Let me begin by telling you that I am hopelessly biased in favor of one Rahul Arora. It was a mildly breezy evening about 8 years ago when I met a man wearing black onyx earrings, and we smiled across a table, held each other’s opinions close, and examined our mutual love for semi-precious stones, food, and music. Ever since, he has been making things for me and I have been eating them, because its love and food that brings us closer.
My birthday this year began with a huge parcel of khichuri, thanks to Mr. Arora. True to his form, Mr. Arora doesn’t do anything in a normal scale. Therefore, I was sitting in my room with four different kinds of khichuri, a giant plate of anaardana aloo, and begun bhaja. A bowl of pickled onions were parcelled to me as well. It was my breakfast.
On that platter, I ate Szechuan-flavored khichuri, made with a fiery dose of chilli added to a rice dish that reminded me more of a risotto. Pleasantly surprised, I moved to the herbs and cheese, and realized it was a close cousin to the risotto as well. In fact, the flavors available are quite distinct from one another, augmented with bits of vegetables to support the taste. This is why the double cheese version features bits of potato, to provide additional creaminess and the illusion of eating a rather creamy version of sheddho bhaat. The five spice ginger gets an extra dusting of roasted cumin to truly bring out the ginger. The pesto parmesan is topped with extra parmesan, because really, who can go wrong with more cheese?
The begun bhaja (Fried aubergine) and anaardana aloo accompanied the khichuri. My table was particularly enamored of the aloo, probably for the nuttiness of the pomegranate seeds. I loved the sweet tamarind chutney, which I poured generously on top of the potatoes before I began.
Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee was invited to sample the fare at Paranthe Wali Galli.