Posted by: Kirsten
As the newest addition to the Kasa serving team, I’ll take this moment to reflect on a few things I’ve thought about in my first month of making Kati Rolls and Thalis…..
My body is still getting used to the server’s life (after having spent the past several years sitting in a cubicle at a computer) so I usually get to work feeling a little stiff, but leave energized.
To me, spice is the most interesting element at Kasa. It’s what makes our food so special, from the cardamom that I toss into our rice before cooking and the sweet cinnamon steam that wafts out as I scoop it. From the handfuls of fresh mint that I get to scatter over our onions to the mustard seeds that dot the Gobi Aloo.
But spice also complicates things when customers entrust me to steer them towards the dish with the right amount of heat for them. It’s like they’re walking in the door, approaching the counter, and asking me what song they’re in the mood for at that moment. I’ve never met them before, I don’t know a thing about them, and I’m supposed to know what level of spice they will enjoy. I’ve slowly learned to read their faces and tones and to decide pretty easily whether this is a Lamb Curry (mild and safe) or Chicken Tikka Masala (more fiery) kind of diner.
I can tell how hungry I am based on how godly the rotis smell as they’re lifted off the griddle and land in front of me to become a Kati Roll. Sometimes the scent of the butter (ghee) overwhelms me and reminds me of Dad making pancakes on Sunday mornings growing up.
I love the routine of my mid-day sidework. Zoning and listening to music as I spoon thick dollops of cucumber raita and crunchy bites of salad into to-go containers is a nice antidote to the lunch rush before and the dinner rush that follows.
One little boy comes in after school most days and I help him learn to count money through buying Mango Lassi. He’s recently decided that his favorite dish is the Gobi Aloo.
This week, we were visited twice by a customer who taught me a thing or two about Kati Rolls. Being an Indian, she respectfully instructed me on how to create a special Kati Roll to her tastes: unda (egg) style, with cilantro coconut chutney and onions mixed right into the egg before frying. Roll it just like that with some salt and a few more onions for crunch. I can handle a customer like that – she knows what she wants but makes me want to give it to her.
I’m heading to work in a couple hours – come visit me on the other side of the counter!