From Musa Dagdeviren’s backyard barbecues in Istanbul to the open fires of the Nawabs of Kishengarh, the yoghurt kabab has come a long way. While the Turkish recipes call for the creamy yoghurt to glaze meats in a rich marinade before hitting the grill on skewers, the Rajasthani preparations deal primarily with the fluff of thick, hung dahi suitably suffused with flours and the opulence of saffron. At the Tadka kitchens, the yoghurt is put to an extreme test – it comes to bear a Herculean onus in its tender, luscious depths – to hold its own against the rap of heat and spice, to emerge perfectly toned and tanned, with just the right touch of crispness on the outside and lush on the inside.
What do you think? Do you think it passed the Tadka test? Do you think it would have made Mr. Beaver keep from having a passionate affair with Brenda at Hetton, and succumb instead to the famous A.M. yoghurt binge, like his wife would have loved for him to? Perhaps Evelyn Waugh is listening, and therein hangs a twist in the Handful of Dust tale, replete with yoghurty swirls or otherwise..
(Makes 25 medium-sized Tadkababs)
One 32 oz tub (approximately 950 ml) of yoghurt, hung overnight
(Greek yoghurt would be a great substitution for this)
2 medium-sized potatoes, boiled and mashed
6 tablespoons of chickpea flour (besan)
1 teaspoon each of salt, chaat masala, red chilli powder, coriander powder
(or according to preference)
Keep the oil to heat up in a pan. Mix the yoghurt with the mashed potatoes and chickpea flour. Throw in the salt and spices. Knead for a few minutes and then form balls, press to desired shape, and fry until brown. Serve with our green chutney, good ol’ ketchup, or some fiery hot sauce.
To aggrandize this homespun recipe, kick some flavor into the Tadkabab mix with finely chopped green chillies, green onions, garlic, dill, mint, curry leaves..or anything else you deem fit. No matter how you do it, the Tadkabab is sure to pass the most stringent of tests with flying colors. While you take your pick and ponder some, we leave you, for the love of kitchen poetry, with this excerpt from A Handful of Dust:
“Mrs. Beaver stood with her back to the fire, eating her morning yogurt. She held the carton close to her chin and gobbled with a spoon – Heavens, how nasty this stuff is. I wish you’d take to it, John, I don’t know how I should get through my day without it..’ “