15 March 2008

Eating Pune

In addition to what I've already discussed, these are some other things I ate in Pune:

Vegetarian burger at "Burger King". I use quotation marks because the small eatery is not connected to the fast food behemoth. It feels like the little joints around the UP campus, and is likewise filled with students cutting class and eating cheap and tasty food. There are both vegetarian and non-vegetarian selections, none of which exceeds Rs50, if I remember correctly. It is not fake meat, but rather, something really made of vegetables, and lentils perhaps. The bread is slightly crusty and has good texture. I mean, screw large corporations, right? Steal their names and do it better.

Pune'd Version of Idli. Before I tasted what real Southern Indian idli (steamed rice flour cake) was like, my friends gave me some of this for breakfast. It was good in its own right. The sauce was not sour like a sambar, but was rather orange and sweetish. There were all these crushed snacky sev (dried noodle thingies) sprinkled on top. Very interesting.

Pooha. I don't mind having this for breakfast every day of my life. Apparently, pooha or poha is "beaten rice". To further explain: the freshly harvested rice is poached and pounded into a thin version for snacks (like our pinipig, I suppose), or into a thicker one, to make more substantial dishes. The thick pooha is cooked with mustard seeds, turmeric, coriander, and a bunch of other things. Sometimes it comes with sev and fresh cheese on top. Savory and satisfying.

Vegetarian Thali. A thali, I have come to realize, is best defined as "an assortment of pretty good things served on a steel platter". That's about as specific as I can get. This particular one had chapati, rice, spinach, dhal, sweet mango paste (ten stars!!!), and assorted Indian sweets. Best eaten on the the floor.

Masala Papad. This thing is genius. It's easy to make, and is a good light midnight snack. A papadum (Indian crispy wafer made with lentil flour) is topped with something salsa-tasting (raw onions, tomatoes, and cilantro), and masala (spice powder blend). This version has sev on top, and fresh cheese. Here is how to make it. When my friend ordered it, I actually thought he said "masala popcorn" and thought it was a good idea. But of course, this is way better. I don't remember where we ordered this, as I was quite sleepy.

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