We millennials spend most of our money on the great variety of junk food available to us and yet, all that really fills us to our heart’s content is some ghar ka khaana. There are some dishes that can really transport us back to childhood. With a spoonful of memories and the aroma of nostalgia, we manage to travel back to simpler times.
And for a true blue North Indian child, rajma chawal is that one dish that brings out all the memories of childhood. No matter how much we grow up or which part of the world we end up living in, the foodie in us never stops craving for that one plate of steaming rice with rajma poured all over it, and some onion to go with it.
As kids, we’d often run away from food and our mothers would complain about how we just won’t eat ghar ka khaana. But not rajma chawal! This majestic dish was an exception. The days my mum would cook rajma chawal, I would quietly sit at the dining table and even take a second helping. I’m sure the same stands true for most of us.
I remember so many afternoons where mom would surprise me by announcing that she has made rajma chawal for lunch. And then I would proceed to have it for dinner, and breakfast and lunch the following day. Like most mothers, my mom also knew that the way to a child’s heart is in fact a plateful of rajma chawal. That plate of rajma chawal has suppressed so many instances of teenage rebellion in my house!
The burst of flavours from the rajma combined with the steaming rice is the kind of stuff that gastronomical pleasure is made of. Nothing even comes close to this combination. Rajma chawal is the kind of dish whose recipe runs in the family. And like most kids would say, my mom makes it the best.
And God forbid, we got roti next to our rajma, we knew it was cardinal sin, for rajma is made for rice. There’s nothing else that it can taste the same with. They’re both incomplete without each other. Like Raj with his Simran, Juliet with Romeo, Chandler with Monica and yin with yang, I just cannot imagine rajma chawal separately.
And oh the lazy sleep after a plate of rajma chawal on Sundays! Nothing can ever match contentment with which we slept after a couple of generous helpings of it. Well, you can’t really blame yourself for it.
We’ve all grown up now. We find burger joints at every corner and online services make ordering pizza the easiest task. But a plate of rajma chawal is still the real comfort food for us. We’ve tried to replicate the recipe handed down by our mothers, had a plate of it from right outside our office and craved for it on days when home seems too far away.
You could be a 13-year-old coming back from school, a 23-year-old coming back from a lit night at the club, or a 35-year-old coming back from office after a hectic day, this is one food combination which transcends all ages.