I am not writing about the Aishwarya Rai starer but about the heat, the Kaaram, the Mirchi we pack in all our Indian food. An all time lover of chillies, be it red or green, I was quick to notice when I started living in this country that the concept of spicy food has a different version. At home, bringing a humble portion of the Nellore side of my family to the table, my grandmother used to be pretty casual about chilies and chili powder. Our Sambars generally contain both and that’s the way we rolled. My mother too, who learned the art from her mother-in-law, followed the recipe and so do I since I started cooking regularly.
Hence, when I got the first bite of Mexican food in USA (at Chipotle) a week after I landed, I was sorely disappointed to find it tame in taste. First of all, there was no jalapeno in my salad bowl and the hottest sauce (which my husband actually warned me about in length) was not hot at all! I thought that Chipotle, being a national chain, had perhaps moved a little away from authentic Mexican into an American version that the natives found palatable. I was wrong. A winter trip Mid-West to Texas found me completely desperate to try authentic Tex-Mex food that is supposed to be wild.
Our friend took us to this restaurant that specialized in the cuisine and I was warned of the heat yet again. My enchilada was awesome but I had to actually order a side of green chilies to add some spice to my food. When I cook at home here, I always have to remember my husband’s intolerance to too much spice. My two spoons became one and then shrank to three-quarters. Most of the time, my chilies lost their sheen half way through the box and I have to discard them.
I still love the fruit though and I am fantasizing about the next time I will get to eat food with chilies on full throttle. For now, my little teaspoons would suffice… until next time…