The world of online social media is strange. Apparent closeness when you have no idea what the other person actually looks like or how they behave. No visual cues. No body language to analyse and learn from. All there is is language – truncated. And punctuation. Arguments are sharp, and feel sharper etched in black and white on the screen. Simple words that would pass for party conversation in the real world, as one moves from one guest to another, cradling the glass with even more fondness, become entire philosophies. Black is not white, greys are mere fences and people are positions.
My favourite medium is Twitter. Like an addicted smoker, I have quit often and am back equally soon. Escape from interminable traffic jams, waiting rooms and boring guests. It is a quick puff and away. A little water cooler break from work. And as at the water cooler, as it was at the bus stop, one makes friends. Some close. Most not. With some one finds common ground, with others common connections. Others are there but in the drift. Then one day, some one suggests a meal. A dinner. Food somehow makes things real.
And thus came the question – a little unexpected. If you were to host your closest friends from here – possibly one at a time – what would you make for them. I will not name anyone here, but as with any dinner party I host, I call them all together and then make sure there is at least one dish that every one likes.
So, to the menu..
Nay, pause. I am a strategist. There has to be a plan. Best practices. Principles. Even a 2by2 matrix. I promise you there is method to the madness that you will see..
Nachos and vegetable crudites (with a home made mango salsa and hummous
hara bhara kabab and a shammi kabab (with pudina chutney, anaardane waali)
dahi paapdi chaat.. with tons of imli..
Hot fluffy crisp cheeseballs
The Veg 4:
Dry aloo jeera, with golden brown edges
Crisp rai-phoron-ed finely sliced cabbage with a garnish of wet strands of coconut
My shiny glazed onion and tri colour capsicum with pine nuts (a drizzle of lemon/oliveoil and balsamic vinegar on the side)
Mushroom mattar .. browned to perfection with juices that ooze
Rocket with walnuts and red onions
Bean sprouts with steamed corn
mozarella, cherry tomatoes and basil
Enough of the Veg…
Steamed white fish with ginger sauce
(Possibly) chicken grilled with sumac
A plain one for sure.. steamed..
A zafrani biryaani.. lightly spiced.. (must warn the vegetarians of mutton stock)
Rotis.. the triangular lachha like paranthas..keep this one simple.. some phulkas..
And of course: Dal makhni.. the ma and the rajma together done properly the punjabi way.. white butter melting from the centre..
Raita.. hmm.. boondi? No.. the bathua? ghia? (of course I won’t tell them it is ghia.. )
Has to be cucumber raita.. They must have outraged over something by now.. will need cooling down
NO Paneer? A punjabi not making paneer? I know I will dash into the kitchen at the last minute and roast some paneer.. fresh roasted ground jeera and a little kaala namak to top that.. an extra dish.. just like that..
Did I forget anything?
My standard.. a chocolate fudge cake, some rasmalai, gulab jamun and whatever the guests brought in..
Coffee? Black tea? Kahwa? Green Tea? Jasmine or plain? ..
Nuts and chocolate gingers with the coffee of course..
Did I not mention drinks? No? Then maybe I won’t talk about liqueurs here 🙂
I know the question is coming.. yes.. there are gaddas and pillows for friends.. the ones I really know 🙂