Rajeev was due to be posted outside the unit. The days leading to the posting orders being issued are always fraught with suspense as nobody but the posting authorities are in the know about it. I had suggested in jest to an officer who asked me where I would like Rajeev to be posted, that Madras was a wonderful place and I would be thrilled if Rajeev were posted there. As luck and Misty Murnal would have it, Rajeev received his posting orders to Fort St George and we found ourselves living it up in good old Chennai.
It was at the Madras Gymkhana Club that I first met the Khullars. For 25 yrs I had met no other Khullars besides the ones that belonged to the family I had married into. ‘Khullar’ I had decided was a surname hard to come by, unlike other Indian surnames. I was swimming one day, single-mindedly going through my daily routine of 25 laps, when somebody tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Mrs Khullar meet Mrs Khullar”. Thus, I was introduced to Ashu Khullar, in the swimming pool of the Madras Gymkhana Club. Over the years our friendship grew into a solid relationship. Both Nand and Ashu are gracious hosts who love to entertain and feed people who visit their beautiful home. On one of our visits I tasted the form of Makki ki Roti mentioned below which was both delicious and wholesome. This is a typical Punjabi meal meant to be eaten on a sunny winter afternoon with lots of freshly churned butter and natural yogurt. Some pickle made with seasonal vegetables, (cauliflower, turnips and carrots) are a delicious accompaniment.
You will need:
- Fresh fenugreek leaves – a small bunch or 1 cup (if fresh fenugreek leaves are not available in your city use two tablespoons of the dried ones instead)
- Grated Horse Radish – 1 cup
- Corn Meal – 2 cups
- Finely Chopped Green Chillies – 1 or 2 ( as hot as you like it )
- Onion – 1 finely chopped
- Ginger – ½ inch piece finely chopped
- Warm Water
- Salt to taste
- Oil and Ghee as required
- Mix all the above ingredients together, gradually adding warm water a tablespoon at a time and gently knead the mixture into a dough. Do not work the dough after the ingredients have formed a cohesive lump. Oil your hands and further pat the dough into a round lump.
- Divide the dough into small balls of one inch diameter.
- Cover your Chakla (rolling surface) with cling film.
- Put a round of dough on to it and cover with another piece of cling film.
- With the pads of your fingers or a rolling pin shape the dough into a round roti.
- Remove the cling film, overturn the roti on to the palm of your hand and quickly transfer on to a hot griddle.
- Cook on both sides, using a little ghee to facilitate the process.
- Cook on a low flame so that the roti is cooked through and crisp on the outside.
Tip: If you are a novice in the kitchen and find it difficult to shape the dough into a roti, add a little wheat flour to the mix before kneading the dough ( to 1 ½ cups of corn meal, add ½ a cup of wheat flour.) You may then use a rolling pin, without the aid of the cling film, to roll out the dough.
Thank you Deeba for the lovely front page picture.