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   I have been on a restricted diet... (July 15, 1996)

I have been on a restricted diet and am looking forward to the day when I can eat everything again. I that should be in another week. What I have to decide now is what will I eat first. It has to be either cuurry rice (fish, naturally), or dhansak (mutton, definitely).

But it is not as simple as that. I have to decide which fish in the curry. Pomfret is the stanard fish, it improves the flavour of the curry without domination it, it has only a central bone so it is easy to consume, it lends itself to fillets. But surmai is more meaty, there is more skin to it, which I love. Rawas is more boney, butit certainly enhances the taste of the curry.

An easy way out would be to have prawn curry for the first meal. The prawns will have to be fresh, and small, the smaller the better. Or I could go in for a crab curry, especially at Apoorva, but crab is messy. By the time I have cracked the shells and reached the meat, the curry is cold and my appetite half gone. It could spoil my first meal.

Rice, of course, will have to be boiled, and kolum. Not basmati, it goes only with biryanis, ir a plain dal and rice.

Next, I have to decide where to have the curry rice. I can think of four firsts: Trishna, Mahesh, Apoorva and Gajali at Khar. There is also Fountain Inn, opposite the office, very convenient and up to the mark. And City Kitchen would not be a bad idea, but there it would have to be pork vindaloo curry, I can already taste the thick fat on the pork, melting in the mouth. And let me not forget Goa Portuguesa. A lot will depend whether I want to open with curry done in vinegar or kokum.

Or should I begin my return to proper food with dhanshak. A proper mutton (not chicken) dhanshak, the dal thick with pumpkin and methi, the meat tender and not too large, and small round kababs, several of them, a kachumber of onions, tomatoes and green chillies, but no dahi mixed in it. A lot of lime. The rice shall be brown, carmelised, crisp fried onions on top, the standard dhanshak rice.

I will have to decide where to eat it. Britannia at Ballard Estate is one of my favourites. Go at lunchtime, order a large plate of dhanshak with kababs, follow with a caramel custard, and don't return to the office afterwards.

But I will have to consider other places. Naaz on Hanging Gardens serves an outstanding dhanshak, and Military Café in Meadows Street, Ideal in Gunbow Street, ideal in Gunbow Street. Of course, there is Piccolo of the Ratan Tata Institute in the street named after Kali Mody's father. Or the CCI (Wednesday), Yacht Club (Friday).

Meanwhile, there is one more week of spinach soup and wet khichri.

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