Who could have had an inkling of what this year had in store for us?! Right at the onset of the year, I remember announcing that I wanted to start posting on my much ignored blog. And then before I knew it, I..well...we all found ourselves navigating a 'new normal' that none of us had prepared for and has proven to be more stubborn than any of us had reckoned. You would all understand when I say that the past few months of lockdown restrictions have been a roller coaster of contrasting emotions that has left us all, for lack of a more articulate word, fatigued.
In the past few months, patience is a virtue we've all had to cultivate especially as we witnessed the games our mind can conjure up with paranoia and insecurity. There have been lessons in fortitude and resourcefulness but an even greater lesson in empathy and an even more important one in privilege that have been learnt.
I've found myself obsessing over micro details whilst looking on helplessly at the bigger macro world. I've been overwhelmed and humbled by the kindness and generosity of strangers and disappointed and even angered by the callousness of those I've known. I've amazed myself with my resilience in facing upto certain situations but the time in isolation has also meant confronting and acknowledging each of the uncomfortable vulnerabilities in my life. And despite, being able to connect to any part of the world through virtual technology, never has the inability to cross the shortest of physical distances rendered me more helpless and frustrated. And suddenly you realise that while the days have been long, weeks and months have just gone by!
Lest you get me wrong, I am aware of all that I need to be grateful about. Most importantly, that I found myself at home with my mother and not stuck in limbo, on my own, somewhere out there in the world, in these uncertain times. It's been inexplicably heartening to have friends, many I haven't been in regular touch with, reach out and ask how I was doing. And the difficulties we've faced are those that nobody has been immune from. And yet, even as restrictions have eased and could that be light that we see at the end of the tunnel, I'll admit to feeling at times, uncertain and unmoored in a way that I haven't felt in a long time. Like I said patience is a virtue we've all had to cultivate!
And while the world was baking banana bread and experimenting with sourdough, these simple nankhatai were my little baking indulgence in the initial weeks of lockdown. Well, until my trusted hand mixer of more than two decades decided to give way. We can have a discussion another day on all our trusted appliances that decided that the lockdown was the perfect time to throw a tantrum!
These nankhatai are from my much treasured Dishoom cookbook The cookbook is a love letter to south Bombay, one much after my heart and deserves a separate appreciation post one day. For now, let me tell you about these nankhatai. Extremely simple to make and can be made even without a hand mixer. They worked well with the rationing that we had to contend with in the initial few weeks of the lockdown. They are made with staples that every Indian kitchen will have. I have another nankhatai recipe on the blog but this is a superior one with the addition of besan (chickpea flour). It improves the texture and makes it closer to the ones from the Irani bakeries.
Not too sweet and crunchy enough to warrant a dip in a cup of chai, these nankhatai were a little indulgence during some very uncertain days and for that I will always remember them with gratitude! Give them a try yourself!