I fantasized in the weeks leading up to spring break about using the much-needed downtime to catch up in all my classes, maybe even get ahead. I told myself, “don’t worry about that calc III project or that physics lab report, you can do that over spring break.” And then when spring break finally kicked off, it became “you have a whole week to do that, no need to rush. Relax a little.” Guess what didn’t happen? At all. I think I knew all along that I would miserably fail at being productive. I accept that now.
I did, however, do some cooking.
Oooh yeah. That lovely lady is a vegetarian potato vindaloo—which would be redundant because the “aloo” in “vindaloo” means “potato,” but ironically the dish doesn’t always feature its namesake—mounted on top of a heap of cardamom-infused basmati rice and served with some garlic and butter-slathered naan, which I tend to use as a
shovel spoon. (It’s not a run-on if you ignore all grammar rules use em dashes).
We washed this all down with some mango lassi, which I didn’t get a chance to photograph. If you’ve never had it,
your life is incomplete it’s a thick drink made of yogurt and sometimes milk and mango pulp with cardamom and occasionally other spices.
Sig change! I know it’s unoriginal, but it gets the job done.
I remember a few years back when a recipe called for “fresh coriander,” I got really frustrated that none of my go-to markets carried it and headed to the local Indian shop. With my “coriander” in hand at the checkout, I realized that it bore an uncanny resemblance to the familiar cilantro. Big “Oooooohhh” revelation there. Not one of my finer moments.
I know I’ve said this before about broccoli, but same applies to cilantro/coriander. The stem has plenty of flavor and is totally edible. Give it a go. The cool kids are doing it.
Naan—adapted from Kurry Leaves
- 1 1/4 oz packet of yeast (about 2 1/2 tsp)
- 1/4 cup warm (not hot) milk
- 2 tsp sugar
- 3 tbs yogurt
- 1 tbs oil
- Salt to taste
- 2 cups all-purpose or whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat bc it’s what I had on hand)
- 1/4 water or as needed
- More olive oil
- 1/4 cup butter—melted mixed with 3 cloves garlic—pressed or finely minced
- Chopped cilantro if you want it to be all pretty
- Temper the yeast by adding the warm milk and sugar to it and letting it sit in a warmish area for about 10 minutes. It should look frothy/foamy. If it doesn’t, it didn’t work.
- Once your yeast has got its mojo going, mix in the yogurt, oil, and salt.
- Add in the flour.
- Add as much water as is needed to make a thick dough. (Will probably be more than what is listed)
- Once you’ve got a good dough going, drizzle a little oil over it and set it somewhere warm to rise for an our or two (After that period of time you should have a wonderful, elastic dough).
- Roll out golf ball sizes of dough. (I tried something I’ve never done before and really think it worked. I used a little bit of water instead of flour on my rolling pin and surface. It worked like a charm. If it’s not working for you, go back to flour, but give it a go.)
- Fry naans, one at a time, in an oiled skillet. Optional: Cook one side in the skillet and the other over an open flame if you have a gas burning stove. Loved it.
- Drizzle fresh naan with butter and garlic and sprinkle on the cilantro.
- Olive Oil
- 1 large onion or two small/medium, roughly chopped
- 1 large potato, pre-cooked (I just nuke for a few minutes)
- 5 roma tomatoes or 2-3 of a larger variety, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 3 cloves chopped garlic
- 2 tbs chopped fresh ginger (a 1/2-1 inch piece)
- 1 tsp chili powder* (or as many fresh chopped chilies as your taste buds can handle)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper**
- 1/2 tsp cardamom**
- 1/2 tsp cumin**
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika**
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon**
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves**
- 1/4 cup vinegar
- Chopped cilantro—several handfuls
*This was pretty mild for us but a dinner guest was kind of choking from the heat, so use caution. Maybe start out with half the amount and add to taste.
**If you’ve got a good garam masala mix, you could use that instead.
- Fry the onion in the olive oil on high until it gets a little color. Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute or so.
- Turn off the heat and add the garlic and ginger. Let them cook from the residual heat for a few minutes while the mix cools a bit.
- Blend the onion/tomato mix in a blender with the tomato paste, vinegar, and spices. It might help to mix all the spices together separately and then taste as you add. Blend until smooth or desired consistency is reached.
- Return mix to the stove and stir in the potato and a handful or two of cilantro, heating until everything is uniformly warmed.
- Top with additional cilantro and serve with basmati rice and/or naan.