University life brings with it a lot of feelings and amidst the strong contenders of overwhelm, homesickness, freedom, happiness, stress etc. the biggest feeling is that of hunger.
Honestly, the amount of hunger pangs one gets in uni is insane. It’s like, you eat a full blown meal for lunch and in ten minutes flat, you’re hungry for a snack and after another fifteen minutes, it’s time for tea and biscuits following which there’s a sudden urge to have a spicy bite and then one needs sweets for neutralisation and then it’s dinner followed by an after dinner sandwich followed by coffee followed by an eternal struggle cause after all the above pangs, there’s no food left and you have to wait for breakfast.
Unless your mum sent dryfruits in which case, bon appetite!
No kidding, that’s pretty much how a day in uni looks like. In this blog, Imma show ye folks some of the ways in which I deal with uni hunger pangs and in the process, we’re gonna look at some of the best student-centric food in India. Let’s go!
This is what a typical university breakfast looks like. The deep fried triangles are what’s called ‘Bread Pakora’ and it is one of the most popular breakfast items in India. It is basically a sandwich stuffed with spiced potatoes and deep fried with a coating of chick-pea flour and best served with tomato ketchup. I honestly wouldn’t confine bread pakora to a university breakfast because it’s quite popular even otherwise. It’s one of my favourites as well and just biting into a hot and crispy bread pakora is absolute bliss:)
And then of course, there’s an orange. I’m a person that can eat a crate of oranges in a sitting if given the chance and if common sense fails, hehe…..Oranges are ambrosia to mankind and must be a part of your everyday meal. The glass of milk is what makes me ‘Mummy’s Number One Child’….
I’m an only child….
Moving on from breakfast, we’ve got what I call an ‘On-The-Go’ snack. It’s basically a snack that you have when you’re taking a break from studying and you don’t want to aimlessly stroll around so you grab this from the canteen and stroll around while eating cause that just makes life better, hehe…. On today’s culinary episode, the on-the-go snack is a ‘Paneer Frankie’. Frankies are basically wraps made out of veggies and sauce, with a shell of Indian breads such as a roti or a paratha(A kind of fried flatbread). The filling also has a thin omelette wrapping the veggie filling and it’s quite a healthy snack for untimely hunger pangs. This frankie here has cottage cheese(paneer) and the sauce is a classical Indian favourite, aka the Maggi Hot and Sweet ketchup. As the name suggests, the sauce adds a lovely tangy flavour to the wrap and I had a little extra chilly added into it to give the snack just the right amount of fire.
One thing I’ve noticed is that my spice-eating capacity is a lot higher when I’m not around my parents and I don’t get the logic behind it. I almost certainly wouldn’t have had the extra chilly if my parents were around but I enjoyed the fiery taste all by myself. Independence sure gives you some superpowers, eh?
In my uni, a dosa is literally what I call a stress meal. Before, I explain why I say that, Imma tell you that a Dosa is a kind of a savoury crepe made out of a batter of gram flour. It is often stuffed with a filling of potatoes and served with a coconut dip called a chutney and a soup-like dish called sambar. Now, the reason why I call it a stress meal is because the time you actually have a dosa in uni is when stress gets you in all the feels and all you want to do is vent out your frustration or eat it up.
I had this dosa after a very unfruitful stint of errands where the grocery store was shut and my bicycle tyre gave up and the cold wind wouldn’t subside and I had to walk all over the university to get a meal cause lunch at the mess was over and this dosa was what kept me from having a full blown meltdown. Instead of potato, the dosa is stuffed with paneer(cottage cheese) and a little bit of cheese and this unique variation really makes the taste a comforting one:) I didn’t overly like the sambar though(it’s the brown dish) but at that moment, I didn’t care, the dosa was simply supreme.
Remember when I said in the beginning that sometimes, certain mums send dryfruits to help with the hunger pangs? Well, my mum sent me crispies instead. Sometimes, it’s quite hard to leave your room even when hunger strikes so snacks sent by mum are a very handy alternative. I’m usually a healthy eater but when mum sends you some iconic junkies, you have to eat them cause…..(they’re tasty). On this plate, there’s the pasta like crispies called ‘Kurkure Solid Masti’. It’s a very popular packet snack in India and it’s basically bread and butter for students. I can’t go much into what all it has cause it’s literal junk food but I can say that it has a good amount of salt and pepper to give it a fab taste. The spiral crispy on top is a ‘Bakarwadi’. It’s one of the most iconic snacks of Pune and since I had to take a part of my city with me, the snack made it’s way into my luggage:) The taste of bakarwadi is sweet and spicy and it’s hard on the outside and soft on the inside which creates a beautiful blend. The other oval shaped crispy is what’s called a ‘Methi Puri’ and it’s made of fenugreek and condiments and quite an on-the-go dish.
Here it is, a typical lunch in the uni mess. The mess at my uni had pretty healthy food and usually a format of one veggie, one pulse dish, a carb and a dessert was followed. Here, the veggie on the far left is what’s called ‘Methi Mutter Malai’. It’s a creamy gravy dish made out of fenugreek leaves and peas. I love this dish and although the version in the mess doesn’t resemble the one my mum makes, it was rather tasty. The dish beside it is dal, the Indian soup made out of pulses. The liking for dal runs in my family so it’s always a pleasure when I’m served good dal. I usually lick the bowl of dal clean but the bid to preserve my dignity prevents me from doing that in uni, hehehe:) The dessert is the round, brown sweet at the right corner. It’s called a gulab jamun which is my favourite sweet of all time. It’s a soft, juicy sweet made out of milk and khoya and served in a sweet nectar-like base. Gulab Jamun tastes best either hot or chilled. I prefer it hot cause then it’s really soft and the nectar seeps in so well but chilled tastes great as well:)
And then there’s carrots. It’s for the vitamin A and the cucumber is for hydration.
And that is a wrap!
Be back next time with the second part.
Until Next Time,