In my opinion, the dal, pictured above, should be enjoyed with fragrant, white rice with a dash of lemon and thinly sliced potato sticks. If potato sticks are not to your taste, (although I cannot imagine how anyone can NOT like jhirijhi alu bhaja, potato sticks in English), you can substitute them with egg plant fritters (beguni), or potol bhaja (don’t know English for potol, it is a small green gourd like vegetable and oh-so tasty). If nothing is available, or you are too lazy to fry anything, boil some potatoes and an egg. Mash the potatoes with some mustard oil, and mix in some chopped raw onions and chopped green chilli. My husband would not choose any of the options I mention above. If I don’t make rotis or don’t have store bought chapatis at home, he would slice some bread, toast it and dip it in dal. That is still acceptable to me. I look away when he dips his grilled cheese sandwich in dal. Or he slathers nut butter and jelly on my carefully and lovingly made alu paratha. He does many other permutations and combinations, mixing my Indian food with food that he grew up eating. I was a food purist. Certain food had to be eaten with the right accompaniment, but he has worn me down over the years.
Today I broke my own rule. I made a gorgeous grilled cheese with this delicious three cheese sesame bread, poured tamarind date chutney that I use for chats (Indian street food) and happily dipped my grilled cheese into ‘very Indian’ chutney. It was delicious and I am a convert.
Our marriage fused two different races, two cultures and now food. It is all great but I maintained the sanctity of food all these years. Eat rice or roti with your dal or dip grilled cheese sandwich in hearty tomato soup, not chutney.
Today I gave in and what a wonderful fusion it turned out to be. 😀