An Ode to Great Indian Frying Pan!!

halwai

In India frying is ever pervasive, happens every morning  on all Indian streets, domestic kitchens, on  encroached spaces below the flyovers, along the road side, mostly on the carts, sometimes on the brick stand on the ground itself. Many a times below the protection of local electricity board transformers, it’s always happening right next to the places of community gathering like temples,  and number of people gathering here is good enough to put you into a dilemma as to which of these places attract a greater devotion. It’s an integral part of Indian kitchens, across the length and breadth of the country, with some people having much lesser than what can be called a basic infrastructure to an extremely organized and robust one.

India is also called a land of diverse food cultures due to cultural varieties, this diversity can also be seen in the outcomes of the frying process in various parts of the country. In northern part of India, Poori Subji, Jalebi and Paranthas form the morning menu of kitchens. Along the western coast, there are multiple versions of Vadas coming out of Kadhais, some of them made of Potato and Besan, some from Sabudana, the one made from Toor dal is most popular and is also known as Medu Vada. When it comes to East Indian Breakfast Menu, people munching Luchi with Aloor Dom or Muri in the morning breakfast is a common site. In south India, Vadas, Pooris and various types of Dosas are part of the local DNA. Thus its very much established beyond any doubt that Frying is deep-rooted in Indian cuisine and Indian culture.

<< Fig 2:- Fried food stall at Mumbai

During mornings, all big or small food shops on the road side, restaurants can be seen using those big Karahis manufacturing these delectable food items from those dancing oil bubbles.  Some of them gather large number of people right from early morning hours. By looking at the gathering at some of these places, it’s very obvious as to why India has such a large population suffering from heart ailments.  In some places the obsession for food is so high, that people, in spite of knowing that their cooking oil carries tremendous amounts of cholesterol, always choose taste over health.  It’s due to this dedication towards food why India has done myriad number of innovations where food is concerned.  (For the benefit of readers, In Punjab, Washing machine has been put to an innovative use, other than just washing clothes. It’s used for making Lassi, many Dhabas and shops use both front and top loading washing machines for this activity).

Unlike other developed and developing countries, past generations of Indian women have spent more than 40% of their life time in kitchens, manufacturing different kinds of menu for their family and many times inventing new dishes as well, before fixing the marriage alliance, what all a girl can cook is key selection parameter among almost all the Indian families. Girls are also advised before marriage that way to man’s heart is through good food.  Now you might be able to appreciate the amount of effort, dedication and years of research and man hours that have  gone into Indian Kitchen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig 3:- Disruptive Innovation or Discontinuous change?, Washing machine used for making Lassi at Punjab

In large parts of Northern India and Pakistan, people or community in frying business is commonly known as Halwai and they not only manufacture dishes, but they also make luscious, mouth-watering sweets as well.  During last 12-15 years some of them have become more commercial and are in export business as well. However they still sell under the old traditional names like, Chandu, Haldiram, Ghasitaram etc.

As per Wikipedia, Frying originated in Egypt around 2500 BC, however there are evidences from Indian mythology and Bible where Frying was put to a different use which was in no way related to food or kitchen. In the past Kings used to give orders for frying the people who used to question them. As per Indian mythology, when a person goes to hell after his death, depending on the load of Karmas a person carries, he/she is subjected to a different kinds of frying punishment.

Whether people get frying punishment after death is something we are not sure about at this point in time. However, as per cardiologists all the oils are bad for health, and Frying is a silent killer and too much obsession for it can definitely send us to Hell.

 

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