During our college days, the hostel was more than a home for us and we were pretty much addicted to the place. I loved to remain in the hostel, doing nothing. Life was so cool, the place created happiness and serenity. Now what to say about our hostel food? I think it’s more or less the same story everywhere. But no matter how the food was, everyone used to eat gracefully. Every year our hostel warden kept changing and they all preferred to visit only in freshers and farewell nights. Also, they usually showed up when most of the guys were in their normal state of mind, before the party got wild. Many of the hostelers were confused to see a stranger in the hostel premises and after knowing he was our Super Sir, the guys simply disappeared. Everything related to our hostel including our canteen, was managed by us, the hostelers. Every month the guys used to choose a new mess secretory and the entire responsibility of the mess was with him. The best thing about our hostel mess was that it was more like a home. Many were not satisfied with the regular food and desired for something extra. The canteen guys were aware of such demands and they always used to keep boiled potatoes, raw onions and green chilies. Such luxuries were usually limited to the seniors. I remember a few such seniors who always used to yell at the canteen guys, 'bring boiled potato, fast', 'fry the boiled potato with onion and green chilies, and get it fast'
Boiled potatoes were in great demand and it lasted only for a limited time. Whosoever wanted to worship boiled potato, had to eat early. After the boiled potatoes were finished, guys used to ask for fried green chilies and onions. When the onions also got over, the chilies became highly demanding. My good friend Bhushan liked the 'Onion-Chili' fry to such an extent that when he was our mess secretary he introduced the recipe as part of the main course. Well, it took many of us by surprise when we had to finish our meal with dal and onion-chili fry. Apart from those yummy extra eateries, we also had the luxury to prepare some customized special food like chicken, egg amongst others. Sometimes a group of guys used to contribute money for their special meal. Usually one of the hostel cooks prepared the delicious cuisine, but some of the guys had a chef in them and they participated enthusiastically. Such exclusive meals were usually relished a little early or a little late from the usual mess timing, just to avoid the public assault on the food.
Gradually I also became habituated to such exclusive meals. That was the time when I tasted Tin Fish for the first time. Some of the shops near to the college used to keep Tin Fish and it was quite popular among many of the hostelers. Tin fish preparation is very simple and takes only a few minutes. It’s utterly yummy and I became its fan in my first encounter itself. I remember, those days one tinned fish cost 50 rupees and usually we used to contribute 10 rupees per head in a group of five to enjoy our splendid meal. Those days some of us were regular Tin fish eaters and we had become addicted to it. We usually used to prepare it with boiled potatoes. Years later, nowadays also I prefer to keep Tin Fish in our refrigerator. My wife also loves it a lot. Sometimes when we are tired or there’s nothing to prepare, we usually end up making Tin Fish. The recipe is very simple and can be prepared in ten to fifteen minutes.
1. Heat cooking oil in a pan in low flame.
2. Meanwhile chop an onion and some green chilies, add them and saute till golden brown
3. Quickly chop one or two tomatoes, add them and mix properly
4. Add turmeric powder and salt, stir for a while. I usually add boiled potato or green papaya or pumpkin in it. In case of papaya and pumpkin, the recipe will take a little longer. But last time I prepared Tin Fish with only tomatoes.
5. Stir it for four to five minutes till the tomatoes get fried properly
6. Add the tuna fish along with 1/2 cup of water and cook covered for a few minutes.
7. Add freshly prepared ginger-garlic paste and mix it thoroughly
8. After a few minutes add freshly chopped coriander leaves
That’s it and done. You will get aroused with the tempting aroma and once you grab a bite, I bet the prepared Tin Fish won’t last for long.