The new Airtel advertisement had an amazing effect on me.
It reminded me of all the friends I’ve made over the years. Friends from three schools in three different cities – Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata, colony friends from Chennai with whom I played late into the evening, college friends from Kolkata some of who are like family now – with whom I can share my deepest feelings and I know will always be around, work friends from Bangalore who have become an integral part of my life, Mahesh’s colleague and his wife with whom we watched movies almost every single weekend in Bangalore and travelled from Koramangala to Malleshwaram at 7am to eat benne masala at CTR, from Koramangala to JP Nagar to eat pakoras and chai, and Mahesh’s B-School friend in Delhi who is as addicted to movies and books as me. The first person I met at college is a dear friend now and is married to another friend. She was my flat mate in hostel and 11 years later is now my neighbour. It is nice to be able to do certain things we did in college – like taking walks, eating bhuttas and drinking daabs, watching movies, and of course indulging in endless amount of chatting!
A few years ago I felt as though I could not make any more new friends. I am glad that I was wrong. It is amazing how one can connect with people and create new memories. In the last three years, I have realized that age does not matter. Some of my best friends today are a decade or two older to me. They are absolutely non-judgmental, loads of fun, and are responsible for kindling the love of food in me. Together, we celebrated food and laughed most of our worries away. Believe it or not, at any given day at work we would have 12 dishes between the four of us. Unsurprisingly, these ladies are Bengalis!
I will be cooking for friends this week. Baked a caramel brownie (Ghirardelli Mix) for a college friend’s birthday, will bake the devil’s food cake for our Delhi friend who will soon be leaving for Pune -incidentally, she is joining Ferrero Rocher (Note the food connection J) and will give a second shot at a Zebra Cake for my mother’s birthday. More on that later.
For now, here is a quick recipe for Masala Vadas.
1 cup channa dal
1 finely chopped onion
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
2 finely chopped chillies
1 tsp finely chopped coriander
I tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
1. Soak the channa dal for 1-2 hours.
2. Grind 3 tbsps of the soaked dal with 1 tsp of water into a fine paste. Remove and then grind coarselt the remaining dal without adding any water. The dals should be visible and the batter should not be very smooth. This gives the masala vada its distinctive look.
3. Add all the other ingredients and shape into vadas and deep fry.
4. Serve hot with peanut chutney or any other chutney.