Breakfast, India Style

During her stay with Varun and I the past few days, Varun’s mom made us lots of tasty Indian food. Apparently our smoke detector does not like Indian food, so it spent a lot of time under a pile of blankets. Meanwhile, Varun and I feasted on daal, parantha, mutter paneer and fancy rice, pilau.

While I love almost every dish the Subcontinent has to offer, parantha is like a breakfast dream come true. Varun’s Mom was kind enough to make me my favorite, aloo ka parantha. This is basically rolled out dough (flour + water), folded around a mixture of chopped onion, boiled potatoes, chilies and spices. Fry it up, slather it in butter, and enjoy with plain yogurt and achar (pickled mangoes). YUM.

Thank you, Mummyji!!!

Goan Ball Curry and A Contest

This recipe was given to me by an Aunty from South India. It’s amazingly fragrant, packed with flavours and is sure to please any crowd. Remember when I said I accidentally used a bunch of cilantro and a bunch of mint? Well, this was the recipe.

When I see new recipes, I often book mark them and forget to make them for months. So, I’m hosting a tiny contest. Whoever is the first to make this and post a comment telling me how it went will win a prize: a mailed package of spices and tea from me :-)

Goan Ball Curry

Preparing the meat balls:

1 pound lean ground turkey

1 small onion minced fine

1 green chilli minced

1 tsp ginger and garlic paste

¼ tsp pepper

¼ tsp ground cumin

¼ tsp ground garam masala

½ tsp salt

1 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp finely chopped fresh coriander

1 tsp finely chopped fresh mint (I use 1/2 bunch of both of these)

1 egg

¼ cup bread crumbs

Mix all the ingredients, form meat balls and keep aside.

Preparing the curry:

1 medium onion minced

Masala of ¼ tsp pepper, ½ tsp cumin, ¼ tsp garam masala, ¼ tsp turmeric powder, ¼ tsp red chilli powder – all to be mixed with a tbsp of lemon juice.

1 tsp ginger-garlic paste

1 tomato minced fine

1 can coconut milk or more if needed

Salt to taste (1/2 tsp)

Fry the onion in 2-3 tbsp oil in a saucepan till golden brown on medium heat. Then add the masala and ginger-garlic paste and fry for a few minutes. Stir in the tomato and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of boiling water and stir well. Add the salt and the coconut milk. If you want more curry, you may want to add more coconut milk. In this household, there can never be too much curry as Varun douses his rice with the stuff.

Pour curry into a blend and puree until smooth. Return to pan.

Gently drop the meatballs into the curry. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes and then lower the heat and let the meatballs simmer in the curry for 20 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to turn them carefully!

I froze the meatballs and later put them into the curry. It made for a quick and delicious meal.

Serve with rice, and ENJOY! [For a special treat, I love to make the rice with coconut milk instead of water!]

Hosting Like Grown-Ups

When we were little, my Mom used to wake us up with chore lists on days that company was coming. We’d put our initials next to chores and begin to dust bookshelves, vacuum the stairs and scrub bathrooms. On a good day, we got it all done without complaining and would have time to marvel at clean floors and uncluttered rooms. On bad days, we’d be shoving bags of junk into closets as friends and family rang the doorbell, hoping they would not want to open the closet to hang their jackets. I distinctly remember asking my Mom, “If (insert any family/friends) really love us so much, why does it matter if the house is clean? They’ll love us anyway so let’s not pretend to be cleaner than we are”. (Oh, the sass. My poor Mother). She would remind us that when you love someone, you give them your best. And she’d add with a knowing laugh, “When you’re grown up and have your own house, you can decide if you want to clean when people come”.

Oh, how the words of Mama Prophecy can come back to haunt you.

My parents decided a few months to come visit this past weekend. I knew it’d be after my semester died down, and I had grand visions of hung pictures, organized closets and a multiple course supper…Friday morning, however, I was sucked into the literary vortex that is Catching Fire (Hunger Games #2). So I got nothing done. Fail. Saturday morning I launched out of bed at 7:30, called my parents and found out they were already on the road, 7 hours away. After a comical morning that included realizing I left my wallet home when I was at the cash register, a serious caffeine deficit and Varun and I lounging around talking about our childhoods, my parents texted to say they were crossing the border: 55 minutes away. Varun and I exploded into action, taking out the trash, making the bed, cleaning the bathroom and shoving things in closets organizing. I could practically hear my Mom vindictively laughing at 7 year old me. (Not that she would. Maybe that was me laughing at me). Somehow, we managed to get the house in order just minutes before they arrived. (Although the pictures most certainly did not get hung.)

I have to say, despite my childhood theory, cleaning up for loved ones makes visits pleasant. My parents wandered around our home looking at decorations and our view, giving us goodies from the USA and catching us up on family news. My Mom made the fatal mistake of pulling out a logic book, thereafter my Dad and Varun destroyed us with their math/logic/algebra skills.

Varun explaining to my Mom how he solved for number of elephants and emus using a foot to eye equation. (My Dad and I can be heard hooting with laughter)

We took my parents on a mini-tour of the city and for amazing sage tea at a neighbor’s house. At home, we served them the fabled carmelized onion cheddar (it’s better than you’re imagining) and homemade Indian meatballs, kofta. Remember how I said my morning was comical? Yeah…Someone (cough*my sister*cough) has been trying to get me to watch Downton Abbey for weeks. So I watched the first episode while making a new recipe. I know, I know, recipe for disaster. I ended up reading “1 teaspoon fresh cilantro and 1 teaspoon fresh mint” as 1 bunch fresh cilantro and 1 bunch fresh mint. Yup. I used about 40 times the cilantro and mint. You know what the crazy part is? They were amazing. I’m going to try making the kofta one more time this week, then I’ll post the recipe.

Not a flattering picture. But definitely makes me look "enthusiastic" enough to put 40 times the needed ingredient in a recipe...

Happy 29*th Birthday, Dad!

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