“Korma, Kheer and Kismet” by Pamela Timms is a marvelous account of her stay in Delhi and her love affair with the food of the city. My first thought after reading this book was one of deep, deep regret. Because if Madam Timms glorious ode to the food of Delhi were in my hands a few months ago, then my recent trip to Delhi would have been a more scrumptious affair.
As someone who loves the history and food of Delhi, it was heartening to read how the author embraced the city, the people and the food. One can only imagine how shocking and surreal all the idiosyncrasies of India, may seem to an outsider. But not Ms. Timms, not only did she appear unfazed, but she also seemed to enjoy the Indianness and of course the fantastic food.
Each chapter in the book was a treat to the lovers of Delhi. I could taste the Mutton Korma at “Ashok & Ashok’s”, I could smell the kulche and bhature she ate from some of the famous and dingy restaurants in Old Delhi. I could feel my mouth water as I turned each page and was glad to read about her experience of discovering “Daulat ki Chaat” (rich man’s dessert), which was something I had recently tasted myself. There were so much flavor, so much nostalgia and so much deliciousness packed into the book that I couldn’t help feel a deep sense of longing for the city of my mother’s birth.
As soon as I finished reading, I desperately wanted to cook something from the book. Because I had no Goat meat available and making Chole Bhature was a task that I did not want to indulge in. I decided to make one of the simplest recipes from her book “Coriander and Chilli Roti.” This delicious Roti deep fried in Ghee is usually served with the Mutton Korma in the restaurant in Delhi. I can only imagine how the crispy roti would be a perfect way to compliment the dark flavors of the Korma.
And while I am ashamed to admit, I did not make the Korma or fried the roti; I felt that it still tasted good. I served the roti with pickle, curd, and Aloo Tikkis and happily found myself in food coma mentally walking through the lanes of Delhi. I think I will be going back to Saadi Delhi (our Delhi) again with Ms. Timms book as my food guide and walk the beaten path to savor the flavors that she so wonderfully described. I can safely say by the time the author left Delhi she was a Delhiwaali herself.
Recipe from the book “Korma Kheer & Kismet” (Cooking time 5 minutes or less for each Roti, makes 6)
150 gms wholemeal Flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
150 gms plain yogurt
Two/Three small green chillies finely chopped
A large handful of fresh Coriander finely chopped
Ghee for Frying (I did not fry the parathas in ghee but used a tiny bit in the end)
Mix the Flour, baking powder, Green Chillies, and Coriander.
Add the yogurt and knead till you have a smooth dough. Cover and leave it in the fridge for at least one hour.
When ready to cook the roti divide the dough into six equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then roll thinly.
At this stage, you can either fry ghee in a pan and deep free the roti till it turns Golden brown or like me just cook like you would cook a normal roti and then slather it with some Ghee in the end.
Note: Pamela Timms also used to blog at Eat and Dust.