A Meal Less Green By Prameet Kamat
I don’t know about you, sir, but I really think vegetables should know their place. (If you are South Indian or Vegetarian or a woman or all varying combinations of those, I think you will avoid yourself a lot angst by skipping to other sections of this wonderful site.) I don’t know what it is about vegetables of late, but it seems they are fashionably in focus – in a manner that is unbecoming and not dissimilar to the whole media obsession with the role of the minor spinning all-rounder in the Indian cricket team. No matter what food article or culinary blog you read – you cannot but stumble upon long flowery (excuse me) references – it’s either wonderfully leafy this or fibre-rich that…ghastly, I say.
My lovely wife insists on making Thai curry with massive chunks of tasteless capsicum – ruining a perfectly good meaty curry – my poor mouth gets shocked every time it expects a nice tangy bit of fish or a biteful of lamb dripping fats and flavours and finds the give of a bland chunk of capsicum in its stead. It’s like watching the pipsqueak Rahane come out to bat at 45/2 instead of the masterful Tendulkar.
If you ask me – and no one does, sadly – the ideal place for these fellows is to not jostle with the kingly meats for buds and attention, and instead bring up the rear of the dish – make up a nice, unintrusive base, add some crunch here and there to bring out the contrast to the rich, luscious flavor of the meat. Any thing more – these large chunks of capsicum in a yellow Thai curry, or a horrifying potato that dwarfs the nifty cut of lamb in a Bengali jhol, that’s just disrespectful!
Now, don’t get me wrong, vegetables are good, necessary even. Those are dues you must pay if you want to revel in the sensuous pleasures of the flesh. But really that’s about it. Any meal north of Eleven AM has got to be an organized place, with the rank and file in, you know, rank and file! So make sure you run a tight galley when you are dealing with these infernal fellows – cut them down to size even, and let’s have some pomp and ceremony in that delightful chicken curry you are making for your friends or that lovely Lamb Rendang you plan to unleash on your in-laws.