Thursday, 20 September 2012

Kodubale Konversations

When I was a child, I couldn't nap in the afternoons, like I just could not do it. In the summer months especially when the entire world would seemingly be asleep, time hung heavy. In recent times, as long as there isn't much noise around, I can nap, but not back then. And it was boring as hell.

After I got a BFF who was as insane as me, it was better. We cycled in the scorching sun with lots of coconut oil rubbed into our hair. And occasionally tortured less insane classmates by insisting on ringing their doorbell at 3 pm. A loud scolding in Telugu would ensue from the corresponding parent and we would giggle and cycle away again.

Sometimes, my ever busy mum would set herself a task for the afternoon. Making kodubales was one such task that happened periodically. Kodubales, in case you don't know, are these heavenly tasting spicy murukku like things. Way better than murukkus, though. Spicier, for one.

I invariably volunteered to help out. Not that she asked me for help, but she couldn't possibly dismiss me outright if I insisted on sitting my ass down in the kitchen. She would be pre-occupied. And I would be, chatty, as usual. Constant chatter, I would keep up.

Mum is super organised (and clean). The whole task of kodubale making could only start once the lunch operations were completely wound up. Meaning every last spoon washed and put away, the left-overs transferred into smaller vessels and moved into the fridge. And the floor cleaned to perfection.

Of course all this stuff made me impatient. I suspect mum did a few extra things just to see if I would somehow fall asleep and leave her in peace to muse and fry kodubales by herself. Though sometimes my aunt or grandmum would come over and they'd be wanting to talk all types of stuff they didn't want me hear so that could have been the reason as well.

Finally the event would start. I would sit on the red floor shaking my leg with impatience. The big plate would be brought down and the first batch of the floor kneaded. I would watch it hungrily (not wanting to eat them though!).

She would try out a couple of them and do some corrections to the consistency or whatever. I didn't care. I would pick up another plate and start. You make a thin cylinder. Then you twirl it, into a spiral shape. You keep the ends thin and a bit pointy and fuse them on. They look disgusting. With flecks of red (from the chillies).

If I did well, she said 'mmm'. If I sucked it up (sometimes you just dont get your cylinders thin enough, sometimes, the damned thing just doesn't twirl properly), she would just re-do them herself, rather heartlessly, I must say. Each batch that goes into the hot oil has to be of the same size.

In between these activities, we would chat. It was years before I got good enough at it. The last time we did this together, mum made the dough, I rolled them all as quickly as she could fry them. Because her fingers don't like her doing this twirling thing any more. But the talking was the best.

I learnt so much about how women's lives work from such activities. I heard all about my aunt and her married family. I collected all the requisite goss on various others. Sometimes they told stories, family legends. And sometimes they just vented about their lives. Sometimes it was advice. What fun!

Yesterday, I was browsing for recipes for Kozhakottais. Some newfound enthu. I like my new kitchen. I cleverly convinced my cook to not come, that I would 'manage'. I was super excited about cooking. I love cooking, especially for my husband who is most un-fussy and loves everything I make.

The child walked around the computer and convinced me that Kodubales are her favourite thing in the world, ever. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that and, in a moment of weakness, agreed to try to make them for her. In addition to various other things for good old Ganesha.

I finished up with lunch. I started processes for the Kozhakottais. I didn't wash dishes. Just put them away in the other sink. I didn't clean up the kitchen over-much. Just wiped down the counter. Hey. I am not my mum, after all.

Our kodubale dough was off. I am guessing that the rice flour wasn't too good. The colour was also a bit dull but that happens, not a big deal. Our shapes were absurd. The cylinders just kept disintegrating. She had a greased plate and I had a greased plate. We were both equally unsuccessful in twirling.

We finally made a few mini-spirals and a few simple circles, and left the rest in cylindrical form. She made a triangle and a tear drop. We had great conversation, of course. Its almost the most important thing about kodubales... Which tasted pretty good despite me violating so many rules.... 

3 comments:

Saad Bhamla said...

Nice. Very warm and oozing with buttery awesomeness post.

Choxbox said...

nice :)

dipali said...

Utterly delectable, this!