Bollywood kitchen: Indian – American food celebration.
As an Indian American, I will not immediately bollywood movies and food together, this is mainly because the characters in the many bollywood movies too care about will be dancing, and when you eat melodrama. So, when I meet new bollywood kitchen cooking, I’m afraid it may be written by an ignorant of Indian culture, only a little bit about bollywood, “curry” and India.
Fortunately, I was wrong. The book was actually prepared for me – the second generation of indian-americans was intimidated by the idea of making Indian food. The author, Sri Rao, says he wrote the book based on his experience growing up as a brown child in the United States.
“I’m really telling the story of how I grew up, and how these films connect me to my country,” Rao said. “I never knew.
Full disclosure: rao is not a cook. He is a writer for American television and also for bollywood filmmaking and writing. He was born in fort mickensburg, pa., where he was one of the few people of color. Even today, he says, his identity can be confusing.
“I feel like I’m a very strong American, but at the same time, I appreciate my cultural roots in indian-americans,” he said. “And I’ve been trying to figure out how to combine those two things.”
Like rao, I’ve been confused as a hyphen American. I grew up in suburban Georgia and longed for chik-fil-a and Waffle House. But now, as a 23-year-old living in her own, far from home, I find my missing mother’s Fried pakoras and hot tomato chaaru. I live in an Indian restaurant nearby and offer chicken curry masala (is that really India, by the way). Still, I found myself walking every day just to smell a familiar smell and spice.
The book features recipes from all over India, such as rajma in the north, tassels in the south, and classic American recipes, such as walnut pumpkin soup and roasted Brussels sprouts. This is for many, including myself, the second generation of Indian americans nodded, they grew up with these two kinds of food, soaked our American grilled cheese sandwiches in India tamarind chutney. That’s the point of the book, rao said.
“When I was a kid, I didn’t go to a grocery store in India, so my mother found what she could find at the local supermarket,” Rao said.
Take a formula, keema, which he calls “the textbook of American assimilation”. It asked for lamb, but his mother used it with a hamburger helper.
“Some people have said to me since they saw the book,” so it’s not really Indian food, is it? It’s a fusion. And I really know this because I think it’s authentic Indian food. “The true Indian American is.
As I read the recipes in this book, I stopped the mixed vegetable cura – my family legend’s core dish. When my father came to America, his family didn’t have much money. “When I came to the United States, there were only a few COINS in my pocket,” he exclaimed at dinner. Because frozen bag mixed vegetables are one of the cheapest things you can buy at the grocery store, my dad buys these bags, and the mixed vegetable warehouse saves money and eats healthily. Today, he lets my brothers and sisters and I eat at least once a year to remind us that our family comes from a small means.
Mixed vegetable cura has sentimental value, but it’s not my favorite dish. So, my first attempt at cooking for my ancestors, I decided to prepare a dish that I actually ate: baingan bharta. This punjab eggplant is the equivalent of baba ghanoush in India. (and one of my favorites!)
My apartment was soon filled with cumin, ginger and cilantro. Afraid that I didn’t get the right recipe, when it was on the stove, I hesitated to taste baltar. To my delight, it tasted like my mother’s cooking. My mother often makes this dish at school nights when she comes home from work. She knows I like it, so every time she does it, she adds a little extra to my plate.
In order to complete this experience, I decided to match my dinner with the movie. I chose Lagaan, a bollywood film under British colonial rule. But I couldn’t sit in this half-hour movie, so I saw something strange. Yes, it’s the dream of an Indian American.