Growing up meals meant 2 options: smooth pasty rice, enamored with pulses, rounded into soft balls of deliciousness versus ugly brown wheat flats that looked like dead cardboard-skin and tasted well exactly the same. No offense to the roti-lover or the whole-wheat worshiper but it IS a matter of personal choice, taste as we might say…that I loathe ‘Ruti’ ‘Roti’ ‘Chappatti’ s with, even to this date.
Living in this continent has done a lot of things to lots of people, mostly good but not similar to the good it has done me. It has enabled me to embrace meat as the meal and starch as the side, many of you will not understand what I am talking wasting cyber space iterating the obvious, but some of you more familiar with world cuisines will know that people from warmer climates eat meat as the side. People from poorer societies have more starch and hence carbs constitutes the meal. And people from agriculturally lush places like Bengal and rivers valleys like India’s eat LOTS of vegetables, sobered by spices and water. Hence a meal of 60% starch, 15-20% lentils, 15-20% vegeatables and 0-10% animal protein.
So for a meat-atarian like me moving to a country whose balanced diet is on meat (+fat) and potatoes(+fat) garnished with salt and even more fat was gastronomically blissful.
So going back to my original point: I obviously always preferred white steamed rice to the basked whole wheat un-delicio-es. It wasnt until much much later that I analyzed that dislike. See I did not disapprove of it when I had it with chicken but with fish it just didnt fly. And I of course being from Bengal and all, had way more fish than chicken and way more does not even begin to describe the discrepancy. Holy Fish.
And I have been believing with a fervor until lately that rice and fish are the ultimate combination.
Imagine the delicate sushi maki…now the natives, imagine Rui on a bed of hot rice, or if you may salmon on a bed of rice pilaf.
Now spin the globe and look at the Queen’s quintessential fish and chips. The colonizers do have a point now, dont they? I, again on a personal note, do not share the same opinion about fries or chips in general. My family however definitely sees the promise in the crispier version of potato+ fat+ salt.
But come Lent time, give me a platter of Friday Fish Fry at any Legion, I will gladly substitute fries with mashed potatoes. The more skins you can leave in the better.
So there definitely is that chemistry between fish and potatoes which only rice w/ fish that globally beat. And it took me a good 2 years of research on 3 different kinds of microscopes and a graduate degree to learn the starch structures of rice and potato and how similarly they crystallize. Does that have anything to do with how they mate with fish? Guess you’ll never know that now.
Pota(y)to Pota(a)to you might say. Well whichever, with that sea bass or pomfret, its all mmmm mm mm mmmm.