My Anglo-Indian heritage has no doubt fostered the avid foodie in me from a young age. The community is known for their voracious attitude for eating anything that crawls, or barely crawls! This keen sense for cooking and eating has been fostered with much love and care by my mother Penelope Abraham. Having been indoctrinated to the sacred art of savouring marrow from our beef bones at dinner time, taking salted tongue sandwiches to school in our lunch-boxes and sampling chopped liver and kidney dry fry an Anglo Indian staple; chicken hearts and gizzard was a frequent feature on our dinning table, poppin:g up every now and again, a delight so much so that my mother had to nominate a systematic rotational system that decided who got to devour the treasured offal.
Bheja fry or brain masala has been a favourite dish of mine since my teenage years. Not a dish my mother cooked at home, but one we customarily ordered from Empire or Imperial and relished with thick Kerala parotas. Having grown up eating the gelatinous membrane doused in heavy spices and lightly pan-fried, a recent read, Judith Jones' book, My Life in Food was not only a fantastic, but a great inspiration in the kitchen with regard to cooking brains.
1/2 pound calves brains
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup Dijon Mustard
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
3/4 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
Canola oil for frying
Garnish: lemon wedges
My mother tossing a piece of mustard coated brain in the breadcrumbs
All the segments cooking away delicately, as I wait impatiently until they are delightfully golden brown and delicious.
Straight-forward, no hassle, fuss-free dinner. With a big salad you are good to go for a light dinner, or serve as an appetiser.