste is to facilitate the staple food to be easily rolled up or eaten with rice.
All of this has to be stirred by hand again, so what you see on the shiny tray is the tantalizing curry gravy, vitamin-enriched vegetables, and crumbled chapati and plump white rice.
Faced with these, you may be puzzled, don’t Indians have tableware? In fact, in restaurants, they have forks and spoons for the convenience of foreign friends who are not used to this local custom. In fact, after getting in touch with more local people, I learned that they enjoy this kind of physical contact with food more. They feel that this way they can better experience the pleasure generated by food, because most of the pleasure of eating comes from the sense of touch. Moreover, they feel that by touching, they can also perceive the temperature of the food, so that they will not burn the tip of their tongue.
I have traveled many places along the way, and sometimes I go to the countryside to taste the pilaf, use three fingers (thumb, index finger and middle finger) to grab the rice, dip it in the fragrant soup, and then hold it in the shape of a triangular fork or pliers. Steadily pinch the rice balls into your mouth, and your mouth will be smooth and full of rich curry flavor.
Sometimes because of greed for the feeling at that moment, I close my eyes and forget to chew, wishing to keep the taste between my lips and teeth.
After I came back, I went to eat Peking duck with my friends. During that time, the tempting sauce was left between my fingers. At that moment, I suddenly discovered that there are similarities in the origin of curry sauce between duck rolls and Indian pancake rolls. , all dishes and juices are rolled together with noodles, and then delivered to the mouth by hand. Thinking of this, I couldn’t help laughing.
I still remember one meal, we heard the Indian friends sitting next to us giggling towards us, and then suddenly realized that one of our friends was eating with his left hand, we immediately told him to stop and switched to the right hand. Because Indians eat with their right hand, the left hand is generally used to clean the body and is considered unclean.
Another interesting point is that we have always been worried that our hands will be greasy after grabbing food with our hands, but this question has also been answered through practice. There is not much cooking oil in India. Even if you eat it with your hands, you can easily wash it off with clean water or wipe it with paper.
After the meal, the owner of the restaurant will also serve a small plate with many different colored granules in it, which smells fresh. After inquiring, I learned that they are all cumin grains, which can be chewed by guests, so as to remove the taste of food in their mouths.
Every time I eat a pilaf, I find that my sense of taste and touch are fully opened, and I take a deep breath, and the air is also full of happiness. There is no need to say more about that feeling, because I believe that you who have tasted delicious food will understand it.