Sindhi Kadhi with Tuk is by far one of my favourite Sindhi dishes, possibly my only favourite Sindhi food because of the crazy amounts of butter, oil and red chilli powder.
I remember the time when my mother asked me and my older sister Anoushka, to help her make it for a couple of aunties coming over for lunch. I was only about 9 at the time and was extremely excited about being asked to help out on a ‘big girl’ task. My mother, sister and I stood around the stove, with an ancient cookbook in front of us trying to figure out the untidy scrawl that was my grandmother’s handwriting. The first task was to chop the vegetables. Anoushka volunteered to cut the carrots, beans and to my astonishment and disgust, the Brinjal. Seriously??? Being a hardcore non-vegetarian, I felt like my favourite dish had cheated me all my life – by disguising the delicious taste of the yellow curry with the vegetables I hated the most.
I think that was when my mother realized that asking her gullible daughter to help might not have been the best idea in the world. She tried to convince me that the Brinjal brought in most of the flavor, but I refused to believe her, and slyly picked out and threw away all the Brinjal pieces while she was not looking.
My favourite part was frying the Tuk. This deep fried slender slice of potato, was the most exciting thing to make(and eat!). I watched as the tiny bubbles foamed and frothed over the slowly browning potato and reminisced about the times we had cooked the very same dish with my grandmother. I missed her. This was the first year where she had not been around, and I could see my mother struggling with the complex recipe written in Sindhi and the constant reminder that her mother was no longer with us.
We finished making the meal and called in our guests to sit down at the table. I watched as they ate the food -extremely slowly and cautiously – and politely complimented us on the food. I took a large portion of rice and Kadhi and the second I tasted the first bite I almost spat it out as it tasted nothing like the delicately flavoured Kadhi I knew. My mother apologized to the guests, saying she had forgotten to put in the Brinjal and I sat there quietly, realizing that Brinjal was the secret ingredient that had made the Kadhi taste so delicious.
After the guests left, I confessed that I had taken out all the Brinjal and my mother only laughed. As I cleared the plates, I remember thinking that one day it would be me with my own children, cooking our traditional Sindhi food, looking at my mother’s handwriting in a very tattered and torn cookbook and hoping that she would be at my side, swatting away my hands as I reached for yet another Tuk.