Theme and Variation

I can almost hear the collective groan of my friends when they read the title of this post. What does it mean anyway? Many cooks approach each recipe as an individual in its own right. At the most; in a very Indian way, they might get to know its parents. Or maybe where it comes from. Given this curiousity, It is no surprise that most of us knew multicuisine restaurants growing up in India. Indian, Chinese, Italian, Continental - which in turn gave birth to their very own multi hyphenated offspring - Indian-chinese.... ad infinitum.

Geographic grouping is perhaps the most natural way to classify cuisine.

But let us cut from this dreamy discourse to the stovefront. Yes, the place where I stand , everyday , peering at vegetables and thinking ..hmm..I want to make something different today. I am bored with making the same old same old everyday.

What then?

So far, I would simply try another cuisine. Lets see, I had south Indian yesterday, Today is maybe mexican. With a tongue so pampered, reaching from the US of A to China and back, sifting through different recipes with similiar ingredients is a herculean task. First the exotic title, perhaps a tongue twister. Then imagining the end product and then the slow realisation that yesterdays south Indian meal is this close to being todays mexican except for two, minor - naah MAJOR differences in ingredients.

Hand to head, major slap, pain ensues - realisation dawns. Greek Tzatziki is Indian pachadi OR raita with olive oil, garlic and pepper minus the chilli and mustard tadka. Empanadas are samosas with different filling. Tortilla is roti.

This idea is also very useful for even common items such as Poriyals - french beans with Coconut. There is a Konkani variation, a Kerala variation and a Chettinadu variation.

I am going to try and come up with a better way to classify and approach recipes based on this idea of theme and variation, because it sure will make my life easier.

What about you?