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Thursday, 8 September 2011

my precious gold coins

Gold coins - they are just another name for the popular yellow banana chips from Kerala. If you are used to regular fryers [pun intended] - you may just squirm as you think what is the big deal in frying some banana chips.




It was a feat for me - to make my own heap of munchable gold coins. Actually, if these yellow coin-like crisps were to be cartooned, they would look just like Walt Disney’s miserly duck uncle Scrooge's heaps of gold coins – his precious tucked-away wealth in the cellars that his naughty nephews find by chance.



I finally made those yummy ka upperi [literally translates to raw banana chips] for this Onam, Kerala’s state festival.



The world's best upperis are made by my maternal grand mom. She is so quick and unbelievable at that. If someone walked in with a raw banana from the backyard, even if we were all set to start the lunch, she would spring into action - almost immediately. She would peel it; slice it straight into boiling oil; pour a salt and turmeric mixture to the oil - and fry them out. Really an expert. Thus heaps of gold coins – yellow and gleaming with oil – were there for us to relish along with rice and curries most of the days spent at the ancestral home.



When I called her up last week for tips to make them as good as she does, she almost dismissed me off saying 'just buy'. She did not want her first-born grand child’s fingers to stain - or strain. And hence, was very dissuasive. Also asked if I already did not have enough to do. Chumma enthina kutty [why bother my child].



She thinks my maid-less days must be a great feat in themselves. And cannot fathom the fact that I am actually quite happy on my own – finding my things, cooking or keeping my house clean.



As I wasn’t giving up on getting the tips from her, she asked me to soak the raw banana in sour curd and water; then slice it to paper-thin wafers; and fry using coconut oil in an urali [a broad-based, heavy bottomed traditional cauldron made with 70 per cent copper and 30 per cent tin]. She added, not to forget to pour a salt and turmeric mixture into the oil.



So I did. Soaked raw bananas in sour curd and water; peeled it; sliced it very thin and deep fried in coconut oil; and in an urali, which was until then holding a potted house plant in my drawing room. And, I did not forget to pour a salt and turmeric mixture into the oil.



The whole affair was over in not less than two hours, after work yesterday. And was not exactly as easy as I summed up in two lines.



But nevertheless, it was double joy for me - to have the yummy gold coins homemade at last and to feel the love of my granny all over again as I munched on it. Nostalgia and all that (sniffles).



It is true that ‘there is no love greater than the love of food,’ especially when you are far away from home on festive occasions.

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