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Monday, June 30, 2014

My Food Canvas!!!!!!!!!!!

"Do not judge a book by its cover". Haven't we been hearing this lines ever since we can remember. But I cannot recollect a single meal that I have not judged by appearance. In fact, good food to me is something that seduces by the looks, titillates the tongue and finally satiates the soul. As a food blogger, I do keep thinking about food at all times of the day and conjuring up tantalizingly colorful image in my mind. Well, I am about to share a meal about which I have been dreaming lately. ( Shhh....this is a secret between you and me. If you have been planning to make that someone special fall in love with you, this meal is the good old fashioned way of doing it!!!)

I plan a menu that is simple yet elegant. With a play of colors on my mind, the next step was to finalize a canvas (read 'Plate') that whispers subtle and understated class while providing the perfect backdrop to showcase my creations . The 'English Summer - Milano' collection by Borosil is what I have in mind.

Starting the meal with something healthy, a colorful salad which is a mix of lightly fried aubergine slices, baby corn, yellow peppers, red peppers, thinly sliced onions and cherry tomatoes tossed with the right amount of lemon juice, paprika and some roasted cumin powder would provides the right color and crunch. The round casserole used for serving the salad showcase the riot of colors infused into this recipe. It gets one into the mood for the good things yet to come.

But the Pièce de résistance on this table happens to be the square variety platter whose elegance is rivaled only by the Hors d'oeuvre that it showcases. Reaching out for the Murg Malai Tikka, one cannot stop admiring the sophistication crafted into these pieces. The tender white chicken pieces which have been marinating overnight in a yogurt, cream, garlic and nut paste are cooked just to the extent required to preserve their succulent character while allowing them to develop a few of those 'aah...so perfect' brown spots. Slice through them in a single stroke to reveal the moist juicy interiors, dip them in that tangy minty chutney and embellish with an onion ring or two before popping a sinful morsel in your mouth. Doesn't it just melt into your mouth leaving your taste buds begging for an encore.

But the golden fried prawns with their upright tails have been beckoning you and one just cannot resist going after them. With their shells still on, they glisten with freshness and the only word that can describe them is 'Gorgeous'. One knows that inside the crisp exterior, the moist flesh would leave a divine sensation on the tongue. You bite into them, chewing slowly as you relish each bite. "This is not one of those meals that should be hurried through", you mutters to yourself.

By this time the "Chenna matar" has began to sulk, having been kept waiting for too long. Holding the elegant glass casserole gently in your hands, bring it up to your plate all the while appraising the aromatic gravy that has the dainty green peas gently jostling for space with brown balls of fried cottage cheese or 'chenna'. 'They look so fragile. Wont they break as I pick them ?', a quick thought crosses one's mind only to be squashed the next instant. The heady aroma is sufficient to overpower ones' senses, leaving one with no other option apart from giving in to its lure.

Glancing though the walls of the 'Deep round Casserole', one can see a beautiful white canvas that is dotted with cumin seeds and sweet corn. Helping oneself to the long grained Basmati grains that have been cooked to perfection, one cannot resist taking in a lungful of that heavenly aroma . Not even a single grain sticking to each other, but the corn pulao reveals more with each bite. The subtle aromas from the rich spices and the desi ghee which accompanied it while cooking still linger on. Cinnamon? Yes. Black cardamom ? Yes. Mace ? Definitely. Nutmeg ? Maybe, I am not too sure. A mental debate goes on.

Last but not the least, the delicious looking 'Dal Tadka' comes around in 'Souffle Dish', its transparent walls revealing the layer of ghee/butter that has separated from the glorious yellow. Spotted with kasuri methi, ginger juliennes and slit green chillis , it has been generously tempered. Spooning some over the fragrant rice, one cannot wait to taste it. The grains look to be in one piece but are surprisingly soft as they melt into one's mouth. It is a match made in Heaven ( or the host's kitchen in my case ).

At the end of it one is full to the brim but which meal is complete without a dessert. And for one that has been going so good, it should end in a double celebration. Arrives the 'rasmalai', delicate cheese balls soaking up in a semi thick rabdi and sprinkled generously with saffron and pistachios. The elegant mini plate sets used to serve the dessert heightens the excitement of tucking into it. 'Should I take in a spoonful of that deliciously creamy liquid or do I directly go after one of the fragile looking balls ?', one contemplates . 'Utter bliss', one exclaims after the first mouthful. One tries hard to prolong the moment of bliss, tucking into the dessert now and then, but it is all over too soon. Nevertheless, for a meal that is so good, the memories would still linger on.

This post is written for the "My Beautiful Food", a contest hosted by Borosil.

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