Books, Lit Fests, News, Movies, Art, Fashion and TV of course... "I must say that I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a book." - GROUCHO MARX

My Photo

I'd write more, like you said I should. If only, there was more to me.

Friday, July 06, 2007


Pages : 197
Price : Rs 295 (Hard Cover)
Publisher : Penguin
Year : 2006

TILKUT KE ALOO (Tilkut Potatoes)

Ingredients: Potatoes, onions, tilkut, salt, oil

Method: Tilkut is made with two cups whole red chillies and one cup sesame seeds, ground in a mixer and bottled for six months.

If you do not want to make tilkut, cook potatoes with red chilli powder and sesame seeds.

Take six big potatoes, peel, cut into halves and then into thin slices. Cut two big onions into halves, slice and keep aside.

Take a big karhai or wok-style open-mouthed heavy-bottomed pan and heat seven to eight tablespoons oil. Fry potatoes on a high flame, sitrring continuously till half done, lower flame, cover and cook for five to ten minutes. Add sliced onions, two teaspoons tilkut powder and salt, cover and cook till done. Drain excess oil and cook for five minutes till crisp but soft.

I can almost feel the taste. It's meant to be served hot with chapatti, khichdi, bread or plain dal-rice, I could eat it by itself. When I stayed at Esther's place, it was love at first bite. If she called the office and mentioned there was tilkut for dinner, I'd be out of the door in no time.

Esther made several attempts to teach me this fool-recipe, though being the kitchen shirker that I am, found a substitute in the canteen version of chee cheong fun. No sooner do I make my walk to the canteen stall, than the lady tells me, "all the sauces, extra sesame?" Mondays to Fridays, it's an affirmative. It's the crunchiness of the mildly toasted sesame that does it for me.

The minute you pop it in your mouth, the taste of tilkut comes right back. As children always say - 'nobody makes food like mom' (ok mine aren't about to say that anytime soon, they'll deservedly hand that credit to their Dad), I can safely say no one does tilkut aloos like Esther. The mere thought of it tempts me to get on to the next flight to Ahmedabad, which is why it was great that Esther did the next best thing and ensured I had Book of Rachel in hand.

Set in Danda, a village off the Konkan coast, it tells the story of India's Bene Israel Jews through Rachel. An aging matriach - her children have migrated to Israel, she is widowed - Rachel finds her faith in the village synagogue that she is determined to save at all costs.

For the resort developer who is eyeing it, the synagogue may only have symbolic importance, for Rachel it is a representation of her faith, a memory of her ancestors and life as she has known it.

Beginning each chapter with a recipe and drawing you into the story, Rachel takes you into her inner world, where there's a little romance, lots of politics, some conflicts, though in the end it is the food that wins them all.

Yes, you've seen this style of story telling before but in Esther's deft hands nothing in Book of Rachel seems contrived. The simplicity of Rachel's life, the food she cooks, the people she effortlessly wins over teaches you how to overcome the complexities of life and look for "the perfect recipe for new beginnings".

Can you ask for more in a book?

Also by Esther David:
- Book of Esther
- By The Sabarmati
- The Walled City

Labels: , ,