Sunday, August 20, 2017

The Bhakri Star

If there was a field called Food  Art (and if there is one, I am not aware ), my friend Swapneel Prabhu from the "Angat Pangat : Rediscovering Traditional Maharashtrian Cuisine" Group on Facebook , would probably be on the teaching faculty.

After a successful effort at making Bhakri under his Mom's guidance,  it translated into him designing what he calls a Tapas platter comprising of, in his words,  Jwarichi/Jondhlyachi (Sorghum) Bhakri.
Bajrichi (Pearl Millet) Bhakri, Nachnichi (Finger Millet) Bhakri, Shepu Thecha (A hand pounded pesto-like mix of lightly charred green chillies ,garlic and   some dill for a fragrant burst and finished  with a generous squeeze of lime). This turned out to be the pièce de résistance of the meal.
Then a Metkut Gojju (is there a Marathi name for this Metkut and curd preparation?), Limbaacha Loncha (sweet-sour-spicy lime pickle), Loni (White Butter)  and  Gul (Jaggery).

And finally some white onion. 

Dont know about the Tapas, but this has to be the most  studded  bhakri star to have been sighted in recent times.

How come ? Read on .   First in the language of the Bhakri, and then, in the language of the Queen !

आंबाविरहित आंब्याची डाळ , म्हणे हमस ,
आणि आमच्या सुशीलाची आठवण काढत
सूशी सुशी म्हणत
कशात कशात गुंडाळलेले भात प्रकार ...

आपल्याकडील समृद्ध खाद्यसंस्कृती
आणि हे काय "
असा कोणीतरी म्हटलं
आणि अचानक
भाजलेली भाकरी पापुद्र्याचा 

आ वासून बघतच राहिली....

एक गडद निळ्या, नव्हे,
जवळ जवळ काळ्याच प्लेट वर
ज्वारी, बाजरी आणि नाचणी भाकरी
तुकड्यांनी धरलेला चांदण्यातला फेर ,
मध्यभागी दह्याच्या प्रेमात आकंठ बुडलेले मेतकूट ,
आणि बाजूनी चमकत चमकत
लसणा वर जळणाऱ्या मिरच्यांचा
थोड्या शेपूंना सहन करत ठेचा ,
आपले थंड व्यक्तिमत्व पाझळत भारदस्त लोणी ,
खाराच्या आहारी गेलेले लिंबू
आणि ठामपणे आपला कडकपणा दाखवत गूळ .

भाकर्याना काहीतरी राहून गेलाय असं वाटलं
आणि तेवढ्यात
युद्धावरून विजयी,
पण खर्या योध्याच्या खुणा दाखवत
हाताने फोडलेला सफेद कांदा ,
विश्रांतीला हजर .

'टपस ' वगैरे माहित नाही ,
पण तपास करून सुद्धा
इतके सुंदर चांदणी सापडायची नाही .
 The age old Amba Dal
with sour overtures of kairi
now being bossed over by Hummus,
the beauteous Susheela,
being made fun of
by rice wraps masquerading as Sushi.

"What has our traditional food culture
been reduced to?"
a sudden overheard comment,
and a Bhakri, unbelieving,
sits gaping,
its layers wide open and steaming...

Then the appearance of a
dark black china plate ,
and strips of
jowar, bajra and ragi bhakris
in star formation,
at the metkut in the centre
in raptures over a welcoming dahi;
a chilly burning in rage
at the garlics
paying attention to the dill;
an old style butter
playing "exclusive" in the midst
of the newbies;
a lemon, winking at being
amidst all the flowing spices,
and in direct challenge to the
tough acting butter,
a stodgy piece of jaggery,
old style sweetness.

The bhakri star,
searching for the X-factor,
and suddenly rejoicing
at the arrival
of a white onion,
nursing its wounds,
having been smashed by
a greedy human fist.

They all shine together
in tasty culinary support
of the bhakris.

You wouldn't find search a star
if you searched for it
anywhere in the world.....!


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