A modern Indian breakfast? Or a modern Indian's breakfast? Alu sheddo/ makha/ pitika/ choka/ bhorta sourdough sandwich
I have posted in the past on Instagram about how I might have gone to our kitchen on a given morning, opened the fridge and the pantry to see what's there, and then got ideas on what to make for breakfast.
Today was a bit different. I had decided on what to make for breakfast today last night itself. This happened when I spotted that some unused semi-mashed potato in the kitchen.
This morning I converted that into what we used to call alu sheddo in our house and what is called alu makha by other Bengalis, bhorta by the Odiyas, choka by those in Bihar, UP and Punjabi and pitika in Assam. A pan Indian mashed potato.
It's called alu bhorta in Bangladesh and given that my granny was born in Dacca, it's but natural that this dish was a mainstay of her kitchen.
I heated some mustard oil in a wok. Added a few finely chopped fresh red onions and green chillies to the oil and a few seconds later, the semi- mashed potatoes. I then added a pinch of salt and red chilli powder and gently mashed the potato with a spoon. Then, as I felt guilty about having just potatoes, I added a few walnuts to the mix.
I toasted a couple of slices of sourdough from the fidge that I had bought from La Folie, Bandra, on Monday. I took that and the alu makha and had it as a closed sandwich with an espresso from my Nespresso machine (Ethiopia) to go with it.
It tasted delicious!!!! My granny used to make me toasties with a mix like this when I was a kid and used to visit her on weekends. She would grill it in a handheld toaster that she had brought with her to Kolkata from Delhi after my grandfather retired and they moved to Kolkata. I love that. However, eating it with toasted bread and not as a grilled sandwich today gave a very different textural experience.
I wonder why none of the modern cafes that are coming up these days put up breakfast dishes like this which leverage Indian flavours for a modern palate. Most seem to be unable to look beyond western egg preparations and push come to shove, offer a Parsi akuri and in vegetarian, a millets 'upma' which tastes like something out of an art film. If you know of people who are doing interesting breakfast stuff from across the country, then please tell me about them. The only condition is that the food should taste good and not done just to fill an excel sheet!
I know that there are many debates about what is 'modern Indian food.' We can safely call this breakfast a 'modern Indian's' dish at least in my opinion. It is based on flavour memories which are Indian and as interpreted by a palate which is globally exposed. Well, for whatever its worth, both the potato and I, were not born in India and I did look like a potato when I moved in here with my parents as a kid. Moreover, the leftovers at home were used too and that is something that any Indian grandmother or mother would approve of.
This was meant to be an Instagram post but then I thought, let's go back to where it all started. The blog. Hope you find it useful. Would love to hear about more such takes from your kitchens from you.
This is a brand video that I had done with my granny in her kitchen in May 2018 where she showed me how to make lau chingri
|When Vir Sangvi referred to my obsession with alu sheddo in his column,|
Rude Food, earlier this year!