This time by Nupur of "One Hot Stove". Like I've said before, I love reading all kinds of memes on all kinds of blogs - even if the bloggers are total strangers. There's something satisfying to know offbeat details about people - and if it's someone you've "known" via their blog, it makes it SOOOO much more fun! So here goes mine:
What's your first memory of baking/cooking on your own?
Hmmm... this would have to be when I was probably about 12, in a little village called Songea, in the heart of Tanzania. My dad's neighbour (whom I knew only as "Ranawat uncle") was a fantastic cook - I had my first taste of pizza thanks to him. His pizza inspired me to make my own... only I overbaked it and everything dried out. The peas (yes, I put peas on it!) were like bullets. I was so ashamed of it that I threw a tantrum when my mom drew Ranawat uncle's attention to my sad pizza - I didnt want anybody to see it! But the adults were all very nice about the whole thing and nobody laughed at me. *phew*
Who had the most influence on your cooking?
I guess that would have to be my mom, but my aunts (and some of my cousins) are very good cooks too - I associate certain well-loved dishes with each of them. But for pure South Indian-style dishes, it has to be my mother.
Do you have an old photo as "evidence" of an early exposure to the culinary world?
Unfortunately not... we werent big on photo-taking, as a family, I guess.
Mageiricophobia - do you suffer from any cooking phobia, a dish that makes your palms sweat?
Man yes... anything to do with pastries (pie crusts, tarts, etc).
What are your most valued or used kitchen gadgets and/or what was the biggest letdown?
My most valued would have to be my Sumeet mixer from India - there's nothing as heavy-duty in the western world, as far as I know.
Biggest let-down... well, that would have to be a food-processor bought when I first came here... total waste of time, that thing. It wouldnt grind a darned thing the way I wanted it - not even soaked urad dal for idli batter. Which is why I had to import my beloved Sumeet in the first place. Three cheers for it!
Hmmm... when I tried to make khandvi (fairly recent episode this). It was a TOTAL disaster! The batter wouldnt spread at all - it just lumped up and made a horrendous mess. I've decided that khandvi is best bought from the Indian sweetshop that I visit every time I go to Birmingham...
Name some funny or weird food combinations/dishes you really like - and probably no one else does.
I'm partial to sambar mixed with Greek yogurt - I eat it from a bowl, sprinkled with spicy, crunchy "Bombay mix" or chivda.
What are the three edibles or dishes you simply don't want to live without?
Back to basics here - rice, dal, chillies.
Your favorite ice-cream
Hand-made vanilla icecream, with real vanilla beans.
You will definitely never eat...
Seafood, meat, most things garnished with coconut (including cakes)
Your own signature dish...
Hmm... I think in India it was vegetable pulao. Now, for my husband and his friends, it's onion bhajis and lamb rogan josh. I only have their word for it that the rogan josh I make is wonderful, because I'm never going to taste it myself.
What is your most memorable meal?
My most memorable meal... hm, after a few days on the move in New Zealand, eating bland sandwiches and McDonalds fries and milkshakes, my friend and I splurged on a meal in an Indian restaurant. We might've downed our weight in yogurt and dal, I think, among other things. That was definitely the most memorable in terms of Indian food. We were so STARVED of all things spicy till then.
My own added question:
Name 3 of your favourite sweets (traditional Indian or otherwise)?
Ahhh... Hot, crisp jelabis (or cold, I'll eat 'em any way!).
Semiya payasam (vermicelli kheer) with lots of cashewnuts and sultanas, hot or cold.
Caramel custard, chilled.
Thanks for tagging me, Nupur :) I think I'll tag Ammani, of ChaiPani