I love reading books. Period. There used to be a time when I would finish a book start to finish in one-go and couldn’t wait to finish to start the next one. These days my reading habit (as well as other personal traits) has changed, and I seem to be reading two and sometimes even three books at a time. It is a great wonder that all these books don’t become one huge mish-mash in my head 🙂
Cooking is my passion and one of the reasons why this blog exists. When I heard about this blog event, I knew I could not give it a miss. The book of the month was Serving Crazy with Curry by Amulya Malladi; the fact that I was reading the book when the event got announced was an amazing coincidence. I picked up this book from the library after hearing about this book from a dear friend of mine.
It is the story of an Indian immigrant family living in California for more than 30 years; the mother wanting to lead a life the Indian way (with its ideals and values) in America, the father having little time to spare for his family and the children rebelling, trying to form their own identity. It is the story of two siblings who never see eye-to-eye in anything, compete against each other and finally, how they learn to accept each other with all their follies. It is also the story of a mother and daughter, the mother rebellious and forward for her day and age; the daughter having lived in the mother’s shadow wants as much a normal (even if it means traditional) life as possible. Finally, it is also the story of a grandmother and granddaughter who share a very special relationship.
The protagonist of the book, Devi, expresses herself through her cooking and I really liked the way in which Amulya had tied the two aspects – the story and the cooking, together. The character’s mood and her state of mind very clearly (and cleverly) expressed through her cooking, and when her family waited with bated breath to see what she was whipping up in the kitchen, so were the readers 🙂 It is an intelligent ploy by Amulya to use the kitchen and cooking as her center-stage and weave the different threads into the main plot effortlessly, without having too many loose ends.
After finishing the book, the one recipe that remained with me was Devi’s “Rasam with Pastry sheet” – I was amazed at how the age-old rasam was given such a creative makeover and definitely wanted to try this. I used the Puff pastry sheets instead of making them from scratch as Devi did.
Pour the rasam in a soup bowl and cut the pastry sheet such that it covers the soup bowl well. Bake it at 350 for about 10-12 mins, till the pastry sheet turns golden. This is such a simple yet satisfying dinner, when you are in the mood for something light.
This can be jazzed up by adding some garlic (or even onion) on top of the pastry sheet and even some cheese to make it a soup topped with garlic bread.