India update 4
16 - 18 Feb 2007
Let's begin with some more general vegetarian goodness. I was in the mood for spicy stuffed bell peppers (capsicum to Indian folk) and my mom indulged me! Along the way I also learned how to make them. I was planning pictures at each step but the battery on my camera gave way and needed to be recharged. Well here they are anyway , along with matki chi usal - a dry curry of moth bean sprouts, ambat varan - a sour garlicky daal, bharleli kashmiri mirchi - bell peppers stuffed with spiced chick pea flour, shrikhand - a yogurt based dessert and karela - fried bitter gourd.
What happened next was a puja (Satyanarayan puja) at our house. Of course this meant the mandatory fast before the puja - fast of course, being a relative term as you can have your fill of sabudana khichadi!
And after the puja was over there was a veritable feast served in the traditional banana leaf shaped dish (Ideally you serve in a real banana leaf but it's hard to find large clean ones these days!) Traveling clockwise in that plate we see salt, lemon, cucumber roasted peanut salad, green coconut chutney, yogurt, puran - sweetened boiled chickpea mash, fresh cashew curry - these aren't your run-off-the-mill roasted cashews, these are fresh from the fruit, soft and creamy and utterly delicious, and tragically unavailable anywhere in the US, lightly sauteed fresh okra, rice with varan dal, chapaties, and masala dudh - milk flavored with saffron, almonds, pistachios etc. etc.
I'm thinking of having another puja before I leave, just for the food...
Anyway, after that on Sunday, I had my buddies over for lunch and there was more great food. Unfortunately I didn't take any pics of the food, but I can list what was on the menu - chicken curry, dry chick pea curry, jain style potato curry, faras bean curry, an assortment of chutneys and pickles, and for dessert dudhi halva - a halva made of dudhi, an Indian gourd, shira - a halva made of semolina and ice cream!
Later that evening I went for the Roger Waters concert at the MMRDA grounds in the Bandra-Kurla complex. I didn't have any great expectations from this thing so was blown away by how good it was! The lights, the sounds, Dark Side of The Moon! He finished with Comfortably Numb! I'll post some pics later when my friend has a chance to get them off his camera phone.
We ended the night with roomali roti - a soft-as-velvet flat bread that's made by tossing it into the air (roomal is the Hindi word for a silk handkerchief), bheja fry - fried brains, chicken bhuna - roasted chicken curry and seekh kababs at Bademiya's at Colaba! Eating on the street, off the hood of your car that's been propped up by a Coke bottle (sorry Thums Up bottle) has it's own unique charm that cannot be reproduced anywhere else!