Not many know that our kitchen has been the oldest experimental laboratory of science. Mostly Chemical experiments, lest people start thinking otherwise.
The kitchen at Lord Jagannath temple PURI, ODISSA is one of the oldest known kitchen. I wonder why not geologist or archeologist have ever tried to find out the exact age of that kitchen? it is believed that for the last 1000 years MahaBhog must have been cooked in this kitchen. in other words kitchen at Puri Temple is a continuing for the last 1000 years?
I would like to add here that the KALINGA kingdom is said to be remained UNCONQOURED for centuries until the war forced Ashok to denounce the material world. While that may be reason why we have one of oldest and dinstinct style of dance as ODISSI still thriving kudos to the gurus like Kelu Charan Mohapatra, Ganga Dhar Pradhan, Rout, Das, Shri Behera and dancers like Indrani Rehman [who is credited to be the first dancer to stage an item on ODISSI in 60s], Yamini Krishna Murty ji, Smt Sonal Mansingh ji the great exponent of dance of today, Smt Sanjukta Panigrahi [of course with Ragunath Panigranhi], Smt Ranjana Gauhar, And not the least the great MAHARIs of the MAHARI tradition of temples. I would also like to salute the gotipua dancers it is their contribution that this art form remains alive in rural parts. similarly the chau dancers as they have kept their tradition alive for centuries.
In our homes we listen that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. This remains true to this day.
I feel we eat food first through our eyes. I find the presentation and looks etc of a dish is more important and makes the first impact. I had special interest in decoration part of making dishes.
Nobody can deny the fact that kitchen is the place where highest number of innovations take place everyday world over.
We in India make dishes in our kitchen and those similar kind of dishes are churned out world over in different forms. Simplest is the ROTI or so called chapatti. The same thing may be known as pancake or bread else where in world.
One famous cookery show described the way to make PAKAUDI. First they mixed the flour with spices and salt etc then on woke with heated oil hostess dropped the material with the help of a spoon. But, We never use spoon to drop the batter for pakaudi in pot with hot oil. What will happen if new generation Indian girls learn to make pakaudi with spoon while watching these cookery show on TLC.
I used to make salad at home in 1980s. all the things the cabbage, coriander, radish, spinach, lettuce, the salad leaves, tomato, onion, green chillies, ginger, lemon, salt and a spoon of mustard oil. Option is to choose beetroot, turnip, carrot, etc.
Everything has to be washed properly and thoroughly. Each veg is cut finely in thin chips. Then on the plate it is decorated layer by layer and contrasting colors have to be kept in mind. And design of decoration will depend on the shape of the plate either it can be rectangular or circular. Often I used to put the lettuce or the salad leaves first on the plate- I don’t know what as the exact name of that plant but we used to call it salad leaves. It has hues of purple, green and yellow colors. On that a layer of grated radish is decorated. Then the circular onions over that the circular tomato is kept. Often the contrast color of beetroot is embossed within, I used to put thin circular slice of beetroot on the round circular slice of boiled potato. Once I made a dragon from beetroot slices on the tray with cream used as the eyes and lining on the body of dragon.
After that green comes coriander, that is spread over. Green chillies sliced length wise in four or two and placed on plate at few places. Lemon juice is poured. Trick is use salt only when you are about to start the meal.
Another special salad is made with radish and spinach. Leaves of radish and spinach are cut in pieces, and when you are about to start the meal then Add a spoon of mustard oil and sprinkle some salt and mix the leaves, and as soon as you finish the mixing you will notice the leaves will melt and the quantity will reduce to half within seconds.
healthy tip is that keep some sprouts in your refrigerator, they come in handy while making these salads. Just add few spoons of sprouts to the green salad and it becomes healthy food. The moon dal, gram- chana. But innovation could be if you have leftover the boiled beans. They add to the taste and health factor. The white butter beans, LOBIYA, RAJMA or kidney beans, green peas are my favourite.
I had a friend hailing from Palestine. He made a dish which he called the FANTOOS. The tomato, onion, green chillies, coriander are finely chopped or roughly chopped. Add all this to water and add the pieces of bread to it. Mix and add salt to taste and the mysterious dish is ready to eat. Similar is dish called Hummas or Hummus? Chickpea boiled crushed into paste and dish is ready to eat with lots of oil in it. (olive oil is i think is prefered there?)
Thus in kitchens our mothers use variuos methods as per availability of materials. most of the time they innovate. Some times while cooking traditional dishes they stick to the traditions, customs. it is also said chemistry has also devloped evolved around the kitchen?