'Hing' brings the zing

'Hing' brings the zing

He could reach out to the nook and corner of the world, cut and paste any information at the click of the mouse. He assumed that he was in total command with his skills, time and of course, money.

However, at the end of the day, he would feel as helpless as a trapped mouse, staring at the screen, sliding his mom’s ‘saambar’ recipe up and down. His gastronomic growling wouldn’t allow him to concentrate on his work anymore.
Ever so often he had attempted to work out a palatable fare for his dinner, adhering to his mom’s instructions step by step but wondering  why it was not the same as his mom’s consistent quality. Something was  missing. The thought made him more homesick. Occasional visits to the nearest India eatery only left a big whole in his pocket paying for the ubiquitous saambar in dollars thereby increasing his craving for mom’s preparations.
During his weekly international tele talks with his family, his mom’s enquiries about his culinary accidents just left lumps in his throat. Nevertheless, he boasted about his expertise in salads, anaemic looking rasams, pathetic bhelpuri etc. But he wouldn’t admit the total disaster with his saambar preparation. What could be the reason? His computer didn’t figure out a solution. Not even the Google search. Days rolled by…

‘Eureka!’- suddenly mom’s kitchen scene flashed in his mind. That was her finishing act of ‘voggarane’ over the prepared ‘Huli.’ That’s it, he exclaimed jumping with joy. His nostrils flared up. Rubbing his palms vigorously he reached out to prepare the ‘vagar or chonk.’ How could he have overlooked the tampering of dishes which is the  science and art of creating distinctive taste which leaves one drooling for more? 

To achieve this a certain measure of oil has to be heated to the correct level in that special ladle made for ‘tadka.’ Mustard or other spices have to crack just right and ‘hing’ either in powder form or tiny bits have to be thrown in to sizzle and the whole foaming thing has to be poured over the ready product. Instantly the aroma would be irreristable creating the hunger pangs. 

Why hadn’t his mother not specified this fine art of ‘voggarane?’ Was it taken for granted or did she want him to decipher it by trial and error? Anyway, he knew now. If you want some zing in your saambar do not forget the hing he told himself. Ferula Assafoetida will bring zing to your diet and has medicinal properties too. That’s it my boy. Enjoy the saambar!

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