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Misalwich is for foodies and those who think eating is a chore

31 March, 2018 9:05 AM
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I invented it to gladden tastebuds with all those flavours without leaving fingers red and garlicky

So the world is mostly divided between people who take their foodiness to OCD heights, talk about it incessantly, make travel plans around it; and those who don’t care what they’re eating as long as there’s food on the table that is as close to dal bhat or thayir sadam or sabji-roti as possible. They find, not just cooking or talking about food, but actual eating too, a giant bore-chore.

Touching food, or wielding a fork, mixing, scooping, dipping, shovelling it into the mouth and then chewing, swallowing, is all far too many verbs for them. Even laying the table is seen as a fussy interruption to life, and many are capable of eating at the kitchen counter standing up. Some have even been known to wish they could eat a khanay-ki-goli and go to sleep without having to own a kitchen or a dining table.

And so when a couple from these two worlds decide to marry, it’s all very cute for a while — but things can get messy and unpleasant. The foodie ends up having furtive food flirtations, shall we call it fexting, on their phones with other food lovers, while the other half is busy doing R&D on how to produce Pedigree pet pellets for humans.

c) trick people into eating ghati healthy food disguised as gora fast food.

Sprout a cup of matki (moth bean) and moong (green gram) or just moong; or a mix of sproutable pulses; or buy ready sprouts — not the Chinese leggy variety, simply day-old sprouts. In a small cooker, add oil, tadka tempered mixture of rai-jeera-hing-haldi (mustard-cumin-asafoetida-turmeric); throw in one chopped onion, sauté but don’t brown; add the sprouts, a spoon of something called kanda-lasoon masala (onion and garlic powder) available at any self-respecting grocer or giant food store, salt to taste, half a cup of water; shut the cooker, let it whistle once and turn it off.

Chop fine half an onion with half a tomato, one green chilli and a sprig of green coriander. Get a small packet of mixed farsan (salty snacks) and sliced bread.

Take out your sandwich toaster — the electric one or the one that you hold over the gas flame. Oil it lightly, place a slice of bread on it, spoon over some of the farsan over the bread, then the masala sprouts, then the chopped onion-tomato-chilli; close with another slice of bread. Toast-grill.

Many misal joints have slyly done away with sprouts altogether in a bid to economise — what you get is a spicy slosh of farsan drowned in liquid masala and raw onion, with a pao slapped on top. No fun. The Misalwich is a salaam to the original concept of misal — plenty of protein and antioxidants, if you want to talk that kind of talk. Shakes and smoothies are for wimps.

The writer is a novelist and family counsellor whose latest non-fiction book is Always a Parent.


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