Sunday, October 23, 2005

Ifthiyar with Turks

Sitting at the dinner table, I was literally clueless about what was spread across the table.I couldn’t recognize any of the dishes there. How could I, after all it was Turkish dinner.

It was the ‘Ifthiyar’ party arranged by the Turkish community and we ended up there after my Turkish colleague Ahmet invited for the party.

Ahmet understood my concern about the food and assured me that he had made arrangements for vegetarian food. While rest of my colleagues digged into the various meat dishes, me and another friend were the only veggies there.

First came the palm dates and then appetizer ‘Ayran’. It was a drink of beaten yogurt, salt & grated cucumber. It was something like our butter milk but not exactly same.This was followed by vegetable salad.Then followed a series of main dishes.

One was an orange color rice item which was made of rice(or rather rice-lets).It was plain in taste with some unknown spices and only thing I recognized in that was that they had put salt in the dish !

There was another green color grain item which was like Kosambari. Even ingredients almost tasted similar. In a flash, Kosambari prepared in home during festivals passed through my head! Next regular rice with vermillion made its way to my plate.There was chutney like thing which tasted familiar but couldn’t co-relate the taste!

Mean while my host friend was giving running commentary about all the dishes coming to my plate.

'Dolma' was the one which I liked. It is rice stuffed in the grape leaves and baked.It is almost like our ‘Patra Oday’ we prepare in Karnataka .I heard from Ahmet that the ingredients of 'Dolma ' can also be vegetables & beans.

There was a rectangular deep-fry item which tasted some thing like pakoda. Or was it that I was trying to find Indian taste in every item?!!

In that dinner party, me & another friend were the only veggies and this food was specially prepared for us. Looked like Ahmet took extra pain for us..

After getting stuffed with the food, ‘Tatlisi’ appeared on the table.Tatlisi is the Turkish term for sweets or desserts.

‘Helva’ was that dessert made of milk, sugar, nuts, vermillion & flour.Before we could finish that small rolls were served on the plate.It was a deep fry sweet & tasted like Jeelabi.One more variation came which with great difficulty made its way into stomach!

During dinner, I had a lengthy conversion with Ahmet about Turkey, his home town Istanbul, places to visit in Istanbul and current political scenario in Turkey.I could notice how excited Ahmet was when he was explaining to me about Turkey. For any ex-patriate, talking about their country is such a nice thing. I remember I also get pumped up when I explain about India to someone here.

By the way, if you are not aware, Ifthiyar is the party arranged during Ramzan month for breaking fasts.If you recollect, Muslims fast through out this month and they won’t have food in between sun rise & sun set.This party was arranged by Turkish community here and I think we were the only non-Turkish people there!

After dinner, a video presentation was made telling significance of Ramadan .We took leave of Ahmet and while returning I had this question hovering me

“Religion is simple and it gets complicated when it gets interpreted.It was invented to show the light in the dark but why it is being used instead to push towards dark?”

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Siri said...

The last quote caught me!!!!religion sure is complicated by its interpretations.....My god..thts probably the first time i have read what keeps resonating in my mind in someone elses blog!cheers!