So this is it then. The end of civilization as we know it. The thin edge of the wedge. The most unkindest cut of all. Remember that song we used to play, Sam? It’s almost over. The end of the world is nigh.
There was a time when I lived in Calcutta (Kolkata, if Bengali *or* stickler for accuracy). As every city has it’s flavors, this great, bulging city has provided us with some of the most pungent, delicate, cosmopolitan and sophisticated favors.
Anglo-Indian steak, with the flavors of cloves, cinnamon and other spices, for example, is something I have not seen anywhere else.
Kathi rolls have been written about in this blog. This post is currently the post most read on this blog! These have been exported to other cities, but their flavor has never been matched.
Puchkas, that crunchy, spicy, tangy, watery treat served in the conical leaf bowl on street sides. Again, these are available elsewhere and sold as gol gappas, or water balls, or pani puris. The North Indian variety is sweeter, and the filling has practically no potatoes but composed predominantly of yellow peas. Sorry, guys! That gol gappa or pani puri is a pale imitation of the Calcutta puchka.
And then there’s biryani. Shiraz, Aminia, Arsalan, Shabbir, famous names in the biryani world in Calcutta, serving the peculiar variety of biryani found, so far in my experience, only in Kolkata. Spiced delicately, the Kolkata biryani is always served with half a large potato right in the middle. You eat the chicken and the rice around the potato, leaving it for the end. The final piece of the complex dish that is biryani.
Until now. The Calcutta Telegraph reports that the Kolkata biryani is facing extinction.
With the passing of the potato, will the puchka (or the puchkawallahs aloo dum) also die?
What a horrible thought.