Here's the whole feast: parathas, dal, samosas, gingery cabbage with peas. For drinks I made some decaf chai tea (very good stuff - from the actual spice mix), sparkling water, Limca soda pop (an aunthentic Indian soft drink), and fresh lime soda. Fresh lime soda is so good. We really enjoyed the fresh lime sodas in India - sweet, tart, bubbly, and refreshing. Here's a recipe for you:
Fresh Lime Soda
3/4 c fresh lime juice (+/- 8 limes, depending on the size & juicy-ness)
3/4 c sugar
3/4 c water
1 big bottle club soda or sparkling water
First, add the sugar and the water together in a small pot. Bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring often, and then simmer until the sugar is totally dissolved and the mixure is totally clear, 3-5 minutes. Remove the sugar syrup from heat and allow to cool. While that's cooling, juice up all your limes.
There are two ways of serving this. In India, when you order this drink, you get a glass with about 3 tablespoons of lime juice in it. Separately, you get a bottle of club soda. And finally, you get a little pitcher (like a creamer) with sugar syrup in it. This way, you can adjust the ratio of lime juice:sugar syrup:sparkling water just to fit your tastes. So you could serve it up this way, with 3 Tbsp of juice in 4 big glasses and that would be very fun and authentic. Or, you could do what I did, and just make a big lemonade pitcher's worth - and leave out the sparkling water and extra sugar syrup in case people want to adjust it to their tastes. It's so good!
I made this lovely dish - Gingery Cabbage with Peas. My friend Geraldine gave me this recipe. It's from one of her cookbooks, but I don't know what the book is called. This recipe turned out so nicely, so I'll share it with you! Once you have everything ready, it comes together really quickly.
Gingery Cabbage and Peas
1 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/8 tsp asafetida/hing
2-4 fresh hot green chilies, finely chopped
(I used 2 seeded serranos, and it was quite mild)
3 inch piece of ginger, grated
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 lb green cabbage, finely shredded
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp unsweetened dried coconut
1/2 Tbsp ground coriander
1 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 c green peas
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the cumin seeds, and a second later, add the asafetida. Stir once, add in the chilies, ginger and turmeric. Stir and fry for 30 seconds. Add the cabbage and salt. Stir, cover, and cook for 4-5 minutes - or until the cabbage is beginning to soften. Add the lemon juice, coconut, ground coriander, cilantro, and peas. Stir and fry for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve. The cabbage should still be slightly crunchy. Serves 4 as part of a bigger meal.
The parathas were just heated up from some frozen parathas that I bought at the Indian grocer a while back. They are so yummy! The samosas are from our wonderful little South Indian restaurant called Jumping Monkey. My mom picked those up on the way over (thanks Mom!). Their samosas are so delicious, and also they are baked instead of fried - but still very yummy. Also they come with a super good tamarind chutney. Then, I made a batch of the Red Lentil Dal from the PPK. Have you ever made this?? It is SO FREAKING GOOD. It's one of Musty's and my most favorite things to eat in the whole world. You gotta try it. For 10 people I made a 1 1/2 recipe, which worked out great. Don't be a fool - make this dal now!
In all, I took about 1000 pictures in just 5 1/2 weeks in India. Whoa! I'm some kind of freak for my new camera... plus India is just full of beautiful, fascinating sights to capture. Also, I have a special line of greeting cards that I started last time I went to India. All the profits from the cards go to charities working in India. So, I was also taking tons of pictures hoping to find some new designs for my greeting cards. Here are a couple of my favorites. This one is from a temple, where each little alcove had a mural inside depicting scenes from the life of a Hindu deity.
I love this wierd picture, which I took at a different temple. This is an ash pit, where people were using the ash to mark their foreheads with the tikka. I love the finger lines in the ash, the smoky burning incense, the marigold offerings, the bright gold pigment, and the sweet little butter candle with Ganesh's head on it.
I also have a question for you all. A week from today, I am taking off for 9 days in China. (what a jetsetter!) I'd like to cook up a few meals for my grandpa, that I can freeze and my aunts can heat up for him - so that they don't have to cook for 9 nights in a row. I'd love any thoughts on meals that freeze & reheat well... Help!