I hope you enjoyed your New Year’s Eve festivities, whether it was at a bar, with friends or in front of the tele. We spent ours with friends and homemade food. The theme for this year was street food; we had Samosas, Falafels, and a pot of Paav bhaaji. Paav bhaji is a common street food in many Indian cities, especially Mumbai. The bread, Paav, is served alongside bhaji, a potato based curry that has a variety of ingredients including cauliflower, peas, carrots, onions, garlic, ginger, peppers and spices. This is truly a one pot wonder. Onions, garlic, and ginger are first sautéed in ghee or vegetable oil in a large flat pan, then potatoes are added with water, cauliflower is next, then carrots and peppers are stirred in with the spices. Everything simmers on medium-low for 45 minutes. The peas are added in the last 10 minutes of the cooking so they don’t become mushy. On the streets the bhaji is simmered all day and served with a pinch of chopped cilantro. Paav is a hot dog bun that’s buttered and roasted on the edges of the large pan with bhaji. This is a hot (temperature and sometimes spicy) dish, great for a cold day.
At our house the husband is a better cook for Indian food; Paav bhaji is definitely one of his specialties, so is chicken curry, goat curry, egg fry (another highly-favored street food) and dhan shaak (goat curry with yellow split chickpea lentils).
After Thanksgiving, Mom sent us away with two kinds of homemade Samosas, one filled with meat and the other with split chickpea lentils (traditional Gujarati kind), thank you! The Samosas and the husband’s Paav bhaji were highly rated; the Falafels, on the other hand, were not. The batter was well seasoned but they were under fried resulting in a semi-done inside. (For those questioning- I soaked and cooked the dried chickpeas in the slow cooker before making the batter- I try not to feed guests raw beans.)
Onto those New Year’s resolutions, I’ve got a few of my own. I admit I don’t take them seriously because I break mine in the first month. In fact, I’ve already broken one. I want to dress femininely, more often; more skirts, blouses, dresses and fewer shirts and slacks. Wrapping up the first week of 2009, I have yet to wear a skirt or a dress. See what I mean?
Another one is for writing. In conversations with friends, I realized I genuinely enjoy snail mail. I fancy the inspiration that goes behind picking cards or letters, sender's handwriting, the pen and stamps that are used for the receiver. This connects the sender and the receiver on a personal level, something emails can’t do. (I appreciate email and Internet as much as the next person so this is not a rejection to technology just an expression of my fondness for snail mail.) Someone pointed out, in this day and age of junk mail, catalogs and bill collections, who doesn’t like to receive a nice card from friends? For those of you that like sending snail mail, email (ha!) me, I like getting cards just as much. Some of you will see these in your mailboxes in 2009!
The writing resolution also includes blogging regularly and putting my thoughts down on paper or on in a document often. So far I am on track, wouldn’t you say?
And finally for 2009 I want to cook food simply. I want to create unpretentious dishes, using locally produced ingredients (when possible), that taste gratifying. In the few days I’ve cooked since we rang in 2009, I’ve made biscuits and gravy, creamy cauliflower soup and pork chops. Hopefully if I stick to my writing resolution, the recipes will be up soon.