Sunday, August 19, 2012

Aloo Gobi

Indian Food: It's a Love/Hate Sorta Thing

I'm not a picky eater. I like pretty much every style of cuisine I've tried. But up until about 6 weeks ago, I DID. NOT. eat Indian food. I didn't "not care" for Indian food. I didn't "eat Indian food occasionally". I didn't "eat the American bastardization of Indian food".

I resolutely. absolutely. unwaveringly. DID NOT eat Indian food.

Why YES, there IS  a story behind it, how did you guess?

The summer before my freshman year of high school, my dear friend Hannah and her parents invited me to join them in nearby Ithaca, New York for dinner and a play. Dinner was to be at an Indian restaurant near the Cornell campus.

At  the tender young age of 14 and 2 months, my innocent, Caucasian, small-town palate had yet to experience the flavor explosion that is Indian food. But I took to it with abandon. "Too hot?" The skeptical waiter asked while offering naan and yogurt, "Psshhht, heck no! Bring on the curry, peeps! And hit me with some spicy dal while you're at it."

After dinner we walked into the beautiful Cornell campus for the show. Midway through the first act my tummy started to rumble. The closer we got to intermission, the more violent the rumbles became. By the time they closed the curtains and turned the lights on signaling the conclusion of the act,  I was the definition of clammy. I tried to play it cool and walked slowly to the bathroom with Hannah. As we got closer we discovered that, of course, there was a HUGE line. Hannah, being the good, kind, eloquent friend she is, started pushing past the annoyed looking ladies in front of us and yelled "SHE'S GONNA BLOW!!!!!"

And blow she did. And no I did not make it into a stall. And I spent the next 2 days hanging out with my good friend Ms. Porcelain. (As this was pre-college, this was my first serious relationship with Ms. Porcelain.)

For years after that weekend I couldn't even smell Indian food without becoming nauseated. So when I found out we were moving to India...I was a tad bit nervous to say the least. But I'm happy to report that after a few practice rounds in New York before we left, I'm not only a champion Indian food consumer but I'm getting pretty darn good at the preparation too! don't really want to think about eating now? My bad.

Aloo Gobi & Masoor Dal aur Band Gobi  (with brown rice...which I'm pretty sure is sag-relig and going to get me deported. Whatevs. My intestines are happy).

(Potatoes and Cauliflower &  Red Lentils with Cabbage)

Here's something I've learned about Indian cooking. Completely prepare ALL of your ingredients before you start putting things in the pot, because when that oil starts to sputter... you can be sure, SHE'S GONNA BLOW!

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