Now that I've impressed you with all the tiresome Ts I've managed to thrust in the sentence above, let's move on.
To find out about tavaa toast, you'll have to travel back in time with me to the mid-1970s (when I was between 3 and 10) to Beji's (my grandmother) kitchen in Dehradun.
Double roti is how I was first introduced to sliced white bread that came wrapped in a clear plastic bag of shame.
Beji was the queen of her kitchen and my grandfather's heart. Her words were law and no one questioned her rules. She was petite and soft and never raised her voice, ever. I don't recall a single harsh word uttered by her. Yes, yes, I loved her, so I must be biased. But she ruled without force. Her way in the kitchen was the only way. No one complained. She was an amazing cook who was completely dedicated to feeding her family.
The firangi (foreign) double roti aka sliced, white bread had no place in her Punjabi kitchen.
"Shame on you for buying bread from a shop. Shame on you for buying any food that comes wrapped up in a plastic bag. How difficult is it to knead some flour, roll out a roti and raise it into a hot balloon on the tavaa? Huh? Why did God give us hands? " No, she never uttered those words. She just relayed the sentiments to us by her actions.
"Aye koi khaand dee cheez hai? Mareezan di roti?" (She had proclaimed sliced, white bread to be fit for consumption only by the sick or if your family had abandoned you and you were left without a kitchen--how else could one justify a food so lacking in taste and nutrients?)
Double Roti was contraband.
Time changed all that. Beji became older and weaker. Her son's wives gained more and more access to her kitchen. Modern life with its modern rhythm introduced faster flavours and easier to prepare meals into our lives.
Then one day, my mother served us toast for breakfast, instead of paraanthas.
We didn't have a toaster then.
This is where the tavaa (flat pan on which we make rotis/chappatis) comes in.
Put the tavaa on a medium flame. Let it get hot enough for the thin slab of butter you're about to tip into it to melt. Then place your slice of bread on it. Scrape a few thickish shavings off the block of (Amul or home-made white) butter and spread them evenly on the side of bread facing you. Make sure the edges get enough, too. When the air around you starts to fill up with buttery toast aroma, turn the side. If, like me, you like the edges kararaa (brown and well done) then wait a bit. You can always add a bit more butter by sliding it through the edges while the white slice is browning into a toast. Now slide the James Bond of all toasts onto your plate and enjoy. But,before you do, make sure that the bread is cooked.
Because, all through my childhood I was told that the white slices of bread that were sold at the bakers were kachaa (raw/uncooked/in need of proper cooking--Indian style).
"Aye haye kachee bread khaa littee...aye le...ajwaain khaa...sabar nahin bilkul ve ajkal de bachayaan noo."
If you were spotted eating white bread straight from the packet, chances are your mum or granny would take you to the doctors for you had just consumed raw, uncooked bread.
Don't ask me! I was a kid back then. How was I to know that the baker had baked the bread before wrapping it in a plastic bag? Baking wasn't done in my Beji's kitchen. The oven, I knew and loved, was outside, in the veranda. It was called tandoor.
I digress. Sorry.
My mouth is watering just typing the way my mom used to make tava toast for us. She would use ghee or Amul butter or home-made white butter, depending upon what was available or what one felt like having that day.
They are all superb. Yummy. And they all taste different. The ghee ones are kurkure (crumbly like pastry), the Amul ones are salty and the ones made with white butter are soft in the middle. You can crush some black pepper on top, or chilly flakes if you like, and Bob's your uncle.
When toasters came into our lives, we started toasting our kachaa slices of bread---white in the 90s, followed by brown and multi grain and then the gluten free kind.
Our trusted Tefal toaster sits like a king on our kitchen counter top. His courtiers stand in attention right next to him--bottled up and straight--honey, marmite, peanut butter and marmalade.
I use my toaster to toast pitta, naan, bread and bagels. And they all come wrapped up in plastic bags. Beji must be tut-tutting from somewhere up there in ether.
How do you like your toast? Do tell:)
How do you like your toast? Do tell:)
I have to thank Barbara whose post about skillets drew my attention to the tavaa on my hob.
I feel I need to add a picture of the other 'T' I was toying with before I read Barbara's post.
It's tota -- parrot in Hindi.(the t is soft--falls between t and th)
Tota (this sounds like it reads) is also a modern Punjabi slang for hot stuff--
of the female kind, not bread.
U and I will meet again:)