Thursday, November 11, 2010

Where's the food, dude?

All my previous years in Dubai were spent in and around Burdubai, which, in the words of a colleague, is “basically India’s cleanest city”. Now I live in The Greens, which is not only at the other end of the city, but on the other side of the world. It’s too far away for even the most enterprising of Karama’s delivery boys, which means I can’t just decide I want chicken curry and expect to have it brought to me in half an hour. It’s still Dubai, so there’s always some Indian food on offer, but one token Indian restaurant catering to all tastes is not the same as being able to choose between specialists from Chettinad, Madras, Hyderabad, Calcutta, North Kerala, South Kerala, Malabar, Mangalore, Goa, Delhi, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Kashmir, and infinite varieties of something called pepper chicken (which crosses the borders to exist in several Pakistani, Sri Lankan, Bangladeshi and Chinese avatars as well). And it’s not just a paucity of good Indian takeout – this applies to all kinds, including Arabic. The single version available close by is purely nominal. Maybe that’s why everybody around the pool is skinny. Maybe it’s called the Greens because you’re expected to only need two leaves of lettuce and a grape. Dressed with a teaspoon of Diet Coke. Maybe by living here I’ll finally attain size zero nirvana myself, but it’s far more likely that I’ll end up becoming a very good (fat) cook. It’s amazing how willing you become to season a cast iron skillet if you can’t just stroll across the road for a dosa. And when getting readymade batter involves a 45-minute metro ride, grinding your own becomes positively convenient. It’s the first time I’ve bought a food processor before a wine glass. There may of course be a more sinister reason for this - that there is a significant difference between being 28 and 37. Sob.


nzm said...

Good luck with the dosa making.

I read a tip the other day that if you rub the cut side of an onion on the pan before you spread the batter, the dosas will come off smoothly each time.

I haven't tried that yet!

Must be fun re-discovering Dubai. You're the 2nd blogger that I follow who has returned to the UAE in recent weeks. Let's hope that the country is more humble this time around, and takes care of the expats!

Gargoyle said...

NZM! Lovely to know you're still reading! Dubai has managed to transform itself in just two years - all the things that were under construction when i left are finished now, Haven't yet had the chance to sample the OTT delights of Dubai Mall or gone up to the top of the Burj Khalifa - will probably do that in the eid break that's coming up. Are you still in Germany/Australia or have you moved somewhere else?

Gargoyle said...

I can confirm that the cut side of onion works very well - it's my mother's method (and therefore mine too). The method is to stick the onion on a fork, dip it in water and then rub over the surface.

nzm said...

Good to know that the onion trick works!

You're still on my Blogroll, as I do very much enjoy your writing!

We're in Barcelona now, and love it here.

Anonymous said...

fry an egg (bullseye) on the thava, spread the white all over, remove with out scrapping
and then spread the dosa batter evenly and thin, your dosas will come out crisp and nice

Krishnan Menon said...

I like the way Papa is giving advice, never having actually done all this himself! Ha ha ha

achan said...

Oh come on, kichu , I am a cook as good as Sanjeeve Kapoor,( even better), all relatives are asking for new recipes ! ha ha,

the real nick said...

Where's the blogs, dudette?

Anonymous said...

You and I are going to eat at Hallab one day while I'm there....right ? And they have shisha too.

Gargoyle said...

@KM: Of course we're going to eat at Hallab. Alternatively there's a nice place called Reem on the Beach Road. They have shisha too. When do you get here by the way? And which part of town will you be staying in?

Anonymous said...

There on the night of the 11th and staying (with the rest) at the Savoy Crest (close to your old apartment) in Bur Dubai. Leaving on the 16th am for Goa.
To me Hallab is amoung the top 10 restaurants in Dxb (food wise); there was a Lebanese restaurant in AD (almost) equally good....but thats a ways away.
I would like to take the India contigent to Hallab to show them proper Lebanese food; probably the most delicious and nutricious cuisines (would you agree?) in the world.
Hallab always has (had) a nouvelle approach to Lebanese food, even more than Nafoorah, and thats why it gets my vote.

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