Indian Cooking (1993)

Moniza Alvi

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The bottom of the pan was a palette–
paprika, cayenne, dhania
haldi, heaped like powder-paints.

Melted ghee made lakes, golden rivers.
The keema frying, my mother waited
for the fat to bubble to the surface.

Friends bought silver-leaf.
I dropped it on khir–
special rice pudding for parties.

I tasted the landscape, customs
of my father’s country–
its fever on biting a chilli.