Food for the mind and body*: Jan 2, 2012

Food for thought: A question of faith; and questionable faith

In China, desperation drives ordinary people to lodge complaints with the central authorities, though their record of redressal is dismal. With absolutely no hope of having their grievances redressed at the local level, the people have to, perforce, place their faith in the central mechanisms.

In India, in one of the temple towns in the south, people place their faith in a still higher ‘authority.’ Many who are seeking cures for ailments of the ear and the skin come to this temple during a particular season, wait for others to eat food on banana leaf plates, and then wrap these used banana leaves around themselves before going to have a bath.  Their faith in this ‘treatment’ is so strong that all efforts of the authorities to curb this centuries-old tradition have failed.

Food for the palate: Beans palya

String and chop half a kilo of beans into tiny pieces. Cook till soft [I use a pressure cooker] and keep aside, drained of all excess water. Heat a teaspoonful of any edible oil in a pan, add a teaspoonful each of mustard seeds and split black gram, a pinch of asafoetida, three red chillis, and a few curry leaves. When the mustard splutters/ the gram browns, add the cooked beans, a pinch of turmeric powder, salt to taste and half a handful of grated coconut. Saute till well blended and all traces of water are gone. [Should take no more than five minutes.] A protein-rich, tasty salad that you can eat any which way you like: hot or cooled, by itself in a cup, with rice, spread on bread or pizza, or mixed with cooked noodles.

Each day of this year, I hope to provide some food for the mind and for the body too… The former, from news I get to read every day, and the latter, from the vast repertoire of  Indian vegetarian fare that I draw on to cook at home.


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