India is a true melting pot of culture and diversity. We have so many different languages, spoken in all the different states, with every state having it’s own cuisine and sometimes different types of cuisines within the same state. And hence we see a lot of Inter caste marriages in India.
There are some families who still look down upon people marrying in different castes/cultures. But thankfully my family is not one of them. I am a Hindu Punjabi married to a Maharashtrian. We both belong to different states, grew up eating completely different cuisines and spoke different languages. Infact even the way we worship the same god is different. My family is not religious, his is. My family is very chilled out, loud and obnoxious (after we get drunk), most of his family is a teetotaler and very reserved and quiet.
If you were present on our wedding day and did not understand these cultural differences you would be able to differentiate between his family and mine. Where his family sat in a corner very quietly with the women wearing their beautiful silk sarees and men wearing crsip Kurtas. My family was dancing in another corner where the women wore heavy shiny Salwar kameez and the men wore their suits, singing along loudly on every song that the DJ played. Thankfully both his Dad and Mom loved to dance (which no one knew till that day) started to dance and then all hell broke loose.
I can proudly say that we have accepted each others culture well. I love eating the food from his side which has a lot of Coconut in it and the Dal’s are usually watery with no cream. And he loves my cuisine which is really heavy usually laden with cream, milk, dry fruits and dals that make you break wind in the middle of the night. Even though sometimes he complaints that I make more of my cuisine then his, which I promptly ignore.
One of his favorite dal that I make in Punjabi style is the “Chawli ki sabzi” or Black Eyed Peas curry. He grew up eating it but his mother makes it in a completely different style using Coconut in it and it is delicious too. My recipe is actually a very easy simple, throw everything in the pressure cooker and leave it to the food gods to cook kind of a thing, I don’t even soak the Peas overnight. I just let them soak for 15 – 20 minutes and then just put everything in the pressure cooker.
He loves it and occasionally asks me to make it which I happily do. I serve it with hot plain boiled Rice and some Raita and papad. And this is somehow become his comfort food, which he loves and craves for.
Here is the recipe (Cooking tile 45 minutes, serves 6)
2 coffee Cups Black Eyed Peas (soaked in water for 15 – 20 minutes or if you have time let it soak for 3 -4 hours)
2 medium sized Onions finely chopped
3 medium sized ripe Tomatoes finely chopped
1/2 cup freshly chopped Coriander
1 1/2 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste (if possible use fresh)
1 1/2 tsp Red chilli powder (you can use only 1 tsp if you don’t want it too spicy)
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1) Heat oil in the pressure cooker and add the Cumin seeds. Once they start to splutter add the Ginger Garlic paste and saute for a few seconds.
2) Now add the chopped Onions and let it cook on a medium flame till the Onions are translucent.
3) Add the chopped Tomatoes and cook till they are all mushy and the oil starts to leave the sides of the pan. It is important to use ripe juicy Tomatoes.
4) Now drain all the water from the Black eyed Peas and add them to the Tomato gravy. Put all the masalas and most of the Green Coriander on it and mix everything well. This is the most important step, at this stage I let keep sauteing the Peas in all the masalas and the Coriander on a low flame for a good 10 minutes, mixing it in between making sure it doesn’t burn.
5) Once the Peas have taken the color of the masala I pour 3 -4 coffee cups of hot water, making sure the Peas are completely submerged. The reason why I do this is they need a bit of water to cook or they will burn and stick to the pan.
6) Close the lid of the pressure cooker and let it cook on a medium flame for a good 9 – 10 whistles. Once the pressure is released from the cooker and you open it, if you find the Peas are a bit watery, put them back on the gas and let them boil without the lid on till you are happy with the consistency.
Sprinkle some more Green Coriander before you serve.