Another day of goo-like Dal Chawal for lunch? Dry, mouldy rotis to compliment the taste further? Okay, that was an exaggeration, but you all have to agree that PG/Hostel food that we get is kinda bad… Okay, really bad. And when we compare that with piping hot food served at home in your favourite bowls and eating it with people you probably love the most in the world, even pizza ordered from your favourite joint pales in comparison.

Whether you gave a bad assignment or had a fight, are missing home or just having a bad day, when you sit for a meal including the same old gunk you have come to have a love-hate relationship with in the time you’ve spent there, you can’t help but miss home food and how it would make it all okay. I become so nostalgic about the food on some days, I can smell my favourite paneer tikka being prepared in the kitchen by my mum.

As the Spoon theme for the month “Nostalgia” approaches – the graduations, farewells, the exams and all the bad, emotional crap that happens only in April – we decided to pay a tribute to one of the things outstation students probably miss the most: home-cooked food or “Ghar ka Khaana”.

So after a gruelling semester full of good food in college fests and pathetic food in your place of residence at the moment, we present you the opinion of various outstation DU students and what khaana they miss from home. We tried to include their hometown or their origin according to their preference as it plays a critical role in the kind of food they like and hence miss.

1. Fresh Aaloo Paranthas with Butter


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“I miss the aloo parantha mum makes at home. We have that for breakfast every Sunday morning. She churns white butter so that it is fresh and she doesn’t use any oil while making it so that the melted butter on top can moisten it well.

She also makes creamy, thick yogurt that has a tinge of sweetness which we have with it. We also have lassi sometimes. The aloo mixture is her own special concoction that includes herbs, mint, aamla churan and what not. This dish is so delicious that I have been unable to eat aloo parantha anywhere else, be it a restaurant or relative’s place.”

– Tript Kaur, Punjab

2. Biryani and Drumstick


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“Being Hyderabadi, when someone asks me about a dish I miss most, Biryani is the first thing that comes to mind. There is nothing like it. However, considering the fact that I’m Hyderabadi Odia, I’d say it’s not a dish, but a vegetable I miss the most. Mostly because of its dynamic presence in my life as well as the fact that I don’t get to eat it at all in Delhi, I miss drumstick.

We’ve always had a drumstick plant in our house and I cannot imagine sambhar without drumstick. Odia cuisine uses drumstick in a host of dishes, ranging from vegetable stews to meat dishes. My favourite is a dish my mother makes – drumsticks and potatoes in a base of ground mustard, sometimes with peas. This vegetable is what I miss eating most because it was a part of my daily life.”

– Priya Tripathi, Odiya in Hyderabad

3. Chilli Fried Beef


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“Beef! Is that okay? It’s my favourite meat and plus it’s hard to find it here which makes me crave it more. Chilli fried beef to be specific. I make it myself and I add lots of chilli to all my dishes. I don’t eat my meals without chillies. Rather, I can’t!”

– C. Lalrinmawii, Aizwal

4. Filter Coffee and Rice


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“So I miss filter coffee, which is how we drink coffee down south, adding freshly boiled milk to a decoction made with ground coffee bean powder. It has a rich taste and it’s a big part of my morning ritual at home.

Also, I miss the rice we eat. It’s softer, shorter grains, more easily mashable. I find it easier to eat in large quantities, and I eat it with my hand, which always makes me happy.

Finally, I miss how at home there isn’t a single vegetable that we don’t have a way of cooking. I’ve gotten really tired of aloo and paneer in Delhi because I’m used to eating many other things: gourds, green vegetables, raw banana… All cooked in freshly ground masalas that are specifically made to go with each vegetable.”

– Dakshayini Suresh, Tamil Nadu

5. One Pot Stew and Fish


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“I’m Bengali, like the hardcore fish-eating kind. I miss a lot of things about home and food made at home but I guess what I miss the most is how Ma would put everything in every dish.

A few of my favourite memories are attached to her chicken stew or her baked vegetables which would have bell peppers, capsicums, onions, mushrooms, carrots, beans, peas, potatoes and noodles or even pasta or rice in it. It would be warm and steaming and delicious and it made me feel like home. In fact, it still does.”

– Megha Chakrabarti, Bengal