As we sat down for lunch, the clouds opened up, making up for a perfect setting. Beginning with Tambli, a buttermilk like drink from Karnataka with a slight hint of ginger, tomato saar, a thin Maharashtra style tomato soup and batata vadas with peanut chutney, what followed was an array of monsoon specials. Naturally sour, astringent and bitter foods were supposed to be included in the diet supposedly to benefit the stomach and keep diseases at bay in this season. So while the tomato-based saar and tenga, or the hot menas kai may be consumed even during other months, in monsoons they gain a special relevance, says Anoothi. She adds that the recipes had been collected from families belonging to different parts of the country many of whom didnt even remember whether their traditional diets ever had anything special for the rains.
The best part of the meal was usal (soaked sprouts ) with a flavouring of Maharashtra kala masala and the home-style Karachi halwa, very unlike the typical Karachi halwa we get at sweet shops. The festival is on till today at Fire, The Park Hotel.