“I’ve been a Bombay kid all my life, raised in the wet markets of Khar and Santacruz,” Ankiet Gulabani of Belly Over Mind told us, ruminating on the type of cooking and eating that is decidedly Indian west coast. He was raised on curries laced with coconut and local fish pulled, filleted, or poached in Indian spice. Two degrees (one each in India and the UK) and a stint at a food magazine led him to Belly Over Mind, where he honed his own distinct style both of cooking and writing by developing a repertoire of recipes that are both modern as well as influenced by and rooted in his upbringing. We got him to bring some of that wholesome goodness to this menu, a tableful of Sindhi fare Gulabani created for Nicobar.
“Summer marks a natural shift in the food habits of many Sindhis, and we’re quite unaware of it honestly. While Sindhi food isn’t heavy, a switch to lighter, cooling gourd curries with tomato, loose dal and curd on the table will temporarily replace spice-heavy brown gravies on hot days. Kheecha, papad or kachri, made from dehydrated vegetables like tomato, lotus root, gourd and chillies which are fried, spiced and served as crunchy accompaniments to be crumbled over dal and rice. Achaar is abundant, both sweet and spicy, and for many, the first alphonso mango in the fruit basket warrants a mini celebration. Homemade sherbet concentrate is always kept handy to be stirred into milk or had with ice water and while dessert is preferred the year round, we tend to eat more fruit this time of the year as truckloads of juice-filled palmyra fruit are peeled and handed to us to eat in one swift motion. Summer desserts aren’t very popular in my house, but we’re more than happy to eat specifically REX’s raspberry jelly or china grass with either banana and apple, or custard—the kind that’s not made with egg yolks, but just custard powder.”