Here’s a fun fact about me. I absolutely love food and trying out new dishes and cuisines is what I live for. I am the kind of person who goes on vacations and tries out the local cuisine the place has to offer rather than having the tried and tested dal chawal because that’s my idea of travelling.
Despite the fact that I love trying out new dishes, I do have a comfort food. Everyone does. For some it’s khichdi, for others, it’s rajma chawal, and so on. It varies from person to person and that’s okay because we all have different palates. Comfort food, for me, is anything desi Chinese and I am willing to die on this hill.
The idea of comfort food is to provide you with comfort when you are in a bad place. If you are sick, sad, or stressed, you turn to your comfort food to provide you with some solace and warmth. For me, desi Chinese provides me with this and so much more. I can recall the time when I was sick with viral fever and cold. I ordered a bowl of hot and sour chicken soup and devoured it. Instantly, everything stopped being annoying. Or when I was sad and a bowl of burnt garlic chicken Hakka noodles made me feel that, maybe, the world isn’t so bad after all.
Before people come to attack me, let me clarify that I know desi Chinese is not the real deal. Authentic Chinese isn’t supposed to be this way. It is milder. Desi Chinese, on the other hand, bursts with flavours, spices, and sauces. That’s what appeals to me because I have a spicy palette. I do not have a sweet tooth and too much sweetness gives me a headache. Desi Chinese keeps me warm, satisfies my cravings, and keeps me full for a long time. Add to it that it is cheap and easily available too.
Think of this, desi Chinese makes even a boring cauliflower taste amazing. Just fry the florets and toss them in a myriad of sauces and voila, you have gobhi manchurian. Desi Chinese makes even the boring of foods taste amazing because of how flavourful it is. Whenever people visit a new restaurant, they always order Desi Chinese because you cannot mess up with it. Despite being so yummy, it’s easy to make.
This reminds me of the countless times I wanted to eat something good and I always resorted to desi Chinese. A desi house will always have ketchup, soya sauce, and chilli sauce in its arsenal and honestly, these three sauces literally build this fusion cuisine. The number of times I have tossed the leftover fried chicken in these sauces to make a new chicken dish is something I cannot count on both my hands. Or add veggies and sauces to leftover rice to whip up a yummy plate of fried rice.
I know it can get spicy for some people and sometimes it affects your stomach too. But the point of a comfort food is that you eat it once in a while and bask in its glory. Desi Chinese is versatile yet comforting. It is like that best friend of yours whom you have known since you were in school. You don’t need to catch up every day but whenever you do, it feels like a prolonged warm hug.
I can eat sushi one day, continental the next, and South Indian later on, but I will always come home to desi Chinese. However, seeing people load it with cheese and mayonnaise feels like blasphemy and that is where I will draw the line.
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