13 June, 2021

Coriander Crumps

On the insufferable preponderance of dhania in north Indian food

Illustration by Saahil
Coriander Crumps

A friend of mine from Bombay wanted to go to a dhaba in Delhi. So we drove a little towards Hapur, stopped at a highway ‘hotel’, and  he ordered a thali. When it came, the plate looked like how a cricket ground would from straight up, a somewhat overgrown outfield with a green-top pitch. All the dishes—sabzi, dal, kadi, another sabzi, chhole, raita—had a thick carpet of dhania on them, so much so that the friend had to look under it to see what the dish was. In the middle of the thali—the pitch—were the naan and roti, patted on with copious amount of the same green herb. Only the gulab jamun didn’t have dhania, but to complete the artifice, it had shavings of green faux pista.

Why do north Indians smack anything edible they can find with dhania?

On its own, it is quite harmless, useful even. A rasam tastes splendid with a dip of a bunch of kothamalli when it is just near boiling point, or a plate of poha with a gentle sprinkling of kothimbir over the lemon juice does add quirk to its dirty yellow dullness (is...

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