In India, guests are known as “emissaries of god,” they drop by any time they want without warning. When they come, you serve. You almost always serve them Chai. Whenever guests would come over to our house, my mom would immediately ask me to make a pot of chai. “Chai” is the Hindi word for “tea” but it usually means the well-known sweetened spiced milk-tea of India.
It’s national pistachio day! How exciting is that? Pistachios are wind pollinated as opposed to bee pollinated. Did you know that it take only one male tree to pollinate up to 30 female trees?
Our dear friends M and V are expecting a little baby boy soon. We drove up to Redlands for their baby shower yesterday and had a great time playing baby shower games and catching up with friends from college that we don’t see often enough. Steve won a round of baby memory and I won a different game by guessing the exact width of V’s stomach! After we helped clean up a little, a couple of our friends invited us to check out Hanger 24, a local brewery that they are really fond of.
Cauliflower is by far the most cooked vegetable in our house. I roast it, steam it, fry it, mash it, pickle it, and even it eat it raw. I pretty much buy a cauliflower on every grocery store trip. There are so many different ways to eat cauliflower, it’s a super versatile vegetable. But of all the ways to cook it, I think whole roasting it is by far the most visually stunning way to cook a cauliflower.
So many different Indian foods are made with lentils. From kichidee (simple rice and lentils) to soups, flat breads and even some Maggie noodles (think Ramen noodles) are made from lentils. Beans and lentils are a primary source of protein for many vegetarians, and India is full of vegetarians.
When I was a kid, I didn’t like lentils very much. I especially hated cooked mung beans. For some weird reason, I loved snacking on sprouted mung beans but wouldn’t touch them the second they were cooked. My mom used to try to get me to eat mung dal (soup) by calling it “French soup” and trying to convince me I would like it because I liked Western food. As an adult, lentils are more of a comfort food for me and I even like mung dal now.
It’s almost time for Uttrayan (the kite festival). Last year I wrote all about my childhood memories of kite fighting during the festival.
Flying kites isn’t as fun without the sport of the fighting. But I still like to think about those wonderful days spent on rooftops with my dad and brother, flying kites, battling neighbors and eating the chikki (brittle) my mom would make. I always celebrate January 14th with chikki because it’s traditionally eaten during the kite festival.
Do you want to ensure you’ll have a happy and prosperous year? Then start off the new year with something sweet! In my family, and Indian culture in general, we start off all auspicious occasions with something sweet. And, seriously, what’s better than chocolate?
When my mom came back from India this year, along with all the clothes, jewelry and spices, she brought back a jar of gulkand, rose petal jam, for me. It just sat in my refrigerator for a couple months. I couldn’t think of anything interesting to do with it for a long time.
I remember the first time I tasted a rotlo. I was about 5. My family had just moved back to India and I was just getting used to life without breakfast cereals. One night my mom made these dense dark flat breads for the family. They looked different from the traditional wheat rotli I was used to eating. In fact, my mom assumed my brother and I wouldn’t eat them and made something else for us.